Welcome to Thursday, and the introduction to another up and coming writer. Today I’m interviewing Geoff North, writer of horror. You can find his Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Geoff-North/460245047430262?ref=hl and his Twitter at https://twitter.com/Geoff_North .
1. So you wanted to be a writer. Why ever for?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but in a different way. I created my own universe of superheroes, and produced (rather poorly) over two hundred hand drawn and written comic books from the ages of 11-17. After that I ventured into cartoon strips and finally settled into a weekly political cartoon panel gig for a handful of newspapers that lasted off and on for almost twenty years. I was never truly happy doing that, and in my early 40s I decided I didn’t want to draw another single picture ever again. It was the writing I always loved more. It only took me thirty years or so to realize that. Better late than never, I suppose.
2. You mentioned that you write mostly horror but also some dark fantasy. What do you like about these genres?
I enjoy all fantasy, dark, epic, historical – I read it all. I have written some fantasy but have never tried to publish it. Maybe some day. Horror is where it’s at for me and always will be. I’m not a fan of slasher, buckets of blood, and senseless torture horror. I like a nice, slow, supernatural build that unsettles my readers along the way. And the bad guys always pay for the torment they’ve caused in the end. I’m pretty sure the old farm house I grew up in was haunted, so maybe that’s where my passion started!
3. Tell me about your latest book.
My latest – as in available for purchase right now – is Children of Extinction. Four teenagers stumble across a wounded alien and its time-travel capable craft in the woods. Two of the kids are sent back 80,000 years carrying a disease to wipe out the human race at its closest call of extinction. The other two teens are forced to stay in the present day and guard over the strange being until the mission has been completed. (Forgot to mention that while I was growing up there were dozens of strange UFO sightings in the late seventies around our area. Go figure.)
I’ve just finished another story called Conspiracy Hotel split into three parts. This story is strange, even for me! It’s horror/romance/suspense all rolled up into a nightmarish tale of time travel in the wrong hands. I’ll sum it up like this: Big Foot, Jimmy Hoffa, The Loch Ness Monster, Grigori Rasputin, and a dozen more famous characters and creatures from history soaking up the sun at an all-inclusive Cuban resort.
4. I see that the blurb to one of your recently published books mentions “zombies with a twist.” Why do you think zombies are so popular these day?
Are we just bored with our lives? “zombies with a twist” Did I write that? Yeah, sounds like me. The cover blurb for CRYERS calls it a new breed of post-apocalyptic zombie. To tell you the truth, I’ve never really cared for zombies. They’re not very bright, they’re slow-moving, and I can only imagine how bad they must smell. I think the only real appeal is their strength in numbers. More recent trends have made them faster and more deadly (28 Days Later and World War Z). I wanted to go a little further – a thousand years into the future further. My “zombies” are cryogenic clients from the 20th and 21st centuries waking up in the 31st century. The world is less populated but a far more dangerous place. Mutated creatures outnumber human descendants, but the guys and gals thawing out from the past put them all to shame.
5. Who is your favorite writer, and why?
Stephen King. Nothing makes a 12 year old kid grow up faster than The Stand. That was the first real horror book I read that made me tuck all those “kid” horror comic books under the bed for good. IT is still my favorite King book, but Salem’s Lot and 11/22/63 are close runner-ups. And even though most of his endings are weak (to me), the man exudes confidence and talent. He’s simply the best there is. My other favorite authors are Dan Simmons, Joe Abercrombie, Hugh Howey, George R. R. Martin, and Robert McCammon. Sorry, couldn’t limit myself to one…
6. What are you working on next?
I’m working on a novel called Dearly Departing. It’s the story of a suicidal middle-aged man and his drug-addicted daughter traveling across the country to see his dying mother one last time. It is very similar in theme to my first (and so far most successful) book, Live it Again. I’m going to enjoy this one because it touches close to home. Earlier this year I drove across the country with my daughter to say goodbye to my mom. We made it just in time. And though it was sad, it was one of the most joyful weeks of my life. I met up with old friends and family, and bonded even closer with a daughter I didn’t think possible to love more. Life and love is precious, and sometimes death can drive that point home in ways even guys like me can still appreciate. But since I’m a horror author, this coming of age story will be laced with ghosts, suspense, and a bit of terrorism along the way. Oh, and by the way – I’m not suicidal, and my daughter isn’t an addict, it’s just part of the drama.
7. So what REALLY scares you? Besides spiders?
When I was a little kid it was the fear of being buried alive. Twenty years ago it was the idea of alien abduction. Nowadays my biggest fears are still buried under the earth and from outer space in the forms of that super-volcano building under Yosemite National Park and a solar burst that could cripple civilization. Same kind of scares, just a little more refined.
8. What advice do you have for other writers?
Writing can be a very lonely profession or pass-time, but things are getting better. We have the ability these days to reach out to so many other writers. Don’t be shy. Find and make friends. Don’t be afraid to ask silly questions. I won’t tell anyone to write every day and write a lot. We all know that. But I insist you keep writing when you’re not sitting in front of that keyboard. My best ideas usually come when driving down the highway or walking in the woods. Stay fresh in mind and body and let that imagination keep chugging. It will never run out of steam.
Thanks again, Judy!