Saving me from having to answer my own questions, Michael Evans wandered in through the back door. My minions promised him a stunt double, but no one signed the paperwork. Sit back and read as he braves the questions and does his own answering…
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
Ever since I was a kid, I was a story teller. I don’t remember the stories themselves, but I remember as a child taking long walks with my mother and sister, and I would be rattling off these inane stories, usually about talking animals, and at night, when most kids get read their bedtime stories by their parents or grandparents, I would be the one telling the stories to them until I drifted off to sleep. It got to the point where my parents and grandparents would jockey for who would get to tuck me in at night because I fell asleep the previous night before I could finish, and they wanted to find out what happened next.
As I got older and developed my love for reading, I found I was always trying to second-guess the author as to where the plot line was headed. I remember so many times being disappointed because I thought what the author did was “stupid, and if I had written it, I would have…” A friend of mine told me to put up or shut up, and that was the start.
As to why I continue? The ideas keep coming, and sometimes they don’t leave me alone until I do something about it, and by that I mean setting it down on paper (or screen).
If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last? (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)
That’s a tough one. I know what the FIRST 5 would be, but I’d be crucified if I said them out loud. Last 5…
Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, Robert Devereaux’s Santa Steps Out, Carrie Vaughn’s Long-time Listener, First-time Werewolf (yeah, I’m cheating here – it’s a three-in-one volume), Roger Zelazny’s The Great Book of Amber (yeah, another cheat, so sue me), and Tamara Thorne’s Moonfall.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?
There are a couple of things. First was trying to find the motivation to start writing again after the loss of my mother. I’d been taking care of her since 2005, and when she passed away in 2012, it was like I lost my anchor, my purpose for being. I still haven’t fully recovered from that; her last three months were a constant battle to survive, and watching her lose ground inch by fragile inch really did a number on me. The second is what I’m going through now. I recently went into a partnership with a friend of mine and formed Grinning Skull Press. Trying to get that off the ground [we recently released our first anthology, FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble in bother paperback and digital editions, and from Kobo Books in epub format) and we’re currently working on our second anthology, ATTACK! of the B-Movie Monsters: Night of the Gigantis] while juggling my day job and writing has been challenge. It’s my hope to eventually give up the day job and just divide my time between Grinning Skull Press and my writing.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
To Be Continued. I’m not a patient person, and while I don’t mind series books or movies, they had better be able to stand on their own. Don’t leave me hanging a year or more (or in one author’s case, fifteen years and counting) to tell me how things get resolved. It’s enough to turn me off completely from an author. You hear me, Mr. Koontz?
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
As I tend to kill off most of my characters, I try not to get too attached to them, but at the moment, if I HAD to pick one, I would have to say Benjamin from the short story by the same name. Benjamin (available on Amazon for Kindle) was written oh so many years ago, and many people think it’s my best piece to date because, according to people who have read it, I have successfully captured the magic of childhood, the fear of the dark, and the things that lurk within the shadows of one’s own house. And what makes Benjamin so special to me? This may sound egotistical, but Benjamin is me as I was as a child.
Creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
Would have to be that infamous house on Long Island. You know the one I’m talking about. Regardless of what people say about it now, I believe there’s definitely something there. It hasn’t worked its way into my writing yet, but eventually it will. I’m toying with a haunted house idea.
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
I forget what market it was from. All I remember about it is that I had talked to the editor at a convention in upstate NY, and he told me their market was closed to longer pieces, but if I could submit a good “short-short” (which, at that time was 1,000 words or less), they would consider it. He had also told me to push the envelope. If it was too strong for other markets, it was probably right for them. I cranked out Undying Love in an afternoon and sent if off. Their normal response time was three months. Six months later I received my manuscript back, well read and numerous food stains on it (at least I think it was food), with a personal letter stating something along the lines of… “Great story. Well written. I had a tough time deciding on this, so I had to pass it around the office. After man reads, and many lost lunches (Thank you for that), we unfortunately have to pass because it’s just a little too strong for us.” It’s available on Amazon for Kindle, if anybody wants to check it out. I read it now, and I have to chuckle. Rejected by a magazine aimed at “taboo” and “dangerous” fiction because it was too taboo, and by today’s standards, it’s probably considered relatively tame.
How did you get that scar?
It’s what I get for refusing a stunt double. My neighbor was a film major at NYU, and he had asked me to be in one of his student films. We were filming in Central Park, and the scene called for me to run along the rocks, stumble, get up pretending to be hurt, keep running, drop behind the rocks and CUT! Well, I did what I was supposed to do, but when I got up, I realized that I really had hurt myself. I kept running though, and once I dropped down behind the rocks, I pulled up my pant leg to see how bad it was, and it was bad. A three inch gash in my leg down to the bone. Don’t know what I cut myself on, but the doctor said it was sharp because the laceration was clean.
My neighbor, by the way, was one of the writers of Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
The nickname “Pyscho” has followed me throughout high school and college, and into adult life among certain crowds, so I would have to say the title theme from “Pyscho”.
Promote yourself and/or your writing
You mean more than I already have through the course of this interview? You can check out my author page on Amazon and I’m on Facebook. Other places I haunt on the web are Woofer’s Lair, where you can find my book reviews, Twitter @DarkWoofer, and at here, where you can find excerpts of various WIPs (I haven’t quite mastered the art of blogging yet).
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
I’ll leave you with an excerpt of a song that I listen to every morning as I get ready to face the day:
“There’s a dream out there
With your name on it.
There’s a wish somewhere
Just waiting for you.
There’s a star in the night
Whose light will be shining brighter
When that dream with your name on it
Thanks for extending the invite, Rebecca. It’s been fun, but now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work.
Thank you, Mr. Evans, for those insightful answers. If your dream is to make it out of here in one piece, you’ll have to weave through the maze of carnivorous vines, or you could take a chance and use the secret passage. I’m nut sure what I hid back there. “As he opens the door, he hears a shriek and the sound of stampeding feet…TO BE CONTINUED…”