Author Interview with Shaun Hamill

Welcome back to my author interview series. Many thanks to Shaun Hamill for taking some time to answer these questions. Without further ado, let’s get to the discussion.

 

 

1. What made you start writing horror?

I always read horror growing up (Stephen King was my first “big boy” author, followed shortly by Anne Rice), but I didn’t try writing it until I was in my 30s. In my teens and twenties, I saw myself as more of a Nick Hornby/John Irving kind of writer—tragic/funny/romantic stuff set in a recognizable real world.

But once I was in grad school and started reading some of the great early Weird Fiction writers (Lovecraft, Howard) something clicked in my brain and I was like, “This. I want to do this.” So, I tried to move that John Irving sensibility to the milieu of cosmic horror, and I think it worked. I felt like I’d finally found my “thing”—a mix of the literary/character-based story against a backdrop of dark wonder.

 

2. What is your favorite tool (vocabulary, commas, dialogue, flashback, etc.) in your writer’s toolbox? 

That’s a tough call, but if I had to pick one, I really love dialogue. It’s the most fun part of writing—watching the characters negotiate with one another. It feels very natural to me.

 

3. Robert E. Howard’s Conan faces off against H.R. Giger’s Alien in a ruined fortress. Can Conan win? If so, how? 

This is the best question I’ve ever been asked. Conan can win, but I think a couple of things would have to work in his favor. First, he’d need to know how fast and strong the Alien is. Second, he’d need to be aware that it bleeds acid. If he doesn’t know both of those things (or learn them very quickly after encountering the Alien for the first time), he’s screwed. But let’s assume he does know these things—either having seen the creature kill someone else, or by trying one-on-one combat before getting away.

In this case, if Conan can hide and find a vantage point over the creature, he could try to smash it with some debris (a crumbling stone or something similar). If he times it right, he can either kill the Alien outright, or trap it. If he traps it, he can either get in close to finish it off, or just get away. If I were writing the story, he wouldn’t run away, though. He’d get in close and set the Alien on fire. He wouldn’t leave until he was sure the thing was dead.

 

4. What should readers know about your most recent or upcoming work (or works) and where can they find your writing? 

I am not the most prolific writer, so tracking down my “collected works” is relatively easy. My first novel, A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS, it out in paperback from Vintage/Anchor. My new novel, THE DISSONANCE, hits on July 23, from Pantheon Books, in hardcover/ebook/audiobook versions. I also have a Conan the Barbarian story, “Lethal Consignment,” from Titan books, which you can get for $1.99.

There are links to all three on the Penguin Random House homepage, here:

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/2179151/shaun-hamill/

 

 

If you’re still jonesing for some Shaun Hamill content, you can check out my rave review of his debut novel, A Cosmology of Monsters.

 

Author Interview with Todd Keisling

Welcome back to my author interview series. Many thanks to Todd Keisling for taking some time to answer these questions. Without further ado, let’s get to the discussion.

 

 

1. What made you start writing horror?

Horror’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom was always reading horror novels and watching the films, and some of my earliest memories involve Evil Dead II, Maximum Overdrive, and Phantasm. It’s in my blood. Always has been.

 

2. What is your favorite tool (vocabulary, commas, dialogue, flashbacks, etc.) in your writer’s toolbox?

Probably dialogue, only because it comes more easily than writing narration.

 

3. Which Survival Horror video game monster would you least like to encounter in real life? 

Great question. Pyramid Head from Silent Hill comes to mind, but that seems too easy. Mr. X from Resident Evil 2 is pretty intense, as is the xenomorph from Alien: Isolation. But they’re tangible; you can run from them, even hide if you’re lucky. So, I’d have to go with something intangible, like the ghosts from Silent Hill 4: The Room or the Fatal Frame series.

 

4. What should readers know about your most recent work (or works) and where can they find your writing? 

My most recent work is also my new collection of short fiction, titled COLD, BLACK & INFINITE: STORIES OF THE HORRIFIC & STRANGE. It’s 16 stories that mark a 5-year period of my writing career. Three of those stories appear in print for the first time. And I managed to convince the inimitable John Langan, author of The Fisherman, to write an introduction. There’s a wide range of stories in the book, and it stands as a good place to start for readers who are new to my work.

COLD, BLACK & INFINITE releases on 9/26 from Cemetery Dance. For pre-order information, go here: https://www.cemeterydance.com/coldblackinfiniteKeisling.

And for more info about my work, visit my website: www.toddkeisling.com.

 

 

Author Interview with Robert P. Ottone

Welcome to my first author interview. I’m hoping these will become a recurring feature on my website. Many thanks to Robert P. Ottone for being my guinea pig. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview.

 

 

1. What made you start writing horror?

I started writing horror as a therapeutic exercise in dealing with my grief over losing my dad. From there, it turned into something where I could explore my own fears and insecurities about certain things, certain aspects of life, normal stuff we deal with every day, so, dealing with such heavy grief was the impetus.

 

2. What is your favorite tool (vocabulary, commas, dialogue, flashbacks, etc.) in your writer’s toolbox? 

I’d say dialogue. I’m a habitual eavesdropper, I pay very close attention to a person’s cadence, their vocabulary, their inflections, their mispronunciations, etc. I’m obsessed with language, with a language’s origins, its evolution. I’m actually in the process of putting together the silliest thesis paper on the commonalities between two languages that do not share a common root. I know I went off on a tangent there, but I guess dialogue, language and the evolution of language are things in my toolbox.

Along with coffee and cigars.

 

3. If your life was on the line, which iteration of Batman would you want to save you? 

Ben Affleck’s Batman. We’d never experienced true terror in looking at a Batman before him. He was enormous. Terrifying. Violent. Bruce/Batman should always be physically larger than Clark/Superman because Superman has never had to work out a day in his life, he’s just … Superman. Batman must be the physical embodiment of intimidation and terror, and to me, Affleck is exactly that.

Bruce and Clark need to be reflections of one-another, but the mirror has to be obscured differently for both. Bruce is a massive, physically perfect specimen, where Clark is a normal guy.

Affleck’s Batman nailed that.

Pattinson comes close, but we’re not there yet.

 

4. What should readers know about your most recent work (or works) and where can they find your writing? 

My most recent novel is The Vile Thing We Created, published by Hydra Publications. It’s available wherever books are sold, and I’m super-excited about it. AmazonBookshopB&N, everywhere.

 

 

In addition to the book links above, you can find all of Robert P. Ottone’s darkest secrets by visiting this link.