The Horror Tree Presents… an Interview with Ruschelle Dillon
Stacey – Hi Ruschelle, it’s great to have you here on the other side of the Horror Tree interviews! How’s it feel being the interviewee rather than the interviewer? Are you nervous?
Ruschelle – Ya know, when I interview authors, I can’t wait to see what well-crafted and thought-provoking answers they have for me and their fans. And I’m never disappointed. The authors we showcase here on the Horror Tree are so damn talented. So, when I am asked to give an interview, I do get a bit nervous because I think back to all my amazing interviewees and I hope I can sound as interesting and eloquent. But unfortunately, this is never the case, so my main goal in every interview is to try not sound like a complete dipshit. And again…unfortunately…I can’t always help myself. Oh, and be forewarned…I make shit up.
Stacey – Alright, so in the spirit of getting the mundane questions out of the way first, tell our audience a little about yourself and where you’re from?
Ruschelle – I’m from Johnstown Pennsylvania, which is steeped in tragic history. Google the Great Johnstown Flood, 1889 or the one from 1936 or the most recent one in 1977. I garnered inspiration and penned a story entitled A Grand View, about the 1889 flood. It appeared in the new Sanitarium Magazine this year.
I used to wrestle alligators for money but as you can probably guess, I had to quit. Alligators are notorious cheaters. Those dirty bastards grease up their scaly bodies! So not fair…
I have a day job that has nothing to do with the Bachelors and Masters in Education that I went to school for. Let’s see…I am a musician in a band or two as well as a writer which means I’m really broke. My husband, Ed plays in the bands with me. AND he’s usually the unwitting brunt of my rantings on Blogger’s, Puppets Don’t Wear Pants. He should have read the fine print when signing that marriage certificate. We are both animal advocates and rescuers with a house crammed full of critters, so to those of you who refuse to care for anything but your damn selves in this world, “yeah, you’re welcome.”
Stacey – When did the writing bug first bite?
Ruschelle – That little bastard bit me when I was in second grade. The horror bug bit me even younger. I loved reading scary stories, and I, as most kids are likely to do when they first learn to write, penned rip-offs of all the stories and poems I read! I still remember one of the first stories I ‘wrote.’ It was called The Mummy Brothers. That’s all I remember about it…other than it was written in number 2 pencil. I’m positive it was lifted from a paperback my folks let me pick out from the Scholastic Book orders we would get in school. Loved those books.
Stacey – You write dark humor, which is something I’ve not come across before. Do you find humor and horror compliment each other well?
Ruschelle – The only way one can get through something horrific, is with humor. It’s a coping mechanism. Gallows humor comes to mind. It may not be appropriate but it’s what’s needed to cope with a situation or it’ll swallow you up. When it comes to books and movies of the humor/horror vein, it’s the perfect combination. They’re two great tastes that taste great together, like a delicious chocolate peanut butter cup. Only with squishy brains and some giggles.
Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?
Ruschelle – It’s like birthing and raising a kid. You give it everything you believe it needs to grow-up and become a kick ass doctor or lawyer, but instead, it chooses its own path, quitting school, experimenting with drugs, and busking through Saudi Arabia knowing only one shitty song. But in the end, you’re still proud and love it to pieces, even though it’s not what you envisioned when you looked at that adorable little bundle of words.
The weirdo in me likes taking a sentence a seeing how many ways I can re-word it. Yeah. Weird.
Stacey – What scares you?
Ruschelle – Driving by myself at night on a long, lonely stretch of road, being unable to peek into the rearview mirror because of what might show up in my backseat. I blame Creepshow 2. “Thanks for the ride, Lady.”
Stacey – I was looking through your amazon titles and came across Bone-sai. Now I can’t get it out of my head. It’s quite clever really. What inspired the project?
Ruschelle – In 2011, a devastating tsunami brought on by a seismic earthquake disabled the nuclear reactor in Fukushima Japan. At the same time, I remember reading a story online about an ant in the rainforest zombified by a fungus. I decided to do a mash up of the two. But it became a body horror novelette- depicting the cataclysmic vacation of a nameless character, who, while traveling through Japan, gets bit on his…ahem…junk by an ant mutated but the radiation seeping around Fukushima. His ‘package’ takes on a ginormous life and murderous personality of its own and attempts to kill everyone it can get its newly sprouted teeth on- including its host! Horror and hilarity ensue! It’s pretty low-brow, but so am I. And guess what? It’s inspired a puppet! Wanna see my penis….puppet?
Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?
Ruschelle – The usual: Stephen King, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, Anne Rice, Dean R Koontz. A very lack luster answer from me. Sorry about that.
Stacey – What’s your writing process like?
Ruschelle – I need a process???? Aww hell. I knew I was doing something wrong.
Stacey – Have you ever used a word or said a word aloud so many times it’s lost all meaning?
Ruschelle – Are you talking about my love of curse words? Because as far as I’m concerned, the ‘F-word’ can be a noun, verb, adverb or adjective and it still has meaning. Unfortunately, police officers that pull you over for speeding don’t always feel that way….
Stacey – Why do you think horror and Halloween go together so well?
Ruschelle – How could they not? Halloween IS horror. It’s not fluffy bunnies and sappy rainbows. It’s about celebrating our darker bookmarks in history. And besides, any month where one can be weird, creepy and downright scary, and it’s CELEBRATED, is “Damn-Skippy” in my book!
Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?
Ruschelle – There have been many. A book needs to grab me in the first two chapters. I don’t mind a slow build but there has to be SOMETHING that grabs my eyeballs and keeps the vitreous humor stuck to the page.
So in other words…yes…I’m a quitter.
Stacey – The first movie I saw at the cinemas as a child was Hocus Pocus. It’s stuck with me ever since. Name one horror movie that’s stuck with you?
Ruschelle – An American Werewolf in London had horror, gore and humor! Every time I hear Moondance by Van Morrison I think…werewolves…and sex. That tune jazzed up the shower scene. Some people wish they could be vampires, this movie made me wish for the ability to change into a werewolf. Yeah, it looked painful with bones cracking and skin ripping but… no pain no gain!
Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?
Ruschelle – Never meet your heroes. They will never be able to measure up to the person you believe they are in your mind.
Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?
Ruschelle – If you write because you have a soul satisfying NEED to constantly create other worlds and characters, then by the Shrubbery God, write. And never stop. But, if you do it because your ultimate take-away is to rake in the big bucks and buy a mansion next to Stephen King while beating off hordes of undead fans with an ill-gotten Bigfoot femur…let me ‘splain something to ya…DON’T.
Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?
Ruschelle – Death turned his attention to Pestilence, who was furiously scratching his nether-region and investigating the myriad of insects adhering to his slight frame. They scurried and darted under his robe as if he were transforming into another sordid creature. Death slipped a skeletal finger under Pestilence’s robe and spoke in nothing more than a whisper.
“And what have we here brother? What makes your skin reject your infestation and has you clawing at your organ? Speak to us Pestilence. Better yet, show us. There are only your brothers present.”
Pestilence slapped Death’s invading finger, preventing him from further exploration under his robe.
“It is none of your concern brother. As Famine has affirmed, these humans are a shrewd race, a curious race, a hearty race. Not the race we once knew.”
— Excerpt of Four Men On Horses from my collection entitled Arithmophobia. Check it out!
Thank you so much for your time Ruschelle! If you would like to find out more about the author, check out the links below.
www.ruschelledillon.net or ruschelledillon.blogspot.com
On Twitter — @RuschelleDillon