The Horror Tree Presents…an Interview with Josh Schlossberg
Ruschelle: Thank you for joining us here at The Horror Tree, Josh. I hope you enjoy answering questions about your life…and death. Bwahahahaha!
Just kidding. Let’s get carve some meat off the bone; you’re an award-winning investigative journalist. What is it that pushes you to search for the truth? Were you inspired by Fox Mulder? Is the truth really out there?
Josh: The voices in my head won’t let me rest. I’ve yet to figure out whether they’re angels, demons, or as Mr. Mulder would insist, aliens.
Years ago when I was an activist and organizer, I could only see the world through one lens, and therefore anyone else looking through another was obviously wrong. However, as I transitioned over to journalist—where I genuinely try to represent a spectrum of viewpoints as accurately as I can—I began to find a kernel of truth in almost every perspective…along with a big fat load of b.s.
Ruschelle: Since you ARE an award-winning journalist, which story or stories have garnered you an award(s)?
Josh: Sorry, after bribing the awards committee I was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so I’m not at liberty to discuss.
Ruschelle: You are the Editor-n-Chief as well as a journalist for The Biomass Monitor; “The Nations leading publication investigating the whole story on bioenergy, biomass, and biofuels.” Absolute serious stuff! How did you become engrossed in bioenergy and how does it affect the telling of your non-fiction tales?
Josh: Mostly because I believe in Ents. My love for forests got me deep into ecology and biology which I incorporate into much of my horror fiction.
Ruschelle: The monster trees of Tolkien. Very nice. Which writing style started first? Your journalistic non-fiction or your strange and horrific fiction?
Josh: My poetry (which I will never show you, so don’t bother asking).
Ruschelle: <<Scratch poetry question. Bummer.>> Any who…Was there a book or a writer that inspired your creativity and made you want to follow in his/her literary footsteps?
Josh: Edgar Allan Poe—without the alcoholism, cousin sex, or dying at 40.
Ruschelle: At this moment in our lives, there is a plethora of low hanging political fruit to pluck. Sometimes we sink our teeth in its ripe flesh but other times…the little bugger bites back. Do you feel politics has a place in the realm of horror? Or is it something that is “too easy” and should be avoided so as not to be misconstrued as “fake news?”
Josh: I make cider and pies out of the low-hanging fruit and eat the choicest morsels right off the tree.
Ruschelle: Sounds delicious. Speaking of delicious… Chocolate or vanilla? And please don’t choose the wrong answer.
Josh: Cinnamon. Very few things in life are black and white.
Ruschelle: Good answer. But…wrong. Any who…
Your blog, Josh’s Worst Nightmare, highlights your dark fiction, but you also review other writer’s work, but in Haiku form! Very interesting and odd. I dig it. Explain yourself, Josh. Inquiring minds want to know.
Josh: I wanted to review the work of independent horror writers but in a way that members of our short attention span culture would bother to read. Also, I’m lazy and haiku are short.
Ruschelle: This past October, 2018, you spearheaded a workshop with a panel of fantastic horror authors to answer readers, fellow writers and fans many questions…paired with wine! Tell us a little about it. We writers love workshops!
Josh: Defy Your Demons was an opportunity to highlight some impressive local horror writers ranging from nationally-known and celebrated folks (Stephen Graham Jones) to emerging talents (most of whom are a part of something called Denver Horror Collective). Instead of a typical reading, I thought it would be more engaging to get authors to also talk a little bit about the demons driving their work.
Ruschelle: What nuggets of writing wisdom did these authors share that your new found fans here at The Horror Tree would benefit from?
Josh: Never. Stop. Writing.
Ruschelle: The Undercut, a story which you read and wrote to get the workshop going, narrated your view on the psyche of a horror writer. In the piece, you likened horror writing to nervously discovering the bottom of a body of water. May I dare say that is your fear?
Josh: I’m more afraid of answering this question.
Ruschelle: How does it feel to come up in a Google search alongside of John Schlossberg, the son American royalty, Caroline Kennedy? Any relation? LOL
Josh: No comment.
Ruschelle: (Note to self: Although he didn’t confirm or deny the allegations, I will assume, with some giddiness, that Josh is related to the Kennedys. Make friends with him. End note to self)
You enjoy writing microbial horror. In the words of writer and poet Dorothy Parker, “What fresh hell is this?”
Josh: It’s pretty much what it sounds like: Fiction starring bacteria, viruses, and/or parasites, the kind of stuff that makes you want to wash your hands after reading. Recently, I’ve been branching out into biological horror fiction—bigger critters, for the most part—which I was calling “bi-fi” for awhile until I realized what that term actually means.
Ruschelle: How does your writing process differ when writing journalistically verses in the throbbing vein of fiction? I just felt like saying throbbing. LOL
Josh: Left brain vs. right brain (or sometimes no brain at all).
Ruschelle: You live in Colorado. It’s a beautiful state. One of the few I’ve visited. (I’m kept prisoner in the western wilds of Pennsylvania) Does Colorado, its terrain and cultural flavors influence your writing?
Josh: I believe landscape influences culture, so I like to return to the source for my inspiration. Getting caught in blizzards, fleeing high-elevation lightning storms, and being chased down by half-wild dogs while trespassing has a way of sticking in the mind.
Ruschelle: I read an interview with you from Roadienotes.com (yes, I’m a stalker) and I love some of your snarky answers! I’m snarky too. I’m attempting to make a connection with you. Is it working? LOL Does humor infect your writing style as it does mine?
Josh: Only when I’m being serious.
Ruschelle: The Joker will be so proud…I think…Of all your writing, what story, fact or fiction are you most proud of?
Josh: Over the last two years, I sold five out of six of my horror stories to small horror presses. My favorite one is the one that didn’t sell.
Ruschelle: In a Haiku, tell your newfound fans what they can look forward to seeing from you in the near future.
A novel is nigh.
It will upset you, for sure.
Sorry in advance.
Ruschelle: That. Was. Awesome.
It was a pleasure having you here at the Horror Tree, Josh. Thank you for sharing a little of your heart and soul with us. I can’t promise to give it back as both will spruce up my mantle. But how about sharing your links and where we all can seek you out on the www.
Josh: And thank you. You can check out my website and sign up for my newsletter here: https://joshsworstnightmare.com
I’m also on Facebook, for some reason https://www.facebook.com/joshsworstnightmare/
And Twitter by accident https://twitter.com/JoshsNightmare
Thanks again for the opportunity.
- About the Author
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Ruschelle Dillon is a freelance writer whose efforts focus on the dark humor and the horror genres. Ms. Dillon’s brand of humor has been incorporated in a wide variety of projects, including the irreverent blog Puppets Don’t Wear Pants and novelette “Bone-sai”, published through Black Bed Sheet Books as well as the live-action video shorts “Don’t Punch the Corpse” and “Mothman”. She also interviews authors for the Horror Tree website.
Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and online zines such as Strangely Funny III, Story Shack, Siren’s Call, Weird Ales- Another Round and Women in Horror Anthology Vol. 2, Sanitarium Magazine, Dark Voices and Fear and Fables. Her collection of short stories, Arithmophobia published by Mystery and Horror LLC, is available through Amazon & Barnes and Noble. Summer 2020, Black Bed Sheet Publishing will release her dark Novella, The Stain.