Here I am nearly a month returned from World Horror Convention 2014 and feeling like I just got back. I met quite a few interesting authors and new friends, and could easily spend all the time between this convention and the next reading and writing about their work. For now, I would like to take the opportunity to respond to a blog tour invitation from author Sydney Leigh. Syd’s quickly become an important professional contact for me, and a good friend. Her work has recently appeared in the anthology Enter at Your Own Risk: The End is the Beginning, edited by Alex Scully and published with Firbolg Publishing. She will also have a review appearing soon in Shroud magazine, and has many other projects and publications in the works. I encourage horror fans to check out her work.
In the meantime, I’ll take this blog invite as a chance to re-introduce what I am up to now with the Crimes of Heaven and Hell series, as well as short stories and other writing projects.
What are you working on?
For new writing projects, I am mostly working on short stories now. This is due in part to my polishing Reigns the Wicked, the first full length novel of the Crimes of Heaven and Hell. Also, I am working on a possible enhanced edition of Slash of Crimson. I’ll announce more on the progress of both projects when the info is available. In the meantime, I’m enjoying trying out new ideas in short story form, experimenting, and submitting. I’m also just on the edge of starting a new, full length novel project, a stand alone horror novel dealing with the strange relationship between ghosts and murderers. Looking forward to getting into the writing rhythm on that as well.
How does you work differ from others in its genre?
My impression from those who have read my work and are familiar with other work in the horror genre is that they find mine both extreme in its violence, yet deep in its concern for character development. This can be a great combination for those who want more breadth and staying power than some work dubbed ‘slasher’ would offer. At the same time, this can put some readers off because there are many who want their slasher simple and like their suspense to preclude the possibility of any blatant violence.
I think there may also be something else different about the way I write. It’s hard to know about the impressions given by your own work, but over time it has come to my attention there might be something different about the way the characters interact. A kind of interplay of emotional and physical cruelty, juxtaposed with the joys and disappointments offered by survival and things the characters first thought of as “victory”–that interplay might be striking a different kind of chord.
Why do you write what you do?
I would say I’m trying to generate a certain kind of feeling in the reader—a mix of excitement, dread, and wonder. As love can be close to hate in that both emotions are extreme, I feel like the thrill of fear can be close to the ecstasy of success (which isn’t always related to survival). The horror genre lends itself well to characters facing these kinds of emotions. I also believe horror is a highly symbolic genre. A zombie ripping somebody to shreds can be an all-purpose balm of catharsis for any workaday problem. Downright therapeutic. I would also add that I unequivocally do not buy into the concept that the art causes the fetish, i.e., I don’t believe that violent works of art make people do violent things. People who already have a problem with violence may latch onto them as a company latches onto a logo—a dictator can co-opt an eagle or a rising sun, or a serial killer can co-opt a zodiac sign, each in the way a car company can use a ram or a jaguar for its branding. But the work of art itself is something else—I write that which is extreme because art is the place to do such in a way that offers insight, and because art can handle extremity.
How does your writing process work?
I try to write every minute of every day. Subtract everything else I am compelled to do from that.
Well, I hope there was something useful to glean in that. I’ll be passing the interview on to author Brent Abell next. Though it is only one person I’m handing it off to, I’m sure Brent, as intense and interesting a character as he is, will more than compensate. I also hope to have a review of the anthology Tales of Jack the Ripper, edited by Ross Lockhart, up soon.