On behalf of Halloweenpalooza, thanks so much for agreeing to participate. Let’s start with some quickies:
Favorite horror movie: Nightmare on Elm Street
Favorite guilty pleasure: Watching Disney animated movies J
Dogs or cats: Dogs
Ever carve a pumpkin: Oh yeah J Wouldn’t be Halloween without it!
Favorite Halloween candy: Skittles
Favorite color: Black
Favorite quote: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King
Favorite monster: The boogeyman
1. What brought you over to writing about the dark side?
I’ve always been interested in horror. Ever since I watched Nightmare on Elm Street when I was five or six (my father had a sick sense of humor), I’ve been fascinated by the scary and macabre. My parents taught me how to read at a fairly early age, mainly to get rid of my hyperactivity and channel it into something useful, and it was only a matter of time before I found the many works of horror I enjoyed growing up.
I guess it’s a kick, really. I enjoy writing stories, giving life to characters people can relate to, creating a story readers would want to read, and scaring the hell out of them at the same time. It just felt like the right combination.
2. What is it about your work that you’d like readers to take away?
That it’s okay to be scared, and that you should know in one way or the other, darkness exists everywhere, and it can be beaten. Even if the sacrifice is a little too much, darkness can be overcome.
3. Could you please give us a small excerpt from any of your books that exemplifies what you do best?
From ‘Children to the Slaughter’:
Blake Collins hated the dark.
He had never been bothered by it before, but ever since his mother’s death, it had become a suffocating nothingness that he couldn’t bear. He pictured his mother, dead, eyes closed forever in an eternal darkness, never able to wake up. It scared him, terrified him, and he didn’t even want to imagine what that must be like.
That was why, when the small night light beside the door flickered and went off, he was instantly sitting up in bed. The wind outside had picked up, and through the window he could see the dark figures of autumn leaves dancing, their beautiful morning colors replaced by a dark gray that appeared and disappeared as they raced below the streetlights.
The light that came in through the window threw shadows across the walls, grotesque shapes he had learned long ago were harmless, although he had never been convinced of that. The rest of the room seemed like a dark void, black and forlorn, and as he waited for his eyes to adjust, he heard a tapping coming from the shadows.
“Dad!” he called out, unwilling to get out of bed. The bedroom door was across the room, in the darkness, and he wouldn’t be caught dead walking into that.
“Dad!” he called out again, concentrating to hear for any sign of his father’s approach.
The tapping came again, and Blake’s head quickly snapped to the window, hoping it was a branch against the glass. There was nothing there, though, and when the tapping continued, he immediately knew its source.
Blake’s eyes fell on the closet door. He could feel his skin crawl, and his breathing quickened. The tapping was coming from behind the closet door, and he quickly tried to convince himself that it was nothing more than his imagination playing tricks on him.
The tapping didn’t stop, coming harder, more confident, as if whoever was behind the closet door was actually asking for permission to come in. Blake looked over at the bedroom door, the uninviting darkness, and then back at the closet. He was frozen in place, unable to think clearly, completely forgetting about his father and whether or not he was coming to save him.
Blake’s eyes widened as he watched the closet door creak open, slowly, and a hand reach out from inside and grasp the edge as it pushed it all the way. His heart instantly jumped into his throat and his body began to shake, the tremors racing through him like wildfire. He felt something warm spread out from where he sat, and a part of his mind, the part that had decided that what was happening right now was just a dream, wondered what his father would say about his wetting the bed.
The closet door swung open completely, creaking outwards, and from the darkness within came a soft chuckle. The voice that followed was harsh and raspy, reminding Blake of the sound teeth grinding against each other made.
“We are going to have so much fun.”
4. What scares you?
Everything. Humans are the scariest creatures in the world. The ability to do what we do to each other; that scares the hell out of me.
And of course, monsters. I still make sure my legs are well under the covers in case something reaches out from under the bed, or the tapping at the window is something a little more than just the wind.
5. If you were forced to spend the night at one allegedly haunted location, where would it be and what would you hope to learn?
There’s this place in Alexandria, Egypt called the Roushdy Building that’s allegedly haunted. No one lives there, and the people who have either see pools of blood or hear mysterious sounds. One couple was furnishing an apartment in there, and always came the next morning to find their new furniture thrown out into the street. The rumors are numerous, but apparently there are Djinn in there that really don’t want visitors. It’s definitely intriguing, and would be quite a muse for horror writers – imagine one night of non-stop horror!
6. You’re walking alone down a dark alley, what’s the one character you’ve created that you would most want to not encounter? Why?
I wouldn’t want to encounter any of them. After what I do to these characters in my stories, the good and the bad, I think most of them are holding a grudge.
7. If you could channel one master of horror that’s passed, who would it be and what do you think the result of your collaboration would be?
Edgar Alan Poe. I doubt there would be a collaboration; just more of me staring in horror and awe as the genius works.
8. What’s the best memory you have of celebrating Halloween?
My parents once dressed me up in a large red coat and drew blood running down my mouth. They didn’t have money for a costume, and they convinced me that I was the scariest monster to ever walk down our street. I asked them why and my father smiled and said, “Because you’re going as yourself, and that’s scary!”
9. In terms of your readers, do you like feedback? What’s the best thing a reader has ever said or done?
I love feedback, especially when it’s constructive. I take a lot from the feedback I get. If it’s a one-liner telling me my work is either great or a waste of their time, I usually feel a pang of disappointed. I’d like to know why they loved or hated it, which parts were their favorite or their worst, how I could improve, all of it. Feedback is the best thing a writer can get from the people who read their books.
The best thing: My wife read one of my stories, ‘This is Gonna Hurt’, when we were still engaged. It’s a bit disturbing, and she hasn’t read any of my horror work since, but I remember her sending an email, thanking me for a wonderful five-year relationship and opening her eyes to what she was really getting herself into. It was a hilarious email, and I still read it to her every time we get into an argument just to tell her: “You knew, and you married me anyway”
10. What’s next for you? What are your upcoming plans?
I just finished a trilogy recently about how your sins come back to haunt you, and how different people respond to ‘coming clean.’ It has been one long ride, and it incorporated a lot of my own fears and horrors, keeping me awake at night after I was done writing a chapter or two. It’s called ‘The Sin Series’, and I’m really looking forward to the response for that.
I’ve also been working on an audio graphic novel I wrote a few years back called ‘Bottlecap’, and that should be up on YouTube pretty soon. Unfortunately it’s not a horror story, but it’s definitely a dark experience nevertheless.
And of course, more horror writing! I’m working on a new trilogy and have plans for several more, so I’m sure I’ll be busy. There are a few small projects here and there that I think I’ll be spending some time on as well, but there’s always writing. I doubt that will ever change.
If you were tantalized by the above excerpt, you’ll be thrilled to know that today’s giveaway is TEN ECOPIES OF CHILDREN TO SLAUGHTER!!!!
To win: go to the Official FB Event Page; find the post announcing today’s giveaway; and comment, “I WANT TO WIN” in that post and you just might!!!
Melington has changed.
There is an evil lurking in the darkness, under the beds and behind closet doors. It seeks vengeance and retribution and will not be denied.
No one knows this more than Alan Carter. Returning to his hometown after a twenty year absence, he is resolute in uncovering the truth behind his sister’s abduction and the strange disappearance of children. Joined by his childhood friend, Alan finds himself thrown into the middle of a conspiracy led by the town Council as it desperately tries to hide its secrets from the world.
No child is safe in Melington, and Alan Carter needs to stop the curse that has haunted his hometown for generations. But as Alan’s brushes with death become more frequent, he finds himself running out of luck.
At the age of four, Ahmed I. Nasser’s parents decided that the best way to keep a hyperactive child occupied was to teach him how to read and constantly bombard him with books. Since then, the world of imagination has constantly consumed him. He quickly decided that the only way to feel fulfilled was to spend his time writing one story after the other, even opting out of a career as a pediatrician, despite ten years of struggling through med-school.
Influenced by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, he has been writing since the age of 12 while travelling the world with his family. Now, finally settled in Egypt, he divides his time between teaching Middle School English Literature and finding the best ways to scare his family and friends.