The first day of fall is upon us and we are bursting at the seams for more scary stories. I can think of little that is better than autumn wind, rustling leaves, and a chill crawling up your back! We are only halfway through our Books, Brews, and Boos introductions and thankfully have more scary stories to read and thrilling writers to discover.
Our next guest is actually a Richmond area native. We love horror... and we love it even more when it's roots are in our area! Admit it, you LOVE reading a book and seeing your town or state mentioned. I know I do! It gives me great pleasure to announce our next guest for 2016... D. Alexander Ward!!! <EEEK! So much excitement! RVA REPRESENT!!>
Mr. Ward has published two novels, one novella, and a collection of short stories. He is also an editor and has put together some very cool anthologies featuring some spectacular authors. His novel BENEATH ASH & BONE, "is a somewhat traditional Gothic horror/mystery tale. Except instead of set in Victorian England, it is set in Virginia (just like us!) during the time right before the Civil War. It concerns Sam Lock, the sheriff of a small town in the foothills of the mountains, who is summoned to a sprawling estate to search for a missing boy in the middle of a nasty winter blizzard, This sets off a series of events where Sam is trapped in the manor house not only because of the weather but also because of his obligations as a lawman, as he tries to solve the mysteries that he finds while he's there. This means battling his own demons as well as other evils that come to the fore, both human and supernatural.
"I've been told by some that it's a bit on the 'literary' side. So if you would like a Gothic fiction from Poe, the Bronte Sisters, and Susan Hill, mixed with the more contemporary Southern Gothic and Western touches of authors like Cormac McCarthy and Joe Lansdale, then BENEATH ASH & BONE might be right up your alley."
This is what Mr. Ward responded to our questions...
Who has most influenced your writing?
DW: Although my themes are often very different, I have to say that I'm always conjuring the presence of Poe and Lovecraft when I sit down at the keyboard. Even though their influences may not be glaringly obvious on the page.
What is your favorite book of the moment?
DW: My favorite book of 2016 so far isPAPER TIGERS by Damien Angelica Walters. I can't say enough about that book.
What was the moment you realized horror was the genre for you?
DW: I've had a love for fantastic, weird, and spooky things as far back as I can remember. In 8th grade though, I got into a lot of fiction on my own. Stories like "The Monkey's Paw" and "The Lottery" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" really whet my appetite and then losing myself in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, Ramsey Campbell, and Stephen King made me think maybe I could tell those kinds of stories, too. Then my 9th grade English teacher encouraged me to write, followed by a 10th grade Creative Writing teacher. After that, I was hooked.
What is your favorite character/monster you've written?
DW: It's hard to pick characters so let's go with favorite monster. It's going to sound like a predictable plug for the book but I really have to go with the Wasp King from BENEATH ASH & BONE. He's not terribly complex at all but everything else about him... whenever I think of him, it still gives me the creeps.
Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft?
DW: What the hell kind of question is that? Um... without Lovecraft there would be no King, so... LOVECRAFT is is!
Would you rather be a vampire with hemophilia or a werewolf with fleas?
DW: A werewolf with fleas. Whenever the flea bites got to be too much, you could just go into a blind, murderous rage and rip apart any and everyone near you. Hey, maybe that's why werewolves are usually so bloodthirsty. Might be on to something here.
If you could ask any celebrity(living or dead) to help you hide a body, who would you choose?
DW: A coked-out Chris Farley. Why? Because it would be HILARIOUS!
What unusual hobbies/interests do you have that you believe readers wouldn't expect from you?
DW: Music and cooking. Not at the same time, though. That would be weird.