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Xmas eBook Giveaway!

 

You are only four clicks away from possibly winning 10 Crystal Lake eBook titles. Including Eidolon Avenue by Jonathan Winn; Blackwater Val by Bill Gorman; Wind Chill by Patrick Rutigliano; Through a Mirror, Darkly by Kevin Lucia; Nameless byMercedes Murdock Yardley; Fear the Reaper (anthology); Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (anthology); Run to Ground by Jasper Bark; Tales from The Lake Vol.2 (anthology), and Writers on Writing Vol.4 (non-fiction).

Now that’s what I call holiday reading!

Just answer the question to enter (ends December 26th). And remember to share your special URL once entered. For every person who joins because they clicked on your link, you’ll get five more entries.

Here’s that link again.

Now go get your books!

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Dec 19, 2016   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Our Editing and Mentorship programs

Attention authors.
 
Crystal Lake Publishing has open spots for authors looking for edits or mentorship.
 
Since I’m now publishing full time, I’ve decided to put some of that time into editing and mentoring along with the Crystal Lake team, specifically editors Monique-Cherie Snyman and Ben Eads.
 
These are highly beneficial programs, not just for your craft, but your career. These are not stuff taught in books, since they’re considered industry secrets. Why do we share them? You’ll find out why once you spend more time with us. 😉
 
  Crystal Lake Publishing   Dec 15, 2016   Blog   2 Comments Read More

Out today: WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE by Mark Allan Gunnells and Aaron Dries

There are monsters in this world. And they used to be us. Now it's time to euthanize to survive in a hospice where Emily, a woman haunted by her past, only wants to do her job and be the best mother possible.

Euthanize to survive
where-the-dead-go-full-cover-small
Post-infection Chicago. Christmas.

Inside The Hospice, Emily and her fellow nurses do their rounds. Here, men and women live out their final days in comfort, segregated from society, and are then humanely terminated before fate turns them into marrow-craving monsters known as ‘Smilers.’ Outside these imposing walls, rabid protesters swarm with signs, caught up in the heat of their hatred.

Emily, a woman haunted by her past, only wants to do her job and be the best mother possible. But in a world where mortality means nothing, where guns are drawn in fear and nobody seems safe anymore – at what cost will this pursuit come? And through it all, the soon to be dead remain silent, ever smiling. Such is their curse. 

This emotional, political novel comes from two of horror’s freshest voices, and puts a new spin on an eternal topic: the undead. In the spirit of George A Romero meets Jack Ketchum, Where the Dead Go to Die it is an unforgettable epilogue to the zombie genre, one that will leave you shaken and questioning right from wrong…even when it’s the only right left.

It won't be long before that snow-speckled ground will be salted by blood.

Amazon
Goodreads

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Dec 03, 2016   Blog   0 Comment Read More

New non-fiction release

The WRITERS ON WRITING VOL.1 – 4 OMNIBUS is now available in paperback and eBook formats, plus there’s an exclusive WRITERS ON WRITING content page link early in the eBook, which includes:
-Links to videos
-Essays by authors
-Interviews with authors
-Free eBooks by some of the authors
-Some hilarious videos by WoW contributors

Writers on Writing paperback cover

Ready to unleash the author in you?

The Infrastructure of the Gods by Brian Hodge

The Writer’s Purgatory by Monique Snyman

Why Rejection is Still Important by Kevin Lucia

Real Writers Steal Time by Mercedes M. Yardley

What Right Do I Have to Write by Jasper Bark

Go Pace Yourself by Jack Ketchum

A Little Infusion of Magic by Dave-Brendon de Burgh

Confronting Your Fears in Fiction by Todd Keisling

Once More with Feeling by Tim Waggoner

Embracing Your Inner Shitness by James Everington

The Forgotten Art of Short Story by Mark Allan Gunnells

Adventures in Teaching Creative Writing by Lucy A. Snyder

Submit (to psychology) for Acceptance by Daniel I. Russell

Character Building by Theresa Derwin

Heroes and Villains by Paul Kane

Do Your Worst by Jonathan Winn

Creating Effective Characters by Hal Bodner

Fictional Emotions; Emotional Fictions by James Everington

Home Sweet Home by Ben Eads

You by Kealan Patrick Burke

The art of becoming a book reviewer by Nerine Dorman

Treating Fiction like a Relationship by Jonathan Janz

How to Write Killer Poetry by Stephanie M. Wytovich

Happy Little Trees by Michael Knost

In Lieu of Patience Bring Diversity by Kenneth W. Cain

Networking is Scary, but Essential by Doug Murano

Are You In The Mood? by Sheldon Higdon

What if Every Novel is a Horror Novel? by Steve Diamond

Description by Patrick Freivald

A First-Time Novelist’s Odyssey by William Gorman

I Am Setting by J.S. Breukelaar

Finding Your Voice by Lynda E. Rucker

Learn the craft of writing from those who know it best:
Amazon
Goodreads

 
Writers on Writing
Writers on Writing: Volume 1
Writers on Writing Volume 1-4 Omnibus: An Author’s Guide
Writers on Writing: Volume 2
Writers on Writing: Volume 3

Writers on Writing: Volume 3

$2,99

Learn the craft of writing from those who know it best.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Writers on Writing: Vol. 4
  Crystal Lake Publishing   Dec 01, 2016   Blog   0 Comment Read More

The Deep End interview with Jack Ketchum

jack-ketchum-add-copyright_steve_thorntonPhoto Copyright ©Steve Thornton


Joe Mynhardt: Tell us a bit (or a lot) more about your childhood. Primary school, High school, etc. How do you think your experiences benefited or influenced your career?

Jack Ketchum: When I was growing up, an only child, I learned early on how to amuse myself with my own imagination. Luckily our home was on a dead-end street surrounded by woods and a stream that ran right behind our house so there was plenty to explore and plenty to feed that imagination. I was constantly making up stories, whether traipsing through the woods or playing with my toy soldiers and dinosaurs down by the stream. All that was on the positive side. On the negative side, my parents fought bitterly nights and our house was small, so I heard quite a lot of it even with the door closed to my bedroom. I think that scared me young, and I stayed scared, and I guess that fed into the darker side of my imagination. By the time I hit junior high school I was already writing, getting both the good stuff and the bad stuff out of me.


Joe: Can you recall a moment where you had to choose between being an author/artist and another career? A decisive moment where you decided to go all out?

Jack: Yeah. It was 1976 and I was working—way overworking—as a literary agent here in New York City. It was pouring rain that day after work and I had a stack of manuscripts under my arm to read that night, with nothing to protect them, and I was wearing a Burberry raincoat which was decidedly not waterproof and a pair of expensive Paul Stuart shoes that were getting ruined and there were no cabs around and then HURRAH! there was one and I reached for the door just as a little old lady did too, and I pushed her out of my way and immediately thought, what have I done? Who am I? I apologized profusely and suggested we share the cab and she said yes and got in. I kept explaining to her that I wasn’t really that kind of guy, that I was really, really sorry and it was just a hideous day at work and she just kept nodding and saying uh-huh – she wouldn’t let me off the hook for a minute, bless her heart. When I got home that evening I told Paula and said, I’ve really got to quit this job and she said, oh yes, You do.


Joe: How did you respond to your very first success as an author? Was it just rewarding, or did it motivate you even more? Or, did it perhaps feel underwhelming, which motivated you to even greater heights? 

Jack: When I was writing for the magazines, right after dumping the job, I was delighted to find out I was actually able to support myself by writing full-time. And it was motivating as all hell. Validating. I couldn’t wait to get up on the morning. Then, when I wrote OFF SEASON in 1980-81 and Ballantine published it, I was absolutely thrilled – and then, scared. Because who knew? maybe I was a one-shot wonder, and it took me two more books to convince myself that wasn’t the case, that I was going to be in this for the duration.


Joe: How has your career as an author affected relationships with friends and family?

Jack: What friends and family? Just kidding. I don’t think it’s done much. Most of my close friends are New Yorkers, and New Yorkers are less impressed by success than most people I think – they more or less expect it. What my career has done, however, it to expose me to a lot of people from all walks of life in all kinds of jobs and situations I probably would never have met were it not for my being out there, if you know what I mean. Great perk.
 

Joe: Which author most influenced your early career? And who still does?
 
Jack: Career or writing? Writing would be Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson and Robert Bloch as a teenager, then in college Harold Pinter, Henry Miller, Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, D. H. Lawrence, Edward Albee. Later, Raymond Chandler, Peter Straub, Charles Bukowski, Steve King. I’m still “influenced” by every good book I read, and happily, there are a lot of them. As to my career, Robert Bloch early on. He encouraged me when I was just a green kid, straight through until the day he died. I wouldn’t be here without Bob. Of that I’m morally certain. Then, once I started publishing, Stephen King. He’s been a wonderful booster for my work for years now, right up to the present, with a terrific blurb for THE SECRET LIFE OF SOULS.


Joe: Instead of just focusing on your most successful work, which story are you the proudest of, a story that managed to capture a piece of who you are?

Jack: I like RETURNS, about a man—a ghost—who comes back for his cat.
 

Joe: How do you feel when you don’t make your target words for the day?

Jack: I don’t have a set of target words. I write until I start to feel stupid. Then I stop. Before I have to rip out whatever else I might continue to stupidly write the following day.


Joe: What’s the most difficult topic for you to write?

Jack: Animal abuse. There’s a book I’d like to write someday on the subject, but I don’t know if I want to live with those images in my head long enough to do so. Maybe one day I’ll get up the nerve, but I dunno…

 
Joe: What do you do to distract you enough to actually relax a bit? Or do you always think about writing?

Jack: I’m not obsessive enough to think about writing all day. That would be awful! I read a lot—on average, about a book and a half a week—and I watch a lot of movies. Often one a night for long stretches of time. Netflix makes little on me. Then, most days when I finish writing and I’ve fed the cats, I hit my neighbourhood bar for an hour, hour and a half, and see what some of my friends are up to.


Joe: Tell us a bit about the people you met while researching a book. Are you still friends with some of them?

Jack: I’ve met kindergarten teachers and foot-fetishists, doctors, cops and dominatrixes. If you get people going on something they know about, almost everyone’s happy to talk with you. But the only ongoing relationship I’ve had that began as mere research was with Richard Carey, an ex-Vietnam vet I met while researching COVER, whose wife and he were incredibly generous in sharing their experiences of that period with me over drinks and dinner. After a while the drinks and dinner became such fun they were just as important as the research. I miss them very much.
 

Joe: Outside of the actual craft, what is the most useful skill you learnt from being an author?

Jack: Learning to really watch and listen. As a kid I always felt like an outsider, so I got pretty good at both things as a kind of survival mechanism early on. But knowing I could use what I saw and heard in the course of a story made me hone those skills to a much finer degree. Suddenly I was not only learning just to fit in, I was stealing! Eavesdropping is stealing, after all. And everybody knows that if you don’t get caught, stealing’s a whole lot of fun.
 

Joe: How did being author change you as a person?

Jack: To quote Joyce Carol Oates, “I never change, I just become more myself.” Writing full-time for me coincided with my reaching my 30s, and I think you’re not exactly comfortable in your own shoes until you reach your 30s. Before that, it’s all exploration, testing the boundaries of who you are and might become. But then if you’re lucky you can start to relax more, poke at those boundaries rather than trying to dynamite them, expand on what you know yourself to be. In my case the two sides of my personality became more defined. The solitary part was quite happy in my own company, writing when I wanted to allowing myself to lie fallow when I didn’t. The social part of me started going to Cons, doing readings, some minor acting, hitting the bar for an hour or so evenings instead of slamming it all night long.


Joe: Which response / comment from a reader has touched you the most throughout your career?

Jack: There have been many wonderful comments over the years and I’m loathe to just pick one  Some are book-specific – like the times I’ve been told by women that they were abused as kids and that THE GIRL NEXT DOOR helped them work through that. Others are more general but just as rewarding. People telling me that my books or a given book started them reading for pleasure for the first time, that it had become a lifelong habit since. You get that from somebody? Boy it makes you smile!

 
Joe: What is your life-long goal as an author?

Jack: Reached that already. To live a life of words, emotions and ideas, to share that life with others—and never again have to wear a godamn tie to go to work.
 

Joe: What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Jack: Hell, I dunno. How about I give you an epitaph instead. “Here lies Jack Ketchum. The other Jack Ketchum. The one they didn’t hang.”

  

 

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Nov 23, 2016   Blog   1 Comment Read More

New staff member

Kya Aliana Shore is an incredibly busy and talented lady (just the type of person I like to work with), and she’s signed on as Crystal Lake Publishing’s Social Media and Email Marketing Specialist. There are some big projects coming up, and it’s great having her in my corner.

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Sign up now so you don’t miss Kya’s Crystal Lake debut newsletter later this month (plus receive two free eBooks).

Kya Shore is only 21 years old, though she has been writing YA horror novels for nearly a decade. She is the founder of Aspirations Press, publisher of The Dreams Come True Anthology – A yearly anthology that publishes horror stories by young authors ages 6-18! She lives in the beautiful Virginia/DC area. She works as a social media specialist and copywriter: promoting, advertising, and writing marketing materials for businesses, authors, and publishers alike. In her free time, you can often find her in the library with her nose in a book, or working on her latest YA novel.

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Nov 14, 2016   Blog   1 Comment Read More

Interior artwork reveal

Coming December 2nd, 2016 from Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells. Artwork by Aaron himself:

escape

faceoff

“Just when you thought the undead had been bled dry, Dries and Gunnells have created an original, compelling novel that breathes new life into the genre once again. Highly recommended.” – Patrick Lacey, author of DREAM WOODS and SLEEP PARALYSIS

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Nov 09, 2016   Blog   0 Comment Read More

New Release – Writers on Writing Vol.4

 

WRITERS ON WRITING VOL.4 – Learn the craft of writing from those who know it best.
 
writers on writing 4 cover
This is Writers On Writing – An Author’s Guide, where your favorite authors share their secrets in the ultimate guide to becoming and being an author. 
 
Blunt Force Trauma: How to Write Killer Poetry by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Happy Little Trees by Michael Knost
In Lieu of Patience Bring Diversity by Kenneth W. Cain
Networking is Scary, but Essential by Doug Murano
Are You In The Mood? by Sheldon Higdon
What if Every Novel is a Horror Novel? by Steve Diamond
Description: You Can’t Win so Why Play by Patrick Freivald
Long Night’s Journey Into…This? A First-Time Novelist’s Odyssey by William Gorman
I Am Setting by J.S. Breukelaar
Finding Your Voice by Lynda E. Rucker

Are you ready to unleash the author in you?

 
Writers on Writing
Writers on Writing: Volume 1
Writers on Writing Volume 1-4 Omnibus: An Author’s Guide
Writers on Writing: Volume 2
Writers on Writing: Volume 3

Writers on Writing: Volume 3

$2,99

Learn the craft of writing from those who know it best.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Writers on Writing: Vol. 4
  Crystal Lake Publishing   Oct 30, 2016   Blog   1 Comment Read More

New YouTube venture – Drops of Ink with Lady Lecter

 

Crystal Lake Publishing is proud to present Lady Lecter’s Drops of Ink YouTube show.

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The first episode is now live with Lady Lecter reading from Mark Sheldon’s Sarah Killian novel. Be sure to like her Facebook page, as well.

If you enjoy hearing from Lady Lecter, be sure to support her by joining us behind the scenes on Patreon.

 

Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (For Hire!)

Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (For Hire!)

$3,99
Author:

Meet Sarah Killian, a professional serial killer (for hire!) with a twisted sense of humor.

More info →

Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Amazon

 

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Oct 28, 2016   Blog   0 Comment Read More

The Deep End interview with Graham Masterton

Joe Mynhardt: Tell us a bit (or a lot) more about your childhood. Primary school, High school, etc. How do you think your experiences benefited or influenced your career?

graham-masterton

Graham Masterton: My father was an Army officer in the Royal Engineers and because my mother didn’t want to follow him to his various postings abroad and have me and my sister educated at Army schools, I didn’t see too much of him when I was young. Eventually he found himself a girlfriend in Antwerp and my parents divorced when I was seven years old. My mother found herself quite a handsome new husband but he had been a prisoner of war in Germany for four years and was given to irrational bursts of temper. I was always very self-contained and took life in my stride, spending most of my time at home in my room writing stories and drawing comics.

I was able to visit my father almost every school holiday so at a time when very few British children had ever travelled abroad I spent a lot of time in Germany and was free to explore whichever city my father had been posted to.

I was sent first to a private primary school run by two elderly women (Miss Polly and Miss Harpole). I didn’t like it at all, especially that day Nigel McAllister pooed his pants and stunk out the classroom. I didn’t like the teachers and I didn’t like the food. I used to hide the mashed potato in the pockets of my shorts.

Eventually I was sent to a local state primary school which was rough and tough (some of the boys even wore hobnailed boots). But I was extremely lucky in having one inspired teacher Mr Royal who gave me an extraordinary education, especially in English and drama.

My secondary school was a famous public school south of London called Whitgift. The education was superb and it was only in later life that I found out that my father had barely managed to scrape up enough money to pay the fees. It was a school that gave boys a great deal of self-confidence (perhaps too much, in my case!) and also honed my speaking voice. I still speak in what British people call a “BBC” accent – in other words, not aristocratic but very well enunciated. That has proved to be a great asset when speaking to audiences, although the clarity of my diction has sometimes got me into trouble when making disparaging remarks about other people in crowded pubs (such as, “God, don’t like yours much” when a man comes in with an ugly wife) because my voice carries so far.

When I reached the age of 16 I had to leave Whitgift because my stepfather had got a job with an engineering company in Crawley, in Sussex, which was one of several new towns built after the war to house people who had been bombed out of their homes in London. I went to a grammar school and started to take my A-level exams, a three-year course which would prepare me for university. However I discovered two important life-changing things. One of these was the Beat writers like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac and Gregory Corso and William Burroughs. The other was girls. Whitgift had been an all-boys school, but now I found myself sitting in classrooms with some very pretty young women. Suddenly I lost all interest in Shakespeare and Byron and Dickens, and after two terms I was expelled.

 

Joe: Can you recall a moment where you had to choose between being an author/artist and another career? A decisive moment where you decided to go all out?

Graham Masterton: Being thrown out of school was probably the defining moment of my life. I got a job in a fruit-and-vegetable shop and I was so good at it that after three weeks the company offered to make me the manager. I can still twirl a paper bag of apples like a professional.

At the same time, though, I went to West Sussex College of Art where my sister was training to be an illustrator. I took an entrance test there with the vague idea that I might be a graphic designer and I was offered a place.

However I was then told that the local paper had a vacancy for a trainee reporter. I had a choice: reporter or graphic designer. What swayed me more than anything else was that, as a reporter, I would be out and about all day, unsupervised, and I would be paid from week one. As an art student, I would have to study unpaid for three years, and still be dependent on my mother and stepfather.

I loved being a reporter from the very first day. Just walking into the top floor newsroom with nine manual typewriters hammering away like a rivet shop and phones constantly ringing and the air so thick with cigarette smoke that you could barely breathe.

But on that first day I learned a critical lesson. My very first assignment was to interview a woman whose husband had won a local cycling trophy. Pretty major story! I cycled to her house and knocked on the door and she invited me in and gave me a cup of tea and told me all about her husband’s cycling achievements, which I duly jotted down in my very first notebook. As I was about to leave, however, she said, very quietly: “He beats me.”

I said, “What?”

“Yes,” she said. “Almost every day. No matter what I say it’s always wrong. No matter what I do it’s always wrong. I cook him a meal and he throws it on to the kitchen floor. I buy a dress and he rips it apart and tells me it’s hideous. Then he hits me, although he’s always careful not to bruise my face.”

I sat and listened to this woman for over an hour, asking her very few questions but very searching questions, such as what was her sex life like, and did she think her husband was having an affair with somebody else? I was remembering my own parents, of course.

When I cycled away from that house I felt as if Heaven had opened and a great ray of light was shining down on me. It was a Damascene moment. I had discovered that as a sympathetic stranger I could ask people the most penetrating questions about their personal lives and they would tell me anything and everything…things that they would never tell their closest friends or any members of their family. That revelation changed my writing for the rest of my life.

 

Joe: How did you respond to your very first success as an author? Was it just rewarding, or did it motivate you even more? Or, did it perhaps feel underwhelmed, which motivated you to even greater heights?

Graham Masterton: After a few months on the Crawley Observer—because I was the only teenager on the staff—I was given my own “pop music” page… I reviewed records, I wrote potted biographies of rock stars, and I covered all of the local pop concerts. I also had my own humorous column “Private Ear.” I was given a byline for this page, and so from early on I was used to seeing my name in print.

After four years training as a reporter I tried to get a job on a London newspaper, but again and again I was turned down as being too young. “Go up and work on a Northern evening paper for a few years, and then try again,” said the news editor of The Daily Telegraph.

Up North? To Manchester, or Liverpool, or Wolverhampton? There was not a hope in hell that I was going to do that. Fortunately a girl reporter from my rival local paper had seen a man on the train reading a new man’s magazine Mayfair, a British rival to Playboy and Penthouse. I wrote an incredibly arrogant letter to them, saying that I was one of the best writers in existence. In fact the letter was so arrogant that they granted me an interview just to see what I was like. They hired me immediately as deputy editor, although to be truthful the staff turned out to be the publisher, the editor, me, a secretary, and the publisher’s German Shepherd. All of the design and photography was farmed out.

Again, though, my experience as a reporter came into play. Every month I had to interview the centre-spread girl of the month, and so I would go to the studios where they were being photographed. Any other men there would be goggling at the girls’ bare breasts, but I spent time talking to them about why they had wanted to become models, what they wanted out of their lives, and what their relationships were like with their boyfriends.

The torrent of intimate information that came out of them gave me the inspiration to devise a regular four-page feature called Quest, which purported to be verbatim conversations about sex and sexual problems. Although I wrote it all myself, it was entirely based on the true facts that these girls had told me…what they wanted sexually, what excited them and what disappointed them.

I was asked by a London publisher to write two sex books in this same question-and-answer style, and although they were published under the pseudonym Edward Thorne, it still meant that I had my first books in print.

After a row with the editor, I left Mayfair and immediately got a job as deputy editor of Penthouse—because of course by then Bob Guccione the publisher had seen from my name on the Mayfair masthead and knew who I was. Penthouse had originated in Britain but at that time it was just starting up in New York, so I became a frequent visitor to their offices in Manhattan.

It was there that I met the publisher of Warner Paperback Library who suggested I write a candid, conversational sex book. Apart from The Joy of Sex almost all sex instruction books in those days were very medical. That was how I came to write How A Woman Loves To Be Loved…but again I used a nom-de-plume, Angel Smith.

Angel Smith was pictured on the jacket in a wet shirt and she was blonde and gorgeous. The book sold really well and Angel was inundated with fan mail. One day, however, she was sent a postal package which felt squishy and inside was a condom and a letter. The letter said, “Dear Angel…I love you, I love you, I love you! I have rolled this condom on to myself and rolled it off again and I hope you will accept it as a token of my passion for you.”

You have never seen a condom fly across a room as fast as that one did. And I swore from that day that I would write all of my sex books under my own name. The next was How To Drive Your Man Wild In Bed, published by Signet, and it sold half a million copies in nine months. It is still available on Kindle, and was a huge seller in Poland, where it was the first Western sex book published there since World War Two. You can still buy it there as Magia Seksu—Magic Sex.

After the first six or seven sex books, the bottom fell out of the market, so to speak. My then publishers Pinnacle said that they didn’t want any more but I reminded them that they still had a contract pending with me. As a substitute for How To Turn Yourself On I sent them a short horror novel which I had written to amuse myself in between sex books. It was a combination of my wife Wiescka’s pregnancy with our first baby and an idea I had gleaned from a cowboy book I had read when I was about 10 years old, about Native Americans believing that everything had a spirit inside it—animals, rocks, trees, lakes. These spirits they called manitous.

The Manitou sold half a million copies in six months and was the beginning of my career as a horror writer. Of course I was greatly gratified by its reception, but I had been seeing my name in print since I was 17 years old and so that aspect of it was not tremendously exciting. I have always regarded writing as my job but of course if you’re going to be successful as a writer your name has to be well known. You have to sell yourself. It would be no good baking brilliant cakes or writing brilliant songs and then never promoting them.

I am my own most severe critic and I hope that my writing improves with every novel. I am currently writing a grisly series of crime novels set in Cork, in Ireland, where Wiescka and I lived for five years, and they have reached number 1 in America and Canada and Australia and the UK. They seem to be satisfying my horror readers as much as the wider market of crime enthusiasts. But I am relentless on honing my technique so that every novel is not only more horrifying and more original, but more believable.

 

Joe: How has your career as an author affected relationships with friends and family?

Graham Masterton: Not very much. I think my family find it faintly amusing, but that’s about all. They understand that I consider writing to be my everyday work. However I have made some very good friends through being an author. I have a young woman friend in Warsaw, Kinga.  I met her at a fantasy convention in Krakow four years ago, and we still see each other regularly, but she works in computers and I am far more impressed by her intellect than she is by mine. I have also been using my experience to help a very talented young woman writer Dawn Harris to write her first novel, a supernatural story about a girl with a very unusual talent. That has been very fulfilling, both as a friendship and as a writing project.

 

Joe: Which author most influenced your early career? And who still does?

Graham Masterton: Jules Verne to start with. Nothing like fighting a giant calamari! Then Edgar Allan Poe who inspired me to write short horror stories to read to my friends. After that, William Burroughs, whose novel The Naked Lunch impressed me instantly with its bravery, its humour, and its writing technique. William and I corresponded for some years before he eventually moved to London, where we became friends. I commissioned him to write a series of articles for Mayfair which we called The Burroughs Academy, and we spent hours discussing how to write in such a way that readers would feel totally involved in the story they were reading. I wrote a novella in conjunction with William—Rules of Duel—which is extremely avant-garde in its style, but which was published by Telos Books after languishing in my drawer for almost forty years. These days, I am not influenced by any other authors because for two reasons I never read fiction. One—I don’t feel like it after a whole day of writing fiction. Two—I am far too critical of other writers’ work. Come on, Dan Brown—the girl “plopped” to the floor?

 

Joe: Instead of just focussing on your most successful work, which story are you the proudest of, a story that managed to capture a piece of who you are?

Graham Masterton: I am proudest of Trauma, the story of a woman crime scene cleaner in Los Angeles who gradually falls apart mentally because of the gruesome scenes she witnesses every day and her collapsing marriage. It was going to be filmed by Jonathan Mostow but sadly Universal pulled the plug on the finance at the last moment. I am not pretentious enough to say that I can get completely inside a woman’s mind, but I am proud of how this turned out, and it was nominated by Mystery Writers of America for Best Original Paperback, among other awards.

 

Joe: How do you feel when you don’t make your target words for the day?

Graham Masterton: I don’t have “target words.” A novel takes as long as it takes. Some scenes need hours of thought and research…others are just conversations which don’t take anything like so long to write. As long as I’ve written the scene that I intended to write, and written it well, then I’m happy. If not, there’s always tomorrow. I am baffled when writers crow about the fact that they’ve “knocked off” 3,000 words. The only question is: were those 3,000 words any good? You’re creating imaginary worlds, and imaginary people, not shovelling manure.

 

Joe: What’s the most difficult topic for you to write?

Graham Masterton: I don’t have one. Nothing is difficult to write about if you face the grim reality of life and try to write about it honestly. As a reporter, I saw a man cut in half by a train bur still talking to the paramedics who were tending to him. Many good friends of mine have died.

 

Joe: What do you do to distract you enough to actually relax a bit? Or do you always think about writing?

Graham Masterton: After I’ve finished writing I go out to my local pub and meet my friends and we talk about any old rubbish. I like collecting terrible Irish jokes. I think if I hadn’t been an author I would have been a comedian. That may come from my great-grandfather who was a theatrical agent in Victorian London and set up lots of variety shows. He was a Polish émigré who fled to England to escape being conscripted into the Russian Imperial Army, so that is probably why I find Polish women irresistible.

 

Joe: Tell us a bit about the people you met while researching a book. Are you still friends with some of them?

Graham Masterton: I’m still friends with them because all of my characters are imaginary. In my Irish crime novels I write a lot about the internal politics of An Garda Síochána, the Irish police, but I have formed no relationship with any real officers because that would compromise them and also restrict my ability to be able to be outspoken.

 

Joe: Outside of the actual craft, what is the most useful skill you learnt from being an author?

Graham Masterton: Listening. Even when somebody’s being boring. Everybody has a story to tell.

 

Joe: How did being an author change you as a person?

Graham Masterton: It made me kinder, more tolerant, and more aware of other people’s problems. Dawn Harris is not only a writer but the manager of a Cancer Research Charity Shop and every Halloween I do a signing session there, as well as donating money which I receive for selling manuscripts. I also support a children’s orphanage near Strzelin, in Poland, and a charity in Wroclaw which supports and shelters young girls who are trafficked into prostitution.

 

Joe: Which response / comment from a reader has touched you the most throughout your career?

Graham Masterton: A woman who wrote to me after reading the first novel about Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire and said she thought it was written by a woman.

 

Joe: What is your life-long goal as an author?

Graham Masterton: I have no idea. Fashions in fiction change day by day. No matter what anybody says, nobody can predict what’s going to be a bestseller. I never thought that I would ever be writing crime novels, but already they’ve sold well over a million. I have commissions to write two more Katie Maguire novels and another novel about my historical heroine Beatrice Scarlet, who is a kind of 18th century CSI, so I am going to be busy until 2018. Ask me again then!

 

Joe: What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Graham Masterton: If just one writer understands from what I’ve written how to make a story come to life…how to make a reader feel the wind on their back and hear a distant ship hooting in a harbour and smell rain on the way…that’ll be enough.

 

Crystal Lake titles featuring Graham Masterton:

Horror 101: The Way Forward

Horror 101: The Way Forward

$2,99

Horror 101 is a 2015 Bram Stoker Award nominee.

More info →

Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Tales from the Lake: Volume 1

Tales from the Lake: Volume 1

$0,99

Dive into fourteen tales of horror, with short stories and dark poems by some of the best horror writers in the world.

More info →

Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle
  Crystal Lake Publishing   Oct 25, 2016   Blog   0 Comment Read More