Ginger Nuts of Horror
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I'm a production manager by day, a writer by night with a penchant for the off-kilter and weird. I lead a very boring and uneventful life, which is one of the reasons I write, and watching paint dry is more enjoyable than listening to me talk about myself.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I don't prefer any term more than the other as labels are fine for canned goods, but I don't think they necessarily work well with my own understanding of my work. I mean, if I say, "The Regeneration of Myron Mitchell" (my short story appearing in Diabolic Tales III, unabashed plug) is 'horror', but someone else says it's 'weird fiction', who's right?
I write and leave labels and opinion up to others.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I find myself revisiting the short form masters, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Joe Lansdale, especially when I know the writing's not going well and I don't know what the hell I'm doing, 'cause you read them and you say, "That's how it's done."
I do have to say, though, that the best short story ever written is Tobias Wolff's, "Bullet in the Brain". I will not argue about this.
What are you reading now?
Rereading Black House by King and Straub, which is a nice reminder that I'm not the only one who has POV issues. I'm also reading, Full Upright and Locked Position, by Mark Gerchick, which is non-fiction horror or an expose of the aviation industry, depending on one's point of view.
How would you describe your writing style?
I'll be bold and say Hemingway-esque, or Faulkner-like. I have a tendency for the run-on, but I'm not good with adjectives and I like to get to the meat of it, which can leave my fiction somewhat cold and detached. But that's exactly how I like my women, so it works out for me, I guess.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Because Amex expects to be paid every month, I have a day job so I write when I can. I spend a lot of time thinking about it, then a sudden burst of activity, followed by an extreme fear that what I've done is no good. Much like my approach to sex.
I don't think I have any unusual writing habits, but, then again, they really wouldn't be unusual to me even if they were unusual, would they? I tend to stand a lot when I write, put the laptop on the counter and type away, which allows me to pace around and pretend I get exercise.
What’s your favourite food?
Pizza. From Amante's. Another subject I will not argue about.
What’s your favourite album?
What's an 'album'?
Honestly, I don't remember the last time I bought a whole album or CD. Probably the biggest influence on me, as far as albums go, has to be Pink Floyd's, The Wall. Which probably says more about me than I'd care to admit.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Persistence. Persistence beats out talent 999 times out of 1000. If you're that 1 out of 1000, good on you, but most of us fall into the 999 category so we've gotta keep at it, even when they say we suck.
Oh, and the worst thing to tell a writer: "Love your writing, but..." That just means they didn't love it enough, and they may as well have just put a stick in your eye and twisted 'cause they might think they're helping...but they're not. No, sir, they are not.
Fame and fortune, or respect?
Respect. Fame and fortune may keep you in drugs and women, but respect is the only thing that'll last when you're moldy in the clay.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I wrote a short story about a man and his love affair with his cat that I really like, but no one else does. My mom, of all people, liked it because it didn't have any cursing in it.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
"The Regeneration of Myron Mitchell" is currently available in Diabolic Tales III. I've got another short story, "Blind Date", coming out on Fictionvale on Nov 15, and "So Long I Screamed" will be in Bete Noire Magazine in January, 2014. Be sure to tip your waitress.
Richard K. Weems (www.weemsnet.net) is a former bouncer, novelty item salesman, furniture mover and general gopher. He is the author of Anything He Wants (2006, Spire Press), finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. His stories have appeared in North American Review, Other Voices, The Gettysburg Review, Mississippi Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, and many other publications. He currently lives and teaches in New Jersey.