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Horror Interview by The Gravedigger
THE WORMS, CAMPBELL WOOD, TOTENTANZ, THE BOY WITH PENNY EYES, COLD NIGHT, MOONBANE, OCTOBER, WEST TEXAS, HOUSE HAUNTED, SKELETONS, KITT PEAK, SUMMER COOL, EXILE, JOURNEY, RETURN, THE TOUCH OF YOUR SHADOW, THE WHISPER OF YOUR NAME (Babylon 5), PERSONAL AGENDAS (Babylon 5), TOYBOX, 100 HAIR-RAISING LITTLE HORROR STORIES, 999: NEW STORIES OF HORROR AND SUSPENSE. My latest work is a new huge anthology of speculative fiction, an sf companion to 999 titled REDSHIFT, which will be out just after Thanksgiving in hardcover. New stories from Le Guin, Dan Simmons, Turtledove, Joyce Carol Oates, Liz Hand, Neal Barrett, Jr., Disch, Haldeman, Gene Wolfe, Niven, David Morrell, thirty in all.
Q: Tell www.buried.com about yourself
AL: I'm the author of twenty-eight books. I'm a winner of the Bram Stoker Award and have been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award and the Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Award. My novels, spanning the science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror and western genres, include The Five Worlds Trilogy, Moonbane, Skeletons, West Texas and Cold Night. My short stories have appeared in magazines such as Heavy Metal, Twilight Zone, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Realms of Fantasy, Analog and Amazing, as well as in anthologies such as The Year's Best Horror Stories, Visions of Fantasy: Tales from the Masters, Great Ghost Stories and The Best of Shadows. My work has also appeared in comic book form. I was born in New York City, grew up on Long Island and live in New York's historic Hudson Valley region with my family.
Q: What is the most appealing thing about horror fiction for you and why YOU write…
AL: Horror fiction is, in many ways, the best of the genres because it encompasses so much territory. There are stories that have been published in the horror field that could have been published nowhere else; horror concerns the mind (the scariest place of all to me) as well as the supernatural -- all the provinces of fear.
Q: Some writers say that what they write doesn't have much to do with themselves-others say that their writing is very much influenced by their own experiences. How is this with you?
AL: Good question! Any writer who says his writing has nothing to do with himself is just fooling himself. I think your experiences work their way into your stories whether you want them to or not. Much of my work in the horror field has concerned the terrors of childhood, or the loss of innocence in childhood, and I'd be kooky if I didn't acknowledge that a chunk of that comes from my own experiences in childhood (I had a good one, by the way -- the problem was, I didn't want to grow up!). It all comes from somewhere. Stephen King talks about the "well" -- and all writers have them and it's filled with their own roiling messes...
Q: With MOONBANE and SKELETONS you took a creature that's terrifying by itself and made it a worldwide threat by having THOUSANDS of the monsters-what was the inspiration for this. In fact, MOONBANE is one of the more unsettling werewolf novels I've read…
AL: MOONBANE was one of the most enjoyable novels I've written, because, like H.G. Wells, I got to invade Earth! The novel was originally going to be set on Long Island, but it just didn't work on that scale because I then would have had to contend with nearby New York City and I just didn't want that. But I knew the western part of Texas well by that time, and it occurred to me that that would be the perfect setting -- remote, yet you could still get a sense of this "invasion" of werewolves happening worldwide. My impetus for writing the novel, of course, was the question: why are werewolves so interested in the Moon? My answer: because that's where they come from! Incidentally, Stealth Press (stealthpress.com) will be issuing MOONBANE in its first hardcover edition in February of 2002. As for Skeletons, by that time I wanted to take on the whole enchilada, and had my Skeltons army invade New York City, as well as everywhere else. That book was even more fun than MOONBANE, because the canvas was bigger...
Q: What is the weirdest true-life thing that happened to you that if you wrote it down would read like fiction?
AL: Jeepers -- can't come up with anything in the UNSOLVED MYSTERIES category. I did see a UFO once, chasing a Navy jet on Long Island. I was about 14 at the time. Call Mulder!
Q: What is your favorite book that you've written?
AL: MOONBANE might be my favorite. Or possibly TOTENTANZ, which is a Bradbury-esque novel about a carnival. I think the best work I've ever done was in my science fiction trilogy titled FIVE WORLDS, which consisted of EXILE, JOURNEY and RETURN. I got to do some really bizarre stuff in those books. Space opera written by a horror writer...
Q: Who is YOUR favorite horror author?
AL: Favorite books, more than authors; there are so many authors I like. As for books, a few favorites would be: GHOST STORY, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, THE SHINING, HELL HOUSE, Koontz's THE WATCHERS... too many to mention.
Q: Anything you want to add?
AL: Only that the new book, REDSHIFT, will be out in late November and I hope everyone enjoys it. There may still be a few copies of TOYBOX around...