Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kevin Lucia Interview

And now to my interview with Kevin Lucia. 

The Horror Librarian: Your exciting re-release, Devourer of Souls, takes place in the small Adirondack town of Clifton Heights, New York. In fact, many of your stories take place in unforgettable locales, many of which are characters in and of themselves. What kind of research goes into your design of place? How do you design place and setting in your stories?

Kevin Lucia: All my stories have taken place in this small Adirondack town I've made up, and really, the town is an amalgamation of places I knew and frequented growing up in Harpursville, NY, and places locally where I live now in Binghamton, New York. I can't really say I do much research for them; I simply pick up places I know and have spent time at, and drop them whole into my mythical town, tweaking elements a bit as needed.

For example, A Night at Old Webb takes place in an abandoned elementary school not far from my house. I've always been intrigued by the place, so several summers ago, I did some exploring, and this inspired a coming of age story about high school senior who encounters a life changing experience in a similar abandoned school on the outskirts of Clifton Heights.

The Horror Librarian: What's your writing process like? How do you get from barest glimmer of an idea to full-fledged and fully edited story?

Generally, I come upon stories two ways. 1. I see things around me (like the abandoned school which inspired A Night at Old Webb), and begin asking myself the question: What if? 2. When I begin developing characters for those stories, I want to get at the core of their desires. What do they want? What are they afraid of? What needs drive them?

I generally handwrite my first drafts, then type the ensuing drafts. The typed drafts I line-edit by hand, also. I'm a tactile person, and this has always "worked" for me.

The Horror Librarian: What are you working on right now?

Kevin Lucia: My first novel. Actually, it's my "third" attempt at writing my first novel, so we'll see how it goes. It, of course, takes place in Clifton Heights, and it's that big, sprawling "coming-of-age novel which is autobiographically inspired." I took the time to outline it first, (which I've never done before), so I have hopes it will work out better this time.

The Horror Librarian: A lot of writers are involved in the literary world in ways outside of their own writing. How has being an English teacher informed your work or your writing process?

Kevin Lucia: Well, because of my job, I'm always in the act of reading and evaluating student writing, as well as reading and examining literature to teach my students. It leaves me in consistent, interpretative mind-set. Also, every year I'm digging deep in the literary classics, which is refreshing and edifying, for me to read outside the genre I write in.

The Horror Librarian: Aside from teaching and writing, you also review books for Cemetery Dance. How do you approach this type of work?

Kevin Lucia: Well, I no longer actually review books actively. I used to review for our city newspaper, The Press & Sun Bulletin, then moved on to Shroud Magazine. At Cemetery Dance, I'm the Reviews Editor, which means I distribute review materials to about 20 reviewers under me, and then I proof their reviews and send them to the magazine editor.

When I did review, I tried, as much as possible, to review every book on two things only: 1. the quality of the writing and 2. How well it successfully achieved its desired effect. You can't review a zombie novel based on the criteria you'd use for reviewing a philosophical work of quiet or cosmic horror.

The Horror Librarian: List 5 things that are currently on your writing desk.

Kevin Lucia:
Supernatural Horror in Literature, by H. P. Lovecraft
Danse Macabre, by Stephen King
Tales of the Uncanny and the Supernatural, by Algernon Blackwood
Jack: An Autobiography of C. S. Lewis
Walking On Water: A Writing Memoir, by Madeleine L'Engle

The Horror Librarian: Thanks, Kevin! See you soon in Clifton Heights.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Kevin Lucia Bio

This week's special guest is...Kevin Lucia.

Kevin Lucia is the Reviews Editor for Cemetery Dance Magazine and his column Horror 101 is featured quarterly on Lamplight Magazine. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies.

He’s currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children.

His first short story collection, Things Slip Through was published November 2013, followed by Devourer of Souls in June 2014 and Through A Mirror, Darkly, June 2015. He’s currently working on his first novel.

Visit him online at:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Alec Shane Interview

At long last...the interview with literary agent, Alec Shane!

The Horror Librarian: Why become a literary agent?

Alec Shane: I more or less stumbled into the job, to be honest; I didn’t even know that literary agents existed before I started cold calling publishing houses after a Google search for “book job.” But after conversing with a few editors, all of whom told me I had the personality of an agent (still not sure if I should take that as a compliment or an insult), I ended up coming across the Writers House website. I walked in to interview for an internship, and I never left.

The Horror Librarian: What are you looking for right now and how do you prefer potential clients to query you?

Alec Shane: My submission guidelines and what I’m looking for (and not looking for) are up on my Publishers Marketplace page – so you can always go there. You can also follow me on Twitter at @alecdshane. All of my Tweets are publishing-related and touch on the submissions I’m getting or submissions I would like to get; I promise you will never be subjected to my political beliefs or what I just had for lunch or what I think about some TV show.

The Horror Librarian: Ha ha! Tell us about a project you've recently sold that you are excited about.

Alec Shane: I’m a big sports fan, and an even bigger Patriots fan – so I’m especially excited for From Darkness to Dynasty by Boston sportswriter and radio personality Jerry Thornton, due out this September. It’s a history of the first 40 years of the New England Patriots, back when they weren’t just bad…they were laughably bad. It’s funny, and insightful, and should serve as a reminder for everyone who hates the Patriots that they weren’t always good.

The Horror Librarian: As an industry professional, can you share what business skills you think an author needs to be successful?

Alec Shane: Knowing how to self-promote is getting more and more important by the day in this business, so an author who is willing to hit the bricks and put himself/herself out there is in better shape than an author who doesn’t. I’d also advise authors to know when it’s time to put a manuscript away and work on something else; I’ve met authors who have been trying to get the same project published for 10 years. And while it of course happens – I’m sure every author who has been shopping his/her book for 10 years knows exactly who else’s first book took 10 years to get published – usually it makes more sense to try working on something else and then circling back to that book down the line.

The Horror Librarian: One of your passions is to bring more boys to the world of books. Can you talk a little about how that affects the work you do? What books have you read recently fit that mold? 

Alec Shane: It makes my job significantly harder, I can say that. It’s a weird dynamic in that editors are SCREAMING for boy books, but are very reluctant to buy them. I don’t even want to think about all of the times I haven’t been able to sell a project because it was “too boy.” However, the big plus about boy books is that they almost always appeal to both genders, so when you get a hit, you have a much larger audience; girls will read boy books more readily than boys will read girl books (I’ll save my rant about that particular dynamic for another time). In terms of authors that do great work with boy-centric books: Don Calame, NP Newquist, Chris Lynch, Rick Riordan…and pretty much anything that comes up on is great.

The Horror Librarian: As the official agent of the Horror Writers Association, you've sold the upcoming Hallows Eve anthology to Doubleday. What excites you most about the horror genre?

Alec Shane: One thing that good horror does really well is scare you not by describing the biggest monsters or spookiest graveyards, but by creating characters you love and then forcing you to sit there, completely helpless, as horrible things happen to them. Nothing is more terrifying than when something bad happens to a loved one; when that something bad takes place at the hands of something that can’t be explained or shouldn’t exists, then it’s even more horrific. We’re always most afraid of the unknown, and when authors can play on that inherent fear while introducing us to people we genuinely care about…that’s when great horror is born.

The Horror Librarian: List five things that are on your work desk right now.  

Alec Shane: 1. An empty cup. 2. Galleys of my upcoming SEAL memoir THE LAST PUNISHER by Kevin Lacz (July 2016).  3. a series of checks I have to send out to authors. 4. A tube of chapstick, 5. Post-it notes with my illegible handwriting on them reminding me of the exactly eleventy billion things I have to do this week.

The Horror Librarian: Well, good luck getting them all done! Thanks for your time, Alec!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Agent Alec Shane Bio

This week's special guest is...literary agent Alec Shane.

Alec majored in English at Brown University, a degree he put to immediate use by moving to Los Angeles after graduation to become a professional stunt man. Realizing that he prefers books to breakaway glass, he moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue a career in publishing. Alec quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency, where he worked under Jodi Reamer and Amy Berkower on a large number of YA and Adult titles. Twitter handle: @alecdshane.

On the nonfiction side, Alec would love to see humor, biography, history (particularly military history), true crime, “guy” reads, and all things sports. “What I’m looking for in fiction: mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, historical fiction, literary fiction, and books geared toward young male readers (both YA and MG). What I’m not looking for: Romance (paranormal or otherwise), straight sci-fi, high fantasy, picture books, self-help, women’s fiction, food, travel memoir.”

(Source: Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2016 Faculty)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Paul Tremblay Interview

And now, without another moment of suspense...

The Horror Librarian: Your novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, gained some definite buzz both within and outside of the horror world. I found the juxtaposition of innocence and evil in the two sisters to be startling and entrancing. Can you talk a little about your approach to characterization?

Paul Tremblay: Thanks! Right off the bat I knew that I wanted to have two siblings be the main focus of the story, and I wanted the story to be told from the POV of the younger sibling. You know, the one who wasn’t possessed or experiencing a psychotic break.  

I tried to make Merry and Marjorie’s relationship as authentic as I possibly could. The novel would only really work if the reader believed in them, in what they were going through together. Sibling relationships are powerful and complex, particularly at those pre and early teen ages. Rivalry and loyalty can seem like the same thing.  The eight-year-old Merry loves and idolizes her sister as much as she’s confused and terrified of her.

The Horror Librarian: What’s your creative process? How do you build an idea into a story?

Paul Tremblay: It’s different with each story/novel. Generally I tend to jot ideas down in a notebook first. Nothing as structured or as detailed as an outline, at least not in the early going. More like impressions, bits of characters, conceits, or snippets of potential dialogue. A fair amount of doodling too even though I can’t draw worth a lick. From there I either dig in with the first chapter or write a ten page summary/outline of the plot. I’ve done an outline for four of my six published novels. I didn’t write an outline for A Head Full of Ghosts, and I have to say, it was a lot of fun working without that pre-made map. I wasn’t flying totally blind as I had the three part structure and the beginning in end and mind before I started.  With Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, I did write a lengthy summary first. Of course, as I got into the book, I veered from summary (and gave myself permission to do so), and that’s a fun part too; those unexpected moments that really brings a story to life.

The Horror Librarian: You’ve served as editor for several prominent magazines, including Chizine and Fantasy magazines. What is your favorite part of editing? Least favorite?

Paul Tremblay: My favorite part was discovering great stories from new writers, or writers who were new to me. It really is exciting to come across something totally original and unexpected, particularly if you’ve just been through a rough patch in the slush.

Least favorite part is getting back passive aggressive or (not so passive) responses to rejection letters in which I included feedback. It’s part of the reason why I quit slush reading, honestly.

The Horror Librarian: It always astonishes me how unreceptive some folks can be to feedback. What writing/editing tools can’t you live without?

Paul Tremblay: My laptop. I envy folks who can write their stories longhand. I’ve tried but I can’t do it. I need a keyboard and cut and paste and delete and all the rest.

The Horror Librarian: What are you working on right now?

Paul Tremblay: I’m working on a new novel outline. I also have a handful of short stories I’m supposed to writing, and in the near future, I’ll be writing an introduction to John Langan’s upcoming collection from Hippocampus.

The Horror Librarian: Awesome! List five things that are on your writing desk.

Paul Tremblay:
--Empty mug of tea (just finished drinking it)
--Stacks of CDs I need to bring down to the basement.
--Plush Larry Bird doll.
--An assortment of books (including The Damned UTD by David Peace, Child of God by Cormac McCarthy, The Story of My Teeth by Veleria Luiselli)
--A black notebook.
The Horror Librarian: Thanks, Paul! I’m looking forward to reading Disappearance at Devil’s Rock!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Paul Tremblay Bio

This week's very special guest is...Paul Tremblay!

Paul Tremblay is the author of the novels Disappearance at Devil’s Rock and A Head Full of Ghosts. His other novels include The Little SleepNo Sleep till Wonderland, Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye, and Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly (co-written with Stephen Graham Jones).

His fiction and essays have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Supernatural Noir, and numerous Year’s Best anthologies. He is the author of the short speculative fiction collections In the Mean Time and Compositions for the Young and Old and the hard-boiled/dark fantasy novella City Pier: Above and Below. He served as fiction editor of CHIZINE and as co-editor of Fantasy Magazine, and was also the co-editor the Creatures anthology (with John Langan). Paul is currently on the board of directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards as well.

Paul is very truthful and declarative in his bios. He once gained three inches of height in a single twelve hour period, and he does not have a uvula. His second toe is longer than his big toe, and yes, on both feet. He has a master’s degree in mathematics, teaches AP Calculus, and once made twenty-seven three pointers in a row. He enjoys reading The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher aloud in a faux-British accent to children. He is also reading this bio aloud, now, with the same accent. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts and he is represented by Stephen Barbara, Inkwell Management.

Email Paul here: pnuke33 at verizon dot net

(source: Paul's website)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

William Gorman Interview

The Horror Librarian: You’ve been described as a ghost folklorist. How did your interest in folklore and ghost stories begin? How does it play into your writing?

William Gorman: My grandfather collected ghostlore, and clipped articles out of the local newspaper whenever he saw a haunted house story or something like that. So I discovered all of these wonderful things lying around at an early age. Then, when I was nine or ten, my mom bought me a book called Hauntings: Tales of the Supernatural, and I was pretty much hooked after that. I look for the otherworldly elements in everything now . . . and it shows up in most things that I write.

The Horror Librarian: What’s your writing process like? Are you a pantser or a plotter? How do you get from idea to complete book? Also, I imagine you do a fair amount of research for your stories.

William Gorman: I like to do a rough outline first, just something leading from Point A to Point B. Then whatever way I take to get there, that’s the process really. I wander about until eventually I arrive at that ending I envisioned. Sometimes the ending even changes. Yes, a lot of research goes into the true ghost stories though.

The Horror Librarian: Writing and researching true stories behind the legends must creep under your skin at times. What scares you? Was there a particular story or legend that lingers in your mind to this day?

William Gorman:  There’s a story about an abandoned farmhouse south of where I grew up, where a huge hulking farmer supposedly died of a heart attack one night and fell on top of his petite little wife, trapping her and crushing her slowly to death in their kitchen. The place still stands empty, out amongst row after row of dead dried cornstalks, and there have been sightings of the couple’s ghostly white faces peering out the darkened, glassless windows in the dead of night. That one always sticks with me.
The Horror Librarian: Do you have any writing superstitions or habits?

William Gorman: Surprisingly, no.

The Horror Librarian: What is your next project?

William Gorman: Right now I’m working on the sequel to BLACKWATER VAL and on another collection of short stories.

The Horror Librarian: List five things that are currently on your writing desk.

William Gorman: Laptop, telephone, vampire skull, candy, and a sock monkey . . . and here’s the photo to prove it!

 The Horror Librarian: Thanks, William! It was fun!