Mark Morris has been a major figure on the British horror scene since 1989, when Toady, the first of his sixteen novels, was published to critical acclaim and solid sales (the 1990 paperback release debuted at number seven on the bestseller list). When his fourth novel, The Secret of Anatomy, was published by HarperCollins in 1995, he was being called “the new Clive Barker,” but his next few novels were victims of a serious downturn in horror.
The 1980s and ’90s may have seen a horror explosion, but female voices often seemed to be drowned out in that sonic boom. One of the few exceptions was Nancy Holder. Although she wrote and published romance novels prior to her horror work, Holder soon established herself as an exciting new presence in the genre with a series of short story appearances in the influential Shadows anthologies, edited by Charles L. Grant. In 1991, she became the first female author to win the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction.
With more than twenty-five million books sold in thirty-one different languages around the globe, it’s safe to call Darren Shan one of the world’s most popular authors of young adult horror fiction. Although Shan—whose real name is Darren O’Shaughnessy, and whose fans call him “The Master of Horror”—started his fiction career with a trilogy for adults, it wasn’t until he wrote the first volume in his Cirque du Freak series in 2000 that he became a publishing phenomenon.
Jeff Strand may sometimes be called “the clown prince of horror,” but in truth he’s a multi-talented author whose work spans styles and genres. He started writing screenplays while still in college, but by the late 1990s he was regularly selling his comedic short horror stories. His novels run from the demented slapstick horror/comedy of BENJAMIN’S PARASITE to the more traditional werewolf tale WOLF HUNT to the intense psychological thriller PRESSURE.
But I’ve always said I’ve never written a vampire story and I’ve never written a werewolf story, and I when I’m doing supernatural, I’m trying to look for some different thing, some new approach to it that you haven’t seen before. And in this book the supernatural entities are something you haven’t seen before…
Surely there are few authors who can match Christopher Golden in terms of both the astonishing amount of acclaimed work he has produced, and the number of different genres and forms he has mastered. His first novel, Of Saints and Shadows, was published by Berkley in 1994 and inaugurated his series of urban fantasies centering on the vampiric hero Peter Octavian; other popular series include the “Prowlers” and “Body of Evidence” books.
Few writers can authentically claim to be their own distinct genre, but there’s no question that Joe R. Lansdale is a category unto himself. He’s written award-winning horror, mystery, suspense, westerns, graphic novels and comics, media tie-ins, screenplays, and mainstream literature, yet each new work fits recognizably into the East Texas-slang-filled, fast-paced, fluid storytelling style that defines the Joe R. Lansdale genre. His most recent works include the novel The Thicket (which critics have compared to some of Mark Twain’s books), and the feature film Christmas With the Dead, which Lansdale’s son Keith adapted from Joe’s short story of the same name (Lansdale also served as producer on the film). Lansdale’s novel Cold in July has also recently been adapted into a movie starring Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, and Sam Shepard.
You can go on certain websites and see the more than 200 bodies that litter all the routes up Mount Everest today. They don’t remove the bodies. Anybody who pays their fifty or sixty thousand dollars—or more now—to be guided up Everest, essentially you’re using a Jumar—a mechanical ascender on a fixed rope—while your guide helps you get up the hill. They go by dozens of bodies, and the damage to the human body from a high fall is comparable to what my character, Richard Davis Deacons, saw in World War I when artillery shells landed right among men. Just blows people to pieces.
Writers rarely achieve international and multi-genre renown on the basis of just one short story, but that was exactly what happened with Margo Lanagan and “Singing My Sister Down,” which appeared in her collection Black Juice (published by Gollancz in 2004 and HarperCollins in 2005). “Singing My Sister Down” is written from the point of view of a boy watching the slow execution of his sister, and is a spectacular example of how Lanagan’s work provides “a glimpse into weird, wondrous, and sometimes terrifying worlds” (from the starred review for Black Juice in School Library Journal). In 2008, her novel Tender Morsels defied easy categorizations, melding European fairy tales with her own brand of dark fantasy, and once again achieved extraordinary cross-genre success. She has since published three more collections (including Cracklespace in 2012), and the novel The Brides of Rollrock Island, which expanded an earlier novella, Sea Hearts. She is a native of Australia.
It seems slightly unfair (if hardly inaccurate) to label Joe McKinney one of the reigning kings of zombie fiction, because his work has extended beyond the walking dead into ghost stories (his novels Inheritance and Crooked House), virus thrillers (Quarantined), and hardboiled noir (Dodging Bullets). However, McKinney has found the greatest success with his Dead World series, which consists of Dead City (2006), Apocalypse of the Dead (2010), Flesh Eaters (2011), and Mutated (2012), all published by Kensington Books. In addition to being a Bram Stoker Award-winning (for Flesh Eaters) horror writer, McKinney is also a lifelong Texan, a husband and father of two, the holder of a Master’s Degree in English Literature, and a San Antonio police officer who has also worked as a homicide detective and disaster mitigation specialist. McKinney’s next book, The Savage Dead, comes out this month from Kensington.