Monday, April 30, 2018

Interview With Chris Sorensen



CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.

CS: Brief introduction? Hmm… Well, I spent my childhood coming up with stories, scribbling drawings, building cardboard robots and making movies with my friends. The best gift I ever received was a Bigfoot suit. I studied acting in college and grad school and helped form a couple of theater companies. I’ve worked as a graphic designer at the NBA, a commercial coordinator at WPIX, a teacher at Cornell University, a file clerk, a lifeguard, a resident playwright, a librarian, a screenwriter, an audiobook narrator and played an EMT on a soap opera (was so nervous I screwed up my one line in rehearsal). Now, I’ve written a book, The Nightmare Room.

CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

CS: 2001. I was lying in my hospital bed after being smashed up in a bus accident. Up until that point, I was a working actor in NYC. Then…BOOM. I spent a month in the hospital, another year learning how to walk again. It was that year that I turned to writing. Plays at first; screenplays soon after. I need to write a bone-chilling hospital book (or maybe I should let those ghosts lie).

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like? 

CS: I’m a night writer with occasional marathon days. If I said I write every day, I’d be a big fat liar. But I do work on my stories constantly. Any time I need an answer to a story problem, all I have to do is take a shower. It works, I swear.

CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?

CS: I find a soundtrack that fits the mood of the piece I’m writing and play it into the ground. I need good, hard-backed legal pads and Uniball pens for notes. And coffee, coffee, coffee.

CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?

CS: Whenever I write something short, I instantly start thinking, “Could this grow into something bigger?” I guess I’m just attracted to longer stories.

CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?

CS: The New Jersey horror scene is quite active. Plus, I can be in Manhattan in sixty minutes. I have a crew of horror friends (writers, filmmakers, actors) I can hit up for advice or a beer.

CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?

CS: I spent a few years as a script analyst for a few companies (Big Beach Films, ScriptLaunch, etc.) and loved digging into structure. I love setups/payoffs. I’m planning on writing a novella this year (a Christmas creature feature) without the help of an outline just to see how it feels. Will let you know.

CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

CS: It hasn’t changed my process, but it has lit a fire under my ass. For fifteen years, I was the resident playwright for the Thin Air Theater Company in Colorado. Sitting with an audience, listening to their reactions is so informative. Finally feeling the same way about books.

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story? 

CS: I haven’t had my coffee yet so I’m not going to try to write a pretty sentence that encapsulates all my thoughts. Instead, here’s a laundry list: characters with depth, well-orchestrated tension, imagination run amok and information held back (allowing the reader to fill in the blanks).

CHHR: What are you currently working on?

CS: I’m writing The Hungry Ones, the second book in The Messy Man series as well as outlining the third. I’ve also got notes to complete on a screenplay for a production company and TV treatments to expand for another. 

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?

CS: The Chalk Man, Boy’s Life, Sour Candy and the Dictionary of Superstitions

CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?

CS: Data Science by John D. Kelleher and Brendan Tierney. What ‘they’ know about you is frightening.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?

CS: The Other by Thomas Tryon.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?

CS: Nope. Can’t confine it to one. The original Night of the Living Dead, the original Texas Chainsaw MassacreCreepshowThe ShiningChildren Shouldn’t Play With Dead ThingsMama and any full-length documentary on Bigfoot.

CHHR: What type of music do you listen to?What’s your favorite album?

CS: Horror soundtracks, country, bluegrass, Mozart. Right now, I’m listening to Rain Dogs by Tom Waits.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?

CS: Monkey. A mischievous monkey.

CHHR: What is your favorite beer?

CS: Sad Panda from Horse & Dragon in Fort Collins, CO.

CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?

CS: Ray Bradbury.

CHHR: Thanks for stopping by Cedar Hollow!


CS: Thanks for having me!




My website:  casorensenwrite.com



Bio:

CHRIS SORENSEN spends many days and nights locked away inside his own nightmare room. He is the narrator of over 200 audiobooks (including The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix) and the recipient of three AudioFile Earphone Awards. Over the past fifteen years, the Butte Theater and Thin Air Theatre Company in Cripple Creek, Colorado have produced dozens of his plays including Dr. Jekyll’s Medicine Show, Werewolves of Poverty Gulch and The Vampire of Cripple Creek. He is the author of the middle grade book The Mad Scientists of New Jersey and has written numerous screenplays including Suckerville, Bee Tornado and The Roswell Project. Chris is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Interview With Terence Hannum




When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote fiction a bit in college but then kind of stopped, I just didn’t know what to do or really what I even wanted to say. I went to school for visual art after that so I started writing art reviews in Chicago, Maybe sometime in 2006 or so I had this vivid dream and it laid out this story I just couldn’t get out of my head. So I started writing it down, it became my novella “Beneath the Remains” (http://anathemataeditions.bigcartel.com/product/terence-hannum-beneath-the-remains-novella). I think then it was just figuring out what to do with it next. And from then on I kept at it.

What does your writing schedule look like? 

Everyday, just try and get some time in. I have different stories, novels or projects at different levels of completion. I try and balance it out with what deadlines I have coming up, and with what is being edited for publication. But typically I shoot for 1000 words a day.

Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?

No, I just write. Typically late at night. Sometimes during the day. I listen to a lot of music, or sometimes I need silence.

Do you like writing short stories or novels?

Somewhere in between, I’ve written two novellas now, so that has been my focus. I just finished my first novel this year.

How is the horror scene where you live?

It’s pretty good, there are some good publishers in the region, and a lot of writers. I would say the film scene is a bit stronger. I DJ a radio show called Dead Air that focus on horror film soundtracks, it’s a lot of fun. Typically around Halloween.

Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?

Outlines. I am always doing a lot of projects in music, and visual art, so outlines help me. I may just write it real quick in my notebook but it’s something to come back to. I let it change. But it can give me guidance as the story moves on, or I can understand the elements and move them around to make a story more compelling.

How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

I stopped being so worried about it, I know some moments you have to write through and then edit it together after. I now look forward to editing the piece, writing it over and honing it down, taking feedback and adapting it.

What do you think makes a good horror story? 

Something unexpected, whether it be the scenario, the character, to be good it has to make me think, give me something I haven’t read before.

What are you currently working on?

Well my body-horror novella All Internall was just published by Dynatox Ministries (http://dynatox.storenvy.com/products/23645325-all-internal-by-terence-hannum). And I am in the editing process on my first novel Lower Heaven. This editing has been going on for about four months or so. I have a reading group giving me feedback and I’m just making some decisions about it. It’s not so much horror as a more paranoid novel about the necessity of surveillance in Protestant suburbs against a backdrop of violence, guns, social media and debt.

What is in your TBR pile?

JG Ballard The Atrocity Exhibition, Paul Handke The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, and Dasa Drndic’s Belladonna.

What is the last book that scared you?

I recently read the novella “The Horla” by Guy de Maupassant, and it was terrifying story of isolation and horror. So good.

What is your spirit animal?

The Axolotl.

What is your favorite beer?

I would say it’s a tie between Monument brewing Rye IPA on tap (the bottle and can don’t do it justice) and Monk’s Blood a strong dark Belgian ale from 21st Amendment.

If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?


Living or dead? Dead, W.G. Sebald. Living, Dennis Cooper



Bio:

 Terence Hannum is a Baltimore, MD based visual artist, musician and writer. Known for his work with the avant-metal band Locrian (Relapse Records). Beneath the Remains is his first novella.

TERROR IN 16-BITS by Jonathan Raab



Now you're playing with... TERROR!

TERROR IN 16-BITS is an excellent short story anthology. I didn't know what to expect going into this one, but it went above and beyond my expectations. Within these pages are fifteen shocking and sinister stories. These horror stories are inspired by some prolific games and game franchises. They also delve into alarming visions of technology gone to hell. These rising stars of independent horror channel our fears of the new interactive electronic frontier–an reveal the terrors that await us in the great digital abyss beyond. So grab the controller and press START. But no cheat code can save you from... TERROR IN 16-BITS. 

These stories dropkick you in the chest. The authors bring the nostalgia. They bring the scares. The stories are all different, which keeps the anthology fresh. There were a couple of authors that I was unfamiliar with, but they didn't disappoint. I'm going to check out their other work.

Richard Walley's A Lump and His Boy reminded me of Critters and I couldn't get enough. I hope this turns into a novel or novella. There is a bigger story here and I hope he revisits it sooner rather than later. 

Dr. Coagulant's Splatter Lab by Jonathan Raab is creepy! I still have goosebumps from that transformation. All I can see is sharp fingers everywhere! 

Amber Fallon's Angel's Armageddon is great! His obsession started with a YouTube video. That first sentence grabs you. It's about a game that turns kids insane. It contains black-eyed children. There's nothing more awesome than that. One of my favorite stories. 

All of the stories in this anthology are solid. There isn't a bad one in the bunch. You can't go wrong with horror stories based on video games. This book would make a great anthology movie. I look forward to reading more books from Muzzleland Press. 

Recommend!

4/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Friday, April 27, 2018

PROVIDENCE by Caroline Kepnes



Wow! Where to begin with this one? There is so much to say about this wonderful book. The cover caught my eye, but Caroline Kepnes' prose kept me interested. Caroline Kepnes has a distinct voice. She also gives each of her characters unique voices, which is rare and refreshing. This is my first time reading Caroline Kepnes, but it won't be my last. 

I haven't read H.P. Lovecraft, but I will now. PROVIDENCE is a classic supernatural love story. Jon and Chloe are best friends. Jon wants to confess his feelings to Chloe, but he is kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity. Chloe still thinks about Jon often. 

When Jon finally escapes, he discovers he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. So, he runs away to protect Chloe and find his new identity. To me, this is when the story takes off. I'll stop there because I don't want to spoil anything. 

Caroline Kepnes can write. Her characters have tons of depth. Caroline has built a world that I would like to revisit sooner rather than later. The supporting characters are just as important to the story as the main characters. The ending will knock your socks off.  

If you like horror and thrillers, then you will like this book! PROVIDENCE is one of the best books that I've ever read.

Highly Recommend!

5/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, April 26, 2018

PRESSURE by Brian Keene



PRESSURE is a superb book. It's perfect for a Summer read. If anyone does a Summer Reading Challenge, then this book should be on the list. PRESSURE is one of my favorite creature features. It reads like a movie and the action never stops. Brian Keene's writing keeps you on the edge of your seat, reading late into the night. 

There is a catastrophe off the coast of Mauritius. Carrie Anderson is a world champion free diver and marine biologist who joins a scientific expedition to discover the cause of the catastrophe and how to stop it. 

Carrie Anderson is a great lead character. Her colleagues enhance the story. They must face a sea creature and corporate goons. Some of the characters are named after horror authors. 

PRESSURE is filled with monstrosities and murderous operatives. Carrie and her crew are off to the races, trying to stop the extinction of all mankind. This is a fun read. I wish I would have read this one at the beach. The sea monstrosity thoroughly creeped me out. The action on the boat is amazing. I liked the Clickers Easter eggs, too. I need to read that series by the way. 

Brian Keene's writing style is solid. The dialogue felt real. The characters have plenty of depth. I really dig Carrie and her crew. The storyline stays nice and tight all the way through. The ending is great, too. 

PRESSURE was my first Brian Keene book. After reading several of his stories, this is my favorite book as of right now. I need to finish reading his other work. 

Highly Recommend!

5/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

AN EXORCISM OF ANGELS by Stephanie M. Wytovich


Love is an exorcism of angels...

Stephanie M. Wytovich has compiled a brilliant collection of poetry. Stephanie writes thought-provoking poems that punch you in the chest. The poems are dark and erotic in the best ways. They delve into love, lust, and angst. They are raw. They are primal. And they are powerful. 

This collection is different, though. It feels like one big story. Like a guttural howl. The poems will have you on pins and needles. They will send chills down your spine. Stephanie shows her vulnerability with these poems, which enhances the collection. You don't just read these poems, you experience them. You go through the highs and lows. Stephanie plunges the reader into utter darkness. 

The cover art is beautiful, too. It sets the tone for the poems. The poems are like Nutella–very addicting. Some poems hit you like a steam train, while others rip out your heart and chew on it. This collection will leave you with a smile on your face, wanting more. It's the subject matter. It's the writing style. It's the truth and honesty bared for all to see. Whatever it is, Stephanie has it and I want more of what she's offering. 

I'm going to read the rest of her work. Reading her poems are like magic or witchcraft. I'm going with the latter on this one. It puts a spell on you. Stephanie doesn't disappoint. 

Highly Recommend!

5/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Synopsis: 
Love is an exorcism of angels…

Heaven and Hell are not places, nor times, but rather shared experiences. It's a love whether dark or light, a passion whether of pleasure or pain, and there's a beauty to the ugliness, a smile hidden amongst the tears. Heaven is often defined as paradise; Hell as damnation. The two, while opposites, more often than not, end up being one in the same, especially when it comes to falling in love.

So what happens when our Heaven falls in love with our Hell? When the very person who brings us every happiness and every joy, stabs and beats at our hearts, bruising our fantasy of 'happily ever after,' of 'till death do us part?' What happens when we can't walk away because the pain of love is better than no love at all? When we'd rather die every death again and again, than spend one moment away from our heart's true content? Wytovich plays Virgil in a collection of celestial horror that challenges the definition of angels and demons, of love and hate. She weaves through tales of heartbreak and sorrow, through poems depicting lust and greed, as her words prove testament that Heaven and Hell can be one in the same, a paradise and an inferno. Her women, some innocent, some not, walk through the circles, fall off of clouds, deny their wings, and expose their hearts to demons and devils, to imps and to fiends. They turn their backs on everything they know, question their morals and their faith, all in the name of love, and together, the good help the bad, and the bad, help the good, as not every angel has wings just as not every demon has claws.

Wytovich shows us that love isn't always the saving grace that we expect it to be. To her, there is no balance of darkness to light, no line between what one desires and what one gets. There's no choosing who we fall in love with, and just as love is often Heaven, it can just as easily be Hell.

$1 from each sale will donated to SAVE: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.

What Are They Saying About An Exorcism of Angels

"Fall into a world where the angels themselves love, but the demonic will love you with more teeth. These are beautifully twisted poems of madness, and the title poem itself had faint traces of Poe's 'Annabel Lee.' This collection is certainly worth tasting and then savoring." -Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls

"Stephanie M. Wytovich lays bare the darkest yearnings of the human--and inhuman--heart with scalpel-like precision. These are poems forged in hellfire and cooled by a dead lover's kiss." -Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh and Eat the Night

Sunday, April 22, 2018

UNBURY CAROL by Josh Malerman


I've read this author before. BIRD BOX blew me away, while GHASTLE AND YULE did nothing for me. I think Josh Malerman's short stories are great. I didn't know what to expect going into this one. I love a good western that spans genres. This novel touches on horror, fantasy, and steampunk. There is a lot to like and dislike about this novel, though. 

UNBURY CAROL is a Sleeping Beauty type story set in the wild west. Carol has a rare condition that causes her to fall asleep for days without warning. There are only two people in the world who know about Carol's condition–her husband and her lost love. Her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and–when she lapses into another coma–plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her... alive. Carol's lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie, hears about the plot, and he's off to the races to save his lady. 

Here's where it was supposed to get really good, but there's a problem. It never really got off to the races. James Moxie travels the Trail, going through towns and villages. I felt like the secondary characters were better than the main characters. The character building is good. 

The first half of the book could have been edited to make the plot tighter. I put this book down twice due to repetition. To me, this is the editor's fault. There are phrases that could have stopped after the first couple of times it was said. It annoyed me a little bit. The dialogue is great when it isn't repetitious. The story was slow and trudged along when it should have raced. After all, there is a woman about to get buried alive. 

The third act of the novel is the best part. The ending is pretty good. The map is a really cool addition that helped while reading this book. Josh Malerman doesn't write the same book twice. UNBURY CAROL is completely different than anything he's ever created. I applaud the author for going outside the box on this one. I think it would have worked better as a novella, though. 

With that being said, you should give this one a read. I hope the author visits this world again in the future. I would like to know what you thought about this book, so feel free to comment on this post.

3.5/5 stars!

Friday, April 20, 2018

DEAD IS DEAD, BUT NOT ALWAYS by Eddie Generous



That creepy cover reminds me of CHILDREN OF THE CORN or THE SCARECROWS WALK AT MIDNIGHT. I have read some of Eddie's short stories in the past. DEAD IS DEAD, BUT NOT ALWAYS is a collection of seven novelettes. I don't think you can put these stories into any one genre. If you're looking for a good time, then you should read this collection. 

I can never figure out where Eddie's stories are going. The same is true for these novelettes. These stories are bleak and eerie–just how I like them. The novelettes are vastly different, which keeps the stories fresh. This is the type of collection that you can chew on for a while or engulf in one sitting. When it comes to collections, I prefer overindulging. 

The Howl is about sacrifice. The setup and execution is great. It is small town horror at its best. 

Of the Knoll is a terrifying read. It reminded me of  Troll 2 for some reason. The place changes you forever. The ending is great, too. 

We, in the Dark, Together, Forever is about a book that bridges the eternal dark with the light of life. This one has monstrosities!

Slithering is a trippy tale. "They were of a split egg, Adam and Eve, the coming of serpent's reign. 

The Weight of Solitude, the Pressure of Conscience is about Nanook. Eddie did his research on this one. Great story. I've studied Native American and indigenous religions. That ending is brutal."The voices continued to sing their taunts."

Dead Lake is excellent. The title of this story says it all. "The lake keeps ya."

Over the Fields and Through the Woods is a survival story. "I don't even question it, but dead  doesn't mean dead, not always, for the good ones and the bad ones alike."

I liked all the stories. They are creepy. Some made my skin crawl, while others sent shivers down my spine. Each story brings something different to the table. Tales of sacrifice and survival fill these pages. You may even question your own sanity after reading these stories. Eddie writes with clarity and wit. The round characters make the stories. Some stories are filled with action, while others are atmospheric and filled with dread. 

DEAD IS DEAD, BUT NOT ALWAYS is a great debut collection. Grab your survival packs, swimsuits, and sacrificial blades. You're going to need them. 

Recommend!

4/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

RETURN TO DYATLOV PASS by J.H. Moncrieff


I've been digging Severed Press for a while now. I dig the publication because they publish some of my favorite authors. They have a great selection of books and they are relatively inexpensive. I love a great creature feature, too. This is my first time reading J.H. Moncrieff. I know I say "this is my first time reading authors" quite a bit, but it's true. I haven't been reviewing very long. With that being said, let's get to this review. 

First off, I would like to point out the awesome cover. It pulls you in, making you want to read it. The setup is brilliant. It is based on actual events that took place over a half-century ago, which is terrifying. I'm going to look into it after I finish this book. 

In 1959, nine Russian students set off on a skiing expedition in the Ural Mountains. Their mutilated bodies were discovered weeks later. Their bizarre and unexplained deaths are one of the most enduring true mysteries of our time. 

Podcast host Nat McPherson gathers a team of ski hikers to find out what really happened in Dyatlov Pass. Some of the team members are suspect. They are a bit shady and self-centered, which adds to the tension in the book. The backdrop of the Ural Mountains sets the tone of the book. The expedition gets off to a terrible start and gets worse from there. 

RETURN TO DYATLOV PASS is one of my favorite reads so far this year. J.H. Moncrieff transports you onto the mountains along with the expedition team. The expedition team is diverse, and each character has depth. The author lightens the mood with sarcastic and witty dialogue. As the tension mounts, J.H. Moncrieff does a great job of exploring the different personalities of the team and how the characters deal with their dire situation. 

J.H. Moncrieff delivers one of the best third acts I've ever read in a book. The ending is incredible. My jaw hit the floor and I couldn't stop thinking about it. The ending is that good. It will leave you with a smile on your face. It's one of the best endings ever. 

RETURN TO DYATLOV PASS is a nail-biter. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. This book should be optioned. I would love to see it in the theater. 

If you like THE TERROR, then this book is right for you. If you like creature features by Hunter Shea, Jason Parent, Michael Patrick Hicks, or Tim Meyer, then you will enjoy this book. 

Highly Recommend!

5/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, April 16, 2018

Interview With Lee Mountford


When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t remember the exact age, but I was quite young. I remember getting excited in Primary School (UK version of Elementary School) when we were given free rein to come up with stories to write. Mine always tended to be on the darker side. That feeling has stayed with me, and I’ve been writing stories ever since. But my problem, until recently, was always finishing what I started.

What does your writing schedule look like? 

If I wrote full time, it would be different, but as I have a day job (as well as a busy home life), I tend to go through two cycles. The first cycle is the actual writing, and that starts with the ideas stage, where I get the plot and characters nailed down. Then I get the story fully outlined before writing the first draft, quickly followed by a second. When I’m writing these drafts I usually get up early, about 5am, to get the writing done. After the second draft is finished, I send the manuscript off to my editor for a thorough edit. I then make the changes based on his feedback and get it back out to him again, fitting the writing in whenever I can. Then I make final pass, taking onboard any last comments, before putting the book together and releasing it. However, after that, I switch to a different cycle, and into a kind of ‘marketing mode’ to launch the book. This will usually take a month or two to finish up, then the marketing side takes a back seat and I start the ideas stage again for the next book. So far, it has been a rinse-and-repeat of this process for my first three books, and I’m now putting together the outline for my fourth.

Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?

During the first few drafts, I tend to get up early to write, as I’ve said, and I’ve also started using Pintrest to pull together image boards, to help get an early feel for a story. But other than that, I don’t have any rituals to speak of. However, I do like a good whiskey, so I think I may start celebrating finishing a book with a nice, big glass!


Do you like writing short stories or novels?

At the moment, definitely novels. I’ve written a lot of short stories in the past, and will no doubt dip back into them, but currently, I’m very much in the mindset of writing creating longer works.

How is the horror scene where you live?

Quiet, to be honest. I know a few people who like their horror, but I wouldn’t say there is a big scene in the town I live in. However, I don’t live too far away from a gorgeously gothic fishing town called Whitby. Horror readers will know it from Bram Stokers Dracula, and it’s one of my favourite places to go. For me, it exudes horror, with its winding streets and narrow alleyways. I’ll definitely set a story there in one of my future books.

Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?

Outlines, no question. I’d love to be able to just sit down to write and have the story flow out of me, but the truth is, when I try that, the story always meanders and then fails completely. I envy people who can write by the seat of their pants, but unfortunately that just isn’t me. I do look at the outlining process as a kind of ‘flow-stage’, as it’s where I can throw ideas together to see what sticks and what works.


How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

This ties into my last answer, as the key thing was the introduction of outlining. Before that, I had countless novels just sitting on my computer, unfinished. I think I only managed to finished two, maximum, and even then they were only first drafts. So when I introduced outlining and plotting, I found I was able to work through the whole process much easier, to the point where I’ve now put out three books in a year. That isn’t prolific by a lot of people’s standards, but for me, who struggled to finish anything I started, it was a bit of a revelation.


What do you think makes a good horror story?

Great characters going through hell. That does it for me. The more we can get behind and relate to a character, the more we feel it when the shit really hits the fan for them. I think the other stuff – suspense, raising tension, gore, violence – is the sugar on top that helps to make the story sing.

What are you currently working on?

My fourth novel is about a reporter who gets a phone call from her estranged brother. He is in trouble, blamed for a murder that he swears he didn’t commit and needs her help. He is in a small coastal town, and she heads over to help how she can, but upon arrival can’t find him or get in touch with him. In the town, news of a violent murder breaks, which is compounded by the fact that recently a small boy was reported missing. The protagonist knows her brother isn’t the one behind any of this, he isn't capable, but she can’t find him to help him. Things keep ramping up, and she realises that the town is not normal - some of the people there seem decidedly… off. And then she starts to witness things that she just can’t explain.

It will be a supernatural horror, with ghosts and insidious things lurking in the dark. The setting is based on a place I visited recently called Staithes, an oldy-worldy coastal town in the North East of England. It was originally a smuggling town for sailors and has a great feel to it - similar to Whitby but on a smaller scale.

What is in your TBR pile?

16 Frames of the Devils Face by Amy Cross is lined up next on my Kindle, as well as The Final Winter by Iain Rob Wright. I also read thriller and sci-fi, and have a sci-Fi collection by Alastair Reynolds to get started on as well.

What is the last book that scared you?

Actually, the book I’m reading at the minute managed to creep me out. It’s The House of Long Shadows by Ambrose Ibsen, and I’m about halfway through. There have been quite a few scenes that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

What is your favorite horror book?

I’m going to struggle with this, as I don’t think I have an absolute favourite - it can all depend on my mood when I’m asked. I love Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, as well as Books of Blood by Clive Barker. There is an out-of-print zombie novel called Zombie! Zombie! that is about a group of young teenagers in the UK surviving the zombie apocalypse. It’s messed up, but I must have re-read that book about seven times, as I love the characters. I also have the complete Lovecraft collection, and often re-read my favourites stories from that from time to time as well.

What is your favorite horror film?

Another tough one, as I don’t know that I have a single, top film. One I will mention, however, is the piece of film that has scared me most in my life. In 1992, on Halloween, the BBC broadcast what was said to be a live special - an investigation of a haunted house. I was about eleven years old at the time and watched it at my Grandmother’s house. It was called Ghostwatch, and it scared the shit out of me! No other film has come close to the level of fear that Ghostwatch instilled in me, and I struggled to sleep for a few days afterwards – it was all I could think of. Of course, it wasn’t a real investigation, which is obvious on subsequent viewings, but even so, that TV special has stuck with me. Eventually, it was released on DVD (without much fanfare, as I think the BBC are embarrassed by it due to the huge controversy it caused) and I snapped it up. Even after all these years, it still has the power to get under my skin, despite not really ageing all that well. I can heartily recommend it to horror fans who enjoy the supernatural – and keep an eye out to see how many times you spot Mr Pipes. He’s there… always watching.


What is your spirit animal?

I’d love to answer this by saying something cool like a tiger, or a shark, but if I’m being completely honest, then it’s probably a sloth – I do like a lazy day!

What is your favorite beer?

A nice pint of Peroni or Morretti always goes down well. But I also like trying different ales, and quite like Black Sheep and Gentleman Jack. A nice whisky tops a beer for me, though.

If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?

Lovecraft would have been an interesting one, as his work has really inspired my own writing, especially the way he connected his mythos. However, I’m not sure how well the conversation would flow, as he definitely had a view of the world that doesn’t mesh with my own. But I’d also say Clive Barker, as I’m a big fan of his work. An obvious answer is Stephen King, so I was going to stay away from that, but fuck it, he’s the obvious answer for a reason, so I’d love to have a coffee with him.

Author Bio:

Lee Mountford is a horror author from the North-East of England. His first book, Horror in the Woods, was published in May 2017 to fantastic reviews, and his follow-up book, The Demonic, achieved Best Seller status in both Occult Horror and British Horror categories on Amazon.

He is a lifelong horror fan, much to the dismay of his amazing wife, Michelle, and his work is available in ebook, print and audiobook formats.

In August 2017 he and his wife welcomed their beautiful daughter, Ella, into the world. Michelle is hoping she doesn’t inherit her father’s love of horror, but Lee has other ideas…

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Interview With Wesley Southard



When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been writing on and off all my life, especially when I was much younger, but I fell off of that by high school because I had become a heavier reader and started playing guitar.  I was devouring horror and dark fiction, and some Sci Fi (mostly Magic: The Gathering novels).  In high school my guitar instructor turned me onto Brian Keene’s “The Rising”, and my book buying increasingly got more out of control.  Keene became Lebbon.  Lebbon became Gonzalez.  Gonzalez became Laymon, and so on.  It completely reinvigorated my love for horror.  By the time I had graduated the Atlanta Institute of Music, I moved back home and wasn’t really happy playing music anymore.  I desperately needed another creative outlet.  In 2007, I met Brian Keene for the first time at a small convention setting, and it kind of sparked me to get back into writing.  I started my first novel shortly after. 


What does your writing schedule look like? 

I try to write every day―TRY being the key word.  Since our move to Pennsylvania from Indiana, my wife and I don’t have cable anymore, so that’s a huge plus for my writing time.  But unfortunately I’m a massive hockey fan, and from September to May my brain is being stretched into different directions.  I try to get anything out a day, even if it’s just a few hundred words.  Something is better than nothing.  I’m sure that would change if I ever went full time.


Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?

I don’t really have any rituals.  I can’t listen to anything while working either.  I’m very easily distracted.  I love music, and I’m an avid podcast listener, but I have to write in complete silence.  The only noise from my office is the laptop keyboard and my incoherent mumbling. 


Do you like writing short stories or novels?

I like both.  I only have one novel out right now—“The Betrayed”―but I have many short stories out there in different markets.  I enjoy writing longer pieces.  I just finished my first novella about a month ago and I’m currently on the next one, but I think there’s something very satisfying about crafting a really great short story.  At this point, I think I’ve written in most lengths.  One type I really enjoy writing is flash fiction.  The challenge of keeping a coherent story together in five hundred words or less is really fun to me.


How is the horror scene where you live?

I’m very fortunate now that I’m living in Pennsylvania, and I’m currently surrounded by very large group of people in the horror community.  And that doesn’t include just writers.  There’s artists, filmmakers, photographers, etc.  It was difficult where I grew up and lived most of my life in Indiana.  I won’t speak ill of my old home, but I didn’t have many creative friends, and as a writer, it’s hard not having others to relate to.  Writing can be a very lonely, solitary lifestyle, and your creativity truly strives when it’s part of a larger nucleus.  I love the community I belong to now.  It’s helped my drive and creativity tremendously.  I’m in a very good place.


Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?

It just depends on what I’m working on.  My novel, for instance, I used a sparse outline.  At the time I was new to writing long fiction and didn’t know any better.  The novella I have just completed, I had no outline.  I had a general idea of what I wanted to do and where I wanted it to go, and I just let it flow.  I think that’s why I had such a blast writing it.  The current novella, I’ve had to take a lot of notes because the research has been much more extensive.  It all just depends on what the story calls for.


How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

It made me much more aware of what editors and publishers are looking for, and what it takes to stand out in a crowd.  I makes you conscious of how much better you can always be, and how not improving yourself is just standing pat, and that’s not good enough.  If you want to succeed in this business, you have to work for it.  Rarely does it ever come to you.


What do you think makes a good horror story? 

Dread and uncomfortability.  It’s horror, it’s meant to bring the reader to shrink into themselves and wince.  Absolutely nothing can be easy for the characters.  It has to be fascinating and daring.  It has to make old tropes seem new.  And at times it has to run the gamut of emotions.

What are you currently working on?

I’m just starting a new novella, but I don’t have a title for it yet, which is really bugging me.  I almost always have a title before I even start a new project, but I can’t honestly think of one for this.  Hopefully that will change.



What is in your TBR pile?

I more than I care to admit.  Right now I have Ronald Malfi’s “Bone White” and Bruce Campbell’s “Hail to the Chin” to look forward to, but I’m currently reading Graham Masterton’s “The Hell Candidate.”


What is the last book that scared you?

It honestly feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve been truly frightened by a book or story, but my brain keeps going back to Wrath James White’s “The Resurrectionist”.  It’s one of my all-time favorites, and I remember being wildly stressed out and sick to my stomach while I was reading it.  If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and pick that one up.  I promise you won’t regret it.


What is your favorite horror book?

My favorite will forever be Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend”.  I read it in grade school for the first time (thank you, Scholastic Book Club!), and I still have my original Tor paperback, which I have to keep in a plastic bag because it’s falling apart, along with the 1954 hardcover edition.


What is your favorite horror film?

“From Dusk till Dawn”.  I can practically recite the entire movie word for word.


What is your spirit animal?

An otter, mainly because I wish I owned an otter farm.



What is your favorite beer?

I’m not much of drinker, but I do enjoy SKI soda probably too much.  Cut me and I’ll probably bleed green bubbles.


If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?

I’d love to a have a cold beverage with either Graham Masterton or Ray Garton.  I’m a huge fan of both gentlemen, and I think they would both be fascinating to speak with and to pick their brains.     





Author Bio:


Wesley Southard is the author of the novel The Betrayed, which was named one of Brian Keene’s Top 15 Books of 2017, and has had short stories appear in numerous outlets such as Cover of Darkness Magazine, Eulogies II: Tales from the Cellar, Grindhouse, Dark Bits, Blood Reign Lit Magazine, The Book of Blasphemous Words, and Clickers Forever: A Tribute to J.F. Gonzalez.  A few of those stories are collected in his chapbook Unfit for Burial: Four Short Stories.  When not watching numerous hours of ice hockey, he spends his free time reading and drinking copious amounts of green soda.  He is also a graduate of the Atlanta Institute of Music, and he currently lives in South Central Pennsylvania with his wife and their cavalcade of animals.  Visit him online at www.wesleysouthard.wordpress.com.