What first attracted you to horror writing?
Horror reading. I think my first contact with adult horror was an anthology of my dad’s called Shock! I read it when I was in the fifth grade. If I remember correctly, it included Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Small Assassin’ and Truman Capote’s ‘Miriam’. From there, I graduated to Robert Bloch, Bradbury (‘R’ is for Rocket), H.P. Lovecraft and, a little later, Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison and those other great 1970s writers. I started writing bad imitations of whoever was my at-the-time favourite when I was in grade school. I like to think my writing has improved since then.
Warner Books published Yellow Moon in 1994. Until this year, that was my only published novel, so I’ve got to go with that one – which I still think holds up pretty well. It’s very imaginative and original. But Bloodthirst in Babylon is the best thing I’ve ever written. It came out by Samhain Horror in January as an electronic download. The trade paperback format comes out in April. Samhain Horror will release Malevolent in both formats this summer.
What are you working on now?
A novel with the working title Hole. I can’t say much more about it at this time except that it’s very different from Bloodthirst. While that novel is set on an epic scale, Hole deliberately occupies a much smaller canvas. All of the action takes place on a single day. It’s brief, tense and focused and builds to an explosive conclusion.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
Oh Lord, that would take a long time to answer, but I’ll give it a try. I love early Stephen King and Peter Straub (Ghost Story might be the best novel ever), Shirley Jackson and Robert Marasco (Burnt Offerings) and Robert Bloch and Robert McCammon. I love some of Lovecraft and most of Dan Simmons and I’m just now getting into Michael Marshall Smith (Bad Things and The Intruders). I’m also exploring the works of fellow Samhain stablemates Hunter Shea and Frazer Lee. I’ve also found works by mainstream writers Craig Holden and the inimitable Richard Price to be amongst the scariest works I’ve ever read.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
I’m definitely more into the slow build. Give me a sense of tension, dark atmosphere and – most importantly – characters you actually care about. Then slowly raise the temperature and watch lives unravel.
Why should people read your work?
My books are well written from a literary standpoint, and feature characters you’ll give a damn about. I’ve mastered that thing called pace, and I can change moods on a dime. Give me a try. At 120,000 words, Bloodthirst in Babylon gives readers an epic tale and hours of enjoyment.
Recommend a book.
Bloodthirst in Babylon, of course. You can get a free taste of it by reading an excerpt at my publisher’s website. I also invite you to check in at the David Searls website to get a sense of my writing style.
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