Wednesday, October 16, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Sarah Read

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Sarah Read.

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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My latest book is my forthcoming collection, Out of Water. It will be released from Trepidatio Publishing on November 1st, but pre-orders are up now! Most of the stories it contains ARE my previous work, so I guess it doesn’t differ much at all, but there are three new short stories and one new novelette in the book. These works are more contemporary than my novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard. That one is largely historical thriller, while a lot of these stories are straight horror, often paranormal.

If it was socially acceptable to wear anything as clothing, how would you dress?

I’d love to wear a Victorian ball gown most days, but then there are days that I just want to cut armholes in a sleeping bag and wear that. Or maybe I’d dress like a pirate or a witch or a fairy. Actually, I kind of already do those last three on a semi-regular basis, but I’m a librarian, so it’s encouraged.

Are you most afraid of ghosts, aliens, or clowns, and why?

I’ve never understood the fear of clowns. I find them annoying, but not scary. Aliens, should they ever decide to bother with us, could probably bother with us in such a way as to cause the most grief. But I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of them. And while I love a good ghostly shiver, I suspect ghosts are harmless. Except for when they infiltrate my imagination to the degree that I can’t sleep and then I have cranky days. I suppose I have to say ghosts scare me the most, which is precisely why they’re my favorite trope.

If you could be reincarnated as a sentient but inanimate object, what would you like to be?

I think I would like to be a very fine fountain pen. Then I could keep writing stories, and I think I’d be well looked after. I would also still be covered in ink, so it’s unlikely anyone would notice that anything had changed about me at all.

What is your writing environment like? (Are you out in public or in seclusion? Is there noise? Is there coffee? Do you type on a laptop or write longhand on lined notebook paper?)

My writing is highly opportunistic, so my environment might be anything. Today it was in my car, sitting in the parking lot before my first shift started. Regardless of where I happen to be writing, I do always write by hand, though.

My ideal environment is at my desk in my office, which overlooks my wilderness of a backyard. I’d have my favorite notebook (a Nanami Seven Seas Writer—thin, lined Japanese Tomoe River paper bound with plain black linen) and an array of pens filled with exciting inks. Also, a cup of tea (earl grey with a hint of vanilla, please). My cat asleep on the chair behind me. It would be great if there was a thunderstorm at the time, too. And a few cookies on a plate. Chocolate ones. And, apart from the storm, it would be perfectly silent. Ideal conditions rarely occur, so I’ve learned to write in any conditions.

I think it’s important to write whenever and however you can. Sometimes that means with a broken crayon on the back of an envelope in the pediatrician’s waiting room.

If you could share a beverage with any fictional character, who would it be, and what would you drink?

I’d have tea with Merricat Blackwood. It’s fine, I don’t take sugar in my tea.

What's the most disgusting thing about the human body?

Fingernails. Or feet. No, teeth. No, pus. I think maybe all of it? I’m not a fan. I don’t like anything about the human body and I’m deeply annoyed to be trapped inside one. And constantly alarmed when I’m surrounded by other ones.

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Sarah Read is a dark fiction writer in the frozen north of Wisconsin. Her short stories can be found in magazines like Black Static, and in various anthologies, including Ellen Datlow's The Best Horror of the Year Vol 10. Her novel The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is now out from Trepidatio Publishing, and her debut collection Out of Water will follow in November 2019. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Pantheon Magazine and of their associated anthologies, including Gorgon: Stories of Emergence. She is an active member of the Horror Writers Association. When she’s not staring into the abyss, she knits. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @Inkwellmonster or support her on Patreon. www.inkwellmonster.wordpress.com

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Matt Cardin

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Matt Cardin.

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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My latest book is To Rouse Leviathan, a collection of weird and cosmic horror fiction from Hippocampus Press. It differs from my first two collections because it's an omnibus that contains the complete fiction contents of the first two plus a third section bringing together several previously uncollected works. I point out that it contains the "fiction contents" of the first two because my second collection, Dark Awakenings, consisted of both fiction and nonfiction, with the stories in the first half being complemented by three academic essays in the second. The majority of my work explores the intersection between religion and supernatural horror, focusing on the intrinsic religion of horror and the intrinsic horror of religion. The relationship of these things to art and creativity also keeps cropping up. To Rouse Leviathan amounts to a complete expression of everything I've had to say about this up to now in fictional form.

Do you have any creative endeavors other than writing fiction (art, music, knitting)?

I'm a pianist and keyboardist. This has been a central part of my life since I was a child, and I suppose it's linked to my writing. When I was very young, I sometimes said I wanted to grow up to be a writer. I also took to the piano like a duck to water when my mother enrolled me in lessons beginning at the age of eight. So writing and music have been intertwined creative outlets for almost as long as I can remember. I had nine years of classical piano lessons, after which I continued to play and expand my skills on my own. I also got into composing and recording with multitrack equipment. When I was in high school and college, this meant a four-track analog recorder that used standard audio cassettes. Needless to say, the audio quality wasn't very good. Sometime later I graduated to digital gear, which enabled me to really manifest the music I heard in my head for the first time. During the aughts I created an album of original instrumental music titled Daemonyx: Curse of the Daimon. Along with this, I've been a pianist at various Protestant churches, including fundamentalist, evangelical, and mainline -- Southern Baptist, Freewill Baptist, Independent Christian, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran -- for much of my life, although that's presently experiencing a lull. It has also been awhile since I composed or recorded any music.

Lately I just spend a considerable amount of time playing the piano in private as a kind of meditation. Songs I play repeatedly for this include Satie's "Gymnopédie No. 1"; the main theme from Claudio Gizzi's score for Blood for Dracula (a.k.a. Andy Warhol's Dracula), which I arranged for piano myself from the orchestral version; "The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan" by Chris Zabriskie; Stephan Moccio's "Dukes"; several of Bach's two-part inventions; deeply pensive arrangements of the church hymns "It Is Well" and "Be Still My Soul" (the latter of which is actually Sibelius's tune "Finlandia"); Yann Tiersen's "Comptine d'un autre été" from the soundtrack to the film Amélie; some interludes from Mannheim Steamroller's Fresh Aire albums; Ludovico Einaudi's "Nuvole Bianche"; Liz Story's arrangement of "Greensleeves"; and a fairly enchanting piano adaptation of Davie Bowie's "Space Oddity" that I found on YouTube and learned as soon as I could.

Who or what is your favorite movie monster, and why?

I suppose I'll have to name Frankenstein's monster. For six years I taught Ms. Shelley's classic novel to high school sophomores. For five of those years, my students and I read the entire book aloud together. I always had three sections of sophomore English, so when you combine that with the several times I've read the novel on my own, including once for a graduate English class devoted entirely to Frankenstein and its literary and historical contexts, I've read it eighteen times. Maybe that's why I've always loved seeing what filmmakers do with it. I find it odd and sad that there has never been a definitive movie adaptation. They all have something wrong with them. But I can tell you that it's a flat-out epiphany for American teenagers when you take the iconic Universal-Karloffian version of the monster, which they've had implanted and imprinted in their psyches since birth, and show them how different it is from the original monster in the book. They're also invariably fascinated when you show them other movie versions that are closer to Shelley's vision, such as Kenneth Branagh's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with Robert De Niro's sensitive, articulate portrayal of the monster. You didn't ask, but if I had to name the single best Frankenstein movie, well, I couldn't. But if I were asked at gunpoint, I might name the Hallmark Channel's miniseries adaptation. Yes, Hallmark made a Frankenstein movie, and with Luke Goss as the monster, no less. And how ironic that this one seemed so new and almost revolutionary because it adhered more closely to the source novel than any previous version.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what? Is it different than what you listen to when you're not writing?

I tend to listen to dark ambient and classical music when I write. I find this helps to unlock my psyche. I've always responded really deeply to music, and it feels like I can access the writer's trance more easily with the help of it. It can't be music with words, though, unless they're abstract and ethereal like certain kinds of choral music, or like the mesmerizing idioglottic word shapes of a Lisa Gerrard or a Jonsi (Sigur Rós's lead singer). Other favorites for this purpose include Tim Story, Will Ackerman, Jóhann Jóhannsson, David Darling, Bill Douglas, Chris Zabriskie, Ennio Morricone, Arvo Pärt, Denise Young, Clint Mansell, Erik Satie, and the soundtrack collaborations between Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, plus various excellent YouTube mixes full of songs whose titles I'll never know. I generally choose soft music that's profoundly beautiful, melancholy, dark, and/or sinister, or sometimes all of these together. I also enjoy this same type of music when I'm not writing, but at those times it's joined by lots of other stuff. I have a serious hard rock and metal streak reaching back to my teens. Blue Öyster Cult reigns supreme, followed by, in no particular order, Queensrÿche, Rob Zombie/White Zombie, Alien Ant Farm, King Diamond (including his early Mercyful Fate days), Rage Against the Machine, Kongos, and a few more.

What are your 3 favorite comic books (standalone novels or ongoing series) of all time?

The original Secret Wars. Power Man and Iron Fist. And Watchmen. Sometimes these might switch places with The Hands of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, some of DC's horror comics from the 1970s (The Witching Hour, Unexpected, and so on), and others. I was an absolute comic book junkie in my teens. I collected multiple series, mostly but not exclusively Marvel, and I stored them all carefully in mylar bags after reading them. An investment for the future, you know. When I was 30 years old, my wife and I built a house, and we stored some stuff in the attic before construction was completed and we had moved in. Over the next few weeks, we were robbed three times. Someone got all my comics.

What happens when you die?

You wake up.


What's your secret?

As a person who, whenever someone asks “What do you believe?”, usually identifies himself a a Buddhist Christian agnostic with Jungian, Lovecraftian, Alan Wattsian, and Robert Anton Wilsonian tendencies, I'll aver that my secret may be contained in the words of the philosopher Tripper Harrison, as manifested onscreen by the philosopher Bill Murray: "It just doesn't matter."

This very same same point was given quintessential expression in 1977 at a public lecture in front of two thousand people by one of the major philosopher-sages of the modern era, Jiddu Krishnamurti. Here's one account of what happened (and there are several): "Part way through this particular talk, Krishnamurti suddenly paused, leaned forward, and said, almost conspiratorially, 'Do you want to know what my secret is?' Almost as though we were one body we sat up, even more alert than we had been, if that was possible. I could see people all around me lean forward, their ears straining and their mouths slowly opening in hushed anticipation. Krishnamurti rarely ever talked about himself or his own process, and now he was about to give us his secret! He was in many ways a mountaintop teacher -- somewhat distant, aloof, seemingly unapproachable, unless you were part of his inner circle. Yet that’s why we came to Ojai every spring, to see if we could find out just what his secret was. We wanted to know how he managed to be so aware and enlightened, while we struggled with conflict and our numerous problems. There was a silence. Then he said in a soft, almost shy voice, 'You see, I don’t mind what happens.'"

Eckhart Tolle has also referenced the Krishnamurti anecdote, and he has offered some salient commentary on it: "If some cosmic convulsion brought about the end of our world, the Unmanifested would remain totally unaffected by this. . . . If you remain in conscious connection with the Unmanifested, you value, love, and deeply respect the manifested and every life form in it as an expression of the One Life beyond form. You also know that every form is destined to dissolve again and that ultimately nothing out here matters all that much."

I can't say that I necessarily live in or live up to such an enlightened state of consciousness, especially when I'm still consumed sometimes by the suspicion that our self-conscious existence as human beings is "malignantly useless," as Thomas Ligotti has brilliantly styled it. But my equanimity has indeed increased with age and experience. Sometimes this has not been conducive to authorial productivity. Sometimes, it has led me to fall into long periods of total silence, both inner and outer. Maybe, like Rilke suggested, my angels have also left me on those extended occasions when I've managed to get rid of my devils. I still don't know whether I should consider myself fortunate that they all keep coming back.

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Matt Cardin is a writer, editor, musician, and college professor and administrator living in North Texas. With a Ph.D. in leadership and a master's degree in religious studies, he writes frequently about the intersection of religion, horror, art, and creativity. His books include the weird and cosmic horror fiction collections To Rouse Leviathan (2019), Dark Awakenings (2010), and Divinations of the Deep (2002) and the academic encyclopedias Horror Literature through History (2017), Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics: The Paranormal from Alchemy to Zombies (2015), and Mummies around the World: An Encyclopedia of Mummies in Religion, History, and Popular Culture (2014). He received a World Fantasy Award nomination for editing Born to Fear: Interviews with Thomas Ligotti. He is also co-editor of the journal Vastarien. His work has been praised by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Booklist, Cemetery Dance, This Is Horror, Thomas Ligotti, Laird Barron, and more. He's online at www.mattcardin.com, The Teeming Brain (his blog), and twitter.com/_mattcardin.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Stephanie M. Wytovich

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Stephanie M. Wytovich.

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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My latest poetry collection is titled The Apocalyptic Mannequin. I tend to write thematically and each of my books have their own persona. Over the years, I’ve worked with themes of hysteria, grief, religion, sexuality, and trauma, so with this book, I wanted to really challenge myself to go a different direction, which is why I leaned heavily into the apocalypse with a combination of science fiction and horror on its heels. Now this book still has everything that you would want and come to expect from my poetry, but there’s a different glow to it here, something almost uncanny bubbling underneath it all.

What really inspired me while I was writing—and even beforehand in the brainstorming stage--was our perception of the body and how it changes over the years in regard to how we define it. This book quickly became a Frankenstein-quilt of my personal fears mixed with post-apocalyptic scenery, and it pulls back the skin on who or what is left after everything has been taken away.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what? Is it different than what you listen to when you're not writing?

I do listen to music while I’m writing, but it’s strictly instrumental and it ranges from everything from classical, to pagan chants, to movie soundtracks, to drone/ambient noise. Lately, my two favorites who have been on repeat have been Phillip Glass and Johann Johannson.

I’ll sometimes still listen to that stuff even when I’m not writing, especially if I’m relaxing, reading, or meditating, but for the most part, I like alternative/punk/metal/rock.

What's the best movie, new or old, that you've seen for the first time in the past 3 months?

I’m completely 100% obsessed with Ari Aster’s Midsommar.

Have you traveled outside your home country, and if so, where? Where would you like to go that you haven't been yet?

I have! I studied Renaissance Art in Italy (Florence, Rome, and Venice), and then I helped run a MFA program in Dublin, Ireland for a bit. I’ve also explored a little bit of Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.

There’s no end to places that I would love to travel to—I’d go everywhere if I could and I’d travel constantly—but the big ones of my list that I’m hoping to tackle in the next 10 years are: (1) Iceland, (2) Austria, Prague, and the Czech Republic, (3) London, and (4) another trip to Ireland.

What are your 3 favorite comic books (standalone novels or ongoing series) of all time?

This is a fun question for me because I’ve recently gotten really into horror comics and have been reading them pretty much non-stop for three years, ha! Right now, I’m really loving Baby Teeth by Donny Cates, Gideon Falls by Jeff Lemire, and then Saga by Brian K. Vaughan just completely took over my life. I have to give a hat-tip to Redneck by Donny Cates and Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire though, too. I really, really love/loved them as well.

What is your writing environment like? (Are you out in public or in seclusion? Is there noise? Is there coffee? Do you type on a laptop or write longhand on lined notebook paper?)

Lately my writing environment consists of either my office on campus or my office at home. I really hate writing around people/in public and I prefer to do it in a space that I’ve curated and feel comfortable and secluded in. I usually write with some light instrumental music on in the background—no headphones because I like to/need to read my work (especially my poetry) aloud. I used to be an absolute coffee addict, but these days, it’s either tea or water for me, maybe a glass of wine if I’m feeling especially dangerous, but I’m always writing on my laptop. I might outline or scribble ideas/phrases in a notebook while I’m away from my desk, but the actual writing always happens at the computer.

If you could share a beverage with any fictional character, who would it be, and what would you drink?

Fictional character…hmmm. I think I’m sharing a glass of red wine, invoking the spirit, and hanging out with Nancy Downs from The Craft.

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Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous venues such as Weird Tales, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Fantastic Tales of Terror, Year's Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.

Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare, and most recently, The Apocalyptic Mannequin. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.

Follow Wytovich on her blog at http://stephaniewytovich.blogspot.com/ and on twitter @SWytovich.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Kristopher Triana

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Kristopher Triana.

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What’s your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My new novel is called The Long Shadows of October, and it actually is very different from my previous work. It’s not as extreme as Full Brutal or Body Art, though it does contain moments of intense violence and dirty, dirty sex. Overall, it’s more of a conventional horror novel. There’s a haunted house, a succubus, and black magic. It’s definitely a Halloween read.

Who or what is your favorite movie monster, and why?

The original Michael Myers from the '70s and '80s. The Shape. Not the watered down bore he’s been turned into by bad sequels and even worse remakes. Halloween was a huge influence on me. I saw it when I was twelve and everything about it lured me in. I was already a huge fan of the holiday, and the film honors it with its creepy atmosphere and Carpenter’s excellent score. But what made Myers so memorable was that he wasn’t just a murderer. He was like a force of nature, an evil that couldn’t be explained. I think of Halloween, Halloween II and the grossly underrated Halloween IV as the Myers trilogy.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what? Is it different than what you listen to when you're not writing?

I sometimes listen to music while writing but often do it in silence. When I put on music, it’s always instrumental and cinematic. For example, while writing Shepherd of the Black Sheep and The Ruin Season, I listened to a lot of Nick Cave & Warren Ellis scores. While writing The Long Shadows of October, it was a lot of Carpenter Brut and Dance with the Dead. I listen to a lot of stuff like this when I’m not writing though, because it puts ideas in my head. Otherwise, I’m almost always rockin’ Judas Priest.

What’s the best movie, new or old, that you've seen for the first time in the past 3 months?

I really enjoyed the director’s cut of Midsommar. In a way, my answer contains spoilers, so reader, skip this part if you haven’t seen it. I lost my parents, have bipolar disorder, and went through a painful divorce, so I deeply related to the character of Dani and the suffering she’s going through because of her parents’ death, her uncontrollable depression and anxiety, and her boyfriend distancing himself from her when she needs him the most. The film isn’t perfect but it’s an exceptional horror film about personal pain. I think the more pain you have, the deeper the movie will affect you.

What is your writing environment like? (Are you out in public or in seclusion? Is there noise? Is there coffee? Do you type on a laptop or write longhand on lined notebook paper?)

I’m an old school writer stereotype. I live in a rural, New England farmhouse alone with my dog. It’s very quiet and peaceful. I write on a regular computer, not a laptop, in a room filled with horror memorabilia. My dog, Bear, likes to lie beside me when I write. She’s an exceptional assistant editor.

What happens when you die?

There’s new preliminary evidence that the mind continues to work for a good ten minutes after we stop breathing and our heart stops beating, so we may very well be aware of our own death after it happens. After loss of consciousness, the muscles completely relax. Then the body cools down. With the blood no longer flowing, gravity causes it to pool in whatever parts of the body are closest to the ground. Chemical changes cause rigor mortis, then we start to decay. First our cells die, then any bacteria. Then the body actually digests its own organs.

What many call a soul is actually consciousness—your brain. When the electricity goes out, there’s only darkness and no you. There are no souls or ghosts or angels. You’re just gone. And then one day someone will say your name for the very last time and it will be as if you never even existed.

Are you most afraid of ghosts, aliens, or clowns, and why?

We’ve already established that ghosts aren’t real. That’s just silly. As for clowns, the only truly scary one I can think of is John Wayne Gacy. Bozo the Clown doesn’t give me the creeps. Aliens scare me more because they almost certainly do exist, though I doubt human beings have ever come in contact with them. In a universe that is endless, how vain would it be to assume we’re the only ones? We already know that—outside of our solar system—our Earth isn’t the only planet exactly the right distance from a star to support life. Aliens are out there somewhere. Maybe they’re just amorphous blobs, I don’t know. But if they’re intelligent, either they don’t know about us yet or they’re smart enough to stay the hell away from us.

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Kristopher Triana is the author of the novels Full Brutal, Body Art, The Ruin Season, Shepherd of the Black Sheep, The Long Shadows of October and Toxic Love, as well as the novella The Detained and the short story collection Growing Dark.

His fiction has appeared in many anthologies, magazines and audiobooks, including Chiral Mad 4, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Stiff Things, and Blood Bound Books' DOA series, to name a few. He’s drawn praise from Cemetery Dance, Rue Morgue Magazine, Scream Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, and the late, great Jack Ketchum. In addition, his work has been translated into multiple languages.

He lives in Connecticut.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Michael Kelly

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Michael Kelly.

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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My third collection of short fiction, ALL THE THINGS WE NEVER SEE, has just been released. In many ways, it's not all that different than my previous two collections in the sense that these are odd stories that share that liminal space between horror and weird fiction. What is different, perhaps, is that this collection is less speculative, less outre, than my previous work. I'm telling the same stories in a more realist fashion.

Do you have any creative endeavors other than writing fiction (art, music, knitting)?

I play guitar. I have a couple of acoustics, a couple of electrics, and a bass. I don't write songs or play original material. I cover rock and metal and folk and blues. I find playing music a great cathartic, soul-cleansing endeavor. Mind, I'm not very good. I just enjoy strumming and plucking the strings and making some noise.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what? Is it different than what you listen to when you're not writing?

No, I don't. Strange, yes, considering my passion for music and guitar. But I need dead silence when I write. I need to concentrate. Whenever I've tried to write to music I just find myself getting caught up in the music, carried away. Then I reach for the guitar and pretty soon two hours are gone and the writing day is shot. I need as little distraction as possible.

What's the best movie, new or old, that you've seen for the first time in the past 3 months?

I just recently saw THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER and thought it was excellent. Oz Perkins is a really interesting filmmaker. I quite enjoyed I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE, and he's got another film out soon, GRETEL & HANSEL. Quite intrigued to see what he does with Paul Tremblay's book A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS.

Twilight Zone or Outer Limits?

Oh, wow, tough choice. Twilight Zone by a hair, I'd say. But I think Night Gallery topped them both for exceptional psychological horror.

What happens when you die?

You cease to exist, except as memory. But, for some time, the hair in your ears continue to grow, weed-like. Then you're put in the ground to rot, or incinerated to dust. I believe the ear hair lives on.

What's the most disgusting thing about the human body?

Ear hair!! Actually, so many gross things: toe nails; penises; the epiglottis; teeth. But I'm sticking with ear hair. Disgusting!!

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Michael Kelly is the former Series Editor for the Year's Best Weird Fiction. He’s a Shirley Jackson Award-winner, and a World Fantasy Award nominee. His fiction has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Black Static, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21 & 24, Postscripts, Weird Fiction Review, and has been previously collected in Scratching the Surface, Undertow & Other Laments, and All the Things We Never See. He is Editor-in-Chief of Undertow Publications.