Author Interview with Laura Keating

Welcome back to my author interview series. Many thanks to Laura Keating for taking some time to answer these questions. After you’re done reading this interview, why not check out my early review of her latest work, The Truest Sense? Without further ado, let’s get to the discussion.



1. What made you start writing horror?

I’ve always loved horror, but I forgot that for a while. When I started writing as a teenager, I wrote what I was reading mostly at the time: fantasy & sci-fi. The stories went nowhere. When I was in my mid-twenties, I was going through a challenging period in my life. I was working as a waitress and one day, fresh off the lunch shift, as I walked around downtown Fredericton to kill time until my ride could take me home, I decided I wanted a new author to read, someone with a lot of work out so I could binge their catalogue. I went into The Owl’s Nest (RIP to the best used bookstore there ever was) and found a whole shelf of Stephen King books. I’d read two before: Carrie and The Gunslinger and had loved both. I bought The Shining and ‘Salem’s Lot with some of the tips I’d made that day. I blew through those books. It was like a bomb went off in my brain and the fallout was remembering how much I’d LOVED spooky horror as a kid (Are You Afraid of the Dark, Tales from the Crypt Keeper, everything Halloween) – until I’d been mocked in middle school for being ‘morbid’ and had shoved that passion away. I started reading/watching all the horror classics I could get ahold of from the library & Owl’s Nest. I abandoned the YA fantasy novel I’d been writing and started on a new horror short story, something I’d never done before. “We Are Giants” got published for fifty bucks – but it was fifty dollars more than I’d ever made from writing in my life. I never looked back.


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

I love dual timelines, playing with the then and now. I grapple a lot with the idea that a story is never finished – and that it usually starts much further back than any character involved can really reckon, and often without their knowing. Toying with the way people remember or forget their own pasts, and the pasts of others, is my favourite creative springboard to dive from.


3. Besides Roland Deschain, who is your favorite character in Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series and why?

I’m so glad you asked this question, because I’m a bonafide Tower Junkie.

And the answer is Eddie Dean. He has the greatest arc and the best lines of the series. Who doesn’t love a cheeky, flawed hero? (And of the flawed heroes of literature, how many others have killed a psychopathic, artificially intelligent, supersonic train with a Dead Baby joke? That’s how you shoot with your mind, sai.)

Honorable mention to Oy. Who wouldn’t love that little Billy-Bumbler as a pal?


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

THE TRUEST SENSE, my collection of horror fiction is going to be loosed upon the world June 11th. It is an eclectic collection (think “Dark Carnival” , think “Night Shift”) and is my love-letter to horror as a genre. Cemetery Gates Media is publishing, and Chad Wehrle did the incredible art for the cover.

AGONY’S LODESTONE, my debut release, is a novella that was published by Tenebrous Press last year (2023, for you future folks). It follows a trio of siblings who, upon discovering an old videotape, are drawn to a nature park to investigate the 20-year-old disappearance of their eldest sister. There, they must grapple with the spectral forces around them and confront the ways their lives diverged and broke after her loss.

You can find all my work listed on my website, or you can follow me for frequent updates on Twitter, Tiktok, and Instagram @lorekeating.



If you’d like to read an early review of The Truest Sense, check out my spoiler free thoughts here.


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:



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.


Halloween Season

In Halloween Season, Lucy A. Snyder presents an eclectic mix of tales. They will all entertain you, and a few will send shivers down your spine. Snyder is a masterful short story writer, and I was lucky enough to have taken a class on the subject taught by her while in Seton Hill University’s Writing in Popular Fiction Program. The majority of what I know about the craft and business of short stories comes from that class. As a result, I couldn’t wait to read this book.

All of Snyder’s tales in Halloween Season contain a mix of humor and heart. The collection’s first short story, “Hazelnuts and Yummy Mummies,” is a Halloween twist on Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, and it is a great, heartfelt opener. The story also has several fun references to Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. “Cosmic Cola,” the following tale, deals with what Stephen King coined “the peculiar little town” trope. Basically, it’s when strangers enter a town where the residents are harboring a monstrous secret. I wrote a paper entitled “Hawthorne and Gorman’s Shadow over Innsmouth,” which touches on the origins of this trope, and I love reading any story that engages with it. I was especially thrilled to see “Cosmic Cola” make direct connections to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos tale, “The Shadow over Innsmouth.” If that wasn’t enough, in “Cosmic Cola,” one of Halloween’s most sacred traditions, dressing up, saves the protagonist’s life. “Visions of the Dream Witch” and “The Porcupine Boy” also engage with the Cthulhu Mythos, and “The Porcupine Boy” has one of the spookiest moments of the collection near the climax. Lastly, “The Kind Detective” is an impressive yarn because it’s relatively short and still manages to convey an excellent sense of cosmic terror.

I’ll leave the rest of the stories for you to discover, but I thought they were all fantastic Halloween fun. Of course, I can’t forget to mention the excellent cover by Lynne Hansen. I was lucky enough to hear her discuss how she came up with this cover at the Halloween Season Launch Party, and it truly captures the essence of the book and October. I even have a copy of the cover prominently displayed as part of my Halloween decorations. Now that I’ve finished Halloween Season, I plan to find more of Snyder’s work to devour.

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