What first attracted you to horror writing?
Horror reading attracted me to horror writing. I cut my teeth as a reader on books like Terry Brooks’ Landover and Shannara series, The Lord of the Rings, David Eddings’ Belgariad, Tamuli and Elenium series, Anne McCaffery’s The Tower and the Hive, and a lot of other fantasy that often had dark themes. When I grew to high school age, I read Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Anne Rice almost exclusively (other than the science fiction and fantasy I’d already been reading). They do say that you write what you know, and while I would write any story that grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go, all of them to date have been horror or dark-themed science fiction, fantasy and thrillers.
My most notable work is a short novella (or long novelette, depending on whom you ask) called Wild. It was released in March by Damnation Books, and is a weird western based on a real unsolved missing-persons case from the Old West. I have rough plots for two more novellas and a short story set in this world.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a thriller with supernatural elements that I aim to release through one of the larger, exclusive and established small presses sometime next year. I’m also working on breaking into comics. I have some really cool properties to share when the publishers I’ve approached think the time is right. I am also editing an anthology of dark fiction about metahumans (superheroes, basically) for Damnation Books, titled Corrupts Absolutely?
Who do you admire in the horror world?
I admire authors who manage to put out a great body of work and attract fans while still pulling down a day job. That’s how I’m doing it. I’ve been in the military for nearly eleven years and plan on retiring in nine more, so I have a bit of time ahead of me before I write full time, and even then, I have to be at a certain level in order to succeed. Guys like Joe McKinney, Weston Ochse, Gord Rollo and many, many others are being recognised by fans and the genre community for work they’re creating as a second career, and that’s inspiring because if they can do it, there’s no reason why I can’t put in the time and effort and do it too. And of course, guys like Brian Keene who are writing professionally full-time are living proof that I can have my dream if I’m patient (and he did pretty much tell me just that, in person earlier this year). Though if you read Brian’s blog, you’ll see that it’s rarely a bed of roses and I appreciate the transparency and lack of sugar-coating too.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
Everything has its place. Some stories call for gore. Some call for a more toned-down approach. Now as for what has the potential to make me squirm? The vivid descriptions of cannibalism in Wrath James White’s Succulent Prey, the resurrection of Gage in King’s Pet Sematary and the horrors perpetrated upon Jack Ketchum’s Girl Next Door make me cringe when pretty much anything else out there is pure escapism and enjoyment reading. But that’s not to say that a good story should go for the guts every time. If it’s gratuitous, it’ll pull me right out of the story, and I’d rather read a fun, tasteful story that warrants that approach than gore for no reason any day.
Why should people read your work?
I’m trying to provide something different from anything else readers can pick up, and I’ll never stop trying to do that. Sometimes the difference will be subject matter. If I’m covering subject matter that’s been done before, I’ll always look for a different angle of approach. My writing style will almost always be different. I strive for economy of language and writing that isn’t bogged down with extraneous crap. Every one of my books has been compared to a round of campfire stories by people who might not know each other. I’m also going to always strive to build a diverse body of work: I like to write about cowboys, aliens, robots, knights, zombies, dwarves… anything, and I enjoy supernatural horror and the simple darkness of everyday life. I really do think I have something to offer every reader, unless they just flat-out don’t like speculative fiction.
Recommend a book.
Multiplex Fandango. Great collection from Weston Ochse. Guaranteed not to disappoint.
Wild cover by Ash Arceneaux
Author photo by Clark Fox