Saturday Special Report: 2023 Dark Dozen Interview Series: Tony Evans.
Today's Dark Dozen Interview is with Tony Evans, author of Sour, Wicked Appalachia and others.
Tony's story, Miss Molly, Miss Molly, will be featured in this year's DARK DISASTERS Anthology.
Read on to learn a little about Tony as he takes on the Dark Dozen!
When did you know you wanted to become an author?
I’ve always been a fan of creating stories. I first did it through music, and in all honesty, I thought fiction was, in general, a massive waste of time. Then, in 2012, I was a scientific conference where someone suggested that I read a book that was similar to the movies I watch (horror all the way!). I figured I’d give it a try, so I went into the local bookstore there and found Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King. Once I read that book, I fell in love with horror fiction, and it was at that point that I decided I wanted to tell stories, too. So, to answer the question in a very long-winded way (my apologies, by the way), it was late 2012.
If you had three sentences to pitch your work to a new reader, what is your pitch?
I write horror based largely on Appalachian folklore and legends passed down from generation to generation in the mountains. If you like witches, haunted coal mines, and things that lurk deep in the darkest woods, you won’t be disappointed. My style is similar to the old-fashioned Tales from the Crypt style of storytelling where there’s always a lesson learned in the end, and you’ll be second guessing what you wish for.
I don’t know! Typing it out sounds much different than telling someone in person!
What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?
The love and support that most of the other readers and authors give. It seems that people genuinely care, at least in my experience. I’ve done a lot of things in my life, and I can say with 100% certainty that the support offered to me by other authors and readers is unmatched in the indie horror scene. The world needs more people like that.
What’s the one thing that scares you the most in this world and have you ever written about it?
Something bad happening to my children. That’s the one thing that really and truly scares me. I’ve written about it in different ways, yes, but in a more fantasy/unrealistically driven scenario. Still, it scares me to think about it.
Tell us about a scene in one of your stories or someone else’s that you would not want to be stuck in and why? Name the book and author, if not you.
Kind of a combination of two scenes from two separate stories, one based on the other. The first story is They’re Creeping Up on You, a story written by Stephen King for the original 1982 Creepshow movie. I absolutely hate cockroaches (stems from a massive infestation I had growing up), and this story makes my skin crawl…especially the scene where they’re covering him in his own bed. The second scene, very similar, is from my story, Katsaridaphobia. Similar situation…only in the shower.
Darkest or most disturbing horror movie ever watched:
The A24 movie, The Witch. Maybe it isn’t for everyone, but the isolation and lore in that story is unmatched. Such a scary scenario to be cast out by those you depend on and left to survive alone.
Darkest or most disturbing horror novel ever read:
Pet Sematary and/or The Girl Next Door. May not be the same for all, but those hit me hard.
Darkest/ Worst Way to Die:
Drowning in the dark depths of the ocean. Lonely. Cold. I’d rather have my skin stripped off piece by piece and eaten alive by a witch. At least then I’d have someone there with me.
If you had one hour to speak to any living author, who would it be and why?
That’s a hard question to answer, but if forced to, maybe Neil Gaiman. His imagination is fantastic, and though he is mostly an author of fantasy style stories, his short horror fiction is some of my absolute favorite.
What has been one of the proudest moments of your writing journey?
I gotta give two here. Sorry!
1) The first time I was invited to an anthology. I usually don’t care about that stuff so much, but just knowing someone actually read something of mine and thought it was good enough to ask me to contribute a story to an anthology was kind of nice.
2) The first AuthorCon in Williamsburg, Va. Brian Keene was walking by my table, and he had a copy of one of my collections. He walked up to me and asked me if I’d sign it for him. As I did, someone stopped by and was asking me about my books. Brian turned to them and said, “This is Tony Evans. He’s a great writer.” Whether or not he was just being kind didn’t matter (and still doesn’t), it definitely gave me confidence and is something I’m still proud of.
Who are you outside of being an author? What makes you tick other than the worlds and stories you create?
Music. Widelife biology and the natural world (specifically fishes, snakes, and butterflies). Cycling. Those are all things I love and that help me survive.
What is a piece of advice that you WISH someone had given you early in your career?
I think they did tell me this, but I wish I’d have listened more to it. Write what you love and don’t worry about what others say. The right person will read it. End of story.
Tony is the author of Sour, Wicked Appalachia, Better You Believe, The 11th Plague, and A Bad Case of Tinnitus. He has also authored over two-dozen short stories that have appeared in various print and online horror and dark fantasy magazines and anthologies. Tony was born and raised in the Appalachian foothills of eastern Kentucky and his fiction is largely influenced by the folktales and legends he grew up listening to. Tony’s ability to retell and put his own spin on those old folktales while keeping their Appalachian roots intact is what sets him apart from others in the field, and his storytelling is unmatched.