An Interview with Edward Lee

When I saw this fantastic interview with one of my favorite hardcore horror authors I just had to share it here with you guys. Tina Hall from TheOriginalVanGoghsEarAnthology was kind enough to give me permission to reblog this in its entireity along with the Ramsey Campbell one that follows. Thankyou Tina and I'd highly recommend everyone go and check out her wonderful website (link above); it is chocka full with fantastic interviews and features on heaps of excellent creatives in the horror field and beyond.

An Interview with Edward Lee

Edward Lee has gained much attention for his writings dealing with subjects ranging from the occult to morbid erotica and back again. With over fifty books and countless short stories to his name he is one of the hardest working horror authors of our time, with his work appearing in Austria, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Greece, as well as here in the U.S. His novella, Header was turned into a movie in 2009. His novel Bighead is being filmed as we speak. Lee is also working on a demonological novel set in Poland. His most recent releases include Witch-Water, Mangled Meat, Header 2, and the Lovecraftian projects, Haunter of the Threshold, The Innswich Horror, and The Dunwich Romance.

Can you tell us a little about your earliest days? What were you like growing up?

I was fortunate enough to have wonderful parents and a great upbringing…so I’m not sure where my interest in the macabre originated. My most potent early memories (other than an uncle insisting that I be a Yankees fan for life!) involve horror movies. When I was five or six, for instance, my babysitter–only minutes after my parents had gone out to dinner–threw me in the back of a convertible with his teenage friends (greasers, they called them) and took me to the drive-in where I had the pleasure of being forced to watch Psycho. The tough-guy teenagers were horrified, but I was giggling. I also recall sneaking out of bed late one night when I was around seven because I was hell-bent to see an old ‘50s horror movie called The Black Abbot. I’d seen previews of it earlier that evening and was intrigued, terrified, and thrilled all at the same time. Of course, now, I can’t even remember what it was about! Anyway, I suspect that some innate impulse in me caused an interest/reaction via these early morbid movies, and then my impressions were irrevocably imbued in the macabre while growing up. Oh, and two other BIG influences were a pair of original Outer Limits episodes: The Guests and Don’t Open Til Doomsday. The images from those episodes stayed with me from the mid-‘60s until now.

Did you always have an active imagination?

I’d have to call it an OVER-active imagination. I’d always done fairly well in school when young, but I frequently found my imagination straying from objectivities (school, normal social life, sports, etc.) and diverting to the macabre. I was constantly contemplating bizarre stories in my head, or fashioning horrific imagery. Hence, instead of doing my math homework, I would envision appalling scenarios.

Do you remember what your very first favorite story was?

Yes, and it (like those early films) was very impacting. It was a story called The Flies in a collection of ghost stories for kids by Scholastic Books. Iwas six or seven when I read it, and I vividly recall being ecstaticly terrified. Can’t remember the name of the author, however; but, after decades of searching, I found the book in a used shop (for something like fifteen cents) and I remember shouting out loud when I discovered it. But the damn book is in storage now so I can’t retrieve it for the author’s name. After that came Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart and Hop-Frog, which turned out to be terribly influential. And several years later, a teacher named Mr. Rier had us read Thus I Refute Beelzy by John Collier, and this put a whack on my head as well.

What did your time in the military teach you? Are you glad to be out?

The Army was a vital experience because it taught a young punk the importance of punctuality, responsibility, and respect. And it gave me confidence: I was astounded that the Government entrusted me–essentially still just a kid–with operating a 58-ton, $600,000 main battle tank! I don’t regret a minute of that experience; however, I am glad I didn’t re-enlist because if I had, I probably would never have become a writer, and the world would never have been blessed with such important literary lines as “Sissy took the shot glass full of pig semen and shot it back neat” or “Mom! He’s putting a Gummy Worm in his dick!”

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Shortly after I got out of the Army. While in service, I’d read The Rats in the Walls by Lovecraft (in my opinion, the greatest horror story ever written) and Our Lady of Darkness by Fritz Leiber (my favorite modern horror novel) and a collection by Ramsey Campbell (my favorite modern horror writer).  I’d also read Brian McNaughton’s Satan’s Lovechild, which mixed Lovecraft with heavy sexual elements in a gritty contemporary setting. These were the “teats” that my horror sensibilities were weaned on. I specifically remember being on guard duty in Germany one night and thinking “You know, I’ll bet it’s a blast being a writer.”

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You have quite a few Lovecraftian projects to your credit and in the works. Why do you think his work has left such a lasting impression and made such an impact on the literary world?

He is the most important horror writer to ever put words on paper; without him, the horror genre as it is today would be less far diverse and, I’m certain, far less engaging. Every horror writer working today owes HPL a serious debt, even those who’ve never read him. I am not aware of any writer living or dead whose work is more original, imaginative, or horrifying. Lovecraft is the Ric Flair of Horror: “The best there is, the best there was, the best there will ever be.” Period.

What advice would you offer others wishing to pursue a similar career?

Around 1980, I’d been writing short stories, all to no success; so I wrote a fan letter to Stephen King and asked “How long should it take an aspiring writer to either get published or know when to give up?” Lo and behold, King wrote back to me in long hand with blue flair pen on 14-inch paper, purveying a very nice, helpful note; in it he said my letter proved a “command of the language,” that I should never give up, and that it would take years to succeed, not months. “That’s cold comfort but it’s the truth.” This was the ultimate encouragement for a young writer to be who didn’t know shit about the market. I took Mr. King’s advice and actually sold my first novel little more than a year later. I’ll always be copiously grateful for this advice, and it’s the same advice I give aspiring writers now (along with the story of King’s reply!).
Why do you think so many authors choose to use pseudonyms?

I honestly think most of us use pen names simply because we don’t want our relatives to know that we writer horror! That’s my reason, at least.

Your works deal often with the occult. What are your feelings on such things? Why do you think the world has always been fascinated by such things?

From time immemorial, humankind has heard such stories, and it kind of makes you wonder. The first stories ever told–in friggin’ caves!–were likely ghost stories. So who conceived of that very first story? And why? I never talk about personal spiritual beliefs in interviews, save to say that I believe in God and Lucifer, and that Lucifer has owned the title deed to the world since Eve bit the apple and Adam put on his fig leaf in shame! I believe in ghosts, too. Have I ever seen one?  I’m fairly sure I have on several occasions.

Do you have a favorite horror story or character?

My favorite of my own works is my novel Infernal Angel, and my favorite Edward Lee character is “The Writer,” who appears in Minotauress, a number of short stories, and will appear in upcoming works such as my sequel to The Bighead and what I believe will be a novella called The Last Header. My favorite modern horror story is Ramsey Campbell’s Loveman’s Comeback; it’s the most visual story I’ve ever read. Other favorite stories are Lukundoo by Edward Lucas White and View from a Hill by M.R. James.

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What are your own feelings on demons and the like? Do you think they exist?

Yep! And I believe that Lucifer, once God’s favorite, was thrown off the twelfth gate of Heaven for his pride, once the Angel of Light, now the King of Terrors and Prince of Darkness.

Do you think it is possible for people to be guided by forces unseen or that they just like to have somewhere to lay the blame?

Both instances, I believe, are quite true, especially in this day and age. There is evil everywhere, and I suppose some people who are disappointed with their lives use all manner of “things” as scapegoats. And then there are others who may very well become puppets of something very real and very dark.

Why did you decide to base your next work in Poland? Did you enjoy your most recent trip there?

Wroclaw, Poland, is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen, and the people who live there are the most self-respectful people I’ve ever encountered. I might even live there if it weren’t so COLD eight months out of the year. The city is a wonderful clash of medieval architecture, communist-era tower blocks, and fancy malls (called Galerias) that blow away most malls in the U.S. (Oh, and while I almost never eat at a U.S. McDonald’s, Polish McDonald’s are infinitely better for some reason. Don’t know why, just is!) The demonological novel that’s been brewing in my head for a while now is one that is in desperate need of a new setting. Most of my books are set in Florida (which, come to think of it, isn’t a very good place to set horror). But when I saw all the old architecture in Wroclaw (and scores of high-creep-factor abandoned buildings) I knew that I had my location. Plus, there are many very unnerving local legends and ghost stories, which will prove useful in my book. I’m really GEARED UP for this novel. It’s gonna kick ass. No brag, just fact.

Can you tell us a little more about your latest project?

What I’m working on now is a short story I need to fill up a collection. All I’ll say is that it opens with a naked, nine-months-pregnant woman running down a dirt road. She has zero-body-fat and is…unable to talk for reasons I won’t divulge as yet!

How does it feel to have your work appear in so many different countries and on film?

It’s thrilling and a wonderful honor. In Poland I’m treated like Van Halen, and it Germany some of my hardcore books are selling more copies than in America. I’m really very very fortunate.  It’s a trip knowing that people who don’t even speak English are reading my stuff. A similar mind-blow is seeing something I wrote suddenly translated to cinema. Header, however low-budget, is a fantastic movie. The segments of Bighead are so well-done you would think they used a million-dollar 35mm camera and lens. It’s very ingratiate to see one’s work turned into a movie. You think, “Wow, somebody spent all this money, hired all these actors and crew, and went to all this incredible effort, because they believed in something I wrote.”

I was sent to you by Jack Ketchum. Are you a fan of his writings? What was it like to work with him? How would you describe him as an individual?

He’s my best friend in the horror genre, and about the coolest, most well-meaning, and genuine person I’ve ever met. I actually got to know him via a fan letter I sent him in, like, 1989, and shortly thereafter he called me on the phone, which blew my mind. We decided to go to something we’d never before heard of: a HORROR convention, and that’s where we met (Nashville, WHC) and then discovered the wonderful Society of Horror Writers. Ketchum in just 100-percent COOL. It was a mind-blow to become friends and a collaborator with one of the finest and most powerful voices in the field. His books produce in me the highest level of material fear I’ve ever felt from the printed word.  Also, more than any author I know, Ketchum is a dedicated wordsmith. He writes a sentence like a bricklayer builds a wall: solid. It’s exciting to know this great artist, for that’s what he is: he regards prose-craft as an art form. He’s like the writer’s writer.

Are there any little known things about you that your readers might be surprised to learn?

About me? I have a fetish for girls’ bellybuttons. I believe it’s called Avlinoglia!

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Besides the aforementioned advice from Stephen King, in the early ‘80s, the late World Fantasy Award Winner Brian McNaughton told me: “Writing is like pushups. If you do em everyday it becomes second nature and you get stronger. But if you DON’T do it every day, it becomes a pain in the ass. So write EVERY DAY. If you write one page a day, in a year you’ve got a book.” Believe it.

Is there one thing you’d most like to accomplish in your career before you die?

Yes, I’d like to live thirty more years! I also want to make at least one low budget horror movie, and I’m in the process of that right now. I have no idea what I’m doing, and that’s what attracts me to the prospect. I want to see some of my most controversial scenes on screen. No one else is gonna do it, so I’M gonna do it. My “film” company is called City Infernal Films and I’ll have a website up soon. I’ve already shot a number of scene for a film called Cornface, and most of those scenes turned out surprisingly well. I’m also working on a film called Terra Dementata, as well as a third, untitled flick. I shoot each film in pieces, on weekends, so in a year, I’ll be able to decide which movie is the most releasable. Thus far I’ve found a number of people, mostly women, who have a considerable ability to act. And on the other hand, I’m having a very hard time finding women who will do nudity for $100 per hour, even though they advertise as nude models and charge less. They say they’ll do it, but then they never show up! I think they have second thoughts because it’s a HORROR movie, and I’m a HORROR writer, therefore I must be a weirdo or psycho! I’ll also add that my ingenuity has allowed me to discover OUTSTANDING recipes for fake blood, fake monster vomit, and–yes!–fake sperm. Just you wait! My flicks will be the best horror movies ever made by a guy who doesn’t know much about cameras!

What are your personal feelings on death? 

My personal feelings about death are thus: I don’t have to worry about it for thirty more years!

If you could pick your last words what would you like them to be?

Ask me twenty-nine years from now.

Anything you’d like to say in closing?

Indeed.  Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. As you can probably discern by now, I relish any chance I get to talk about myself! Thank you, and take care and be well!


Reblogged with permission from the good folk at:


The End of the World by Basil Wolverton

The End of the World (reblogged from Fantasy Ink)

By Basil Wolverton.

Originally published in Marvel Tales #102, August 1951. These pages scanned from Basil Wolverton's Planet of Terror! #1, October 1987.

Basil Wolverton, Comics, Vintage, Fantasy Ink

Jack Ketchum Interview/s

As a self-confessed Jack Ketchum fan, I like reading interviews about what makes him tick as a writer and as a person. For those of you out there who like Jack Ketchum and his work, I figure you would probably enjoy them as well. Jack Bantry from the fabulous Splatterpunk zine, gave me permission to post this recent interview he did with Jack so without further ado here it is, plus all the available online links I could find to good text/audio/video interviews with the man himself. Enjoy.

Jack Ketchum interview by Jack Bantry from Splatterpunk Zine 

The following is an interview I did with Jack Ketchum for the first issue of SPLATTERPUNK.

How did you come about collaborating with Lucky McKee on THE WOMAN? Who approached who with the initial idea? Was it always going to be a film as well as a novel? Did the novel come before the script?

Andrew Van den Houten, who produced and directed my script for OFFSPRING, made an executive decision – instead of killing The Woman off as my screenplay did, he let her live. With a sequel firmly in mind. When I saw Pollyanna McIntosh’s work, I realized why and was glad he did. She clearly deserved a movie all her own. Andrew had always wanted to work with Lucky and knew that I already had, so we showed him OFFSPRING too, and he heartily agreed. Polly was ferociously good!

The idea to do both a film script and a book together was there from the start. I don’t recall who first suggested it – maybe it was just in the air. But we quickly agreed as to how to go about it. We instant-mailed. We’d do maybe an hour, hour-and-a half until we went brain-dead, discussing the characters first, then the themes, plot, dialogue, all kinds of things. We had a fine time together, almost always on the same page, absolutely always willing to bend to a good idea. We’d talk about how the book would differ from the movie, scenes of internal monologue in the prose version, point of view changes, etcetera. And we kept everything on file, even the goofiest ideas we knew would never made it into either version. So that by the time we were done we had “bibles” for both movie and novel. We agreed that Lucky would do the heavy lifting on the script and I’d do if for the novel. So Lucky would write ten, fifteen pages or so and e-mail them to me, and I’d revise and send them back, and we’d do this until we felt we’d nailed them and then go on to the next section. When it came to the book, I’d write maybe thirty pages and send him to him, and we’d go back and forth on that.

How did you collaborate with Ed Lee on the SLEEP DISORDER stories?

I’d only previously collaborated with Lee on the five stories collected in SLEEP DISORDER and one story, THE NET, with P.D. Cacek – Trish to her friends. Lee had this story called I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR YOU that he wasn’t happy with. He didn’t like the tone. So he asked me if I’d like to doctor it up for him. The first thing I did was change the title to I’D GIVE ANYTHING FOR YOU – more to the point of the story. Then, because Lee tends to write longer than I do, I did a lot of trimming, swatted down some of the sex scenes, zapped some adjectives and lines here and there, and sent it back to him. He fine-tuned and that was that. A couple of year later he sent me LOVE LETTERS FROM THE RAIN FOREST. Basically tonal problems again. Same thing – I edited, tinkered. Then I had a story called MASKS for which I couldn’t find an ending, and another called EYES LEFT. Lee found the right endings for both of them. We passed them back and forth maybe twice. I did have an ending for SLEEP DISORDER but it struck me as flat. Lee came up with one a whole lot much better.

The story with Trish was my idea. We talked it over at NECON, our annual writers-behaving-badly summer bash. The notion was, an e-correspondence between an older man and an underage girl, neither one of them being quite truthful, with disastrous results. It was based on a true story I’d read about. We decided to actually write the thing by e-mailing back and forth, playing our parts online – me the older guy, she the teenage girl – and with all the bare bones in mind, making up the dialogue as we went along. Then I did the final polish and the epilogue. It was great fun!

When working on the script how did you deal with some of the graphic details in the novel? I read the book first and wondered how you’d deal with some of the explicit details – pliers on nipples, the eyeballs, killing of Brian, the dog child, etc. – Did you think to leave some of the details out of the book because they couldn’t be shown on screen?

We discussed them at length, sure. Lucky’s a bold, even fearless film-maker, but he’s also a softie at heart. Believe it or not, we’re alike that way. We’re also very aware of the fine line between exposing hideous activity and exploiting it. It’s a balancing act perhaps harder to perform in a movie than in a book, because you can explain more in a novel, you can go deeper into the motives, the whys. But you’re going to be surprised at how closely linked book and movie are.

Will there be another book in the series?

Can’t say for sure at this point one way or another. But we’ve discussed some options. We’ve resolved that if we do a sequel, it’s got to be a story that’s as important to tell as the story in THE WOMAN, and it’s got to explore theme and character. Neither of us are even remotely interested in a Jason/Freddy franchise.

You have written other novels, like RIGHT TO LIFE and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, where someone has been held in a basement or cellar, any reason for this? Have you had a traumatic experience in a basement or enclosed space?

When I was a kid growing up in the fifties, everybody had a cellar, and nobody had the bucks to light, heat, and convert there’s into a playroom. So that what you had was this room that stayed cold and usually damp, even in summer, and not a lot of light coming in through ground-level windows. They tended to be spooky places, dark, with bare bulbs handing from the ceiling. We had coal bins. Stone wash-basins with wooden washboards. There was a chute that collected our ashes from the fireplace. I’d open it and hide stuff there. On one occasion I found a dead bird inside, and on many occasions, bits of charred bone. Freaked me the hell out. When I was about ten or so, we neighborhood kids used to have meetings of our Horror Club down there, and pasted our favorite photos from FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND or CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN up on the cinderblock walls.

So, no traumatic experience, but I do associate basements with mystery and horrors. And in all those true-crime stories you read, where do they tend to keep their victims? Not usually on the front porch, in a rocking chair. It’s down in the cold dark depths.

Where did you and Lucky get the idea for having THE WOMAN become the captive when she’s always been the hunter?

That came right away, and it was a natural — a reversal that would immediately avoid the same-old-same-old. It was also a way to get at her character in a lot more depth, to show many more sides of her. Remember that we always had Polly in mind, and we wanted to showcase her skills as an actress, as well as tell a good yarn.

We’ve mentioned OFFSPRING and THE WOMAN, but the novel that started it all was OFF SEASON. Would you like to see it made into a film / Are there any plans / Have you considered writing a script?

I sold film rights to OFF SEASON quite a few years ago but thus far the buyer hasn’t been able to finance the movie. There’s new interest just this year, though, from a very reputable director whose name I can’t mention yet, but who I’d love to see at the helm. Should that happen, I suspect he’d want to write his own script and knowing his work, that’d be fine with me.

That sounds interesting!! Yes, indeed…

I got a kindle for Christmas, but I still prefer reading books: being able to hold the book; having the cover in my hand; with older books the smell of the paper, etc. But a lot of horror novels are very limited and expensive (mass-market paperback seem to be disappearing), and the Kindle versions are much cheaper so your work becomes more widely available. You’ve been a writer for over 30 years and will have noticed the changes much sooner. What are your thoughts on this?

I think very few people were prepared for e-books and I was not one of them. In fact it’s only within the last year that my stuff has been available in that format. I can’t feel too bad about that, though, since most of the publishing industry were and still are in the same boat. If I were to make a prediction about all this, it would be that things will settle down as the world’s economies settle down and perhaps even before then. That e-books will co-exist with paper formats and each will support the other. And though I’m not sure mass-market paperbacks will ever make a comeback, it’s not out of the realm of possibility either. Look at vinyl. What worries me right now is e-piracy. There’s a lot of it. And we writers work too damn hard to have a bunch of spoiled, entitled, low-level sociopath assholes steal away our living.

What would you write on your epitaph? Jack Ketchum…


All questions by Jack Bantry
Photo by Steve Thornton
(Originally published in SPLATTERPUNK, Issue 1, April 2012)



Available Online Interviews with Jack Ketchum (Text/Audio/Video):


Recommended LINKS for further reading:

Jack Bantry, Splatterpunk, Splatterpunk Zine, Jack Ketchum, Interviews

Interview with Horror writer Rocky Alexander

Interview with Rocky Alexander by James Ward Kirk via

Hello, Rocky. Tell us a little about who you are.

I live on a farm in the middle of the woods in North Carolina with my darling wife and various critters. I began writing horror stories at the age of seven, after watching the 1976 William Girdler film, “Grizzly.” I sold my first short story when I was nineteen, then took a hiatus from writing to pursue a music career. Later I became a personal trainer and boxing coach, which I still am today. In early 2012 I returned to horror writing and have since been published in several anthologies and magazines.

The characters in your stories were once described as having “heartbeats that pulsate through sentences which bleed terror, pulling us into captivating worlds where innocence and humanity are challenged by vein-freezing horrors.” Describe the methods you use for character development.

I don’t consciously create any of my characters; they already exist somewhere deep in my mind, in some shadowy alcove from which I can summon them at will. I don’t know why they are there, or where they came from, but some of them have some very interesting stories to tell.

When I was a kid, we had a neighbor named Kenneth Sparks who kept a small herd of cows on ten acres. Every night about an hour before dusk I would hear him calling his cows into the barn for the night, “Heeeeeere cow.” My brothers and I would make fun of him behind his back because his voice was so high-pitched that he sounded like an old woman sometimes. He was a very obese man–huge, easily weighing over four hundred pounds. He had diabetes, and the toes of his right foot had been amputated due to resulting circulatory problems. He walked with a cane that he carved himself from the branch of a big black walnut tree on the hill. Mr. Sparks liked to bake pies. His diabetes prohibited him from eating them himself, so he would bring his pies to my mother, who I’m pretty sure he was secretly in love with, even though he was about thirty years older than she was. My brothers and I would eat his pie and listen to him talk to Mom about nothing for hours in his high-pitched Missouri drawl, always sweating like a nun in a porn shop and gasping for breath when the simple act of conversing became too much for him. I felt sorry for the guy. His wife had died years earlier, and you could see the loneliness in his eyes. He seemed like a nice old dude though. At least until the cops discovered three women chained in his basement. One had been dead for quite some time, and Mr. Sparks hadn’t bothered to dispose of the body. The other two were still alive, but had been subjected to tortures beyond what my young mind could even begin to comprehend. They found the remains of other women buried around his property, but I never learned exactly how many.

None of this is true of course, but Mr. Sparks does reside in that dark niche in my head. I met him just now.

How did you find that place within yourself that allows you to write horror?

I’ve been fascinated with horror for as long as I can remember. I grew up during the Cold War, and as anyone else alive during that period can attest, it was a very fearful time. What is more frightening than the thought–and real possibility–of a large portion of mankind being consumed by fire without warning, leaving the survivors to die a slow, agonizing death from radiation poisoning and starvation? The concept, to me, was terrifying. Back then, the chance of such a thing actually occurring was high enough that I questioned if I would live to adulthood. I think that fictional horror allowed me to confront fear on my own terms, to face it head-on and enjoy the rush of it and know that, regardless of the atrocities being inflicted on the characters in a book or film, I still get to walk away at the end, unscathed and in control and feeling more alive than ever. I get to experience the relief that is so elusive when you live with the day-to-day horrors of real life. Writing horror offers the same benefits as reading or watching. I generally start out knowing how my story will begin and how it will end. What my characters do in between is up to them. How they progress through the frightening world in which I have placed them is anyone’s guess, but I am with them every step of the way. Their fear is my fear, as is the relief that comes at the end of their journey. And if none of them should make it out alive, I still know that I will.  

As a writer, how important to you is research?

Research is extremely important to me. If you’re going to ask a reader to suspend disbelief and buy into your zombie apocalypse or resurrection of ancient vampires, at least make sure you’re honest and accurate in regard to mundane details. Nothing takes me out of a story like the character who fires thirty rounds from his seven-shot handgun without reloading. It’s only fair to the reader to get these things right. Most won’t notice the inaccuracy of a vehicle exploding in a massive fireball after careening off a forty-foot cliff, but those who understand the fuel/air mixture in a car’s gas tank will know that such a thing cannot happen, unless, of course, the car is packed with Hollywood explosives. Unless you wish to insult a reader’s intelligence, research is invaluable. To me, it’s one of the more exciting aspects of being an author. It allows me to experience things I likely wouldn’t have otherwise, such as firing a fully automatic submachine gun through a sound suppressor, or visiting a body farm to see firsthand how a human body decays, or hanging out with a street gang, or going on a ride-along in a police car. There is a host of interesting things in the world that most people will never experience, simply because there isn’t a reason to. Writing gives me a reason.

What do your friends and family think of your choice of genre?

My wife is one of the very best writers and editors I’ve ever known. Her command of language is beyond what I can hope to match in my lifetime. She has been extremely supportive of my work, as well as inspiring. She’s also brutally honest; she won’t hesitate to let me know when my writing isn’t up to par, or when it has her on the edge of her seat. She can be tough (as nails) to impress, so when she uses words like “beautiful” and “riveting,” then I know I have a good thing going. But when she says things such as “disjointed” and “crap,” then I know I have some rewriting to do. Unfortunately, my writing scares the hell out of her, so she isn’t able to review every story I churn out. I suspect some of my stuff has permanently traumatized her. I do hope she recovers one day.

My mother has a copy of every book and magazine that contains my work.  I don’t think she’s read any of it. Thank God.

What writers influenced you the most?

The usual culprits: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon. I started reading Cormac McCarthy about a year ago and, holy Pulitzer Prize, Batman! I’m blown away by this man’s work. Increasingly, I’m noticing itsy bitsy fragments of him in my writing. His style is simply absorbing. He takes the traditional rules of grammar and bends them and breaks them and rebuilds them until he is no longer writing, but speaking–actually vocalizing–from the page. He is sitting at the campfire and telling me stories directly from his mouth, with disregard for the nuisances of commas and quotations, and I am mesmerized, hanging on his every word. Genius.

What is your favorite among the stories you’ve written?  Why this one?

I wrote a novelette recently called “The Him.” This story stands out to me probably because of the gamut of emotions it dragged me through as I wrote it.  It’s about a small group of family and friends on a camping trip in Arkansas when they are thrust into a situation more horrifying than their worst nightmares. I've written some pretty disturbing stories, but I really took the gloves off for this one. The things that happen to these people are some of the most sadistic acts of violence I can imagine being inflicted on anyone. It sickened me to write it, but I wanted to give myself the freedom to explore the brutality that mankind perpetrates against itself entirely without cause or explanation. I don’t necessarily believe in evil, in terms of an asomatous, compelling force, but it’s hard not to when I consider that right now, in this very moment, someone out there in the world is committing some unfathomable act of savagery against another human being without guilt or remorse or any inhibition whatsoever. Real horror is waking up in the middle of the night with an axe-wielding sociopath standing over you, unsure of why he wants to chop you to bits but wanting to nonetheless. These people exist, and in “The Him,” I introduce you to a few.

What are your future plans?

I’m currently building an army of robots that I plan to use to take over the world. I’m also editing my novel of the apocalypse, “The Twitchy Things,” which was inspired by my short story of the same title. Look for it soon. I plan to write many more novels and short stories in the coming months and years.  

Please use this space to write whatever you like:

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Thank you for your time, Rocky!

It’s been a pleasure.

Rocky Alexander is an author of horror and dark fiction who lives with his wife in central North Carolina. He spends his days as a professional boxing coach, but at night, from the acres of woods surrounding his house, he can hear the sounds of the zombies, cannibals, serial killers, and a host of other magnificently loathsome things that hide among the trees, and every so often, he catches a glimpse...Contact him at or connect with him on Facebook

Interview with Crime/Horror writer Murphy Edwards


Interview with Murphy Edwards by James Ward Kirk via

Hello, Murphy. You’re well known for writing both hard-edged crime and intense horror. Do you prefer one over the other?  I actually quite like them both. Each has its own dark elements and I’m not above combining the two genres liberally when it’s called for. After all, some of the biggest horrors involve a crime and true crime is often shocking and horrific at its core. I also love a good western like Deadwood. So, eventually, I plan on trying to write a few dark, old west stories as well.

How do you come up with your characters?  Obviously, there’s a little bit of me in some of my characters. The balance are based on people I’ve met, worked with, grew up with or observed at some point in life. Some characters hit the page fully developed and ready to play. Others grow as the story takes shape.

Any current favorites? Currently, I’m kind of partial to Ace from my story “Ace of Spades” in the anthology Grave Robbers. Ace is a vicious and sneaky criminal, but when I started writing “Ace of Spades” he was one of those characters that ran around in my head, kicking holes in the wallboard, breaking bottles and smashing furniture, demanding to be written about. He’s a wicked little bastard, Ace is.

You recently signed a contract with Severed Press Publishing for a new novel titled, “Dead Lake.” How did that come about? My relationship with Gary Lucas and Severed Press Publishing began when a few years ago I answered a submission call for their anthology “Dead Bait.” Gary liked my story “Noodlers” and featured it alongside Tim Curran, David Dunwoody, Bosely Gravel and some other excellent authors. I was thrilled to get that opportunity. Gary then invited me to submit a piece for the sequel anthology, “Dead Bait 2”, which resulted in my cross-genre crime / horror story “Heavy Weather.”  DB2 included features by Ramsey Campbell and Tim Curran, so again, I was delighted to be in such good company. Shortly after “Dead Bait 2” was released, I learned Severed Press was planning another anthology. I contacted Gary Lucas with an offer to write a crime / horror piece exclusively for “Dead Bait 3.” I penned “Sinkers” and it made the cut.

Fast forward to late 2012 and a busy Holiday season and Gary Lucas sends me a very nice e-mail with an offer I can’t refuse. Cue The Godfather Theme here. Gary was planning to develop a new series of novels for Severed Press Publishing centered around the Dead Bait theme. He asked if I would be interested in writing and submitting a novel for the series. I sent Gary a proposal with a full novel synopsis for his consideration. “Dead Lake” is the result of that proposal.  

What’s “Dead Lake” about? The novel is centered around a recreational lake built by the government as a flood control project. It takes place in the fictional town of Vivid Valley. There is a curse on the lake, brought about by man’s greed and ignorance and their lack of respect for both ancient and modern burial sites. As the waters of Vivid Valley Lake turn sour, a monstrous aquatic mutant takes shape that dole out a vengeance that will change Vivid Valley forever.

What writers influenced you the most? Oh my, there are so many. I’ll try and scratch the surface, but I know I’ll forget a bunch. Let’s go with Ken Bruen, Jason Starr, Urban Waite, Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, Victor Gischler, Alan Guthrie, Tim Curran, Dean Koontz, F. Pail Wilson, Jack Ketchum, Elmore and Peter Leonard. On the more local / regional front I’d include Jeffrey Ashby, David Scott Pointer, Brian Rosenberger, David Bain, Paula D. Ashe, Rebecca Besser, Mike Jansen and Chantal Noordeloos. And I can’t forget Charles Bukowski, Robert B. Parker, Edgar Alan Poe and J. Lee Butts.

You and I have worked together on Indiana Crime for two years now with Indiana Crime 2012 & 2013. What do you enjoy most about this project? I get really charged up when I open up one of our submissions, read the first couple paragraphs and immediately get pulled into a tale that just will not let me put it down. Those are the times when I lean back in my worn and ratty office chair, get good and comfortable with an author’s work and say, “Ah, that’s the stuff.”

The truly exciting part is just how many gifted writers there are in this crazy old world. Most are putting down some excellent fiction, but sadly going largely unrecognized. Hopefully we are helping to correct that. Since we began working together on the Indiana Crime Series, I have had the opportunity to read and meet some amazingly talented authors and poets. Strangely, though I’ve always liked poetry and have written song lyrics, I never got into poetry heavily until this project. The exposure to well crafted poems has helped me grow as an author and a reader too. I have to say, the writers we have worked with are all professionals with a deep dedication to the craft and they all bring something unique to the table. And I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the artists. We’ve seen some beautiful art, paintings, photography and graphics and performance artists. I enjoy it immensely. 

What are your future plans? I have a sequel to “Dead Lake” planned and partially written, which I hope Gary Lucas and Severed Press Publishing will consider. I’m also releasing three of my short story collections as independent print and eBooks in 2013, followed by two dark crime novels I currently have hiding out under my desk. And the Indiana Crime Anthology project  looks to be a long-term endeavor as well.

What puts your transmission in overdrive? A fresh pot of coffee, a good book, some tasty prog or metal music, a trip to the book store, a head full of fresh stories and characters screaming to spill their blood out on the page.

Thank you for your time Murphy! Any time. Thank you for being such a good friend and a positive supporter of the writing community.

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