The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Aaron J. French

Liz – This month we chat with author Aaron J. French. Thanks for joining us, Aaron! Why don’t you start with telling us about your part of the world?

Aaron – I am currently pursuing a PhD in The Study of Religion from the University of California, Davis. It’s typical beautiful California weather here; Davis is a college town, full of very intelligent people, for the most part it’s quiet and studious, so it’s a great place to live to get lots of work done.

Liz – That sounds like an inspiring environment. How long have you been writing for?

Aaron – I used to write in elementary school, actually. Short ghost stories and pseudo-Weird Tales kind of stuff. I took a break out of middle school, then started up again writing full time in my twenties, so I guess I would say I have been writing seriously for 10 years now.

Liz – What do you enjoy most about writing?

Aaron – There’s a variety of reasons. When I first started writing fiction, most of the time it was an attempt to express certain ideas or personal experiences, frequently depressing or related to traumas I’d experienced or watched others experience—and, of course, to try and imitate all the writers I loved to read. As time has gone on, more and more I like writing as a form of communicating my inner world with the outer world—or, to put it plainly, as a way of expressing my ideas with people in a way that hopefully reaches them and has an effect.

Liz – Tell us about the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism?

Aaron – Technically, it’s a group of scholars interested in studying esotericism who have grouped together to help promote each other’s work because esotericism is still a somewhat marginalized field. The term covers a broad array of ideas and practices, including things like mysticism, the occult, alchemy, the kabbalah, hermetic and neo-Platonic philosophy, stuff like that. I am a member of ESSWE as well as the American arm, the ASE, and have presented papers at both conferences now. It’s an amazing group of scholars doing extremely smart and revolutionizing work.

Liz – It’s certainly a fascinating field. What inspired you to study Esotericism?

Aaron – I guess studying philosophy and literature. Well, first it must have been all the weird fiction I read my whole life, full of esotericism, only I didn’t know it was called that then. Later, when I started reading stuff like Goethe’s Faust, Hermann Hesse, Charles Williams, the modernist poet H.D., I realized there were certain ideas underlying a lot of this work which I soon discovered was related to esotericism.

Liz – You’re pursuing a PhD in the study of Religion at the University of California. What are your plans once you’ve completed it?

Aaron – My plans are to work as a professor in a religious studies department somewhere, while still doing my fiction and writing on the side. I like the academic work and the fiction work equally. Which means I typically have a lot on my plate!

Liz – Yes, I imagine that would keep you very busy! How do you juggle studying with your writing?

Aaron – Honestly, I don’t know. I mean, when I was training as a writer in my twenties, I wrote 1000 words a day like it says in King’s On Writing religiously, but when I went back to school, started editing more, and getting more fiction out there, at this point I just work all day and take breaks here and there along the way. I usually keep a file open on my laptop with all my upcoming projects and their deadlines and move down the list, checking things off and adding in new ones. That usually helps keep me on track. Listening to music also helps.

Liz – I’m also a big fan of the working projects list, I’d be lost without it…and of course, the same goes with music! Where does your love of the dark aspect of life, and of the occult come from?

Aaron – Like I mentioned, I think it actually comes from some of the stuff I was reading, starting with Weird Tales. Lovecraft, Machen, and Robert E. Howard—stuff like that all has occult influences throughout, but later I sort of graduated to more sophisticated “literature,” which also has lots of occult themes in it. I think that kind of stuff is more prevalent than we realize, or else I just have a nose for it. I eventually started reading actual occultists, magicians, heterodox theologies, and everything that comes with that. I really eat that stuff up, still do, and it convinced me that there is more going on in the world than we suppose and more than conventional science can account for. Now I try to use my writing to explore these hidden aspects of people and reality. But let’s see… why do I like that darker stuff? I think that goes back to all the dark things I experienced growing up. I had an okay upbringing, sort of, but still it wasn’t Leave It to Beaver. A lot of bad stuff happened too. Horror was how I made sense of what the hell was happening.

Liz – Have you any first-hand experiences with the occult?

Aaron – Hmmm, should I answer this? As a religious studies scholar, no. But, as some crazy-ass horror writer named Aaron J. French, yes. Nothing too weird or crazy, I don’t go running off into the hills to kill goats and chickens or sacrifice babies and have orgies… lol, well really the occult is not about that at all. The way I see it, pure occultism is a kind of religious system almost, a philosophical worldview and cosmology that allows for a bridge between science and spirituality; also, if you view reality in that way, it opens the door for interesting things to happen in your life. So in that sense, yes I have had some interesting experiences. Dreams are the best way to begin talking about something like this, because everyone dreams at night (most everyone), and when people share those dreams with others, should we believe they are not just making something up? Maybe they are having visions and don’t realize it? I love thinking about stuff like that.

Liz – I could discuss it for days…but in other news, you also work as Editor for JournalStone Publishing, as well as Editor in Chief for Dark Discoveries magazine. What do you enjoy most about your editing work?

Aaron – I love getting to read all this cool stuff and then cobble it together. Slush pile tasks are not so much fun, but putting together a Dark Discoveries magazine issue or an anthology is great fun. Also, all the editing I have done over the past several years really helped my own writing, which I’m thankful for. As a writer, you can learn a lot from editing.

Liz – Which do you find easier to edit – the work of another author, or your own?

Aaron – Definitely the work of another author. I have no idea what to do when it comes to my own stuff. Well that’s not true, I am getting better at that, but it’s extremely difficult. I use to think it was great whenever I had written something, but now more and more I am realizing that most of it is crap and that, oh wait!, actually just need to start all over, the whole thing needs to be rewritten. It is a lot harder for me to clearly arrive at that decision about my own writing, probably because of ego, than it is for me to see that in the writing of others. But that’s all been part of the learning process for me.

Liz – Agreed – I think sometimes with self-editing it can be a case of, ‘You can’t see the forest for the trees’, yet we don’t seem to have that same barrier with the work of others. You edited the anthology The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft which has been hugely successful. What was it like working on this project?

Aaron – That’s probably the most well-known thing I’ve done, and it just came together organically and spontaneously. I am very thankful to Chris Payne and JournalStone for funding that project. I have edited a couple anthologies before that, but with Gods of HPL I had the resources to truly go after the authors I wanted and make the project and the physical book I wanted to make. All of the authors in that book produced fantastic stories, and the artwork is great too. I’m just happy it’s been so well received. It’s their book, really.

Liz – Tell us about your debut novel, The Time Eater?

Aaron – The Time Eater came out in January from JournalStone. It’s a short novel, but still it’s my first one. It brings together all my interests, from weird fiction, to the occult, to psychology, etc. It follows the story of a depressed guy named Roger Borough who has forgotten part of his past and doesn’t realize it, and part of that past has to do with trauma and the occult. Through the course of the book, Roger must come to terms with his past and face it, as well as do battle with a pseudo-Lovecraftian enemy called the Time Eater, which devours space and time.

Liz – Sounds right up my alley! What inspired you to write it?

Aaron – It’s interesting, I actually wrote that book during a really messed up period in my life, which I managed to get through, and the result was that book. What I went through and discovered about the world at that time is now preserved in that book, so I think it helped me reach a new level in my writing. I set out just wanting to write my first novel. Then all hell broke loose.

Liz – Tell us about some of your other published work?

Aaron – I think I would like to mention my short-story collection Aberrations of Reality out from Crowded Quarantine Publications. That book showcases these aspects of my work I’ve been talking about, i.e. exploring the mystical and occult through fiction. You can read my Lovecraftian New World Order novella, “The Order,” in Dreaming in Darkness (written pre-Trump, thank you very much). I also would mention my novella about a young girl possessed by a demonic pigman called “The Chapman Stain” in The Chapman Books. All of those are on Amazon.

Liz – Your novella, Festival, is set for release soon, can you tell us about it?

Aaron – That’s right, it’s out end of May from Unnerving. That is a little different. It still touches on the occult and esoteric themes, but from a different angle. I would describe it as The Wickerman meets Psycho meets The Last House on the Left. I think… It’s about a guy and his girlfriend who stop for a Christmas vacation at a place called the Serenity Sanctum and get more than they bargained for because the place is actually home to a New Age neo-pagan all-female cult. That’s sort of The Wickerman part of it. But it gets much weirder. I was hoping to consciously explore the idea that horror fiction can be made to symbolize male repressed resentment toward women. I took this idea further to see what would happen if the repressed horrors took on their own reality for a horror-writing male. It’s really a thought experiment. A lot of the experiences and emotions of the characters in the novella are humiliating, repellent, and vulnerable, but that’s what I wanted to explore. The famous quote comes to mind: “…Nothing of that which is human is alien to me.”


Liz – Now that sounds fascinating! Aside from length, how did you find writing and publishing a novella compared to a novel? Do you prefer one over the other?

Aaron – I rather like the novella form, just because it’s not too long, not too short (this one’s juuuust right). I know other writers have said that too, but it’s true. I have three or four novellas out there now, and just one novel. Even though I really like the novella format, my plan is to get another novel out. Will I ever get to one of those crazy 600-page novels? I don’t know. Sounds like deciding to build a house from the ground up. But I would like to get there…

Liz – We all need goals – though 600 pages is certainly up there! What are your writing plans for the future?

Aaron – A dissertation, for one thing, and I am sure a lot of nonfiction articles related to that, so I imagine that will keep me busy. But I am still going to be editing a lot, and in fact there are a few secret anthologies in the works that are going to blow people’s minds, as well as I’ll be continuing Dark Discoveries magazine. In terms of fiction, I have a few new stories coming out, but I hope to sit down and get to work on a new novel fairly soon here.

Liz – It sounds as though we’ll be hearing a lot more from you in the future! Thank you so much for your time, Aaron – it’s been a pleasure! All the best for the release of ‘Festival’!

Check out Aaron’s work for yourself via the links:



The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Rhiannon Frater

Liz – This month, author Rhiannon Frater joins us at the Horror Tree. Rhiannon, Tell us about your part of the world?

Rhiannon – I live a very boring quiet life at the moment in North Texas.  We’re currently taking care of my mom, so we’re not living in the most exciting part of Texas. I really miss Austin and San Antonio (especially the food!). We hope to move to San Antonio in the near future.

Liz – How many ‘fur babies’ do you have? Do they help or impede your writing process?

Rhiannon – I have two adorable cats. They both have very different personalities. One is super laid back. He’s everyone’s buddy. The other is completely neurotic. She’s also my little personal assistant. She has my schedule memorized. If I’m away from my computer for too long during “working hours” she’ll find me and yowl until I return to my desk.

Liz – Now that’s a helpful cat! I need to train mine to do that. You’re a self-confessed lover of horror movies and television shows. Do you have a favourite?

Tor Books Launching “Tor Labs”, a New Serialized Fiction Podcast Imprint

Tor Books, a leading global publisher of science fiction and fantasy, announced today that it is launching TOR LABS, a new imprint emphasizing experimental approaches to genre publishing, beginning with original dramatic podcasts.

Helmed by Senior Editor Marco Palmieri and Editor Jennifer Gunnels, Tor Labs will debut this summer with Steal the Stars, a science fiction audio drama which will be produced in partnership with Gideon Media and written by Mac Rogers, the award-winning writer of the global hit podcast thrillers, The Message and LifeAfter.

Steal the Stars is the story of Dakota Prentiss and Matt Salem, two government employees guarding the biggest secret in the world: a crashed UFO. Despite being forbidden to fraternize, Dak and Matt fall in love and decide to escape to a better life on the wings of an incredibly dangerous plan: They’re going to steal the alien body they’ve been guarding and sell the secret of its existence.

Steal the Stars Tor LabsSteal the Stars is a noir science fiction thriller in 14 episodes, airing weekly from August 2 – November 1, 2017, and available worldwide on all major podcast distributors through the Macmillan Podcast Network. It will be followed immediately by a novelization of the entire serial from Tor Books, as well as an ads-free audio book of the podcast from Macmillan Audio.

In a joint statement, Gunnels and Palmieri said, “There’s a little mad science in every new publishing experiment, and we’re tremendously excited about the creative possibilities of Tor Labs. We’re especially thrilled to be partnering with Gideon Media on Steal the Stars, and bringing their phenomenal work to a wide audience.”

“I was intrigued by the idea of a science fiction heist thriller told in the classic noir tradition of James M. Cain and Patricia Highsmith,” said writer Mac Rogers. “I’ve always loved those stories of illicit lovers trying to pull off one nearly impossible crime in order to be together. As forces close in on them from all sides, they’re pushed to greater extremes than they ever imagined.”

About Tor Labs

Tor Labs, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, specializes in experimental and innovative ways of publishing science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related genres, as well as other material of interest to readers of those genres.

Gideon Media

About Gideon Media

Gideon Media proudly builds on the acclaimed, award-winning theatrical tradition of Gideon Productions in creating complex, riveting genre entertainment. Gideon Media meticulously crafts new audio worlds in which listeners can lose themselves, centered around heart-wrenching, pulse-pounding tales of science fiction and horror.

Bram Stoker Award® Winners Announced

The Horror Writers Association (HWA), the premier organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy, announces this year’s Bram Stoker Awards® winners after a ceremony held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. “The winners for this year’s awards unquestionably represent the continued high-level state of the art in horror writing,” said Lisa Morton, HWA President and multiple Bram Stoker Award winner. “Our members and awards juries were dedicated to the selection process for outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and poetry.”

We proudly provide the list of talented winners along with the finalist nominees.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Winner: John Langan – The Fisherman (Word Horde)

Also nominated:
Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)
Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Winner: Tom Deady – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)

Also nominated:
Barnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)
Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)
Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Winner: Maria Alexander – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Also nominated:
Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)
Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)
Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Winner: James Chambers – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)

Also nominated:
Bunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)
de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)
Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. –The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)
Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)
Kirkman, Robert – Outcast by Kirkman&Azaceta, Vol 3 This Little Light (Image Comics)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Winner: Tim Waggoner – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)

Also nominated:
Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)
Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (
Malerman, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Winner: Joyce Carol Oates– The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)

Also nominated:
Bailey, Michael – Time is a Face on the Water (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)
Bodner, Hal – A Rift in Reflection (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
Golden, Christopher – The Bad Hour (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
Mannetti, Lisa – ArbeitMacht Frei (Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories)
(Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Winner: Joyce Carol Oates– The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)

Also nominated:
Barron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)
Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)
O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Winner: Robert Eggers – The VVitch (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)

Also nominated:
Campbell, Josh, Chazelle, Damien, and Stuecken, Matthew – 10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount Pictures)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Vanishing of Will Byers
(Episode 01: Chapter One) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Upside Down
(Episode 01: Chapter Eight) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Logan, John – Penny Dreadful: A Blade of Grass (Episode 03:04)
(Showtime Presents in association with SKY, Desert Wolf Productions,
Neal Street Productions)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Winner:, Thomas F. Monteleone and Olivia F. Monteleone – Borderlands 6
(Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)

Also nominated:
Bailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)
Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)
Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)
Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories
(Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Winner: Ruth Franklin – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
(Liveright Publishing Corporation)

Also nominated:
Braudy, Leo – Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural (Yale University Press)
Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
Poole, W. Scott – In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (Soft Skull Press)
Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Tibbetts, John – The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Winner: Stephanie M. Wytovich– Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Also nominated:
Boston, Bruce and Manzetti, Alessandro – Sacrificial Nights (KippleOfficinaLibraria)
Collings, Michael R. – Corona Obscura: Poems Dark and Elemental (self-published)
Gailey, Jeannine Hall – Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems (Moon City Press)
Simon, Marge – Small Spirits (Midnight Town Media)

Named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented annually for superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and Neil Gaiman.

Active and Lifetime members of the organization are eligible to vote for the winners in all categories.

Via: Horror Writer’s Association.

Press-ing Matters: The Art of the Submission Email

Hey writerly peeps, Julianne here! Today I want to talk to you about something near and dear to my heart—the submission email. In our world, they’re necessary. When we submit to open calls, it’s usually done via email or through Submittable. Despite the title of this post, writing a submission email really isn’t an art, not by a long shot, but every writer should view it as a necessity.

First impressions are just as relevant digitally as they are in face-to-face interactions—you don’t get a second chance to make one. So, if you’re sending out a submission to a publisher, you want to take the opportunity to show that you’re aware of a few things: what you’re submitting for and who you’re submitting to. At the very least, your submission should be accompanied by a greeting directed to the publisher you want to be published by and some indication of what you’re submitting your work for. Some publishers have more than one open call at a time and if you don’t indicate what you’re submitting for, you run the risk of your submission not being evaluated against the set of requirements (theme, subject matter, you name it) you worked hard to follow.

Going a step further than the basics is a welcome treat for most publisher—heck, we’re people too! Introduce yourself if you’ve never worked with a specific publisher before, and if you have worked with them, mention that. Be proud of your accomplishments. Just be careful not to list every single publication you’ve ever been in—if that list is long, it’s not necessary to include it all. Publishers don’t want to read a two page letter with each submission so the idea here is to be brief. Essentially, you’re looking to give the publisher a quick introduction to yourself and show that you’re congenial.

So, what’s important to take away from this? An empty email with an attached submission isn’t the best way to submit a piece of your work to a publisher. If you do that, you run the risk of them just tossing it because frankly, they don’t have the time to hunt you down to ask what you’re submitting for. The onus is on you, the writer, to be clear about what you’re submitting. Anything above and beyond that is an opportunity and you should be viewed as one.

Take the opportunity—trust me, you can’t go wrong.

‘Til next time!

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Tim W. Long

Liz – Hi, Tim! Thank you for joining us for ‘The Horror Tree Presents…’ Why don’t you tell us about your part of the world?
Tim – I live out in the suburbs of Seattle, WA. We have near constant rain, but it’s okay. Writers need mood setting. I’m 40 minutes from the big city but only 15 minutes from a Costco. It’s an important trade off. Can’t be too far from cheap mutant sized rotisserie chicken. Who doesn’t like coming home from the store with enough food to last a month? It’s like a preppers dream come true.
My house is in what used to be a very small town. Over the last 15 years it has probably quadrupled in size. But I still like to say I live in the boonies. Now it’s the boonies with a super Walmart and an Office Depot.

Liz – Do you enjoy reading as well as writing? If so, who are your favorite authors?
Tim – Before I became a writer I devoured about a book a week, and sometimes more. I’ve always been a fan of door stopper sized epic fantasy. Some of my favorite authors are Steven Erikson, and George R R Martin. I also enjoy thrillers, and the occasional historical fiction tome. I used to read everything that Tom Clancy (RIP) put out. I’ve yet to find an author who had such a keen eye for technical detail as well as interesting characters on top of real world events and politics.

Liz – How long did you serve in the Navy for? Did you get to travel much? Have your experiences in the Navy influenced your writing?
Tim – The Navy was a fantastic learning experience. Every 18-year-old kid think they know it all, but when you join the military, you really see a new side of life. I was in for 4 years and got out in 1990. I spent most of that time in Japan on a ship that made a lot of port hops, but didn’t spend a lot of time at sea. I’ve been all over Asia, and even spent a month in Australia and Tasmania.

My time in the Navy as an engineer directly influenced my most successful series, the Z-Risen books. The main character is a wise-cracking, wrench swinging, engineer, who likes to bash heads first, and ask questions later. For the record, I never bashed in any heads.

Liz – That’s good to know! You’ve worked in some interesting roles: from working for a gaming corporation, to aeronautics, to an IT engineer. Do you utilize these experiences when working on a story?
Tim – I primarily write character driven stories, to that end, I think it would be hard to say my real life experiences haven’t influenced my writing. I have always tended to draw from stories I hear from other people. But I’ve never really based a character on someone I know. For the most part, though, I just make stuff up. If I don’t know about a job a character has I will talk to people or do research.

Liz – What prompted you to become a full-time author?
Tim – That’s a simple one. It’s the dream of every writer. Leaving a good paying job, and hoping I can keep my writing career on track, was a scary decision. I don’t know what most people think a full time writer does, but for me, it’s sort of like war. Long hours of boring stuff like sitting at a computer, followed by complete chaos, like releasing a new book. The week of a new book release can mean 14 hour days of non stop work. But I wouldn’t trade this for anything. It’s the greatest job in the world.

Liz – It’s definitely a dream for many of us. Your girlfriend is an author also, are there pro’s and con’s to living with another author?
Tim – It’s all pros. We completely understand our need to write. Instead of being solitary, though, we often work on projects side by side. We talk about the business all the time. We discuss what’s happening in the industry, and trade marketing and business ideas. Katie is the absolute best. We met at a zombie convention because we were both writers selling our work. Now we do a number of conventions together every year.

We talk about our ups and downs in the biz. She also has a publishing company and we help each other with our separate business. It really is amazing being with another author.

Liz – It sounds like you make a great team! Can you write anywhere, or do you need a specific set-up? If so, what is it?
Tim – Pretty much anywhere. I keep Scrivener on my phone which is my favourite writing program. I can be waiting at an appointment and knock out a few hundred words on my latest work in progress. I don’t need a special setup. All I need is a writing program.

Liz – I didn’t know you could have Scrivener on your phone? The things we learn! I see you’re also a coffee lover – a writer after my own heart. Do you find there is a fine line between ‘enough’ and ‘too much’ coffee when writing?
Tim – I’m sure there is. I wouldn’t know. Related question, why am I so jittery right now?

Liz – Good point…Do you have any quirky writing habits or methods?
Tim – I don’t think so. I can write in silence, but I prefer to have something on like the TV, music, or even a satellite radio station. I’ve written 16 books so writing it is a job I have done for years and it requires very little setup.

Liz – What inspired you to write your first book? Tell us about it.
Tim – I was intrigued with the whole zombie genre. Max Brooks had made a huge splash with his books, and then I found out that there was an entire culture of zombie inspired work out there. My first book was a kitchen sink zombie book. I threw everything into it. Fast zombies. Slow zombies. A serial killer. Loss, love, and everyday problems compounded by lots of blood and gore.

Liz – What have you released since then?
Tim – I’ve written 15 other books, and countless short stories. I write everything from zombies, to science fiction/superheroes, to dystopian fiction. I have also dabbled in some satire but that’s mainly for fun. I’ll never make a living from writing funny stuff. The money is in the more serious work.

Liz – That’s quite an impressive body of work. What are you currently working on?
Tim – My newest book was just released. It’s a book called Drums of War and it’s a dystopian technothriller. It’s based on the current political unrest in the states, and draws on a lot of what I have seen as far as fighting on social media, and the war on the news. One man gets caught up in the middle of what may turn out to be the second American civil war. I had an absolute blast working on this book, and the sequel comes out in June of 2017. It’s called March to War.

My next book is in nearly done. It’s the fifth novel in the Z-Risen series and it’s called Barriers. It should be released in mid-April 2017.

Liz – Has your writing style changed from your first book to your current one? How so?
Tim – I feel like I’m a hell of a better writer, that’s for sure. My first book was filled with passive writing and a lot of other newbie mistakes. Still, that book has always sold very well, and I’m pleased that I wrote it. I’d say that I have let a little more humor leak into my work since then.

I’ve also spent a lot of time getting better at the craft of writing. I have taken classes and read books on writing. But mainly, I have found that learning to read with a critical eye, has improved my writing. Having my work critiqued hasn’t ever been a big learning experience. But learning to critique other’s work has been.

Liz – Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels, or a series? Are there pro’s and con’s to both?
Tim – A little of both. But there is a lot more money in writing series. I tend to write short pulpy reads. Sometimes people just want a quick entertaining tale. That’s the kind of work I like to consistently deliver.

Liz – What is your ultimate goal as an author?
I don’t know that I have one. My goal had been to become a fulltime writer. I don’t know, I’d love for a big Hollywood producer to show up on my doorstep with a wheelbarrow full of money. I’d sell the crap out of a book if it could become a block buster.

Liz – If you had to select one of your books as your favourite, which would it be, and why?
Tim – I like all of my children and it’s hard to pick a favorite. I’d say that my current book is always my favorite. Then I write another book and it becomes my favorite. So I guess Drums of War: A Broken Patriot novel is my current favorite.

Liz – Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Tim, and we look forward to seeing more of your work!

You can find out more about Tim W. Long at:


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