While most horror authors are content to create chills, a handful are more interested in studying exactly how those chills are manufactured. Leslie Klinger is one of the genre’s most significant nonfiction experts. Although he began his nonfiction career annotating Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales, Les has since become a major figure in the art of nonfiction horror, providing annotations for Dracula, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and (released in October) twenty-two stories by H. P. Lovecraft.
Joyce Carol Oates is not only one of the most acclaimed authors of our time—her more-than-forty novels, novellas, plays, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction works have earned her a National Book Award, two O. Henry Awards, the National Humanities Medal, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination—but she’s also an acclaimed horror and suspense author who is a multiple winner of the Bram Stoker Award, a recipient of the World Fantasy Award, and the first female author to receive the Horror Writers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Actor Cecil Baldwin is the voice of the wildly popular podcast WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE, written by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor. Cecil plays Cecil Palmer, a radio host who reports on the strange goings-on in Night Vale, a desert community where monsters and conspiracies are just daily occurrences.
For two seasons, Carnivàle followed a Depression-era carnival across a bleak American landscape, but was really about the eternal battle between light and darkness, as represented respectively by Ben, a farm boy with healing powers (played by Nick Stahl) and a preacher, Brother Justin (Clancy Brown), who is accessing far more sinister abilities. As unusual as Carnivàle was, the story behind the story was equally rare in Hollywood: the series was created and produced by a first-timer in his forties.
Imagine a horror-specialty retail store that has not only survived for two decades but has helped shape the very genre it markets, and you’ll get some idea of why Dark Delicacies is one of horror’s (not so) hidden treasures. Located in the Magnolia Park area of Burbank, California (where Dark Delicacies’ success seems to have spawned neighboring stores with names like Halloween Town and Creature Features), Dark Delicacies was founded by Del Howison and Sue Duncan.
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…