Wayne C. Rogers is a Las Vegas casino worker who loves to read good stories, watch entertaining movies on DVD, and write anything that comes to mind whether it’s a novel, short story, movie script, or book review.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
Before Stephen King, there was The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Other, Hell House, and I Am Legend. These are all excellent novels, but there aren’t very many of them. When the paperback version of Salem’s Lot came out back in 1977, Stephen King blew everybody away. The readers of horror fiction knew this author wasn’t a one-time-only novelist who struck it big with Carrie. Salem’s Lot was unlike anything I’d ever read before. It scared the bejesus out of me. Then, along came The Shining. Talk about having nightmares for a month after reading it! Stephen King was the Force. There was nobody else like him as a writer, though other talented authors like Peter Straub and Robert B. McCammon came up to bat and hit a couple of homers out in left field. Stephen King showed me what a writer could do with a story, and believe me, it’s all about the story. A talented horror writer has to suck the reader into the novel or short story, and then deliver the goods. If the story is entertaining with a nice twist at the end, then I think all else can be forgiven of the author. I’m not a literary writer and never will be. I probably know my limitations better than anyone out there, but I also know I can tell a damn good story – one that I’d like to read. King showed me what could be done. I knew deep down I could never be as good an author as he is, but I could still tell my stories. Then, hopefully I’d find a fan-base who enjoyed reading my stuff. Strange as it may seem, I received a very nice letter from Stephen King when my first suspense/horror story was published in Cavalier magazine back in 1986. He congratulated me on finally breaking into his old alma mater—Cavalier. Little did I know it would be twenty-five more years before I sold another piece of horror fiction.
What is your most notable work?
My most notable work is actually two long stories, or novellas, that I first wrote back in 2009 and 2010. The first is The Encounter, which takes place in present-day Las Vegas and deals with former U.S. Army tunnel rat, Ben Freeman. Freeman encountered something horrific during his tour of duty in Vietnam. Forty-something years later, the evil that killed two of his men and almost got him is back with a vengeance. It kills everything he loves and holds dear in his life. This time he’s not going to run. He’s going to find the creature to the death and to hell with everything else. This would be a great role for Daniel Craig, though he’s British. I could easily see him doing the action scenes, especially the final battle at the end. The second story is The Tunnels, which deals with the mission in 1968 Vietnam that scared Ben Freeman for life. He and two other tunnel rats go into an underground Vietcong complex and discover all the enemy soldiers have been massacred. What killed them is now after Freeman and his men. Though I’ve written at least twenty drafts of each, I still tinker around with these two stories. I have them both up on Amazon’s Kindle store in the States and England for a dollar to read. The Tunnels sells really well in the United Kingdom. Why? I don’t know. I’ve actually sold more stories in England than I have in America. Lastly, I’ve written a screenplay based on each of the stories. The scripts are longer and more detailed with tonnes of action. I’ve given the Green Berets in The Tunnels a lot more to do, action wise. In the writing of both stories, I had the great privilege of talking to former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Tom Wergen, who was one of the most famous tunnel rats in the Vietnam War. I also spoke to Retired U.S. Army Colonel Robert B. Rheault, who was probably the most famous, or infamous, Green Beret during the war in ‘Nam. Both men were extremely kind and generous in their suggestions and in the time spent with me. A biography of Tom Wergen has just come out here in the States, 1968–Into the Abyss.
What are you working on now?
Boy, what am I not working on? First, I have a 45-hour job here in Las Vegas at one of the major casinos. Second, at age 61, I’ve nearly died twice during the last three years. So, on top of poor health and a busy work schedule, I still try to get in at least thirty hours a week with my writing. I’m presently turning The Tunnels into a novel, I’m writing an erotic/horror novel called Morgana, I’m finishing up a new horror short story with another one in the works, I’m finishing up a short novel called Dolan which is about a Las Vegas P.I. who works under the table and goes after the serial killer who murdered his granddaughter ten years before, I’m also working on the movie script for Dolan, I’ve got a short novel and a movie script called Shanghai Ed and the Valley Gold in the works, plus I just finished a short screenplay called A Step in the Shadows, which is based on my story of the same name, and is out in the paperback anthology, I’ll Never Go Away. This is a story about the most infamous serial killer in the United States and what happens when he goes after the wrong victim. I also write book, movie and DVD reviews, though that is slowing down a bit now.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert R. McCammon, Joe R. Lansdale (Joe wrote The Bottoms, which is being turned into a major motion picture, and is perhaps the best novel I’ve ever read), Joe Hill, Dan Simmons, Brian James Freeman, and Mick Garris, who has two novellas coming out from Cemetery Dance Publications this year. Mick writes some crazy-ass, far-out stuff that stays with you like Superglue on the finger.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
Stephen King once said that when he can’t scare the readers, he tries to gross them out. Still, I think I’m more into psychological chills. Anybody can gross you out, but it takes a really talented artist to play around with your mind.
Read my stuff only if you’re looking for an entertaining story of horror or suspense with a nice twist at the end.
Recommend a book.
This is what I’m best at doing, considering I worked in a bookstore for over ten years. Check out King’s 11/22/63. This is one of his greatest novels, plus he has the sequel to The Shining coming out in early 2013—Dr. Sleep. Joe Lansdale has a new novel out, Edge of Dark Water, which is excellent and maybe his best novel ever—it’s a tossup between this book and The Bottoms. Dean Koontz has a new Odd Thomas novel coming out in July and also the film adaptation of Odd Thomas is due in the theatres around the same time. Dean has said this is the best movie he has ever seen that was based on one of his books. The Providence Rider by Robert R. McCammon, which is the 4th Matthew Corbett novel. All the novels in the series have been great so far! Some studio with a lot of money needs to turn these books into movies with Elijah Wood as Matthew Corbett. I would also like to recommend The Terror by Dan Simmons. Not only did I freeze while reading the novel, it scared the dickens out of me. Daniel Craig would be great in the lead, but he needs to do my movie first.
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