Archive for Southern Authors

Horror Author Dean Harrison Speaks of Halloween

Posted in Alabama Authors, Alexander S. Brown, author interviews, Dean Harrison, Halloween, holidays, Horror, october, scary, south, southern authors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2014 by Alexander S. Brown

In early 2014 at Mobicon in Mobile, Alabama, I had the opportunity of meeting and paneling with horror author Dean Harrison.  When I decided to do my Halloween interviews in regards to the world of arts and literature, Mr. Harrison was one of the top names that came to mind.  Not only is he a great horror author, but his knowledge regarding Halloween and the horror genre is favorable to all who enjoy thrills and chills.

Dean Harrison is a longtime fan of horror fiction. Though he’s spent time out in the “real world” working as a shoe salesman, a security guard, an investigator, a loss prevention detective and a journalist, he’s consistently returned to what he loves doing most – writing horror fiction. His short stories can be found in the horror anthologies:

FEM-FANGS, FELL BEASTS, RELICS & REMAINS, and CHRISTMAS IN HELL. His debut novel is THESE UNQUIET BONES. More is to come.

Dean lives with his family in his hometown of Mobile, AL, a city rich in ghost stories.

 dean

What does Halloween mean to you?

It means good times for my inner child. It means dressing up as my favorite monster for a little trick or treat, and a little mischief on a night lit with jack-o-lanterns, plagued with bats, and haunted by ghosts, goblins, and other delightful horrors.

What is your most memorable Halloween?

Honestly, no one Halloween from my childhood sticks out as most memorable. They were all a lot of fun: trick or treating with my three siblings and friends from the old neighborhood, enjoying the brisk night air, the spooky decorations, and the suspense of wondering just who, or what, might jump from the shadows and scream BOO, the goose bumps. And then there’s going home to watch scary movies and snack on candy, while my imagination continues to run wild with every creak and bump I hear in the dark.

How do you celebrate Halloween today?

My wife and I go to a friend’s house for a big Halloween bash. There’s a roaring bonfire by a placid river, jack-o-lanterns burning under mossy oaks, food, drinks, music, dancing, and mischief. Plenty of mischief. It’s a blast. And of course, we all wear costumes. That’s a requirement.

What was your best Halloween costume?

Werewolf. I do believe I freaked people out, even unwittingly scared a couple of kids (nieces and nephews included).

What was your worst Halloween costume?

For one Halloween party I dressed in all black and wore a silver skull mask. After a while at the party I got frustrated with the mask, because it’s kind of difficult to eat, drink, and socialize while wearing one. So when anyone asked what I was supposed to be, I said I was Bob Seger.

Some people believe Halloween is a negative Holiday to celebrate. Why do you feel Halloween has such a controversy to it?

I think it boils down to an ignorance, or misunderstanding, of Halloween’s history, especially among some religious groups. Personally, I don’t believe Halloween bothers God. I come from a Catholic upbringing, and my family celebrates Halloween. I have fond memories of the Halloween bizarre the Catholic school I attended (from preschool to eighth grade) put on every fall. We got to wear our Halloween costumes and play cool games, win cool prizes. I even remembered a haunted house they built in the gym one year. It was a lot of spooky fun. It wasn’t until high school (my introduction to the public school system) that I discovered some churches frowned upon the holiday, but that’s their problem. We Catholics love Halloween.

What do you do to keep the ghosts and ghouls away on Halloween night?

Keep them away? Hell, I invite them in and offer a drink!

What frightens you and why?

What I see and read in the news, because it’s real. The horror novels I read, the movies I watch, they don’t frighten me because I know they’re fiction. It’s the horror taking place in the world that terrifies me, because it is actually happening. It’s real. Wars, terrorism, diseases, economic turmoil, violent crime, and natural disasters; hearing about it fills me with a dull sinking dread, and the only way to escape it is to choose not to pay attention, but I don’t like to be uniformed.

What’s your favorite scary movie and why?

Halloween, because it is a true horror classic that never fails to give me chills. And it doesn’t rely on shock and disgust, blood and guts, to terrify. It uses sound, suspense, and atmosphere to raise the hairs and prickle the skin.

What’s your favorite horror book and why?

John Farris’s SON OF THE ENDLESS NIGHT, because it is an epic horror read. Think THE EXORCIST but on a much larger scale. I highly recommend it, and Farris’s writing is gripping and brilliant.

Do you prefer slow burners or fast paced thrillers?

I like for there to be build up, but I don’t like a story to drag, so I guess I’m somewhere in between. Plus, it depends on my mood.

What inspires your more frightening work?

My nightmares.

Do you plan to contribute to the horror genre in the future?

I have projects in the works.

Where can we find your work?

I have short stories published in various horror anthologies, and a novel (THESE UNQUIET BONES) published by Omnium Gatherum. You can find my work here:

http://www.amazon.com/Dean-Harrison/e/B008F18L70/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1412386005&sr=8-2

and here:

http://deanmharrison.wordpress.com/

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Author Guest H. David Blalock Reflects on Halloween

Posted in author interviews, Fiction, H.David Blalock, Halloween, Horror, Horror Anthology, Horror Book, Horror Books, Independent Horror, interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2014 by Alexander S. Brown

At last, October is here. Although I plan to contribute more reviews on Halloween themed entertainment, I thought it would be fun to invite a few authors and artists throughout October to share their views and memories of Halloween.

Our first featured guest is a prolific author known by his fans as H. David Blalock. His writing talents are superb examples of diversity within the literary world. Some of his horror stories can be found in the anthologies Southern Haunts: Spirits that Walk Among Us and Southern Haunts 2: Devils in the Darkness. Look for his name again in the upcoming Southern Haunts 3: Magic in the Moonlight. Even though these are only a few titles, be sure to check out his series The Angel Killer Triad, now available where books are sold.

Before we jump into our interview, here is a little back story on Mr. Blalock:

david

Born in San Antonio, Texas, David spent the majority of his formative years in Jacksonville, Florida. At the age of 16, his family moved to the Panama Canal Zone where David finished school and entered employment with the Department of Defense as a Powerhouse Electrician. Hiring into the FAA, he returned with his wife and two daughters to the States and settled briefly in Gulfport, MS. He later moved to Memphis, TN, as an Air Traffic Controller for the Memphis ARTCC where he remained until retirement.

David’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, webzines, and writer’s sites. For more information on David, his work and appearances, visit his website: www.thranKeep.com .

What does Halloween mean to you?

Not nearly as much today as it did when I was young. Nowadays I don’t see as much meaning in it as I did when trick or treating was my main goal. Today, it’s just another holiday.

What is your most memorable Halloween?

We used to have some remarkable Halloween parties. At one in particular, I remember a bonfire that precipitated a particular set of events, including: a significant amount of liquor, several attendees, a can of gasoline, a large blue flash, melted boot soles, and the first and only time I have ever seen a human being jump straight up in the air and then be displaced several feet before hitting the ground, running at full speed.

How do you celebrate Halloween today?

I usually spend it quietly, sometimes with friends and family. I live in an area where there are few kids and we seldom have visitors, so I enjoy the quiet time.

What was your best Halloween costume?

When I was a boy I probably had a couple but I can’t remember. I’ve slept since then.

What was your worst Halloween costume?

I would have to say the one I wore a few years ago, during one of our Halloween parties: the Kingpin from the Spiderman comics. Don’t ask.

Some people believe Halloween is a negative Holiday to celebrate. Why do you feel Halloween has such a controversy to it?

Because it has a religious background to it. The real name of the holiday is “All Hallow’s Eve” and it is actually supposed to be the first of the days that is reserved for praying for the dead. The others are All Saints Day (Nov 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov 2). By associating the sacred days with pagan symbols, ghosts, ghouls, etc. those who object are scandalized.

What do you do to keep the ghosts and ghouls away on Halloween night?

I find that a good single-malt whiskey does wonders.

What frightens you and why?

I find today’s splatterpunk and gore off-putting, not because it’s repulsive but because it has nothing to do with real fear. To me the fear of death is humanity’s common understanding of its mortality. What really frightens me is not what I know is inevitable but what I don’t know: the unknown. Will it kill me or will it do something that might make me wish I were dead? Worse, will it do something that will affect me beyond that veil?

What’s your favorite scary movie and why?

The Robert Wise film The Haunting (1963), co-written by Shirley Jackson and Nelson Gidding. It was based on The Haunting of Hill House and did a fantastic job conveying the atmosphere and emotion from the novel while maintaining an understated quality that made the fear that much more exaggerated to me.

What’s your favorite horror book and why?

I really can’t nail that one down. I have many favorite horror authors. Lovecraft, Maachen, Bierce, Dunsany, Chambers, Campbell… I could go on and on.

Do you prefer slow burners or fast paced thrillers?

The slow burners are my favorites. They build atmosphere and let you become part of the story before digging in with their claws.

What inspires your more frightening work?

I like to think I’ve continued the ideas and concepts put forward by the masters of the first half of the 20th century. Psychological horror to me is much more effective than just the shock value of today.

Do you plan to contribute to the horror genre in the future?

Yes. I look forward to writing more and editing more in the next few years than I have done in the past.

Where can we find your work?

I have work available from several different publishers. Most of my work is available from Amazon (a list of currently available titles is at http://www.amazon.com/H.-David-Blalock/e/B00JPGRLAM/) and all online booksellers as well as the publisher websites. My website (www.thrankeep.com) has links to work at webzines.