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Uncomfortably Dark Interviews

Find interviews from all your favorite horror creatives here!

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INTERVIEWS: Welcome

04/06/2024
JP BEHRENS

Tell us who JP Behrens is:

  • Where are you from? I’m originally from South Jersey, but now live with my family in Connecticut.

  • What are your hobbies? Beyond spending most of my time reading and writing, I play board games and video games with my family and practice Kung Fu.

  • Do you have pets? One cat and soon to be one dog. Both belong to my kid.


Give us your two-minute pitch for WE DON’T TALK ANYMORE AND OTHER DARK FICTIONS.

We Don't Talk Anymore and Other Dark Fictions is a cornucopia of dark fiction! Stories about mysterious, giant cigarettes, telling hallucinations, the end of the world, ghosts, zombies, and an adventure featuring Van Helsing, Nietzsche, and a Baba Yaga. There’s something for everyone in this collection.


Do you have a favorite story in the collection? And if so, what makes it your favorite?

I’m happy to report that everyone who has read this has found a different favorite, which was partly my goal. My favorites are “Colossus of the Crossroads,” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” “Colossus” because of how subtle and strange it is. “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” because of its simplicity. Both leave the reader with a sense of hope and dread in equal measure.


Along those same lines, is there a favorite character in the collection that resonates more with you than any other?

No, not particularly. Every character is uniquely suited to their particular story within the collection so it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite in that regard. 


Tell us about your writing process. Have you found that it changes with every story/project, or do you have an established routine?

My process is always open to change if I think a particular habit may improve my work. I do write and get 1250 new words down every day. Over the next year, my hope is to increase that number to 2000. Meanwhile, I am also busy editing past work that I need to turn in. I’ve found I need to cling to a routine if I have any hope of getting all the work I need to do, done.


What one thing must you always do or have while writing and why?

Just time. I don’t have a good luck charm or such. I’m pretty good at getting work done once I get started. Getting started, however, is my biggest obstacle some days.


What has been the best thing that you have learned about the writing craft and/or the publishing industry itself?

I’ve learned that if you keep working and focus on improving, opportunities for publication arise and your voice will be heard. Sometimes it feels like you’re punching a wall with nothing to show for your efforts, but eventually with skill and endurance, cracks will appear.


What has been your proudest moment so far or experience?

My proudest moment was getting the author copies of my first novel, PORTRAIT OF A NUCLEAR FAMILY. It was the first time I felt like my dream wasn’t as impossible as it had seemed only a year before that. Like I said earlier, cracks will eventually appear.


What is your favorite thing about being in this industry?

I get to work for myself. I mean there are deadlines and expectations, but all of that is under my control. If I focus on the work, which is both challenging and enjoyable, I can’t really go wrong. The support from readers is wonderful as well. They’re kind words keep digging deeper when I feel like I’ve already published my best words.

What other projects are in the works that you would like to mention?                              

I am working on a sequel to the upcoming novella from Crystal Lake Publishing, MISSING IN MISKATONIC: A TRAVIS DANIELS INVESTIGATION. If I don’t drop the ball and readers respond well to it, there will be a nice series of books on the horizon. The feel I’m aiming for is Raymond Chandler and HP Lovecraft working in the writer’s room for the show Supernatural, but set in the late 1920s to early 1930’s. So far, it’s been a blast to write.

I’m also working on placing the first in a YA Fantasy series, THE PARABLES OF AVARATH: THE CHOSEN. The first one is written, and I have the idea for the overall series worked out. I just need to find an interested publisher.


BIO: 

JP Behrens is a graduate of Rowan University and the Yale Writer’s Workshop. His debut novel, PORTRAIT OF A NUCLEAR FAMILY sold over 1500 copies in its first year and continues to do well. WE DON’T TALK ANYMORE AND OTHER DARK FICTIONS is his first collection of short fiction. He spends his days reading, writing, and practicing Kung Fu. The rest of his time is dedicated to family. Sleep is a fantasy he hopes to make a reality once again someday.

INTERVIEWS: Text
INTERVIEWS: Pro Gallery
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03/30/2024
AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH DAVID D. WEST

How long have you been writing?

I first started writing when I was in fifth grade. I took a pretty long hiatus and didn’t pick up a pen again until I was in college. But even back then, I would hardly call it writing. I would scribble down a few ideas here, a few scenes there, but I’d never actually finish a story. It wasn’t until 2019 that I finished writing my first story, and it gave me the confidence boost I needed to start finishing other projects. That’s when I first started identifying myself as a writer.

What made you want to become a writer?

Like most writers, I fell in love with books at a young age and wondered what it would be like to write one of my own. When I was 11, my mom made one of her back-alley deals and came home with a typewriter. She wanted to use it as a decorative piece in the house, but it only lasted a week before I moved it up to my room. I loved the way my fingers felt as they slid across the keys. I started by typing out lyrics to songs as I listened to them and then realized that I could write my own stories.

Do you only write horror stories or do you crossover into other genres?

I would say 95% of what I write is horror. I’ll occasionally dabble with some soft science fiction, but even that ends up having a horror bent to it. No matter what I write, though, I would call it dark fiction.

Several of your short stories are in various anthologies. Can you talk about those and tell us which one you are most proud of or had the most fun writing?

The story I’m most proud of has to be “While I’m Still Here,” which appears in Sans. Press’s Into Chaos anthology. I originally wrote it for a different open call asking for folk horror stories. I spent a lot of time fishing with my dad when I was younger, and we saw a lot of really neat places. I used some of those places and the people we fished with as the foundation for this story. Luckily, we never had an encounter quite like Luroy, the main character, does.

I’ve also had “Hallowed Ground” published in October Nights Press’s Tales from the Clergy, an anthology of stories inspired by the band Ghost. Music has a huge impact on my writing, and it was awesome to land a spot in an anthology built off a band’s catalog. I actually have a story forthcoming through Book Slayer Press in their Negative Creep anthology, featuring stories inspired by Nirvana songs.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

My favorite thing has to be seeing how supportive everyone is in this community. I’m still a lurker and haven’t engaged much with other writers/readers yet, but I love how everyone hypes up, supports, and helps out their fellow writers.


What can you tell us about your current project?

I’m currently working on edits for my novel Silence in the Snow. To sum it up, three outcasts must survive the winter against an authoritarian sheriff and the malevolent spirit haunting their village. I pitch it as Stephen Graham Jones’s The Only Good Indians crossed with Alexis Henderson’s Year of the Witching. I’m currently working with a mentor through the Horror Writers Association to make this novel the best it can possibly be, and I think we’ve been doing great things with it.


What one piece of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

All it takes is some discipline, dedication, and determination, and that applies to more than just writing. These are three things my high school wrestling coach tried to drill into us, and it took me a few years to realize just how impactful these three traits can be. It wasn’t until I took that lesson to heart that I realized that my writing has potential.

What are your goals for 2024?

My pipe dream is to find an agent for Silence in the Snow. More realistically, I’d like to find a home for three of my short stories and finish the first draft of my next novel. I also want to get more involved in the horror community with my fellow readers/writers.

Where can readers find you?

On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61555736736761

or on Instagram and Twitter @DavidWestWrites


David's Bio:

David D. West lives and teaches in the Pacific Northwest. The dark, gloomy atmosphere of the region makes its way into all of his writing, creating vivid worlds with rich descriptions that pull readers in. His work has previously been published through Black Hare Press, Sans Press, and October Nights Press. When he is not teaching or writing, he is exploring the gray beaches and dark forests of southwest Washington with his wife, son, and their dog, Buster.

INTERVIEWS: Text

2/10/2024
KRISTOPHER RUFTY

NEW RELEASE INTERVIEW:

LUCY

If you had to pitch LUCY to me as a reader, what would your pitch be?
Either Death Wish with a dog, or a reverse John Wick. 


When did you first get the idea for this storyline and how long did it take you to write it, from conception to finish? 
The idea for the actual book came to me not too long ago. Maybe last summer? But the bad guys have been in my head for a few years. I dreamed about them one night, from their appearances to their obsessive worshipping of disco music. They didn’t have names in the dream, so those came later. But I knew way back then that they needed to go into a story. Took me a while to find one, but Lucy was perfect.


What was your favorite part of writing this story? 
I loved writing about Lucy herself and her relationships with Austin and Nora. But I had more fun than I probably should have writing about the bad guys. They grew into multi-layered characters that I enjoyed spending time with, though they were awful, awful people.


What did you find was the hardest part of writing LUCY and what was the hardest scene to write? 
The hardest part was probably trying to remember that The Razors are bad. They’re killers, bottom line. But they were so dang likeable that it was easy to forget that.
The hardest scene had to be Lucy’s flashbacks…or her tragedy that happens in the book and puts her on her journey for retribution. It was tough going to those places, but the story went there naturally, and I just went along with it.


Do you personally relate to any of the characters? If so, which one and why?
Not too much. I might have a few things in common with Austin, especially with his writing path. But I’m also a cat lover and a dog lover. Always have been, so it was easy to write about somebody who has to learn how to care for a dog after years of being with cats. I always had several of each growing up and still have some to this day. But that’s sort of where the similarities end.
Oh, and I enjoy disco. Not as much as The Razors, but I enjoy it a lot.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 
Several. Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Joe Lansdale, Bryan Smith, Edward Lee, Stephen King, Gil Brewer, Gary Brandner, John M. MacDonald, and so, so many more.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?
I’m already deep into my next two books. One is longer while the other is a shorter novel. At least, that’s how they’re shaping up to be.
The Redneck Zombies novelization is almost complete and will begin its polishes and edits over the next several months. I believe it’s set to be a late summer release. I couldn’t be more excited about that. It’s been a dream come true. I’ve said it so many times, but it’s the truth.  


BIO FOR KRISTOPHER RUFTY:
Kristopher Rufty lives in North Carolina with his three children and pets. He’s written over twenty novels, including ALL WILL DIE, THE DEVOURED AND THE DEAD, DESOLATION, THE LURKERS and PILLOWFACE. When he’s not spending time with his family or writing, he’s obsessing over gardening and growing food.
His short story DARLA'S PROBLEM was included in the Splatterpunk Publications anthology FIGHTING BACK, which won the Splatterpunk award for best anthology. THE DEVOURED AND THE DEAD was nominated for a Splatterpunk award.
He can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

For more about Kristopher Rufty, please visit: www.kristopherrufty.com

INTERVIEWS: Text

ORDER LUCY HERE!

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INTERVIEWS: Image

01/27/2024

DAN SHRADER

THOSE WHO LIVE IN DARKNESS

If you had to pitch THOSE WHO LIVE IN DARKNESS to me as a reader, what would your pitch be?

This is Volume One of twisted little tales that occur in the town of Towers Valley. Many of the plots are somewhat interconnected, whether through a shared character, event, or location. As you reach the end, you will witness the threads of these tales coming together in different ways.

The collection brings a wide spectrum of elements in horror, ranging from the extreme to science fiction in a way. Serial killers and cult-like families to unhealthy relationships and corrupt law enforcement. It delves into claustrophobic situations, introduces us to terrible human beings, showcases freaks of nature, and even pays homage to so many 80s tropes.

If you’re on the go and need a quick fix, it’s easy to bite off a piece of the book one story at a time.


How long did it take you to write this collection?

I have been working on this project for the past five years, with breaks in between to write other stuff. Those will be released later this year. With some of these stories in the collection, I have rewritten them multiple times and made changes after writing other stories. Eventually, the idea for the town Towers Valley came to me, and everything fell into place. Last year, I decided to combine all these pieces and send them off to the editor to create Volume One.


Do you have a favorite story or character in this collection? Which one and why?

I love all of them, but if you had to twist my arm, I’d go with “From the Gutters”. It’s hands down my favorite! There’s just so much packed into the small story and I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from it too. It might need a follow-up because the characters are awesome, and the story line can keep going. It brings back memories of the old 80s films I loved as a kid. It takes you on unexpected twists and turns.


What did you find was the hardest part of doing the collection or was a particular story harder to write than the others?

Everything. Writing stories you love and want to read is one thing, but turning them into a book is a whole different ball game. I consider myself fortunate to have received support from experienced authors in the industry. People who were willing to help and saying, “Hey, I’m here to show you how to do this and help you with this project. I’m gonna teach you the ins and outs.” It meant the world to me. Without their help, self-publishing would have been a daunting task. The editing, formatting, and understanding of covers, spines, and page numbers effecting the artwork of the book…. all of it! I just wrote. I’m a storyteller and that’s all I really focused on. I didn’t know any better, but I’m very lucky.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?

Clive Barker. His stories spoke to me, and I love everything he does.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?                           

Soulless Lonesome is a novella that I have coming out on February 29, 2024. It’s an awesome story—more of a noir-horror and has a lot of crazy elements in it. This is the one that gave birth to Towers Valley and has a character from Those Who Live in Darkness Vol One making an appearance.

The Devil’s Rite is a short story coming out May 1, 2024. Has a folklore/urban legend story line more or less about the past coming back to haunt you. Very twisted in so many ways. This, too, has a Towers Valley connection.

Some Anthologies I’m a part of as well with other great writers: Body Horror (Feb 20th) and Splatology (March 20th)


Bio:

DAN SHRADER, hailing from Southern Indiana, is a mastermind of spine-chilling stories that will stay with you. His life took a turn the day he stumbled upon a large box of VHS tapes, filled with titles: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, BLACK CHRISTMAS, and NIGHT OF THE DEMONS. From that moment, an insatiable appetite for horror was awakened within his very soul. He draws inspiration from acclaimed authors like Clive Barker, Edward Lee, Kristopher Triana, and Brian Keene.

INTERVIEWS: Text

12/02/2023
RYAN HARDING

INTERVIEWED BY CHRISTINA PFEIFFER

1. If you had two minutes to pitch your book, TRANSCENDENTAL MUTILATION, to a new reader of your works, what would you say?

Transcendental Mutilation is the follow-up short story collection to my book Genital Grinder, a more ambitious exploration of several of those themes with some of my most outlandish and depraved imaginings. There are 10 stories, abstractly interconnected like before. Two of the stories—“The Seacretor” and “Angelbait”—won the Splatterpunk Awards for Best Short Story in 2019 and 2020. TM features some of my best writing, while still being sickly obsessed with the grotesque and insalubrious. They are about lost souls transforming themselves beyond the banal limitations of the flesh to something either greater or more horrifying. As the ad copy says, every journey begins with a single slice. Readers of Edward Lee, Chandler Morrison, Clive Barker, Bret Easton Ellis, etc., may be the ideal audience for this odd-yssey.


2. Is there a favorite story in the collection that really resonates with you more so than the others? Why do you think that is?

Since I get to discuss one of my other favorites later, I’ll talk about “Angelbait” here. It’s the clear winner for the most repulsive story in the collection, something that disgusted me writing it, which doesn’t typically happen. I’m usually too worried about writing a scene the best way to dwell so much on the content, but “Angelbait” is inspired by some of the nauseating acts of people exalted as saints. I’m reminded of a line from Barker’s The Hellbound Heart, re: Frank preparing for a “spontaneous gesture of self-defilement” should the Cenobites request it. It’s a story about the conviction, horror, and absurdity of faith, miracles, and death, and though written for Regina Garza Mitchell & Dave Barnett’s (RIP) anthology The Book of Blasphemy, I try to avoid any hint of the didactic in my work. It’s not meant as a mockery or critique.


3. If readers wanted to get into your mind, musically, while you wrote some of these stories, what five songs would you pick?

I. “Devil Eyes” from the self-titled Mercyful Fate EP: “Temple of Amduscias” doesn’t exist without this one. This was originally intended for a King Diamond tribute anthology where each contributor would use a song from Mercyful Fate or King Diamond for inspiration. 


II. “Ion Storm” from Dodheimsgard’s 666 International. This is the song playing as Alec begins his odd-yssey through Painfreak in “Divine Red.” Would any club really be playing this plunge into the maelstrom? Probably not, but it’s an apt embodiment of the chaos of the scene.


III. “Welcome to Videodrome” - Howard Shore. The unsettling and foreboding sounds and score that opens the Videodrome soundtrack. Many of the Howard Shore soundtracks for David Cronenberg—also Scanners, The Brood, Crash, etc.—were particularly valuable in the creation of “Orificially Compromised,” a blatant Cronenberg homage.


IV. “Inner War” – by Antaeus and Aosoth. Originally an Antaeus song, though I love the “cover” of it by Aosoth, if you can really call it that (some crossover in band members). The Antaeus version has the edge of scathing rawness while Aosoth’s is fuller and shatteringly violent. Many characters in TM are preoccupied with an inner war of consciousness and oftentimes their bodies…and in the lyrics MkM advises to “cut your flesh.” (Every journey begins with a single slice…)


V. “Excoriating Abdominal Emanation” – Carcass. The polysyllabic word play of the Necroticism album may have had a more profound impact on me as a writer, but as a listener, I still prefer the less florid and far more bludgeoning era of Symphonies of Sickness. The rampant black humor and anatomical discourse has its own place in the collection, and there’s a build-up to the mayhem, as with the stories.


Bonus track: “Felch My Beef Broth from Your Sister’s Prolapsed Rectum” by the mighty Corpsefrother. RIP, Giallo Killer.


4. Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style?

As far as the style and to no small degree thematically, Clive Barker. The prose of The Books of Blood resonated with me as I was trying to evolve as a writer, and the beginning of The Great and Secret Show was revelatory with this idea of a hidden world and transcending the banality of the surface world. His characters always wanted to see what was secret, metaphysically and otherwise. He also emerged with the push toward the more graphic content of the Splatterpunks, and I appreciated that as someone who loved gory horror.


…And yet, there’s also Edward Lee. I felt like I had the voice figured out by the time I discovered his books, but his transgressive hardcore classicks from the late 1990s—including Header, The Pig, and The Bighead—and his collaborations with John Pelan (Shifters and Goon, in particular) awakened me to the possibilities of this new niche genre, which was far beyond the excesses of Splatterpunk. Even with the foundation of The Books of Blood, there isn’t Genital Grinder or Transcendental Mutilation without Edward Lee, either.



5. If you could have dinner with any three of your characters from TM, who would they be and why?

I. Otis from “Angelbait.” The guy is a maniac and surely has some appalling anecdotes to share.


II. Anna from “Divine Red.” Rob pretty much abandons life as he knows it for her, so is it evident why?


III. Kendall from “Last Time at Thanksgiving.” Speaking of appalling anecdotes, here is another useful dinner companion. Although by now, he may have forgotten his reservoir of impolite stories.


6. What are you most proud of thus far in your career?
The Splatterpunk Awards are admittedly most fulfilling. It really is great just to be acknowledged in the nominations, but I’ve been fortunate to win for Best Novella (with Edward Lee for Header 3—and sharing the drill with that legend is a career highlight unto itself!), Best Short Story twice (“Angelbait” and “The Seacretor”), and Best Novel (The Night Stockers, with Kristopher Triana). I’m off in my own little world (and inner war), so it feels like vindication that the work matters to readers. There may be something else on that level of vindication way off on the horizon, but we will have to see. 


7. What book are you currently reading and what was your last five star read?
I just finished Jonathan Butcher’s crazy new body horror collection, Something Very Wrong, which is the kind of madness you’d expect from the nutter behind What Good Girls Do, What Good Men Do, and Chocolateman! Now I am moving on to Thomas Harris’s Hannibal, having just revisited Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs through Audible, where most of my reading is accomplished of late. (I may be juggling it with The Scott Burns Sessions whenever it gets here, a book about Scott’s days producing death metal albums in the early days.) Current Audible read is Clive Barker’s Everville, and a few weeks back I also revisited The Great and Secret Show, which is an absolute 5-star work!


8. What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Be patient and take the time to learn your craft. Learn what good writing is, which will be to your advantage because so many do not recognize it—particularly its absence. There is no stigma to publishing your own work now, so more people are publishing before they are ready. You only get one first novel, and you don’t want to look back at it even a year or two later with embarrassment, the way I would have if I could have published the first three novels I wrote with no middleman. It’s great if you can be prolific, but make sure it is not to your detriment. You have to give yourself the time to actually learn from experience. If you are endeavoring to write extreme horror, I would also encourage adopting a pen name.   


9. Temple of Amduscias is a brand spanking new story from you. Where did the idea come from and could we see more from this world in the future?
“Temple of Amduscias” is one of my favorites in the book, and I feel it has some of my all-time best writing. As I mentioned above, it was inspired by the song “Devil Eyes” from the Mercyful Fate EP and not more than a little Silent Hill. I had several false starts with it, and I would take one or two things that worked from a failed attempt. This resulted in a motif of zero/nothingness, reflecting the main character, Olivia (a name with an O or zero in it) and her exploration of Naughton (again, a zero or “naught”). Once I had that, the story finally took the shape I needed. Amduscias/the Woodsman is a concept I wouldn’t mind exploring again. I’ve kept a few notes here and there. I was already able to do something fun with a novella called The Profile (collected in the anthology Call Me Hoop), where the FBI agent Kessler is actually running interference for the killer in “Temple,” and InterphaZ from “Junk” and “Orificially Compromised” even gets in on the act, too.  


10. Are there any projects you are working on for 2024?

I am doing my damnedest to have a book out every year after only having a short story in 2022. Next year, it’s my intention to have my long-running collaboration with Bryan Smith released at last. No title or publisher yet, but it’s an insanely gory and black-humored novel where an alien munitions division tests out some of its tech on a small town. We’ve had a lot of fun doing it, just taking our time, but it is in the home stretch at last. That’s the one I’m most confident about, but I have some other books in the planning stages, so maybe one of those will also be ready for 2024. 


Thank you for the interview!

INTERVIEWS: Text

11/04/2023
Kevin Bachar

Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker, WGA screenwriter, and author

If you had two minutes to pitch your book “DREAD” to a new reader, what would you say?  

As a screenwriter, we’re always giving the ‘elevator pitch’, you’re told…“Sell me your movie in a sentence or two.” So, if I had to do the same for Dread, I’d describe it as a book existing in that dark place that borders the natural world and the supernatural world. Thousands of people have gone missing out in the wild and this is a collection of tales that offer up some horrifying reasons why.

As an Emmy-award-winning National Geographic director and cinematographer, I’ve swum with sharks, climbed the peaks of mountains, and explored the darkest of forests. In DREAD, I weave together terrifying true stories from my real-life adventures with twisted fiction from the depths of my frightening imagination. I dare you to open the pages and indulge in the dark side of nature. 
How was that? A little longer than two sentences, but I think that gives you a taste of where you’ll be going when you read Dread.

Is there a favorite story in the collection that really resonates with you more so than the others? Why do you think that is? 

The old “Which is your favorite child?” question. I can’t give you one, but there are few that hit just a little harder for me as they are from real moments that I experienced. The first story in the collection, The Peak of Fear, has elements of a tale that was told to me while I was atop Mount Washington, hunkered down for the night in the Weather Observatory during a raging blizzard in February. We were trapped there, and the two Weather Observers stationed there shared with us some ghost stories. The Peak of Fear was born from that chilling, in more ways than one, that night. 

There’s also a story called, The Itch, which is about a woman hiking alone on the tundra who can’t escape the swarms of mosquitoes and resorts to a gruesome way to solve her insidious itch. This came about from a trip to Greenland where I was filming the calving of icebergs, and I met a woman who was being driven mad by the mosquitoes since she had forgotten to pack bug spray and a head net. And there’s Branching Out, which just scares the hell out of me, and I love it for that.


Tell us about your writing process. Have you found that it changes with every story, or do you have an established routine? 
My process is the seat-of-the-pants style of writing. I don’t really do extensive outlines or overthink an idea. I get some sort of spark and then start fanning the flames by putting words to paper. My routine is that I write every day, sitting at the laptop for the workday either crafting a story, doing research, or sometimes just staring at a white page. But, I’m also writing when I’m driving, sitting at the beach, or lying down with my head on the pillow—thinking about characters and places and what happens to those new friends that I created in my mind.


What can you tell us about your documentary/film-making process and how it differs from your writing thought process? 
There are some things that are the same. You have to come up with an idea, just like with a fictional story. Let’s say National Geographic wants a shark film. I now have to come up with a theme and story to build around sharks. Sharks and…what? What about sharks and boats? We all know in the movie Jaws that the great white shark attacks and sinks Quint’s boat at the end, but does this happen in real life? I begin researching to find out how often encounters with boats and sharks happen. I find some footage, and eyewitnesses to these encounters, as well as meet with scientists who have theories of why these interactions between boats and sharks take place. This all gets woven together and the film JAWS vs BOATS is born. In many ways, there’s more writing involved for a documentary than for a fictional story. To get to the final delivery of the JAWS vs BOATS film, you have to write a pitch, then a detailed treatment, shooting scripts, and then the final narration script. 


Which media do you find the most enjoyable? Film or writing, and why? 
I enjoy them both. The sheer adventure and moments of pure adrenaline from filming a great white shark or being there when they open a tomb filled with mummies just can’t be duplicated sitting at a laptop. But I also love creating new worlds and moments and breathing life into characters that I created and bring into existence with words.


What one thing must you always do or have while writing and why?
I need a cup of coffee at my side. Nothing else really, just a cup of java, black.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style? 
I don’t think there’s one. Every time I read a new book, short story, or screenplay, I find something that hits me in a way that makes me want to incorporate that style into my own writing. Whether it be a character description, sentence structure, or plot development. Like a chef tasting a mix of spices in a dish prepared by another cook. That chef might take that combo of spices, but instead of using them in a pasta dish, uses them in a soup, and changes the mix to make one spice a little stronger, and adds a new spice to complement the others. They’ve used some elements of that first meal they had but have altered it in such a way that it’s wholly new and original to the dish they created.
Does that make sense? I hope it does. If not, I do know I’m now hungry.


What has been the best thing that you have learned about writing and/or the publishing industry itself?
The best thing is that there are always new stories to be written and new readers to read them.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?
The thing I love about horror is that it incorporates so many styles and sub-genres. Ghost, monster, slasher, possession, demons, critters and creatures and a host of others are just a few of the themes you can explore. I also love that horror has the ability to engender such strong emotions, literally screams of terror, or howling laughter. Films like Happy Death Day, which had you at the edge of your seat, while also grinning from ear to ear. Or something as monumental as Sixth Sense which had you shuddering in fear and then crying like a baby. No other genre puts you on such an emotional rollercoaster.

What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?
I recently sold a screenplay to MarVista Entertainment, which is—wait for it–a shark thriller. DREAD is also part of a three-book series called Nights of Madness, and the second book in the series called CREEP, is out in January and available for pre-order now. And I’m also working on my first novel called INTRUDER. It’s about a woman, a dog, a cabin, and an intruder. And I’m still working in the documentary world as well. So, keeping busy!


Kevin's Bio:
Kevin Bachar is a three-time national EMMY award-winning documentary filmmaker and WGA screenwriter. The elevated horror film he wrote - The Inhabitant - was released through Lionsgate and is available on Hulu, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. If you watch National Geographic, PBS, or The Discovery Channel you’ve seen his work. He’s the idiot in the water with sharks or crawling into caves to film vampire bats. Through his journeys, he’s interviewed scientists who’ve enlightened him, heard folk tales that have frightened him, and he’s seen quite a few things that have filled him with dread.
Kevin won the 2018 Page Awards Grand Prize from Screenwriting, as well the top prize for Screencraft’s Action Thriller contest, which had creative execs from Bad Robot, The Donner’s Company, and the writer of DIEHARD, Steven de Souza, as judges. Complimenting his writing, Kevin has lectured and given presentations at prestigious institutions such as Rutgers University, American University, and the Rubin Museum of Art. He’s also a member of the Horror Writers Association.
You can stay updated on all of Kevin’s projects at www.kevinbachar.com.

Twitter/X, https://twitter.com/KevinPangolin , Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/kevinbachar/ , and TikTok, https://www.tiktok.com/@kevinbachar?lang=en .

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10/15/2023
Lor Gislason

Author of INSIDE OUT

If you had two minutes to pitch your book “INSIDE OUT” to a new reader, what would you say?  

INSIDE OUT is like if The Blob and The Thing had a baby and got a little silly in the process!! Horror is FUN for me, so I wanted to make something that has all my favourite toppings. I made an indulgent pizza.


What sparked this concept for you? And how long did it take you to write the story? 

I hardly ever remember my dreams, but when I do, they’re really detailed and set up like movie scenes—So I woke up with this set of three “scenes” and they became the first stories in the book. Then I had another idea…and another! It took about a year in total, but I had a lot of downtime in between bursts of writing.


Is there a favorite character that really resonates with you more so than the others? Why do you think that is? 

There’s a little girl named Alice who comes home to find her parents have melted together and it’s the apocalypse outside. She very quietly goes about her life before running out of things to do. It’s definitely how I’d deal with the situation. Just a little sad and pensive, like me haha.


Tell us about your writing process. Have you found that it changes with every story, or do you have an established routine? 

Oh, my process is pure chaos. Some stories are totally thought out and come together easily, others are like pulling teeth one sentence at a time. I write on my phone more than anything, jotting things down before I forget. I’ve been trying to set aside dedicated writing time but it’s still a work in progress!


What one thing must you always do or have while writing and why? 

Zero distractions. Sometimes I write in silence, even music gets to me. Oh, and caffeine, need that fuel.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style?

Nick Cutter is someone I admire a lot, especially his descriptions of gore (not to mention he’s a fellow Canadian!) as well as Hailey Piper, for her portrayal of queer characters. B.R Yeager, Judith Sonnet, and Briar Ripley Page are recent faves as well.


What has been the best thing that you have learned about writing and/or the publishing industry itself? 

There are people who truly accept me as I am, who embrace the extreme and weird side of things with an enthusiasm that’s contagious. I’ve made some incredible friends who I can talk to about anything without judgment.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry? 

I love recommending and being recommended horror, there’s always someone who knows of some tiny obscure film that has 5 Letterboxd reviews and turns out to be the best thing ever. Going “Wow that was amazing!” and then sharing it with the next person, it’s like a wholesome version of The Ring curse.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention? 

Currently, I’m helping edit Spectrum, a horror anthology exploring the ASD experience. As for personal projects, my next novella Cosmic Dyke Patrol is my main focus. Hopefully you’ll see that next year!


Lor's Bio:

Lor Gislason is a non-binary homebody from Vancouver Island, Canada. Their love of “goopy horror”, takes center stage in debut novella Inside Out, Sick! Stories from the Goop Troop and the Godless 666 Bronze Winner for Short Story, TOOTHWORMS. As an editor, they’ve worked with Ghoulish Books on Bound In Flesh: An Anthology of Trans Body Horror. Find more on their blog, lorgislason.wordpress.com.

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10/07/2023
C.M. SAUNDERS

Author of THE WRETCHED BONES

If you had two minutes to pitch your new release “THE WRETCHED BONES” to a new reader, what would you say?

The Wretched Bones is a mystery horror about Ben Shivers, a paranormal investigator who lives in a camper van with a rescue cat called Mr Trimble. When Ben is called in to probe a series of tragedies at an exclusive resort, he isn't prepared for what he finds. Since its conception, the Regal Retreat has been plagued by tragedy, controversy, and misfortune, and over the years the site has witnessed scores of murders, killing sprees, accidents, and suicides.

As he slowly unravels the myriad mysteries and the investigation reaches fever pitch, Ben uncovers a history littered with family secrets, witchcraft, murder, retribution, vengeful spirits and an ancient curse, all coming together in a perfect storm deep in the heart of the English countryside.

What sparked this concept for you? And how long did it take you to write the story?

I had the initial idea for the Wretched Bones in the summer of 2019 after visiting a hot spring resort in Guangdong, China, where I worked as a college professor. The thing that struck me most was how if anything bad happened there, which it almost certainly did from time to time, it would be in the resort's best interests to keep it quiet. A beautiful, peaceful, luxurious exterior hiding a dark secret. The idea began to coalesce in my mind and merge with other things that were floating around in there, like sin eaters, alternative religion, the power of dreams, and the witch trials in England.

During the Chinese New Year of 2020, I came back to the UK for a visit. Then, Covid happened, international travel was curtailed, and I got stuck here. That was a weird time for everybody, but it did give me an opportunity to focus on The Wretched Bones. I finished the first draft that summer then, as any writer knows, came the second draft, the third, the fourth, and then the laborious submission process, the dreaded wait, and several rounds of edits, which included rewriting the entire book in American English. My natural inclination is to use British English, but whenever I do that, some people assume I'm really bad at spelling! Finally, more than four years after I started it, The Wretched Bones is as ready as it will ever be. 

Is there a favorite character that really resonates with you more so than the others? Why do you think that is?

His being a jaded hack with a chip on his shoulder, a knack for getting in trouble, and a preoccupation with the supernatural makes the character of Ben Shivers the natural choice. But instead, I'm going to say his feline sidekick Mr. Trimble, just for the way he bullied himself into the plot. When I was working on the first draft I was out walking when I came across an abandoned kitten. It was in a very bad way. I didn't know what to do with it, so I took it to the nearest vet who gave it a 30% chance of survival. I paid for a week of treatment thinking that at least the poor thing could live out his last days somewhere warm and safe, but long story short, he got better. I was so impressed with his survival instincts, I decided to use that as his origin story in the book.

Tell us about your writing process. Have you found that it changes with every story, or do you have an established routine?

It changes depending on my circumstances. I adapt. A lot of people say that they don't have enough time to write. Dude, nobody has enough time. But we all have 24 hours in a day, what we do with them is up to us. If writing was something you really wanted to do, you would make the necessary sacrifices and find time. I wrote my first two books whilst working in a factory. I actually find working a day job helps focus my mind. If I set aside an hour or so a day and plan what I want to do beforehand, I can get a lot done. When I was a teacher, I would get up at 5 am and put in a writing session before class. At the moment my day job is writing for a trade magazine and honestly, sometimes at the end of a long day the last thing I want to do is carry on writing. But it's what I have to do to get where I want to be, so I push through.

What one thing must you always do or have while writing and why?

I know some people say they can't write unless they're wearing their favourite pants or whatever, but I never bought into that way of thinking. To me, that's your subconscious making excuses you're not brave enough to make. Conditions are rarely going to be perfect, and you can drive yourself insane trying to make them so. As long as I have my laptop, a notepad, or my phone, I can set up and write anywhere. Peace and quiet is a bonus.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style?

I know it's a cliché, but I have to say Stephen King. I grew up reading him, so a lot of my early fiction resembled his work purely because that (and Enid Blyton) was all I knew. My style developed as I grew older, experienced more, and read more widely. I love the whole King back story, too. The menial jobs, the struggle for success, then the fame, the addictions, the near-death experience. I think most of us can relate to at least part of it. I still maintain that I learned more from On Writing than I did in three years of university education.

What has been the best thing that you have learned about writing and/or the publishing industry itself?

That like almost everything else in life, the degree of success you have in writing is directly proportionate to the amount of work you put in. The harder you work, the better you become, and the more you achieve. Writing is one of those activities you can never really master. There will always be room for improvement, so it's a long process of continuous improvement.

What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

Knowing that I'm not the only freak out there!

What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I have short stories included in the anthologies This Old House: The Bathroom and Welcome to the Splatterclub 3, neither of which is for the fainthearted. One has just been published and the other is imminent. Early next year I'll be releasing my sixth volume of short fiction, imaginatively entitled X6, and my big reveal is that there will also be a second Ben Shivers book next year called Cuts. This one is about a serial killer in Bristol.

BIO:

Chris Saunders, who writes fiction as C.M. Saunders, is a writer and editor from South Wales. Since gaining a degree in journalism, he has worked extensively in the publishing industry and held desk jobs ranging from staff writer to associate editor. He is currently employed at a trade magazine. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, ezines and anthologies worldwide including The Literary Hatchet, Crimson Streets, 34 Orchard, Phantasomagoria, Dead Harvest, Burnt Fur and DOA volumes I and III, while his books have been both traditionally and independently published, his latest release being the Wretched Bones: A Ben Shivers Mystery, on Midnight Machinations, an imprint of Grinning Skull Press.

Please visit his website or follow his socials for more information:

http://cmsaunders.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/CMSaunders01

https://www.facebook.com/CMSaunders01

The Wretched Bones: A Ben Shivers Mystery by C.M. Saunders is out now.

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