Crime Watch Interview

9mm: An interview with William Cook

Kia ora everyone! Greetings from the bottom of the world, and welcome to the latest edition of Crime Watch's popular 9mm author interview series. The series has been a bit sporadic in recent times, after starting off with a hiss and a roar, maintained for a couple of years, but there is light at the end of the tunnel - I have several great 9mm interviews with authors famed and lesser-known in the bag, and will be sharing them with you all very, very soon. Onwards...

Today's author interviewee is a Kiwi horror and thriller writer, William Cook. He had his first novel, BLOOD RELATED, published in 2011, after writing short stories and poetry. Cook, who is a graphic designer and book cover artist, is currently working on his second novel. You can read more about him at his website here. But for now, he faces down the barrel of 9mm...

9MM: An interview with William Cook

Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
 Will Graham, Thomas Harris’s troubled FBI profiler responsible for the original capture of the serial killer Hannibal Lecter, and the man who is assigned to locate serial killer Francis Dolarhyde. I also like John D Macdonald’s “salvage consultant”, Travis McGee.

What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
 Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I had an advanced reading age when I was a kid and this novel appealed to me on many levels. It was literate and compelling and unlike any other book I’d read before. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down – for the next two years or so I tried to replicate Tom and Huck’s adventures in my own backyard. There were some high-thrills and scares in that book too, which sent shivers up my young spine. I loved it for what it was and for opening up to me a whole new world of ‘classic’ stories filled with adventure, mystery and thrills.

Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
Blood Related took me approximately 5 years to write, before that I had always written mainly poetry and short fiction. I have had verse published in periodicals like Poetry NZ, Southern Ocean Review and a handful of others (both NZ and American). I’ve worked in publishing and marketing in the past and have had reviews (book, music and movie) and articles published in various news media publications.

Outside of writing and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise? 
Writing, of course, is my favorite pastime and I do it every chance I get. I also love illustrating and have recently switched to digital design. I love using Photoshop to create other worlds and characters. I am married with four daughters so I spend a lot of my time doing family things when I’m not working on my personal projects. I rarely get the chance to read a book cover-to-cover these days but the Kindle has helped me get back into reading on the go – reading being something I would really like to do a lot more of.

What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?
I have no idea really – I’m not much of an ambassador for Wellington. Don’t get me wrong, I like living here and there sure are worse places in the world but it is a small place. I guess one of my favorite spots in Wellington is the Miramar Peninsula – the green belt that runs from the now abandoned Mt Crawford Prison to the point. At night it is a very mystical place, especially under a full moon. The other place I really enjoy visiting is Staglands in the Akatarawas (Upper Hutt); it is a fantastic place with many native birds and animals and a superb recreation of a pioneer village filled with great photographic opportunities.  

If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
I think my life these days wouldn’t make for very interesting viewing – a guy hunched over a computer keyboard! I am similar in stature to the late James Gandolfini and admire his acting ability. I guess if he was alive he would be my first choice.

Of your writings, published and unpublished, which is your favourite, and why?
I probably value my novel Blood Related the most but it is not necessarily my favourite. My collection ‘Death Quartet’ is one that I’m quite proud of but I would say that ‘Creep’ is my most compelling and well-written work to date. The story is the first story in an exciting and gritty new psychological thriller series. Cassandra (lead protagonist) is a hero to the victim and a merciless angel of death to evil doers. She is a killer of killers, striking fear into the hearts of those who get their kicks off hurting others. I guess this is probably my favourite because I feel as though I found my ‘voice’ with this one. Currently at work on the next two books in the series.

What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a online or physical bookseller’s shelf?
To tell you the truth I went through a slump. There were a number of reasons but exhaustion was the main factor I think. The response to the book was slow and then gained momentum nicely then tapered off to a plateau of sorts. I think all writers have high expectations of their work, especially with the first novel, and so an anti-climax is inevitable. Strangely enough I think that my initial reaction was because I was saddened that my relationship had ended with my book! Sounds weird I know, but letting it go was sort of like losing an old pal – albeit, a rather frightening one. I was more excited when I saw a copy of my book at the local library; I made sure that every time I went for a visit, I put it in a position of prominence. A real kick.

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Thank you William! We appreciate you taking the time to chat with Crime Watch. 
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My publisher and I need your help . . .

Please Help! This is not just another call to help fund an anthology or pay for someone to go to a con or raise some dough for whatever – this is a desperate plea from an indie press that has published and supported new talent in the horror industry for the past decade. Here is the video that my publisher Nicholas Grabowsky has done to help raise some much-needed support.
Please view.





Nicholas Grabowsky was one of the first people to give me a break and is a staunch advocate of the underdog – probably to a fault, as can be guessed by this plea for help. This company doesn’t make money for profit, they make money to pay their authors and to stimulate interest in independent horror authors as much as possible. Not a sound business model I know, but it’s because whatever Nick does he does with heart and gives it everything he’s got. I know why BBS is struggling – things are tough and there’s not much money in horror unless you’re one of the big boys or girls at the top of the heap. It’s also because Nick probably needs to employ some merciless publications manager to slash some titles, drop some authors and aim for the mainstream, while he spends his days selling wares at conventions and bookstores etc – but he would never do that. One he can’t afford it and two, he’s too damn loyal to his authors and too committed to his dream. He just can’t “restructure” or be ruthless. Like I said, he has a heart. As we all know, good intentions and being nice seldom pays the bills and that is why you need to take a look at this fundraiser. This is not just about bailing Nick out of the crap or propping up a dead-duck, this is about Independent Publishing as a whole, in particular – the Independent Horror Publishing World that most of you reading this are part of.
 


There is a need for publishers like Black Bed Sheet Books because they are cornerstones in the industry; they do there best to stand on sometimes shaky foundations by which self-published authors launch their own careers/businesses and measure their own success against, yet they are different – it’s not just about the individual, it’s about the collective creative and financial welfare of the authors, and it’s about the readers who read them, because they like what Black Bed Sheet produces.

Are you a publisher, an author, a book designer, an editor . . . ? Could you need some help one day in this amazingly cut-throat world of dog-eat-dog financial stresses? Support your colleagues-in-arms; for the cost of a book or a TV Dinner, help ensure that an active member of the independent publishing community, who provides readers with so much great material and horror authors with a career platform, does not fall to the wayside because the rest of us sat around and did nothing to help. It won’t take much to help lift Black Bed Sheet books to its feet again and propel it forward to provide many more writers with career jump-starts and all those readers with countless hours of good solid horror enjoyment.






Every pledge receives something in return and, once again, Nick has let his generosity dictate these fantastic rewards that are well worth some loose change. Please help. Please dig deep and share this with as many people as possible. Thanks for reading and long live Independent Horror.

Best wishes


William Cook
(A proud Black Bed Sheet Books Author)



http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-black-bed-sheet-stimulus-project
— with Nicholas Grabowsky.

Black Bed Sheet Books, Indiegogo, Funding, Horror, Indie, Independent Horror Publishing, Publishing, Financial Crisis, Help

NEW RELEASE - Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales - available now




New trailer for Dreams of Thanatos - book available now from Amazon.com.


Dreams of Thanatos is a collection of macabre short fiction from William Cook, the author of the novel Blood Related. Demons, murderers and ghosts roam these pages although the most horrifying aspect Cook describes, is the dark soul of humanity. Whether writing about the horrors of modern life, or things that go ‘bump in the night,’ Cook’s writing is always “intense” and often “visceral” in his portrayal of the macabre. Included in this collection of fifteen stories is a novelette (Dead and Buried) and the origin story (Legacy: The Eternal Now and Thereafter) behind the novel, Blood Related.

  
“This man is simply scary. There is both a clinical thoroughness and a heartfelt emotional thoroughness to his writing. He manages to shock as well as empathize, to scare as well as acclimatize, yet beneath it all is a well read intelligence that demands to be engaged. I loved Blood Related. Ordinarily I hate serial killer stories, but William Cook won me over. He is a unique and innovative talent.”

– Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Dog Days

Women in Horror Month #3 - Rena Mason



For WIHM (Women in Horror Month) I have had the great fortune to interview another fantastic author: Rena Mason. Rena is an up-and-coming author of dark fiction and is creating lots of ripples in the horror pond. Definitely an author to watch and without further ado, here she is:

Rena Mason graduated from college with a SUNY nursing license, started her career in oncology, did some home healthcare work for Visiting Nurses, and then went on to work in the operating room for over twelve years in Denver, Colorado.

A longtime fan of horror, sci-fi, science, history, historical fiction, mysteries, and thrillers, she began writing to mash up those genres in stories revolving around everyday life.

She is a member of the Horror Writer's Association, Pacific Northwest Writer's Association, and International Thriller Writers. She writes a column for the HWA Monthly Newsletter, "Recently Born of Horrific Minds" and writes occasional articles. She also does volunteer work for the Horror Writer's Association, KillerCon convention, and The Vegas Valley Book Festival.

An avid SCUBA diver since 1988, she has traveled the world and enjoys incorporating the experiences into her stories.

Currently, she resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her family.




Interview with Rena Mason


Q: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer and how did you go about realizing your dream?

A: About six years ago, I read ANGELS & DEMONS by Dan Brown and was completely disappointed the book had nothing to do with any angels and demons. Then I went on vacation with an armful of books that had won “awards.” They were some of the most boring books I’d ever read. I kept waiting for something to happen and it never did.
When I got back, I turned on my new laptop, opened up Notepad, and started writing. Ha! Yeah, I still have that original, too. But writing wasn’t enough. I researched everything. Then when I thought it was ready, I started submitting it to agents.
The rejections came one after the other. I bit the bullet and sent it to one of those “review” places and wasted money for nothing. (Money I later discovered, could have been put to better use by hiring an editor.)
I attended a writers’ convention and a friend of a friend who’s a writer convinced me to pitch my novel. I did. Thought I might have a heart attack and drop dead after I left the room. It was set up like an American Idol audition, but there were only two people behind the table—the owner and editor of the company.
A few weeks later, I received another rejection, but this time, the editor took the time to tell me that my dialogue was very stiff. Thank you! Since the story I’d written was a personal one, I put it on the backburner but knew I’d get back to it when I felt ready.
I got to work on something else, focused on creating more natural dialogue, and then hired an editor after submitting to a couple agents and receiving rejections. Getting a professional editor made all the difference for me. Not only did it improve my MS, but the positive feedback built up my confidence, and I learned that if I really wanted to publish my stories, I was going to have to put myself out there. So, with the help of my editor, I did just that, by joining the HWA, “friending” other writers on Facebook, attending more conventions where I actually introduced myself and talked to people. It was a learning process, but I made fast friends, and soon my work caught the attention of an up and coming new publishing company and that’s how my work finally began to get published.

Q: Your work to date has mainly been in the Dark Fiction/Horror genre – is this a genre you prefer to write in and if so, why?

A: Yes. I prefer to write Dark Fiction/Horror, because that’s what I enjoy reading the most. None of the other genres give me the roller coaster of emotions I crave the way darker works do.

Q: Have you always been a fan of horror literature? Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

A: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE was the first book I’d ever read in Kindergarten. I thought the little boy was a brat and wished the monsters would eat him. I was sad that the monsters were sad when the boy left. I’d always hoped that the monsters would find a way to sail off their island and find the boy. I read that book at least once a week and was disappointed there was never a sequel about the monsters’ revenge.
When I was younger I read a lot of Edgar Allan Poe and Shirley Jackson. Their stories never got old for me. Nowadays, I’m all over the board when I read. There are so many authors out there, I don’t usually read more than one work by that author. But as of late, I’ve found a few authors whose works offer a variety. I’m horribly lazy and the mere sight of a thick book makes me cringe, so I tend to stay away from those. I’ve read a lot of Lisa’s Morton’s works, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, and have recently been reading Mercedes Murdock Yardley’s works. Lisa Mannetti is another author I enjoy reading, but in my heart I prefer Gothic works, and she’s great at writing them.

Q: What are your writing goals and where do you see yourself five years from now in terms of your writing/publishing?

A: If I could write and publish a novel a year, or five short stories in that same amount of time, I’d be happy. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m lazy, so my minimal aspirations are purely my own. But what I do publish, I want to be good and ready. It will have been edited professionally, proofread, etc. and that’s before submitting. This would give me five novels in five years, or 25 short stories. I’d be okay with half and half.

Q: What are your thoughts on self-publishing? Is it something you hope to do with your own work? If so/not, why?

A: I have nothing against self-publishing. I’ll never self-publish my own though, because like I mentioned above, I’m lazy. Really. That’s the only reason.


Q: As a nurse and author do you draw upon your experience as fodder for your stories? Do you catch yourself eying up situations and people in the workplace as potential candidates for your stories?

A: Absolutely. I’m a firm believer that truth will always be more horrifying than fiction. Oh, the stories I could tell! And will. Eventually.

Q: How do you approach your writing? I.e. do you outline plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

A: If I get a story idea I’ll think about it and try to see it through in my head. If I can do that, and it doesn’t go away, but stays on my mind, I’ll write down how I’ve imagined the story plays out. If I keep thinking about it, then I’ll take the time to write it, because obviously it needs to get out of my head. So far, more stories get written than die out, which is a good thing.

Q: How do you promote your work and how important do you think social media is as a platform for marketing your books and building your profile as an author?

A: I’ve advertised in magazines, online magazines, do the Goodreads giveaways, Facebook posts, (just getting into Twitter now,) and word of mouth through friends and at conventions. I think all the social media is important, but I wish it wasn’t, because it’s hard to stay on top of everything and try to write. There are too many places where you can lose yourself for hours, and in the end, I wonder if it really makes any difference.

Q: What do you hope to achieve with your writing? Do you have a ‘magnum opus’ in mind or in progress that you would like to unleash upon the world one day?

A: I just hope to keep writing. Besides being lazy, I’m one of those people that does a thing, and when it’s done, I move on and find something else to do. I’m fighting a little bit of that now, actually, but the new horror family that I’ve gained keeps me in the train of thought to keep writing. I have so many more stories to tell.
And yes, remember that first story I’d written on Notepad? Well, that’s become a series of at least six books. If I dwell on it too much it starts to weigh me down, but it’s a story that must be told, and it’s personal, so if I write nothing else, it has to be that.

Q: Which one of your works stands out as the best example of your style and ability? Do you have any future projects that you would like to tell the readers about?

A: I wrote a short story about six months ago that’s in a slush pile that I love. I’m considering turning it into a novella or novel. It could even be a series. Yikes! Why must everything be a series? But really, it’s got that potential. And it’s not that I don’t like series, it’s the thought of writing one that intimidates me.
All my future projects are secret. I know, I know. Sorry. I’m working on something with a co-writer and then the other things floating around aren’t quite a done deal yet, so I shouldn’t say anything. But it does seem I’ve become a committee girl and am working on promoting the Horror genre in Las Vegas, which I’m proud of, is fun, but keeps me busy. 


http://www.amazon.com/Rena-Mason/e/B00C7YOVDY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1 

 http://www.amazon.com/Rena-Mason/e/B00C7YOVDY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Rena Mason

Visit Rena at the following places

Blog

Website

Amazon

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook


 Rena Mason, #WIHM, Women in Horror Month, Interview, Horror,

Women in Horror Month #2 - Billie Sue Mosiman

Billie Sue Mosiman



Recently I edited/compiled a horror anthology called Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror. Billie Sue Mosiman was one of the first authors I approached as I have been a fan of her work for years. I was very pleased when Billie Sue submitted a story called ‘Verboten’ for my anthology, and what a great story it is too. The first time I ever encountered her work was in Robert Bloch’s anthology ‘Psycho Paths,’ and then again in his next anthology ‘Psychos. ‘A Determined Woman,’ is the first story I read of hers and is still one of my favorites alongside ‘Interview With A Psycho,’ which blew me away. It’s one of the best dark psychological thriller stories I have read to date. The impact of the story stayed with me for a while and not just because of the subject matter, but because of how good the story actually is. Billie Sue can write and it’s no surprise considering that she has so many novels and collections published over the years. As Robert Bloch, author of Psycho and American Gothic, says about her novel Night Cruise[ing]: "A journey into the darkest recesses of the human mind...uncanny, unsettling, unforgettable."



Billie Sue Mosiman is a thriller, suspense, and horror novelist, a short fiction writer, and a lover of words. Her books have received an Edgar Award Nomination for best novel (Night Cruising) and a Bram Stoker Award Nomination for most superior novel (Widow). She has been a regular contributor to a myriad of anthologies and magazines, with over 160 published short stories. Her work has appeared in such diverse publications as Horror Show Magazine and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. She taught writing for Writer's Digest and for AOL online. Billie Sue’s latest work in paperback and Kindle digital is SINISTER-Tales of Dread, a compilation of fourteen new short stories all written in 2013.



“Billie Sue Mosiman’s novels are edge-of-the-seat all the way!” Ed Gorman, award winning author of BAD MOON RISING.



February is ‘Women in Horror’ month and Billie Sue is one of the leading ladies in psychological horror; she has kindly agreed to do an interview and without further ado, here it is.

Interview with Billie Sue Mosiman:




Q: When did you first decide to become a writer, in particular a writer of Dark Fiction? Was there any one thing, or person, that influenced you to write your first story?



A: I was thirteen, apparently, since I wrote in my diary at that time, “I want to grow up to be a writer.” There wasn’t any one thing or person that influenced me to write my first story. I found it once. It was written in pencil on lined paper and involved some young people living around Paul, Alabama where I often lived with my grandparents. I think my work might be dark fiction because my childhood was often dark, there were volatile people around me, and of course I was steeped in superstitions and stories from the dark woods of Southern Alabama.



Q: You have been writing for many years now and have had many novels and collections published, do you think that your writing/work is more popular now than it has been in the past? If so/not why do you think that is?


A: I don’t think I’ve ever thought about that. I think my audience has been kind of steady over the years. It’s helped to have digital copies now so more people can find and afford my work. Where before readers had to wait for a new novel to appear every two years or a new magazine I had a story in, now they can go to Amazon and find so much of my work at their fingertips. Also, instead of paying close to ten dollars for a paperback, they can pick up a novel for four. That opens everyone’s work to the large audience of readers out there. I think that’s marvelous.



Q: In 2011 you self-published a novel (‘Banished’), the first novel you have published yourself; why did you decide to follow the self-publishing route? Did you find it a different process than writing for a mass market press/publishing house, like you have done in the past?



A: In 2011 it was a revolution. Literature and the method of conveying it to the reader had changed. I’d written a novel that was unlike what I’d done before. If it wasn’t suspense or horror I knew publishers would be reluctant to take it. I decided to join the revolution and see what happened. I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I went straight for the readers and it was a lot of fun. I had a professional cover made and the book looked over by a professional and just hit that button! It was a completely different process than working with mass market publishers out of New York. I had more freedom. I didn’t have to worry about the book appearing in bookstores and outlets maybe for a month and disappearing. I’d have that book [appear] before the public in a way [that was] easy for them to purchase day and night, for as long as I wanted it out there. I had more control. It was an interesting and profitable venture.



Q: As it is ‘Women in Horror’ month, who are your favorite female authors of dark fiction? Do any of your favorites have an influence on your own work or inspire you in any way?



A: Mary Shelley was the goddess of all things dark with FRANKENSTEIN. (I wrote a novella continuing her great novel in FRANKENSTEIN: Return From the Wasteland.) She was an influence. Then along came Flannery O’Connor, who isn’t thought of as a horror writer and she really isn’t, but she writes dark fiction and her way of writing it highly influenced me. I wanted to grow up to be Flannery. Next was Patricia Highsmith, who wrote some of the best darkest fiction of suspense-bordering-on-horror that I’d read. She was a “quiet” writer, intellectual, and she spoke to me. When I first started writing horror stories I didn’t see many women writing it in the horror magazines where I was sending my stories. Due to that I’m afraid I didn’t feel an influence from them; rather, we were all jumping into the Horror Sea and paddling our little lifeboats as fast as we could. At that point Stephen King began to influence me. And some of the best writers in suspense like Robert Bloch, Lawrence Sanders, Richard Matheson. Plus the old names like Jim Thompson, Patricia Highsmith, and others. Today I’m watching the blooming careers of new writers in horror and like many of them very much, seeing talent that is much better than I saw back in the 1980s when I started getting published with dark fiction.



Q: What/who influenced you to switch to self-publishing and/or do you still publish with others (publishers)?  Is the self-publishing market more lucrative for a veteran author such as yourself who has been published by all manner of publishing houses, both big and small?



A: I saw Joe Konrath doing it and some other traditionally published authors doing it and I just leaped in. After BANISHED I just self-published my stories, some old and some new. I made sure my legacy novels, most of which you couldn’t buy anymore, were available as e-books. With short stories it’s very lucrative. Many markets today don’t pay enough to waste my time submitting to, but if I self-publish I go directly to readers and make more that way than for a one-payment deal. I’m not all about money, but I’m no fool either. I collected several of my stories into collections to make it easier and a little cheaper than readers having to buy individual stories. Now for my next novel (the only one I’ve done since BANISHED in 2011) titled THE GREY MATTER, I went back to looking for publishers. Mainly because it is not outside my usual type of novel I’ve been known for writing. It’s a suspense novel with a touch of speculative future events in it and I wanted to have someone else, an editor and a publisher, handle the whole thing for me. It was taken by Post Mortem Press, who will bring it out in April or May this year. I’m very excited about it and feel it’s some of my best work. In this way I’m more of a “hybrid” writer these days—self-publishing shorts and collections from those shorts, and going with a publisher for novels.



Q: You write in many genres but predominantly ‘Dark Fiction; do you consider yourself a "horror" writer, a genre (thriller, dark fiction, mystery etc) writer, or a writer in general? How does the type of writer you perceive yourself to be have an effect on the way you approach writing, if at all?



A: It would probably be best to think of me as a dark and speculative fiction writer. I’ve been known as a suspense/mystery writer and in my long work, the novel, that’s predominately what I’ve written. Of fifteen novels I only got off that path a couple of times, once with a Western (because a publisher asked for one and bought it on a short synopsis) and Banished, the horror-fantasy novel. I really think of myself in two ways—as a horror writer of short fiction and a suspense writer of novels. Straddling genres that way may seem odd, but my short work just tends toward horror.



Q: Quite often you write about serial killers and psychopathic personalities; how do you prepare/research for these stories and how much influence do other sources (i.e. True Crime, Non-fiction texts, Newspaper, Media etc) play upon/inform the development of your characters’ behaviors?



A: I spent years studying serial killers, the real ones, and abnormal psychology. I informed myself on the character and typical actions of those killers. From the writing of WIREMAN forward the serial killer intrigued me so I wrote several more novels about them. Male and female serial killers (WIDOW), killers who were so damaged and deluded they thought they had been abused and yet who had only been loved and couldn’t accept being a person who was loved (SLICE, which I retitled KILLING CARLA), killers who wanted revenge (STILETTO), killers who were young and psychotic (DEADLY AFFECTIONS, which I retitled MOON LAKE), and so forth. Damaged and disturbed personalities was the well from which I drank, trying to understand them, seeing them without blinders, and getting into their heads. I read tons of non-fiction books on people who kill, on psychopaths, and on family dynamics when there is a disturbed person affecting the unit. Now, with THE GREY MATTER, I have a serial killer, but he isn’t the focus of the novel. It’s focused on four young people who are castoffs from society who come together as a family and are menaced by the serial killer.  I am on my familiar stomping ground, with some very wicked twists.



Q: Before you published ‘Banished’ in 2011 you have stated elsewhere that you had “finally overcome the dreadful writer's block that left me impotent to write.” Can you please tell us what led to your writer’s block and how you overcame it and also why you switched from traditional to self-publishing at this point? Were the two events (beating writer’s block and switching to SP) a result/consequence of each other?



A: My parents moved in with us. They’d sold their marina, which they couldn’t handle any longer, and were looking for a house near where I lived. My mother, who was a master manipulator, began suggesting they spend their money expanding my home for them to live with me. I had a lifetime of trying to understand my mother, who was mentally ill. She was an untreated victim of bi-polar and narcissistic personality. Once they moved in next door, as we separated our house into two distinct living spaces, my life became hell. I tried to write. I wrote several different novels and an autobiography that died halfway and went unfinished. My emotional state was not strong enough to write and at the same time deal with my parent, who were slowly having worsening health problems. My dad had Alzheimer’s and diabetes. I had to start taking him to doctor visits and help Mom with him. My mother’s furious episodes of anger grew worse. She finally was diagnosed with lung cancer and didn’t get treatment. My father died, and then my mother’s cancer worsened and I was her caretaker. It was seven or eight years of pure unadulterated hellish nightmare. I simply got blocked when trying to write by about page 150. Novels died and were put away. I stalled. I think I was just trying to survive and there was no room there for my writing life.



Jumping into self-publishing with BANISHED had nothing to do with the block. Once my mother died and I slowly came back to myself and my work, the whole digital revolution was happening, people all over Facebook, which I’d just discovered, were excited and publishing works, some good, some not. I wrote my book, published it, and I have been happy about that decision ever since.



Those who tell you there is no such thing as writer’s block just haven’t experienced one yet. I defy any writer anywhere to have lived here in my home with my insane mother and my poor, sweet, sad father, take care of them, and still find motivation to write. I dare them.



Q: Many of your recent titles/collections are self-published; one would think with a prolific career such as yours that traditional publishers would be waiting in line to offer you contracts. Do you still get offers of publication or interest from the more mainstream publishers?



A: I left the mainstream –NEW YORK- publishers behind once I realized they would demand to own, like forever, my digital rights. I understood my digital rights were worth a lot, perhaps more than any of us know today. If I gave them away, for just about any amount of money, I’d kick myself later. I’d have given away rights my family can profit from long after my demise. I went with a publisher for THE GREY MATTER that would not keep my rights forever. I had determined by that time I would never let them go for longer than a certain, spelled-out amount of time. I own those rights. I won’t give them away. I might share them, but I will never give them away.  I would rather go with my mainstream smaller publisher any day than let that happen. Writers today still want deals with the 5 NY publishers who are left. Once they realize they can’t negotiate those digital rights for themselves I would think they’d know it’s a raw deal. I never go for raw deals. I protect my creative rights. I’ve no hope NY publishing will relinquish those rights for years yet. One day they might start making more reasonable deals with writers for them, sharing some of the rights, but until them I’m just not interested.



Q: Recently you bravely and publicly announced that you are battling cancer, has your illness caused any reflection upon your career as a writer of dark fiction or your direction ahead as an author?



A: It has. I look back and haven’t regrets. I wrote from my deepest place, from what interested me and inspired me. I wrote as well as I could. I must leave it at that. As for the future, I’m looking forward and hope to do more noir and suspense writing, even in the short form than in supernatural horror. My direction is changing slightly and I think that’s fine. Writer’s change and if they don’t they stagnate. I write what comes to me and I’m happy with what I’ve done and what I hope to do.



Q: Who or what has influenced your writing the most, and in what way?



A: Oh, I can’t really name names so much because I’ve learned so many different things from so many writers. But good dark fiction in any genre does influence me. I read them and think how wonderful is that? Can I do anything compared to it? I challenge myself to move forward and try new things in both the way I write and in what I write.



Q: I have read a couple of your novels and a few of your collections but feel that I haven’t even scraped the surface of your prolific bibliography/back list; what one work would you recommend to prospective Billie-Sue Mosiman readers and why? What do you consider your best novel and your best short fiction work?



A: Too hard, too hard. How does one pick out an individual baby she’s created from her flesh and from her mind? You might as well ask which of my daughters I love best. I love them both equally.



I can tell you the ones I like a lot. I like BAD TRIP SOUTH, because it is about crime, but has a supernatural element.  I like BANISHED because I stretched and tried something new. I like NIGHT CRUISE (now titled NIGHTCRUISING) because it was nominated for an Edgar and it’s got a killer in it you grow to understand, and a girl who grows up and faces the horrors of the real world. I like WIDOW because I tackled something new in having a female and male serial killer, then the female comes to her senses while the male begins to commit copycat killings pointing toward her. In stories I like FRANKENSTEIN: From out the Wasteland because I dropped into Mary Shelley’s world and tried to see where it went after the end of her novel. I like INTERVIEW WITH A PSYCHO, that was in Robert Bloch’s PSYCHOS, because I wrote it in homage to the great man. And I like my new collection, SINISTER-Tales of Dread, because I was on fire last year in 2013 and the stories just poured out—all sorts of stories, but all of them dark. That’s where my writing Muse has lived from since the beginning, firmly in the dark fiction dungeon.





Thank you Billie Sue for such an insightful and informative interview.






Billie Sue Mosiman links:




Billie Sue Mosiman's Books


Read about and buy ALABAMA GIRL-PART 1 -On This Link-

Read about and Buy CREATURES  -On This Link- 
 
Read about and Buy ZOM ALIVE: 2110     -On This Link-
Read about and Buy DiaboliQ     -On This Link-

Read about and Buy LEGIONS OF THE DARK   - On This Link-


Read about and Buy RISE OF THE LEGEND -On This Link-

Read about and Buy HUNTER OF THE DEAD  -On this Link-


Read about and Buy RABBIT HUNTER   -On This Link-

 

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