Thursday, May 24, 2018

Interview With J.Z. Foster

CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.
I’m J.Z. Foster, Horror and Urban Fantasy writer. I’m also an occasional monster hunter with an ongoing feud with the Easter Bunny and other mystical creatures.
I’m the author of three books, Witch Hunter: Into the OutsideThe Wicked Ones: Children of the Lost, and Mind Wreck: Shadow Games all three stories are set in the same universe. 

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

Oh, I can’t say I really decided to be a writer. Writing choose me. The voices started speaking to me at a young age—whispers in the darkness of my mind you see—something like a voice calling to me at the end of a long dark hallway at first.
It’s really a matter of keeping my sanity at this point. I didn’t choose writing—writing chose me.

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like? 
When it’s up to me, it’s early morning with a cup of coffee on my desk and it’s all day with several thousand words on the page.

However, real life is rarely subservient to my will. I have a young baby and a wife that’s new to the US (my wife’s Korean). So usually it’s in the afternoon with whatever I can get.

CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?
Nothing too fancy, I don’t sacrifice any small animals to get a good novel or anything. That didn’t work the first time, so why keep doing it? These days I try to read before I write to get the gears turning. Sometimes it helps when you run across great lines that get you brain flowing, or even great new vocabulary.

Take this pearl for example: Antediluvian. I’m not even going to tell you what that means, I’m just going to tell you that I got it from H.P. Lovecraft, and it’s awesome. Go look it up!

CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?
I definitely prefer novels, and mine keep getting longer. I hope to write some short story collections eventually, but I like to go into deep characters and I like to have them weave in and out with other deep characters, and that’s hard to do with short stories. . . At least for me anyway!

CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?
I live in Ohio, so if cows and pigs are scary for you, then this place is terrifying.

CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?
A little of both. The first thing I know about a book is how it begins and how it ends—the rest is a mystery. Of course, anything can change when the rubber hits the road. So to be clear, I make a plan, but I let the flow carry me, and if the flow takes me down a new path, I go that way and don't let it bother me.

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story? 
Characterization. Readers have to be concerned about the characters and why they’re being harmed or threatened. So after you get the readers to like your characters, then you mangle the characters.
Moral Dilemma. Oh, how I love moral dilemma. It’s quite possibly my favorite theme. A character that’s trying to be good—a character you can really sympathize with—but he / she has to make a shitty choice because there are no good choices. 
The Unknown. This one can just be strange monsters we don’t necessarily know. Don’t always use vampires or werewolves! I love those things, but lets see something different too. 

CHHR: What are you currently working on?
The sequel to my first novel, Witch Hunter: Into the Outside. This one will be called Witch Hunter: Gods and Monsters.

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?
Oh geez, a million miles long. So far Planet Dead by Sylvester Barzey, and Dexter Boomstick by M.P. Lombardo, both excellent indie writers I’d recommend checking out!

CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll has some of the creepiest shit I’ve read. “But J.Z., isn’t that a kid’s book with pictures?”
Yeah I guess. That crap still creeps me out though!

CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?
It’s really hard to pick a favorite. That changes daily. The Rising by Brian Keene is certainly one. The Swamp Thing series by Alan Moore and Crossed by Garth Ennis are two others. The list keeps changing! 

CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?
This too keeps changing! Off the top of my head I’d have to say It Follows, but I could easily say Tales from the Crypt: Demon KnightReturn of the Living Dead or 28 Days Later. Ask me tomorrow and it could be a completely new set!

CHHR: What type of music do you listen to?
I listen to metal to get the ole’ heart pumping. That usually helps with ideas.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?
Oh geez, spirit animal? I don’t know man. Can it be pizza? I know it’s not an animal but I feel like pizza is my spirit animal. I just feel it. Pizza speaks to me.

CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?
Oh snap, this is a hard one. Can I pick like five? No? Damn… Well I’m going to be boring and say Stephen King. Yeah, I know. Everyone is going to say Stephen King, but hear me out. The dude is awesome, but you already knew that, right? But he can tell a story. Wait, you already knew that too, yeah? I don’t just mean the ones he writes down, I mean real stories. That guy has lived, and I’m convinced that’s why he’s such a damn good writer. He’s lived about five lives compared to most people. He’s been at several different rungs of life and he knows what it’s like to crawl at the very bottom and to be perched at the top. If you listen to his interviews or his stories about his life, he has a lot of good stories related to just about anything interesting going on. I’m sure I’d have to make up tons of shit to try and keep up with him, and I’d still be slipping behind.

Twitter: @JZFosterAuthor
Instgram: @JZFosterAuthor 
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