- Who has been your biggest influence as a writer?
That’s a difficult question to answer, as I respect and appreciate a great many authors. Certainly Stephen King, who’ve I read for over 40 years, is a huge influence. But so too are Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Patrick Rothfuss, Brian Keene, and J.K. Rowling. I’m unsure I can pick one, but the Kingkiller books by Rothfuss inspired me to craft my first novel.
- What made you want to write about vampires in your horror novel, Storberry?
I love drive-in movie horror, perhaps because I’m a child of the 70s and 80s and grew up watching Halloween and When a Stranger Calls and Friday the 13th. So many classic movies were made during that era, and yet they possess very basic story lines at their cores.
The Salem’s Lot TV miniseries scared the hell out of me. That’s vampire horror at its finest.
For some reason, vampire movies became passe’ a decade later, and eventually the genre was swallowed by teen romance masquerading as horror.
I believe many readers long for the days of Nosferatu, Salem’s Lot, and Dracula. But that’s not why I wrote Storberry. I wrote Storberry because I love classic vampire horror and wanted to capture that old drive-in movie vibe.
- Do you outline prior to writing your story, or do you work out the plot as you write?
I never outline. Sometimes I make note of plot points I wish to visit later in the novel and refer to them during the writing process. Ultimately, I prefer the organic discovery of my story each day, but I concede my life would be much easier if I created a better road map ahead of time.
- How do you balance working full time, raising a family, and being one of today’s up and coming horror writers?
I’m currently lobbying the U.S. Government to increase the day length from 24 hours to 32 hours. In the meantime, I try to spend my time efficiently. I need 90 minutes to write, but I also have a full-time job with NOAA and a family life.
My family means everything to me, and they take precedence no matter what. I’m fortunate for their support and love, and truly they inspire my creativity more than any writer could.
- What current writing projects are you working on?
I’ve almost completed Camp Slasher, whose title should win an award for being most self-explanatory. Concurrently, I’m writing a coming-of-age horror novel, currently titled The Devil’s Circle.
I’m rather excited for both projects. My readers on Patreon are following the chapters as they are written.
- How did Jack Ketchum influence your writing?
I consider Jack Ketchum the greatest horror writer of my lifetime, and he’s certainly among my favorite authors. I deeply regret never meeting Dallas, not because I’m a huge fan but because he was kind to many of my friends and colleagues.
I’ve been told my prose style is similar to early Ketchum. Influence is inevitable when you read an author regularly, and I am a voracious reader of Jack Ketchum. But it’s the observations he makes about characters, places, and life which most resonate with me and influence my writing.
- Do you listen to music when you write, and if so what do you like to listen to?
I’ve listened to instrumental horror soundtracks in the past while writing, but I vastly prefer white noise. Vocals and rock music distract me when I’m trying to concentrate.
- What made you want to start writing horror?
I get a kick out of scaring people. I wish I could give you a more literary answer, but there isn’t one. Scaring the hell out of a reader makes my day.
- Is there any subject that is off limits for you as a writer?
Not really, although I have soft spots for children and animals, especially dogs. But I don’t have hard and fast rules for what I will or won’t write about.
- If you could create a Mount Rushmore of the greatest vampire novels, which four novels would you choose?
Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
The Light at the End – John Skipp and Craig Spector
I am Legend – Richard Matheson
They Thirst – Robert McCammon