April 26, 2016
Shaun Meeks was born and raised in Toronto, and still lives there with his partner, Mina LaFleur. Shaun was formerly a semi-pro skateboarder. Now he enjoys sharing his nightmares in his writing--and scaring the hell out of his readers! His short stories have been published in many magazines and anthologies, including Smart Rhino's ZIPPERED FLESH 2, SOMEONE WICKED, and INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS. He is also the author of the books SHUTDOWN, THE GATE AT LAKE DRIVE, and DOWN ON THE FARM.
Thanks, Shaun, for hanging out with us for a few minutes!
Your novel, THE GATE AT LAKE DRIVE, is a great monster story. (And the cover is super, too!) What's your recipe for a great monster?
Iíve been writing a lot more monster stories as of late, and part of that has to do with this new series Iíve started, "Dillon the Monster Dick;" THE GATE AT LAKE DRIVE is the first book in the series.
What makes a good monster? Really depends on what youíre going for. Making one scary--the stuff of nightmares--is just fun. To do that, I usually think of what frightens people. Deep-sea life, spiders, demons, the dark--these are things Iíll splice into a monster so that, on a deep level, the elements strike a chord of fear within the reader. I love the idea of monsters with slimy tentacles, coarse hairs, a multitude of eyes, and a nest of sharp, deformed teeth. The trick is making the reader imagine what itíd feel like to be face to face with the monster. The idea of feeling the repulsive skin touching your own, the overwhelming odor of rot that lingers on the thing's flesh. That's what I want readers to be thinking as they read.
But what about the monsters that truly hate or can't change what they are, the ones that you pity? I enjoy playing with that theme--the monster that is hunted and feared, yet proves to be the character with which the readers relate. The humans who shun or hunt the creature prove to be the real monsters. Having a reader relate to the monster isnít always easy, but itís great when it works! (more…)
March 22, 2016
Billie Sue Mosimanís NIGHT CRUISE was nominated for the Edgar Award and her novel, WIDOW, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Novel. Sheís a prolific writer, one of our favorites here at Smart Rhino Publications, appearing in several of our anthologies. A suspense thriller novelist, she often writes horror short stories. Billie has also been a columnist, reviewer, and writing instructor. She lives in Texas where the sun is too hot for humankind. We are grateful that she took some time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.
You're a powerhouse short fiction writer, with stories in a great many anthologies and collections. Do you get more satisfaction out of writing short fiction than writing novels? If so, why?
I enjoy both forms of fiction writing. What do I find easiest to write, though? Short stories. One idea, a couple of characters, one forward plot. Novels are Olympic where stories are like college sports. I very much enjoy finishing a novel. I know I've run the marathon and made it.
Your latest novel, THE GREY MATTER, received a nomination for the Kindle Book Award. Your work often bridges the gap between horror and suspense. How much of this is intentional, and how much is simply "I write what I enjoy reading"? Do you think of marketing at all when you're in the "creation mode"?
Two of my suspense novels employed more than suspense. BAD TRIP SOUTH has a little girl who can read minds. It was the first time I mixed genres and I really liked how it came out. You're following a crime drama and meanwhile the girl knows exactly what's going on in the minds of the adults. I employed speculative fiction in THE GREY MATTER, which is essentially a crime suspense novel. The world goes dark due to EMPs and there's a serial killer in it. Otherwise, most of my books are straight suspense novels. I figured if whatever I write is something I like, others will like it too. Now I'm writing a new novel, THE BLACKEST PLACE, and it will be noir suspense. I do write what I enjoy reading. (more…)
March 2, 2016
Husband and wife team, Bram Stoker Winner L.L. Soares and Laura Cooney, having written some truly incredible and entertaining horror fiction over the years. L.L.'s stories have appeared in a number of Smart Rhino anthologies ("Sawbones" in ZIPPERED FLESH
, "Seeds" in ZIPPERED FLESH 2
, "Sometimes the Good Witch Sings to Me" in SOMEONE WICKED
, and "What the Blender Saw" in INSIDIOUS ASSASSINS
). Smart Rhino also had the pleasure of publishing their SF/horror novella GREEN TSUNAMI
. The two of them took some time out of their busy schedules for a few interview questions.
Most of your writing tends toward horror, but GREEN TSUNAMI definitely has a science fiction flavor as well. What sparked the idea for the novella?
: Well, a lot of it had to do with the initial concept. Our first short story collection, IN SICKNESS
, had just come out from Skullvines Press (which featured solo stories by both of us, and a novella called "In Sickness," which we wrote together). A couple of writers we knew were starting their own small press, and they wanted another collaborative novella from us. The only stipulations were that: 1) it had to involve the end of the world, and 2) it had to be told in correspondence format between a husband and wife (letters, emails, etc.). At this point, apocalyptic fiction had just started to really get big, but we didnít want to do anything that had been done before. No zombies or cannibals or stuff like that. In fact, the entire idea of the end of the world can instantly bring to mind ruins and barren spaces and death. And we wanted to do something the complete opposite of that. Where, instead of death and desolation, there was going to be life. It just wasnít necessarily going to be human life. Not as we know it.
And thatís how the science fiction flavor evolved. There are also elements of bizarro fiction in there, since both Laura and I are big fans of surrealism, and the idea of a constantly evolving, mutating landscape seemed to tap right into that. Unfortunately, once the novella was completed, the small press that asked for it closed up shop. Here we had a novella we really thought came out great, but the place that had requested it was gone. Thatís when Smart Rhino swooped in and came to the rescue. Which weíre both grateful for. (more…)