Tell us about your story appearing in the “Skeleton Remains” anthology (no spoilers, please!)
“A Frontier Banquet” is set during a time of westward expansion into Oregon. Deep in the Cascade Range, a railroad agent and a pack of mercenaries stumble upon something that has been buried for a long time. Now, hordes of undead Indian warriors and one prehistoric horror want their flesh.
Your thoughts on self-publishing vs. traditional publishers?
Probably the two biggest advantages of traditional publishing are exposure and money. Because those have never been our core assets, I would argue that horror is uniquely positioned to take advantage of self-publishing. Consider. Horror has produced relatively few superstars, and several of them, such as Poe and Lovecraft, died penniless. Horror works well in bulk. In econ-speak, by allowing more producers into the market, self-publishing shifts the supply curve outward. Whether in cheap pulps, the goofy shock magazines of the ‘60s & ‘70s, entire vistas of cheaply-made monster flicks, or shiny new anthologies, horror has always been a genre that believed quantity had its own special quality.
Self-publishing has some new advantages too. Now, electronic media can disseminate anyone’s work far and wide for dirt cheap. It will be interesting to see if we start to get some horror figures coming out of the self-publishing world thanks to these new developments.
What do you think of the horror story genre these days?
Horror could see a minor resurgence in popularity in the future. Tangentially macabre franchises from Twilight to television’s Ghost Hunters or Grimm have proven popular enough to earn imitators. Even better for standard horror, the popularity of zombies remains high (even shambling onto television with The Walking Dead). If we’re real lucky-like, more people may begin to drift from there into horror fiction.
Or maybe I’m just talking through my hat and it’s nothing but Twilight spinoffs and NecRomance for the next decade.
Some of your favorite authors that inspired you?
The Big Six:
Cornea-blistering action sequences: Matthew Reilly
First interested me in horror: Stephen King
Can’t-put-it-down pacing: Lee Child
History goes (horribly) awry: Harry Turtledove
Slick characterization: writing duo Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
There are a plenty of authors who inspire me, including the late Michael Crichton, Shelby Foote, and Robert Ludlum, but if I were some sort of talent-vampire, skulking through the night and feasting on the skills of others, I’d start with those six guys. I’m consistently blown away by their books.
What is your ultimate – realistic – goal as a writer?
I’d be pretty happy to be in the same room as any of the people mentioned above. Granted, it would probably because I was delivering a pizza to some writing convention, but, hey, whatever works.
What are some of your influences?
Oddly enough, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 might be a major influence on my writing. On the show, a man and his robot companions are forced to watch terrible movies as part of a mad experiment, and the audience watches along as the hosts mock the rubber-suited monsters and stilted dialogue. MST3K exposed me from a young age to the gleefully cheesy horror films of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Perhaps of equal importance, it taught me what not to do with a story. Do NOT leave your audience in the dark. Do NOT have pointless subplots. Do NOT take your work too seriously.
Give us a typical day in your writing schedule.
I’m either in my classes at the University of Oregon or up to no good during daylight hours, so I write at night. The amount of writing is directly proportional to the proximity of a deadline.
What story/book of yours are you most proud of, and why?
“Billy Yank Versus the Conqueror Worms” might be my favorite story. It appeared in Rymfire’s own State of Horror: Massachusetts. Aside from a nifty little narrative within the narrative which I’m inordinately proud of, I’m quite fond of both the giant maggot creatures and the ending.
What are you working on now?
Shameless plug time… where can we find your work and you?
Potential stalkers are welcome to find me on Facebook. My stories can be found in Undead of Winter, State of Horror: Georgia, State of Horror Massachusetts, and Skeletal Remains from Rymfire and The Big Book of New Short Horror by Pill Hill Press.