Author: Lionel Ray Green

The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Kristopher Triana

The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Kristopher Triana

By Lionel Ray Green


Since the advent of the Splatterpunk Awards in 2018, Kristopher Triana has been one of the most celebrated authors of the extreme horror subgenre.

With eight nominations since 2019, Triana has won two Splatterpunk Awards for his novels Full Brutal and The Night Stockers, which he co-wrote with four-time Splatterpunk Award-winning author Ryan Harding.

In February, Bad Dream Books released Triana’s novel, The Old Lady. The story is about Tracey, the daughter of a traumatized Vietnam War veteran, who returns to the remote cabin of her youth only to face a new danger that launches her into survivalist mode when a stranger needs help rescuing her friends from a compound run by extremists.

Triana is perhaps best known for his Splatterpunk Award-nominated novels Gone to See the River Man and its sequel Along the River of Flesh. Gone to See the River Man has garnered almost 16,000 ratings on Goodreads and earned the Best of #BookTok banner on Amazon.

Triana agreed to an exclusive email interview with Lionel Ray Green for The Horror Tree about the Splatterpunk Awards, the success of his Gone to See the River Man series, and why The Old Lady Tracey is one of his favorite protagonists.


The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Cassondra Windwalker

The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Cassondra Windwalker

By Lionel Ray Green

Author and poet Cassondra Windwalker begins 2024 with the publication of What Hides in the Cupboards, a powerfully evocative modern gothic novel about regret and grief. 

The book is set for release Jan. 30 by horror and crime publisher Unnerving and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

What Hides in the Cupboards is about a ceramic artist named Hesper Dunn who’s moved from Chicago to New Mexico with her husband Richard following an accident. Their new house is cursed with a tragic history, leading Hesper down a dark path where she encounters ghosts of the past.

Windwalker, whose previous works include Idle Hands and Hold My Place, is also an accomplished poet. Her collection The Bench, available through Evening Street Press, won the 2020 Helen Kay Chapbook Poetry Prize for its “documentary-like precision.”

Windwalker agreed to an exclusive email interview with Lionel Ray Green for The Horror Tree about her new release and her award-winning poetry collection The Bench.


The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Helen Power

The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Helen Power 

By Lionel Ray Green 

 Canadian author Helen Power followed up her award-winning debut novel The Ghosts of Thorwald Place with another supernatural thriller, Phantom

An academic librarian living in Saskatoon, Power uses her eclectic background – she has degrees in forensic science, environmental studies, and library science – to enhance her storytelling. She is also an avid reader and reviewer and runs the Power Librarian book blog. 

Power agreed to an exclusive email interview with Lionel Ray Green for The Horror Tree about her novels. 


The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Andrew Najberg

The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview – Andrew Najberg


Andrew Najberg enjoyed a successful 2023 with not one but two outstanding novels from Wicked House Publishing, Gollitok and The Mobius Door.

Released in November, Gollitok earned Amazon’s coveted #1 New Release banner in the Occult Supernatural category. Set in post-nuclear Eastern Europe, Gollitok follows a government official as he joins a survey team to inspect the report of a disturbance at the abandoned Gollitok prison. The Mobius Door, released in April, is a novel of supernatural terror about dark forces freed by a curious young boy who opens a one-sided door in the woods.

The year 2024 is also shaping up to be another banner year for Najberg with two more major releases, The Neverborn Thief, a novel from Olive-Ridley Press; and In Those Fading Stars, a collection of short fiction from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Najberg, a teacher for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a senior editor for Symposeum magazine, agreed to an exclusive email interview with Lionel Ray Green for The Horror Tree.

“Horror Tree was actually a huge place in getting me into the modern horror market,” Najberg said.


The Horror Tree Interview with Aliya Whiteley

The Horror Tree Interview with Aliya Whiteley


By Lionel Ray Green


The Loosening Skin is a genre-bending science fiction novel by British author Aliya Whiteley. Slated for a U.S. release on February 23rd, The Loosening Skin is another addition to Whiteley’s ever-growing catalogue of critically acclaimed books.

Nina Allan, who won the 2017 British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel, offers high praise for Whiteley’s work.

“I firmly believe that Aliya Whiteley is one of the most original, innovative, and intelligent writers of speculative fiction working in Britain today.”

Since a runner-up finish in a short story competition in 2004, Whiteley has consistently delivered stories accompanied by industry acclaim. Her past work has been shortlisted for several accolades, including the Shirley Jackson Awards and the British Fantasy Awards.

Horror Tree presents … An interview with Kevin M. Folliard

Kevin M. Folliard’s latest release is an anthology of hidden horror titled The Misery King’s Closet. Released September 3rd, the collection features short stories that “share threads of dark secrets, hidden shame, and lurking monsters” with “characters haunted by addictions, parasites, dark truths, and heinous choices.”

The Illinois author explains in the book’s Foreword that the tales in The Misery King’s Closet “taught me a great deal about myself.”

“I think any fiction writer is grappling with truth about the world around us, and filtering those observed truths through storytelling,” Folliard told The Horror Tree in an exclusive interview. “There are little pieces of your own life, struggles, and experiences which materialize in your fiction. It was rewarding to step back, look at a body of work spanning the better part of a decade, and see how the themes manifested and repeated. I’ve come to notice how a lot of my characters deal with addictions, unhealthy relationships or behaviors, identity, nature versus nurture, and grief. These are all issues that have surfaced in my life in some way shape or form.

“In putting together this collection, I tried to group the stories together so that we had an ebb and flow of similar, but related themes of dark secrets and monsters, both internal and external. Writing helps me to better understand the issues that preoccupy and fascinate me about the human condition, and better yet, when you know and recognize those themes, it helps you lean into them, challenge them, and explore them —hopefully — in eloquent and interesting ways. I guess that’s a fancy way of saying that maybe I learned that I’m mostly scared of my own flawed humanity, as well as the idea that so many bad forces in life are hidden in plain sight.”

Like many modern horror writers, Folliard is influenced by Stephen King.

“I’m always happy to get the compliment when someone compares something I wrote to King,” said Folliard, who earned a degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I also love Michael Crichton, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury, and more. It’s fun when I can look back and tell who I was emulating, and I’m not always aware of it in the moment. For example, my book Jake Carter & the Nightmare Gallery now feels very much like my version of Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, but I had no idea while I was writing it.

“In this collection, the story ‘Midnight Man’ was partially inspired by an interview I saw about how Wes Craven had seen a scary stranger from his window as a child, which may have been the template for Freddy Krueger. One of my favorite movies is Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal Lecter has always stuck with me with his dark charisma. The Misery King and a lot of my other monstrous characters are like that — an evil force that has a magnetic power to draw you in.”

Folliard’s collection is chiefly filled with previously published stories, but it opens with the original tale “The Misery King’s Closet,” a perfect introduction for a collection of hidden horror.

“The story ‘The Misery King’s Closet’ was written specially for this collection, though I wanted it to work as its own piece of flash fiction as well,” Folliard said. “Since I had my theme of hidden horror, I knew I needed a thematic opening salvo to unite the anthology. I also loved the idea of having a Rod Serling-style Twilight Zone introduction. I struggled to come up with a good title for the collection, and it helped to tie the title into a character who could be a kind of ‘King of Monsters’ for all the spooky stuff I’ve been writing about. Hopefully, I’ll get to do another collection, and I can bring the Misery King back for another kickoff.”

A highlight of the collection is the story “Mirror Mirror,” which deals with childhood fear.

“Childhood fears definitely interest me, and I’m fascinated by stories where they can be real,” Folliard said. “My personal fears have probably changed a lot since I was a child, but there’s a primal flavor of fear when you’re young. I guess it’s because the unknown is so much scarier and more infinite than it is when we grow up. We ultimately learn that there are no monsters under the bed or in the closet, and we start to fear more practical things.

“When I was a kid, I shared a room with my older brother, and I always wanted to sleep with the closet light on. He wanted to sleep with it off, in total darkness. So, he told me: ‘If you sleep with the light off, ghosts come. But if you sleep with the closet light on, aliens come.’ So, I learned at a very young age that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, and he got to have his way.”

One of the more powerful stories is “Halfway to Forgotten,” a suspenseful allegory of addiction.

“I find horror is a great medium for exploring real, important, and uncomfortable issues,” Folliard said. “I’ve written a number of stories where on the first draft that ‘real problem’ was under the surface, and the best advice I got was to always bring it out more. There’s a fine line between being preachy and being insightful sometimes, but what matters most is that stories are honest. I don’t want to try to resolve complex issues or problems for my characters artificially, but I think the story is always stronger when the reader can sincerely experience that character’s situation.”

Folliard dedicated The Misery King’s Closet to the La Grange and Brookfield Writers Groups.

“These two local writers’ groups have been essential in helping me to hone my fiction writing,” Folliard said. “I started attending the La Grange Writers Group in my community about ten years ago, and I met a number of talented, published writers who have helped me to strengthen my prose and bring out the thematic value of my stories. Over the years, I was introduced to our sister group in Brookfield, and I’ve had the privilege of working with and learning from a diverse group of writers who have come and gone. I’ve gained from their honest feedback, advice, and comradery. I think writing can often be a lonely art, and I would encourage anyone to find a local group to share the process. You learn a lot by having people respond to your writing, and you learn just as much, maybe more, from critiquing other people’s writing.”

Folliard’s list of other works include genre fiction for young adults and holiday horror collections.

“When I was in my 20s, I really wanted to be a middle-grade/YA author,” Folliard said. “I wanted to write the kinds of books that I loved growing up, books that didn’t talk down to young readers, but instead challenged them, scared them, and inspired them. I found out that big publishers weren’t all that interested in my books for younger readers, but along the way, I learned that I had a knack for getting adult horror out there in the publishing world. I started focusing more on that, and really enjoying it. I’ve shifted much more from writing for a younger audience toward writing for an older audience, but I honestly love both. And as I’m writing this, I may have a deal in the works for a middle-grade adventure book, so hopefully I can keep doing both.”

In 2019, Demain Publishing added Folliard’s tale Candy Corn to its series of standalone releases titled Short Sharp Shocks!

“I was thrilled to get Candy Corn out there as its own Short Sharp Shocks single,” said Folliard. “It’s one of my favorite stories that I’ve written, and it can be challenging to find a home for novelette and novella length stories. I love how Demain has given so many talented writers a venue for novellas, and I’m happy to say I’ve got another Short Sharp Shock on the horizon. Big thanks to editor Dean Drinkel for taking a chance on my writing.”

The Misery King’s Closet features short stories, including drabbles, previously published in The Horror Tree’s ezine Trembling With Fear.

“I started writing drabbles for The Horror Tree who has been kind enough to publish a lot of my fiction, including many of the flash and drabbles in this collection,” Folliard said. “I found it to be a challenging way to convey a complete story in a tight package. I’m a big fan of flash fiction and short form entertainment in general. Placing constrictions on your word count can really help you to find interesting ideas. It’s also a good exercise for long-form writing, because it forces you to craft lean, strong prose. I love how the Internet age has allowed for flash fiction to flourish.”

Since The Horror Tree is a resource for writers, I asked Folliard if he could offer any advice.

“Be open to criticism,” Folliard said. “You can’t always please every reader, but you can learn from every reader. I think one of the major differences between published authors and unpublished authors might be ‘thick skin.’ You need to recognize and accept when something’s not working and sort it out. You need to take scores of rejections before you can celebrate that one acceptance. I’ve been writing fiction almost my entire life, and my progress has been so gradual that it’s easy not to notice.

“Writing takes time. It’s personal, but it needs to mean something to an audience, and that means listening to critiquers and editors. It means carefully fine-tuning stories until they are on just the right frequency where they connect you to an audience in a meaningful way. Fiction writers must be patient and committed.”



Amazon Author Page:

Twitter: @Kmfollia

Horror Tree presents … An Interview with Christopher Stanley

England author Christopher Stanley is a masterful writer of horror flash fiction. His latest book, The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales, is an exceptional collection of stories exploring the darkness of humanity. Released on June 1 by The Arcanist Press, The Lamppost Huggers received rave reviews from other talented authors in the genre.

Despite the whimsical title, The Lamppost Huggers is a skin-crawling exercise in creeping dread, with a pitch-perfect denouement you won’t see coming,” wrote Kealan Patrick Burke, the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Kin and Sour Candy.”

Stephanie Ellis, author of Bottled, agreed.

“Christopher Stanley captures the darkness of the soul and refuses to let it go,” Ellis wrote. “Atmospheric and chilling, this is a true master class in the art of flash.”

The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales features 26 bite-size tales of dread and horror. I had to ask: Why did “The Lamppost Huggers” receive top billing?

I can’t remember when I first started thinking about putting out a collection, but I do remember that ‘The Lamppost Huggers’ wasn’t going to be the title story,” Stanley said in an exclusive interview with The Horror Tree. “Originally, I favoured ‘And the World Roared Back,’ and I still think that would be a good representation of the table of contents. ‘The Lamppost Huggers’ took the top billing purely because of the response the story received when it was first published. Something about it really seemed to capture readers’ imaginations. It’s also quite an unusual title. Kealan Patrick Burke described it as ‘whimsical’ and I think he’s right – it doesn’t seem dangerous, just unsettling. And I like that.”

Stanley cites American author Don DeLillo as a likely influence on his work.

“Some of my favourite stories in the collection present two different perspectives — a wide-angle view of the world and a close-up of the central characters. I find this works well because it conveys the enormity of the threat and the vulnerability of those trying to survive. It’s not something I’ve done consciously, but I suspect it’s the result of having read many of Don DeLillo’s novels, including White Noise, Underworld, and Mao II. DeLillo’s ability to step back from his characters and show us the world they live in is frequently breath-taking.”

Stanley embraced flash fiction for practical reasons.

“Flash fiction has been good to me in many, many ways,” Stanley said. “After the twins were born, my window of opportunity to write shrunk down to maybe half an hour a day – not enough for longer form stories but perfect for flash. I can write a rough draft in half an hour and have it edited by the end of the week. Flash fiction was a way for me to keep writing amidst the chaos. I’ve made lots of friends through flash fiction, and we’re spoiled for flash fiction events in Bristol, which has been home to the UK National Flash Fiction Day celebrations and the amazing UK Flash Fiction Festival. My hope is there’s a growing appreciation for the power and potential of flash fiction, and that it will continue to grow in popularity.”

Stanley said the horror genre fits his style.

“I’ve been a fan of the horror genre for more years than I’d care to admit, but I’ve never found it easy to write and I’m in awe of people who do it well,” Stanley said. “I have a preference for stories set in a familiar world with recognisable characters, and I like writing stories where anything might happen — where there’s a real sense of urgency and danger. For these reasons, horror is the perfect genre for me.”

The opener in The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales is titled “Norfolk.” It’s a particularly dark yet brutally honest tale from the father’s perspective. The father blames the birth of his son for an aborted writing career. These two sentences stuck with me: “In my dreams, the spirits of the dead crawl from the water to steal Eddie away, their fleshless fingers prising him from my grasp. I’m glad they’re taking him but I’m compelled to ask why.”

I asked Stanley, who’s a father of three boys, if it’s difficult to write such dark confessions of the soul, even though it’s a fictional character’s soul?

“After my eldest was born, I found it impossible to write stories that didn’t feature children,” Stanley said. “That’s how much my life changed. And it was definitely for the better.  The funny thing about ‘Norfolk’ is that so much of that story is true. Not the ending (thankfully), and obviously not the unsavoury relationship between the father and the son. But after the twins were born, my eldest and I used to drive up to Norfolk the night before to get the bungalow ready for the rest of the family, and I used to love it. He was just about old enough to sit in the front with me and he was really great company. Maybe not so much when he clawed my face in the middle of the night, but it was really dark and he couldn’t see what he was doing.”

In April 2019, Demain Publishing released Stanley’s debut standalone novelette The Forest is Hungry for its series Short Sharp Shocks! It’s another creepy tale, this time about a father trying to save his sick daughter.

“I was so happy when Demain Publishing agreed to publish my horror novelette, The Forest is Hungry,” Stanley said. “It was my first standalone publication and also the longest story I’d published. As someone whose success has been almost exclusively in the world of flash fiction, the response to Forest has been enormously encouraging. I’d recommend Short Sharp Shocks! to anyone looking for chills and thrills that can be consumed in one sitting. They’re a lot of fun, and I’m proud to be a part of the series.”

In addition to flash fiction, Stanley also writes music.

“I’d just started work on my third album when we entered lockdown,” Stanley said. “It’s a thrilling hobby – so much collaboration and energy. I recorded my first album, Americana, almost by accident after I was made redundant around eight years ago. I’d only planned to record one song, but I was blown away by all the wonderful local musicians who were happy to join me in the studio and we just kept going. My second album, Canyonlands, was more polished, mostly because I used the same band and studio throughout. It’s too soon to say how my new album, The Gathering Days, will turn out, but I’m very excited about the songs we’ve already recorded and can’t wait to get back in the studio.”

Speaking of the lockdown, Stanley said he misses his commute to work.

“I do believe I’ve been one of the lucky ones throughout the lockdown,” Stanley said. “My wife and I still have our jobs (for now), and our three kids are (mostly) terrific. Not that it’s been easy. Juggling my job with home-schooling, while my wife works at the hospital, has been exhausting. My study — where I write — has become my office and, sometimes, my bolt hole. It doesn’t feel the same anymore and I haven’t figured out how to fix it yet. I think the thing that’s surprised me the most is how much I’ve missed my daily commute – an hour, twice a day, when I’m alone with my thoughts, was something I’d taken for granted.”

The Horror Tree is a resource for authors, so I asked Stanley if he had a writing tip.


“If you want to be a better writer, join a writers’ group,” Stanley said. “Find readers who will give you honest feedback, even if they wouldn’t normally read or write something in your chosen genre. Treasure that feedback. Learn from it. I’ve been amazed at how many people have been prepared to give up their time to help me become a better writer. I’d be nowhere without it.”

What’s next for Stanley? We could see the flash fiction master write a full-fledged novel … maybe.

“I feel clichéd saying it, but I’ve just started writing a novel,” Stanley said. “I really have. And I’m going to do my best to finish it before the Doomsday clock ticks around to midnight and we all succumb to whichever of the four horsemen arrives first. But I’m not promising anything. Recently, I’ve also had a mini-collection accepted by Demain Publishing. That’s all I can say about this one at the moment, except that there’ll be announcement in due course and I’m very excited about it.”


The Horror Tree presents an interview with Tim Meyer

New Jersey horror author Tim Meyer is a self-professed “coffee connoisseur” and “beer enthusiast” who likes his coffee like he likes his beer.

“Coffee, black,” Meyer said. “Not a grain of sugar, not a drop of milk. The bitterer the better. That also applies to my beers. I’m a huge IPA fan, so pretty much any IPA with a high IBU will do. Really digging this tangerine IPA that New Belgium recently put out. New England IPAs are also my go-to.”

Meyer’s tastes are more eclectic when the topic is writing. He “prefers to blur genres and let the story fall where it may.” With his latest book Dead Daughters, the story falls into the thriller category.

Released April 16 by Poltergeist Press, Dead Daughters is about the Lowery family, who are living the American dream in New Jersey. However, a blank envelope in the mail upends their ideal life.

Early reviews for the book are positive. Horror author Hunter Shea wrote in a Goodreads review: “By far, Tim Meyer’s best book to date.”

Meyer isn’t one to judge his own work, but he did spend more time writing Dead Daughters than any of his previously published books. His other titles include Kill Hill Carnage, The Switch House, Sharkwater Beach, and In the House of Mirrors.

“I think it’s easy for an author to say ‘my newest book is my best book.’ And for many reasons, the biggest being that writers are constantly getting better and honing their craft each time out,” Meyer said. “So, naturally, the newest is always going to be the ‘best’ thing they’ve written. (more…)