So how did I begin writing horror?..
I suppose the writing bug bit me when I was six years old or so. I can thank my father for it. He kept his bookcases stuffed with worn paperbacks – Stephen King, Peter Benchley, Robert McCammon – just some of the names I got my hands on back then. I was alone often; my father worked grueling hours in our family business, & I had no choice but to rely on my mind for company. You don’t think about those things when you’re a kid – being alone, that is. You just go about your day; not until later in life do you take a step back & realize there was a void. Back then, I only knew that my father worked, worked, slept, worked. It wasn’t his fault. I finally “got it” once I entered the family business myself, but by then, the loner in me had been established. Solitude serves well when put to good use.
What I remember most is not reading those books from my father’s shelves but absorbing them anytime I had a chance. I’d sneak downstairs while my parents slept if only to read a few pages. I couldn’t pull myself away! A forbidden world had been opened , a portal through which there was no return. I started writing myself, mimicking at first the masters of horror whose control upon me was complete. Something else happened in the process – a movie reel activated inside my head, displaying my daydreams & nightmares in stunning clarity. Even now, after all these years, I can close my eyes & there it is, spinning round & round. Vibrant. Alive.
There was a time I never thought I’d get this far. By far, I mean writing seriously, period. For nearly fifteen years, I didn’t write a thing. Not… a… frigging… thing. There was always something. Not enough time due to the family business. Not enough time due to the business I eventually started. I’m man enough to admit now my excuses piled up. Sure, life gets in the way sometimes. Okay, all the time! Presently, I’m Mr. Mom during the day, raising my nearly 2-1/2-year-old daughter, while still managing my business. Talk about not having time! But it’s different now, and I’ll share the reason why.
Back then, I was scared. Shit scared. What if I can’t share the visions inside my head? What if I can’t actually craft a story? What if I can’t write a novel? Wah-wah-wah! Excuses, just like I said. Truth? I didn’t want to risk the prospect of failing at something I loved. I didn’t want to be crushed.
Do you think it’s easy to write? I stick myself inside a cage every time I do so. Exposed. My emotions, my experiences, they’re all there with no denials. And I offer no apologies. Sure, I write horror, but after careful inspection I often find a bloody sample from the heart upon my sleeve. I take my life, put it through the meat grinder until its pulpy, slap it onto a plate & serve it under your nose. Call it therapy. Call it what you will. My fiction is merely bits & pieces of what I was, what I hope to be.
I’ve had no schooling to develop my talent; there are no degrees adorning my walls. I call it hard work, determination & passion, & with passion comes the ability not only to dream but to shape the dream. I don’t write for the money. I don’t write for the promise of money. I write only for the promise I made myself – one day, you will be known. Everyday, I visualize my novels upon bookstore shelves around the country. Everyday, I visualize someone reading my fiction & the impact it may have upon them. Each morning, I wake & say, “Win the day.” That’s my mantra. And damned if I don’t try my hardest.
In 2005, I decided enough was enough. Like the little engine that could, almost entirely in longhand, I wrote my first 110,000 word novel, “Flowers for Evelene.”
I proved the one thing I’d been waiting for all my life – I wasn’t scared anymore.
But you will be…