By Jason Harris
Smales has two stories in Insanity Tales II: The Sense of Fear.
Smales has two stories in Insanity Tales II: The Sense of Fear.
1. You have written a novel, novella, and a short story collection. What are you working on now?
Next up will be another full-length novel. That one will be from Samhain (they put out Video Night, as well) and it’s my take on the satanic cult subgenre. All the longer pieces I’ve written have all been set in specific periods (the 1980s, 1960s, etc.) I didn’t want to become known as the “throwback” horror guy, so The Summer Job is set in our time. The characters have iPhones. I’m all done with that one and right now I’m working on a novella for a to-be-named publisher. I’m super excited about both of these.
2. On Amazon, it has you credited with Bound by Jade (the Fourth Sam Truman Mystery). Is this true and were you involved with any of the other mysteries in the series? I only ask since you don’t have this book listed on your website.
There are a couple of posts about it on the site, but I think they’ve been pushed off the front page over the last few months. It should be on the website; I’m just the world’s worst webmaster, so it’s not up there. I’ll fix that.
The series was created by writer/publisher Ed Kurtz. Sam’s a disgraced P.I. who just happens to get the city’s strangest cases (the books are supernatural noirs). I didn’t write the first three, but they all share the same character. The series is something special and I’m very proud of my entry. They’re dirt cheap, so everyone should give the Sam Truman books a try.
My installment is a novella called Bound by Jade. It can stand on its own, but reading the whole series is the best way to go.
3. You have written about movies in Tribesmen and Video Night. Would you say, you have been influenced by movies? What movies have influenced you?
Yeah. Even from a young age, movies were my everything. Not to get lame with the “write what you know” adage, but I use the world of film as a jumping off point in those books. Video Night is based on the phenomenon of watching movies, especially the social aspect of that, while Tribesmen is more about making movies and what goes in (and shouldn’t go in) to getting what you need on camera.
The Summer Job doesn’t explicitly connect to the world of film, but it is my attempt to write in the genre of folk horror. To the best of my understanding, folk horror is predominately a film term and it describes the subgenre that films like The Wicker Man, Blood on Satan’s Claw and Kill List belong in. Those are all British films, and I am nowhere near British enough to try and write about the location, so mine’s a New England folk horror story.
4. You were a film studies major in college. What made you decide on that degree?
I studied both English and Film. When you’re a film studies major (as opposed to a film production major) the two fields of study are actually very similar. They’re both a lot of reading, writing, and analytical thinking. That kind of stuff interests me and I think that being a critical consumer of media (no matter if it’s Re-animator or The Canterbury Tales) makes you a better writer.
5. What did you envision doing with your life with a Film Studies degree?
I went to grad school for a year and picked up a Masters in Education. So I’m qualified to teach, which is also something I find worthwhile/enriching.
6. Who are some of your favorite writers?
Oh boy. This is one of those questions I could spend all night on. For horror, let’s go with Aaron Dries, Sarah Langan, Laird Barron, Stephen Graham Jones, Shane McKenzie, and Jeff Strand.
7. Who are you reading at the moment?
I’ve got Joe Hill’s latest, NOS4A2 almost finished. I’m right now in the process of choosing what goes next. I try to put my genre consumption on rotation, so since I’m just finishing reading something that’s horror I’ve got three different genres all vying for the title: N.K. Jemisin’s The Killing Moon (fantasy, I think), James S.A. Corey’s Abaddon’s Gate (science fiction) and Duane Swiercynski’s third Charlie Hardie book, Point & Shoot (crime).
8. You have a blurb from Jeff Strand for Tribesmen. How did you feel when you received that blurb? Did you seek him out for one?
Jeff and I had only met once very briefly before I asked him to take a look at the book, so I was really surprised how nice he was about the whole thing. His blurb is amazing and now that I’ve seen him a couple more times at conventions, he and his wife (author Lynne Hansen) are two of my favorite people.
9. Would you like to see Tribesmen or Video Night made into a movie?
10. If they were made into a movie, who would you like to see direct it and why?
Some aspects of the books would probably have to change either way, but I like to think that they’re both pretty adaptation-friendly.
Lexi Alexander would be a good choice for Video Night, in my opinion. She knows how to work with actors and gore in equal measure as evidenced by the criminally underrated Punisher: War Zone.
The dynamic directing-duo of John Skipp and Andrew Kasch would be my choice for Tribesmen. They’ve done some incredible short work that’s both hilarious and disgusting. They would get the tone EXACTLY.
I mean. There are no films in the works or anything, so why don’t we throw P.T. Anderson and Kathryn Bigelow and [Martin] Scorsese in the running?
11. What made you stay in Boston after college?
I love it. It’s been my home for seven years. It’s a movie-loving town, for one thing. The Coolidge and the Brattle are two of the best theaters in the country and they’re both walking distance from me.
12. Are there any plans to put Bone Meal Broth out in paperback? What inspired that collection of work?
I had the rights back to a bunch of stories that had been previously published, so I picked out the best of them and put out a short (20,000 word) collection. I’m quite proud of it, but I’m not sure it’ll ever be in paperback. It’s the only time I’ve self-published something and I really enjoyed the experience. Maybe in a few years I’ll bump up the word count by adding some stories to the roster and then find a publisher that would tangle with it.
13. What has your nonfiction work been about?
It’s all film essays. I’ve written guest posts for a few blogs and my articles have seen print in Paracinema Magazine. They’re amazing, by the way, if you haven’t read that magazine I highly recommend it.
14. Your work has been featured in Shroud and Fangoria. How did it feel being in Fangoria, a horror magazine that I think every person who is or has been into reading/watching horror has read?
That was just a quick book review I wrote freelance for them, but it got my name on the contributor page and I thought I would faint. For the whole month I was going to newsstands, thumbing to my page and giggling like a madman.
15. You had a blog, Brain Tremors. I love that name by the way. Why choose that name? Did the name come to you right away? Is there history behind the name?
Yeah, Brain Tremors. That was my old page, but I still use the banner over at www.adamcesare.com. I kind of knew what I wanted the insignia to look like, and what’s creepier than an involuntary shaking of the brain?
16. What would be your advice for wannabe writers?
Ha. I’m too low-level to be handing out advice. My advice would be to take writing advice from Joe Lansdale, as he hands it out occasionally on his Twitter/Facebook feed.
One thing that does bug me is the idea of an “aspiring” writer. There are a lot of people on twitter that label themselves that way. Fake it till you make it, guys and gals. There’s no room on the internet for low self-esteem, it’s too full of cat pictures and lackluster writing advice.
The New England Horror Writers will be appearing at Rock and Shock this weekend. There will be plenty of members manning the booth all weekend. They will be selling and signing their books.Epitaphs is one book in particular which will be on hand. It’s the first anthology produced by the NEHW. This Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of this collection being published. Here are the authors who have stories in Epitaphs that will be at the convention this weekend: Mike Arruda, Scott Goudsward, Stacey Longo, Paul McMahon, Kurt Newton, L.L. Soares, K. Allen Wood, and Trisha Wooldridge. Tracy L. Carbone, the editor of the anthology, will also be on-hand.
Other NEHW members, who will be at the convention, are Ashleigh Homon, Adam Cesare, Bracken Macleod, David Price, Gene Munson, Jason Harris, Jack Haringa, Jan Kozlowski, Kelli Jones, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Matt Bechtel, Patrick Rahall, Rebekah Murphy, Rob Watts, T.J. May, Paul Tremblay, Bob Booth, and Jennifer Yarter-Polmatier.
They will also be four panels that the NEHW members will be involved in. This is the second year the organization has been on different panels. This year on the Women in Horror panel members , Carbone, Longo, and Wooldridge will be joined by Heather Langenkamp of Nightmare on Elm Street fame and Lisa Marie of Sleepy Hollow and Mars Attacks! fame.
The other panels will be “Breaking into the Biz” with Harris, May, Bechtel, and Schoonover, and “Horror in the Movies” with Harris, Longo, Soares, and Macleod.
This entry originally appeared on author and NEHW member, Jan Kozlowski’s blog at the beginning of February.
It’s Launch Day! It’s Launch Day!
Ravenous Romance’s new horror/mystery/thriller imprint, Ravenous Shadows, headed by horror legend John Skipp, debuted today.
In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, Literary Partners CEO Holly Schmidt said, “It was always our plan to expand our business model to other fiction genres, and when we had the opportunity to work with John Skipp, we decided to start with horror/mystery/thrillers. Skipp provided us with a clear vision and strong point of view for the line, and really is the heart and soul of Ravenous Shadows.”
From Editor in Chief, John Skipp- “Welcome to Ravenous Shadows: a new line of startling, provocative genre fiction, dedicated to the proposition that short, powerful novels and novellas can pack as much punch, personality, and plot as books three times their size.”
The four novels launching the line are:
House of Quiet Madness by Mikita Brottman – an Ira Levin style mystery
The Devoted by Eric Shapiro – a Hitchcockian take on a modern suicide cult
Die, You Bastard! Die! by Jan Kozlowski – a sexual abuse/revenge story somewhere between Misery and Last House on the Left.
All the gorgeous, kick ass cover art was done by the fabulous Paula Rozelle Hanback.