1. What provides you greater satisfaction, your work as an anthology editor or as an author?
Hmm, I really have to take the unsatisfying middle road on that answer, in that they both provide me great satisfaction, just in different ways. I really look at editing and writing as completely different processes, like asking if I prefer baseball over the color green. I find editing is easier for me than writing. Writing is emotionally exhausting, whereas editing I can do all day long. And I love the chance to connect and work with other writers while editing. But I love so much to type “The End” at the end of a writing piece – it’s a wonderful, fulfilling sense. Both are different journeys to a creative destination.
2. What’s the greatest moment in your writing career?
I remember the greatest moment so distinctly because of its sheer exaltation, which is somewhat laughable now. It was when I received my very first Acceptance for a story to be printed in an actual book!!! I was going to be a published author! I really did jump up and down with joy, dancing with my wife, and even hung the signed contract on my refrigerator, next to my son’s artwork. Of course, it was a “For the Love of” anthology market, which paid nothing, not even a complimentary contributor’s copy. The publisher was a tiny indie outfit and went of business a few months later. I always empathize with people promoting FTLO markets; I no longer work with them, but that really was a confidence-building moment. Not a bad or shameful moment as it is with some writers, just the first of many steps. Now, my great moments are meeting authors that I admire, generally at conventions.
3. Why did you choose the topic of what occurs after a person’s life for your latest anthology?
At some time, every person wonders about death, not in a morbid sense, but at the question of “what comes next”? This is (arguably) our greatest unsolved mystery, and I wanted to explore it in more speculative terms, considering a composite of beliefs touching on different ideas and points of view. I feel I succeeded well in this, though I leave that decision to be reached by each reader! These fiction stories range from horror to science fiction to humor to inspirational. The book includes 34 tales, each illustrated, and explores perspectives from various cultures, philosophies, hopes, or fears. Within these pages, follow the ghost of an Australian cowboy. Discover what the “white light” really means to the recently departed. Consider the impact of modern, or future, technology on the dead. Follow the karmic path of reincarnation. Visit the realms of Greek Hades, Viking Valhalla, and Chinese Fengdu, and travel from the cruelest levels of Hell’s torments to the celestial realms of eternal paradise. For more information on this anthology, visit: http://ericjguignard.com/after_death.html
4. Who is your favorite writer?
In my teen years my favorite horror writers were Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, and Anne Rice. Besides horror, my early literary years were further inspired by John Steinbeck, O. Henry, George Orwell, Jack Kerouac, and Mark Twain. Recently, I’ve turned to others whom I’ve fallen in love with and who more heavily impact my writing: Joe R. Lansdale, Robert McCammon, Dan Simmons, and Neil Gaiman.
5. What’s the best short story you have ever read?
Oh so many, so many… as I sit here some that come to mind include:
“Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity” by David Morrell
“The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Stephen Vincent Benét
“Dolphin’s Way” by Gordon R. Dickson
A story by Poppy Z. Brite that I cannot remember the name of, about a pirate’s ghost that seduces a goth girl in New Orleans (probably in one of Thomas Monteleone’s “Borderlands” anthologies).
6. What current writing projects are you working on?
I’m about 50,000 words into a dark fantasy/ historic fiction novel following a 1930s depression-era hobo who rides the rails across America, discovering the underlying meaning of the written Hobo language. This will be my first full-length novel and titled, “Chestnut ’Bo” (accepting major NY Publishers’ offers now!).
7. Is there any author that you were surprised that you had the opportunity to work with on one of your anthologies?
I was thrilled to work with all of my authors. Some were writers I had long admired, so that was particularly satisfying, such as Joe R. Lansdale, Steve Rasnic Tem, Bentley Little, and others.
8. What made you start writing?
I’ve been drawing and writing stories ever since I was a child. However I stopped in college, in order to pursue business and “serious-minded” life necessities… which, of course, I now regret. I don’t regret the pursuit of those things, but I dearly regret having given up writing for so many years. I only jumped wholeheartedly into writing three years ago after the realization struck me that I was missing out on something I once was passionate about. There’s much more back story to this answer, too, but it gets rather long-winded and emotional. But I consider my writing birth date to be February, 2011. I’ve been madly trying to make up for all those earlier lost years!
9. Is there any subject that is off limits for you as a writer?
I’m pretty much a traditionalist. I always try to remain open-minded, but I was raised in a conservative, religious household, and I still hold onto most of those values in some way. My earliest media influences are Twilight Zone, Stephen King, and comic books, and because of that I tend to write with the same sort of audience in mind. I probably wouldn’t create anything that would be blatantly offensive: abuse centered around children or animals, hardcore porn (at least not publicly!), or promotion of hate toward any people based on religion, ethnicity, etc.
10. If you could invite five people to a dinner party (alive or dead, real or fictional) who would you invite?
OMG, I’m the biggest geek when it comes to genealogy (family history research) and have written books on my lineages. The answer to this question would foremost be my own deceased ancestors whom I would kick a puppy to chat with (see violation of previous question). Of course, that’s somewhat of a dull answer for everyone else, so I’ll go with the following list: Stephen King, Thomas Jefferson, Rod Serling, and Adam and Eve (pre-apple).