What first attracted you to horror writing?
Thanks for having me!
What first attracted me to horror was my own darkness. I wasn’t always this handsome, professional devil. I was cruel, a drunk, a vagabond. I’ve had some great jobs and I’ve lived on the street. I’ve brushed shoulders with angels and demons and seen myself buried deep in their eyes. When I was young I’d always sneak out in the middle of the night and tramp around the swamps by where I grew up. I’ve always found comfort in the stillness and being alone to let my imagination come up with connections whether they were horrible or beautiful or both. And there is a lot of horror in life, just like there is hope.
Well, I just sold my first short stories last year and my first two books this year, but luckily I have a bunch planned and the majority of it ties together. The Division series of books which starts with the May 2011 release from Delirium Books (Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children) is the most notable as it sets the groundwork that ties everyone in the other books together. There are two other novels, four novellas and a dozen shorter pieces that share the world I’ve created and the things that will make or break my main characters—John McDonnell, Michael Johnston, Red Piccirilli, Frank Gunn, and Boaz. That first book is complicated because it has to be. It’s an ‘after-the-fact’ book where my main characters had to piece together what they could through their shared memories of what happened to them and their town. And memories can’t always be trusted. Which makes it fun. And even though it’s labelled horror, it’s also crime, thriller, and dark fantasy. It’s as much about mining the horrors of the heart as it is the supernatural leanings that bind the characters together.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the second Division novel The Dampness of Mourning. I’m about half way done with it. The first book is a coming-of-age tale for my main character, even though he’s thirty, and it sets the ground work for much darker things to come. Those darker things happen in this book. And it’s a bit more brutal (though Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children has its moments). I’m also working on a standalone novella (Immersion) for my publisher, the guest blogs I’ve been doing to promote the first book, and several short stories.
Who do you admire in the Horror world?
That is a very long list! I have a lot of heroes. If I whittle it down to the people who I buy everything they have as it comes out, money permitting, it’d be Tom Piccirilli, Greg Gifune, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Jack Ketchum, John Connolly, Lee Thomas, and Douglas Clegg. Then I have a few friends who are establishing themselves now who have mad talent: Shaun Jeffrey, Sam W. Anderson, and Kevin Wallis.
Do you prefer all-out gore or psychological chills?
I prefer both. It all depends on what the scene calls for. But I naturally lean toward the emotional side of it because that’s more terrifying to me. I like spooky, atmospheric, and heavily charged tragedy with a tinge of blinding light.
Why should people read your work?
It increases their sex appeal, and who doesn’t want that? Who doesn’t look hot when they’re holding a great book? It’s honest too. I draw from a lot of things in my life (confusion, alienation, self-doubt, failure, pride, hope, joy, love, fury, fate) that I think anyone can relate to and I let my imagination have fun with them.
Recommend a book.
Greg Gifune’s The Bleeding Season.