From Ken Goldman ("What I Said To Richie Was..." for Expiration Date)
1.When did you start writing horror?
It happened by accident. I was taking a creative writing course back in the early '90's and wrote a horror tale called "PANDEMIC" for a homework assignment. The instructor asked me if I copied the story! It was a non-credit adult course, so I told her I would have had no sane reason to copy the story. She told me that with a little polishing I could probably get it published, but at the time I had no idea how to do that. I got a copy of The Writers Guide and found a contest, The Rod Serling 2nd Annual Memorial Writing Contest, soI sent the story in. Months later I got a phone call that I had come in second place. I was floored, but I figured, hell I can do this. Turned out I could. That was 750 published stories ago! Thank you, Rod.
2. Have you written in any other genre?
I've written some Fantasy tales, a little sci-fi, some humor pieces too, and I've managed to sell them. But horror for some reason comes easy to me. I've tried writing Romance tales but they
always wind up drifting into horror --- much like my own love life.
3. What makes you uncomfortable?
I hate (hate!) getting needles, whether flu shots or when I'm giving blood. Back when I was a high school teacher there was a blood drive at our school. The deal was that the first advisory that got
100% of its students to donate blood would get a pizza party. I told the kids I would be the first in line if we got the 100%, and sure enough we did. So there I was, number one in line in front of
dozens of kids, and I'm rolling up my sleeve like a big shot hero. Well, not quite. The needle went in, and I fainted dead out on the floor. But we got the pizza!
4. Does your family read your work?
My family and friends hate horror, so I have to practically tie them in a chair to read my stuff. My brother is a professional writer himself, and he reads some of my stories if I ask nicely. He actually
arranged a book signing for my first novel, OF A FEATHER.
5. Does your writing make you uneasy?
Not for the reason that you may think. I get uneasy when I put a lot of work into a story, because I worry that it won't sell. I've been very lucky because almost everything I've written has been accepted
somewhere. I'm hoping I can stay on that roll because I'm currently working on a new novel, and I'm putting a lot of time and energy into it. I'm hoping to have it done by the summer. Then comes the
fun task of getting the damned thing published. Until it happens, THAT makes me uneasy!
6. Who would you say you write like?
I'm told I have a very visual style, almost like you're watching a movie. Maybe that's the Stephen King influence, but I don't like being compared to him because there already IS a Stephen King,
and he's pretty good. My biography profiles sometimes mention that I look forward to the day when King and I are called to the dais for some horror award, and someone in the audience asks "Who is that
guy standing next to Ken Goldman?" Just a little fantasy of mine!
7. Who are your favourite authors?
Okay, Stephen King, of course. That's required by law for a horror writer. But I like a lot of the small/independent press writers too; in my opinion, some of them are as good as the pros. I also read
a lot of biographies and autobiographies, and I'm a sucker for the humor of Dave Barry, Woody Allen, and George Carlin. I've read almost everything they've written. As a former English teacher I like the
classic American writers too, especially Poe, Hawthorne, Steinbeck, and Fitzgerald. I don't think I ever had a class in which I didn't teach Ray Bradbury's stories. The man's imagination was limitless.
8. Who influences you as a writer?
As a film buff I'm probably as influenced by movies or t.v. as I am from books. I loved Rod Serling's TWILIGHT ZONE and the way he hid socially significant messages in his stories. Alfred Hitchcock's
films were masterpieces, and PSYCHO probably was the film that influenced my writing the most. (I love going for the twist you don't see coming.) The old EC comics like Tales From The Crypt were an
enormous influence on me. There's this ghoulish sense of macabre humor in those old comics I try to create in my own tales. It's like the roller coaster that scares hell out of you, but you love it!
9. Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?
It wasn't really horror, but I remember William Golding's LORD OF THE FLIES. I was really moved by the theme of man's potential to revert to his violent nature when the law
isn't around to curb that impulse. It's still a scary concept to me because it's so real and so accurate. (So, of course, that book went on my reading list when I became a teacher.)
10. How old were you?
I was a pimply fifteen year old, and I still remember Piggy's head being smashed by the rock, his head splitting open, and him falling into the ocean. Sorry for the spoiler.
11. Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?
Nope. It's the politically incorrect subjects that make you squirm the most, right?
12. What was the best advice you were given as a writer?
Writing is really rewriting. Your first draft is just the beginning. Be your own worst critic, because your mom and your friends won't be honest with you if your writing stinks.
13. If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?
I would have started writing (with the purpose to publish) a lot earlier. Until the early '90's most of the writing I did, I did for myself with no intent whatsoever for anyone else to read it.
14. How many books do you read a year?
I do most of my reading during the summer months. I hit the beach with my trusty Kindle and read all day. During the winter months I focus mostly on my writing, although I'll read a book or two every few
15. Do you write every day?
Most days, yes. I reread whatever new story I've written, then rewrite what I've written, then I write something new.
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