Copyright © 2017 by Joe Hart
On behalf of Halloweenpalooza, thanks so much for agreeing to participate. I’d like to start with a few quickies that’ll help us get to know you a little better.
Favorite color: Gray
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite horror movie: Way too many to narrow down, but with a gun to my head I’d say Aliens.
Favorite scream queen: Drew Barrymore (see what I did there)
Favorite film scene (one that made you get all queasy and scream for help ): The corn scene from Signs.
Guilty Pleasure: Bourbon
Have you ever carved a pumpkin: Hundreds.
Favorite place to write: My office.
1. Why horror? What is it that attracted you to horror?
My sister is ten years older than me and a longtime horror fan. At an early age she started passing down her Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Robert McCammon books. Fell in love with the feeling of being afraid and wanted to provide that feeling for others.
2. How do you know something you’ve written is scary? Do you rely on others to tell you or do you just know?
If I can creep myself out while writing the scene I know I’ve done it. Although readers generally find their own terrifying moments that hit them personally. Being afraid is so uniquely different for everyone.
3. What do you hope your readers take away from reading one of your novels? What do you hope to get across—other than full-blown panic?
I hope they really fall in love with the characters and are able to feel their struggle/happiness/sorrow. Characters and their interactions are what make any good novel and are especially important when trying to create fear. If you don’t care about the characters you aren’t going to be afraid for them.
4. Since you’re the author of several wildly popular novels, could you please post an excerpt where you think nailed it and done horror proud?
Sure, this is from my novel THE WAITING.
~ * ~
He hadn’t flipped any lights on when they entered, and the house held a smoky quality with shadows beginning to give up their posts. Evan walked to the kitchen and observed the mess he’d created in his frenzy to find the winding key. He sighed. As tired as he was, he’d have to clean that up before Shaun rose for the day. He didn’t know if the boy would understand or not, but he was embarrassed by the scene of chaos. Silverware on the floor, towels strewn out of cupboards, plates and dishes stacked in uneven piles. Evan placed the heel of his hand against his right eye and wondered when he’d begun to lose his mind.
“You haven’t lost it yet, bub. Get your shit together,” he said to the room and strode toward the front door. The blanket from their trip sat at the edge of the living room along with the rain slicker. Evan picked them both up intending to put the blanket out on the porch to dry and the jacket back inside the closet. As he picked up the slicker he caught a powerful whiff of something. Evan paused, pulling the jacket to his face and inhaled. It wasn’t the jacket and it didn’t smell like mold or mildew, more like something rotten. It smelled like the moment he’d opened the refrigerator on their first day in the house.
Scowling, Evan sniffed once more, wondering if a mouse had crawled into the house and died. If so he couldn’t see it in the dark. Snapping on the light near the entry he turned around to put the slicker away.
Two sets of toes poked out from under the closet door.
Evan stopped, the hand reaching out to pull the door open frozen, fingertips shaking. He opened his mouth as every inch of his scalp cinched tight to his skull. The toes were discolored, the skin patched with purple and green like mottled bruises or rot. The smell of decay grew stronger and Evan found he couldn’t look away from the toes. Some of their nails were missing and some were broken, sticking up like open car hoods. As he watched the toes wiggled once, a wave of motion from one direction to the other.
Evan wheezed out a strangled breath and dropped his hand as he stepped back, his momentary paralysis broken. There was someone, something, in the closet, waiting on the other side of the door. Evan felt his jaw tremble and the thought of speaking died in his throat. As if reading his mind, the feet attached to the toes shifted, like whatever waited there was eager to come out, to open the door and rush at him. He didn’t want to see what was attached to those feet, oh God in heaven, he didn’t want to see it.
Evan didn’t realize he was moving backward until his arm brushed something beside him and he spun, raising a fist. The table lamp he’d bumped rocked on its edge and he caught it before it fell to the floor. It was made of a heavy piece of lacquered oak with a burnished brass base. Its cord draped out and led to a nearby outlet in the wall. With a jerk, Evan pulled the cord free while yanking the lamp’s shade off. He gripped the lamp’s smooth torso like a batter waiting for a fastball.
“Come out,” Evan croaked at the closet door. He watched the toes for a reaction but they sat still like lumps of decaying clay. Maybe it was a joke. The thought capered through his mind in ribbons of hope. Someone, Jason or Jacob had come here in the middle of the night and put these fake toes in his closet for a joke. Ha! Ha! So funny! Now it can be over and we can go back to a sane reality where dead things didn’t hide in closets and wriggle their toes.
Evan took another step, his muscles so tight beneath his skin he thought soon he would hear the snapping of his own tendons. The image of Shaun, defenseless and asleep in the other room hardened his crumbling resolve. What if it got past him? What if it got to Shaun?
Evan lunged forward, gripping the lamp with one hand while he reached for the knob with the other, ready to bash whatever came out of the closet into paste. Before his fingers could graze the handle, the closet door flew open with a bang and Evan leaped back, his bowels loosening almost past the point of no return.
A solid stench hit him, so strong and putrid, he gagged.
The closet was empty.
~ * ~
5. You’re walking alone down a dark alley. What’s the one character you’ve created that you would most not want to encounter and why?
I’d hate to run into the little man in the black suit from my short story The Edge of Life because after that point I would most likely be put in the worst moral dilemma anyone could encounter- kill an innocent stranger to save someone you love.
6. As you know, our theme this year is Friday the 13th. What about this date? Are you at all superstitious? Do you at least have a pair of “good luck” writing socks?
I’m not so much superstitious as I am afraid of randomness/fate. Numbers don’t bother me but when you can see either the universe aligning perfectly to cause harm or just simply dumb luck changing something for the worse, both of those mystify and worry me greatly.
7. Ever have encounters with the supernatural? What do you think of people who experiment with occult items like the Ouija board?
Strangest thing I ever encountered that I couldn’t explain was one night staying up late with my sister in her room we both heard a strange noise, almost like a quiet “click”. Then there was a blinding white light that lit the entire room for maybe a second before disappearing. All of the lights were off in the house and we lived way out in the country. Never figured out what it was but it was very strange. Anyone who experiments with a Ouija board has more guts than I do!
8. In terms of Halloween, is it a big part of the Hart household? Any favorite memories that standout?
It is! We always carve several pumpkins and decorate as much as time allows us. We’ve done horror movie marathons before in the evening which is really a blast- my daughter’s big into scary stuff so I guess I have a movie pal for life.
9. In terms of your fans, do you like receiving feedback? What’s the nicest thing a fan has done?
Love receiving an email or seeing a review for my work, it really makes all of the toiling behind the keyboard worth it. Not sure if I can pick out just one instance but several readers have reached out to say they know authors hear critical feedback a lot and wanted to make sure I knew how much they loved my work. It’s wonderful to get messages like that.
10. What’s next for Joe Hart? We all want to know what you have planned!
I just finished a series of edits for my next novel titled Obscura, which will be out next May. It’s about a neural radiologist whose daughter is diagnosed with a new form of Alzheimer’s that can strike any age. In an effort to further her funding and research she accepts a mission to space where strange and deadly occurrences are plaguing a crew of astronauts. Very excited for everyone to read it!
Thanks so much for all the excellent questions, it was really fun!
GIVEAWAYGREAT INTERVIEW and the perfect way to spend HALLOWEEN! But there’s more we expect from this holiday sooooo let her rip!!!! It’s GIVEAWAY TIME and we’ve saved something special for you!!!! In addition to the signed print copy of the waiting that’s in the HALLOWEENPALOOZA GRAND PRIZE DRAWING, Joe’s giving away TWO MORE BOOKS!!! An audio version of LINEAGE and SIGNED PRINT COPY OF CRUEL WORLD ARE UP FOR GRABS!!!!
To win click on back over to our HALLOWEENPALOOZA EVENT PAGE and COMMENT I WANT TO WIN!!!! First winner will receive the choice of which book they want and second winner will receive the remaining title!!!!
PLEASE NOTE: BECAUSE THESE ARE PRINT COPIES, WE ARE RESTRICTING WINNERS TO THE U.S. and CANADA!
PLEASE NOTE: BECAUSE THESE ARE PRINT COPIES, WE ARE RESTRICTING WINNERS TO THE U.S. and CANADA!
LIFE FILLED WITH ANGUISH
Pain, horror, fear- These are the things that bestselling novelist Lance Metzger's life have been comprised of. His childhood remains a riddled wasteland of abuse by a sadistic father and the abandonment of an apathetic mother. In turn, his only refuge became his writing.
A SANCTUARY, BROKEN
When Lance loses his ability to write and becomes haunted by a nightmare that he'd thought was buried, he is drawn inexplicably to a house on the shores of Lake Superior where he finds his muse once again, but something is waiting for him when he arrives.
AN EVIL WITHOUT BOUNDARIES
Now he must unlock the devastating secrets that the house holds and uncover the mystery of his own broken past before he loses his sanity, and perhaps his soul.
Hidden away from the world by his famous father, Quinn Kelly strives to find meaning in his life while struggling with a deformity that has kept him from leaving the only home he has ever known. On the eve of his departure a sudden and deadly virus sweeps across the nation, killing nearly all it touches. Within days Quinn is left to fend for himself in an empty world.
But there is something still very much alive beyond the walls of his sanctuary, its malicious intent clear all too soon.
Joining forces with a young single mother and her blind son, Quinn must cross a dangerous and silent America in the search for refuge and a truth that may shatter his sanity and strip him of the last things he holds dear.