Ginger Nuts of Horror
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Ten yards from my bedroom window is a cyclone fence on the other side of which is the pioneer section of a cemetery where tall, old evergreen trees dominate. Some tombstones lean inward, inches away from trees. Once in my bedroom I was struck in the middle of my back. There was nobody in the room. Remember I live next to a cemetery. Ghost? Now the boring part: Degree in English Literature; ten years a film critic for local newspaper; decided to publish my e-Books because landing an agent is like trying to win a mega lottery.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
It depends on the story. In my collection of short stories, “Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms,” a few would be horror, some are weird, some are quirky, and some Twilight Zone type stories. I am of the school, probably a small one, that believes in not writing to specific genre, but writing the story you want to tell for the reason you want to write it.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Robert Coover and John Fowles come to mind for fiction, but I read more non-fiction because I am fascinated with the past and the people who lived in different eras, especially when someone separates truth from myth like Stacy Schiff did with “Cleopatra.”
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
“Cleopatra.” As for disappointments, if I get bored I stop reading and move on. I have a list of movies I reviewed over the years and once in a while in looking at the list I will see a title that I remember not one thing; not what it was about, who was in it, nothing. The same with books.
How would you describe your writing style?
In my two novels, both based on true stories and are non-horror; there is a bit of tongue in cheek, subtle satire running through the story. I think to some extent a writer’s style reflects his outlook and since both books titles begin with the word Loonies, it says something about my view. But I always respect the characters, their situation, and the story I am telling.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
The first two reviews I received for my second book, “Loonies in Hollywood” were lukewarm, but the two reviews came from people who are Taylorologists, those being, like groupies, fascinated with the their subject, in this case the murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor in 1922. Knowing so much about the case, they are hard to please as the expectations are higher. I have also received two four star reviews from people who approach the story with freshness, no preconceived notions.
What’s your favourite food?
Sad to say but my favourite foods are those I try to stay away from like cookies, cookies, cookies, and pizza, cake, chocolate cream pie, ice cream, breads and rolls, potato chips, theatre popcorn-you get the idea. On the plus side I love strawberries, peaches, dates, blueberries, and cookies, cookies, cookies.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
The main theme would be Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party.”
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
To read as much as you write. The more you surround yourself with words the more your writing will improve.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Proofreading because you are so familiar with what you wrote and have read a hundred times it is easy to be blind to mistakes. That is why you need to let the book sit for two weeks or so, that way you can better approach the book.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I am at the point, like the ape in “2001: A Space Odyssey” where he is pounding a large bone on the ground just before it dawns on him he has figured out he has a weapon-or perhaps a tool. I am pounding my keyboard and it is beginning to dawn on me I might be on to something.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Don’t imitate other writers, write from within yourself. And use adverbs sparingly.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
My favourite character is J. Henry from my lead story, “An Evening with Constance Bennett.” I like any guy who quits a job he doesn’t like to watch old movies and snack all day.
How about your least favourite character?
What makes them less appealing to you? I suppose it would be the two high school kids from my story “Desecration” because of what they did to a cemetery. I hate people who trash cemeteries. Since I will soon reside there I will not appreciate anyone trashing my new home. I will get you.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
Though I would prefer more sales, I like getting good reviews because it means I made a positive connection with a reader and they got what I was trying to do.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I am proud of each book for different reasons and can’t choose one over any other.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last e-Book is “Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms” and I am currently working on a follow up to “Loonies in Hollywood,” called “Silent Murder.” This is a purely fictional murder, not based on a true story, but many of the characters are true life characters like Clara Bow, Adolph Zukor, and many others from the silent film era.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?
I wished Jennifer Lawrence would call to ask if I would like to date her, but she never does.
A loony writer viewing the looniess of the human race.
On my website, http://terrynelson.net/, I wrote I did not want a closet full of regrets, so I decided to write in order to exorcise the big regret demon stalking me in the shadows of my loony brain. I had to write.
I was a volunteer film critic for a local newspaper for ten years before they ran out of space, now I post movie reviews on my website, including some silent movies with links to watch them free.
But I was not satisfied with just writing movie reviews, nor posting a couple of freelance news stories I wrote. I wanted more.
Besides loving movies, I also love baseball, so I began a Seattle Mariners blog, http://ballsandstrikes.mlblogs.com/, the writing of which I find more enjoyable than writing film reviews, though watching movies is frequently more entertaining than watching the Mariners.
But I wanted more.
I combined my love of movies, my love of baseball, and my desire to write, into novels. Since I find the human race infinitely amusing, as I think we are all a bit loony, I have begun what I call the loony series.
The two novels I have written so far are based on true stories. The first is "Loonies in the Dugout" about Charlie Faust and the New York Giants baseball team of 1911. Charlie Faust has become a cult figure of sorts for baseball fanatics. I used a fictional rookie on the team, Chet Koski, to tell the story. Chet also has, I think, a fascinating girlfriend, Eveleen Sullivan, who I wish I really knew. Both Charlie and Chet meet historical figures like Bat Masterson, George M. Cohen, Damon Runyon, and members of the New York Giants. And of course all the characters are a bit loony. I think my favorite scene is when Eveleen explains to Chet how to eat lobster. The novel is a satire on fame and celebrity.
The second book involves Chet and Eveleen, as they attempt to solve the most famous unsolved murder in Hollywood history, that of William Desmond Taylor, that occurred in 1922. There were three non-fiction books written about the murder that I read, all concluding with a different killer. The difficult aspect of the case, without giving too much away, is placing a killer at the scene. It is tricky to do because of an eyewitness. But I came up with a solution that sidesteps the witness within a narrow timeline. While I still have great respect for Eveleen, a young flapper named Clancy was way too much fun to write. And again everyone is a bit loony.
As far as writing, I read of authors who said a character can take control of a story, demanding a larger part. I thought these writers were loony to be honest. This was before I began writing novels. Now I know better. Having gone through the process, I understand how writers can say a character takes control. Clancy was originally a character acting as plot device, advancing the story. But her first scene was so dominating, that I had to bring her back from time to time. She was too irresistible.
As for the boring stuff, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Western Washington University. I have managed theatres, owned a bookstore, and am actively engaged as a volunteer for the Fox Theatre Restoration project, a group restoring a historic theatre in Centralia, Washington, to how it looked when opened in 1930.
Eight ghostly tales of life and afterlife. Two stories where the dead seek revenge, one in gruesome fashion. You will also discover two stories where the dead have trouble adjusting in the next life. And though not ghostly, one tale is morbid, despite the romantic notion behind a man’s actions. Four of the eight take place in the same cemetery; one takes place in England, one in a library, and one in an apartment next to the cemetery. The opening story, “An Evening with Constance Bennett” is more like a “Twilight Zone” episode, a tale quirky and odd, a phantasm of the imagination. There is also a bonus story, a noir mystery set in 1948. The stories have different tones, different moods, so creep in and imagine the unreal.
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