Donnie Goodman is a reader, writer, and collector of horror fiction. When he is not out in the wild, searching for Paperbacks From Hell in Central Virginia, he is likely reading, writing, or playing video games. His short story collection, The Razorblades in My Head, and poetry collection, I Eat Its Seeds, are available now. Find Donnie on Twitter: @DonnieGoodman_ and at his website.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
My love for writing is definitely innate. I don’t think I have a specific memory that I can point to to say, “that’s when I fell in love with writing horror,” because as far as I can go back in my memory I’ve been consuming and creating scary stuff. Alvin Schwartz/Stephen Gammell, Bruce Coville, and R.L. Stine definitely opened the gateway for me to experiment with writing my own stories. I wrote a Goosebumps-style tale, ‘Dead Scouts’, in third grade and horrified my teacher to the point where they actively worked to suppress my interest in horror. Unfortunately for them, this helped me realize that the genre is rebellious in spirit, cementing the innate attraction I always had for being scared and scaring others. It’s just a large part of who I am.
I don’t have a ton of releases out in the wild at this point, but The Razorblades in My Head is a great entry point into my brain and what is on the horizon for my future work. I also have a poetry collection coming out this month called I Eat Its Seeds.
What are you working on now?
I knocked out my first novella, Wednesday is Waiting, at the end of 2021 and I’m currently working on finding that story a home before I start the next project, which will definitely be another novella/novel.
What is your writing routine?
I generally write when I catch a wave of inspiration. I used to give myself a really hard time about not meeting daily word counts, or taking time off to pursue other hobbies, but I think what works for me is to let the stories come and not force the creative process as much as I can. I like to set large scale goals for the year and then work on them when I can. My 2020 goal was to complete a collection of short stories, my 2021 goal was to finish a novella, and my 2022 goal is to sell the novella, Wednesday Is Waiting. If I end up creating a few projects that I am happy with each year, I am cool with that. If I don’t release anything, I’m cool with that. It has been an insanely difficult time, so I’m proud of myself, and anyone else who is able to make stuff in extraordinarily difficult times.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
I think that right now, more than ever before, horror is thriving. People are smashing rules and glass ceilings all over the place across all mediums: film, tv, literature … I think that is really, really fucking cool. I admire the active, established writers who still lend a hand to folks getting started. I admire reviewers who read, promote, and amplify voices in the industry—for free. I admire the folks who are just dipping their toes in the water, putting themselves out there for the first time. Build that confidence, baby. Make a splash. That shit takes serious guts.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
I like this question. I’m on Twitter a lot and I think that this is something that so many authors, myself included, struggle to convey in words that don’t come across the wrong way. It is difficult to be like, “please read my shit, it’s REALLY good,” but at the same time, we’re all hoping that our stories find eyes and there are SO MANY amazing writers out there doing their thing. The good news is that the indie horror community is full of voracious readers, bloggers, booktubers, bookstagrammers, and more, who are willing to take chances and check out new voices and that is truly a blessing. To anyone down in the dumps struggling to come up with an answer to the question—here is what I’ll say: I spent a decade trying to promote my music on Soundcloud and that shit was way more soul crushing. The coolest thing about the writing community is that it is so easy to connect, chime in, and get feedback from the greats in the field. I can’t go on Twitter and pick Jay-Z’s brain, but I can literally reply to Laird Barron and know he will likely respond, and Laird Barron is the Jay-Z of cosmic horror.
To answer the question: I try to write stories that are familiar, but unique. That balance is what I am always chasing. I think readers who pick up The Razorblades in My Head will find that assessment checks out. Please read my shit. It’s really good.
Recommend a book.
The Despicable Fantasies of Quentin Sergenov, by Preston Fassel, is a perfect example of what I described earlier when talking about gore vs. psychological chills. It’s a brilliant combination of humor, gore, and genuinely scary themes that is unlike anything I have ever read before: a gay professional wrestler, blacklisted from the industry and turned into a dinosaur by Nazi scientists, seeks revenge. I think more people should read it.