TIH 109: Writers’ Craft Talk: Best Writing Advice with 20 Writers

TIH 109 Writers' Craft Talk Best Writing Advice with 20 Writers

In this podcast twenty writers discuss the best writing advice they’ve received. Contributions from Stephen Graham Jones, Mercedes M. Yardley, Helen Marshall, Paul Tremblay, George Ttoouli, Nina Allan, David Moody, Jessica McHugh, John F.D. Taff, John C. Foster, David Bowles, Lisa L. Hannett, Bob Pastorella, Josh Malerman, Richard Thomas, Vincenzo Bilof, Jasper Bark, Sarah Langan, S. P. Miskowski  and This Is Horror Podcast Host, Michael David Wilson.

Show Notes

  • [02:15] Stephen Graham Jones
  • [4:05] Mercedes M. Yardley
  • [05:20] Helen Marshall
  • [06:10] Paul Tremblay
  • [07:35] George Ttoouli
  • [10:15] Nina Allan
  • [17:30] David Moody
  • [20:00] Jessica McHugh
  • [21:45] John F.D. Taff
  • [24:35] John C. Foster
  • [25:00] David Bowles
  • [26:30] Lisa L. Hannett
  • [31:40] Bob Pastorella
  • [42:00] Josh Malerman
  • [43:15] Richard Thomas
  • [48:25] Vincenzo Bilof
  • [50:05] Jasper Bark
  • [53:20] Sarah Langan
  • [54:00] S. P. Miskowski
  • [55:35] Michael David Wilson/wrap-up

About The Authors

Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is the author of fifteen novels and six collections. He really likes werewolves and slashers. Favorite novels change daily, but Valis and Love Medicine and Lonesome Dove and It and The Things They Carriedare all usually up there somewhere. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado. It’s a big change from the West Texas he grew up in. He’s married with a couple kids, and probably one too many trucks.

Further listening

Mercedes M. Yardley

Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist who wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair. She is the author of many diverse works, including Beautiful Sorrows, Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls, and the Bone Angel trilogy. She recently won the Bram Stoker Award for her story Little Dead Red. Mercedes lives and works in Las Vegas, and you can reach her at www.abrokenlaptop.com.

Helen Marshall

Helen Marshall is an award-winning author, editor, and bibliophile. Her poetry and fiction have been published in The Chiaroscuro, Abyss & Apex, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Tor.com and has been reprinted in several Year’s Best anthologies. Her debut collection of short stories Hair Side, Flesh Side (ChiZine Publications, 2012) was named one of the top ten books of 2012 by January Magazine and won the British Fantasy Sydney J. Bounds Award. Her second collection Gifts for the One Who Comes After (ChiZine Publications, 2014) won the Shirley Jackson Award and has been short-listed for the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award and the Aurora Award.

Further listening

Paul Tremblay

Paul Tremblay is the author of the novels Disappearance at Devil’s Rock and A Head Full of Ghosts. His other novels include The Little Sleep, No Sleep till Wonderland, Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye, and Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly (co-written with Stephen Graham Jones).

Further listening

George Ttoouli

George Ttoouli is a writer and freelance editor based in Coventry. He also taught creative writing in universities for over 10 years. He’s published a book of poetry, Static Exile (Penned in the Margins) and edited or co-edited a few anthologies, including The Apple Anthology (Nine Arches Press). He currently co-edits blogzine Gists and Piths.

Nina Allan

Nina Allan has won the BSFA Award for Short Fiction, the prestigious Grand Prix de l’lmaginaire, and the Aeon Award. She has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award four times and was a finalist for the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award. Her debut novel, The Race, set in an alternate and near-future version of southeast England, was first published by NewCon Press in August 2014 and was reissued in a new and expanded edition by Titan Books in July 2016. Her second novel The Rift, also from Titan, is due in summer 2017.

David Moody

David Moody grew up on a diet of trashy horror and pulp science fiction. He worked as a bank manager before giving up the day job to write about the end of the world for a living. He has written a number of horror novels, including Autumn, which has been downloaded more than half a million times since publication in 2001 and spawned a series of sequels and a movie starring Dexter Fletcher and David Carradine. Film rights to Hater were snapped up by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) and Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad). Moody lives with his wife and a houseful of daughters and stepdaughters, which may explain his pre-occupation with Armageddon. His latest novel, Trust is currently available free online at www.trustdavidmoody.com. Visit Moody at www.davidmoody.net.

Further listening

Jessica McHugh

Jessica McHugh is a novelist, poet, and internationally produced playwright running amok in the fields of horror, sci-fi, young adult, and wherever else her peculiar mind leads. She’s had eighteen books published in eight years, including her bizarro romp, “The Green Kangaroos,” her Post Mortem Press bestseller, “Rabbits in the Garden,” and her edgy YA series, “The Darla Decker Diaries.” More information on her published and forthcoming fiction can be found at JessicaMcHughBooks.com.

John F.D. Taff

John F.D. Taff is a Bram Stoker Award-Nominated author with nearly 30 years experience in all sorts of writing…public relations, marketing, sales, journalism and creative.  He’s a published author with more than 80 short stories and seven novels in print.  His writing tends to be categorized as “horror,” though most of it has a weird, pulpy Twilight Zone vibe to it.  He also writes fantasy, suspense and some science fiction.  Over the years, six of his short stories have been awarded honorable mentions in Datlow & Windling’sYear’s Best Fantasy & Horror.

John C. Foster

John C. Foster was born in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and has been afraid of the dark for as long as he can remember. A writer of thrillers and dark fiction, Foster was raised in the wilds of southern New Hampshire (read: not wild) before hauling stakes for the ersatz glow of Los Angeles. He has since relocated to the relative sanity of New York City where he lives with his lady, Linda, and their dog Coraline. Foster is an enthusiastic amateur cook, partially to offset all the griping that results from pushing his increasingly decrepit body through the rigors of martial arts training.

Foster’s stories can be found in issue #8 of Shock Totem and Dark Visions – Volume 2 from Grey Matter Press, as well as anthologies such as the Big Book of New Short Horror, Under the Stairs, Book of Horror 2, Dead Worlds 7: Undead Stories and Book of the Dead 6: Forever Dead, among others. His first novel, Dead Men, was released in July of this year by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.

Further listening

David Bowles

David Bowles is a Mexican-American author, poet and translator from South Texas, where he teaches at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. In 2016, his YA fantasy novel THE SMOKING MIRROR was selected as a Pura Belpré Honor Book by the American Library Association, and his collection of Mesoamerican verse FLOWER, SONG, DANCE: AZTEC AND MAYAN POETRY won the 2014 Soeurette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation. Bowles is author of several other books, including BORDER LORE, SHATTERING AND BRICOLAGE, MEXICAN BESTIARY, and THE SEED.

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Lisa L. Hannett

Lisa L. Hannett has had over 60 short stories appear in venues including ClarkesworldFantasyWeird TalesApex, the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror (2010, 2011 & 2012), and Imaginarium: Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2013). She has won four Aurealis Awards, including Best Collection for her first book, Bluegrass Symphony, which was also nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Her first novel, Lament for the Afterlife, was published by CZP in 2015.You can find her online at http://lisahannett.com and on Twitter @LisaLHannett.

Further listening

Bob Pastorella

Bob Pastorella lives in Southeast Texas. He’s the author of ‘To Watch Is Madness’, and has been featured in The Booked. AnthologyWarmed & Bound: A Velvet Anthology, and In Search of A City: Los Angeles In 1000 Words. A former staff writer for ManArchy Magazine, Bob’s short fiction has appeared in numerous publications. Mojo Rising was released in 2016 by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.

Further listening

Josh Malerman

Josh Malerman is the author of the novel Bird Box, the novella Ghastle and Yule and the forthcoming This Is Horror novella A House At The Bottom Of A Lake. He’s also the lead singer/songwriter for the band the High Strung. He lives in Ferndale, Michigan with his fiancee Allison Laakko.

Further listening

Richard Thomas

Richard Thomas is the author of seven books: Three novels, Disintegration and Breaker (Random House Alibi), and Transubstantiate (Otherworld Publications); three short story collections, Tribulations (Crystal Lake), Staring Into the Abyss (Kraken Press), and Herniated Roots (Snubnose Press); as well as one novella of The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). With over 100 stories published, his credits include Cemetery Dance, PANK, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2 & 3, Gutted, and Shivers 6. He has won contests at ChiZine and One Buck Horror, and has received five Pushcart Prize nominations to date. He is also the editor of four anthologies: Exigencies and The New Black (Dark House Press), The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press) and Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk (finalist for the Bram Stoker Award). In his spare time he is a columnist at LitReactor and Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. He has taught at LitReactor, the University of Iowa, StoryStudio Chicago, and in Transylvania.

Further listening

Vincenzo Bilof

From Detroit, Michigan, Vincenzo Bilof has been called ‘The Metallica of Poetry’ and ‘The Shakespeare of Gore’. With a body of work that includes gritty, apocalyptic horror (The Zombie Ascension Series), surrealist prose (The Horror Show), and visceral genre satire (Vampire Strippers from Saturn), Bilof’s fiction remains as divisive and controversial as it is original. He likes to think Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and Charles Baudelaire would be proud of his work. More likely, Ed Wood would have been his biggest fan.

Further listening

Jasper Bark

Jasper Bark finds writing author biographies and talking about himself in the third person faintly embarrassing. Telling you that he’s an award-winning author of four cult novels including the highly acclaimed Way of the Barefoot Zombie, just sounds like boasting. Then he has to mention that he’s written twelve children’s books and hundreds of comics and graphic novels and he wants to just curl up. He cringes when he has to reveal that his work has been translated into nine different languages and is used in schools throughout the UK to help improve literacy, or that he was awarded the This Is Horror Award for his last anthology Dead Air. Maybe he’s too British, or maybe he just needs a good enema, but he’s glad this bio is now over.

Further listening

Sarah Langan

Sarah grew up on Long Island and went to college in Waterville, Maine, where she published her first story, “Sick People.” She got her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to writing novels, she also has a Master’s in Environmental Health Science/Toxicology from New York University.

S. P. Miskowski

S.P. Miskowski’s debut novel Knock Knock and her first novella Delphine Dodd were finalists for Shirley Jackson Awards. Both books are part of the Skillute Cycle which includes two more novellas: Astoria and In the Light. All four books are published by Omnium Gatherum, with cover art by Russell Dickerson.


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