Nearly, a year ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Michael West. This introduction was when we began assisting with the podcast known as The Star Chamber Show. It wasn’t until last September that I had the opportunity to meet him at an event known as Imaginarium. Although we had the pleasure of speaking many times prior, it was here that we began fanboying out over the horror genre. With his knowledge regarding scares and monstrosities, I am pleased to have horror author, Michael West on my blog.
Michael West is the bestselling author of Cinema of Shadows, The Wide Game, Spook House, Skull Full of Kisses, and the critically-acclaimed Legacy of the Gods series. He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.
His children are convinced that spirits move through the woods near their home.
What does Halloween mean to you?
Halloween has always been a special time of year for me. When I was a child, it was the fun of dressing up and getting free candy, sure, but it was also a time of year where Horror was actually celebrated. Turn on just about any TV channel and find a scary movie or Halloween-themed show. Stores are filled with monster masks and other spooky items. Creepy, ghoulish stuff is everywhere. I guess it all comes down to the fact that this is the one time of the year that I don’t feel like an outcast.
What is your most memorable Halloween?
I’ve had so many memorable Halloweens. It’s hard to pick just one.
How do you celebrate Halloween today?
We normally put on a Haunted House in my garage and then have a pizza party for all my friends and family who help me pull it off. Leading up to the big night, I watch Horror films on AMC and my brother usually holds a themed Halloween Party that I really enjoy.
What was your best Halloween costume?
My best costume was probably me Devil costume from 1991. I carved cloven hooves out of wood and did actual prosthetic make-up. That one went over really well and I won Best Costume at a few Halloween parties that year.
What was your worst Halloween costume?
There were a few Halloweens when we lived in an apartment and I worked for a movie theater. I had to work on Halloween night, so my costume was my manager’s uniform. That was my worst for sure.
Some people believe Halloween is a negative holiday to celebrate. Why do you feel Halloween has such a controversy to it?
Some see Halloween as a celebration of darkness and Evil with a capital “E.” I don’t see it that way at all. I see it as good, ol’ fun.
What do you do to keep the ghosts and ghouls away on Halloween night?
Usually, I watch Halloween.
What frightens you and why?
Two of my biggest fears are spiders and being eaten alive, which keep popping up in my fiction too. I don’t know when the fears started or why. I’ve had them as long as I can remember. The other major fear I have is that something will happen to someone I love. If you love someone, you know what that fear is like. This person is your world, and the thought of losing them, of what the world would be like with them not in it, is just too horrible to even consider.
What’s your favorite scary movie and why?
John Carpenter’s Halloween. It is just about the perfect scare machine. The lighting, the cinematography, the acting, the score. Oh, that score. It just isn’t really Halloween until I sit down to watch it.
What’s your favorite horror book and why?
Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. King introduces to us some of the most memorable, likeable, characters, people you really get to know and feel a connection with, and then he puts them through Hell. I’ve read it a half a dozen times over the years, and the passage where the vampire child is clawing at the window, begging to be let in, still makes my blood run cold.
Do you prefer slow burners or fast paced thrillers?
I like both. Actually, my favorite stories start off as a slow burn and then end with fast paced, action – packed climaxes.
What inspires your more frightening work?
Sometimes it is a news story. Other times, an idea just hits me when I least expect it. Some are based on my own fears and the fears of people I know, and still others are inspired by events from my life. The car accident from The Wide Game, for example, was based on an actual event that happened to me back in 1987.
Do you plan to contribute to the horror genre in the future?
I never set out to write a Horror story. I like to say that everything I write is a love story, except the thing that threatens to drive people apart is not your normal everyday problems, but the supernatural. All of my stories tend to have some dark slant to them, so yes, I see my work to continue to involve Horror in one fashion or another.
Where can we find your work?
You can find my work at my website, http://www.bymichaelwest.com
My publisher’s website, http://www.seventhstarpress.com/ and on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.