Sean A. Lusher: Author Interview

I’d like to welcome author Sean A. Lusher to A Taste of Strange. His new novella, Liberation Road, is now available from His previous novella, Stricken was published in September.

1) Tell us about yourself, and what drew you to writing.

Sean A. LusherI 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?

I haven’t.

4) What drives your stories?

Liberation RoadThat’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.

If anyone is interested, you can find my blog here, my Facebook Author Page here, and my latest novella, Liberation Road, here.


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!

30 Days of Writing #29-30: Think About Writing? Tag Writer You Like?

29) How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

It comes up fairly often, as in several times a day. I could be thinking about details of a particular character either on the way to or coming back from my day job. I could think of a plot twist during a meeting. I could be trying to get to sleep when I start thinking of a setting, only to not be able to get to sleep because I want to think about it some more. It just keeps coming.

As far as In-Real-Life reminders of my writing… I want to say yes, because I’m sure it’s happened before, but I can’t summon any specifics right now.

(You know what? This ’30 Days’ thing is almost over, so I’m just gonna answer the last thing so I can move on to something different in this blog.)

30) Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

Right. Imma taggin’ Eric Burns-White, who some of you may know as the guy behind Websnark. I first met Eric through our mutual Superguy connections, and as we both wrote for that list, I came to be more and more impressed with his storytelling skills, the clarity of his prose, and the depth of his characters. (Even moreso on rereading that material, ten years or so later–it stands up extremely well.) The projects he worked on after moving on from Superguy showed his tremendous worldbuilding ability–when I earlier, in answer to another question, admitted I needed to work on that aspect of my work, I was thinking of Eric’s skill at this as the thing to aspire to. He makes it look easy, even though we both know it ain’t!

(This ends the 30 Days of Writing. Please tip your waitress on the way out.)

30 Days of Writing #15: Writer You Admire?

15) Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

There are a lot of possible answers to this questions, such as writers I’ve grown up reading (Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert), writers I read much of now (Terry Pratchett, Philip K. Dick, Michael Connelly), and writers who are friends of mine (Greg Fishbone, Eric A. Burns-White). In fact, once I’m through with these 30 questions, I think a regular feature here will be a writer I admire, and how his or her works have influenced me. But for this time around, let me go on about Avram Davidson.

I did not discover Davidson until well after his passing, but have spent much of the past ten to twelve years reading and re-reading a good portion of his bibliography. He is a writer with a definite voice — curmudgeonly, erudite, cantankerous, obscure, cynical, and of good humor, sometimes all within a single sentence. His erudition, particularly in areas of mythology and history, is something I admire, and am likely never to equal. His stories break many so-called rules of good prose, such as that of pushing plots forward, or having nice, trim, Strunk-White approved stylings, and ofttimes can seem to go on for pages and pages without anything seeming to happen. But things are always happening, beneath the surface, and if you can relax the part of your brain that insists that everything you read has to make sense right away, you may find much that is rewarding in his stories. In fact, maybe forget about worrying that it makes sense at all, and just submerge into the rhythms of the story, and the rhythms of his rich and generous storytelling.

I sometimes catch myself looking back over something I’ve written, and thinking ‘Davidson might have tweaked that like so.’ Not often do I let these darlings stay unkilled, because, enjoy Davidson though I do, his style is not mine and never will be. But I admire his craft and his cunning, and would have greatly liked to know him when he was alive. Until then, I do still have a few more of his works to track down and enjoy.