Rob Bliss was born in Canada in 1969. He has lived a horrific comedy of a life.
He watched half of his family die before he reached the age of twenty, with the other half absent. He is very familiar with coffins and graves, funerals and unholy weddings. He has held dozens of mindless jobs He has an honours degree in English and Writing from York University, Canada. He has 100 stories published in various web-based magazines, plus three anthologies. He has had three novels published by Necro Publications.
Rob is a fascinating writer with a wry sense of humor. We discussed writing, movies, and fear.
NTK: How old were you when you first discovered horror?
RB: Maybe 8 or 10. It was a hellish nightmare that got me living in constant fear. One movie: The Amityville Horror. I saw it with my family as we enjoyed a lovely summer weekend at another family’s cottage. At a drive-in, no less. Big screen to see the walls bleed and flies swarm the window. (I had a bedroom window EXACTLY like that one, complete with many dead flies.) Since it was two families in one cottage, some of us had to sleep out on the enclosed porch. Meaning, me. It had screens for windows. The midnight wind blew the shadows of tree branches against the screens. I stared in horror at those moving shadows for most of a sleepless night, replaying the movie over and over again. When we got home, I vowed to never go into the basement (we lived in a farmhouse, and the basement was old foundation stone, always damp and cold, with tiny doors that led deeper into the basement maze. Rooms within rooms. I was sure the portal to Hell was down there!) And because of seeing that movie in that town while trying to sleep on that porch, I had nightmares for years afterwards. Literally, years. I hated horror movies but couldn’t look away. When my family and my uncle and aunt and cousins watched Friday the 13th Part 2, I stayed in the kitchen, able to hear but not see the movie. Though I did peek my head in once towards the end … to see Mrs. Voorhees’ severed head on an altar! I think I write horror novels for the same reason kids go out dressed up on Halloween: to scare away the demons that scare them. (I have to go curl up in a fetal position and shiver for a while, excuse me, I’ll get back to the rest of the interview later.)
NTK: What’s your favorite horror movie?
RB: Phantasm. Along with The Amityville Horror, I saw Phantasm when I was too young to see any horror movie. (When I turned 30, I was much better.) That flying steel ball that drills into people’s heads and makes a tube of blood shoot out – yeah, I liked that! Scared the heck outa me! And those little druid guys! What was up with them? Anything that was even remotely designed to scare, scared me. I was a little wimpy scaredy-cat boy, highly suggestible. Nothing has changed, except more adult things scare me along with everything else.
NTK: So, what are you most afraid of?
RB: Displeasing Mistress.
NTK: (Laughs.) What is your favorite horror TV show?
RB: I had no idea there was such a thing as horror TV. I don’t watch much TV.
NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?
RB: Necroscope by Brian Lumley.
NTK: Who is your favorite author?
RB: It changes, but right now, Marcel Proust.
NTK: What inspires you?
RB: Everything. Books, paintings, a tree wafting with a midnight breeze under a full moon … it’s how you see, not what you see, that leads to inspiration.
NTK: What inspired The Bride Stripped Bare?
RB: Boredom. Wrote the characters and setting and blood and guts, and fear. Wrote it in 5 weeks. And the title is from Marcel Duchamp’s artwork.
NTK: Do you outline your books and stories? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?
RB: A faint idea sticks in my head, then if I think about it multiple times over several months, I figure it wants to be written. After that, the story decides where it wants to go. I just transcribe as it plays in my head like a movie.
NTK: Do your characters have free will? Or do you control their every move?
RB: The characters do what they want at first, then during revisions, I try to justify why they did what they did. Characters can be such assholes to their writer.
NTK: (Laughs.) Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?
RB: The Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. Little too on-the-nose right now.
NTK: What’s your favorite curse word?
NTK: I love that word! What does the future hold for you? What works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?
RB: I just want to write and write and read and read. This December, my publisher, David G. Barnett, at Necro Publications, will be publishing a novel I’m currently revising called Fear.