Talking with Ken Reid, The TV Guidance Counselor

By Jason Harris

Courtesy of Ken Reid Tumblr page.

Courtesy of Ken Reid’s Tumblr page.

Ken Reid is a stand-up comedian and a podcaster, TV Guidance Counselor. He will be attending the New England Super Megafest this weekend. He will be performing Friday night at the Cosplay Comedy Kickoff Party. I had the pleasure recently to ask a number of questions about

Q:     In 2003, you decided to try your hand at stand-up. What was the impetuous behind that decision?

A:     I had been in bands from 1996-1999 or so, I am in no way shape or form a musician, but always wanted to perform. Once the band broke up and I had no musicians to ride the coattails of I thought stand up was my only route. I always liked comedy and watched tons of stand up, so i gave it a go.

Q:     How many stand-up engagements do you perform in a year?

A:     I average about 2 a week so 100-150 a year is probably about the normal.

Q:    Do you have any engagements coming up? If yes, where and when?

A:     I’ve taken the rest of 2015 off for the most part for a much needed breather, but I’m still doing the podcast weekly and will be back to frequent shows in 2016. My updated schedule is always at ikenreid.com

Q:    When did the idea for your podcast, TV Guidance Counselor, come about?

A:     Friend and fellow comic Sean Sullivan basically told me that I have all these TV Guides, when people come over my house we often will flip through them and discuss old shows, why not just do that as a podcast? I wanted to do a podcast for a long time but didn’t have a great idea that would be different from the usual two comics just chatting format, until Sean threw that at me. I also do almost no pop culture stuff in my stand up, despite that occupying a huge part of my brain, so it was a great excuse to exercise a lot of that stuff.

Q:     When did you start collecting TV Guides?

A:     As early as I can remember. There are photos of me at age 2 with a TV Guide in my hand.

Q:    What issue made you want to collect TV Guides?

A:    Not sure if it’s a specific issue really . I like having the little digest sized time machine on hand.

Q:    Are you still collecting?

A:    Not new issues, but if I see some old ones I don’t have, I grab them.

Q:    What were some of your favorite shows growing up?

A:    Just the Ten of Us is a lifelong favorite, Newhart, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, The Adventures of Pete and Pete. The Facts of Life. Weirdly I’ve been lucky enough to have people who’ve been on all those shows guest on my podcast.

Q:    What are some of your favorite shows now?

A:    Weirdly I don’t watch too much new stuff. I like The Flash, and I still watch Supernatural. Fringe was the only show I watched weekly as it came out and LOVED in the last few years. I think it is the best sci-fi show of all time.

Q:    Who are some of the people you would like to have on your podcast?

A:     I do have some dream guests. Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens, Cassanda “Elvira” Peterson, John Larroquette, John Waters.

Q:     You will be at Super Megafest in November and the Pop Culture Expo in December, are these the first conventions you have been a guest at?

A:     Weirdly no. Gary at North East Comic Con has had me do live TV Guidance Counselors at the last few. I always have a good time. Last year, I did the stand up show at Super Megafest, which was also fun.

Q:     What drew you to being a guest at a convention?

A:     They asked, and I’m almost always there anyway, so it’s a win-win.

Q:     Are there any comedians you looked up to growing up?

A:     Dana Gould was my absolute #1 for sure. I was also always a huge Bob Newhart fan.

Q:    Who are some comedians today that you would suggest people go see?

A:    Hmm….I’d still go with Dana Gould.

Q:    Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to become a comedian?

A:    Don’t do it! But if you must be prepared to be terrible for at least two years even if you think you are. Don’t do it with a goal in mind, just do it to enjoy doing it and you’ll be fine.

If you are free this weekend, go to Super Megafest to hear Ken and to meet a lot of celebrities. Find out more information here.

A Night with William Shatner

By Jason Harris

2015-06-11 16.26.34
Actor William Shatner was a guest at the Middlesex Community College Celebrity Forum 2015 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, MA. Shatner was interviewed by Patrick Cook, executive director of public affairs. 2015-06-11 19.47.47
Shatner is an award-winning actor, producer, writer, recording artist, and philanthropist. During the almost 75 minute interview, he spoke about Star Trek, Boston Legal, his friendship with Leonard Nimoy who passed away in February, and death. You could tell that he misses Nimoy who he had been friends with for over 50 year ever since filming Star Trek. He talks about Nimoy’s death as memories that have faded away. He also mentioned his charities and his new reality series, Better Late Than Never with Henry Winkler, George Foreman, and Terry Bradshaw.

If William Shatner comes to your area, go see him. You won’t be disappointed. There is always a chance a captain’s chair will be in the lobby so you can try it on for size. Find out about his appearances on his website here.2015-06-11 19.39.46

2015-06-11 09.31.01

2015-06-11 20.22.43

2015-06-11 20.25.53

2015-06-11 20.26.11

2015-06-11 21.23.30

Interview with Author David Price

by Jason Harris

 

Author David Price at the 2013 New England Author Expo. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author David Price at the 2013 New England Author Expo. Photo by Jason Harris.

 

David Price is the author of Dead in the USA. He resides in Massachusetts. His new story, “Necrophone,” appeared in the online sci-fi & fantasy magazine, Buzzy Mag, today.

JH: How did your adventure in writing come about?

DP: Well, I’ve always loved reading. I was a huge comic book fan, and later moved on to Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brian Lumley and many other speculative fiction writers. In my freshman year of college, I absolutely aced Composition 1. I was undeclared, and my professor suggested I become an English Major. That’s really when I first started thinking seriously about becoming a writer.

JH: What was your first published work?

DP: I had a short story based on the haunted experiences in my life published in a collection called Tales from the Grave.

JH: Do you have a specific writing style?

DP: The most frequent comment or compliment to my writing is that it’s “page-turning.” I’ve also been told that I do particularly well with dialogue. I don’t tend to bog down on details or describe a scene for very long. If you like extensive, detailed descriptions, I’m probably not for you. If you like stuff that moves along, I might be your guy.

JH: What year were you published?

DP: 2012 was the first time I saw myself in print, other than an online article or two.

JH: Have any real life instances influenced your work?

DP: Oh sure, I’ve put many of my real life experiences in my work. In my story “Necrophone,” coming out in Buzzy Mag in March, I mention cliff jumping at a quarry.  That really happened. Actually quite a bit of that story is based on my relationship with my grandfather, as I wrote it shortly after he died.

JH: What books have influenced your life the most?

DP: Hmm, my life or my writing? The Stand is my favorite book, so it’s certainly influenced me. The works of Stephen King have changed the way I see the world, at times. Some of the ideas in the Dark Tower series will always influence me, I think. And then of course, there’s J.R.R. Tolkien. The fact that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are the main influence for the Dungeons & Dragons game is important. D & D is the inspiration for the series of epic fantasy books I am currently writing.

JH: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

DP: Stephen King, hands down. Even when his stories don’t quite hit the mark, he has the way of always getting me to care about his characters. I don’t think I write much like Stephen King myself, but I am always conscious of trying to get the reader to care about my characters.

JH: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

DP: Well, J.K. Rowling isn’t that new, but I consider the Harry Potter series pretty much revolutionary. I’m a big fan of John McIlveen, having recently read his collection, Jerks. Bracken MacLeod is an up and coming writer, as anyone who is paying attention to the horror and crime markets will tell you. Kealan Patrick Burke writes so beautifully, that I doubt I’ll ever equal his style.

JH: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

DP: As I said, “Necrophone” is a short story that will be published online in Buzzy Mag on March 27. It’s about a man who discovers a phone app that allows him to communicate with the dead, in this case, his recently deceased grandfather. Other than that, I’m putting some more polish on the first book of my epic Lovecraftian fantasy series: Lightbringer.

JH: What was the last book or piece of work that you had published? What was it about?

DP: Last year I had my essay “Shark Bait” published in the collection, Phobias, from Hidden Thoughts Press.

JH: Do you have a ritual before you write?

DP: Not really. I’ve used music at times, usually Tool or Puscifer. Sometimes I drink coffee, sometimes wine.

JH: Do you have any advice for other writers?

DP: If you don’t have the stomach for rejection, this might not be the business or hobby for you. I wasn’t ready for all the rejection, to be honest. I mean, I knew it was part of the business, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to handle at times. That story, “Necrophone” that I’ve mentioned already? That was rejected more than ten times. I finally sold it to Buzzy Mag, making it the best paying story I’ve sold to date. You just never know. Stick with it and try not to take it personally. Just keep writing, keep improving, and keep submitting.

JH: Are you going to be signing anywhere in the near future?

DP: I will be at Super MegaFest in Marlborough, MA, April 17-19, Anthocon in Portsmouth, NH, June 5-7, Necon in Portsmouth, RI, July 16-19, Granite State ComicCon in Manchester, NH September 12-13, and possibly Necronomicon in Providence, RI, August 20-23. That’s all for now!

You can follow David on Twitter here and find out about David on his website here and on his Amazon page here.

An Interview with ‘Throg’ Director Matthew T. Power

 

By Stacey Longo

 

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the release of the dark comedy, Throg, Stacey Longo caught up with director Matthew T. Power to discuss the ins and outs of what is arguably his masterpiece.Throg

SL: Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I think the first thing our Throg fans will want to know is, how did Throg come to be?

MTP: At a local indie film screening we actually showed a three-minute pilot scene of Throg walking into the Sword in the Stone scene in the woods, pulling the sword out and the stone, tossing the sword away and walking off with the stone. The audience went NUTS. So we (perhaps crazily) said  . . . Throg needs to be a movie!

By the way, here’s a link to an article on Throg special effects I wrote for Moviemaker magazine: http://www.moviemaker.com/archives/moviemaking/directing/articles-directing/chromakeying-can-change-your-life-2935/

SL: Had you directed or acted in anything prior to Throg?

MTP: Well, I had directed a few plays in college, and done a lot of acting. I trained at National Shakespeare Conservatory and the University of Maine, got my degree in theater . . . and my dad is a theater professor/director who was actually pals with Kurt Vonnegut. Tony Shalhoub was one of his acting students, too. I still do acting now and then—usually Shakespeare—I played Caliban in The Tempest at the Freeport Shakespeare Festival a couple of years ago, then Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night a year later. Recently I played the lead in an Irish stage drama called Someone to Watch Over Me.

SL: Well, that explains the Shakespearean undertones in Throg! You were able to get some fabulous actors for this film—Dana Lee, Stephanie Hughes, Dale Phillips, and your own performance as the Fool were among my favorites. Where did you find your cast?

MTP: Some were just old friends like Dana and Dale, who had done medieval reenactment with me for years … others were people I met in theater school, and others were anyone we could get to wear a pig suit! My friend Dennis Green — Urshag the Destroyer, the big villain — passed away this year. He was a gentle giant and we really miss him … so gentle that we sometimes had a hard time getting him to be “scary” in the part.

SL: That’s terrible news, and I’m sorry to hear it. Urshag was certainly a memorable part! Watching the movie, one gets the sense that you were all having a lot of fun filming Throg. What was shooting like?

MTP: Well, it took us four years to shoot it, mostly on weekends, and it was often fun and we laughed a lot, though it was also very exhausting. We had no crew really, so a handful of us: Melissa Ross, Lori Power, Wayne Woodbury and myself, had to lug lights, gear, costumes and so on everywhere we went and that started to wear after about the third year. For the last shoot, we rented an airplane to shoot Throg on that island getting hit by bird crap and we “missed” when we tossed the bird crap, and had to crawl on hands & knees scraping it out. That was the last straw for some of our poor crew—we needed it to end!

SL: What was the budget for this fine movie?

MTP: We paid the whole thing out of pocket, probably a total of about $35k over the whole period, which I attribute to my being in film school. We spread out the pain, in other words.

SL: Tell us about the Boston International Film award you won for Throg.

MTP: The award we won was for Best Cinematography, and I think it was in 2004. The movie also showed at the Magic Film Festival in Maine and the Rome International Film Festival in Georgia. We sort of annoyed all the “serious” filmmakers at that last one, because Throg got a huge front page write-up in the local paper, and I kind of agree with [the other filmmakers] that the films they had there were probably more important socially and, well, just better. But I did get a laugh out of some of the curves that Throg’s very short-lived popularity threw at us. I always looked at the movie as an in-house experiment, not something I’d want to show off to the world . . . I don’t take criticism or praise too seriously; that’s a good way to lose your creative drive.

SL: I think Throg fans everywhere are dying to know: are there any plans for a sequel?

MTP: Not to the film, but I’m really interested in making an interactive graphic comic that could include clips from the movie as a special bonus . . . and I think the Throg character could continue to have many adventures and maybe eventually his own web video series of shorts.

SL: Where can people go to learn more about you/your company/the movie?

MTP: Well, right now I don’t have a Throg website or anything up that tells much about the film. I have done a lot of other short videos since then, including a comedy that won Best Comedy at the Phoenix Film Festival, if people want to see other stuff I’ve done post-Throg.

The Sheriff’s Tale

Chelmsford School for Butlers

The Lost Mimes of Borneo

SL: Well, Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. We look forward to seeing your next endeavors, especially if they’re as enjoyable as Throg!

MTP: Thanks, Stacey.

Author Joe R. Lansdale Talks about ‘Cold in July’ and Writing

 

By Jason Harris

Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale

JH: The movie version of Cold in July comes out in May. Did you have any involvement with the filmmakers?

JRL: Yes, Jim Mickle, the director, and Nick Damici the writer, kept me in the loop and asked my opinions frequently. I was on the set for two weeks watching them film. It was a great experience, and as icing on the cake, I like the film. A lot.

JH: If you did have any involvement, what was your involvement and how did you feel about it?

JRL: Mainly just as an adviser. They respected me enough to make me a producer on the film. I did teach Sam Shepard a finger lock for one of the scenes.

JH: What do you think about the casting of Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, and Don Johnson in the roles of characters you created?

JRL: It was like they were born for those parts. I didn’t think about them as the actors, but as soon as they said their names, I thought, oh hell yeah.cold_in_july

JH: Are there anymore film adaptations in the works of your books?

JRL: There are several. The Bottoms is the only one I can talk about right now. Bill Paxton is set to direct, and there is a great script by Brent Hanely. He wrote Frailty and Bill directed it. I think we’ve got a winning team. Next actors are to be chosen. The plan right now is to shoot this fall.

JH: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

JRL: Sometimes I just want something common. And there are times when I feel something a little unusual is better. I’m not picking names like Bill Storm or Willie Hammer, but now and again I go for something a little exotic like Vanilla Ride.

JH: Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?

JRL: ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas. I go most years.

JH: What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?

JRL: Proofing and promotion, though I have learned to embrace those things.

JH: Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

JRL: I don’t know. I never say never, but I’m sure there are some things I wouldn’t want to write about, but I’d have to come up on that one before I’d know it.

JH: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

JRL: Not really. Not if I like the story and feel it works in the context of that story.

JH: Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

JRL: Too many to name here. But among them: Jack London, Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, William F. Nolan, William Goldman, Raymond Chandler, James Cain, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, [William] Faulkner, a little, Flannery O’Conner, a lot Glendon Swarthout, some [Larry] McMurtry, and the list goes on.

JH: What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

JRL: Read a lot, and learn to write regularly, daily. Put your ass in a chair and write. Have a reasonable goal each day. Say one to three pages, and reach it, and if you go over, great, but try hard to reach that goal.

Editor’s Note:

THe movie version of Cold in July comes out in limited release in theaters on May 23.

You can read an earlier article about Lansdale receiving the Horror Writers’ Association’s Lifetime Achievement award here.

Award-winning Photographer turned Horror Writer

By Jason Harris

F.M. Kearney1

F.M. Kearney, an award-winning photographer, has written his first horror novel, They Only Come out at Night. Today, he’s talking  about his career, New York Subways, and writing his first horror novel.

JH: How long have you been a fine art nature photographer?

FK: I’ve been a fine art nature photographer for about 20 years.

JH: What awards have you won for your photography?

FK: I’ve won numerous awards from various magazine and online photography competitions, ranging from First Place to Honorable Mentions.

JH: In the 80’s, you worked as a photojournalist for various New York City newspapers. What newspapers did you work for? What were you covering for them?

FK: I’ve worked for a number of local papers such as Town & Village, City Limits, The Phoenix, The City Sun and The New York Tribune. I mainly covered news pertaining to the particular neighborhood or borough that the paper serviced, but I also did hard news as well. I’ve done ride-alongs with FDNY and NYPD undercover units. I covered the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. I’ve also photographed many famous people, such as Bill Cosby, Mayor David Dinkins, Fred Lebow (founder of the NYC Marathon) and several sports celebrities in one-on-one sit-down interviews.

F. KearneyJH: What inspired you to write your first book and what was the idea behind it?

FK: I suppose my inspiration was two-fold. The first, and most obvious inspiration, came from my own personal experiences in the subway. As a photojournalist, I rode the subway all over town traveling to and from my assignments. I lived (and still do) in Manhattan, and up to that point, I had never really been to a lot of the stations in the outer boroughs, i.e., The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. I was really amazed at the total contrast in environments. You see, when most out-of-towners think of the NYC subway, images of Times Square and Grand Central Station will undoubtedly come to mind. These are huge, bustling hubs filled noisy activity and throngs of commuters almost 24/7. They have come to define what the NYC subway is all about. However, stations like these only account for a tiny percentage of the 463 stations of which the entire system is comprised. The vast majority of stations are nothing like that. In fact, I would even say that they are the polar opposites. Many of the stations in the outer boroughs (and even some in Manhattan) are very quiet, dimly lit and sparsely populated…and that’s in the middle of the day!  I can remember being in certain areas of some stations that were sore mote and so creepy that I felt very uncomfortable and couldn’t wait to get out. Many of these areas have since been sealed off to the public…presumably because of the safety risks they posed. I couldn’t help but think that this would be a perfect location for a horror story. To be honest, I’m actually surprised that Hollywood doesn’t use the NYC subway as a regular setting for horror movies.

My second inspiration came from one of the most unlikely of sources…a disco song. In the 80’s, Peter Brown released a single called, “They Only Come Out at Night.” It’s an upbeat tune about people (referred to as “creatures of the night”)  who like to go out clubbing. The song features the haunting sound of a saxophone — the kind of sound one might hear while walking along a deserted city street at night. Between that, and my experiences in the subway, They Only Come Out at Night (the book) was born.
JH: What drew you to writing in the horror genre?

FK: I’ve always been a fan of everything horror related…books, movies, TV shows, you name it. But, I always found one flaw in almost every story. It seemed as though a lot of time and effort went into producing the chills and thrills throughout the story, but the ending was usually somewhat of a letdown. Of course, most horror stories are fiction, but it seemed as though no attempt at all was made to make the story even halfway believable. I wanted to write a story that made sense — a story that, albeit fictional, contained enough factual details one might wonder if it could actually happen.

JH: Why did you use the New York City subway as the main setting?

FK: Aside from the reasons already mentioned, I used the subway because of its familiarity to so many people — even if they don’t happen to live in a major city that has a subway. Most tourists will make riding the subway one of their “must-dos” while visiting. Very few people will ever find themselves in an actual haunted house or a foggy cemetery at midnight. The same can’t be said for a subway. I think the chills are far more intense when you read about scary things happening in a more familiar and commonplace environment. After having read the book, a lot of people have told me that they will never again ride the subway alone at night.

JH: What type of research did you do for the book?

FK: I visited every major location I wrote about with a digital tape recorder. I recorded everything I saw, heard, smelled and felt…things that I (and probably most people) would never even give a second thought. This greatly helped to create atmosphere. I also researched news articles about local crimes committed in the area, and spoke with the NYPD about specific rescue procedures in the subway. As far as the supernatural aspects of the book are concerned, I went online and researched actual case studies and terminology. Lastly, the dates in the book are very important. I went to the library to insure that the days of the week and the newspaper articles I mentioned were correct.

JH: How long did it take you to write the book?

FK: Since I had no deadlines and was basically just writing for fun, I’d say it took about 10 years from start to finish.

JH: What’s been the reaction of some of the people who have read the book?

FK: Chapter One, by far, has received the biggest reaction! Many of my friends have told me that it was the most intense thing that they’ve ever read. Although they thoroughly enjoyed it, I realized that it might be a little too intense for the average reader. Before releasing the book to the public, I considerably watered-down this chapter from its original version. Even so, a number of reviewers have commented on just how violent this chapter is, and a few were even unable to get past it. Make no mistake, Chapter One is not for the faint of heart, but it is necessary to the story as a whole.

JH: Are there any other genres, you want to write in?

FK: As a nature photographer, I’ve considered putting out a non-fiction book about nature photography at some point in the future.

JH: Who is your favorite author/authors and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

FK: I like many of the works from Dean Koontz and Stephen King. I think King’s books are much better than his movies — many of which leave me scratching my head. These writers have a way of painting a picture with words that tends to put the reader right in the scene. I tried to do that with my book as well.

JH: What books have most influenced your life the most?

FK: I don’t know if I can point to any one book of fiction. However, I’ve read many photography books that greatly influence the way I shoot.

JH: Are you working on a second novel?

FK: Not at this time. Many have suggested a sequel to They Only Come Out at Night.  Although it definitely lends itself to a sequel, I can’t see myself writing one. Unless you’re talking about an action series, most sequels rarely live up to the original.

JH: What are your current projects?

FK: I’m currently focusing more on my photography and photography articles.

New Hampshire Director in Search of Donations for Vampire Film

 

By Jason Harris

 

Writer and director Tim Morgan (author of The Trip), who lives in New Hampshire, has started a Kickstarter campaign to get his short film, My DreamGirl Was A Vampire, made. If he meets his goal, every backer who donates a $1 or more will receive a MP4 file of the movie.

Morgan’s impetus for My DreamGirl was a Vampire first developed in 1995 when he was working on a vampire movie that he wanted to direct as a feature, but didn’t have access to actors or the equipment.

“I wound up putting it down because the short was beyond what I could do with what I had access to at the time,” Morgan said.

In 1996, Morgan wrote a feature with a vampire named Stefanie as a “directed study in college,” he said.

“I had fun with it and it was the best I could do at the time, but it was a bad rip-off of The X-Files. There was something about Stefanie’s character that would stick with me, though, and I tried a couple times over the years to reboot her, but it never seemed to work.”

This past fall, Morgan wrote a new vampire short after meeting a couple of new actors who he had never worked with before.

“The early draft was darker and edgier but it just didn’t feel right. So I put that aside, thought about bringing Stefanie back, and wrote the script that became My DreamGirl Was A Vampire.”

The vampire, Stefanie, will be portrayed by New Hampshire actor Kimberley Miller. Miller considers Stefanie to be a “complex character.” It’s the real emotional challenge of the character that intrigued her, she said.

“She is a vampire, but with some very human characteristics. She wants a way out and is very vulnerable/desperate. She doesn’t want to be a vampire. A majority of vampire stories are about the turning and the power and blood lust,” Miller said.

Morgan said that he’s trying to put an original spin on the genre, but knows he has to adhere to certain things that the “rabid fans of the genre” would want.

“I love this story because it’s a simple/sweet story about a girl (who happens to be a vampire) who wants a second shot at life and the quirky cute guy who can help her. It is more about making Stefanie real and sympathetic to the audiences than focusing on the vampire piece,” Miller said.

The other character in My DreamGirl Was A Vampire is museum employee Grant portrayed by another New Hampshire actor, Billy Pomerleau, who is looking forward to bringing this role to life.

“[Grant] has a personality that, in my opinion makes him very likable. He’s a bit of an ‘everyman’ and I’ve always rooted for the reluctant hero types. Not to mention the opportunity to work opposite the devilishly beautiful Kimberley Miller. I mean, who could say no to that,” Pomerleau said.

There are 18 days left in Morgan’s campaign to raise $2,500. So far, the campaign has raised $97.

“If you’re looking for a fresh voice in the vampire genre, with a new approach, this is for you,” Morgan said.

Morgan hopes the campaign is successful so he can film, My DreamGirl Was A Vampire, and bring it to film festivals. The biggest festival is Shriekfest, which he was at in 2003 with one of his scripts, Morgan said.

Along with every donator receiving a MP4 file, there are other giveaways including PDF files of the script, DVDs of the finished film, links to a person’s website, t-shirts, mentions on the short film’s official page, and producer credits.

You can find and donate to his campaign on Kickstarter here.

An Interview with Writer Rod Labbe

by Jason Harris

Rod Labbe has been a freelance writer since 1977. His work has appeared in such publications as Fangoria, Gorezone, Starlog, Famous Monsters of FilmlandMuscle & Fitness, and Autograph Collector magazine. He has written his first novel, The Blue Classroom, which is a ghost story and will be published by Samhain Publishing this coming May. He is currently working on his second novel, which will be published by Samhain in 2015.

Rod Labbe he set of Stephen King's Graveyard Shift.

Rod Labbe on the set of Stephen King’s Graveyard Shift.

JH: When you started freelancing in 1984, what publications did you write for?

RL: My writing/freelance career actually began in the fall of 1977, not 1984. That’s when I landed a work-study job as a reporter with The University Free Press weekly newspaper (University of Southern Maine). I was a sophomore, totally green, and had never written anything outside of short stories that were strictly for my own enjoyment. What I lacked in cred, however, I more than made up for with dedication, discipline and determination (the “three Ds,” as I call them). From 1977 to 1981, I contributed articles every week to the UFP, ranging from theatre reviews to editorials to sports pieces and pretty much everything in-between. No limits! I also found time to edit the campus literary magazine, The Presumpscot Review, published annually. All of that was great, a wonderful hands-on training ground–even more significant, since I’ve never taken a Journalism course, not one.

I continued this kind of writing (including editing The Maine Review, a literary magazine at the University of Maine) as a graduate student at the University of Maine in Orono. During the summer of 1984, I stepped away from the collegiate environment and submitted work to an outside publication. That was for a magazine called Mainely Local, published out of Central Maine, where I lived. I’d seen an article about it in my hometown newspaper, was intrigued, and gave the editor a call. We met the next day at a local eatery/bar. She told me about her publishing plans–really quite ambitious–and welcomed me aboard as a writer. The one glitch? No pay, just comp copies. That was ok; I realized the exposure and experience would be invaluable. I stayed with them for a year and a half (while in school and also following graduation), sometimes generating articles on my own, but mostly doing ‘filler’ and ‘fluff’ assignments–which I hated.

From tiny acorns mighty Oaks grow, I’ve found. That stint with Mainely Local gave me the gumption to seek out other venues–which I did in March of 1985, two months prior to leaving the University of Maine. That’s when I sent out an interview to MuscleMag International (a bodybuilding monthly) and a short story, entitled “Pumpkin Head,” to Footsteps magazine (small press, non-paying). Lo and behold, both were accepted! And MuscleMag paid me $100! I was on my way!

JH: Do you have a specific writing style?

RL: Hmm. If I had to pinpoint a “style” for my freelancing–which has been and still is 95% non-fiction–I’d say ‘conversational.’ Interviews can be tricky things. A sense of comfortable ease should underscore the dialogue. Almost from the get-go, I settled on a laid-back, conversational style. It serves to present the individual profiled in a ‘down to earth’ manner; the reader will know this is a flesh and blood human and not merely an unreachable celebrity. I must also mention that I do all of my interviews over the phone so what’s transcribed is definitely ‘conversational.’

As for fiction, I’m not sure if I have a “style,” per se. I just write, edit, polish and tweak! Constantly! I was educated in a time when there was great emphasis on sentence structure, good grammar, spelling skills, etc.; therefore, I utilize all of that when I write. I never emulate nor “copy” any other writer; find your own voice–not necessarily a “style,” but it should be something you, as the writer, enjoys wearing like a comfortable sweater.

JH: You have written for genre publications such as Fangoria, Gorezone, and Starlog in the past. What were some of the topics you wrote about or what was the subject of your articles?

RL: Writing for Fangoria was my dream. I can still remember the first issue I ever bought–#9, featuring that great Motel Hell cover, on Friday, October 31, 1980. Yep, Halloween! I sat in my sun-washed dorm room, read the book from cover to cover, and drifted off into reverie. Ah! Someday, I told myself, I’m going to write for Fangoria. But how? I had no cred and no contacts, outside of living in Maine, the same place of [Fangoria’s] patron saint, Stephen King. At that point, I’d only been published by my campus newspaper!

I’m a believer in never letting go of your dreams, and if you pursue them doggedly enough, eventually they’ll become realities. That happened for me in 1986, when I sold my first article–an interview with novelist John (The Legacy) Coyne–to Fango. The next year, 1987, I sold another small piece about Maine author Rick Hautala, who sadly passed away last year. I finally ‘hit it big’ when I landed a star-making assignment: visiting the set of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary (1989), in Maine. That generated four articles and led to more film set visits (all King- related: Graveyard Shift, The Langoliers, and Thinner). Gorezone surprised me, since I thought my interview with Pet Sematary’s director, Mary Lambert, was going into Fangoria. Instead, it ran in Gorezone and scored me my first cover!

The Starlog piece, on Steve Reeves–famous as the cinematic Hercules–was submitted cold, via an e-mail to the editor. After Stephen King’s Thinner was filmed in Maine the fall of 1995, I took a break from Fangoria. Little did I know that break would stretch fourteen years!

My path led back to Fango in 2010. Editor Tony Timpone had stepped down, and a new editor–Chris Alexander, formerly of Rue Morgue–took the reins. I sent Chris an e-mail and introduced myself, which opened the door to my second stint. Chris is great. He’s supportive, energetic, enthusiastic and smart. I have his ear, and that has created a strong bond between us. He’s given me some choice assignments, too, like covering Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie and a two-part retrospective on Pet Sematary (currently running). Alas, prior to Chris’ arrival, Fangoria had fallen on hard time, but now, it’s reclaimed the crown as America’s premiere publication dealing with ‘horror in entertainment.’ I’m glad!

JH: Were you always a freelancer or did you work as a staff writer for any of the the magazines that you wrote for?

RL: I’ve always freelanced. In the beginning, I gladly accepted work that was assigned to me and bit the proverbial bullet. That’s all part of the game of moving up on the ladder. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great having the financial security of being ‘on staff.’ Creatively, though, I’d find it incredibly stunting … unless I was editor.

JH: What were some of the articles you wrote for Muscle & Fitness, MuscleMag International and Iron Man magazines and Men’s Workout about?

RL: I got into the fitness/bodybuilding books quite by happenstance. When I edited The Maine Review, I interviewed two people who’d gone to Maine and ‘made it big’ in the outside world. One was novelist Stephen King. The other was a bodybuilder, Skip Robinson, who’d won his weight/height class at the Mr. World competition. The interviews saw print, and amazingly, I received more comment on Skip’s. Bingo, an idea was born–I decided to mail this off to a bodybuilding magazine. This was in March of 1985. The editor complimented my style and suggested I find someone “new and today” to profile. I took his advice, found a ‘new and today bodybuilder,’ Jeff King, and interviewed him. MuscleMag bought it, and voila! I had my first big freelance writing credit!

My most rewarding project as a bodybuilding/fitness writer was creating a Legends of Bodybuilding series for Iron Man magazine. This ran from 1998 into 2012, approximately four installments per year and all extensively researched and executed. I interviewed classic bodybuilders and provided workouts and photo support. The series was immensely popular and archived all over the web. Just Google ‘Rod Labbe,’ and you’ll find a Legends interview

The fitness magazine marketplace has taken a severe hit, and several publications I freelanced with have been cancelled. Diminished ad revenue forced others to drastically reduce page count. Considering this, I’m now concentrating my freelancing efforts on the horror genre. Fans there are a more loyal and a less fickle bunch, it seems. And new mags are popping up

JH: What were some of your favorite freelance pieces?

RL: I was born in that far away year of 1952, so what I did, played with, watched and observed growing-up now has “nostalgia appeal.” and nostalgia is BIG. Without exception, every article I’ve written and [every] interview I’ve done is tinged with the burnished glow of nostalgia.

I wrote four huge pieces for the late/lamented Autograph Collector magazine because I’d been an ‘autograph collector’ as a teen. All of my articles for Scary Monsters magazine stem from personal experience as a ‘monster kid.’ Writing about Dark Shadows, Vincent Price, Famous Monsters of Filmland, The Munsters and Aurora Monster models is a blast. There’s something to be said for living a relatively long life. I don’t have to research such things as Marilyn Monroe’s death, the first moon landing, the ’60s counterculture or JFK’s assassination–I lived through them.

JH: How did you come to write for these different magazines?

RL: Easy. I just decided to ‘go for it’ and submit my work. In the case of Fangoria, I had an interview already done and merely sent the editor a ‘snail mail’ (this was in 1986) asking if he’d be interested. He was! That’s all it took for me to get my foot into the Fangoria door. But how to keep it open? There’s the rub! You must use ingenuity and a bit of craftiness. Study the magazines you want to write for and establishing good connections with editors is key. Always produce professional work! No misspellings, use accurate quotes (if an interview), edit to a fault and make sure your articles shine.

JH: What would be your advice for writers who want to be freelancers?

RL: My first piece of advice: don’t expect riches or fame. Start this journey as a fun (emphasis on that word) hobby, and you’ll be much happier. The second tidbit: write what you like and THEN market it. If I’m intrigued by the subject matter, I’ll gladly do an article simply to put it ‘out there.’ The goal is to be published, first and foremost. Forget about money–you can think about that later. Working gratis will give you incredible exposure and fodder for your portfolio. If you’re in love with writing, like I am, it’s never a chore!

My third recommendation? Educate yourself. Learn HOW to write. It’s not merely the desire or the urge, you must have a modicum of talent and be willing to learn. That means listening to criticism, even if it angers you. And it also means seeking out legitimate critiques, not just reassuring pats on the head from parents, siblings, and loved ones. Parents will rarely give you the straight scoop–they don’t want to hurt your feelings. An editor has nothing emotionally invested in you, so it doesn’t matter to them if feelings are hurt when they reject your work. Rejection does hurt … but it also helps you grow as a writer.

When doing fiction, it’s a good idea to read beforehand. Go to the classics. Read DraculaFrankenstein, Jane Eyre, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, Wuthering Heights, A Separate Peace. Watch films, too … but not junk. Watch films like Rebecca, Dead of Night, The Maltese Falcon, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Uninvited, Rosemary’s Baby, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, The Birds, The Exorcist, All About Eve, The Haunting, Sunset Boulevard, The OmenNightmare on Elm Street and Carrie (originals only, please). Don’t limit yourself! Embrace the full experience.

If you’re truly considering a freelance career, invest in a copy of the latest Writer’s Market (published annually). The book compiles the best markets and lists everything you need to know. Peruse the magazine racks at your favorite bookstore. Is there a magazine you read and have always yearned to write for? Go ahead and just do it! I’ve found that the proof is in the doing, not necessarily the planning and/or dreaming. You must make that extra effort to get your work to an editor. Sure, rejection might happen; it’s part of the game. But the genuine warriors push forward, despite the occasional speed bump.

JH: Your first novel, The Blue Classroom, will be published in May by Samhain Publishing. What’s it about?

RL: The Blue Classroom is a Maine-based ghost story involving a haunted Catholic school and the spirit of a cruel, vindictive nun. There’s an extensive flashback to 1957 near the beginning, but most of the action takes place in 1998. I hesitate to call The Blue Classroom an epic, but it’s very close to 400 pages. The cover art just blew me away … and I’m extremely fortunate to have been picked up by Samhain. Their horror editor, the great Don D’Auria, has been a guiding light. Like Chris Alexander, he’s simply a great guy.

Keep in mind, Jason, I’m not a young Turk, and I have absolutely no use for splatter punk or flash fiction or ‘fan fiction’ or whatever it’s called. At 61, I’m old school all the way and go for quiet chills rather than gore, sexual nonsense, violence and/or rape. Frankly, I don’t understand most young writers. I’ve picked up books that are recommended to me, and what I find is gratuitous violence, profanity, and themes that are distasteful and unpleasant. And I’m sick of hearing about the ‘zombie apocalypse.’ Just what is this strange fascination with zombies. I can’t figure it out.

JH: How did you come up with the title?

RL: When my first draft was completed, I pulled out a trusty yellow legal pad and wrote down a dozen evocative titles. I chose The Blue Classroom because, hey, that’s where the horrifying memory takes place. What memory, you ask? Buy the book and find out.

JH: What inspired you to write your first book?

RL: In the fall of 1984, I’d just begun my last year as a Graduate student–a hectic period, as you might imagine. Not only would I be graduating with a Masters, but I was ending a monumental chapter of my life and entering into uncharted territory. Two things were on my immediate agenda: (1) becoming a freelancer, and (2) writing a novel. But how? I examined the situation from every angle and just dove in, navigating the rocky freelancing waters like a drowning man. I’d no guide and did everything by myself. In the meanwhile, I also set about tackling a novel. Can you say, failure? Nothing gelled. Idea after idea imploded or just sat there, lifeless. Frustrated, I gave myself breathing room and concentrated all my efforts on freelancing.

In 1989, with my freelancing journey going smoothly, I went back to brainstorming about the novel. I was reading through my graduate project, a collection of short stories entitled Seven Dark Images, and found the perfect inspiration. Can’t go into too much detail about that … but The Blue Classroom did grow from a short story originally published in 1985.

JH: How long were you writing it?

RL: The going was very slow, at first. I started in August of 1989 and worked on it when I could–and that turned out to be not very often. Between 1989 and January of ‘91, I’d written only three chapters! With the new year (1991), I decided to test the publishing waters and sent out my three measly chapters to publishers. Most of them came back so fast, the packages were smoking! Rejections across the board. I also let Rick Hautala read what I had, and he didn’t like it. Man, talk about disillusioning! Did I have what it took to be a novelist, I wondered? Maybe not. I was having much more luck as a freelancer and instinctively grasped what editors wanted. But when it came to fiction, I just didn’t seem to have that spark. I put the novel–or my, ahem, three chapters–in a desk drawer and let it germinate. By that summer, I’d decided to give the project another try. I barreled forward and finished a first draft sometime in early 1992. I had all of 200 pages and thought, wow, this is great! But the journey was just beginning. 200 pages would translate to a very thin book! I needed to flesh out the story, really put myself into it, which I did. By the end of 1999, the manuscript was just kissing 500 pages in draft form.

Then came the hard part: editing. I am a perfectionist, and that’s not always a good thing. I slept, ate, and existed with my book, tweaking, rewriting, throwing out chapters then putting them back in again. Aaargh! A decade trundled by. In 2012–yes, fantastic as it sounds, 13 years later–I had a good thing and sent it off to Samhain Horror (I told you I was determined!). Six agonizing months passed, and the e-mail I’d been waiting for arrived from Don D’Auria, Samhain’s horror editor. The Blue Classroom was on their schedule for May 2014.

Now, I’m waiting. Have I succeeded? Or will readers hate what I’ve put together? We’ll see …The Blue Classroom cover

JH. Who is your favorite author/authors and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

RL: Naughty, naughty, I know, but I do very little reading, nowadays–outside of articles and an occasional short story. Oh, I’ve tried reading more, but I usually end up losing interest or just shaking my head at all the gratuitous gore and sex … and ZOMBIES! I love the masters, people like Steve King, Poe, [and] Lovecraft, of course. But if I had to single-out a writer as my favorite, it would be Robert McCammon. In my humble opinion, this artist has never gotten his due. They Thirst, which I read in the summer of 1981, is a remarkable book. And I also loved Mystery Walk, Usher’s Passing, Swan Song and especially A Boy’s Life.

JH: What books have most influenced your life most?

RL: There are two, both intertwined. One is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which I read way back in 1967, when I was 14. The other is King’s Salem’s Lot. I just could not put that one down. Even today, I’ll find myself going back to ‘the Lot’ and rereading certain passages. The section where Ben Mears encounters the vampiric Marjorie Glick in an examining room is high-octane horror. King wrote it beautifully, with so much unbridled energy. That’s when he was a hungry artist, and I plugged into his raw-edged enthusiasm. I should also mention how much I love The Shining. That one book kept me up all night, the only time such a thing happened. I started at about 10 p.m. and was still reading at 4:30 a.m. The true definition of a ‘page turner.’ It’s his masterpiece, as far as I’m concerned.

JH: What are your current projects?

RL: I’m always working on something. My second novel for Samhain is in the pipeline, scheduled for publication next year. It’ll be finished and polished up by June 2014. There’s a third novel percolating, as well as a collection of short stories, two of which were finalists in Fangoria’s ‘Weird Words’ competition. Freelancing continues, and my goal is to win a Rondo Award. I’ve been nominated three times, so far. Hopefully, 4th is the charm! It’s a busy, rewarding life, as clichéd as that sounds. I find new challenges in every project.

Editor’s Note:

The Blue Classroom e-book is currently available for pre-order at Amazon by clicking here.

Lew Temple Talks about ‘The Walking Dead,’ Rob Zombie, and Baseball

By Jason Harris

Lew Temple. photo by Jason Harris

Lew Temple. photo by Jason Harris

Lew Temple’s time on The Walking Dead has ended, but he’s still proud of the work he did on the series, even though he thinks his character Axel had more to do in the show.

“I was obviously disappointed,” Lew Temple said. “I thought he was going to be serviceable to the group.”

Temple was given the news three weeks in advance that his character was going to die. He was in denial at first, but after some time he had to commit to it, he said.

“My intent is to always serve the story and that was my job. I wanted to do the best job possible.”

Temple did feel “disappointed for Axel,” though. As an actor, he will go on and work, but Axel is gone forever, he said.

The character of Axel will live on in The Walking Dead comic books and in reruns.

Temple did use the comic book character of Axel as a blueprint. Since comic books are one-dimensional, he had to make the character three-dimensional.

“I’m certain that we were able to use some of Robert [Kirkman’s] characteristics of Axel, but also brought some of my own to it as well.”

The producers on the zombie series knew of Temple before he came on in season three since he had been in to see them for the pilot.

“They looked at me for the role of Merle, originally, and then after that they hired Michael Rooker. Then they needed Merle’s brother, Daryl, who at that time was not even named.”

Temple auditioned for Daryl by reading Merle’s lines differently, which he was asked to do by the producers.

“Thankfully, they hired Norman Reedus. So when Axel came around they came to me and we were able to make that work.”

Temple was aware of the popularity of The Walking Dead, but not of the cross-cultural phenomenon it has become.

“I would say it hasn’t hurt me,” Temple said about Hollywood recognizing him from the popular series. “I would say prior to The Walking Dead I had a certain body of work Hollywood was aware of, and I was working prior to The Walking Dead …”

He admits that the series has elevated his visibility, which has helped him. He doesn’t know if his time on the series has defined him, which only “time will tell.”

“I like to do diverse stuff. I’m certainly proud of the work I did on The Walking Dead and to be part of that show. It’s been such an incredible hit.”

Temple has worked with writer and director Rob Zombie on Halloween and The Devil’s Rejects. He has “a really great relationship beyond a working relationship” with Zombie.

“I adore working with him because he knows what he wants and wants what he knows so there’s not a lot of grey area in-between. He is an absolute perfectionist and he does whatever it takes to make the day work, and if that means he needs to provide something on set, he does so.”

He does expect to work with Zombie again because he thinks they work well together. He just doesn’t know when that will happen.

“I think that I bring something to his story that he appreciates. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Lew Temple in a Rob Zombie production yet again.”

Along with acting, Temple is “an incredible baseball fan.” He adores the game and it has been his first passion since he was a little boy. He’s even played it all the way up until the minor leagues with the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros. When he couldn’t play the game, he worked as a baseball scout for the New York Mets. Now he roots for the Atlanta Braves.

“I would say I’m excited for the Red Sox, but rooting for the [Detroit] Tigers.”

Temple also writes music.

“I think that I am a pretty interesting songwriter. I think that I am able to spin a tune, at least in my head.”

He has a record deal with Universal through the Rob Zombie production, Banjo and Sullivan.

An Interview with Author A.J. O’Connell

By Jason Harris

 

pressphoto

A.J. O’Connell

 

Q: Your newest book The Eagle & The Arrow is a sequel to Beware the Hawk. What are they about?

A: Beware the Hawk followed a couple of spectacularly bad days in the life of a young woman who was a courier for a secret organization called The Resistance.

The Eagle & The Arrow takes place about six months afterward, and features the young woman’s boss, a bureaucrat named Helen, who is tasked with cleaning up the mess created in the first book while keeping her decaying agency a secret and keeping her own career afloat.

Q: Did you always envision Beware the Hawk to be part of a trilogy of novellas?

A: I didn’t. Originally, my publisher contacted me about Beware the Hawk, because Vagabondage Press was putting together a series of novellas, and my editor remembered Beware the Hawk from a writers’ group we were both members of in 2003. It was only after Beware the Hawk was released that we decided to go ahead and make the book into a trilogy.

Q: Is the third one planned out already?

A: Well, no. I have some notes and outlines put together, but I haven’t figured out every step of the story.

Q: When did you start the series?

BewareTheHawkCoverArt A: I wrote the first draft of Beware the Hawk 10 years ago, although I dreamed up the premise earlier. At the time I was a 25-year-old journalist, in my first writing group ever. When I didn’t have to cover a Tuesday night school board meeting for work, I went to writing group meetings in a local Barnes & Noble. Eventually, I needed some work to share with the group, so I started writing Beware the Hawk down.

Q: Will the series go beyond the three novellas?

A: I don’t know. Right now, the plan is to stick to a trilogy. I’d like the three books to form a neat little unit of storytelling. But you never know – I might revisit some of the characters with stories or books devoted to their character arcs later.

Q: What was the inspiration for the two books?

A: I started thinking up Beware the Hawk in 1999 and 2000. At the time, I was working in Boston and regularly visited friends who lived in New York and Connecticut at the time. I did a lot of traveling by public transit and I had a lot of time to think on those trips. It occurred to me that anyone on the bus could be carrying anything. This was before Sept. 11, and security wasn’t so tight, so I’d spend bus trips thinking about the sort of things a person could get away with.

The Eagle & The Arrow was inspired by recent events as much as by the original novella. I’m intrigued by the phenomenon of WikiLeaks as much as I am horrified by prison camps like Guantanamo Bay. I thought that, when the time came to write the second book, it would be appropriate to look at the first book in terms of terrorism, because although the word “terrorism” never occurred to me when I was writing Beware the Hawk, that’s what it’s about.

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I’ve been writing since childhood. My mother tells a story about me as a toddler, playing with my toys and trying to explain what a plot was, but I don’t remember that. I do remember writing my EagleAndArrowFinalCoverRGB96dpifirst novel as a freshman in high school. It was awful, but the hours I spent on it were the happiest of my day, and I used to read chapters to my friends over the phone. The fact that they put up with this proves that they were true friends.

Q: Has your occupation as a journalist helped with writing your books or writing fiction in general?

A: Now that I don’t work at a daily, yes, I think my experience helped me. As a reporter you learn to economize your language, and that can only strengthen writing. When I was writing for work every day, however, journalism took away from my fiction. I was too exhausted at the end of a day of writing to write anything creative.

Q: What newspaper do you work at and what have you done there and what do you do there currently?

A: I haven’t worked for a paper for a while, although I freelance when I can and both write and edit for a website. I worked for the Hour Newspapers in Norwalk from 2001 to 2010. I was education reporter, mostly, covering schools in several communities, but I also covered municipal business in Stamford, and I worked for a year or so covering entertainment for the features section. That was fun.

Q: You’re a teacher? What do you teach, where and how long have you taught?

A: I’m an adjunct at Norwalk Community College. I’ve taught journalism there since 2008. I advise the student newspaper, and developed our digital journalism course, which I also teach.

Q: You are an editor at the online magazine, Geek Eccentric. When did you start there and what drew you to the magazine?

A: I started at Geek Eccentric this past spring, after being recruited by John Hattaway, our publisher. John went to grad school with me at the Fairfield University MFA program and knew that I was into science fiction, fantasy and comics, so he asked me to join.

I was drawn to the site because it was a chance to continue work I enjoyed. When I worked for the Hour’s features section, I loved writing about entertainment. Geek Eccentric offered me a chance to write news and opinion blog posts about entertainment that appeal to me, so naturally I jumped at it.

Q: Do you have a writing routine?

A: When I’m not teaching, I try to write at least 500 words a day in the morning. I set writing goals weekly with another writer so that we have some accountability. We send each other our goals for the next week on the weekend, and then check in at the end of the week to see if we’ve made progress. It helps.

Q: You belong to the New England Horror Writers (NEHW) and Sisters in Crime. Do you belong to any other writing organizations? What drew you to these organizations?

A: This might sound odd, but my mother, who used to be a librarian (and who loves her a mystery) is the reason I joined Sisters in Crime. She picked up a pamphlet at an event and then made sure I couldn’t miss it. And of course a conversation I had with you and Stacey [Longo] are the reason I joined the NEHW.

Q: What has been one of the best experiences/conversations since becoming a published author?

A: Running into people who have read my book. On the street. While I was lugging groceries from the car to the house. That was pretty amazing; I felt like a celebrity. Also, hearing from people I don’t know on the Internet that they loved my book.

Q: Any advice for writers who are about to be published? Or just advice to writers in general?

A: Yes, and this is advice I have to take myself sometimes: Make the time to sit down and write. Don’t worry about what you’ll write or if it will be any good or not, just sit down and write as often as you can.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?

A: Margaret Atwood, John Steinbeck, Virgina Woolf, Flannery O’Connor and Graham Greene are some of my favorite literary authors, but I also love Terry Pratchett, George R.R. Martin, Frank Herbert and J.R.R. Tolkien. Despite his elvish poetry, I’ve loved Tolkien since I read The Hobbit in the fourth grade.

Q: What are some of your favorite books?

A: Oh, this could turn into a Top 50 list. Let me see if I can pick out a few. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a favorite of mine. So is The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Graham Greene’s The Quiet American is another favorite. So is the original Dune, and Silence of the Lambs, both of which I’ve read over and over. Right now, however, I am most excited about A Song of Ice and Fire. I read all the books this spring, and George R.R. Martin cannot get The Winds of Winter published quickly enough. There’s an author who knows how to build suspense.

Thanks to A.J. for taking the time to do this interview for Jason Harris Promotions. You can find out more about her on her website here. You can purchase signed copies of her books at Books and Boos or through its website here.