“The Golden Hour” is a dark, chill combination of folklore, family, and the hardships of a bygone era. Tell us something about the inspiration behind the story.
The emotions and mood of this story were definitely influenced by T.M. Wright. His novels A Manhattan Ghost Story and The Last Vampire have had a grip on me for a long, long time. I find the themes of loss and loneliness and regret compelling, especially in a horror or dark fantasy setting.
The story touched me on many levels with hints of Tolkien, the Bible, and many of the works of Manly Wade Wellman. The prose is sparse yet evocative, relying on sensory impressions and the weight of Thomas’s darker emotions and desires. His transformation felt all the more potent because of this connection to the shadows lurking within his need for the light. Do you feel readers respond more to a story where such emotional connection is more pronounced?
I think they do. Personally, I find monsters far more interesting if they share the same desires and pains as we do, if they are not so opaque or one-dimensional in their motivations. That touch of commonality evokes a different response than an alien or unexamined threat.
What were some of your inspirations when you first dipped your toes into the chill waters of horror?
Some of my earliest experiences with horror were Lovecraft, The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock movies, and The Year’s Best Horror Stories anthologies. They (and many, many lurid paperbacks) shaped my early tastes. Then I discovered Ray Bradbury, Tanith Lee, Kathe Koja, and Ramsey Campbell—and they gave me something to aspire to as a writer, in style and emotional impact. I’m still aspiring!
On your website you describe yourself as a writer of weird fiction with “entirely too many cats.” How many cats are “entirely too many”?
At the moment, we have six. We already had two older cats when we rescued a half-grown litter of feral kittens that had been born under a neighbor’s shed. They were a little too feral to be adopted from a shelter, so we just . . . kept them. The “kittens” are nearly six years old now, madly attached to the older cats, still half-wild, and completely happy to be spoiled house beasts.
With 2021 behind us, what are your plans for 2022? What can eager fans look forward to?
The thought of eager fans is quite exciting!
I’m very pleased to say that I have three short stories (so far!) coming out this year. “Waiting for the Worms” appears in the Dark Ink anthology Generation X-Ed, edited by Rebecca Rowland. “Something After” appears in A Conjuring of Gothic Tales from Brigid’s Gate Press, edited by Alex Woodroe. And “Ex Astris” will appear in Dim Shore’s Looming Low Volume II, edited by Sam Cowan and Justin Steele. In addition to several other stories still in progress, I’m also working on a composite novel featuring an eldritch private eye, which I hope to complete by the end of the year.
Spread the word!