Today's special guest is Thomas Erb. Thomas A. Erb is a a writer of genre fiction and artist of dark images and comic book style works His writing ranges widely from horror, urban fantasy, high fantasy to weird western, dystopian/apocalyptic/space opera to high-paced military/espionage thrillers. Thomas explores both the Middle-Grade/Reluctant Readers to the in-your-face adult reading market. He is currently focusing heavily on the novella/novel and novel series genres. His work in progress is a YA novel about thirteen year olds trying to unravel a dark mystery in their small upstate New Town, where pets, farm animals and even people are mysteriously disappearing.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I'm Thom Erb, and I live in a cozy upstate New York town, surrounded by farms and fields and cows. I live there with my amazing wife, Michelle and our ageing, but rambunctious lab-mix, Rask.
I guess I've always been a writer, I just didn't know to what extent. My dream since I was two, was to be draw for Marvel Comics and all that jazz. So, I had to created all my own superheroes, their secret identities and eventually entire story lines. I did the same when I got into role-playing games. It wasn't until a few years ago that I discovered that I was not too shabby of a writer and decided to take the leap, head first as always.
When not writing short stories, novellas, novels, and thinking about branching out into comic scripts and screenplays,) I love to watch movies, great TV shows, play drums with my friends and hang out with my lovely bride.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I prefer Dark Fiction. To me, when I hear Horror, I think of all the hack & slash gory novels or flicks with half naked girls running through dark woods. While I can dig that, for my own writing, I tend to mix in many different genres, all with a dark tint to them. I find the term Horror to specific and sadly, harshly and often, unfairly labelled.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Wow, that could take a while. Off the top of my head I'd say: Lansdale, King, Maberry, Tolkien, Matheson, Keene, F.Paul Wilson, Tom Clancy, Gord Rollo, Hawthorne, Joyce, and so many others.
What are you reading now?
I'm currently reading two books. (which could easily explain why it takes me so damn long to finish a book.) Dead City by Joe McKinney, which is chock full of fantastic zombie-goodness. I'm also finishing up Jonathan Maberry's Ghost Road Blues. I love all his other books, I am just getting into this trilogy and digging it.
Which book do you wish you had written?
The Bible. No? Yeah, probably not a good idea there. (just kidding) While I would never want to claim anyone's work for my own, there are several books out there that just made me pause and want to throw them across the room , because they were that damn good.
For the horror/dark fiction genre, I'd say. Brian Keene's Ghoul, or Maberry's Patient Zero.
For fantasy it would be easily, The Hobbit.
How would you describe your writing style?
My style is a work-in-progress and I constantly push myself to be better with each story I write.
I try to write succinct, unpretentious stories filled with deeply human characters that suffer from the same maladies we all do. I strive to craft quick, natural dialogue that keeps the reader invested in the story. I hope tell fun stories that my readers dig and want to share with others.
If you could use any other author’s creation in your own work, who or what would you use?
I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but I would love to steal Joe Ledger from Maberry's Ledger series. That guy is bad ass, sarcastic and so damn fun to read. I can only imagine what a blast it would be to write a story with him as the lead.
Describe typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Nothing about me is very typical, but here goes. I usually spend the day doing social networking stuff and move to editing my last draft of a completed story. I usually take a break, grab some lunch and catch up on my favourite TV shows I've DVRed or a bit of news. Then I head back into the office in the early evening and get to work on my current story.
I have many “odd” habits, or as I call them rituals. But I prefer to keep all my blood sacrifi...oh, uhmm.. never mind.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
The honest and somewhat cheesy answer is, I haven't written it yet. I do believe that to be the truth, but if put to the test, I'd say it would have to my first novella, “Tones of Home”. It's an extremely twisted tale and comes out in May from Crowded Quarantine Publications (UK).
What is the hardest lesson you have learned with regards to your writing?
Lord, there have been many. I can think of two that are tied for me. One, I had to develop a thicker skin and embrace harsh/constructive critiques. A true must for anyone wanting to sincerely become the best writer they can be. Two- Patience. The old military adage of “hurry up and wait”, holds very true in the publishing world. Nothing and I mean nothing moves quickly in publishing. And heck, even from the writer stand point. Sometimes ideas come and sometimes they don't. You have to be patient and let your mind figure it out.
What do you like to do to relax?
I read, not as much as I should. But it definitely inspires me and helps me relax and forget about the world for a bit.
As a young lad of 45, I love to play Xbox and shoot things up or any other game that helps me escape. I also love to watch films. As a frustrated director, I've always had a deep love for the cinema.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
As I mentioned, my novella, “Tones of Home” is a very brutal, quirky story about an interracial, college couple comes home for the holidays and stop at the girlfriend's family's pub and the night takes a twisted turn for the bizarre. It's a fun read and if you dig colourful characters, music, and machetes, then you'll want to pick this up.
I'm currently writing two projects concurrently. One, is a novella about a time-travelling monster hunter on board the HMS Titanic and the other book is a fantasy story about a swashbuckling fop and his intrepid group as they try to survive the constant insanity that he accidentally seems to cause. I'm still developing this story and it's been a hoot to write so far.