What first attracted you to horror writing?
I blame my parents… 100%.
My mom introduced me to the darker side of reality when she took me to Jaws in the theatre at six years old. In kindergarten, when I brought home Frankenstein from the school library, she rolled her eyes and told me it was a phase–we still joke about that. I loved that it was dark and creepy and didn’t have a happy ending, and that the monster wasn’t THE monster. Because of that, I didn’t read about horses and fairies in elementary school, I begged for the ghosts and monsters from the book-clubs and school flyers. My first publication was technically a story about my class encountering a witch in a haunted house in second grade. I still have the mimeograph of that story the teacher made up for everyone.
When I was a little older, I found myself fascinated with my father’s bookshelf – full of Lovecraft, Bradbury, Koontz, King and Bloch. On a trip to the bookstore when I was twelve to find more King and Koontz, I found some guy named Ketchum on the shelf next to them. It was pretty much all downhill from there… My muse chose creepy, my imagination saw the darker questions and answers in life, and the writing followed suit.
I don’t know that I’m actually notable yet, but I will be. My first novel, Six Days, sold out in just under fifty-two hours through Thunderstorm Books’ collectible Maelstrom Series. Not bad for a first novel and fairly notable I guess. However, most fans of my work would probably list ‘Left for Dead’ which appears in Burning Effigy Press’ Fresh Blood. It is currently in its third print run. I’ve gotten numerous comments and emails regarding it, and it was my first public reading at a convention. Apparently when you do bad things to testicles, people remember that…
What are you working on now?
Tons. And I’m actually very excited about all of it. I recently finished and sold my second novel (title being kept secret because I love it that much); my next novella, The Neighborhood, is in editing stages for the publisher and printer; my Atrocious Alphabet Book is being illustrated; my first collection is in the able hands of my pre-readers and due to the publisher by July; and I am working on two shorts for inclusion in anthologies. Previous work is being formatted for e-books, Six Days is being shopped worldwide, and a few other things I can’t talk about yet, not even in code. And when I get all caught up with those edits and deadlines and can breathe again, the next novel is already twitching for attention in the notebook.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
All of them. Anyone that has gotten to the magical phrase “the end.” Anyone that has laboured over their own words, killing their babies where they must, to make the final product better. And anyone that can confuse Microsoft Word with a properly spelled multisyllabic word gets points.
Do I have heroes? Absolutely. I speak to them and of them often, looking up to them when my muse is being a snot, and whining to them when my words are stubborn. But I never tell who they are… they lose their powers if revealed.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
When I’m reading, both. Chills hang with you, make you sit on the edge of your seat and put your coffee down because you’re shaking. Gore is more immediate, as it makes you lean back into the cushion and drop your coffee. Oddly enough, in my own writing, I tend to be gory in shorter works and thriller in my longer pieces.
Why should people read your work?
Wow. I actually don’t know how to answer that without it sounded horribly conceited. Two English teachers and ten years of editing other genre writers gave me the ability to write well. However, I’m not very dainty and neither is my writing. I’m unafraid to go where the story leads. I don’t do sparkly and goth, but I do love a good, er bad, human – I find them much scarier than the fantastical. So okay, fine, how about this? Because I can write, my stories are unique, and I’m brutal when necessary. My muse has no fluffy bunnies for pets, but she does have a serial killer or two locked up in the basement.
The last book I read was absolutely AWESOME and everyone should run, not walk, to wherever it is that they get their books and grab a copy of Horns by Joe Hill. Talk about sticks with you… if you don’t need to have a conversation with someone, anyone, after you read that, then you need more coffee and less unicorns in your life.