Interview with Author John Everson

Flame Tree Press released Bram Stoker Award-winning horror author John Everson’s 10th novel, The House by the Cemetery, on October 18th.

The teaser for the book hints at a perfect autumn read:

Flame Tree PressThe teaser for the book hints at a perfect read for autumn: “Rumor has it that the abandoned house by the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a witch. But rumors won’t stop carpenter Mike Kostner from rehabbing the place as a haunted house attraction. Soon he’ll learn that fresh wood and nails can’t keep decades of rumors down. There are noises in the walls, and fresh blood on the floor: secrets that would be better not to discover. And behind the rumors is a real ghost who will do whatever it takes to ensure the house reopens. She needs people to fill her house on Halloween. There’s a dark, horrible ritual to fulfill. Because while the witch may have been dead … she doesn’t intend to stay that way.”

Everson’s novels are dark and visceral, often blending horror with the occult and taboo sex. The Illinois author won the Bram Stoker Award for a First Novel in 2005 for Covenant. His sixth novel, Nightwhere, was a Bram Stoker Award finalist in 2013. Check out Everson’s website by clicking here.

In an exclusive interview with HorrorAddicts.net, Everson discusses his new novel, his past works, and what scares him.

THE INTERVIEW

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HORROR ADDICTS: Your 10th novel, The House by the Cemetery, arrived October 18th from your new publisher Flame Tree Press. Does this release personally feel any different than your previous releases in terms of anticipation and excitement? Or do all of them feel the same?

EVERSON: They’re all a little different, but this one is special because it’s the debut release on my fourth major publisher. My first couple novels debuted in hardcover on Delirium Books, a small independent press, and then made their big “mass market” paperback debut a couple years later on Leisure Books, which put them in bookstores across the country. Both of those debuts were big because – first book ever, and then first book ever in bookstores.  Then after the dissolution of Leisure, my sixth novel NightWhere debuted on Samhain Publishing, which was my second “paperback” home. After four books with them, I am now with Flame Tree Press, which is issuing The House By The Cemetery in hardcover, paperback, e-book, and audiobook. That is the first time I’ve ever had a publisher do all versions of a novel, so… it’s a big release for me!

HA: You set The House by the Cemetery in Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, one of the most haunted sites in Illinois and near where you grew up. What part of the cemetery’s history or legend intrigued you the most?

EVERSON: I  am always fascinated by ghost stories, so I love the stories of the Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove, a ghostly woman sometimes seen walking with a child, and sometimes on her own. I wrote a short story about her for the Cemetery Riots anthology a couple years ago. And she’s really the inspiration (along with a famous gravestone) for one of my earliest stories, “Remember Me, My Husband.” But the ghost story that inspired the novel is that of a mysteriously appearing house, which people see in the back of the cemetery. I decided that for the novel, the house would be a real, physical place. But the combination of the ghost stories about that, the Madonna, and the devil worship legends about dark things that occurred in the cemetery 40-50 years ago, really fueled the book though they were inspirational, not directly “retold.”

HA: With horror movies breaking records at the box office and tons of quality horror fiction being released the last couple of years, the media is reporting that the horror genre is more popular than ever. Does it seem that way to you or is it just hype? Have any movies or horror fiction blew you away in the last couple of years?

EVERSON: Horror as a film and TV genre does seem more popular than ever. The popularity of series like Stranger Things and The Walking Dead, in particular, has galvanized a huge fan base. I haven’t seen that turn into a huge fan base for horror novels, because at this point, published horror fiction is still divided between Stephen King, Anne Rice and a few others published by the major labels, and … everyone else being published by independent publishers. When you walk into a bookstore, you’re not blown away by the preponderance of horror books, at least not in any of the stores I walk into. I hope that changes because certainly, this is the age of horror video. And without “writing” there are no films and TV shows!

As far as what’s blown me away … I don’t have a frame of reference because I don’t watch most modern horror films and I avoid TV series – because while they may be great, I just don’t have the time! I can either watch TV or write … and I choose writing. I have seen Stranger Things, which is awesome. But that’s about it for me on the screen over the past couple years. My movie watching (which happens every Friday or Saturday night around midnight in my basement!) is centered around older horror, giallo, and exploitation films, particularly from Europe, from the ‘60s-’80s. At the start of the year, I did see and love the films The Shape of Water from Guillermo del Toro and Endless Poetry from Alejandro Jodorowsky. Ironically, both of those films also look backwards in time, to other ages. My favorite things that I’ve seen lately are Hitch Hike, a 1977 film by Pasquale Festa Campanile, Death Occurred Last Night, a 1970 film by Duccio Tessari, and Pets, a 1973 film by Raphael Nussbaum.

HA: You’ve written a horror trilogy titled The Curburide Chronicles about a reporter named Joe Kieran battling demons. What about Joe caused you to return to his story two more times?

EVERSON: I never intended to. After the first novel was initially finished in 2000, I wrote a few short stories, and a year or two passed as I tried to find a publisher for Covenant, the first book. One day in 2002, I heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I thought … what a great way to jumpstart a book – write 50,000 words in four weeks? That’s insane! But I took the dare. I had an idea about what happened to Joe after Covenant, and in some ways, it felt like a better, more adventurous story than the first novel. So…I decided to use NaNoWriMo as my prod to knock out a big chunk of a novel. I still hadn’t sold the first book – and didn’t know if I ever would! – so I tried to write Sacrifice as a standalone novel, though it directly follows the first book.

So … when I finished Covenant I hadn’t had any thought of a sequel. When I finished Sacrifice, though, I thought almost immediately of how I might want to return to the world again, because I’d left a couple characters in limbo. However, the publisher wasn’t interested in a third book (third books in a series don’t usually do great unless you’ve got a mega-bestseller thing going on). So I had to sit on the idea of the third and final book in the series for almost a decade. A couple years ago when both Leisure and Samhain had collapsed and I found myself without a publisher, I decided, “what the hell …” and I dove in and finally wrote Redemption, the final chapter in the trilogy.

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HA: I cite The 13th as one of the best horror novels I’ve ever read and one that’s influential on my own writing. Do you have a favorite amongst your children (why or why not)?

EVERSON: I don’t have a favorite, but I have a few that I tout a little higher than others. Ironically, those are the ones that seem to have either sold less or been reviewed harder than the others! I am really a fan of Sacrifice, though it hasn’t sold half as many copies as Covenant. I love The 13th because it’s just over-the-top crazy horror fun (I think!) I really was proud of Siren, which had a dual narrative structure that was adventurous for me and dealt with some personal themes that also were important to me. While I’ve seen some people call it their favorite, that novel has faired the poorest in overall reviews (a lot of people are not happy with the ending), though personally I think it’s one of my strongest pieces. NightWhere is a big one for me because it dealt with dark, taboo themes that I was afraid to write about (and sign my name to) for years. But when I finally did it, I was really proud of the way it turned out (and it turned into an award finalist and has been reviewed pretty well).

NightWhere

HA: Was there one of your works that kind of fell through the cracks that you wished more people would’ve discovered?

EVERSON: Redemption. It had everything going against it – it’s the third and final part in my Covenant trilogy, but it was released a decade after the second novel, and it was released on my own independent Dark Arts Books label – the only book I’ve done that with on a first run, because the original publisher of Covenant and Sacrifice was gone.  So … most of the thousands of readers of those first two novels have no idea the finale exists, and there’s no way to let them know unless they’re actively looking for it. But I think it’s one of my best books, and really ties up the threads of the first two books. It’s also my longest novel.

HA: Taboo sex plays a large part in the plots of almost all your novels, but it’s also popular in a lot of other horror novels. Why do you think sex and horror are so intertwined in horror fiction?

EVERSON: Horror is in a lot of ways, a “Christian” genre (there are people bristling all over reading that!) in the sense that, because a lot of horror is based on the crime and punishment philosophy of “people who do bad things – like have sex before marriage – are punished by DEATH!” There are a lot of “sin and retribution/punishment” themes in horror. Being punished for killing someone … and being punished for cheating and/or premarital sex are big themes that horror tales frequently tackle. Horror has always explored the “what happens when you cross the moral line” factor.

And I think that sex comes into horror a lot too because – when are you at your most vulnerable? When you completely open yourself to another human being. We’re afraid of the potential danger of that intimacy, and thus … horror stories!

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John Everson signing his latest novel, The House by the Cemetery.

HA: I know you’re a music lover. Does music influence or inspire your writing at all (how)?

EVERSON: Music is a huge part of my life and I don’t ever write without it. I can’t say that music influences my writing direction in a way (I don’t hear a song and write a story about it) but I do put on types of music if I’m writing particular scenes. Most of the time I have on ambient “dreampop” kind of bands like Cocteau Twins and Delirium and The Cure which set a particular “mood” for writing. But if I’m doing very aggressive scenes, I might put on mixes of harder techno stuff, from Covenant to Rob Zombie to Marilyn Manson.

HA: What music are you listening to now?

EVERSON: I’m listening to a MixCloud mix by one of my favorite DJs, DJ Mikey. I have bought so many CDs because of his mixes! I listen to this particular one all the time at night because it’s nice and lowkey. Here’s the link: https://www.mixcloud.com/strangewaysradio/space-between-us-dreampop-dj-mikey/

HA: Are you binge-watching anything on Netflix?

EVERSON: The only thing I’ve ever watched on Netflix was Stranger Things … which is actually the only reason I subscribed (the rest of my family now won’t let me cancel it). I’m not a fan of most streaming services because their libraries aren’t deep enough for me. I have a lot of niche, cult film tastes and really, the only way to get most of those movies is to buy them from the cult film companies that remaster and produce them for Blu-ray and DVD. Plus, one of my favorite things about watching an old movie is to watch the bonus DVD extras – all the interviews about the making of the film. You don’t get that stuff on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

HA: Have you read any fiction recently worth recommending?

EVERSON: The last novel I finished was David Benton’s Fauna, which is excellent!

HA: When you’re not working, writing, or spending time with your family, what do enjoy doing with your downtime?

EVERSON: Watching cult 1970s/80s horror, giallo and exploitation films – often from Europe – is one of my favorite things to do. Give me a beer and a new discovery from film companies like Vinegar Syndrome, Severin, Raro Video, Mondo Macabre, Shameless or Synapse, and I’m a really happy guy.  If I’m not going to collapse in a comfy chair to watch obscure movies in the dark, I also love to cook and garden and occasionally even do some woodwork – I’ve built an oak bar for my basement and a couple of DVD cabinets.

HA: Give me some breaking news about your next project or tell me something your fans don’t know about you?

EVERSON: I’m currently just a few weeks from wrapping my 11th novel, The Devil’s Equinox. It’s an occult-based Rosemary’s Baby kind of story that maybe shares a few themes with NightWhere, The Devil’s Equinox, and The 13th.

HA: What scares you?

EVERSON: People! I’m a big fan of the core message of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In the end, it’s really not the monster that’s dangerous.

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Book Cover Designer Fiona Jayde

Fiona Jayde is the owner, art director, and award-winning designer of Fiona Jayde Media, a company that offers book cover design, editorial, and marketing services to authors.

Book cover designer Fiona Jayde creates images for all genres, including horror. Jayde said her cover for William W. Johnstone’s Carnival “creeped the heck out of me.”

Jayde won 2013 RONE Awards for Fantasy and Best Contemporary Romance covers, melding her creativity with a business-like marketing approach to create beautiful book covers.

Jayde agreed to a fun and in-depth email interview with HorrorAddicts.net.

We started off with a quick ten-question lightning round before jumping into the real ten-question interview.

THE LIGHTNING ROUND

  1. A favorite movie? The Cutting Edge (from the 90s)
  1. Favorite binge-watching series on Netflix? Hmm … Tough question. I rewatch Dick Van Dyke, Star Trek TNG, and Star Trek Voyager on a regular basis.
  1. A favorite author? Nalini Singh and JR Ward
  1. A favorite book? Three Musketeers
  1. A favorite visual artist? Boris Vallejo, Michael Whelan, Luis Royo
  1. A favorite musical artist? Evanescence, Lindsey Stirling, Etta James
  1. Any song stuck your head? At the moment? “It’s always best to match your tea and cake. Look at all the colors. What matches can you make.” I bet you can’t get that out of your head either.
  1. A favorite website? Lifehacker.com
  1. Pet peeve? When people use “i” or “u” when emailing. Texting I can live with although I don’t like it, but in an email? Also, spitting in public. Gross.
  1. You have one last meal. What do you want to see on that plate? Ukrainian Potato Salad, Hubs oven-baked chicken, and Grandma’s Napoleon cake.

    Fiona Jayde’s book cover design for William W. Johnstone’s The Uninvited buzzes with a nightmarish insect motif.

THE REAL INTERVIEW

Q1: Where are you from and where did your artistic eye and talent originate? Any artists, books, or movies inspire your style?

FJ: I’m originally from Old Europe, the part of Romania that was annexed by Soviet Union. My artistic journey started when I discovered internet in college and spent hours browsing through fantasy artwork. This is how I fell in love with fantasy artists like Luis Royo, Michael Whelan, and Boris Vallejo. The funny part is I couldn’t draw – and still really can’t, despite going to art school. Somehow, I always had a knack for all things digital and when I learned Photoshop, it was love at first sight. (Okay second sight, because it took me a bit to figure out that sucker.)

Q2: You’ve been a book cover designer for 10 years. What compelled you to start your own business in this field?

FJ: Funny story there: just like many writers who start out by throwing a poorly written book at a wall and declaring “I can do better”, I started out as an author who got a truly … shall we say … remarkable book cover and swore I could do better. Now, anybody with rudimentary skills in image editing can say that, but it took me years to figure out just knowing Photoshop isn’t going to cut it. What you see – the end product – is the execution. The unseen underlying factors fuse together marketing studies with compositional and graphic design to create a mouthwatering product package. (How’s that for a mouthful?)

I hadn’t planned on this being my career. I was working as a full-time web developer/project manager and doing covers on the side, but when I came back from maternity leave, my company laid me off. Best kick in the pants ever. I went into cover design and packaging design full time and haven’t looked back.

Q3: In the age of Amazon and ebook readers, are book covers as important in this digital age as they were in the days when hardcovers and paperbacks ruled? If so, why?

FJ: Book covers are just as important, but a much more “faster” scale.  People browse the same digitally and physically: a book cover catches their eye, they pick up or click on the book to see it close up, then read the blurb/cover copy. In the digital age, that process is a hundred times faster – instead of walking past books that may or may not catch your eye, you’re scrolling past tens and hundreds of books, and clicking on a select few that pop. The importance of the cover is the same, but the ratio of “what gets attention” is that much smaller now due to the sheer volume of things competing for that attention. It’s that much more vital to connect to your audience and make the best use of the tiny thumbnail you’re afforded when readers are browsing.

Q4: You use a “go big or go home marketing approach” for your book cover designs. How may this marketing approach differ from the author’s vision?

Fiona Jayde’s book cover design for William W. Johnstone’s A Crying Shame inserts the mysterious image of a bloody body amid the haunting mist of a secluded swamp.

FJ: For the most part, it’s literally about making the most marketable aspect of the cover as big as possible, and reminding the authors that readers haven’t read the book. For example, an author I recently worked with had a series where the heroine could throw blue fire. Marketable? HUGE! The heroine also happened to turn that fire into blue flaming raccoons. The author LOVES raccoons. Cute? Yes. Marketable? Not for the genre she was targeting. Therefore, Chick with Blue Fire=Big. Raccoons got 86ed.

Q5: You do book cover design for all genres, including horror and fantasy. Do you have a favorite genre? If so, why?

FJ: I don’t know if I have a favorite genre, since most of the work I do all boils down to “pop” factor. As long as I can add “pop” somewhere, I’m happy, regardless of genre. Plus multiple genres ensure I don’t “phone it in” and get too comfortable. This way I can offer fresh takes on existing genre visual “tropes.”

Q6: What’s the key in a successful collaboration with authors in creating book cover designs? Do most authors have a specific cover in mind or do they give you a lot of latitude in your design?

FJ: Successful collaboration works best with clear communication, zero ego and the same goal: a marketable book cover. I like to fuse together an author’s unique premise with what is marketable, and as long as the author works from the “readers haven’t read the book yet” we work exceptionally well together.

For example, an author can request their name to be huge on the cover. That request could be a marketing thing if they have a lot of followers and their name alone can draw a reader. On the other hand, if they are just starting out, a huge name will be an “empty” focal point, covering up something that could be much more marketable for the genre. And if we go back to that small thumbnail, a reader who sees a giant name that they don’t recognize will easily move on to a book with a smaller just as unrecognizable name with a huge visual que for the genre. As long as both the author and I communicate on that level – cold hard marketing being the goal, we will collaborate beautifully and produce a marketable cover.

Q7: Which book was the easiest to create a cover for and why? Which book was the most difficult and why? Or do all covers take about the same amount of time and creative energy?

FJ: The easiest covers boil down to how visual/descriptive and “grounded” an author’s world is. For example, I just had completed a series where the heroine is a witch and had very specific objects/symbols prevalent in each book. That series flowed very well visually because all those symbols existed already, we just needed to “bring them out.” On the other hand, I had a recent horror book with a very existential/internal theme and the author and I had several in-depth discussions about the book and symbols depicted there.

Q8: You won 2013 RONE Awards for Best Fantasy and Best Contemporary Romance covers. How important were those awards to your business and to you personally?

FJ: I’m going to sound like a jaded know-it-all, but in reality, the awards – while great for my ego – don’t really mean that much since the authors of those books didn’t exactly rake in accolades and royalties. Cover design awards aren’t considering the most important function of a book cover – to get click-throughs and sales. I didn’t learn to draw in art school, but the one concept I always carry with me is “function before aesthetics.”  If a cover doesn’t get sales, no matter how beautiful, it’s a fail. And a beautiful cover can easily be a fail if it doesn’t communicate to the target market – aka, the reader of that genre.

Q9: Since this interview is for HorrorAddicts.net, I wanted to ask about your horror covers. They are impressive, particularly the ones for The Uninvited, Carnival, and A Crying Shame, all authored by William W. Johnstone. What inspires you to create such unsettling yet beautiful horror book covers?

FJ: Thank you! That clown in Carnival creeped the heck out of me 🙂 Horror is a chance to play for me because the job here is to BE unbalanced and unsettled, to convey that feeling. Most covers are about white space and balance of elements, but horror puts those rules on their ears. Plus, it’s an opportunity for me to bust out the photoshop blood brushes.

Q10: What scares you?

FJ: Although I’m not a writer anymore, I have an incredibly active imagination and ability to spin a plot from the most minute events. Then I end up scaring myself building scenarios in the sand. But in terms of less existential and more real answer, I am terrified of getting lost. I have a terrible time following directions – with GPS no less – and regardless of logically knowing I have a cellphone and can stop for directions, I have an irrational fear of getting lost when trying to drive someplace new.


Check out Fiona Jayde’s book cover designs and services for authors on her website: http://fionajaydemedia.com/

Author Interviews at the Mount Holly Book Fair Part 2

 

Witches, Time Travel, and Shapeshifters!

 

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz was on the windy scene April 29, 2018 at the Mount Holly Book Fair to interview several Local Horror Authors…

 

Author JL Brown talks about her book The Burning Arbor, witches, tarot, and magic on and off the page. For more visit https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJLBrown/

 

 

Author Gary Frank talks about his book Forever will you Suffer, short fiction versus novels, time travel, the business of writing, and horror. For more visit http://authorgaryfrank.com/

 

 

Native American Storyteller Laura Kaign chats about her Earth Child series, science fiction, natural versus supernatural, dreams, YA, and storytelling. For more visit http://ladyhawkestorytelling.com

 

 

Special Thanks to the Mill Race Arts & Preservation for hosting The Mount Holly Book Fair.

 

Stayed tuned to HorrorAddicts.net for more Author Interviews and let us know what kind of video/media content you would like to see!

Terror Trax: Interview with Rock Band BlkVampires

Interview by James Goodridge

BlkVampires are a iconic rock band, a part of the New York club scene. Fronted by lead singer Forrest Thinner, their turbo-charged rock coming from the dark side mixed with speak truth to power songs never fail people who attend their nocturnal night mass. I’ve got to admit when I first met up with brother Forrest at National Action Network head quarters for a benefit concert they were performing for Eric Garners family (Garner chocked to death by a cop for the  high crime of selling loose cigarettes) I did have a Van Helsing moment (looking for a wooden stake just in case). But after the set I now consider myself one of their minions. So for HorroAaddicts.net, I figured I would submit six questions to the brother.

James Goodridge: Tell about yourself and how did BlkVampires come about?

Forrest Thinner: I have been a singer for many years and into all styles of music. I am credited for starting musical projects like 24/7 Spyz the Fluid Fondation/P Fluid/ A.F.C. Angelo Moore, P Fluid, and Cory Glover and BlkVampires. I always had the idea of a BlkVampires concept long before the Blade film came out! Look at 24/7 Spyz “original logo and you’ll see it’s a vampire with locks and shade a NYC back lineetc … my total concept and that was in 1987 After nothing happened with the A.F.C. project due to Angelo and Corey on constant touring with Fishbone and Living Colour. I dived into the BlkVampire idea that I had all along. I put together for the group. I booked our first show and we had 90 days to prepare for it and that was our beginning. We had something to look forward to  and didn’t even know each other.

JG: What elements of the horror genre influenced the group?

FT: I have always been into “Hammer Productions” as a child. ‘Chris Lee/ Peter Cushing’ were the best! But KARLOFF is my favorite 100%! Boris Karloff presents/Chiller/Friday the 13th the Series/ The Outer Limits/ Tales From the Darkside/ Ronal Dahl’s Tales From the Unexpected! Man you don’t have enough time for me to my mind in horror. We BlkVampires really haven’t even touch the surface of the influence that I would like but I would say Hammer productions indeed!

JG: Have any classic horror writers influenced the song writing of the group?

FT: Not really, but I do like the mind of Anne Rice/ Clive Barker and Stephen King, but Dean Koontz is DOPE! I see music as he writes a story, kind of Twilight Zonish not really horror but off the beaten track.

JG: Tell us about the Eric Garner EP.

FT: Eric Garner is a single with a B side. Our bass player “Dokk” Anderson came up with the musical idea and our guitarist “Blu” added spice to it about a current situation in our society. And the Garner case…  I Can’t Breathe/Hands up/Don’t shoot just was on my mind and the song wrote itself. I was just holding the pen. Rev. Al Sharpton and The National Action Network came after. Like attracts like.

JG: What’s new?

FT: I’m putting out a solo EP in May/June2018. some members of the band have other projects they want to finish and thats’ a good thing. My project will be (BlkVampires) I’ll just be doing some dark James Bond/ David bowie grown up man sexy DOPE shyt! A lot of people like my vocal stylings so imma SANG to them my appearance will still be the Harlequin X.

JG: Where can we get all things BlkVampire?

FT: You can get all things BlkVampire from our website www.blkvampires.net or DM us at www.blkvampires.net  Thank you for your support!


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Born and raised in the Bronx, James is new to writing speculative fiction. After ten years as an artist representative and paralegal James decided in 2013 to make a better commitment to writing.Currently, he is writing a series of short “Twilight Zone” inspired stories from the world of art, (The Artwork) and a diesel/punkfunk saga (Madison Cavendish/Seneca Sue Mystic Detectives) with the goal of producing compelling stories.

Interview with Best in Blood Winner, Mark Taylor

1)      How do you feel about having the title Best in Blood?

It was amazing – and hearing my reaction back, I can say I was stunned. It is such an honor to hold the award!

2)      How did you start writing? What inspires you to write?

I was always interested in writing from a young age, but I had other interests that – at the time – became priority. I ended up on the slippery slope to being a rock star! *coughs* Well, I was the lead in a metal and for several years, and after that I concentrated on my career. Flash forward to me, mid-thirties. I took up writing again some years back, and found that I loved it.  I find that different writings can help me along with how I’m feeling. Bad day at the office? Someone’s getting murdered on the page. Perhaps skinned first. Who knows? Nice relaxing day? Time for a little humor.

3)      What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m finishing up book two of the Witches series, Blood of the Covenant. I’m also (still) editing Vampire Blue – the first in a series of novels that is all noir detective Bogart, with vampires. More detective, less biting.

4)      When you are not writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?

Moooooooovies! Ha. I love cinema. I run a movie site, and just adore film and television. I’m a massive supporter of Indie film, and short film. And, of course, I’m all about the horror. I’m also okay in the kitchen, and I pretty much watch all the decent cookery shows. And even some Guy Fieri.

5)      When did you start writing? How did you know you were going to be a writer?

As I said before, I started seriously writing again in my thirties. It started at first not only about the writing, but also the close community. Back in the days of forums *shows age*. But I had some short story successes, which led to me taking on longer works, and now I rarely write short stories. I love putting the tale together. It’s part of the thrill for me, and one of the reasons I can’t see me stopping.

6)      Who are your favorite authors?

Well, I have an obvious list – King, Barker, etc – but there is some really hot talent out there at the moment. I’m currently reading Craig Saunders The Dead Boy – and man, does he know how to weave. I totally dig Chuck Wendig – particularly his Miriam Black books.

7)      Have you seen the new IT movie? What was your thoughts on it?

I’ve not seen it yet, but I can’t wait for the home release – in January here, I believe. I’ve heard good things about it. I love the TV miniseries, but I’m hoping this will one up it!

8)      Have you had writer’s block? How did you unblock?

Sadly the block gets us all sometimes. I can’t offer any great advice on beating it, but I have found that writing anything helps. Writing for my movie site is particularly good – my film reviews and features are just me expounding on my feelings, so it’s pretty easy to do. I think it’s just about flow, more than anything else, so starting the flow of words helps.

9)      Do you do something special for Halloween? Did you dress up? If so, what were you?

I’m not really a get out and party guy – and the area I live in has a lot of activities for younger people (Old man shakes fist at cloud).  But I do have a kick-ass Jedi Costumes that comes out on occasion. Being 6’4 and bearded makes for difficult costuming, but I think, given the opportunity, I might put together a Michael Myers costume. I could pull that off.

10)   What is your favorite monster?

Ack! So many to choose from! But honestly I’ve always been a Freddy fan. And Kong, of course. Maybe Gremlins, too. But not forgetting Dracula. And Frankenstein’s monster. Wolfman (He’s got nards, you know).

11)   How can we find your works?

The easiest place to find me is on my website, my Amazon page, or Facebook:

http://www.authormarktaylor.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Taylor/e/B003WFQ1N0/

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMarkTaylor/

Kidnapped! That Time a Movie Scared the Crap Out of Me by D.W. Gillespie

That Time a Movie Scared the Crap Out of Me

Now that my first novel, Still Dark is out in the wild, it’s fun to look back on some of the things that helped make me the writer I am, including some of my favorite movie moments.

Let me paint the picture for you.

It was October 2000, and yes, I had to look that date up. My wife and I, still together after all these years, were just dating at the time. I was 20 at the time, and though I would consider myself a solid fan of horror at the time, there were some woeful gaps in my knowledge. I was a child of the 80’s, and I’d seen more slasher films than I could count, but older, classic horror films had mostly dwelled in the background, looming and waiting for me to seek them out. None loomed larger than The Exorcist.

Up to that point, probably the scariest film I’d seen in theaters was The Blair Witch Project. Some of you will laugh, and I understand why. Those of you who were there, in the wild west days of the internet when you could actually trick an audience into thinking they were about to see the last days of three film students, well, it wasn’t really funny. I knew it wasn’t true by the time I went into the theater, but dammit if it didn’t feel true. By the time I made it home, parking among the dark trees without a streetlight in sight… let’s just say I walked very fast up to my front door.

A year later, my girlfriend in tow, The Exorcist rereleased in theaters, this version with never before seen footage. This was it. The big boy. The grandpappy. I think we were laughing about it when we sat down in the back row. About a half hour later, that shit wasn’t funny.

I can still remember, vividly, the moment where the movie had me. The moment where I knew it wasn’t all just hype built by a simpler time, by a movie going populace that just wasn’t as tough as I was.

The mom comes home, stops in the kitchen, and for a brief moment, a face lingers in the dark. Just for a second, so quick, I wasn’t even sure it was ever there. Then, outside her daughter’s room, another quick flash, a different face filling the entire door. She checks on little Reagan, and all seems well. Then, as she leaves… is that a shadow growing on the wall. A shape of a statue from earlier in the film. Now, she’s downstairs. Talking. Just the sound of voices is enough to put you at ease after all that unbroken silence. The scene is over, the tension is gone, and then…

A scream. The mother turns. Her daughter walks, BACKWARDS, down the stairs, straight into the camera, where she vomits up blood.

Holy shit.

That was just the beginning. The atrocities continued, piled up, multiplied, and by the time I walked out of the theater, I was in a daze. I didn’t run up to my porch that night, but something much more disturbing happened. The second I laid down in my bed, I saw that face, that pale, white, toothy face. Every night for about a week, I saw that face.

My son’s a budding horror fan now, and even though he’s probably too young, we’ve torn through a ton of the 80’s slashers (the AMC, toned down versions). He knows what The Exorcist is, mainly because he’s always wanting to know what scares me. For the past year or two, he’s asked if he’s ready for it.

“No buddy,” I tell him. “You got a ways to go.”

 

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D.W. Gillespie

When a thunderous explosion rocks an idyllic cabin resort in the Great Smoky Mountains, animals and humans alike begin to act strange. Jim, along with his wife Laura and son, Sam, are cut off from the outside world, but they soon realize the true nightmare is just beginning…

Deep in the snow-covered woods, something is waiting. The creature calls itself Apex, and it’s a traveler. Reading the minds of those around it, Apex brings the terrifying fears hidden in the human psyche to life with a singular purpose: to kill any that stand in its way.

Locked in a fight for their lives, Jim, and his family must uncover the truth behind Apex, and stop the creature from wreaking a horrifying fate upon the rest of the world!

Still Dark on Amazon

Interview with the Next Great Horror Writer Winner: Jonathan Fortin

JonathanFortinAuthorPhotoKenzie: Congrats on being the next great Horror Writer! I can’t believe it’s all over. It seems just like yesterday when all of you contestants completed the first competition. I’m so proud of you and your hard work. I loved all of your submissions and I’m so happy that you won it all! How does it feel to be the first Next great Horror Writer? Still riding that high?

Jonathan: It’s pretty insane! I’m excited, overwhelmed, and thankful all at once. Winning this contest and this novel contract is the realization of a dream I’ve had pretty much my whole life. I spent many years working on Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus, so it’s kind of incredible to realize that it’s actually going to become a book people can buy and read.

Kenzie: Winning a contest of this magnitude is completely overwhelming,  something that only a few get to experience. How long have you been working on your novel and what is it about?

Jonathan: Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is the story of Maraina Blackwood, a woman in Victorian England who becomes a succubus when demons take over Europe. Her life forever changed, Maraina ends up battling both a demonic new monarchy and her own repressed upbringing. It’s an epic Gothic saga, but also an exploration of Victorian gender roles and repression.

Writing Lilitu took many years. It was a challenging book to write because the Victorian setting had to feel authentic, but it also gets warped fairly early on. I needed to do all the research required for a historical novel, but also all the world-building of a fantasy novel. Naturally, this also impacted the characters–especially Maraina, who changes dramatically over the course of the book. Her character arc needed a lot of time to get right.

 

Kenzie: Holy cow Lilitu sounds amazing! Definitely, something I would read. Ever since I watched the Canadian show Lost Girl, I’ve been obsessed with any and all things succubus. I can’t wait for it to drop, it’s on my must read list! I love books that have a supernatural and horror element but doesn’t have to be 100% horror. I’ve never read a historical horror novel before, but I know it’ll be great.

Speaking of hard to write, what challenge was the hardest for you this season?

 

Jonathan: Thank you for your kind words. I love succubi too, not just because they’re seductive, but also because they challenge what society has traditionally told women how they must be. I’ve also always loved the sense of mystique to them–entering dreams, flying with demonic wings…these were things I wanted to capture when writing this book. I didn’t want my succubi to only be sex objects, or lack the magical qualities that make the folklore behind them so interesting. Putting them in Victorian England made sense to me because of the Gothic aesthetics of the time period (and the corsets!), and also because the sexual repression makes them clash dramatically with its values. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the book when it comes out.

For me, the hardest NGHW challenge was, ironically, the interview! Haha. I had a tough time coming up with questions and wasn’t sure what readers would be interested in knowing about me, or about what I think.

Kenzie: I love your interpretation of succubi. It gives them more depth than just sexual objects, especially in the Victorian era where women were supposed to be prim, proper, and dainty.

Haha, I actually remember your interview! I also loved your tongue in cheek way of interviewing yourself. What is one thing being apart of the first batch of next great Horror writers has taught you about yourself?

Jonathan: It reinforced my long-held belief that I am much better about getting my writing done when I have a deadline.

Kenzie: I can understand that! Working under pressure sometimes brings out the best work.

What are your plans going forward after winning this unique competition?

Jonathan: My plans are to push forward with Lilitu and it’s publication, as well as to move forward with my other writing projects. I’ve been named The Next Great Horror Writer–I had best live up to that!

Kenzie: Very True! I look forward to your future writing endeavors! Did you make any friends while doing this competition?

Jonathan: Yes! One thing I loved about this competition was that the participants were all very friendly to one another. I already knew Sumiko because we are both local to the bay area, but the other contestants were all total strangers at the start, so it was a pleasant surprise how nice they’ve all been. I hope to retain friendships with them. There’s even been talk of forming a critique group so that we can all help each other grow as authors.

Kenzie: Wow that’s honestly amazing. In other competitions, the contestants are at each others throats and here you guys are helping each other. You just can’t beat being in a competition where the contestants are nice to each other.

Is there anything else you’d like to let HorrorAddicts and your fans know?

Jonathan: I just want to thank you, Emerian, Heather, and the rest of the HorrorAddicts crew as well as Joe Mynhardt for this incredible opportunity. I hope I can live up to the title you’ve bestowed upon me!

Kenzie: Congrats once again on being The Next Great Horror Writer! We’re all so proud of you and wish nothing but the best for your future work. Good luck and keep it scary.