Two things on this busy Friday: I have a Countdown deal on my epic fantasy novel, Journey To Landaran, on Amazon today through Sunday and currently being featured on Indie Book Bargains: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IO7IXSC
And second, I have horror writer Phronk, here to do an author interview! He’s hilarious, so please enjoy, and have a great weekend.
1. So what got you writing in the first place?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve come across hand-written stories from when I was a little kid, and they were as bizarre and convoluted as the stories I write today. I guess I figured out early that when my brain fabricates a twisted collection of ideas, it’s better to rip it out and slap it on paper than let it wriggle around in there for too long.
2. I see you have a new title out recently, “Strangers At a Funeral.” Tell me about that.
It’s a short story about an unlucky kid who notices some suspicious looking figures at his grandpa’s funeral. When they show up in other places they shouldn’t be, he becomes obsessed with figuring out who these people are. Funerals are such odd ceremonies, with specific expectations about how to act at them and who should be there. I thought it would be interesting to explore what happens when outsiders subtly violate that order. How does someone deal with death when the ritual that is supposed to bring closure is disturbed?
3. It looks like you enjoy writing horror fiction. What about that genre appeals to you?
Yeah, I’d say I’m into horror. I’ve always loved writing it, reading it, and even studying it (I got my doctorate in the psychology of horror). I like that horror so directly tackles fundamental aspects of human experience. It exploits our greatest fears, and by way of contrast, our greatest joys. No other genre is so blatant in its manipulation of our emotions. In a way, horror is the most pure, honest type of fiction.
4. What are you working on now?
I’m outlining a sequel to my last novel, Stars and Other Monsters. I want to see what happens next.
5. Who is your favorite writer and why?
My answer to this changes daily. Today, how about … Stephen King’s genes. Because Stephen King himself dominated my reading as I grew up, and whatever genes he passed on to Joe Hill are sure doing wonders too. I’m currently reading NOS4A2 and enjoying the hell out of it.
6. How did you come up with your covers?
I came up with brilliant, complex, visually stunning concepts, then realized I didn’t have the talent or money to make them reality, so I just looked for stock images that were close enough. I find it tough to balance communicating the story and genre with the desire to stand out from the crowd, because those two goals are often at odds with each other.
7. What have you learned so far about the publishing side of things?
I’ve learned that technology has opened up a dizzying crapload of options for writers, and anybody who takes one option and proclaims it as the only one is probably wrong. For the first time ever, writers don’t need anyone else to get words from their brains into readers’ brains. They can do all the writing, editing, gatekeeping, publishing, marketing, pricing, etc., themselves, if they want to. Or they can pick and choose which steps to put in the hands of others. That choice is a good thing for writers. So when a writer says “gatekeeping should be solely up to these five companies,” or “pricing should be controlled only by this one company,” they’re asking for limitations on their own choices. I prefer to dabble in all these areas to find out where my strengths are, and where I need help.
8. What’s something that scares you, and why?
Ringing phones scare me. With all the other ways to communicate today, a phone call says “I need you to drop everything else you’re doing and listen, right now.” It’s always something dreadful, like someone asking me to do something, or tricking me (it’s never actually a free cruise), or delivering bad news. That musical ringtone is like a siren warning that something terrible is about to happen. Not that I don’t love talking to people. Um, follow me on Twitter?
Thanks Judy. I hope you’re having an awesome weekend.