TIH 123: Writers’ Craft Talk: Writing Suspenseful Scenes with 16 Writers

TIH 123 Writers' Craft Talk- Writing Suspenseful Scenes with 16 Writers

In this podcast sixteen writers discuss techniques for writing suspenseful scenes. Contributions from Stephen Volk, Maura McHugh, Melissa Lason and Michelle Garza, John Skipp, Rebecca Jones-Howe, Rich Hawkins, Kristi DeMeester, J. Daniel Stone, Stephanie M. Wytovich, T.E. Grau, Lisa Mannetti, Paul Michael Anderson, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Philip Fracassi and Michael Wehunt.

Show Notes

  • [02:35] Stephen Volk
  • [06:15] Maura McHugh
  • [10:15] Melissa Lason and Michelle Garza
  • [11:50] John Skipp
  • [14:53] Rebecca Jones-Howe
  • [19:57] Rich Hawkins
  • [21:30] Kristi DeMeester
  • [25:35] J. Daniel Stone
  • [28:20] Stephanie M. Wytovich
  • [31:15] T.E. Grau
  • [32:25] Lisa Mannetti
  • [37:00] Paul Michael Anderson
  • [41:50] Simon Kurt Unsworth
  • [46:40] Philip Fracassi
  • [54:35] Michael Wehunt
  • [01:03:55] Simon Kurt Unsworth Bonus Clip

About The Authors

Stephen Volk

Stephen Volk is probably best known as the BAFTA-winning writer of ITV’s paranormal drama series Afterlife starring Lesley Sharp and Andrew Lincoln, and the notorious (some say legendary) BBCTV “Halloween hoax” Ghostwatch, which spooked the nation, hit the headlines, and caused questions to be raised in Parliament.

Maura McHugh

Maura McHugh was born in the USA, but raised in Ireland, where she developed a love of mythology, horror fiction, art, and writing. She has lived in New York, Dublin, and Galway, and worked in IT before succumbing to her love of storytelling. She’s the writer of the comic book series Jennifer Wilde and Róisín Dubh, and co-writer of Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland. She’s the author of the fairy tale collection, Twisted Fairy Tales, and the collection of world myths, Twisted Myths. She’s also a published poet, a produced playwright, and a screenwriter.

Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason

Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason are horror writers from Arizona. Their debut novel Mayan Blue was published by Sinister Grin Press. They have loved horror since they were little girls and have been writing together just as long. They are both married and are proud mothers.

John Skipp

John Skipp is a New York Times bestselling author, editor, film director, zombie godfather, compulsive collaborator, musical pornographer, black-humored optimist and all-around Renaissance mutant. His early novels from the 1980s and 90s pioneered the graphic, subversive, high-energy form known as splatterpunk. His anthology Book of the Dead was the beginning of modern post-Romero zombie literature. His work ranges from hardcore horror to whacked-out Bizarro to scathing social satire, all brought together with his trademark cinematic pace and intimate, unflinching, unmistakable voice. From young agitator to hilarious elder statesman, Skipp remains one of genre fiction’s most colorful characters.

Rebecca Jones-Howe

Rebecca went to college with the intention of getting a degree in Journalism, however, she dropped out in her second year when her Creative Writing class became the only one she ever went to. Since then, she found a group of like-minded writers online at LitReactor, and she refined her craft through classes and small groups. In 2012, she was the winner of the first WAR writing competition. She made it to the final eight in the second WAR event, and eventually built up a selection of stories that would become her first collection of short fiction, Vile Men, released in the summer of 2015 from Dark House Press. Her short stories have been published in PANK, Pulp Modern, Punchnel’s, Pantheon, Out of the Gutter and Pulp Metal Magazine, as well as The New Black, and Exigenciesanthologies.

Rich Hawkins

Rich Hawkins hails from deep in the West Country, where a childhood of science fiction and horror films set him on the path to writing his own stories. He credits his love of horror and all things weird to his first viewing of John Carpenter’s The Thing when, aged twelve, he crept downstairs late one night to watch it on ITV. He has a few short stories in various anthologies, and has written one novella, Black Star, Black Sun, released earlier this year. His debut novel The Last Plague has recently been nominated for a British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel. He currently lives in Salisbury, Wiltshire, with his wife, their daughter and their pet dog Molly. They keep him sane. Mostly.

Kristi DeMeester

Kristi DeMeester lives in the outer realms of Atlanta, Georgia and spends most of her life telling people how to spell her name. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Professional Writing, she came back to her love of dark fiction and began writing it in earnest. A devoted student of the Weird and all things spooky and lovely, she has published short stories in a variety of publications including Black Static, LampLight, Shock Totem, Shimmer, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and appeared in best of anthologies such as Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volumes 1 and 3. Her chapbook Split Tongues, published by Dim Shores, sold out in early 2016. Her debut novel, Beneath, is forthcoming in April 2017 from Word Horde.

J. Daniel Stone

J. Daniel Stone is the pseudonym for a hotheaded Italian kid from New York City. He has been a menace to society since 1987 and continues to terrorize local bookstores, art galleries and dive bars. When he is not causing mischief, Stone reads, writes and attends as many rock shows as possible. He is the intermittently proud father of two bastard children: The Absence of Light (2013) and Blood Kiss (2016). Somewhere, out there in the dark, one can find more of his illegitimate spawns telling imaginative stories.

Stephanie M. Wytovich

Stephanie M. Wytovich is an instructor by day and a horror writer by night. She is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, and a book reviewer for Nameless Magazine. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated poetry collections, Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Brothel earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press, and her debut novel, The Eighth, is simmering in sin with Dark Regions Press.

T.E. Grau

T.E. Grau is the author of dozens of stories and other written works, including the books The Mission, Triptych: Three Cosmic Tales, The Lost Aklo Stories, and The Nameless Dark, which was nominated for a 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Single-Author Collection, and ranks as the bestselling book published by Lethe Press in both 2015 and 2016. His most recent work is the novella They Don’t Come Home Anymore, which was published in late November 2016 through UK press This Is Horror. Grau lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter, and is currently working on his third novella, second collection, and first novel.

Lisa Mannetti

Lisa Mannetti’s debut novel, The Gentling Box, garnered a Bram Stoker Award and since then she has been nominated four additional times for the award in both the short and long fiction categories: (“1925: A Fall River Halloween”; “Dissolution”; “The Hunger Artist” and most recently for her novella about Houdini, The Box Jumper). Her story, “Everybody Wins,” was made into a short film by director Paul Leyden starring Malin Ackerman and released under the title Bye-Bye Sally. “Dissolution” will soon be a feature-length film also directed by Paul Leyden (Come Back to Me, The Factory).

Paul Michael Anderson

Paul Michael Anderson is the writer of the collection Bones Are Made to be Broken (Dark Regions Press/Written Backwards). A short-story writer, editor, teacher, and sometime-journalist, he and his family make their home in Virginia. Harlan Ellison calls him “kiddo”.

Simon Kurt Unsworth

Simon Kurt Unsworth was born in Manchester and lives in a farmhouse in Cumbria, in the United Kingdom. He is the author of many short stories, including the collection Quiet Houses. The Devil’s Detective is his first novel.

Philip Fracassi

Philip Fracassi, an author and screenwriter, lives in Los Angeles. He has worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years and was the founder of Equator Books, a publishing house and rare, out-of-print bookstore in Venice, CA. His horror novelettes, Altar, and Mother, are currently available from Dunhams Manor Press. His literary novel, The Egotist is available online. His newest novella, Fragile Dreams, is now available from JournalStone Publications.

Michael Wehunt

Michael Wehunt grew up in North Georgia, close enough to the Appalachians to feel them but not quite easily see them. There were woods, and woodsmoke, and warmth. He did not make it far when he left, falling sixty miles south to the lost city of Atlanta, where there are fewer woods but still many trees. He lives with his partner and his dog and too many books, among which Robert Aickman fidgets next to Flannery O’Connor on his favorite bookshelf. His fiction has appeared in various places, such as The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Cemetery Dance, and The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu. His debut collection, Greener Pastures, is available from Shock Totem Publications.


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