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, Everson discusses his new novel, his past works, and what scares him.



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.


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).


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:

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.





Mimi A. Williams on Horror Writing

by Mimi A. Williams

Beautiful Monster, the story of a serial killer and his stalking of one of his victims, came about as a way to take a break from other writing projects. I had been mentoring a student of mine, Jared Anderson (Alistair Cross) who’d become a good friend, and we’d spent the better part of six months crafting his first novel. During the same time, I’d been working on two different novels of my own. The idea of working on a book together seemed like a nice way to take a break and share the load.

My initial idea was the story of a medieval priest possessed by a demon and the young girl who falls in love with him. Jared liked the idea of the girl falling in love with the demon, but he wasn’t too keen on writing the historical aspect. We let the idea float around for a bit, brainstorming on other alternatives that kept the same storyline at the core. He had been doing a lot of research on serial killers, a subject that I had a great deal of interest in as well, and we started looking at possible storylines using a young girl who somehow falls for a very evil guy.

We both liked the idea, but we wanted to make absolutely sure the characters were believable. We asked a lot of questions, bouncing back and forth in almost a Socratic method. How does this guy hide openly in society? What does he do that makes him a successful killer? Why would a normal, healthy young woman fall for this guy? What makes her appealing to him as a victim? How will she survive – IF she survives? We would work together to identify character traits, to talk through interactions, and to develop the storyline that looks at each character individually  before bringing them inevitably closer to their fates.

Our process became a comfortable pattern: Jared wrote the first chapter, sent it to me for comments, and then I sent it back and started on chapter two. I’d finish my chapter, send it off for Jared’s comments, and then he would start on chapter three. It took us less than six months to write the book this way. At times, I’d have to stop midway through a chapter to run lines of dialog past Jared that involved his character, and he would do the same with mine.  The day I finished writing the last chapter, I was also helping Jared pack his house to move three states away! As we drove, I read the chapters out loud, and we made corrections as we went along. All the revisions were done living three states away from each other.  We sent copies off to a few trusted beta readers, and with their feedback, we would coordinate on Skype to make the necessary changes. I was in charge of sending out the queries, but it was Jared who came across Damnation Books, the publisher who ultimately accepted our manuscript.

I’ve coauthored one other book, an adult nonfiction that is now out of print, and Jared has coauthored a few others with Tamara Thorne (under the name Alistair Cross). There are some very important considerations when choosing whether or not to collaborate with another writer. First, you’d better have a strong foundation to your friendship and a really good sense of humor, because it’s guaranteed to get stressful as you go along. Another consideration is being able to compromise. If you want your book to be your way, then do it by yourself. Jared brought some exceptionally good ideas to the table. He wrote an amazing character who is two parts evil, one part charm, one part utter psychopath. He put some aspects of the book in place that I would never have considered, and it is stronger as a result. If I hadn’t been willing to listen to his suggestions and apply them, the book wouldn’t have been as powerful as it is. I become a stronger, more diverse writer as a result of this process, and I’m proud to this day of the result.

Will I ever collaborate again? I don’t know. It would take the right person, the right situation, and the right story for me to consider it. It was the perfect storm for Beautiful Monster, and I don’t know that I’ll ever get that lucky again. But, stranger things have been known to happen!


YumMimi A. Williams is the coauthor of Beautiful Monster, a novel about a charming serial killer and his innocent victim. She has also had a variety of short stories published, including “Rita” in the Axes of Evil 1 anthology, “The Groupie” in the Axes of Evil 2 anthology, and “The Lamb on the Tombstone” in the Old Scratch and Owl Hoots anthology (coming in 2015). Mimi holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College and she has taught college English and Creative Writing for 18 years. When it comes to horror, Mimi loves old school: Edgar Allen Poe, the original “Halloween” movie, and the classics with Bella Lugosi, Lon Cheney, and Boris Karloff. Despite her love of horror and all things dark and scary, she is actually a very sweet person who loves her pets (three kitties and a dog) and her adorable grandson.

Jeremiah Donalson on Horror Writing

Counting Words

by Jeremiah Donaldson

It’s nearly time to attempt writing 50k words during the month of November. That’s 12500 words per week. 1785.7 words per day. 74.4 words per hour. 1.24 words per minute. And who can’t do 1.24 words per minute, right? Ah, but if it were only that simple…

I’ve figured these numbers up several times now just to double check them. Why? Well, this is my first attempt at Nano. I’ve known about it for years, but this will be the first time I’ve had a project of the right length to work on during the correct time frame. Even so, I’ve been biting at my bit for the couple months since I decided upon the project. 99% of me says ‘Go, go, go, mfer! The hell you screwing around until November for!’ and the other 1% says ‘Just wait, asshole. You already have too much stuff to work on.’ It’s not my fault both are right.

logomontageSo, I compromised. I did research and character outlines for this so deceptively simple undertaking while working on other stuff. For me, the challenge of Nano month isn’t writing 50k words. For me, the challenge is writing that many words on a single project.

I took a bit more than a year off from ‘real’ work that ended the first of September this year when I was forced to become a part-time corporate slave again. That time off was enabled by a car wreck I was in the end of 2012. I returned to writing in full force, catching up on the several bad years I had due to family issues. I firmly believe a person should rise early for best use of the day, and I fell into a 530 am to 10 am schedule. I spent 8-12 hours a day in front of the computer working on something, depending on other requirements of the day. Graphics. Research. Writing. Editing. Essays. Generally making myself visible and vocal online. For months. And months. The only days I took ‘off’ were the days that words dancing before my eyes, making it impossible to read or write anything. I’ve kept the same hideous pace doing ‘real’ work before also, working 80+ hours a week for months.

But there’s a secret to being able to do that. The 80+ hours a week got divided between three different jobs. I never looked at the same place long enough to get burned out. Same thing with massive hours working on writing and associated projects. But instead of going to a different job before I get burnt out, I just switch to something different when I bog down, because that’s the queue for change. The time taken to bog down could be hours, days, or weeks. It depends on the project and where I’m at. I’d estimate I’ve written nearly 50k words per month for almost the last year. My current project to be released before Nano starts will put me at approx 40k published words for the year spread between four projects. My Nano story will be project number five and will put me close to 100k words in a year by the time I finish editing in January.

However, to ‘win’ Nano month and close in on the 100k mark, I must put this work into a single project for a month without burnout. That’s that real challenge for me.

What is this post-apocalyptic, SF/horror shout out to epic heroes everywhere? Well, that would be telling. But look for the associated project from me around February if you want to check it out. Until then, keep reading and writing.


memarch2012Jeremiah Donaldson writes from London, Kentucky where he lives with his daughter. He is hard at work as a part-time corporate slave and starving artist.

November Horror Writing Month

Shield-Nano-Side-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiResFor all of you horror writers seeking a month of productivity, we here at are on your side. Achieving your goal of writing a novel (or a short story or script) can be so daunting, sometimes you just freeze up. At times like this, I take a deep breath and tell myself, this is supposed to be fun, right?

I am not a person that does well with people telling me what to do (rebel to the core), so I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo, but I know a lot of authors find it helpful and I love to watch others attain their goals through this sort of event. For those of you participating, or those of you who are like me and rebel against such things, but are still writing in November, we will be having a lot of writing-themed posts this month. I hope they help and inspire you and if you have anything to add, email us at:

Here are some great writing quotes from some of our favorite horror icons to get you started.

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose. – Stephen King

Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer. – Ray Bradbury

Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality. – Edgar Allan Poe

To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself. – Anne Rice

What scares me is what scares you. We’re all afraid of the same things. That’s why horror is such a powerful genre. All you have to do is ask yourself what frightens you and you’ll know what frightens me. – -John Carpenter

Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. – H. P. Lovecraft

Horror is like a serpent; always shedding its skin, always changing. And it will always come back. It can’t be hidden away like the guilty secrets we try to keep in our subconscious. – Dario Argento

I don’t feel there’s any reason to apologise for having a wicked imagination. I think it’s important as a maker of fantasy and of horror. – Clive Barker

Good luck all you writers out there.

Now, back to work!!!

Keep writing,



Deadline is October 18th.

AUTHORS – Free advertising. is offering a special opportunity for authors of horror/dark fantasy/steampunk/fetish/thriller etc… Feel free to share this with anyone you think would be interested. As we all know, November is National Novel Writing Month. Everyone participating will be busily trying to make their goals and seeking fun, inspiring, writing-themed posts to distract them when they fall into a lull. We would like blog posts talking about your work and what inspires you. We are looking for tips, suggestions, info on how you did research for your book, or simply a deconstruction of your novel and what you were trying to accomplish by writing it. This is not simply a description of your novel, but how you wrote it, when, what inspired it, what your message is, etc… At the end of the post, please include your bio, url, and attach a cover pic and author pic. 

Send all submissions to: with the appropriate BOLDED subject line.