Ginger Nuts of Horror
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Well, I’m obsessed with the gastric joys of jalapenos and New Mexican chilies, have no problem acknowledging my undying love of both The Cure and Ke$ha and while my search continues for the perfect English Ale, I’m pretty satisfied with a Newcastle every time.
I’ve always been a writer; in high school I was an editor at the school paper and I went to college to become a Journalism major. But I always preferred writing feature articles about personalities, and music and movie reviews, over writing actual news stories. I’ve worked at community newspapers, served as an editor and contributing editor to music magazines, and made most of my living in the non-profit sector writing and managing publications and websites. Writing music and fiction has kept me sane through it all. That and the love (and much-tested patience) of my wife and son.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
It depends on the story! To me, those terms all apply to slightly different segments. I have always called myself a horror writer, and am proud of that designation, though I know some feel it’s a self-limiting term. But I also write dark fantasy, which I wouldn’t call horror – so Dark Fiction would be a good catchbin there.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Edward Lee is one of my favourite authors working in the horror field today. His novels are some of the only books that I’ve been so “into” that I ended up reading them in a single sitting. On the flipside of his over-the-top horror, in the fantasy world, I love Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s stories of modern magic. I’m also a big fan of Clive Barker, Anne Rice and Stephen King and when I was younger, I read a lot of Richard Matheson, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Clifford Simak, Stephen R. Donaldson. I went on a long, gradual transition from being a sci-fi kid to a crypt-spying adult.
What are you reading now?
David Bernstein’s zombie novel Amongst the Dead. David’s a great guy and a labelmate at Samhain Publishing. I’ve really enjoyed the setup on this tale, and am looking forward to seeing where things are going.
Which book do you wish you had written?
Clive Barker’s Damnation Game… Edward Lee’s Coven… Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. Those are three big touchstone books for me.
How would you describe your writing style?
Direct. My training as a journalist taught me to keep my prose simple and to the point. The more I’ve written long fiction, the more I’ve had to focus on putting in more character and sensory descriptions than I was trained to do (no room for that stuff in the newspaper). But I still write fairly straightforward prose, I think.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t really HAVE a typical day writing. I have a pretty intense dayjob that puts me on the road a lot. And I have a family. So I squeeze in writing time at odd intervals and places. When I’m in the thick of a project, I usually earmark one night a week where I go straight from the dayjob to a local pub, where I eat some blistering hot chicken wings, sip lots of Newcastle and work for 4-5 straight hours. That time, coupled with a couple hours on a Saturday or Sunday, or an occasional hour before work, comprises my writing time. I’ve managed to string together some truly structured weeks where I worked every single day when I was working on Siren and The Pumpkin Man, but the reality is, when I write truly varies. I’ve written on planes, on beaches, in hotel lobbies, and on what I like to call, my world tour of Irish Bars (I even wrote in an Irish Bar in Munich last spring!) The biggest constant is that I have to have good music playing. If I’m working at home or at the library, I always listen to www.strangewaysradio.com. If I’m working at a bar, they have to have a good DJ or singer-songwriter at the mic.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
It’s cliché to cite your most recent book but… I’m really proud of NightWhere. I first came up with the idea of this novel when I was finishing up my very first novel, Covenant, over 10 years ago. I was too afraid to write NightWhere back then, because of connecting my name with the extreme, erotic content, and because I just wasn’t sure I was a strong enough writer to do it right. I finally decided to stop thinking about it last year and took the plunge to write it… and I’m glad I did. I think it turned out really well, and so far, it’s had the most consistently high reviews of any of my books.
Running a close second to NightWherefor me is Siren. That is probably my most personal novel, because part of the backstory is about a father who has lost his son. That backstory came from my fears as a new father at the time. Siren is also the first novel of mine that involved an actual “creature” rather than demonic forces. I always describe it as “Mermaid meets Fatal Attraction.”
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last (or current) novel is NightWhere, which was released in e-book over the summer and in trade paperback in October. An audiobook edition and a limited edition hardcover are also in development. NightWhere is basically about a “swinging” couple who get invited to an exclusive sex club… and then the wife doesn’t return, so the husband has to chase her, essentially into hell, to try to save her. Here’s the backcover description:
When Rae suggested visiting an underground sex club, Mark didn't blink. He should have. Because NightWhere is no normal swingers club. Soon Rae is indulging her lust for pain. And Mark is warned by a beautiful stranger to take his wife away before it's too late.
It’s already too late. Rae hasn't come home. Now Mark is in a race against time to save his wife. To stop her from taking that last step through the degradations of The Red into the ultimate BDSM of The Black. More than just her life is at stake: Rae could lose her soul...
I’m currently finishing up my seventh novel, titled Violet Eyes. It will be out from Samhain next year. This one’s a classic creature feature kind of tale, a modern Kingdom of the Spiders. It centers on a recently divorced woman and her son who move to a town near the Everglades that is overrun by bio-engineered spiders whose lifecycle is now intertwined with a species of symbiotic flies. Their purpose? To spread, lay eggs, and destroy.
Obviously, Rachel, my protagonist, would prefer not to be destroyed…
I’m hoping to finish Violet Eyes up over the next couple weeks. Then I have some shorter stories I’ve promised to complete. Anyone who’s interested in ongoing news about my work can join my e-newsletter. It comes out once a month and keeps my fans in the loop about what I’m working on, where I’m doing book signings, etc. That’s available at www.johneverson.com (just look in the righthand column).