James W. Bodden’s the writer of the novels the Red Light Princess (Montag Press, 2014), and Coffin Riders (Forthcoming from Necro Publications, June 2015). He lives in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and has hunted UFOs for a late night radio show, and after fresh corpses as a crime beat reporter.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a little awkward at introductions, and also new at this; so be gentle. My first novel The Red Light Princess came out last December, and Coffin Riders makes its debut during the summer. I live in Tegucigalpa Honduras, and am trying to make a go at it as a writer.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Guiltily binge-watching series until I overload.
What’s your favourite food?
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
Siouxsie and the Banshees’ classic Spellbound booming as I burn rubber, and try to outrun the cops on the interstate.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Horror’s simple, but primal. It gets the job done.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
J.G. Ballard, Jeremy Robert Johnson, J. David Osborne, Richard K. Morgan.
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
Novel: David Wong’s Jon Dies at the End. Film: Alien, hands down. Comic Book Bonus: 30 Days of Night
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
Characters have to stop investigating every little noise. Trust me on this one. No good will come from it. Run!
Which fictional character would be your perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman is probably a good neighbour, psychotically clean, and a man that keeps to his own business. Miss Marple would be a nightmare. She’s so nosy.
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
I’ve read some great books that are cross-pollinations of horror and other genres, including Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation, David Wong’s Jon Dies at the End, and Jeremy Robert Johnson’s Skullcrack City. These books demonstrate the strength of horror as a growing influence that now permeates film, comics, and books of every genre.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Peter Newman’s dark fantasy The Vagrant. The writing was tight, and mature. The story was captivating. His world building skills were masterful. I loved every moment I spent in his desolate, demon infested wasteland. As for a disappointment, Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns didn’t do it for me.
How would you describe your writing style?
I don’t think I can say yet, but I know where I want to get to. I’d like to be able to work at honing a bare-boned, journalistic style. Something sleek, natural, and to the point.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
Much of this is new to me. So frankly, they all sort of do. I try to keep feedback in mind, especially if I find logic behind it.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Getting going when starting a new project. Everything seems rusty for some reason. My gears don’t glide as easily. I need to warm myself up.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
None. If you see a sacred cow, eat it.
If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?
I had to laugh maniacally as I thought this one over. I can imagine Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey writhing on a dungeon floor, hogtied, mouths gagged with butt plugs, eyes wide with fear as they take in the horrors in stored for them inside a Carlton Mellick III inspired S&M dungeon.
What do you think makes a good story?
Stories are other worlds, places as real as this one in the mind of a reader; its atmosphere, characters, and an interesting plot that keeps a reader’s attention.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Names are tough. The choosing is an insane process of going over baby names, historical characters, and random net surfing accompanied by an escalating series of panic attacks. Names have to feel right, and be a good fit. The characters themselves sort of give you the nod; the final okay.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I think I can weave a tighter story now. Working with editors has been a total re-education for me. But I still have more work to do.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Back up. People that can help you, read your work, and tell it to you how it is.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I asked for advice once from a woman I admired. She told me that there wasn’t any advice worth giving. I didn’t ever find out if she was being profound or just having a bad day.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
So far, I’m trying to find my way through the process, but meeting and networking with other people in your same boat seems like a good idea.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
The Reaper. The old man’s a hard-edged, dangerous demon, but he acts totally smooth about it. He’s both feared, and hated. A man that doesn’t ask twice for anything. The shadow world is his to reap. In a sense, he is the ultimate alpha male of the nine known hells.
How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
Lorraine. She’s a sort of a bitch.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
I want to say respect, but that would just be for effect, I’m really leaning towards fame. But all things being equal fortune doesn’t sound that bad either. A guy’s got to eat.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
Dinner Time is one of my favorite chapters. Bloom’s corpse is buried in the earth, and eaten by an infestation of worms. I had fun writing that scene, and putting myself into his shoes as the parasites made Swiss-cheese out of his insides.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
The Rock Jockey chapter was a tough one for me; the mechanics of the climb had me stumped for days.
For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
Coffin Riders is a short, dark fantasy, about a man double crossed into hell, and how he finds his place in the shadows. It’s a good start.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
I just finished editing my latest novel, a post-apocalyptic dark fantasy titled Red Paradise. The story follows an expedition’s journey through a diseased wasteland to unravel the mystery behind a grove rumored to remain out of reach from the shadow of death. My last book was my first book. Red Light Princess follows Kai through the underbelly of a futuristic slum devoted to the religion of a dead prostitute.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
“Describe in single words only the good things that come to mind about your mother?”
My answer: “I’ll tell you about my mother.”