Those Who Go Forth Into The Empty Place of Gods is coming!

STRAND BLURB

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Thurisaz (In the Negative Aspect)

thurisaz graphic

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Honesty in Fiction

Once upon a time, I was scripting a graphic novel for a small press. It was my first traditionally published gig bigger than an anthology piece, and I was very excited about it. It was a work for hire job where I was essentially adapting the publisher’s detailed outline into a script format. As I began work on the project I found certain aspects of the outline to be a bit weak, clunky, or downright corny.

Despite my excitement over the project, I felt it necessary to voice my concerns. The publisher agreed to a few of the changes I suggested but was adamant about keeping other spots of contention, particularly some bad dialogue. One school of thought dictates that, as a hired gun, I shouldn’t have cared, but I did. My name was going to be on that book forever.

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While I was working on this project I was lucky enough to attend Joseph Michael Straczynski’s writing panel at New York Comic Con. When the floor opened to questions I presented my conundrum to Straczynski. Do I follow the direction of the publisher/editor, or do I stick to my guns?

I wish I had recorded his response. It was passionate, moving, and poignant. I can’t recall the exact words, but I will try my best to paraphrase him.

“First consider what the editor says. Be honest with yourself and consider if their input improves the work. If, upon honest consideration, their input harms the work defend your position to the death. Walk away from the project if need be. Writing is a holy task, and you owe it to yourself, to your readers, and to all future writers to approach it with unyielding honesty and reverence. Compromise has no place in the heart of a writer.”

As I said, I’m paraphrasing here, but Straczynski’s words stirred me then, and they guide me still. His advice was helpful in regard to that project years ago, but more importantly, he made me think about the concept of honesty in fiction. But what does that mean? What is honesty in fiction?

Honesty in fiction, at least the way I see it, is being true to your voice, your point of view, and placing your legacy above a quick payoff. It’s about creating work that represents you with sincerity and crafting puzzle boxes of make believe that hold the treasure of your own unique truth within.

One of the common pitfalls I see writers fall into is the trap of trying to write what’s hot. Just the other day I saw an Amazon marketing course claiming to provide the most searched keywords so that authors can tailor their work to trend and market demand. So what’s wrong with this path, you ask? Everyone needs to put dinner on the table, so why not pump out zombie books while they’re in demand?

walking dead

Let’s continue with zombie fiction as our example. The Walking Dead comic series arguably started up the modern zombie boom. The comic was awesome. Kirkman’s passion for what he was doing was clear, and he put everything he had into it. Because of that passion, and a lot of luck, it made him rich. What about all the imitators?

I’m sure some of the writers who jumped on that bandwagon did so with sincere interest. Some of them made decent money, of course. But let’s face it, a lot of off brand zombie fiction sucks. Now those authors who just wanted to cash in on the zombie craze have compromised their names with subpar fiction they phoned in for a quick payoff. On top of that, they robbed themselves of precious time that could have been used creating something true to their soul. Every minute spent writing to please the market is a lost opportunity to forge something special and unique. And for what? A month’s rent? Is it really worth it?

Just as dangerous as the betrayal of one’s own art is the betrayal of one’s own voice and values. While the former is born of greed or laziness, the latter is often times born of fear or conditioning. We live in a society with cultural, moral, and social norms, and our fiction has developed acceptable tropes based around these norms. While many share a vanilla, advertiser friendly worldview, there are many of us who don’t. Still, most people stick to the basic bitch tropes that a lifetime of corporate media has hammered into our skulls.

Good triumphs in the end.

Love conquers all.

Underdogs have the moral high ground.

The ends don’t justify the means.

But what if you don’t believe these things? Should you be bound by them? Of course not. If you eschew the concepts of good and evil then any black and white, Tolkienesque tale you write is going to stink like bullshit. On the flip side, if you are a person of hope and faith writing grimdark because you grew up on Game of Thrones, your prose will feel as disingenuous to your reader as it does to you.

The reason 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 are great examples of dystopians is not because they were among the first. It is because they were written with true passion and sincere concern for the future. Some contemporary dystopians are very clever, and incredibly well written, but they lack fire. A big part of this problem is many writers approach these stories with the superficial elements in mind and borrow the substance of their themes from the passions and insights of older stories.

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I fell into this trap myself while writing an urban fantasy story years back. I’ve always been interested in European paganism, iron age religions, etc… and I decided to write a comic about Celtic myth in the modern day. My protagonist was an ex-cop with a gruff exterior but a heart of gold. You know the type. You’ve seen it a hundred times. When I sent the story to beta readers they all said the same thing – great world building, great villain, lifeless protagonist.

Why? Because I fell into tropes that were at odds with my own beliefs. The protagonist displayed a mixture of New Testament morality and post-modern values that I personally find trouble relating to. As such, I propped her up with the cardboard crutches of played out tropes and hoped she could stand up to the weather. The villain, on the other hand, was a Byronic figure, akin to Milton’s Satan. He was a pre-Christian hero embodying the virtues of an iron age. His struggle was that of a man out of time. From the start, I identified with the him.

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The heroine was an afterthought—an archetypal space holder. Upon reflection, it became clear to me that I had chosen to tell the story from her point of view for two reasons. First, because I was subconsciously following the established tropes I was used to. Second, because I was afraid of putting a character with values that went against the grain as the lead. In short, fear kept me from being honest with myself and with the potential audience. The story suffered for my insincerity.

From that project on I have made a concerted effort to make sure that my fiction is sincere, and that there are truth in my lies. I’m a skeptical, inquisitive person and I write stories that pose questions and challenge beliefs. I value men and women of strength, intelligence, and capability, and my characters reflect this. I also don’t take myself (or much of anything) too seriously, and that shines through in a lot of my work as well. To read my books is to know a part of me, and what is the point of creating art if not to give a piece of yourself to the world?

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Start the Bad World series for just 99 cents!

To celebrate the release of To Kill an Archangel: Bad World 2, book 1 is on sale for a limited time!  Don’t miss this chance to snag It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World for just 99 cents!

Bad World

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Old lyrics – The Lightbringer and the Rogue

Once upon a time, I was in a band called The Vengeful & Godless.  It’s not a time I like to revisit much, as there was a lot of pain in my life then, but I stumbled across these lyrics I wrote back then (2003? 2004?). While the poetry and the meter are a bit crude, there is a raw quality to the anger and indignation of them, and the theme still resonates with me. Because of that, I felt them worth sharing.

The Light Bringer and The Rogue:

The story says he wanted to keep us ignorant
Make us mentally frail and call it innocence
Knowledge was right there, but he’d threaten punishment
against anyone bold enough to reach for it
He would cast man out of paradise
Just as he had done with the angel of light
Our ignorance was key to his tyranny
But the serpent came to man and set us free

Knowledge and progress these were Lucifer’s gifts
To man kind, yet we call this angel villainous
What utterly backward morals have we
To worship a god who’d keep our minds empty
The constant and vigilant enemy
of knowledge, right and ascendancy
Yahew, Allah, god all-mighty,
still a mythical rogue from every angle I see
An Azagthoth, a blind idiot god
An allegorical phantom purveyor of fraud
The patron saint of stupidity
Whose malicious streak puts to shame Loki’s

He whom only thunder hath made greater
was only made great by the thunder of the church
and just as the mythical knowledge bringer suffered
Galileo and Bruno would suffer on earth

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Interview with Andrew Boylan, author of Sacrifice!

Andrew Boylan is a novelist and screenwriter currently residing in Massachusetts. His debut novel, Sacrifice is a beautifully written cross-genre piece that blends together crime fiction and horror with a captivating southwest flavor.

On top of that Andrew is a hell of a guy who consistently shows his support for the New England Horror community and has organized events to help other authors spread their work. I’m excited to share this interview and I implore anyone reading this to check out his work!

Buy Sacrifice here!

Andrew Boylan

Andrew Boylan


Curtis Lawson:
Andrew, I know you have a history in film and screenwriting, but now your focus seems to be on prose. Can you tell us a bit about your history as a writer and the road to your first novel?

Andrew Boylan:
The truth is I always wanted to be a novelist and short story writer. I don’t think I ever really thought about become a screenwriter when I started out. I am a very slow reader, so I always enjoyed the short story form, because I could focus on a short story much better than I ever could a novel. For the first few years after college, I only wrote short fiction. At that time I was moving around a lot. I would land somewhere for a few months, take a job, get bored, and move on to the next place. All the while, scribbling stories in notebooks. However, around 25 I landed in Santa Fe, New Mexico. When I moved into a small apartment there, I set a goal for myself. I said to myself I wouldn’t leave until I finish a novel. I figured it would be very tough to build a writing career as a short story writer. I knew I had to buckle down and write something longer. Something marketable. That seemed like a dirty word to me back then: Marketable. I was in love with writers like Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, Jean Genet, and Charles Portis. I just wanted to work crap jobs and write the stuff I was passionate about regardless of the market. But when I landed in Santa Fe I decided to look at writing as a vocation rather than a hobby. But I had no real idea how that would play out.

I stuck to my guns and wrote a very bad first novel. Very autobiographical. Long on self-indulgence, but short on story. However, I did manage to get an editor at Random House to read it. He wrote me a nice, long letter of encouragement. So I figured I should keep at it.

But during the two years it took me to write that novel my fiction interests began to change. I became obsessed with 1940s and 1950s hard boiled noir. Especially, crime stories set in the southwest and west coast. So I decided to write my next novel in the spirit of Jim Thompson and James M. Cain.

It was around this time that I got an invite to go out to L.A. and meet with a producer who liked some of my short stories. He wanted to turn them into a movie. So I flew out and we had lunch. That was that.

I went back to writing and working my day job. A few months later the producer called. He said he was sorry he couldn’t get the project off the ground with my stories. However, he did have some money to make a horror movie, and did I have any ideas.

So I lied and told him I had an idea. Then I hung up the phone and went to the public library and started digging around for a story.

What I came up with was actually the first incarnation of SACRIFICE. I wrote it as a film for that producer.

The screenplay almost instantly secured me an agent and a manager. The producer who originally wanted it went on to produce a network television show. The agent began shopping my screenplay around. That was when I learn an important lesson about Hollywood. Nobody in the film business is interested in the idea that you have. They are only interested in your next idea. They mostly likely won’t have read your screenplay. Nobody in Hollywood reads. They will tell you they love it and then fold their hands, and say, “What else do you have?”

What SACRIFICE did do for me was get me other jobs. It became my sample script. Because it was a horror script, I was seen as a horror writer, and I got jobs developing other people’s horror ideas, or fixing up scripts that weren’t working.

For several years, that was what I did. And I never got around to writing my own projects, or developing my own ideas. I worked on projects that would never have my name on it.

One of the things that most excited me when I moved back to New England was to start working my own ideas.

In fact, getting back to writing novels was really exciting to me because I could do what ever I wanted. I could write whatever story I wanted. I could write however I wanted. Screenwriting is a very focused art. Tell a screen story is rigorous and precise. You can’t explore characters the same way as a novel can. You can’t go off on digressions. You have to keep the character’s needs in the forefront at all times. There is a tremendous amount of structure involved.

Likewise, screenwriting is very collaborative. You are constantly bouncing ideas around with all the other people involved in the film.

I was particularly excited about being selfish with my material. I could write whatever I wanted and I didn’t need to get approval from a producer, or worry about a director rewriting me. It was very liberating.

It’s funny when I look at some of my reviews. Some people have taken real issue with the liberties I take in how I tell my story. At heart, I don’t care. Yes, I am as egotistical as the next person; I want people to love me. But, sometimes in life you have to take a chance. You have to say this is the story I am passionate about telling, and if certain people hate it then I will have to live with that.

I have sat in enough rooms in my life where fifteen people are struggling to determine exactly what an audience wants from a story. Sometimes you just have to say, there are people out there that don’t like what I do, and move on, and keep doing what I am passionate about. Keep telling the stories I want to tell in the way I want to tell them.

Sacrifice by [Boylan, Andrew]

CL:
Sacrifice is an unusual mash-up of horror, crime, and thriller with strong religious themes. What were your influences for the story?

AB:
I often call SACRIFICE horror noir. I am a huge fan of noir. When I was developing the idea as a screenplay I was very influenced by David Lynch. Wild at Heart. I also love the novels and short stories of Barry Gifford who wrote the source material for Wild at Heart. Story, or plot, let’s say, has never been of paramount importance to me. I usually get pretty bored with a story once I see the gears turning. I would prefer to have my senses overwhelmed.

I’m more interested in the feeling created by a book than what actually happens to the characters.

Nobody is better at that than David Lynch.

I feel similarly about the stories of Jim Thompson. He doesn’t have a full quiver of plots. His story mechanics seem to use the same gears. But he drags you into this dirty world. There is a deep disquiet he creates inside the reader when he pulls you into the heads of his characters.

I have always had very vivid nightmares. And I frequently experience night terrors. I wake up screaming. My wife has recounted entire conversations I have had at night that I can’t remember in the morning. I sleepwalk. Much of my nightmares surround aspects of my religious upbringing. But there is no way to logically explain a nightmare. So often times with the stories that I write I want to capture that experience of being trapped in a nightmare that at first glance might appear to be reality. I want my stories to have the flavor of a nightmare more than a perfectly executed three act structure.

I am also very influenced by the writings of several medieval monks who experienced visions. I think that contemporary literature is too focused on straightforward, realistic storytelling. It can be a little tiresome. I can’t imagine how someone would express a vision of God if they had to be constrained by a beginning, middle, or end.

There is a great debate amongst Biblical linguists if Genesis began “In the beginning…” or “In a beginning…” That one simple article unravels a story that has been written and rewritten over millennia. So I distrust stories which adhere to too rigid a structure.

CL:
How has your experience in the literary world been unique from your experience writing for film? Is there much overlap or are they wildly different?

AB:
I think there is a lot of overlap. The most obvious I guess would be because Sacrifice began as a screenplay. I have another horror screenplay that I have been flirting with developing as a novel too.

The biggest difference is the solitude of writing fiction. With a screenplay I am always collaborating with someone. I’m always bouncing ideas around with the director and producers. I spend very specific time alone when writing screenplays. Where as with my novels it is almost entirely alone.

Even when a book is done I have a hard time getting beta readers to commit to reading the manuscript. Whereas with a screenplay, it is so easy to read, and so quick, I can always get a lot of opinions.

CL:
You did a horror film called Home Sweet Home in 2012? What is the film about and how did it come about?

AB:
Home Sweet Home was born out of desperation.

I had been developing and reading scripts for a production company called ShadowCatcher based in Washington State. I was also working with an Emmy winning producer developing two of his projects. And other people were offering me work on their projects. However, I couldn’t get any of my own material made.

Also, my sister had been an actress in L.A. for a long time, and she became disillusioned with the business. She actually moved to Albuquerque to get some space from Hollywood. While she was living in New Mexico she met and fell in love with a guy who was a director.

So the three of us started talking about how we could make something really cheap that we could own. First, we made a short which was accepted at a few film festivals. After that we decided it was time to make a feature.

So we all pooled our resources and decided to roll the dice. We decided let’s bet on ourselves.

We had a cool house in the middle of nowhere in southern New Mexico that we could use. So we structured a home invasion movie around that house. We made a home invasion movie with a twist. Instead of the invaders breaking into the house, we set it up that they were squatters, and the main character invades their space. When the main character moves into the house, the squatters don’t want to leave. They begin a sadistic game to drive her out of her home.

Product Details

CL:
Has moving from the southwest to New England affected your writing? Does the change of scenery and lifestyle evoke markedly different ideas?

AB:
When I first moved back to town I was flooded with New England story ideas. But most of them fizzled out. I did write a haunted house story I liked that was published by Blue Spider Books called “The Peculiar Odor of Bad Dreams.” I think my tank is still full of desert stories I need to finish first before I can transition my mind fully to New England.

CL:
You are currently working on a new novel. Can you tell us a bit about it?

AB:
My current work in progress is called DAPHNE. It is about a girl whose mother was a cult movie star in the 70s and 80s, but died on set of a horror movie that no one ever saw. Ten years after her mother dies, the girl learns that the film reels still exist, and the killer might be on the reels. So she goes on a journey to find the reels and her mother’s killer.

I originally imagined it would be a horror novel, but the story itself hasn’t agreed with me. Much of the movie is about the filming of a horror movie. But the story itself is less scary. It is more of a coming of age story. It is about 90s pop music and 80s horror movies and 70s counter culture. It is about a girl trying to discover a mother she never knew. It’s about not achieving your dreams. It’s about children reaching the dreams their parents had dreamed.

It is an ever-expanding canvas. Originally it was supposed to come out this November, but it has been delayed until February. The more unwieldy it gets, the more frightened I am it will be delayed again.

It is hands down some of the best writing I have ever done. And I really want it to be good, so if it delays farther, so be it.

One thing I’ve learned through the experience of publishing SACRIFICE, it is very hard to sell books. It’s hard to break through the noise. There are so many books in the world. There are a lot of good books out there. It is a great privilege when someone chooses to spend hours out of their life reading something I wrote. There is no need to get to market in a hurry. Very few people will notice, anyway. But I will live with it out in the world forever. So I want it to be the story I want to see in the world. I can’t make people love my book. Plenty of people have had passionately negative reactions to SACRIFICE. People have found it difficult and hard to follow.

So I am preparing myself for the reception of DAPHNE. It is far less straightforward than SACRIFICE. My primary concern is that the book that hits the bookshelf best accomplishes my vision. That way no matter how many people hate it I can feel confident with what I created.

CL:
What draws you in about the crime and horror genres?

AB:
When it comes to horror I think it found me, I didn’t find it. When I started out as a writer I never expected to write horror. What is interesting to me when I look back on my life as a writer and reader, the most influential writer for me was Stephen King. Strangely, the first two grown up writers that I read were Stephen King and John Updike. I was introduced to Stephen King one summer on Monhegan Island, Maine. Growing up, my family spent the month of August on Monhegan. The summer I turned ten I arrived on the island and one of my summer friends showed me the book he was reading. He was reading THE STAND. He dragged me to the tiny library the island had and made me pick a book. He was obsessed. After I read my first King book I became obsessed too.

John Updike was quite different. My dad had a couple of his books on the shelf. And they stood out like a challenge. My dad didn’t read fiction. He was a preacher and an amateur historian. But he had these two Updike books because they were written in the town where he grew up and they caused a lot of controversy. One of the titles was COUPLES. I heard it whispered around the house that it was a dirty book. So I of course had to read it. So I snuck off with it when I was about ten or eleven. It opened my eyes to a very different kind of sexuality from the kind that eleven year old boys talk about after school. These two writers were my first true introduction to storytelling.

Horror was always lingering at the periphery. But crime came later. Certain my fascination with mid-century pulp writers played a role. But I also worked for Dan Rather Reports researching crime stories and that influenced me greatly as a writer. Some of the backstories in SACRIFICE came from my research days with Dan Rather. I also have another novel I wrote a couple years ago that I am tinkering with that comes directly from my crime research days.

CL:
As a man of both film and literature, what is your favorite book to movie adaptation? And what do you think makes a good adaptation?

AB:
One of my favorite film adaptations is FIGHT CLUB. I am a huge David Fincher fan. I think he is one of the best American directors. I have felt that way since probably SEVEN.

But I read FIGHT CLUB a long time before it became a cult classic and I thought it was an amazingly fresh way to tell a story. The way he used product placement ironically. I also thought he made some very insightful statements about male culture over the past twenty years. And I think Fincher captured that on film perfectly.

Ironically, I think novels are the worst source material for movies. They are too long and unwieldy. Also novels tend to be very interior.

I personally think short stories are the best material to develop a good movie. There is a film based on Andre Dubus’s short story KILLINGS that I think is probably one of the best adaptations ever. It is the story of a father who captures the man who killed his son and takes him into the woods and kills him. It is a profound story. And the film managed to mine every dark corner and nuance of Andre Dubus’s genius. The movie was called IN THE BEDROOM.

CL:
What can we expect from you in the future? Feel free to shamelessly promote yourself!

AB:
Of course, as I said, I’m actively finishing a new novel.

But the most immediate thing that is coming is a movie. I wrote the screenplay for a movie called AT YOUR OWN RISK. It is finishing sound design now. It is due out very soon. I am very excited about it.

I like to think of it as David Fincher’s THE GAME meets TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE.

Its follows two girls who own a marketing firm who are invited to test out a live action treasure hunt in the desert. They are given GPS codes that lead to buried treasure. But as the game goes along the treasures they find are used against them in a sadist game of survival in the middle of the unforgiving desert.
Buy Sacrifice here!

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Wicked Haunted is here!

Featuring my brand new short story, Everything Smells Like Smoke Again!

Ghost stories, from local myths to full blown horror shows, have been spun around campfires since the dawn of man, passed from generation to generation for edification or simply to frighten and thrill. They lead us along dark side roads, into murky swamps and abandoned houses. Ghost stories bring us face-to-face with the farmer harboring secret graves behind his barn, the old man living next to the cemetery, or the frightened person staring back at you from the mirror. They haunt the listeners and readers and make them want to re-tell them again and again, so they would not be alone in their fear.

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Featuring fiction and poetry from Matt Bechtel, Tom Deady, GD Dearborn, Barry Lee Dejasu, Peter N. Dudar, Jeremy Flagg, Dan Foley, doungjai gam, Emma J. Gibbon, Larissa Glasser, Patricia Gomes, Curtis M. Lawson, Bracken MacLeod, Nick Manzolillo, Paul McMahon, Paul R. McNamee, James A. Moore, R.C. Mulhare, Rob Smales, Morgan Sylvia, Dan Szczesny, KH Vaughan and Trisha J. Wooldridge. Interior artwork by Ogmios, Judi Calhoun and Kali Moulton. Cover art by Mikio Murakami.

 

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The Wrong House, Free!

In celebration of October, I’m posting my horror comic, The Wrong House, in its entirety! Please enjoy, share, and have a great Halloween!

"Oft one finds, when the foe he meets, that he is not the bravest of all" - Old Norse Proverb

“Oft one finds, when the foe he meets, that he is not the bravest of all” – Old Norse Proverb

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The Wrong House

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Tom Deady Interview

Tom Deady is a fairly new author, who came out of the gate with his Bram Stoker Award winning first novel, Haven. Since then, Tom has not slowed down and has released a second novel, several short stories, and has novella dropping later this month!

Tom took some time out of his writing schedule to answer a few questions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curtis Lawson:
Tell me a little bit about Tom Deady as a writer. How do you approach horror? Who are your influences? What kind of thematic or subtextual elements are present in your work?

Tom Deady:
I don’t really have a formula for how I approach horror. I just get an idea for either a scene or a character and start writing. Then the story takes over.

Haven is essentially a coming-of-age story that happens to have a monster. The theme present throughout, applying to several characters, is redemption or second chances. Even though it’s a horror novel, I like to think there is a positive message of hope.

Eternal Darkness is also a coming-of-age story, but it’s more of a classic horror tale. If there’s an underlying theme, I guess it would be the paradox of good and evil existing within all of us.  

CL:
Your debut novel, Haven made quite a splash and earned you a Bram Stoker Award. How does it feel to meet such great success so early on in your writing career?

TD:
It’s a little unnerving. I really don’t want to be a “one hit wonder” of the horror genre. I’d like to think I have a few more good stories to tell.

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CL:
Haven is a coming of age horror story. Is there a lot of personal childhood experience thrown in there with the fiction?

TD:
Yeah, there is a lot of material taken from my childhood, as well as experiences later in my life. Part of the reason I based Haven in the seventies is because that’s when I grew up, so all the pop culture and sports references came easy. And there’s a little bit of me in a lot of the characters.

CL:
Your second novel, Eternal Darkness is a vampire story. How did you approach the subject of vampirism in your book? What makes Eternal Darkness stand out from other vampire stories?

TD:
My approach was like what Dan Simmons did with Children of the Night, to make vampirism a human affliction, not an undead being. I did a lot of research on xeroderma pigmentosum and created an extreme version of that to explain why they can’t be exposed to sunlight. I dismissed some of the overtly supernatural characteristics, such as shape-shifting, and focused on the fundamental parts of the mythos: drinking blood, no sunlight, etc. I tried to raise the level of believability as much as possible.

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CL:
Do you think good horror fiction should make the reader think about the world around them, escape the world around them, or maybe a bit of both?

TD:
I think it’s both. In one respect, any genre fiction can be viewed as an escape. Horror, in particular, allows readers to escape whatever real horrors they live with, be it financial, health, or otherwise, and immerse themselves into a more “controllable” horror situation. Things get too bad, they can simply close the book. On the other hand, and this depends on the story, readers can relate to characters and their struggles, the decisions they have to make.

CL:
You attend a ton of events, and you are always at the Wyrd horror readings that I run. I know that writers in a lot of the country don’t have the same support system we have in New England. How important do you think it is to have a supportive, local horror community? How has it shaped your writing and career?
TD:
The support I have received has been incredible, from both the HWA and the NEHW. I think it is very important to have a support system in the writing community. Everyone has been extremely helpful, always willing to read a draft or give a blurb. It’s an amazing group of people. I think that type of support, beyond a writer’s friends and family support system, is critical. I think it has really improved my writing and helped to get my name out there in wider circles.

8f7068b9d7c1aa46f7c2209918c6e335767ba168CL:
You have a story being released in the New England Horror Writers anthology, Wicked Haunted. Can you spill a few details?

TD:
Sure. As you know the theme is hauntings. I was trying to stay away from the haunted house trope because I figured they would be overrun with those submissions. Same for things like haunted paintings or haunted mirrors. So, I thought, what if the haunting wasn’t visual, but audible? And what better to be haunted than an old Victrola bought at a yard sale?

CL:
Do you have any dream projects? Something that has been marinating in your brain for years, or maybe an established property that you would love to work on?

TD:
I have a lot of dream collaborations, though I don’t know the first thing about how to collaborate on a novel. As far as projects, I’d like to do some kind of take on The Hardy Boys, maybe them as younger kids, or old men. I grew up reading those mysteries and they’ve always stuck with me.
CL:
What scares you?

TD:
Lots of things: heights, flying, earwigs. But really, something happening to my kids is what scares me most.

CL:
Any final thoughts or projects you’d like to promote?

TD:
I’m really excited for my novella, Weekend Getaway, coming out later this month. It’s much darker than my previous works, and straight human horror, nothing supernatural. I’m hoping it’s well received. I also have a story called The Pink Balloon, coming out in an Unnerving anthology named Hardened Hearts. That should be available in December. Other than that, I’ve been shopping a YA horror novel, hopefully that will find a home soon.

 

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The Devoured Kindle giveaway

My western/cosmic horror novel, The Devoured, is currently free on Kindle! This is only going on for a few days, so be sure to take advantage of it! Currently it is ranked #1 in free western horror, which is admittedly niche, but it still feels nice!

Devoured wyrd cover

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