1) Tell us about yourself, and what drew you to writing.
I hate to sound cliche, but I feel like there isn’t much to tell about myself, honestly. Besides the fact that I write on a daily basis, I feel pretty average. I’m married, I live in Missouri. I like movies, video games and books of high quality, but occasionally of low quality, too. I tend to get immersed in whatever I’m experiencing and mystery writers must love me because I almost never see the twist coming. Hell, I was so completely involved in The Dark Knight that when Harvey Dent became Two-Face, I was surprised.
But as for what drew me to writing? I can safely say I have no idea. At least originally. I can remember writing as early as sixth grade, making up fake newspaper articles and chronicling Lego adventures I had with my cousins. It’s just always been something that I’ve done, until I realized that it might be possible to do it for a living.
2) Tell us about your latest book, Liberation Road.
Well, it’s a horror/mystery novella heavy on the atmosphere. Some people have likened my books to H.P. Lovecraft, not in quality or originality, but more because of the fact that I write ‘atmospheric horror’. The book opens with your average twenty something shut in named Jared making his way across Kansas to meet a girl he’s been dating online for a while now. Nervous enough by everything that could go wrong during the meeting, he doesn’t even consider running out of gas. That soon becomes a reality, however, and Jared is forced to pull in to a very lonely and isolated rest stop. There’s only one problem, though: he can’t find anyone. Not even someone manning the register. Tense apprehension quickly becomes raw terror when Jared becomes trapped here and it becomes obvious that something decidedly inhuman is hunting him.
3) Have you ever had a real-life experience like the kind that sets up Liberation Road?
4) What drives your stories?
That’s an interesting question. While I didn’t start out as a horror writer, nor do I intend to be just that, I do have a couple of motivations for writing horror. The first is that it’s fun. I love setting up the situations, building the tension and the mystery. But the main reason? Well, I’m kind of pissed off.
Pick fifty horror pieces at random, movies or books. How many of them feature a human antagonist? The serial killer, the deranged psycho stalker, the crazy hillbillies. Now, of those that don’t feature a human antagonist, how many feature monsters that fall into the ‘safe zone’? Vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons?
See, once I began to notice this trend, I set out to add more non traditional monsters to the mix. I wanted something more unique, I wanted something that didn’t fit into the rigidly defined confines of what a ‘monster’ is. This has been, and will continue to be, motivation for most of my horror. It’s why I wrote Stricken and Liberation Road.
5) What scares you?
A lot. Spiders scare the crap out of me. I’m better about it now than I used to be, but my wife still makes good on her wedding vow to ‘kill the spiders’. Sometimes, being alone scares me. Though not in the way you might think. It’s hard to explain. There’s this drain in my laundry room full of black stagnant water and green moss that scares me. Man, that thing is creepy and actually inspired a new novella. The police scare me, because there’s too much opportunity to abuse power there.
But what scares me the most? Well, I actually wrote an article on that. Since I don’t want this to get really long, I’ll just provide a link instead.
6) What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?
Whoa, boy…Well, first of all, make damn sure this is what you want. Because this job sucks as much as it wins.
Two: Be ready to sacrifice. A lot.
Three: Get a good editor, and cover artist. And marketer.
Four: Go indie. The Kindle can offer you 70% royalties. The publishing industry is going the way of the dinosaur and offers an average of 17% royalties.
Five: Write all the time, you need to do it to get better at it and the more you do it, the sooner you’ll be great.
7) What’s next for you, if you can share it?
Well, of course I’m going to completely contradict myself and write about zombies. My next novella is going to be titled The Necropolis Chronicles: Isolation. It’s to be the first in a series of novellas detailing a Sci-Fi/Horror adventure where zombies invade a distant planet. The biggest problem being that the zombies aren’t going to be just zombies for very long.
I’d like to thank Gary for having me on his blog and listen to me ramble on.
And here is an excerpt from Liberation Road:
Some bizarre cocktail of throaty noises escaped Jared’s mouth as he regained consciousness. It happened all at once, very abruptly. Not like waking, some part of his mind observed with a detached apathy. No, not like waking at all. When coming out of regular sleep, Jared found himself doing it in stages–provided there was no alarm clock.
Being unconscious was a completely different thing. His eyes snapped open as terror surged through his veins. He had a sideways view of a dim, dusty floor. Something was incredibly wrong, of that he was certain, but he couldn’t tell what.
At least, not at first. Jared sat bolt upright, nearly hitting his head on the counter. He blinked, desperately wanting to make some kind of movement, for some reason certain that he must get up and run. But some semblance of logic held him at bay as he attempted to reconstruct his memories.
He could remember the road. He knew he’d been driving down it for some time. And the gas station. Stopping there, nobody was home…Jared felt a gasp escape his throat as everything tumbled back into place.
He snapped his head around, hunting for someone, his attacker. He was alone in desolate gloom. That thought seemed to register something, but Jared couldn’t figure out what. All he knew was that he had to get out alive. As he began to pull himself up, a glint caught his eye. Something stashed behind and beneath the counter: a pistol. Almost without thinking, he grabbed it. Fear was a physical thing, screaming through his head, drowning out his sanity and reason. It put him on edge, sent tremors through his muscles.
He stood and quickly inspected the lobby of the gas station, six shooter firmly in hand. He’d never fired a gun before, but found himself ridiculously open to the concept of shooting someone. If it meant staying alive, then so be it. All those endless debates, spoken over at length in the daylight with friends, about how far you’d go to stay alive…all the philosophical what-ifing…all the moral ambiguity and legal ramifications…
Jared quickly discovered it was all a very moot point as he hurried for the door. He would kill to stay alive. There was now no question in his head. Shivering, he stepped outside and then froze, rooted to his position in absolute horror.
Thanks to Sean A. Lusher for stopping by!