I loved horror, even as a kid. On Saturday afternoons, I watched all of the old Universal monster movies on TV – Dracula, Wolf Man, Frankenstein, The Mummy. I also collected, put together, and painted the old Aurora monster models. As a teenager, I watched Barnabas Collins on the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. I saw all of the Hammer horror movies, and started reading horror stories and novels too, including Stephen King’s The Shining, Dean Koontz’s Watchers, and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story. I couldn’t get enough, whether it was TV, movies, or books – I loved to be scared. So naturally, I decided to scare others. I wanted to belong to that elite group of macabre people who send shivers down people’s spines and make them look over their shoulder in frightened paranoia, positive that something is lurking in the shadows. Boo!
What is your most notable work?
That’s a hard one. It’s like asking me to pick my favourite child. I like each of my novels and short stories for different reasons. Starkville walks the line between horror and science fiction, like Alien, I always like it when two genres intermix. I like Night Songs because it’s like reading a ‘buddy movie’ and has elements of horror and humour. The Burning is great because it’s my first foray into fantasy, albeit contemporary fantasy. It’s very dark because it deals with spontaneous human combustion. Strange Days is my most graphic, gory, and violent novel—what’s not to love there? Holiday Madness is a collection of Halloween and Christmas stories written for ages twelve and up, rather than for adults like all my other works; those two distinctions probably give it an edge. However, Aleric: Monster Hunter – my most recent novel – is an urban fantasy and has the notoriety of, maybe, being the first novel with a gypsy protagonist. I present Gypsies in a very different light than most horror novels or movies have done previously. Aleric is a unique character, an anti-hero in the vein of Clint Eastwood’s man with no name who definitely believes the end does justify the means. He’s also probably the most moral, ethical, and loyal character when it comes to family, friends, and his own people than any character I’ve ever created. I admire his courage and strength, as well as his weaknesses. I admire everything about him. This probably makes Aleric: Monster Hunter my most notable work.
I just finished two screenplays. One I wrote for Dave Reda and Elftwin Films called Freak House. Dave and I both worked on the story idea and then I wrote the screenplay. The other is an adaptation of one of my stories in Holiday Madness entitled ‘The Uglies’; a production company is currently looking at it, and of course I’m hoping they pick up the option. I also just finished the short story ‘Predator & Prey’ for the anthology Slices of Flesh, which is being released at the World Horror Convention, in 2012, by Dark Moon Press. All of the proceeds for this anthology go to charity, primarily the Literacy Project of America, so I did that story free of charge. Other authors contributing to the project are Jack Ketchum, Graham Masterton, Joe McKinney, Tim Lebbon, John Skipp, Simon Strantzas, Rick Hautala, Del Howison, Jeremy C. Shipp and more. Also, Mike Mignola, of Hellboy fame, has agreed to do the cover artwork – I’m very proud to be among that entire group.
Besides all of that, I’m currently working on Book 2 for Aleric, entitled Zero Sin. I’m also working on a young adult novel with the working title The In Between. I’m keeping busy.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
Jonathan Maberry. He’s not only a friend but a NY Times bestselling author and a two-time Bram Stoker award winner. I love his novels, both his adult and young adult stories. In fact, his novel Rot & Ruin was definitely an inspiration for me to start my own young adult novel, The In Between. I also admire – in no particular order, some dead and some alive – F. Paul Wilson, Alfred Hitchcock, Lon Chaney, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Vincent Price, Nate Kenyon, Tim Burton, Boris Karloff, Jonathan Frid, Dan Curtis, Peter Straub … Yikes, too many to list; there are so many more.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
I like a story that can deliver both. In fact, I like a story that can deliver gore, chills, and humour all in one. Those are the best. I think my screenplay Freak House does that. And I hope Aleric: Monster Hunter does that too. But I’ll let the readers be the judge.
Why should people read your work?
Quite frankly, I need the money. Please buy and read Aleric: Monster Hunter if for no other reason than to keep my family and me from living in a cardboard box. If it came to that I’m not sure where we’d put the three dogs, all of our cats and exotic birds…not to mention our horse. Help me afford an ark – it rains a lot in the San Francisco Bay Area during the winter and a box gets soggy fast. Also, I honestly do think you’d enjoy the read.
Recommend a book.
Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry. It’s the sequel to Rot & Ruin so read that one first. Both books, whether you’re a young adult or an adult, are excellent. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be scared.