Blog Questions - Men Writers in Horror
1. I never thought of myself as a writer of horror. Sometimes I write about horrible
things, but it's just ordinary humans being themselves. I avoid the supernatural in
my writing, but that hasn't been any barrier to horribleness—people persist in
3. Science fic7on has been my home, but in the last few years, I've been in the
“future ficton” sec7on of that field. Selection Event was based on a background of
sweeping diseases; Second Species and The Days That Remain were about climate
change; Metamind had brain-.‐damaging entertainment as its basis.
5. What worries me? The passage of time worries me more than anything. What else
is ahead but inevitable disease, demen7a and death? I'm a slow learner and
usually figure out later rather than sooner what I want to be doing, so that's why
I'm writing my ass off before the first shoe drops.
7. My family is uninterested in what I write. It's never discussed.
9. My writing schedule is approximately 9:00 to 12:00 every day 7ll the book's
finished; then, in the PM, I look over my notes to see what comes next in the story
and then go to sleep thinking about it. Some7mes this gets tedious. That's the
worst I can say about it. When a book is finished, I have a cigar, take a couple of
weeks off, and then go at it again.
11. As far as writing style, I try to emulate something like the flat, factual style of
Raymond Chandler. From Hunter Thompson, I learned finer points of stomping the
accelerator to the floor; from Samuel Becke (the novels) I've picked up how to
convey a precision of action; from Bob Dylan comes the faint glow of surrealism;
and, from Jane Austen, those long luxurious sentences that make perfect sense
the first time through—I like those. Or, in short: From Chandler: syntax.
Thompson: choice of action and vocabulary. Becky, details of action. Dylan:
choice of image and vocabulary. Austen: sentence structure.
13. Lately I've been reading Eurpides with the goal of reading all his plays. He was the
Number One shitkicker of his day. He portrayed the great Greek heroes as greedy,
small-.‐minded shop-.‐keepers—a bit of reality for the hero-.‐worshippers. When
Athens raided a town and sold its popula7on, he wrote a play to show them just
how evil that was. He died in exile. My kinda guy.
15. Early on, the writers I most admired were William Faulkner, Eugene Ionesco,
William Burroughs, and a few others of similar extremity. I've been tempted to try
some experimental wri7ng, but generally I think reading fiction shouldn't be a
17. Some of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon was probably the first horror novel I
19. I was about 15 when I read it and all I remember is the cover. Gore has no special
appeal to me. The only time I've dealt with zombies and vampires, they were just
people deep in their role-.‐playing (The Road to Hell). One faux-.‐vampire was going
to bleed a cat and drink its blood. Guess who came out of it purring?
21. I was raised with pets as my friends, so they've always been as close, and closer in
many cases, than family. Readers can be sure that any cat or dog in my work is
going to come out of it just fine. I've never watched Old Yeller or similar movies
and I'm never going to read or see any entertainment that jacks up reader
involvement by harming or killing pets. I have an extremely negative reaction to
23. The best advice I was ever given about writing was “Use colorful adjectives.” Just
kidding. Actually, it was one word: “Persist.” If I were giving quick advice, it would
be the same. For extended advice, I'd recommend Wrining Real Fiction, where I
lay out exactly how I do it.
25. If I were starting all over again, I would have had my brain replaced at age sixteen
and avoided my first two marriages. God, what a thought. I almost smell
27. A writing friend commented that when he writes every day, his desire to read
slacks off and I've also found this to be true. I read about a dozen novels a year,
but I read more nonfiction—magazines, parts of books, on-.‐line material—
depending on my current interests. I'm an infomaniac.
29. And, yes, when a novel is in the works, I write every day. The Day That Remain
took ninety out of ninety-.‐three consecutive days to write and another ninety days
to revise. That book also taught me that I can be twice as efficient in my writing if I
outline beforehand. As I said earlier, life is short; we must think before and typefaster.