The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and E.B. Hunter
For this interview, I’ve travelled all the way to the snowy wilds* of Northern Alberta for tea with E.B. Hunter. Join us as we plunge into the deep, dark depths . . . of terror!
E.B. Hunter (he/him) lives in a remote town in Northern Alberta, Canada with his wife and daughter, and spends his days working and his nights crafting stories for your (and let’s face it, his own) entertainment. He has built characters and stories in his head since he was a teen, carving up the landscape of his mind and sculpting fantastical and horrible things. His stories started out small, and mostly terrible, but with patience, persistence and a deep love for unchartered territory, he has improved and is now published in four anthologies that include horror, fantasy and romance genres.
He never had a penchant for horror until his wife got him watching horror films, and then he watched them all, picking up tricks that would help him get under the skin of his readers and leave them wanting more. The writing tip of ‘twist the knife’ has never been so literal. His reading also tends to stick to the shadows, with favourite recent reads including ‘Rage of Dragons’ by Evan Winter and ‘Under the Dome’ by Stephen King.
E.B. is also the founder of the online writing community known as the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Writers Alliance. The Alliance helps members with all the little things the modern author needs to know like when to query, how to get traction on social media, what to do when your book launches and so much more. He has infected others with his love of helping the little guy and the result has been an incredible group of people who are always eager to help promote and raise up their fellow authors.
In his stories, he hopes to portray people as they are, flawed humans who are capable of great and terrible things, and that you can see yourself within his stories. He strives for representation in his storytelling, and believes that everyone’s story is worth being told.
E.B. Hunter’s stories can be found on Amazon and his website.
Willow Croft: “Hey, look at that derelict Victorian mansion…let’s go explore it!” What’s the most unusual setting you’ve read about in a horror/thriller book, or included in your own creative works?
E.B. Hunter: My first published story (Graveyard Shift) was set entirely in an old run down gas station in Wisconsin. Scary in a different way than a derelict mansion, but scary in its own right. I also have a story (Everglades) that takes place in an old shack out in the swamps of Florida. For the most part though, my locations are not terribly unusual. I like to keep the places close to home so people can really envision the situation within their own lives and experiences, and I think that turns the creep factor up to eleven!
Willow Croft: “It was a dark and stormy night…” What are your go-to comfort foods, drinks, or other ways to wind down after a long day (or night) of writing?
E.B. Hunter: I tend to write in the evenings, and write my best stuff after the sun has gone and darkness rules. I generally have a nice frothy cup of decaf (or espresso if the need is there), crack the knuckles and get to work. I don’t tend to eat or drink much when I’m in full writer mode, but a good sugar buzz beforehand (maybe a chocolate chip cookie or some Mike N/ Ike’s) will help get the job done.
Willow Croft: “Did you hear that noise?” Everyone, even us horror writers, have our night terrors. What is it that frightens you the most?
E.B. Hunter: I’m not going to lie. I’m kind of a chicken. The dark is always a good way to get my imagination started. Then I’m wondering what’s out there watching me as I try to sleep. I also hate, and I mean HATE the ocean. It’s pretty and all, but nothing gives me butterflies and weak knees like the thought of a shark swimming at me from the murky depths, or an octopus pulling me under with its tentacles. Also, snakes are a recurring theme in my waking nightmares where they fill my bed and slither across my skin to cram their way into my open mouth, cutting my screams short…
Willow Croft: “I’m sure it was nothing. But I’ll just go outside and check, anyway. Alone. With no weapons.” Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If so, how do you combat it? Do you have certain rituals or practices that help get you into the writing (or creating) mindset?
E.B. Hunter: I’ve had some writers block issues, though not too much thankfully. I suffer more from editor’s block (is that a thing?). The times when I have suffered writer’s block is usually due to outside exhaustion or stress, and the best remedy for me is to work on another project for a while and circle back to look at things from another perspective. One time, I didn’t realize I was trying to write from the wrong POV, and as soon as I switched it, the words flowed again. I also tend to change my environment to keep things fresh and the words liquid. That tends to work quite well!
Willow Croft: “Don’t go into the basement!” Are you an impulsive pantser or a plotter with outlines galore? What other writing/industry advice would you share with your fellow writers & creators?
E.B. Hunter: I’ve decided that I’m a disciplined pantser. I tend to write a lot and use a very bare bones outline when it comes to my stories. I will usually have an idea of where it’s going, and when it comes to my larger works, I have a chapter by chapter breakdown of a few sentences to get me there, but I don’t have piles of notebooks worth of worldbuilding and outlines. Maybe I could be considered a hybrid?
One of the things I come across on a regular basis with new writers is the ability to get projects started. I’ve had a lot of people who outline for months and the project never seems to go anywhere. The thing I recommend to those in this situation is to write. I know it’s kind of simple, maybe overly so, but if you’re worried about it you’ll never sit down and do it. So turn the planning brain off, sit down and just write. You can fix it later, you can edit it later. Get the words on the page first. You will feel better.
Willow Croft: “Ring ring!” It’s the middle of the night and the phone mysteriously rings. Which notable writer, or person from history, would be on the other end of the line?
E.B. Hunter: Neil Gaiman. I would love to pick his brain for a little while and discuss mythology and horror. A close second is Stephen King. I love the way his brain works and would talk with him for a good long while if given the chance (no leg breaking though, I promise)!
*At least, that’s how I envision it.–Willow Croft
(Disclaimer: Please note that the interview responses are the opinion(s) of the interviewee and may not be directly representative of The Horror Tree, its staff, and/or its guest contributors.)
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“Bringer of Nightmares and Storms.” Horror writer Willow Croft is usually lurking deep in the shadows of her writer cave, surrounded by formerly feral (but still fierce!) cats for company. Visit her here: http://willowcroft.blog, or check out her other services here: https://kirsten-lee-barger.mailchimpsites.com/.