Interview with Lisa Von Biela

DSC_0250_cropped_smallerTell us about your publishing journey…

Well, I had a couple of false starts, where I wanted to write, but really had no concrete plan. Then in the late 90s, I decided I would start with short stories in the dark fiction vein, and try to sell them in the small press. I wrote a story (that, ironically, later developed into my debut novel, The Genesis Code) and hunted around the Internet for a potential place for it. I happened upon a small press magazine called THE EDGE, and sent it in. Greg F. Gifune, the editor, rejected it—and took the time to explain why. I put that story aside, wrote a new one, and several submission/rejection/revision cycles later, he published “Vacancy” in 2002. After that, I wrote more short stories that were published in various small press venues, some print and some online. Then I decided I was ready to try a novel-length work. I took the seed from that first short story and worked on it for 2 years, wrapping it up right before leaving my IT career to attend law school full time. I dropped off the planet during law school and my subsequent relocation/reestablishment time. Then, in fall of 2012, Greg, whom I’d kept in touch with over the years, posted on Facebook that DarkFuse was looking for novels. I submitted my manuscript, DarkFuse accepted it, and it came out in May 2013 as The Genesis Code. I got busy writing again, and The Janus Legacy just came out, Ash and Bone (a novella) is coming out in May, and Blockbuster will be out in January 2015—all from DarkFuse.

What do you love about being an author?

I love being able to create whatever world I darned well please. Whatever I can think of, I can take a reader there. Ash and Bone, for example, is very atmospheric, and I hope will make readers feel they are right there in Cromwell Bay, wondering what is behind the door to Room #8 of the Harbor Motel. In Blockbuster, the story is set 10 years in the future, so I had to come up with what cell phones, computers, and tablets will be like by then. It’s a blast to build worlds with words like that.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

This is a tough question. A lot of the characters in books I read are too scary to want to dine with. I’d rather not dine with Hannibal Lecter, for example. Maybe Clarice Starling, then. And for dinner, something other than a “good friend and a plate of fava beans.”

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?genesis_code

Oh, maybe Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway. Ideally, they’d be in their late 20s/early 30s (or look like it). I saw Christian Bale in a movie once (I forget the name) where he dieted to the point of looking near death to play the part. That would be perfect for parts of The Janus Legacy. He’d have the needed look about him and definitely has the acting chops for it.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

No glitter for me. Monsters!

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

Maybe the 50s, a bit before I was born. I love the design of things then, those crazy 50s color schemes and such. I have to presume it was a little simpler time. Sometimes I wish for a quieter, simpler time—when there was time to handwrite letters in good penmanship. But on the other hand, I very much enjoy modern conveniences, and the Internet and all it offers. I’m not sure I could give that up!

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

I can’t think of a specific bit of advice I’d like to have been given sooner. I would have liked to have had all the accumulated life experience I have now—maybe twenty years ago. That would be cool. I often find it is this accumulated experience—not any one thing in particular—that really helps inform my writing. I just didn’t have all that twenty years ago. If I had, I might have about 30 novels under my belt by now.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I’d like to be able to magically change into whatever form I want to—including invisible. I could be a bird and fly. I could be a fish and swim without needing breathing apparatus. I could climb mountains like a goat. Yeah, that would be good. I don’t want to be able to predict the future—could be too scary. Don’t want to be able to read people’s minds. I thought about answering this by saying I’d like magical healing powers, but then thought that might be too heavy of a responsibility.

THE JANUS LEGACY cover smallerWhere do you write best?

I have a home office where I do most of my writing. I like writing at home, in the quiet. When I write, I envision the action and the characters, and quiet lets me do that best and most efficiently.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

Mr. Midnight, by Allan Leverone. It was really pretty terrifying. The evil character was, well, very evil. The ending was absolutely chilling. I hope I never meet up with someone like that.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Hmmm…I already cross genres a fair amount, I think—horror/supernatural/sci-fi/thriller/dark fantasy. I don’t think I am capable of writing romance. I tried to read a romance novel once. Never again. You know, I could write humor. That would be it. Humor. I have a half-written parody sitting on my hard drive.

Where can fans find you online?

Oh, several places:
Website:  lisavonbiela.com
Twitter:  @lisavonbiela
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Interview with Tim Curran

Tim photoTell us about your publishing journey…

I wrote short stories for years, but most were either rejected or the small press magazines they were supposed to be in folded before they appeared. It got to be kind of weird for awhile there because five or six magazines went under on me. I was like the kiss of death! Then in 1995, my first story appeared in a small magazine called Stygian Articles, long gone now. After that, I started publishing short stories regularly. It was several years before I wrote any novels. I wanted to start in the time-honored way by concentrating on short stories. Eventually, I got into better magazines and then I wrote some novels. I kept working at it, trying to get in with better publishers with every book. Eventually, I got in with Delirium, Cemetery Dance, Thunderstorm, and a few others. But it took time and hard work. There’s no substitute for that unfortunately.

What do you love about being an author?

I like creating characters and examining lives in detail, then throwing my people into the worst possible situations to see how they react, to find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. That’s the real kick for me. It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself in the process.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat? Puppet Graveyard

Well, I’m a simple guy. I’d choose Zadok Allen from Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth.” He seems like a fun old guy. We’d get drunk and he’d tell me tales of old Innsmouth and the goings-on out at Devil Reef and we’d eat…calamari.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Honestly, I’m a big fan of Asian horror. If they made Nightcrawlers into a movie, I’d love to see an Asian take on it. I could see Takeshi Kitano playing Lou Kenney. He’s one of my very favorite actors and he could bring the depths of sorrow necessary for Kenney, and play it tough when things got ugly.

What scares you?

What doesn’t? Death, age, isolation, loss, infirmity…the very idea that your entire life, the one you know and trust and count on, the one you woke up with in the morning can be completely destroyed by the time you go to bed at night. That’s really what horror fiction is about: examining the terrors and anxieties of daily life, putting them under the microscope and trying to make sense of them. We horror writers give them the faces of monsters, but that’s entirely metaphorical. The real monster is what fate might have in store for you and the idea that it might be closer than you think. Take Pet Sematary by Stephen King, for instance. It’s not really about the dead coming back. It’s about the awful ethical question of having the godlike power to bring back somebody you’ve lost. The Monkey’s Paw thing. Do you have the moral right to subvert the natural order of things to ease your own pain? At its core, the book is really about that question and the horror of having to survive the loss of a child which is probably the most horrendous nightmare a parent can ever know. How about The Rats by James Herbert? It’s not really about mutant rats. The rats are representations of social decay, poverty, and the government’s complete apathy towards the struggles of the underclasses. We got ours, so fuck you. And I’m not pointing a finger at the U.K. by any means. That same underlying message is equally applicable in the United States and probably dozens of other countries.

biohazard2Which horror novel would you recommend to a reader new to the genre?

Although I suppose many Americans would pick a Stephen King novel, I would choose James Herbert’s The Fog, which I think is extremely influential on everything that came after it. There had been apocalyptic type novels before, but never had one been so bleak, so dark, so intimate and personal and violent. Besides, it’s just a damn good read!

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I would go back to the 1960s when I was a little kid. It’s one of the most volatile periods in U.S. history and one that brought the most change. Some historians like to say the sixties really started either with the Cuban Missile Crisis or the assassination of John F. Kennedy and ended with Watergate, even though that happened in the early seventies. Everything changed. People finally took a good look at the corruption and bullshit that was poisoning not only the country but the world. Unfortunately, few of the lessons we learned are remembered today.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner? sow

If I’m in a cynical mood, I would borrow the mantra from the X-Files: trust no one. Thankfully, I’m usually not that cynical. The best advice is to treat people exactly as you’d like to be treated. That seems obvious, but so many people forget to do it.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

The last book I read was called Devil’s Drums by Vivian Meik, a collection of horror stories with a voodoo theme that was originally published back in the 1930s. Medusa Press just reprinted it. The original edition was very, very rare and worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars to collectors. It was nice to finally read it after hearing about it for so many years! Great weird pulp tales of zombies, ghosts, curses, and witch doctors set in Africa, where Meik lived for some time. Fun stuff.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why? 

I would probably write hardboiled crime fiction because it’s my second love after horror. I’ve already written one novel like that, Street Rats, which will finally be reprinted later this year. I’d very much like to write more books of that sort. Elmore Leonard type novels, only much darker, more violent, and more bloody.

Where can fans find you online?

I’m out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tim.curran.77 and I also have website, www.corpseking.com, though I don’t update it as much as I should.

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Interview with Mathias Jansson

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With me today is Mathias Jansson  who is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has been published in magazines as The Horror Zine Magazine  SNM Horror Magazine, Dark Eclipse, Schlock, The Sirens Call and The Poetry Box. He has also contributed to several anthologies from Horrified Press as Just One More Step, Suffer Eternal anthology Volume 1-3, Hell Whore Anthology Volume 1-3.Homepage: http://mathiasjansson72.blogspot.se/
When did you realise you wanted to be a horror writer?
I haven’t realized it yet. I started as a young boy to write drama and non horror poetry in Swedish, but about a year ago I realized that it was fun to write horror and people seemed to like my poems, so that´s how it started. It´s to soon to say what will happen in the further if I will be a horror writer or not
What was the first story you got published? Is there anything you’d change about it now?
If we talk horror genre I can’t ‘ remember, a poem of course. Since it got published I must have made something right, but I think as all people that write a lot, you learn by time and after a while you see your old stories and poems with new eyes and always find things that you could improve or change.
What’s your thoughts on authors and social media? Which sites do you prefer?
I think Internet and social media have been a great improvement for indie and new authors.  It’s much easier to find people with the same interest, readers, authors and editors. It have help me a lot. I would call myself a Facebook junkie.
What’s your favourite horror monster and why?
Dr Faust but he is not a horror monster, but an interesting character, mythic and mystic,in his dualism between good and evil. Otherwise I would say the Golem, as an example when people try to control nature but are hit by a backlash.
 What is the worst mistake a new writer can make? And what advice would you give them?
As a new writer you make a ton of mistakes, that’s how you learn to write. But the worst mistake is not to listen to your inner voice. You can read books how you will write a good story just followed the standard horror genre template, but to succeed you need a true and unique voice, and then you have to follow your own path. So a good advice is to write what you want to read yourself and not what you think others will read. And then you need a great confidence to continue despite all rejections. There are lot of histories with famous author that were constantly rejected before someone published there book or authors unknown to the major public during their lifetime but now are know worldwide, that kind of stories could inspire you in your work.