Chilling Chat Episode 157 Shannon Lawrence

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in anthologies and magazines, including Once Upon aShannon Lawrence Scream, Dark Moon Digest, and Space and Time Magazine. Her first solo collection of short stories, Blue Sludge Blues and Other Abominations, was released in March. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there’s always a place to hide a body or birth a monster.

Shannon is an intriguing and talented woman. When I sat down with her, we discussed her work, psychological horror, and the scary stuff which permeates her life.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Shannon. Thank you for chatting with me today.

SL: I’m excited to be here!

NTK: You’ve led quite an adventurous life and several frightening things have happened during it. Could you tell us a little about these events?

SL: The earliest crazy thing that happened was when a serial killer was after my mother. I was in the car, but was only about three at the time, so have no personal memory of it. His M.O. was to run women off the road then grab them when they got out to deal with it. He followed her from work at a movie theater she managed and tried to run her off the road multiple times. Luckily, he ended up following her into a rural area she knew well but he didn’t. She lost him by getting far enough ahead that he lost visibility around the curves. She pulled into a long gravel drive and shut the car off so he wouldn’t see her lights. He drove right past. He was caught not long after when he drove into a ditch not far from the crime scene. He had to call a tow truck.

I’m not sure my life’s terribly adventurous, but weird and scary stuff does follow me around.

NTK: What kind of weird and scary stuff?

SL: I’ve had brushes with kidnapping attempts a couple times. With one, the guy had taken my photo while I was outside playing. He started knocking on doors (we lived in a big apartment complex at the time) with my photo saying he’d lost his daughter and asking if anyone had seen what apartment I went into. He actually knocked on our door. My mom answered, and here’s this guy showing her a picture of me asking if she knew what apartment I might be in.

NTK: That’s really scary.

SL: Another time, a guy tried to get me into his car by asking if I knew how to get out of the neighborhood. I was all of about nine, and already knew there was no way an adult could be confused about it the way it was laid out. When I responded, “The same way you came in,” he lunged for me. I ran into a stranger’s house and screamed, “Mom!” He took off and I never saw him again.

I’ve been chased by a shark (a tiny one) that beached itself coming after me twice, been in a cattle stampede, and was stalked by a guy in a big van for about a year. So on and so forth.

NTK: Do these events shape your writing?

SL: I’m sure in their own way they’ve influenced my propensity toward horror and similar dark tastes. There’s also the fact that I spent my first seven years at movie theaters. My mom took me to work and gave me the run of the place until I started school. And then, I still spent evenings, summer and such, watching movies. Plus, my parents enjoyed horror and my grandma loved it. She took me to horror films frequently. Much to my parents’ chagrin.

NTK: What movies did you watch? Which were your favorites?

SL: I can say the most memorable one she took me to was Cat People. I was all of five. That story stuck with me and may be why I love black leopards so much. Viscerally, I was never able to forget the changes and a scene where someone pulls the flesh off with their teeth. She [Grandma] tried to take me to see Jaws 3D, but I believe my parents put the kibosh on that one.

NTK: Did your parents become more encouraging when you grew older? How do they Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations: A Collection of Horror Short Stories by [Lawrence, Shannon]feel about your writing?

SL: They’ve always been encouraging. It was on their bookshelves that I found Stephen King, Dean R. Koontz, and other authors. They always took me to the library so I could get true ghost stories and horror to read and, when I got interested in King’s books in elementary school, they didn’t discourage me. They read everything I put out, and my mom posts after each story she reads. They also got me a Gremlins lunchbox when I was a kid in the 80s and the coloring book, which I still have. (I wish I still had that metal Gremlins lunchbox. It’s probably a collector’s item at this point.) In general, they’ve always enjoyed fiction and movies, and they’ve shared that love with me. And, at no point did they try to discourage me from being a writer “when I grew up.” I’ve had so many writer friends whose families have told them writing isn’t a real job and things of that nature. I never heard those words from my parents and I’m deeply grateful for that. They also accepted my love of all things freaky; they just mitigated it where they could, as any good parent should, until I was mature enough to run with it.

NTK: Who is the better writer? King? Or Koontz?

SL: Oh no! I loved them both fairly equally but I will say that King came out ahead for me. My maiden name started with a “K” and kids at school would call me Shannon King because I always had one of his books with me to read at school. Some of them repeatedly. It’s been a while since I read Koontz but I remember his descriptions. There was always bougainvillea and I had an image of it in my head even though I didn’t know what it actually looked like. But, King’s stories pulled me in and kept me there. His people were always so real to me.

NTK: Did King’s work inspire you to write?

SL: Definitely. Not to say I write like him, but I was definitely inspired by him. I love the way he makes even the most ludicrous thing seem possible.

NTK: Do you have a favorite King novel? What are your favorite horror books?

SL: The Shining is probably my favorite. I’ve used it in horror workshops where I like to ask what the real monster in the story is. It’s about a regular person’s inner demons, really, with the supernatural mixed in. Some of my other favorite horror novels would be The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum (anyone who can still disturb me at this point is going to be top ten,) and The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale. The opening scene in The Bottoms with these kids having to walk a long way in a rural setting with something stalking them is intense and so well done.

NTK: Do you enjoy psychological horror more than other kinds? Do you write psychological horror stories?

SL: I’m an equal opportunity enjoyer of horror but, if forced to pick a favorite, I’d definitely go with psychological. I find humanity far more frightening than any monsters [because of] their capability to do evil, but beyond that, their capability for indifference and for human blunder. Psychological suspense requires from the reader/viewer that they care and that they decipher the nuances of the story to feel the full impact. But, I also like a good old-fashioned squirm-inducing monster movie. My writing is a similar mix of psychological and monster. I think writing a non-monster can be a lot of fun, but the psychological pieces are more emotionally involved and can be harder to write. Not in terms of getting words on paper but harder to sink into that particular story and character.

NTK: What is your favorite monster and why?

SL: I like the Xenomorphs from the Alien series. They’re different and stand out from the others. I don’t feel anyone’s created anything close to them in all these years. Elements of them have been borrowed, but it all started with the Xenomorphs. Plus, they’re cool to look at. I was always a Pennywise fan too. What a disturbing character. He can take on your fears, get to you through the plumbing, and take on many guises.

NTK: Pennywise is awesome. What did you think of the clown appearances in 2016? Do you think it was a publicity stunt? Or something else?

SL: I was amused by most of the clown stories, but I love scary clowns. There were some harassing an apartment complex where they were trying to draw kids into the woods, and those didn’t amuse me. They seemed to be something different from the rest. I’d love to officially know whether it was a publicity stunt or whether a couple people did it, leading to more people saying, “Why not?” I don’t think it was a publicity stunt just something that snowballed. There’s a history of people dressing up as clowns to freak people out. I think I saw articles going back years of an individual standing around somewhere public at night dressed as a clown and those stories went viral. Want to go viral? Stand on a street corner at night in a clown costume and don’t say a bloody word. No one can identify you and articles will be written about you.

NTK: Getting back to entertainment, what TV shows do you enjoy?

SL: There were so many good horror shows in the past, like Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, etc. I watched all of those in repeat but I remember watching the original V with my dad as well as The X-Files. And, probably a few others that I can’t think of right now. I adore a horror comedy, so a recent favorite would be Z Nation. It’s preposterous and fun. I’ve also been enjoying Black Mirror, and did a panel on that at Denver Comic Con that was shockingly well attended. It’s great fun to get to talk to a captive audience about a show a show you enjoy! Especially in a setting where they can talk back about it so a good conversation happens.

NTK: Have you been on many panels at cons? What’s it like?

SL: I’ve been really lucky to be a regular panelist at Denver Comic Con and Mile Hi Con, which is also here in Colorado. It’s not something I would have thought I’d enjoy and yet I really love it. It’s unpredictable because anybody in that room can ask questions including your fellow panelists but it leads to great conversations and sometimes unexpected introspection. I’m always a little nervous that they’ll ask me something I can’t answer, and there are those questions where I need a moment more to think but get called on first, and then I think of something so much better to say later. But, it’s always still fun. I can go into a panel in a terrible mood and come out of it happy as a lark because of interactions.

NTK: It’s cool you interact with fans. Do you feel it’s important to write to them? Or, like Stephen King, do you tell yourself the story first?

SL: I tell myself the story first. I imagine I could do better if I wrote to the audience, but it stops being fun if I’m forcing myself to write something for other people instead of for me. Once writing stops being fun, it’s no better than the daily slog.

NTK: What’s your favorite question you were asked at a comic con?

SL: Oh, that’s an interesting question. Yet, I’m drawing a blank. One of the DCC panels I was on this last time was Letters Written from Hell: The Horror Writing Process. Someone asked if writers and readers of horror are damaged or demented. The consensus was that we’re not. That we are, in fact, saner than those who don’t partake of dark fiction. Because we get to exorcise our pains and fears on the page whereas others are trying to squash it down and cover it with something else. It’s interesting to hear what people think of the horror authors they read, how disturbed they think they must be to write the things they do, when it turns out most of us are quite emotionally balanced. Of course, it can be tempting to put on the mantle of freakiness, to be the part, but underneath it, not so much.

NTK: Great answer. Shannon, as you know, season 13 of HorrorAddicts is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?

SL: I like any curse that has someone stuck facing their own dark propensities. The type that punishes someone for their transgressions, giving them no way to explain it away or push it down.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What works can Horror Addicts expect to see?

SL: I’ve got short stories coming out in a few magazines and anthologies. One I’m really excited about is Fright into Flight, edited by Amber Fallon and put out by Word Horde. It’s all female horror authors and there are amazing women in that anthology that I’m incredibly privileged to be included with. I’m also shopping a dark fantasy novel to agents and working on a couple horror novels. And, I’m always writing horror short stories because they’re my first love.

NTK: Wonderful! Shannon, thank you for chatting with me.

SL: Thank you so much! I enjoyed the questions you asked. Thank you for making it interesting.

Addicts, you can follow Shannon here on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Writing Chamber: An Introduction to the Art of Writing Horror

As a writer, I can tell you that the creation of a story and putting it into words for an audience to read is an art form. Just like any other art (like music, dance, or theater), becoming a successful writer is not about talent but instead, it’s about learning the craft to obtain the skill. Yes, writing a good story takes a skill that you’re not born with. Instead, you learn it.

This article will tell you all you need to know when writing a horror story, but take everything I say with a grain of salt because writing, like any other art form, is derived from artistic freedom. As the writer, you can take your artistry in any path, in any form, that you wish. That being said, it is important to note that literary genres have structures and techniques used to execute this art form, and writing horror is not different. As you may well know, the literary genre of horror has sub-genres. Through a marketing eye horror is one genre, but as a writer, you know that there are sub-genres underneath the branch of horror. As the writer, you can make the choice to mix and match these sub-genres or you can pick one to stick with for a story whether it be a poem, short story, or novel.

Let’s go over these sub-genres so as the writer you know what is available to you when writing in horror. First, there’s the thriller. This genre describes what readers will be experiencing while investing themselves in your story. Thrillers thrill the audience, giving suspense to the reader. Questions are often prompted by this genre such as:

Will she survive?

Does he know he’s being followed?

Forcing your reader to ask these types of questions is what makes your story a thriller.

Now that you know what a thriller is, there’s a technique you can use to ensure that your horror contains the thrill. The technique is called Dramatic Irony, which means that within your story you reader knows information that your character does not. Using Dramatic Irony places suspense in your story and puts your reader on edge as they are anticipating the moment when the character finally knows what the reader already knows. An example of this in the 1993 film Jurassic Park when Dennis Nedry deactivates the security system in order to escape with the stolen embryos. The audience now knows that the dinosaurs are free and they are in suspense until the characters are made aware. This example of dramatic irony only lasts a few moments within the story, but as the writer you can make the choice to leave the readers in suspense for as long as you want.

The next horror sub-genre is gore. The genre is pretty self-explanatory. Gore involves the bloody, gruesome, and morbid bits of a horror story. However, this genre has another sub-genre that branches off of it which is the slasher. An example of this classic horror genre is Friday the 13th. A slasher is essentially a story that derives from a mass murder. As the writer, you have the choice to make the murders as gory as you want. If you are struggling with deciding how morbid, bloody, gross, etc. you want your gore/slasher story to be a writer’s technique you can use is what I call the Reader Reaction. While writing your story think about how you want your reader to react. How do you imagine your reader responding while they are reading your story? Do you want them to want to vomit, to sit uncomfortably, or to simply say, “Ew.” Knowing how you want your reader to react will help you hone in on how much gore is in your horror.

The third sub-genre is the supernatural/paranormal. Although these two are very different, I have branched them together because the strategies and techniques used for executing these genres are very similar. In case you don’t know, the supernatural genre involves the use of mythical beings such as vampires and mermaids. The paranormal genre uses ghosts, demons, and any other spiritual being. Both of these genres have the story revolve around entities that question reality. With the supernatural/paranormal, it is easy to write the clichés to create another typical horror story, but as the writer you want to play on the uniqueness of your story. Give your readers something that they haven’t read before. A technique you can use to avoid writing the clichés is the Reverse and Opposite. Take a story and make changes to create something new. Some examples could be reversing gender roles, making your protagonist do the exact opposite, etc. Reverse and Opposite involves reversing aspects of your and making things the opposite from the original. Playing around with this technique will create interesting and new ideas that you probably wouldn’t have originally thought of. When using the Reverse and Opposite with the supernatural/paranormal, it opens your horror story to be more than just a story about a ghost or vampire because the horror plays with the unexpected, which can be truly scary.

The last horror sub-genre is mystery. A mystery is a story that involves the readers questioning aspects of your story, wondering what the answers are. This genre is mainly known as the classic murder mystery, but as a horror writer you probably want to go darker and more morbid than the cliché Agatha Christie detective story. To ensure that your mystery is as horror-like as you wish, use the techniques and strategies of the other sub-genres and go to town to make your story a true horror story. Going back to what I said earlier, the sub-genres of horror can be mixed and matched in whatever what you wish. You can write a gore mystery, or a paranormal one. Either way, there are so many options and techniques you can use when writing your horror story.

As the writer you have the artistic freedom to take your horror story in any direction that you want, using any techniques that you choose. The sky is the limit when it comes to writing. Now that you know the basics of writing horror, knowing the sub-genres and how to execute them, you can go to the drawing board to craft your horror story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Horror Summer Reading – A Video Recommendation

 

Hello, Horror Addicts! Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz here again on video, braving the sunshine poolside to chat about why you should be revisiting some Classic Horror Reads this Summer!

 

Press play for some thoughts on Dracula, Anne Rice, Shakespeare, Stephen King, The Bronte Sisters, and more!

Don’t forget you can be part of the conversation – By Horror Addicts, for Horror Addicts! – on our Facebook Group. Tell us what kind of videos, media, and Horror coverage you’d like to see and what scary stories you’re reading!

Chilling Chat Episode 156 Christine Verstraete

Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a little “scare” in her writing. She follows the murder trial and offers a twist on the infamous 1892 Borden murders in her book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. She also looks at the murders from the viewpoint of Lizzie’s doctorC.A. Verstraete in her latest, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen. Other books include a young adult novel, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, and books on dollhouse collecting and crafting. Christine’s short stories have appeared in various anthologies including: Descent Into Darkness, Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Mystery Weekly, and Timeshares, Steampunk’d, and Hot & Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance, DAW Books. She is an award-winning journalist published in daily to weekly newspapers, and in various magazines. Her stories have received awards from local and national newspaper associations, and the Dog Writer’s Association of America.

Christine is a smart and accomplished lady. We discussed historical horror, her writing style, and Lizzie Borden.

 

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Christine. Thank you for chatting with me today.

CV: My pleasure and thanks for taking the time to talk.

NTK: You have a background in journalism. How has this influenced your writing?

CV: It makes me more detail-oriented, I think. I’m used to looking things up and doing research.

NTK: Did this help you when writing Lizzie Borden: Zombie Hunter?

CV: I did do a lot of reading and finding research of the period. The real autopsy reports and crime scene photos actually inspired the book idea.

NTK: Wow! The autopsy photos inspired the plot?Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by [Verstraete, C.A.]

CV: If you read the autopsy reports detailing the injuries and look at the photos, it’s plausible (in the horror sense) to think why else were they hit in the head? It was an awful, brutal crime, so I guess this gives a better reason than the standard hate/greed/family dysfunction/dissatisfaction.

NTK: What made you portray Lizzie as a hero?

CV: Using that [zombie] premise, I thought Lizzie had to have a good reason to kill, other than being a monster herself. What if she was trying to protect her town and her sister from this unbelievable evil?

NTK: Were you influenced by some of the historical horror novels like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?

CV: I hadn’t read ALVH until later, but loved it! I really enjoyed the movie.

NTK: You have an interesting take on the case and an interesting “What if?” Stephen King has spoken of how he uses “What if?” when thinking of an idea. Is that how you write? Do you look at a situation and say, “What if this happened?”

CV: I wish I was as prolific-thinking as him! My ideas seem to come out of nowhere, then I stew on them a bit and see what they develop into. I have to get excited about the idea to stick with it.

I guess I’m so structured in news-writing that fiction is looser—in the idea stage, anyway.

NTK: Your style is very crisp and direct. What writers have influenced you?

CV: It’s probably the news background. I know I don’t like reading or writing, long, meandering sentences. I loved reading Royko in The Chicago Tribune. Grew up on King who, of course, can be rather wordy at times. (Laughs) I went through different periods of loving different authors, classic and contemporary—Dean Koontz, Heinlein, loved Saul Bellow too.

NTK: I have to ask. Who do you prefer? King or Koontz?

CV: Probably King, as I’ve probably read more from him. I loved that he did a sequel to The Shining (and it did well.) The recent It movie was fun too.

NTK: Did King get you into horror?

CV: Well, I grew up on Creature Features on TV, the Crypt Keeper, Night Gallery, and reading King. (Laughs) Salem’s Lot is a favorite I still like to reread now and then. I just picked up a copy of Carrie to read again after many, many years.

NTK: Are these your favorite horror novels? What are your favorite Horror TV shows and movies?

CV: The TVs shows, I just mentioned are favorites.

NTK: Do you watch The Walking Dead?

CV: Yes—when I can. It’s addicting! [As to books] I also really liked reading I Am Legend and plan on reading Matheson’s other books. It’s writing that makes you savor the sentences. I love old creepy movies, even the corny ones—and, anything with Vincent Price!

NTK: Vincent Price starred in many historical pieces. Is that what got you interested in that type of horror?

CV: Most likely. He had that mesmerizing voice. I also liked Edgar Allan Poe. I still remember seeing The Tell-Tale Heart at the theater. One scary movie!

The older movies really got me hooked, classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, and Bride of Frankenstein. And, The Wolfman of course.

I guess after all that; it made sense that I finally turned to writing creepy stuff!

NTK: What’s your favorite Edgar Allan Poe story or poem?

CV: The Tell-Tale Heart. I recently re-read The Black Cat, also very eerie and still packs a punch. Maybe, that’s why I like putting a little twist in stories, like I did in Lizzie Borden: Zombie Hunter and, the sequel, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall.Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall by [Verstraete, C.A.]

NTK: You write creepy things. Do you also create creepy things? You make miniatures. Have you ever built a haunted dollhouse?

CV: (Laughs) Yes, I’m that twisted. I do enjoy creating Halloween miniatures. I had fun doing my first Halloween dollhouse and thinking how creepy I could get. Far as I know, nothing has moved of its own accord in there…yet. I am planning another haunted house but less gory this time.

NTK: Cool! You spoke of Lizzie Borden and the sequel. Do you have other work concerning Lizzie and her time period?

CV: There’s also a companion novella, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, told from the viewpoint of Lizzie’s doctor and neighbor. He was the first official on the murder scene, and I wondered how could that, and the city’s bloody past, have affected him? It’s kind of a ghostly love story as well. I wanted to try something different and had fun writing it.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? Do you have plans for new work?

CV: Oh, the mind never rests, you know. (Laughs) I have a longer short story that I may re-edit and put out again. I was toying with some ideas for book 3 for Lizzie. I love writing about the characters.

The first book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, follows the trial and real-life events with the addition of zombies, of course. I had to follow more fictional events in the sequel to continue the story, but I liked coming up with a new weird angle to the story.

A big thrill was [when] the newspaper in Lizzie’s hometown did a story on the book when it first came out. That was fun.

NTK: Do you think the Lizzie in your universe is cursed?

CV: She’s fighting evil and learning that her father may have been part of that evil…you can’t get more cursed than that. That could be why she feels obligated to do what she can, even when everyone blames her for the horrors. Much like in real life, she was acquitted but still treated as a pariah and considered guilty.

NTK: As you know, Season 13 of HorrorAddicts is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?

CV: I do love the old gypsy curse in the classic Wolfman movie…Larry Talbot’s a monster, but you can’t help but feel his pain and feel sorry for him until the curse is broken…

NTK: That’s a terrific curse. Thank you, Christine. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you.

CV: I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. Thank you.

Addicts, you can follow Christine on Twitter at @caverstraete

Chilling Chat Episode 155 Courtney Mroch

C. Le Mroch is the horror nom de plume for Courtney Lynn Mroch. Courtney is the C. Le MrochAmbassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism for Haunt Jaunts, a website for restless spirits.

 As C. Le Mroch, she’s published The Shadow Stalker and edited the anthology, Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they?

When it comes to horror, Courtney has great taste. We discussed several things, including: horror/comedy, writing, and her unconventional anthology.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Courtney! Thank you for chatting with me.

CM: Thank you so much for having me!

NTK: “Haunt Jaunts” used to be a paranormal travel site and radio show but has recently changed. Tell us about “Haunted Headlines” and what those entail.

CM: Haunted Headlines is a new weekly series of posts and videos I started doing in April of this year. In the posts, I share all sorts of Haunted Headlines I’ve come across for the week. Then, I highlight the best—which to me usually means the funniest or most outrageous—in a video. I post these to HJ’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

NTK: What got you interested in “Haunted Headlines?” Have you always enjoyed humor and horror?

CM: Oh, yes! Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE straight horror, the kind that terrifies and lingers long after it’s been consumed, but I also love humor. The Haunted Headlines were sort of a whim. Around April Fool’s Day, I made all sorts of prank headlines. And, I’m always sharing paranormal, horror, and Halloween related links on my social media. The light just sort of clicked to get a green screen and combine it with pictures and funny commentary about the stories I come across each week. Well, to me, it’s funny. Not sure if others share my same humor.

NTK: When did you become involved in horror? How old were you and what drew you to the genre?

CM: I think I was three when I got my first taste of horror. It’s actually one of my first memories. I couldn’t sleep or something. That part, I don’t remember. All I remember is being up late, wandering out in the living room, turning on the TV, and finding an old horror movie on. I have no idea which one it was. I turned it on during a scene with a dungeon and stone spiral steps and scary music. I’m not sure if one of the characters screamed or if I did, but my dad came racing out to find me up watching it and was livid. I think because that whole incident terrified, yet intrigued me, horror was like this forbidden no-no. And I was always the kid who had to touch the stove to find out for myself if it was hot so…I’ve sought out horror ever since. Part of me thinks I’m on a quest to discover that old movie. I’ve watched A LOT of horror movies but I never have figured out what that movie was…yet.

NTK: I hope you find that movie. What’s your favorite horror/comedy?

CM: Horror/Comedy…that’s a tough one. Shaun of the Dead always comes to mind and so does Zombieland. But, after streaming Tucker and Dale vs. Evil a couple years ago, I think that’s now my fave. I wasn’t expecting to like it and found myself laughing out loud and cracking up.

NTK: Are these films among your favorite movies?

CM: Actually, those are not among my favorite horror movies. My faves are: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dawn of the Dead (2005), Night of the Comet, and The Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum (which isn’t technically horror but it scared me.)

NTK: I love the “Night” theme there. What are your favorite horror books?

CM: As far as books, it took me forever to read because Stephen King’s IT because it creeped me out so bad. It’s always a sentimental fave. Dean Koontz’s Phantoms also ranks up there high on my list.

NTK: I have to ask. Do you prefer King or Koontz?

CM: It’s such a tough choice between King and Koontz. I like them both for different reasons. Depends on the mood.

NTK: What about TV? What shows do you like?

CM: I think we now have access to some of the best horror TV shows in the history of the Boob Tube. There are so many great modern shows. Loved the first few American Horror Stories. Haven’t been as crazy about the rest, but I’ve watched. All except Hotel. Couldn’t make it through that one. Gaga for Netflix’s Stranger Things and Dark. Loved The Kettering Incident and Black Spot on Amazon Prime. The French version of The Returned was also stellar. I liked the psychological aspect. I also like Tagged and Scream.

NTK: Do these movies, books, and TV shows inspire you when you write? What inspires you?

CM: I’m not always inspired by other books or TV shows/movies when I write. Life usually provides fodder. Or friends will make some random comment that sparks something. Although, I do have to say a Twilight Zone episode (“The After Hours”) inspired my forthcoming book, Reaper Pines, about an abandoned town where mannequins were once manufactured.

NTK: What’s your writing process like? Are you a planner or a pantser?

CM: PANTSER!!! Unequivocally! (Laughs.)

NTK: So, you just sit down and go from there? No outline?

CM: I usually have some nugget that sparks me and I run from there and let it do the driving. I just do the typing.

Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories...or are they? by [Carl Barker, Black, Alice J., Charman, Barry, Dicken, Evan, Ealy, Sean, Karabin, Keith, Lin, S. Mickey, Rich, Emerian, Teutsch, Ken]NTK: Let’s talk about your anthology, Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they? What inspired you to create this anthology?

CM: The idea for the anthology came about after I learned [the film] The Fourth Kind was not actually based on true events and the true filmed events supposedly included in the film were just other actors too. I thought it’d be neat to have something where readers could try and figure out if stories were based on true ones or not. So, I guess that IS an instance where a movie inspired me. (Laughs.)

NTK: Your story, “The Gypsy’s Curse,” is included in the anthology. What made you write the story?

CM: I honestly don’t remember what inspired me to write “The Gypsy’s Curse.” All I really remember about writing it is I did it shortly after we moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Jacksonville, Florida. I think I was going through a gypsy phase, or maybe a curse phase, or maybe both. (Laughs.) But, that story was one that just wrote itself as soon as it hit.

NTK: Speaking of curses, Season 13 of HorrorAddicts.net is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?

CM: Oh, that’s a great question! There are so many intriguing alleged curses, right? This is a bit of a spoiler alert but, there is another story in Shadow People. It’s in cursed up Jack’s about the Busby Chair. I had never heard of that person until I read that author’s story, which is titled, “The Busby Chair.” It’s by Alice J. Black.

The Kennedy Family Curse also intrigues me. They’ve certainly had their fair share of sorrow!

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What do we, as readers, have to look forward to?

CM: Well, I’ll have Reaper Pines coming out soon. That’s a horror novel about a couple stranded in a ghost town with possibly haunted mannequins and an escaped mental patient. Hopefully, that’ll be available in mid-September. I also have a couple of Haunt Jaunts guides in the works: Schooled by Ghosts: What Ghosts Can Teach You and Macabre Museums.

NTK: Courtney, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for sitting down with me.

CM: Naching, THANK YOU SO MUCH for this wonderful chat.

Addicts, check out Haunt Jaunts on Facebook and Twitter. And, join us for the next episode of Chilling Chat in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Author Interviews at The Mount Holly Book Fair Part 1

Vampires, Magic, and Steampunk!

 

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 Brian McKinley chats about his Ancient Blood series, vampires past and present, psychological horror, thrillers, Hitchcock, and zombies. For more visit http://www.brianmckinleyauthor.com/

 

 

Author Char Webster talks about her Gifted Series and The Runes Universe, paranormal, magic powers, and marketing. For more visit http://www.charwebsterauthor.com/

 

 

Author Christine Norris talks about her Athena series, Middle Grade Fantasy, mythology, Young Adult versus New Adult, Magic, and Steampunk. For more visit https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChristineNorris

 

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!