If you’re wondering why I chose Horror as the genre I wanted to write in, the short answer is… I didn’t.
Horror chose me.
I was lucky to have been born to parents who were both avid readers, and a mother who was more open-minded than the typical 1950s housewife. My introduction to horror came when I was only about 4 years old, enjoying the antics of John Zacherle, a.k.a. Zacherley, the “Cool Ghoul”, who hosted Shock Theater on our small black-and-white TV. I was glued to the tube, my first introduction to Karloff’s Frankenstein, Lugosi’s Dracula, and Chaney Jr.’s Wolf Man, along with a collection of other old films in glorious black and white… well, as long as I had the rabbit ears positioned just so.
Then, with the magic of books, the world opened up, from classics like Stoker’s “Dracula” to the well-worn copies of the EC Comics that had been banned before my time. Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and of course, Famous Monsters of Filmland. I was lucky to have a friend with an older brother that had a good stash of EC comics, and I devoured them every chance I had.
The silver screen had no shortage of good content for my mind to swallow and process… Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, “Village of the Damned”, “The Day of the Triffids”, and so on. Those led to the explosion of Technicolor on screen with the Hammer Horror imports, generally starring the great Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
(Of course, I’d discovered girls by then, and the plunging necklines in those Hammer films were welcome too).
As much as I enjoyed all that, I was unprepared for that day in 1976… I’d been accustomed to looking over the paperbacks in the Newsstand in the lobby of the building I worked in, but when I wandered in that day, one cover caught my eye right away.
It was jet black, top to bottom, and embossed with a face. Upon closer inspection, there was one drop of color on the black surface… That color was red, it was a drop of blood on the lip of the embossed face. The book was the first paperback printing of Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot”, and it opened a whole new world of horror to me.
The town was so familiar, as were the people in it. They shopped where I did, paid the same to gas up as I did, hell they even drank the same beer as I did!
Relatable. That was the magic, the thing that Stephen King does so well. He gives life to the places and people, which draws the reader in because we give a damn about them. When the bad things happen, and we KNOW they will, we care. That taught me the power of the written word, and how much a well-crafted tale could give to its readers.
Life tends to keep us occupied, but finally… north of 60, but finally, I decided to put pen to paper.
Fortunately, I kept both my love of horror and the imagination of that 4-year-old boy along with me, and by combining those with my influences, have produced numerous stories that have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines and websites. I’ve recently entered the world of self-publishing and released collections of the short stories and a novella. I’m currently at work on a story that continues to reveal more and more of itself to me as I go. We’ll see where this one takes me. Novella? Very possible. Dare I say a first novel? Well… we shall see.
For more information, please visit my author page on Amazon HERE
I really hope you enjoy some of the ink that my pen has left on that paper…