Cleaning up the rubble from the avalanche, I discovered another wandering soul on their way to the Isolation Tank. The compass may have been helpful on the surface, but with all the new caverns, it’s no surprise that Weston Ochse mapped his way to the interview cave and was setting up an ambush for the wayward beasties that run loose in the corridors. Lucky for the monsters, I found him before they did.
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
I grew up with books all around me. I’d always wanted to be a writer, but never really thought I could be one. Then, when I turned 30, I decided, what the heck, why not try. It took me a month to write my first story and boy was it bad. But never to be one to let my shortfalls keep me from moving forward, I kept plunking along until one day I sold my first short story. That’s 27 books and over a 100 short stories ago. Why do I keep going? There’s nothing like the creative rush. You can’t bottle it. You can’t sell it. You either have it or you don’t and when it’s going good, it’s like nothing else.
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.)
Damn you and your book burning. Knowing the answer will probably change depending on my mood, I’ll respond by saying Dandelion Wine (Bradbury), Boy’s Life (McCammon), Skeleton Crew (King), The Crossing (McCarthy), and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?
Considering that I’ve spent more than 30 years in the military and have been to nearly 60 countries, including several war zones, my answer for that would be different than most peoples. Truly, the hardest thing is to balance success and my need to get better with the necessity of being a good person, father, and husband. It’s not an easy thing at all.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
Maxom Phinxs. He was one of the stars of my first novel, Scarecrow Gods. He was terribly tortured in Vietnam and lost two arms and a leg to his captors. Any form of a cross terrifies him, this includes old fashioned windows with wooden crosses in them, telephone poles, etc. With all that said, he was in his core, still a good person. Everything they did to him, only served to make him stronger.
Creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
There’s a bunch. But a place where I felt pure evil was at The Gadsden Hotel in Douglas, Arizona. My friend and fellow writer Gini Koch was staying in a room there. Her closet backed up against a room that had a chain wrapped around the door knob and clipped off to a padlock. The cold evil emanating from that closet was but an echo of what was in that room. I never want to go in that room. No way.
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
My very first one. It was from then editor of Weird Tales Magazine, Darryl Swietzer. My story was 8 pages long. The rejection letter was 7 pages long. It was epic!
How did you get that scar?
Which scar? I have 37 of them, most of which I earned surviving childhood.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
Kid Rock – Bawatdaba
Promote yourself and/or your writing
People like me. They like my writing. The Rock wants to make a movie out of one of my books. Is there anything better than that?
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
Waves double shakas!
Thank you, Mr. Ochse for your entertaining thoughts. I hope you avoid more scars escaping…I mean departing the mois…er…damp caverns on your way to the exit. Be careful passing the closet door. It isn’t chained, and the lock broke weeks ago.