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.
Joe Hill is the author of the horror novels Heart-Shaped Box and Horns, the short story collection 20th Century Ghosts, and the graphic novel series Locke & Key from IDW. His latest novel NOS4A2 is out now. [Read Part 2 August 28!]
My inspirations were books about supposedly true hauntings and the fact that there was a “haunted house” in my neighborhood . . . right next door, as a matter of fact. But I actually was a big fan of science fiction, and I was doing those kind of stories too, as well as “war stories” starring kids in my classes. Those made me fairly popular because everybody either wanted to survive or die as heroes, and I had their fates in my hands.