Wednesday, July 17, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with John Boden

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 John Boden.

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

JB: Well, I have 2 out like days apart so I'm cheating. Walk The Darkness Down is my weird western from Crossroad Press. I tried to write a more traditional thing and kinda didn't. The other is Rattlesnake Kisses which is a mad crimey romp I wrote with Bob Ford. Apokrupha Press handled that. Both of these books were released in the Spring as Thunderstorm limiteds.

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?

JB: This will shock an awful lot of folks, especially as I am sort of known as the music guy...but nope. I don't listen to much of anything while I write. I turn on the TV behind me and turn it low for background jabber and get to it.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

JB: When I was maybe 9 or 10, I went as a Mummy. My mother tore up some sheets to make authentic bandages and wrapped me head to toe. My feet unraveled throughout the night and I tripped my way up and down the streets with my paper grocery bag full of sugary loot. It was my favorite not only because I love mummies and it was a great costume but because we couldn't really afford to be tearing up linens for costumes, but my Mom wanted me to be something I loved and that made it the greatest Halloween costume ever.

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

JB: Easily the 2013 Dutch film, Borgman. The wife and I watched it one Sunday evening and were blown away by the beauty and cryptic unease of the film. I have since bought it and watched it twice. It is fantastic!

If you could survive on one food for the rest of your life with no health repercussions, what would it be?

JB: Greasy burgers. Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Pie, Cheesesteaks...I don't think I'm doing this right!?

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?)

JB: Haunted antique desk in corner of living room, TV on low murmur. More often than not blank Word doc screen opened and another one open where I'm fucking around on Facebook...not writing.

Twilight Zone or Outer Limits?

JB: Twilight Zone, of these two but if I had my druthers—Night Gallery. Or the short-lived 1981 series Darkroom, remember that?!

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John Boden lives a stones throw from Three Mile Island with his wonderful wife and sons. 

A baker by day, he spends his off time writing, working on Shock Totem or watching old westerns and terrible horror movies. 

He likes Diet Pepsi, old country music, heavy metal and sports ferocious sideburns. 

While his output as a writer is fairly sporadic, it has a bit of a reputation for being unique.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Somer Canon

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 Somer Canon.

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A Fresh Start available here
If it was socially acceptable to wear anything as clothing, how would you dress?

SC: I dislike clothing and having to put a lot of thought into what I wear. My first instinct is to say that I'd like to be naked but other people are weird about nudity and if I did it, maybe other people would want to do it and perhaps those other people aren't really into riding the hygiene train and you'd never be able to trust public seating ever again. So my answer would have to be a bathrobe. True, wearing a bathrobe all the time makes you look like the type of person who has long philosophical discussions with the neighborhood pigeons, but they're warm and they're comfy.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

SC: When I was a teenager I had to take my little brother trick-or-treating and he wanted me to dress up as a zombie with him. So I got my teenager's arsenal of Dollar Store makeup out and put under eye concealer on our lips and black eye shadow around our eyes to look the part, but we still didn't look quite dead enough, so I got my bottle of white shoe polish (you know, the kind you applied with that weird scrubby thing at the tip) and proceeded to scratch both my brother's and my faces to almost hamburger and replacing it with this white, cracking, toxic substance all so he could get some free candy and rolled up pennies wrapped in aluminum foil.

If you could survive on one food for the rest of your life with no health repercussions, what would it be?

SC: Potatoes and their various iterations. There are a million things you can do with a potato, a truly magical vegetable. This question is hard, really hard, because I want to say maybe cheeseburgers because that is, in fact, my favorite food, but without the fries? NO WAY. Potatoes can keep me satisfied with their variety.

Killer Chronicles available here
Are you most afraid of ghosts, aliens, or clowns, and why?

SC: I think I'm most afraid of aliens. I know that the prevailing theory of the "I WANT TO BELIEVE" crowd is that if a civilization were to become advanced enough to master space travel, then they must be an altruistic people interested in studying and preserving life. I'm not so convinced. I think they're going to come here and decide that they like our lazy-assed lifestyle and enslave us to make them chicken fingers and mac and cheese day in and day out while they watch videos on Youtube. I already live like that for my kids, I'm SO not interested in doing it for The Greys! 

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

SC: I want to be a ceiling tile in the prep area of the world's fanciest restaurant. It would never be dull and I could check out my theory that those fancy places blow their noses on the plates of people that order well-done steaks.

What happens when you die?

SC: All the spiders you've swallowed in your sleep make their big escape out of your various relaxed orifices.

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

SC: It LEAKS! I'm not talking about normal bodily functions, I'm talking about the slow seepage of goo that comes out of our skin, eyes, and other unnameable places! Go look at your pillow! I bet it was white when you bought it and I would also bet that you have a pillowcase over it, right? Okay, so then why is that poor thing all gross and yellow? It's because you are leaking all over it when you sleep! What is it? WHY is it? All I know is that it's gross. 

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Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of being found out as a weirdo. When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Bryan Smith

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 Bryan Smith.

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

BS: DIRTY ROTTEN HIPPIES. It's a new novella long enough to have been published alone, but I decided it was time for a new collection, as I hadn't done one in a while. The last one was a decade or so ago. The new book includes previously unpublished stories from my Patreon along with previously uncollected stories from various anthologies. It also includes some stories that previously appeared in ebook format only, but are now in a widely-available print edition for the first time.

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

BS: Slaughtering hobos and stuffing them in my basement. Just kidding. Probably. But seriously, that should probably be my next novella. Hobo Basement Massacre Part IV In 3-D.

If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

BS: Roderick Fitzhugh Witherington, III, Esq. People would assume wealth upon hearing this name and treat me accordingly. I might even have accidentally become the fucking president. You never know about these things anymore.

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

BS: The flayed and stitched together flesh of my enemies. Plus a jaunty hat.

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?

BS: I love music more than most things, particularly punk, proto-punk, psychobilly, metal, dirtbag sleaze metal from the late 80s, etc. Unfortunately, I can't listen to any of that when I write. I require as close to an absolute quiet as I can get. It sucks. I hear all the time about writers who crank up the volume on something when they write, but I am not one of them. Even the slightest repetitive or distracting noise derails me.

If you could invent a new sport, what would it be like?

BS: Headball. It'd be like kickball, but with a severed head. Obviously there'd be a lot of wear and tear on the "ball", so you'd have to keep an ample supply of replacements.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

BS: In the early 90's, I had ridiculously long hair, like almost down to my waist. And back then I'd occasionally wear a tie-dye shirt. I happened to be wearing one on Halloween night. This was not by design. It was just in the shirt rotation. But when handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, I got multiple gushing comments about my "cool costume". They all thought I was purposely dressed as a hippie from the Woodstock era, and possibly wearing a wig. Of course, there was no costume or wig. I was just me. So my "greatest Halloween costume" was an accident.

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Bryan Smith is the author of numerous novels and novellas, including 68 Kill, Slowly We Rot, Depraved, The Killing Kind, Dirty Rotten Hippies, and Last Day. Bestselling horror author Brian Keene described Slowly We Rot as “The best zombie novel I’ve ever read.” A film version of 68 KILL, directed by Trent Haaga and starring Matthew Gray Gubler from CRIMINAL MINDS, was released in 2017. Bryan lives in Tennessee with his wife Jennifer and their many pets.

Follow him on Twitter at @Bryan_D_Smith and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bryansmith/

Get access to exclusive Bryan Smith fiction and essays at Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/horrorauthorbryansmith

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with S.P. Miskowski

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 S.P. Miskowski.

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

SPM: My favorite has always been Frankenstein’s creature, in the book and in the films. I’ve enjoyed watching other monsters in movies but this assembled, prized, obsessed-over and then abandoned creature has all of my sympathy. The creature’s desire isn’t for blood (until he’s been rejected by everyone). He yearns for communion. His story demonstrates how anyone physically fundamentally different from the mainstream is often rejected by a society that claims to be fair-minded and compassionate. The creature reveals our hypocrisy. I found Frankenstein fascinating and poignant when I was a child, and I still find the story very moving.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

SPM: My mom didn’t possess any arty-crafty skills at all, and the idea of buying a costume was ridiculous in a working class household. My Halloween costumes were always a last minute, tossed-together sort of mess. One year we absolutely couldn’t get it together and my friend was waiting impatiently to get started. So I ended up cutting eyeholes in a sheet and carrying a paper grocery bag. The edges of the sheet were dragging on the ground. (I think I was eight.) Anyway, I’m pretty well known in my family for sudden outbursts of extraordinary clumsiness. I must have fallen down about thirty times that night. I fell in the gutter. I fell on the sidewalk. I fell down a set of (thank goodness only two) steps on a porch. I fell in the dirt, the grass, the leaves, and a couple of puddles. By the time my co-trick-or-treater and I arrived home, I looked like I’d been run over by a convoy. That would be my greatest costume, I think.

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

SPM: My husband and I watched a film we’d never heard of until recently—The Key (1958) starring William Holden, Sophia Loren and Trevor Howard, directed by Carol Reed. What a surprise! It’s that rare kind of film in which the setting isn’t just background texture but an integral part of the story. There’s a psychological vs supernatural element in the form of a possible curse, a love story that isn’t romantic, and battle scenes in which you actually learn a bit about British rescue tugs in WWII, bringing home lame duck freighters and risking being attacked by German U-boats. I wish all real world films conveyed as much about where and when they’re set.

If you could survive on one food for the rest of your life with no health repercussions, what would it be?

SPM: Sweets are nice but I’m a fan of savory foods. There was a little café in our neighborhood when we lived in California, where the owner spoke French to shame the customers and they served bacon spinach crepes with a sauce, gruyère béchamel. I could eat those crepes forever. Add a glass of red wine, and I’m never leaving.

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

SPM: There are no ghosts because there is no afterlife. Ghosts are a projection of our deepest psychological needs—for reassurance and connection, and the false sense of control that comes from knowing how things work and what to expect. Clowns are people in makeup. Not afraid of ghosts or clowns. Aliens or some life form other than the ones we recognize, thriving somewhere in the cosmos beyond our ability to see or predict? Yep. Totally possible, and very scary. If they ever cross paths with humans, I can’t imagine them taking us seriously. So many sci-fi stories involve people being absorbed or consumed by aliens from outer space. More likely, humans would become pets. People would only be taken as seriously as humans take animals. There’s some justice in that.

What happens when you die?

SPM:

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

SPM: Having to feed it at certain times, and having to make sure it gets a balance of nutrients. It’s always when I’m busy working that my stomach growls and I realize: Oh, hell, I have to feed this thing again.

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S.P. Miskowski has received two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Her stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Darker Companions: Celebrating 50 Years of Ramsey Campbell and The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten. Her second novel I Wish I Was Like You was named This Is Horror Novel of the Year and received a Charles Dexter Award (Favorite Novel of 2017) from Strange Aeons. Her books have received three Shirley Jackson Award nominations and a Bram Stoker Award nomination, and are available from Omnium Gatherum, Dunhams Manor Press, and JournalStone/Trepidatio. Her latest novel, The Worst Is Yet to Come, marks a return to the dark undercurrents of the fictional town of Skillute, Washington first featured in her debut novel, Knock Knock.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Danger Slater

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 Danger Slater.

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

DS: It's called Impossible James and differs from the other works in that the story and characters are different. Haha. It's about birth and death and infinite regression, and relationships, and obsession, and horrifying body modification, and corporate culture/greed, and it's about fathers and sons, and nature versus nurture. I think I get better with each new book, so let's just say it's the best thing I've ever written.

If you could invent a new sport, what would it be like?

DS: In high school my friends and I would play a game we called Power Thunderball which I don't think there were many rules to except it involved nets and hitting each other with balls a la dodgeball. I think we borrowed the name/idea from that Upright Citizens Brigade show they used to have on Comedy Central.

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

DS: The Beach Bum by Harmony Korine and starring Matthew McConaughey blew me away. It's so...singular in its point of view, and so unwavering in its tone, aesthetic, and delivery. It made me happy and sad in equal parts and really helped show a lot of the world from a new perspective. I thought it was an amazing film. Plus it features the Snoop Dogg/Jimmy Buffet duet you didn't know you needed.

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

DS: Scarlett Johansson's chapstick.

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?)

DS: It varies. I'll write in bed some days, or in the living room at the coffee table. Other days I'll pack up all my stuff and go to the library and write there. And yes, there's coffee involved. Lots of coffee.

What happens when you die?

DS: Your body goes to a morgue where scientists are allow to take parts of it for their Frankenstein monsters. That is what being an organ donor means, right?

What's your secret?

DS: I let my cat write my last book for me. He's just a dumb cat. He didn't know I stole it. Sucker.

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Danger Slater is the Wonderland Award winning author of I Will Rot Without You, Puppet Skin, He Digs a Hole, and Impossible James. He is the world's most flammable author.