Wow, this book was much darker than I thought it was going to be… and I loved it! I mean, it’s about the Pied Piper, so I should have known it was going to be grim. The characters were done so well, as was the dialog. There were moments of terror (like when one kid is laughing like a maniac when she certainly shouldn’t be), some bloody goodness, and enough mystery to keep me turning the (Kindle) pages like a madman.
Children of Chicago was my first read from Cynthia Pelayo, but it will not be my last. Definitely recommend this one to you horror creeps out there!
Cynthia “Cina” Pelayo is two-time Bram Stoker Awards® nominated poet and author. She is the author of LOTERIA, SANTA MUERTE, THE MISSING, and POEMS OF MY NIGHT, all of which have been nominated for International Latino Book Awards. POEMS OF MY NIGHT was also nominated for an Elgin Award. Her recent collection of poetry, INTO THE FOREST AND ALL THE WAY THROUGH explores true crime, that of the epidemic of missing and murdered women in the United States. Her modern day horror retelling of the Pied Piper fairy tale, CHILDREN OF CHICAGO will be released by Agora Books on 2/9/21. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, a Master of Science in Marketing, a Master of Fine Arts in Writing, and is a Doctoral Candidate in Business Psychology. Cina was raised in inner city Chicago, where she lives with her husband and children. Find her online at www.cinapelayo.com and on Twitter @cinapelayo.
SURVIVE WITH ME features 16 of my favorite writer buds. Each of them gave these stories to me for this charity anthology. ALL the proceeds go to the American Indian College Fund. You can order your eBook or paperback copy HERE
I’m asking each contributing author 5 questions as part of the promotion for the book. Today, we welcome Bram Stoker winning author Gwendolyn Kiste!
What inspired your story in SWM, “The Princes She’s Forgotten”?
GK: I’m a big fan of fairy tales, especially ones that are very much in the vein of horror and dark fantasy (because really, most of the original fairy tales were absolutely horror stories themselves). For “The Princes She’s Forgotten,” I wanted to explore the archetypal fairy tale villainess from her perspective and specifically what it would be like to deal with all those so-called valorous princes who come after her. Playing with narratives, in particular familiar ones like fairy tales, can be such a fun thing to do as a writer, and this story definitely gave me that opportunity.
What causes do you think deserve more attention?
GK: So many! I’m very enthusiastic about nonprofits that focus on animal conservation and also ones that focus on the arts. I try to regularly support the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Good Zoo in Wheeling, WV; they’re both doing amazing work for wildlife. As for arts organizations, I adore the Edward Gorey House in Massachusetts, which preserves the legacy of the awesome and macabre artist Edward Gorey. Another wonderful program is the Big Read, which is part of the National Endowment for the Arts and brings communities together through a focus on literature. Truly, though, there are so many incredible organizations out there doing their part to make the world a better place.
Where are your Bram Stoker Awards?
GK: My Stoker awards are sitting on the top of a bookshelf in my living room. It’s a rather petite shelf, but it’s got a nice story behind it: my husband’s grandmother gave it to him many years ago. She was the one who first got him into horror as a kid—they used to watch Godzilla and Hammer movies together every Saturday when he was growing up. Years later, he and I met and bonded over our shared love of horror, so it seems like a nice homage to his grandmother, the woman who in her own way ultimately brought us together thanks to her love of all things spooky.
Where did your love for Bob Seger come from?
GK: Oh, wow, I haven’t thought about this in a long time—it almost feels like I’ve always loved Bob Seger’s music. It probably started with the songs, “Hollywood Nights” and “Night Moves.” My dad had made a mixtape with those Bob Seger songs on it, and I remember listening to them over and over on road trips, which are very fond memories.
I’m also a huge fan of songs that tell complete stories, and Bob Seger has always been quite a master at that. He paints such vivid pictures of the worlds he’s inhabited, and that takes strong storytelling skills to do. His songs definitely remind me of the industrial landscapes of my childhood, so when I went to write my first novel, The Rust Maidens, which is based in Cleveland in 1980, I could imagine no better soundtrack than Bob Seger.
What are three things that make you smile?
GK: It might sound really cliched, but acts of kindness always make me smile. Just seeing people be kind to one another, even seemingly small acts of kindness, can go such a long way to making the world a better place. Nature also tends to make me smile a lot. My husband and I live out in rural Pennsylvania south of Pittsburgh, and getting to watch the change of seasons, especially in the fall, is just so awe-inspiring and exciting. And finally, my cats make me smile every day with their silly antics. They’re both so curious and at times devious, but that just makes life with them that much more interesting!
“Emotional and action-packed.” – Horror After Dark
“A flawlessly executed character driven modern day horror tale.” – The Horror Fiction Review
“A dark and unsettling coming-of-age horror novel with great characters. Highly recommended!” – Little Miss Zombie
“A coming-of-age story with sex demon doppelgangers, it harkens to the day of Leisure titles (Brian Keene’s Ghoul comes to mind).” – Undivine Interventions
“The Window is brilliant!” – Finding Montauk
“(Rolfe) takes a step up into the next echelon of horror greats and it is completely deserved off of this masterpiece.” – Kendall Reviews
What kind of demons await you tonight?
For Richie, life’s constant cheap shots are adding up. When he finds something is watching him, he never dreamed that it would show him everything that he ever wanted.
When his son, James, comes to stay for the last month of summer, the changes in his father’s behavior come to the forefront. What is his father doing staring into the window in the middle of the night?
Was the fiery spark in the dark real? Or is James’ imagination getting the best of him?
Summer’s almost over.
And life is about to change.
Will the son be able to save the father? Or is it already too late?
THE WINDOW is on sale for this final week of May. Click the link above and grab a copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, or Kobo. If you’ve already read the book (thank you), be sure to tell a friend. Thanks so much.
Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler–former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead–was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son’s future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong.
The legend is real–and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however.
By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author’s deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare.
The real horror doesn’t begin until you reach the end. That’s when the evil comes for you.
Brian Kirk is a man that writes like no other. His horror is psychological, complex, and freaky.
One man’s dark secret will come to light, and his life and that of his family will be on the line.
WILL HAUNT YOU is original and mind-bending. Not your typical horror novel, this one will turn your brain upside down and spin you right round, baby.!
Brian Kirk is a Bram Stoker Award®-nominated author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. His debut novel, WE ARE MONSTERS, was released in July 2015. In addition to being nominated for a Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, WE ARE MONSTERS was optioned for film development by Executive Producer, Jason Shuman.
His short fiction has been published in many notable magazines and anthologies, most recently Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories alongside multiple New York Times bestselling authors.
Find out more about Brian Kirk at his website: BRIAN KIRK: A JOURNEY OF THE IMAGINATION
I set out to become a writer the same year Samhain Publishing launched. When I saw the Leisure Horror Books head acquisition man, Don D’Auria, was at the head of this new horror line, I knew good things were on the horizon. And I was right. Don, introduced us to Kristopher Rufty, Hunter Shea, Russell James, and a guy named, Jonathan Janz.
The books from Janz came one after another–The Sorrows, The Darkest Lullaby, The House of Skin, Savage Species, Castle of Sorrows, Dust Devils, The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, and Exorcist Road before we all got the news that Samhain was a sinking ship.
Janz put out the excellent and much acclaimed, Children of the Dark, and also the much anticipated, Exorcist Falls with Sinister Grin Press before Don D’Auria landed with Flame Tree Press and called one of his favorite sons home.
Following Janz’s recent release with Flame Tree Press, THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER from this past September, we prepare for his next new release, THE DARK GAME (Catch my brief review of this awesome book after the interview).
I called on Janz to join us here at Share the Horror and he obliged.
Share the Horror: Let’s go back a few years. You were one of the first Samhain authors and had built quite a catalog in a relative short amount of time. When the news that Samhain had a) fired Don D’Auria and then shortly afterwards 2) folding up shop, what were your thoughts and emotions at hearing those two things?
Jonathan Janz: The news about Don was really a shock. He’s a great editor and a great person, so mainly I just felt really bad for him. After that, the news of the publisher going under wasn’t too shocking. I figured if they were letting Don go, they were probably hurting for money, so while it was sad for the employees—many of whom remain my friends—that second piece of news wasn’t as surprising.
As far as emotions go, in addition to feeling terrible for those more directly impacted, I did experience a lot of uncertainty about the future. Everything has worked out really well, but at the time it was a giant unknown.
STH: What did you do in the space between Samhain and then the start up of Flame Tree Press?
JJ: This sounds simplistic, but I just wrote. Even though I didn’t know where the books I was working on would end up, I knew I needed to keep writing. Fretting about events out of my control wasn’t going to be productive, so I threw myself into my work. So in the years between Samhain and Flame Tree, I wrote THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, NIGHTMARE WORLD, THE DARK GAME, THE DISMEMBERED, and I began CHILDREN OF THE DARK 2.
STH: Let’s talk Children of the Dark for a second. This was a very well received book. It’s a part of your Savage Species (one of my personal favorites) world. I know your King influence bleeds through with this one, especially with Will Burgess. Whereas with Savage Species there was gore galore like a dark Ketchum novel or something from Richard Laymon, with COTD I get a lot of that THE BODY vibe. More about the characters and the heart of this kid rather than the all-out blitz style of its predecessor. Would you say that’s an accurate take? If so, was that intentional or did it just come out that way? JJ: I’d say that’s very accurate. With SAVAGE SPECIES, I wanted a no-holds-barred, bloody, grueling epic. With CHILDREN OF THE DARK, the story was largely, as you allude to with your reference to THE BODY, about the pain of growing up and the difficulties this kid was experiencing. So like you said, even though the stories are in the same universe, they’re very different animals. I realized this when writing the sequel to COTD. My initial idea was to combine the worlds of SAVAGE SPECIES and CHILDREN OF THE DARK, but that changed as I wrote the sequel. So while there are some intersections, the story really remained a COTD story and true to the tone of the first book. STH: So, Don and Flame Tree Press happens. Did he come to you, or were you guys in constant contact and it sort of just happened? JJ: We kept in contact. Not constantly, but I’d say every couple of months we’d email, and a few times we spoke by phone. The one thing we knew was that, wherever we landed, we wanted to work on more projects together. I got the news about Flame Tree when my family and I were in Virginia for Scares That Care in 2017. We were walking from a beach on the James River to our van when I checked my email and found out about Don’s new gig. I think I emailed him within a half hour or so, and we started talking about THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER. Since that story was set in Virginia, and I’d just wrapped it up, it was fresh in my mind and a natural first project to do with Don and Flame Tree.
STH: THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, like COTD, feels like another step forward in your writing. As someone that has read almost all your published works, I feel like your growing more and more comfortable with each release, and with that becoming even more fearless as a writer. Does it feel that way to you? JJ: Thank you so much, Glenn! I truly appreciate that. Yes, it does feel like I’m progressing, but it’s an incredibly subtle and gradual progress. I’m fond of all my books, but I really noticed it a couple months ago when reading through HOUSE OF SKIN, which is the first novel I wrote (and the second one published). I really like the story, but I’m a very different writer now than I was then. It feels good, but I know I’m nowhere near a finished product and will never be finished in my writerly walk. I have to constantly strive to improve, to grow, and to learn. I’m too self-critical to ever be satisfied. STH: SIREN is landing on a lot of Top 10 lists right now, I know that’s gratifying. Do you let that good feeling linger and use it going forward, or are you more the type that is focused on that next release and coming at it with the need to prove yourself again?
JJ: Like you say, it is gratifying, and it feels wonderful to have one’s work acknowledged, but I don’t bask in that glow for too long. That need to create is too strong. And I also always want to make my next book better than my last. Hopefully, I did that with THE DARK GAME, and I hope to do it again with the titles coming in late 2019 and 2020. STH: THE DARK GAME comes out in April. I’m reading an ARC now, and I believe this is my favorite book of yours so far. How much fun did you have crafting the antagonist in this one? Without giving anything away, what were your favorite aspects of Roderick Wells to create and play around with? JJ: That’s so great to hear! I worked very hard on THE DARK GAME, so it’s awesome to hear you’re enjoying it. I had a lot of fun with it. The Roderick Wells character was at the center of the story, so I needed him to be all sorts of things: strong, elusive…incisive yet cryptic. He had to represent both writers and critics, both nurturing teachers and cruel taskmasters. Plus (and here, like you said, I’m trying not to give anything away), there are elements of his character that aren’t revealed until later. That means I have to play fair with the reader by hinting at those unexpressed character elements without completely revealing the character’s secrets. Walking that tightrope was a challenge, but it was a rewarding one. I think the aspect of Wells’s character I enjoyed the most was his love of power and how he reacted when that supremacy was threatened. There are some exchanges between him and a character named Sherilyn that were a blast to write. STH: There’s a lot of writers in here. I’m imagining that there are aspects of your own strengths and self-perceived weaknesses in each of these characters. At this stage in your career, with regards to your writing skills, what do you see as your best assets and what areas are your constantly targeting to improve upon? JJ: Wow, that’s extremely insightful! Yes, you do get some of that in the novel. Rick Forrester, for example, is a lot like me before I got anything published. He’s been rejected, told he’s not good enough, and basically dismissed. Like Rick, I once received a very chilly reaction from the head of a collegiate writing program, so that experience made its way directly into the novel.
Regarding the second part of your question, this doesn’t sound sexy, but I think my best assets as a writer are my support network, my willingness to learn, and my work ethic. My wife and kids always provide me with a bedrock, so I know that when a story isn’t going well or I face some other kind of adversity, what really matters—my family—will remain intact. I’ve been teaching for twenty-three years and teaching Creative Writing for seventeen of those, and I believe these experiences help me to remain grounded and focused on growing. Just as I’m helping my students evolve, I’m evolving too. I also never quit. Because that option is never on the table, I concentrate on ways to solve problems rather than allowing them to defeat me.
With regard to areas of improvement, I want to keep getting better at blazing new trails. Horror is a vast realm, and there are many untouched or rarely-trod areas in the genre. Therefore, I want to constantly aim to examine those and maximize their potential.
STH: One last thing, before we go. Looking back on THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE, which has remained one of my very favorite stories you wrote, what are your thoughts and memories on that story and its release? JJ: I’m so glad you liked that one! That story was a major moment of growth for me because it forced me to use dialogue to carry a story. Yes, there’s description; yes, there are the other essentials of storytelling. But it’s the dialogue that reveals character, that unveils plot twists, that adds mystery and depth. I had to develop my dialogue-writing skills in “The Clearing of Travis Coble,” and looking back, I view that exercise as a moment of profound growth for me. Thanks again for mentioning it!
STH:I love it and THE DARK GAME, so I will keep praising them from the mountains! Thanks for taking the time, good sir.
JJ: Thank you, Glenn. I had a blast!
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, and Jack Ketchum; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal.
His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.
You can sign up for his newsletter, and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.
Quite possibly Janz’s best work yet. His skills continue to sharpen, and it really feels like he’s comfortable as hell behind that keyboard now. There’s a piece about fearlessness in this book, and I think it’s safe to say Janz is feeling just that-fearless. This was by far my favorite cast of characters in any of his books, and the story read like something straight out of the Leisure Books Horror Club heyday!
THE DARK GAME is a horror gem.
SHARE THE HORROR: You’ve had quite a year. I’ve seen three titles of yours popping up on the Best Of lists–SKULLFACE BOY, STIRRING THE SHEETS and the one that I absolutely loved, OUT BEHIND THE BARN co-written with John Boden. How long did each of these books take to complete?
CHAD LUTZKE: I think a few months for each one. I can’t remember exactly, but I think SKULLFACE BOY, though it’s twice as long as the others, took the shortest amount of time. It was just really easy to write because I was so into it, and while I pants everything I write, that one even more so. I had no idea where I was going with it other than eventually getting the protagonist to the beach. SHEETS felt like it took much longer because it was depressing being in that mindset of losing loved ones and being alone. As far as OUT BEHIND THE BARN goes, once John and I actually started working on it, it went pretty fast. Maybe 4 to 6 weeks? Plus we already had Boden’s short that we were using as a skeleton.
STH: Which one are you most proud of? CL: SKULLFACE BOY because it was kind of experimental and it turned out to be a lot of people’s favorites, even surpassing OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, which I wasn’t sure I could do.
STH. You have yet another new book. Tell us a little about it. CL: The book is called THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU. For that one, the reader is basically a fly on the wall, watching a group of kids in their late teens go through love, let downs, tragedy, drugs and alcohol. I’ve been comparing it to the films KIDS, RIVER’S EDGE and DAZED & CONFUSED. It definitely gets dark. And in a very personal way the book is heavily influenced by The Cure’s Disintegration album.
STH: Your style is unique. Of Foster Homes and Flies was brilliant. It was one of the most original coming-of-age stories I’ve ever read. Do you ever see yourself going for a straight forward horror story, or is it just not appealing to you?
CL: I really appreciate that. Thank you! I really don’t have any interest in doing anything I feel has been done before. I really try and come up with concepts I feel are original and fresh. Sometimes I just want to write some silly slasher that is outlandishly absurd, but I don’t know if I could make it entertaining enough to not have it feel like everything else that’s already been done, and if I can’t then I won’t bother. I prefer to write about things that have to do with the human condition, things we can all relate to. The horrors of the heart and mind.
STH: Who are some of your favorite horror authors past and current. CL: The usual suspects like King, Koontz, McCammon, Poe, Matheson, Serling. For some of the newer guys, I’m a big fan of Stephen Graham Jones and Joe Hill. But I think my style more reflects my sincere love for Ketchum and Lansdale.
#FridayReads: DOUBLE BARREL HORROR VOL.2, Michael Weber, editor, two stories each by John Boden, Simon Dewar, Patrick Freivald, Chad Lutzke, Karen Runge and M.B. Vujacic, strong work, Lutzke and Runge standouts
STH: I know Jack Ketchum read Of Foster Homes and Flies. What was the interaction like with him? I know when he read my book, Things We Fear, I saved every email from him. What were those interactions like with you guys and what would you say was Jack’s number one strength as a writer? CL: This may be a long answer because I really miss Dallas and think the world of him and his ability to write. I’ve told this story before, maybe a few times, so some may be tired of hearing it but I don’t care. I love sharing how awesome Dallas was. My communication with him was short, only over the course of a year, and it started by a friend of mine congratulating me on Jack Ketchum tweeting about my book. I had no idea what he was talking about so he sent me a link and I kind of never left the cloud I found myself on that day. I reached out to Kevin, the guy who run the Ketchum website, and asked if he’d forward an email to Dallas for me. I think it was within an hour Dallas contacted me. Now, I keep in contact with a few “famous” people in the music world and I’m very careful about making sure I don’t get all fanboy on them and I keep things to a minimum and that’s how I played it with Dallas and I wished I hadn’t. I wished I would have gotten closer with him, reached out more, because I now know he was that kind of guy. He wouldn’t have minded. Months went by and he tweeted about an anthology I was in, calling the two stories I contributed as standouts. By this time, I had already had Dallas’ home address and I had sent him a book (WALLFLOWER). Then when I was doing the final draft on STIRRING THE SHEETS for my publisher, I reached out to Dallas and asked him for a blurb. He told me that he doesn’t just hand them out, that he would have to love the book. And then he told me “But since it’s you, I’d love to read it.” He was dying at the time and I had no idea. I scrambled to get the cover together for SHEETS and we were having issues because I wasn’t using a template because we were creating a custom-sized book, so the cover kept getting rejected. Finally, all the files were accepted and I had spoken with Dallas again, he was looking forward to the book. He didn’t know this, but he even had a little cameo in it as Dallas Doud, “the neighbor who maybe smokes too much.” The day we were to send the book to Dallas I got a message on Facebook from a friend that Dallas had passed. I had no idea he was sick. No idea. And all I kept thinking was “Who does that? Who agrees two weeks before their death, while their sick with cancer, to read someone’s book?” That told me everything I needed to know about the man and wished I would have reached out more than I did. Within minutes I contacted my publisher and had him dedicate the book to Dallas.
As far as his strengths as a writer, he just had this way of putting words together in a sentence that completely floor you. When you’re reading Ketchum you’re never safe because you know at any moment he’ll go straight for the dark, and when he does it’s worded in a way that is profoundly disturbing. Nobody does that like him. He also shares my love for human horror, fictionalizing things that either did happen or could absolutely happen. Or maybe is happening somewhere right now. In a nutshell, the way the man crafted a sentence was like no other. He knew exactly what to say to get under the reader’s skin, and with few words.
STH: He is certainly missed. I’m right there with you. we definitely lost , not just a great writer, but one of the most amazing people in our business.
What’s up ahead for you this year?
Lutzke: THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU will be out January 11th. Unfortunately, you caught me at a time where a lot of the cool stuff I can’t even talk about yet. There are a handful of anthologies I’m in that will be out in spring and summer that I can’t name yet. I’ve gotten a few anthology invites I still need to write for and I assume those will also be out this year. I have a huge deal coming sometime this summer that I can’t talk about yet. I signed the contract but haven’t been given the go-ahead. I’ll be in another Corpus Press anthology due out this summer. July, I believe. This spring/early summer I will be putting out a collection of stories that are all Patreon exclusives. The paperback will only be available to my patrons, but the Kindle will be available to everyone else. Also, I’m part of the editorial team that is resurrecting Shock Totem Magazine and we’ve got some great surprises with that one and we’re all neck deep in reading slush right now from the open call, but the first return issue should be out late spring/early summer. And Boden and I are going to see what we can do about releasing another novella before the year is up. Overall, the plan is to be even more prolific than I was last year and with some other things I’ve got in the works I hope to have that happen.
STH: Well, I think I have a story in that Corpus Press anthology with you and a few of our friends. That should be rad. Also, I cannot wait to dive into THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU.
Chad Luztke lives in Michigan with his wife and children. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene, offering articles, reviews, and artwork. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. He’s had a few dozen stories published, and some of his books include: OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, WALLFLOWER, STIRRING THE SHEETS, SKULLFACE BOY, and THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU.
Catherine Cavendish is the British author of THE PENDLE CURSE, WAKING THE ANCIENTS, and many more. She’s got a thing for Gothic tales and writes a damn near perfect one herself. Her latest release, THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE (Flame Tree Press, Out January 10th!) , adds to her growing legacy of wonderful ghost stories.
She sits down for a quick chat with Share the Horror to talk about the new book and her new publisher, Flame Tree Press.
Share The Horror: What’s done is done. Samhain Publishing implodes, you did well for yourself between that happening and now, landing back with our bud, Don D’Auria, you’ve found a home with Flame Tree Press. Congratulations!
Let’s talk about the new book, THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE. It’s a fabulous read. When did you start writing this one and is there any of the stories “history” that is based of real life? Catherine Cavendish: Thank you. Yes, I’m delighted to be working with Don again and impressed with Flame Tree Press.
As for THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE, the location is inspired by one of Edinburgh’s leading tourist attractions – The Real Mary King’s Close – which is located on the Royal Mile, in the city’s Old Town, between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Edinburgh was built on a granite rock and over the centuries became so crowded, they had to build upwards and as close together as possible – hence the creation of the Closes. The buildings were several stories high, and were effectively the world’s first skyscrapers.
As time went by, the richer folk moved out to the newly built New Town and the Closes became poorly maintained tenements. I reference all of this in my story. In common with my creation of Henderson Close, The Real Mary King’s Close is reputed to be extremely haunted. It’s a fascinating and spooky place to visit. I’ve been there at least three times and will be going back. Likewise, some scenes occur in Greyfriars Kirkyard which is real and has many legends associated with it – including the infamous Mackenzie Poltergeist. STH: I loved the way you flawlessly and seamlessly went back and forth to the past and present day within the story. I know some authors get off track. I’ve read stories where the back and forth is jarring and I find myself wanting to get back to the present story line. Yours was done extremely well. Do you find that an easy thing to do in a book? How much attention do you place on making sure it doesn’t take away from the current story you’re trying to tell? CC: I have always been comfortable writing about the past – in some ways more than the present. I’m one of these nerdy types who actually enjoys doing the research to get historical details as accurate as possible, although I do try and avoid getting too bogged down in it where the story is concerned. It does help me to have the back story in my head when I write though. It’s a balancing act and I have to stop myself getting so wrapped up in the historical bit that I neglect the present day. I have to remind myself
that the past is generally there because it is influencing what is happening in the present. STH: Who was your favorite character to write in this one and why?
That’s a tough one. I probably felt closest to Hannah because of where she is in her life, but I have a real soft spot for Miss Carmichael who was quite courageous in her own quiet way. George is a great guy I would love to have as a friend and go for a ‘wee dram’ with. Mairead was fun to write because, of all of them, her character is the most complex. Donald Bain was a nasty piece of work so I enjoyed writing him too. I haven’t done very well with this question, have I? 😉 STH: Ha! No worries. You did a fantastic crafting each of them. I can see how it’d be hard to choose.
For me, you’re the current queen of Gothic ghost tales. Would you ever consider switching it up, trying a slasher or vampire or werewolf story, or are you quite comfortable in your lane?
CC: That’s kind of you to say. I am up against some tough competition for that title ☺. I will confess that I don’t feel comfortable delving too deep into slasher territory – although there is some violence in my stories, where the story warrants it. I think others write that type of graphic horror much better than I do. I’m talking to one just now, aren’t I?
Ditto with vampires and werewolves. I don’t exclusively write Gothic but do feel very much at home among the shadows, the darkness and all things ghostly…
STH: I know Don always wants to know what we have for him next. So, I know this book is just coming out, but is there another story ready or in-progress that we might see on the Flame Tree line?
CC: Well, there is a novel I have recently completed…
STH: Thanks for the quick chat, Cat. Much luck and success for you and THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE.
CC: Thank you so much, Glenn. Always a pleasure to chat with you.
Grab your copy of THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE here:
Hello, my name’s Catherine Cavendish and I write horror fiction – frequently with ghostly, supernatural, Gothic and haunted house themes.
Out now- from Kensington-Lyrical – the third in a trilogy – DAMNED BY THE ANCIENTS – set in Egypt and Vienna and featuring the sinister Dr. Emeryk Quintillus whose obsession has stayed with him past the grave. This completes the NEMESIS OF THE GODS trilogy which started with WRATH OF THE ANCIENTS, followed by WAKING THE ANCIENTS.
My novellas COLD REVENGE, MISS ABIGAIL’S ROOM, THE DEMONS OF CAMBIAN STREET, THE DEVIL INSIDE HER and THE SECOND WIFE have now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.
My novels THE DEVIL’S SERENADE and SAVING GRACE DEVINE have also been released in new editions by Crossroad Press, as have my novel of the Lancashire Witches – THE PENDLE CURSE – and my novellas, LINDEN MANOR and DARK AVENGING ANGEL.
I live with a long-suffering husband and a delightful black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshiped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue.
Our home is in a rambling building dating back to the mid 18th century, haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.
When not slaving over a hot computer, I enjoy wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.
Currently reading PRACTITIONERS (Bloodshot Books) from Patrick Lacey and Matt Hayward. While I loved Lacey’s BONE SAW and really enjoyed Hayward’s THE FAITHFUL, this one maybe be the best book of the three.
I’m going to try like hell to squeeze these last three 2018 releases into my reading schedule before making my end of the year Top 10 (or 15) list.
I’ve hear fantastic things about Sorensen’s THE NIGHTMARE ROOM and Starnd’s BRING HER BACK. And Flower’s THE LAST HELLFIGHTER has one of the best covers (thanks to Michael Bray) of the year. And it’s only 99 cents! this very minute. Can’t pass on that. Get a copy here: THE LAST HELLFIGHTER
My two favorite reads of the year have definitely been RIO YOUERS- HALCYON and GWENDOLYN KISTE- THE RUST MAIDENS. It’s going to be hard for anyone to top either of those, but we’ll see.
Feel free to comment with what you have left to read for 2018.
2018 marked the expansion of my own publishing company, ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING. I’ve used the name to self-publish pieces from time to time between traditionally published works, but this year I reached out to some fellow writers to see if they’d be interested in having some of their works under my umbrella.
It is definitely a hard thing to do. Gathering covers, reviews, making sure the product looks good, and making sure everyone involved is happy. It’s time consuming,but it is a true labor of love. I haven’t figured out how much I’ll have time for in 2019, but it looks good that we will get the sequel to THE BEAST OF BRENTON WOODS from Jackson R. Thomas (RISE), plus my sequel to my own werewolf novel, BLOOD AND RAIN.
The biggest project will be SURVIVE WITH ME, our first official anthology. Aiming for July on that one. It should include a number of great stories from my old Samhain Publishing cohorts, with each tale built around the survival theme. This one will be for charity. Stay tuned for much more in the months to come.
Other than that, I have a couple projects that I’m looking at for possible release. I just want to make sure I can put the right amount of effort into each of them. Writing and promoting my own works certainly made things a little more difficult, but it was a learning experience and one I hope will lead to more success going forward.
Thank you so very much to my team: Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, Jason Lynch, Michael Bray, and Lori Michelle for their contributions behind the scenes.
Also, thanks to David Bernstein, Mick Ridgewell, and Jackson R. Thomas for trusting me with their stories.
Extra special thanks to Michelle Garza, Melissa Lason, and Somer Canon for contributing to our freebie 2018 sampler (which you can get for free from Barnes and Noble or Smashwords).
Check out all the releases from 2018 below. Click on the covers to purchase.
THE BEAST OF BRENTON WOODS by Jackson R. Thomas (June 2018)
Ever since the Leisure Books Horror Club sent me his novel, The 13th, I have been a huge fan of John Everson’s. His style is no bull, straight at ya, good old fashion horror. There’s always blood, guts, sex, monsters, and usually, beer.
With his latest THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (Flame Tree Press), Everson continues his run of fun horror novels that will get under your skin and make it hard to sleep.
THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is about a haunted house where witches had sacrificed and sliced and diced folks back in the day. Now, a new owner wants to turn this haunted shell into a full-on bloody house of horror attractions for Halloween.
The main character in the book, Mike, is a contractor brought on to repair the rotting floors and secure the place to make sure it’s safe for the thousands of expected attendees.
But is the house truly empty? Or is there something patiently waiting for all that is coming.
You’ll have to read it yourself to find out!
While I did prefer the fantastic first half of the book ( and the end of the first part really had me on the edge of my seat and needing to know what was going to happen), the second half, while bloody and full of nice death scenes, lost a little of the momentum for me.
All in all, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is another solid effort in the Everson canon. There’s plenty of wicked fun for all you horror book lovers out there.
I give THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY 4 stars!
John Everson is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Covenant, Sacrifice, The 13th, Siren and The Pumpkin Man, all released by Dorchester/Leisure Books in paperback and by Delirium, Necro and Bad Moon Books in limited hardcover. His sixth novel, NightWhere, was a 2012 Bram Stoker Award Finalist. The Family Tree, NightWhere and Violet Eyes, his “creepy spider novel” were released from Samhain Publishing. In January 2017, Redemption, the long-awaited sequel to his novels Covenant and Sacrifice was released. His 10th novel, The House By The Cemetery will be released in October 2018 from Flame Tree Press.