Today's participant in this ingoing series of rapid fire interviews with horror writers, is Phil Voyd. Phil Voyd caught the writing bug while living in Osaka, Japan in the mid-1990s. He has been trying to shake it ever since with no luck (and believes his condition may in fact be worsening). His fiction has appeared in various magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including On Spec, Not One of Us and The Sonic Society. He has received a couple of Honorable Mentions in the Year's Best Fantasy & Horror and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. One of his stories, "Mr. Bronze", was adapted into a radio play at the CBC and another story, "Having A Drink", was recently made into an independent short film (havingadrink.com). More info about Phil's writing can be found at www.philvoyd.com.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I live in Ottawa, Canada, a stone's throw from the Parliament Buildings (assuming you have the strength of ten men and an exceptionally aerodynamic stone). I've had about twenty short stories and a couple of novellas published in the fifteen years I've been writing fiction. My werewolf story "Having A Drink" was recently made into a short film. I'm sorely tempted to use some sort of wolf pun here to describe how fascinating it was to see my story transformed into a strange-yet-familiar beast (okay, I guess I couldn’t resist the temptation to wax lycanthropic after all).
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I'm kind of a genre hopper for both my fiction writing and reading. Because of this I have grown to think of all fiction, whether it is a novel, movie or TV show, as a good story, an okay story or a bad one. For my writing, I always aim for the first, try to avoid the last and do my best not to end up meeting in the middle too often.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
John Wyndham, Donald E. Westlake, J.R.R. Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Stewart, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Heinlein, Stephen R. Donaldson, Stephen King, Dashiel Hammet, Ray Bradbury, Patricia Highsmith, H.G. Wells, William Goldman, Franz Kafka, Walter Mosley, Paul Auster, Steven Gould, Cormac McCarthy.
What are you reading now?
Given my hop-around nature, I usually have a few books going at the same time. Right now, it's Stephen King's Doctor Sleep, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick De Witt and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
How would you describe your writing style?
I never write from an omniscient point-of-view so it varies a lot depending on the voice of the character I am inhabiting at the moment. There's also a vein of humor running through my stories, or at least an attempt to look on the funny side of things.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My ideal day is to write in the morning for two or three hours, grab some lunch then write for another hour or so. I write relatively quickly but I'm not one of those authors who can write for hours on end until they're bleeding from the eyes. (Come to think of it though, it would be kind of cool to do that once. It might go viral on YouTube.)
What’s your favourite food?
Lembas. If I can't get lembas, which is terribly difficult to find, then it's chocolate.
What’s your favourite album?
Either Gordon by The Barenaked Ladies or Led Zeppelin IV.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
To take joy in your writing even when things are not going well. Of course, like everything to do with writing fiction, it's easier said than done. But I wouldn't trade being a writer for anything (except for being Spider-man).
Fame and fortune, or respect?
I'm not sure if this qualifies as respect but my dream is to have readers tell me they couldn't stop reading my story. If they sacrifice sleep to read it, like I do when I'm really into a book, then that's the pinnacle for me.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
Good question. I would say that's it's the latest work I have finished. I have sort of a honeymoon period with it before I move on to the next story. Later on, if I reread it then the feelings can be a lot more complicated. Sometimes I still really like it, other times I find things I don't like so much. Every now and again, I even want a divorce, although we usually reconcile later on down the road.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
I have a story called "Feeding Disorder" coming out in the vampire anthology Dying to Live. I'm very excited about this anthology because it's taking the moon-eyed romance out of the vampires that have plagued us in recent years and giving this classic monster some bite again (crap, there goes another beastly pun).
On the novel front, I'm working on the third draft of a thriller and the first draft of an SF adventure based on a previously published novella. After that, I’m not so sure other than it will involve me tapping away on a keyboard and mumbling to myself. I still want to be Spider-man but being a writer is also pretty cool. After all, writers can spin webs, too.
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