The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Jim Goforth

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Jim. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself?

 

Jim – Salutations, Stacey, and cheers for having me here. Predominantly, I am a husband and father, but in addition to that I am a horror author. Formerly based in Sydney, I now reside in Albury where I maintain a full-time job along with writing. I’m also an editor and run WetWorks, which is the extreme horror and bizarro imprint of J. Ellington Ashton Press. I’m a massive heavy metal aficionado, in particular the extreme subgenres (black and death), and often cross-pollinate my horror writing with forays into musical realms.

 

Stacey – As a complete novice to extreme metal music, what drew you to it in the first place. Was it a band or a particular song?

 

Jim – My passion for extreme metal runs in some ways parallel to my passion for horror. As an impressionable youngster I gravitated towards dark elements in both fiction and music early, and constantly expanded my search for new heavier, and horrific things. I grew up with music always playing in my household, as well as always having books around, so I cultivated an appreciation for all kinds of both. Reading was encouraged, appreciating music too, and as I delved deeper into heavy metal, and grew up with it, I discovered a penchant for the more extreme side of things. This went hand in hand with my explorations of horror, and an affinity with all of it. No particular bands or songs played major parts since I was into a very wide spread of acts from all over the world, but I certainly have an abundance of favourites.

 

Stacey – Was music what drew you into writing Horror or was there some other influence?

 

Jim – Music has always been influential and inspirational, not just metal, but all different types, but it wasn’t what served as any catalyst for writing horror. When I first started writing stories-which happened not too long after I learned to read-I was writing all kinds of different things in a vast array of genres. Back then of course, as a kid, I didn’t have too much of an idea of genres, but I have written tales that could be considered fantasy, science fiction, urban, I even used to write Westerns. What was the principal inspiration for all of this was reading. I read a hell of a lot of books of all types of genres, and I was often inspired to write my own tales. As I did with music, gravitating towards the heavier side of things, my reading tastes soon included horror, and while I continued to read an assortment of different genres, it was horror that became my prime obsession. My stories reflected that as a result, and soon enough I realised writing horror was exactly what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be.

 

Stacey – You have quite an impressive list of titles under your belt according to Amazon. How long have you been writing?

 

Jim – I’ve been writing forever it seems like, and essentially that is true. As I made mention of before, I started writing not long after I learned to read. As a kid I didn’t just write stories though, I actually made my own books, drew my own illustrations, synopsis, covers, the whole lot.  I wrote stories, poetry, lyrics, a couple of novels through my high school years, and then continued to write on and off in one form or another throughout all the years following that.

In terms of actually being published however, that didn’t happen until early 2014 when my first book Plebs emerged. That came after a fairly long period where I wasn’t writing horror fiction at all, but was involved in other pursuits, such as working in the extreme metal scenes. Considering this involved writing reviews and so forth I was still technically writing, though not in any fiction capacity.

 

Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?

 

Jim – I draw inspiration from just about anything. I wouldn’t exactly say I have written too much based around my real-life experiences, not in any great detail or focus in any event, but rather a case of taking snippets here and there to enhance other stories.

I find inspiration everywhere. From daily events, to a random piece of conversation heard in passing, from news headlines to music, anything at all. One of my favourite methods of conjuring up a story is to merely find a single image-old houses are often a great source-and create an entire tale based around that sole picture. My novel The Sleep was largely conceived and written in this manner. The image that appears on the cover is the very one that the whole book was based around.

Other books and stories have drawn inspiration from all manner of sources, though any real life experiences or personal experiences of mine would be well blended in with themes and subjects of a far more fictional nature.

 

Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing?

 

Jim – My greatest challenge in writing is finding enough time to write everything that I want to write. There are never enough hours in the day, and even as fast as I often write, I’m still being bombarded with ideas for other projects I want to get to work on. I almost always work on multiple projects at any given time, but even so, there’s never enough time.

 

Stacey – Do you write daily?

 

Jim – Yes, I do. How much I get written each day is variable, but I do make a point of writing something every day. Now and then for various reasons I might happen to miss a day here and there, but as a general rule I do write every day.

 

Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

 

Jim – Either works just fine. I often write to a soundtrack of music which runs the gamut through the expected range of different metal genres, to sixties rock, industrial, even dance music, horrorcore, old school rap, all kinds of things. Other times I have no music at all, but that doesn’t essentially mean I’m writing in complete silence. With two little kids running around the house, there is rarely anything resembling complete silence. I’m attuned to just focusing on whatever it is I’m working on regardless of the surrounding sounds or background noise.

 

Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?

 

Jim – This will be the same advice I’ve given each time I’m asked this, and that is because I maintain the same stance there; it never changes.

If you want to write, or love to write, then just write. Write what you want to write, how you want.

I’ll expand on this a little and add something which may or may not work for everybody, since each person has their own method of approaching writing. If you’re aiming to tell a story, then tell the whole story before worrying about whether it is perfect. It’s entirely up to each writer whether they want to edit as they go, but personally I never do, and never have. Sitting around agonising over a line or a paragraph, then going back over and over it multiple times, rephrasing, restructuring, completely altering it or what-have-you as you write tends to stunt the flow of the story and might ultimately end in you never getting anything finished.  If you have the story in your head, get it out, and then concern yourself with beating it into shape if it so requires.

After all, first drafts exist for a reason.

In addition to that, I’ll toss this out there too. If you haven’t already got a thick skin, then be prepared to cultivate one. Whatever it is you write isn’t going to appeal to everybody, and there are always going to be myriad critiques and opinions floating around, so be ready to take all that in your stride.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?

 

Jim – To be honest I can’t think of any book I couldn’t finish reading. If I start something I usually persevere with it, even if it isn’t really captivating or holding my attention. It will take a whole lot longer to finish reading than a book that does keep me fixated, where I might go weeks or longer in between periods of reading it, but generally it does get completed.

 

Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?

 

Jim – The Autopsy of Jane Doe.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

 

Jim – Aside from something untoward happening to my kids and family, nothing really. I don’t scare easily.

 

Stacey – From the Vault is a collection of poetry and lyrics? Which is more rewarding? Poetry or Short Stories?

 

Jim – Writing stories and novels, novellas etc. is definitely where my main writing passion lies, so consequently, they are much more rewarding to me. In actuality, I haven’t written anything in the way of poetry or lyrics for many, many moons. From the Vault is quite literally from the vault. It is comprised of a collective of lyrics, songs, and poems which were all written way back in the mists of time. With the exception of a handful of them, they haven’t previously been published, so while they’re all quite old to me, they will be largely new to everybody else. I have a pretty sizeable assemblage of poems (all of which were originally written as lyrics), so this probably won’t be the only collection of its kind to surface. There will be others some time down the track, and since I have a body of unpublished novels, stories and so forth also written way back in the day, they too might be on the agenda to appear at some stage in the future.

 

Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?

 

Jim – As usual I’m working on myriad projects. They include Plebs 3, numerous other collections, a couple of novellas and several other novels. They’ll all jostle for the main focus of my attention until one wins out and I end up spending most of the time aiming to complete it. I’d like to say that will be Plebs 3, but we’ll see how that pans out. Anything can, and usually does, happen.

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

 

Jim – No, I seldom, if ever, share excerpts of unpublished work. I know there are plenty out there who do for an assortment of reasons, and if that’s what they choose to do, that’s their prerogative, but personally I never really understood the logic behind it. Sharing an unedited excerpt, which anything of mine would be, considering I don’t edit as I go, I get the story written first, means that excerpt might not even make it to the final product, it might be wholly changed, restructured, you name it. I appreciate why some might want to share their work before it reaches the stage of publishing, but it’s not something I do.

 

Thank you so much for your time Jim! If you would like to find out more about Jim and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Jim-Goforth/e/B00HXO3FRG/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://www.facebook.com/JimGoforthHorror

https://twitter.com/jim_goforth

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7777382.Jim_Goforth

https://jimgoforthhorrorauthor.wordpress.com/

https://plus.google.com/+JimGoforth/

https://www.facebook.com/PlebsHorror

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rejected-For-Content/1601557196779520

https://www.facebook.com/WetWorksJEA

http://www.jellingtonashton.com/jim-goforth.html

http://www.crystallakepub.com/jim-goforth.php

 

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Thomas Raymond

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Thomas. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself?

 

Thomas – I was born and raised in California, where I lived all but 5 of my 46 years of life. I am a Union electrician in addition to being a trained Dairy manager for Grocery stores, a MANPADS military crewmember, certifiably insane (if the doctors are to be believed) while surviving PTSD from childhood and adult abuses and dealing with the depression that comes with them. Happily married to wife 2.0 and currently living in New Mexico (fewer people, more rain).

 

Stacey – What is your favourite holiday spot?

 

Thomas – I was going to say the beach, but wife 2.0 has family in Minnesota/Wisconsin with beachfront property on a small lake that is heaven any time of the year. I will always be a ocean beach bum at heart though.

 

Stacey – What’s one place real or imagined that you’d love to travel to?

 

Thomas – Heaven. They have some explaining to do. Right after I visit Hell.

 

Stacey – Which author living or dead inspires you?

 

Thomas – There are so many. Jonathan Maberry immediately comes to mind. He has done so much for me and with me. Early on: J.R.R. Tolkien, Piers Anthony, David and Leigh Eddings, Gary Gygax and the rest of the D&D world. Today: Jim Butcher, Dana Fredsti, Raymond E. Feist, Christopher Moore, Hal Bodner, Del Howlison, Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire, Janny Wurtz, to name a few.

 

Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?

 

Thomas – When I do, things get scary, but, yes, many of my life experiences come out in the terror that my characters feel and the ruthlessness of my villains.

 

Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing? Do you write daily?

 

Thomas – Doing it daily. Since I am not able to be a full-time writer, and having moved 4 times in the last 2 years, I have not devoted to the time writing that I should. Additionally, I am “splurge” writer in that I can sit and type out 5,000 words and actually have half of them be useable. I can do this for a few days at a time, then the well dries up and I don’t type again for several days. The story is still going in my mind however and it usually gets weirder before the next splurge.

 

Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

 

Thomas – I have used both and it depends on if it is on when I start. I don’t have set playlists or anything and the silence is usually broken up by mad laughter or arguments with my characters.

 

Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?

 

Thomas – Write every chance you get. Take notes when you are not typing. Keep a notebook and pen/pencil handy to write down conversations your characters are having. NEVER GIVE UP.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?

 

Thomas – Lord of the Flies…it bored me, even in high school. All Quiet on the Western Front… I knew more about war than the teacher did. I don’t usually pick up a book unless I like the author or the content, so I can’t think of any others off the top of my head right now. I will admit to not reading much non-fiction however.

 

Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?

 

Thomas – Get Out. Probably one of the best movies I have seen in the last few years.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

 

Thomas – Failure. It is my hardest thing to fight against and not give up hope on. There are many days where I fight to get out of bed and many more where I fight to go to sleep because of the sense of failure that stalks me.

 

Stacey – Do you believe in writers’ block?

 

Thomas – All blocks are either made to be broken or built upon.

 

Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?

 

Thomas – A vampire novel where the vampires are actually evil and not driven by human desires. Additionally, they don’t die easily… if at all.

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

 

Thomas – “One thing about being around dead bodies in dark woods, alone, at night, with just a flashlight: your senses are on overdrive. My sense of smell had given up over the stench of death so close to me and the garlic on my neck, while my eyes were trying to look in a million different directions at once. Touch was consumed with being used as little as possible and there wasn’t ANYTHING I wanted to taste there. But my ears were free and not really being consciously used because there wasn’t anything to hear in woods at night except for insects. The problem was, I didn’t hear ANY insects. That was the only warning I got before I was hit by a wrecking ball across my back and shoulders. I fell flat on my face and started rolling to my left to try and see what the hell had hit me.

One good thing about learning a little bit from every fighter I could when I was a kid: I didn’t fight with any one style, I fought to win and I was more than willing to fight dirty to do so. As soon as I felt the ground solid under my back, I hunched myself up like an upside down turtle. Sure enough, the next thing I felt was something on top of me and so I clawed at the area where a face should be. I was rewarded with a grunt of pain that told me two things: there was a person there and I still had my gloves on. Still, it was a start and when I felt the pressure of the body on top of me shift from being flat against me to a more sitting position, I flexed my back, bucked out with my legs and twisted my hips to dump this guy off of me. This allowed me to grab my first toy.

The next time I felt something grab me, I quickly placed the stun gun against it and reveled as it screamed and let go. This time I was able to get to my feet and grab a smaller flashlight off the other side of my belt. Turning it on, I finally saw my attacker and knew I had been lucky so far. It was the same male creature I had seen last night. Its hair was dirty and matted, not just unwashed, but with clumps of dirt and leaves sticking to it. His hands were long with broken nails at the ends. He wasn’t wearing shoes, socks or much of anything else for clothing. I noticed he was starting to move and so I reached down and hit him with the stunner again; he screamed, twitched and then became very still. For some reason, this worried me more than anything so far and so I scanned around for my backpack and quickly ran to it once spotted.

By the time I had grabbed a stake and the hatchet, I could literally feel the vampire stalking me. I looked back at where I had left him and saw nothing other than the disturbed earth from our scuffle. I placed my back against a tree and tried to quiet my breathing like last night so I could get an idea of where he might be. As I stood there listening, I tried to figure out why he had been able to attack me when I had been wearing my garlic! That was when I noticed the weight of the necklace was gone and a quick look down proved that the garlic was missing and my clothes were ripped to shreds! The bastard had clawed my necklace off of me and ripped my shirt! If not for the stunner, I would probably be vampire food right now.

That thought brought back the memory of that poor girl: torn, broken, being fed upon, asking “why?” over and over. I REFUSED to end up like her and with that thought foremost in my mind, I crouched lower against the tree, grabbed my pack and started circling around the tree. I felt foolish for grabbing the stake now when my vampire was not yet in a position to be killed.

My flashlight was useless to me as it was busy lighting up the area near their bodies. This meant I needed light and quickly! Keeping a tree at my back and listening for the approach of my enemy, I dropped the stake and grabbed out a road flare. To light it I had to drop the hatchet as well, but then I lit three of them in rapid order; tossing one to my left and one to my right. I didn’t see any menacing shadows coming towards me and so I prepared to light the third one when my inner street smarts finally broke through and I snapped my head around to look above me.

There, not more than 20 feet away and already crouched to hurl himself towards me was my vampire (geesh, “my vampire”). I could see the redness of his eyes and the redness of the flare light on his fangs and nails. He hissed something as he flew towards me and so I dropped the flare and pulled out a new toy for his nastiness: my crucifix!

He dropped down in front of me even as I brought the crucifix up and out towards his face, while moving towards my left. Imagine my surprise when he didn’t recoil from me in horror, but actually LAUGHED at me.

“You are no hunter! You are just food pretending it can hunt. I will enjoy eating you for the little pain you have caused me….”

I am sure he said other things but there is a funny thing about creatures that “know” they are stronger than you, they like to talk and they like to threaten you; I think it is a testosterone thing. Whatever it is, it allowed me time to dig around at my feet for my backpack and pull out of a side pocket something I prayed would make an impact, my holy water!

By the time it was in my hand though, he had finished whatever he had been saying and I found myself with vampire on my chest and my back on the ground. Now, mind you, having your crucifix laughed at can be disheartening; but when you hit a vampire in the head with a mason jar of holy water, there is a VERY satisfying moment when just the IMPACT of the jar hitting his dead flesh and his gasp of surprise at the suddenness of the attack makes him flinch, giving your left hand time to bring up the hatchet it found next to your prone body and bash the OTHER side of his head. Unfortunately, that had the same impact as if I had hit him with a nerf bat instead: no blood, no cracked skull, and no dead vampire.

It did help rattle his brains more though and instead of pushing his attack, he staggered back and away from me. With that brief opening, I used the hatchet to break the mason jar and fling the broken glass and water onto him. For once, something worked! I was rewarded with his screech of pain as he started clawing at the remains of his clothing to remove the holy water that had splashed onto his chest. My hand, almost of its own volition, dropped to my belt and snatched the pepper spray out of its pouch; I shook the can as I brought it up, pointed it at my vampire and sprayed.

If I thought he was hurt, I was wrong. He dodged the spray easily and even as I tried to get ahead of him with the spray, there was soon a tree blocking my line of sight and I lost him. That didn’t last long though as he appeared from the other side of the tree and sucker punched me so hard I was certain he had broken my jaw.

I was knew I was going to die at this point.”

 

Thank you so much for your time Thomas! If you would like to find out more about Thomas and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.

 

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/ThomasRaymondAuthor/

Instagram: @ibew11sparky

Twitter: @T_Ray_Author

 

 

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Kenneth Goldman

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Kenneth. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself?

 

Ken – Since you asked, I’ll brag a little.  I’ve written almost 200 stories and counting reprints I’ve published over 860 of them. That includes two novels (OF A FEATHER and SINKHOLE), one novella (DESIREE), and three anthologies of short stories (YOU HAD ME AT ARRGH!!, DONNY DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANY MORE, and STAR-CROSSED).  My bio could read: Ken Goldman is famous but nobody knows it.

 

Stacey – You have quite an impressive list of titles under your belt according to Amazon. How long have you been writing?

 

Ken – This is no lie. I began writing before I learned to write. I was drawing pictures of my ‘stories’ before I entered kindergarten. But semi-professionally, I started writing and having my stories published back in 1992.

 

Stacey – Of your numerous books and stories, which one is your favourite and why?

 

Ken – That’s like asking which of your children do you like best.  But okay – I guess it’s my novel OF A FEATHER because I have this love of birds and until last week I always had a bird in my home. Sadly, my parrot, Baby, passed away last week at the age of 35 years. Ever seen a grown man cry?  It isn’t pretty.

 

Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?

 

Ken – I draw my inspiration from just about anything. A photo can inspire me, or a magazine, album cover, or graffiti on a bathroom wall.  I’m extremely visual, and I’ve been told that my stories are like watching a series of snapshots. Of course, real life experiences are inspiring also, and I base almost every character I create on people I know.

 

Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing?

 

Ken – I find that getting a new idea for a story is always a challenge, more than actually writing the story itself. A writing instructor taught me that just about every idea or story has been told in one form or another, that a good writer has to discover a new slant. JAWS? Think MOBY DOCK.  E.T.?  Think LASSIE.  THE SHINING?  Think every haunted house tale ever written, then magnify it to hotel size.  Get it?

 

Stacey – Do you write daily?

 

Ken –  I put in at least an hour a day either writing something new, rewriting or editing something I’ve written, and/or searching for new markets to which I can submit my work.  I find the whole writing process therapeutic (and it’s cheaper than therapy), so I don’t mind working at something I enjoy.

 

Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

 

Ken – Music sometimes just before I write, then SILENCE PLEASE.

 

Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?

 

Ken – Writing is rewriting.  Think you’ve finished that novel with your last sentence?  NOPE! You have to go back, trim the fat, and admit that there are parts of your story you don’t need or that just plain suck. (Stephen King calls this process “Kill your darlings.”)  In other words, you have to be brutally honest with your writing. Don’t count on Mom, your pals, or your spouse to be completely truthful about how much they like what you’ve written.  A writing group is often helpful if you can find one, and if you can handle brutal honesty.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?

 

Ken – Hate to admit this, but Stephen King’s BAG OF BONES just didn’t do it for me. I had a hard time relating to the pathetic main character. I did finish it years later and it really wasn’t all that bad.

 

Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?

 

Ken – Just saw A QUIET PLACE. It’s one of the better horror movies I’ve seen recently with a unique and effective take on the effects of silence.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

 

Ken – Besides Donald Trump? I have a major fear of being injected with a needle, and I come close to passing out when I have to get an injection, especially with blood work.  The scene in THE EXORCIST that got to me wasn’t the girl’s head spinning or the green vomit.  No, it was when Regan gets a needle injected into her neck. YECCH!

 

Stacey – Your book Of a Feather really caught my eye. I love ravens, myself. What drew you to write a novel that focuses rather heavily on birds?

 

Ken – As I mentioned above, I’ve always had a love and interest in birds, and I’ve had a domestic bird in my home since I was eight.  My parrot, Baby, was an amazing creature – intelligent, amusing, and somehow insightful enough to tune into my own moods.  Not to get maudlin, but I know birds have this instinctive fear of being held in such a way that their wings are prevented from allowing them to fly off.  Baby passed away a few days ago while at the bird hospital, but just before the end he climbed into the crook of my arm and allowed me to hold him for an hour just stroking his feathers. It was as if he knew this was a special moment, a very poignant moment for me and one that brings tears even as I write this.

 

Stacey – You talk about the Thunderbird, which comes from North American mythology. What drew you to this particular myth?

 

Ken – Thank the internet for this one. I needed a reason the main character, Socrates Singer, had this ability to control birds.  I discovered the Oglala tribe’s Indian mythology behind Wakinyan, The Thunderbird, a tribal god whose ability is to recognize evil and destroy it.  But Wakinyan is not always reliable and sometimes could be evil itself. That worked perfectly!

 

Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?

 

Ken – I’m between short stories.  Just finished one called “Death Bed Scene” about a father’s terrible death bed confession. When I feel energized and inspired enough, I’ll tackle another novel. I’m searching for ideas right now.

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

 

KenOh yes!  This is from my latest novel SINKHOLE (Bloodshot Books), which features slug-like creatures that steal parts of your brain – and your soul.  Here’s a little taste:

 

Gina slipped into a pair of hip huggers most women past thirty would have had difficulty getting away with. She brushed her hair (counting to thirty strokes, as was her ritual), then headed to the bathroom for a quick freshening up. The water remained off, but a little cosmetic handiwork was doable. With a strategic floral spritz of Shalini behind each ear (and one between the silken skin of her girls), she checked her image in the bathroom mirror. Yes, she was good to go, but for one delicate matter.

It was a less than feminine consideration, but she had been out earlier to ask about the excavation’s progress. The morning had been humid, and Gina had perspired a little. Those nasty lady pits required a few delicate scrubs. The water wasn’t running for a shower, but her trusty baby oiled loofa remained damp enough to do the trick. Pulling the shower curtain, she reached for the pink sponge.

Something long and black slithered along the shower head. Having no time to react, Gina managed a gasp. As if it saw her, the dark thing’s mouth hooks extended and opened wide.

Curling itself, the small creature dropped into Mrs. Regina Campbell’s scalp.

 

Thank you so much for your time Kenneth! If you would like to find out more about Kenneth Goldman and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Sinkhole-Ken-Goldman/dp/1947522000/

https://www.amazon.com/Feather-Ken-Goldman-ebook/dp/B00HMR47OY

https://www.amazon.com/Ken-Goldman/e/B004QVWTTE.

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with G.A. Miller

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, G.A. It’s great to have you. So, tell me, what do the initials G.A. stand for?

 

G.A.Thank you, Stacey! It’s a pleasure to be here. I promised myself I’d be honest in this interview, so I’ll confess that G.A. Miller is my pen name. When I chose to try my hand at writing, I decided to use a pen name as a safety net. My middle name is George, my Confirmation name was Anthony (yes, Mom tried her best), and Miller has long been my go-to choice in the category of cold adult beverages. Voila, G.A. Miller came to be my very own ‘Dark Half’.

 

Stacey – If I’ve done my homework correctly, you hail from Providence, Rhode Island? What’s it like to live there?

 

G.A. – There is a wealth of history here, a long-standing heritage to explore and learn about. That H.P. Lovecraft lived here, Edgar Allen Poe spent time visiting a woman who lived here, and Stephen King is due north in Maine certainly provides a wealth of “Mojo” on which to draw for an aspiring horror writer.

 

Stacey – You work as a technician by day, and a writer by night. Is one more satisfying then the other?

 

G.A. – Writing is much more satisfying, as it allows me to free my imagination, to explore interesting possibilities with no limitations, and provides a tremendous creative outlet for me. I was a musician and songwriter for many years, until age and arthritis took away my ability to play. Writing has filled that creative gap and has allowed me to try my hand at something that has always interested me, but I’d never taken the time to try.

 

Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

 

G.A. – I’ve been a fan of horror since I was very young. I can still remember laughing at the antics of Zacherly, the “Cool Ghoul”, who hosted Shock Theater long ago…had to be the late ’50’s, with me being maybe three or four at the time. I was glued to the tube, my first introduction to Karloff’s Frankenstein, Lugosi’s Dracula, and Chaney Jr.’s Wolf Man, along with a collection of other old films in glorious black and white…

 

Well, as long as I had the rabbit ears on the TV positioned just so.

 

Then, with the magic of books, the world opened up, from classics like Stoker’s “Dracula” to the well-worn copies of the EC Comics that had been banned before my time. Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and of course, Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

 

The silver screen had no shortage of good content for my mind to absorb and process…Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, “Village of the Damned”, “The Day of the Triffids”, and so on. Those led to the explosion of Technicolor on screen with the Hammer Horror imports, generally starring the great Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

 

With that background, I discovered Stephen King in 1976, with the first paperback printing of “Salem’s Lot”, and it opened my eyes to the world of “What If?” Most of my work has been simple, everyday people cast into extraordinary circumstances once the “What If?” was applied.

 

Stacey – Do you write daily?

 

G.A. – I should, but I don’t. I tend to jot down thoughts and ideas as they occur to me, and then set times to write when the house is quiet and distractions are at a minimum. I do need to discipline myself better, and write each day, despite work time, family time, chores to be done, and so on. Someone once said the first million words are just practice, and I have a lot of practicing to do.

 

Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

 

G.A. – For me, silence works best. I like to immerse myself in what I’m working on, and when music is playing, I’m easily distracted by it. My background as a musician has me listening to the chord structures used, the arrangement, and completely takes me away from what I’m writing.

 

Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given so far?

 

G.A. – To develop characters the reader can identify with, to care about, so they are compelled to follow the story and see what the outcome will be. If the reader doesn’t care about the characters, then the story carries no weight to them.

 

Stacey – This is a bit of a random question, but… give me one word you overuse when writing.

 

G.A. – Names, mostly. A friend pointed out that I had a tendency to overuse the character’s names during dialog, and I now watch for that. Once I’ve established who’s saying what, then ‘he’ or ‘she’ come to the fore in the dialog, rather than their names over and over again.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?

 

G.A. – Oh, there have been several over the years, and generally because I haven’t become engaged with the characters by the time I give up on it. I have no problem with suspension of disbelief, especially in a work of horror, but I need to buy in, to care about the people and events I’m reading about. In general, if I find I’m forcing myself to read it, then I put it down and move on.

 

Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?

 

G.A. – That was “1922” on Netflix, based on the Stephen King story. I felt they remained true to the story, and the actors did a good job bringing life to the characters they portrayed. Thomas Jane, in particular, captured the essence of a man haunted by his deeds.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

 

G.A. – Hmm, we have a list. I can’t swim, so drowning is up there, as are heights. I’ve always had this “thing”, a phobia perhaps, a mental image of a huge aircraft falling out of the sky, coming down on my location, with me frozen in the spot, unable to try and move to safety. In fact, I wrote a short story about that fear, titled “Nightmare”, which was published in Horror Bites Magazine last year.

 

Stacey – Favourite musician/band? What’s one song that you can’t get out of your head?

 

G.A. – Led Zeppelin, no contest. I saw them in concert in 1977, which would prove to be their last US tour because John Bonham died in 1980, and it was the most amazing live musical performance I have ever seen. The song of theirs that stands above the others, at least to me, is “Kashmir”. That song brought the house down in ’77, despite the classics like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Rock and Roll”, “Whole Lotta Love”, and so on that they performed that night.

 

Stacey – You have stories featured in five different publications. Which would you say is your favourite story?

 

G.A.Of those five, I’d say “Bequeath”, which was published in the premiere issue of Hinnom Magazine from Gehenna and Hinnom publishers. It’s a story about a quiet, unassuming man who receives a ring in a box as an inheritance, and that ring carries a dark secret that changes his life forever.

 

Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?

 

G.A. – At the moment, I am reworking a novella I wrote last year titled “Spirit of the Dead”, which takes place in the fictional village of Carson’s Mill, RI. I’m also gathering ideas and fleshing out characters for a novel I’m planning, and I’ve just assembled a collection of thirteen stories that I’m considering self-publishing. Lots going on and loving the work!

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

 

G.A.Of course! My newest short story is called “The Dot”, about a six-year-old boy in 1961 who is fascinated by the way the picture on their black and white TV shrinks to a white dot when turned off, that dot seeming to travel to the back as it gets smaller. Here’s an excerpt from it:

 

Bobby found himself walking through the apartment, darker than it had ever been before. There was light up ahead, and he followed it into his living room, where their TV was on, but the picture was bright, vivid color, not the fuzzy black and white it had always been. He instinctively realized this had to be a dream but gasped aloud when the man on the screen turned to face him and began talking to him.

“Well, hello there Bobby. It’s so nice to see you.”

“H-hi,” Bobby stammered. He’d never seen this man before, and there was something unsettling about him. He looked very tall, all dressed in black, with a shiny bald head and hair on his chin. He was smiling, but it was a creepy smile, the kind of smile the monsters do just before they pounce on you.

“Would you like to come in and look around, Bobby?”

“You can’t go into a TV mister.”

“Ah, but this is not the kind of TV you’re used to, Bobby. This is a magic TV, do you see?” He waved his hand and the picture behind him changed, showing all of Bobby’s favorite places, his favorite TV shows, everything so brilliant and crisp.

Bobby was frozen in place. He was amazed by what he was seeing, but there was something about that man….

The alarm clock in his mother’s bedroom started ringing then, and the man glared when he heard it, that creepy smile now an angry grimace. Bobby saw flashes of red in his eyes because the picture was so bright, so clear.

The man’s arm extended right through the glass, reaching out for Bobby, and he felt a hand gripping and shaking his arm. His eyes flew open and he found himself back in his bed, his mother shaking his arm gently to wake him.

 

Thank you so much for your time G.A! If you would like to find out more about G.A. Miller and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.

 

Thank you so much, Stacey, it’s been an absolute pleasure!

 

My Websitehttp://gamiller.info/

 

My Bloghttps://gamiller.blog/

 

 

 

 

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Cameron Trost

Stacey – Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Cameron – I hail from Brisbane, Australia, but now live in France with my French wife and two sons. I teach English to make a living but hope that after this interview I’ll become so famous I’ll be able to write professionally. What kind of chap am I? Well, I love forests, the seaside, stormy weather, castles and old villages, fine whisky, print rather than ebooks, and British mysteries. My favourite writers include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Roald Dahl. My favourite music is The Cure and Nick Cave.

 

Stacey – When did you start writing?

Cameron – I tried to write a novel about the adventures of a warrior in the Bronze Age when I was ten. That was fun. I started writing seriously about twelve years ago and have had numerous short stories and a novel published since then. You can find links to everything of mine that I want you to read on my blog.

 

Stacey – If you could meet any author living or dead, who would it be?

Cameron – I’m not really fascinated by any one particular author. For me, writing isn’t just about big names. There are thousands of great writers out there. But let’s answer your question… The Marquis de Sade, perhaps. That might be fun.

 

Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Cameron – Ideas come to me from all different sources. The People, things, and places around me. There have been times when somebody has said something and that has triggered an idea. My wife’s favourite story of mine was inspired by a bird living in Australian rainforests. A story or song will sometimes inspire me, but my inspiration usually comes from my own experiences.

 

Stacey – What’s your writing process like? Do you write during the day or at night?

Cameron – I write when I can. I don’t have a lot of time to write, but Friday is my quiet day at the moment. I take the boys to school, get the housework done, and try to get a couple of hours in before it’s time to return to the real world. I sometimes write for thirty minutes before bed if everybody is asleep and I’m not too tired. I don’t stick to any particular process. Each story is different. I’m very particular about grammar and punctuation because I believe that errors distract the reader from the story, so I edit a lot. I generally edit a story ten to fifteen times.

 

Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

Cameron – Music and silence are both fine, but not essential. If I waited for ideal circumstances, I’d never write.

 

Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

Cameron – Oscar Tremont, Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable, is my favourite character. I’ve given him some impressive talents, but also particular weaknesses, and he’s both old-fashioned and avant-gardist.

 

Stacey – This is a bit of a random question, but… give me one word you overuse when writing.

Cameron – As a matter of fact, that’s a timely question. I’m in the process of resurrecting a novel manuscript that I wrote over ten years ago. There’s a huge amount of rewriting and editing to do and repetition is one of the problems. I’ve noticed a lot of then, of course, and that. In most cases, these words are unnecessary and even distracting. I used to use suddenly and all of a sudden too much, but I’ve broken out of that bad habit. I find it useful to search a manuscript once I’ve finished it to see which words have been overused.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?

Cameron – All the time. Life’s too short to read stories you don’t like. If a short story doesn’t interest me after the first page, I’ll either stop reading it or quickly scan it to confirm my suspicions. As for novels, if I really don’t like the first chapter, it’s farewell. The first page or chapter is one of the most important in a story. If an author can’t draw me in from the start, I have to assume it just gets worse from there.

 

Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?

Cameron – I don’t watch many horror movies. I generally find them less poignant and well-developed than horror fiction. The last one I saw that I enjoyed was The Babadook, an Aussie horror movie that gets you thinking. I recommend it.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

Cameron – The manipulability of some human beings and the selfishness of others. It’s a horrible combination. We live in a world of immense disparity between the rich and the poor, a world in which domestic abuse is a regular occurrence, school shootings and terrorism have almost become accepted and there’s little will to progress and evolve. The degree to which these problems affect you varies according to where and with whom you live, but they exist and are part of our world.

 

Stacey – Favourite movie or tv show? (Doesn’t have to be Horror)

Cameron – I recently saw Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. If you like black comedy and quirkiness, that’s a great movie. Not officially horror, but it’s more disturbing than a creature feature or slasher movie. As for TV, I love mysteries, like Midsomer Murders, Vera, and Endeavour.

 

Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?

Cameron – I have a number of short stories, a novella, and a novel in the works. I usually have different stories to work on at any given time. The novel I’m working on features a homicidal madman in a small village surrounded by quagmires. It’s a combination of psychological suspense and mystery. It studies the idea of social manipulation.

 

Stacey – Any up and coming releases we should know about?

Cameron – I’m working on an anthology called Shelter from the Storm which will be released through my publishing house, Black Beacon Books, later this year. The best way to keep track of my news is by joining me on Facebook.

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Cameron – What I’d really like to share with you is an excerpt from my second short story collection. It’s called The Animal Inside and is currently listed on KindleScout. If it gets enough nominations, I can sign a publishing contract with Kindle. If it’s accepted, you all get a free ebook copy. Thanks in advance. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3PDH4KZWOZHYN

 

Thank you so much for your time Cameron! If you would like to find out more about Cameron and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.

 

Blog: http://trostlibrary.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CameronTrostAuthor and https://www.facebook.com/BlackBeaconBooks

 

 

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