Writers on Writing: A Free Day

Post From the Past: 5/19/16 (originally published on Inject Creativity blog)

This post was the beginning of a series of author interviews related to the release of the Crystal Lake collection, Writers on Writing Volume 3. Enjoy!


You have a day entirely to yourself. No deadlines are pending and you can do whatever you want. How do you spend your day?

Jonathan Janz: This will sound cheesy, I’m sure, but there’s no doubt at all about the way I’d spend it—I’d hang out with my wife and kids. As rewarding as writing is, it doesn’t even sniff the fulfillment I get from being with my family. During my ideal day, I’d wrestle with my kids, drink coffee with my wife, play in the back yard, go get some ice cream. Maybe finish the evening by watching a Pixar movie together. These are the things that make me happy.

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012”. The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.” Samhain Horror will also publish his third novel, The Darkest Lullaby, in April. Savage Species will be his fourth full-length work. Look for his fifth novel, a vampire western called Dust Devils, in early 2014. He has also written three novellas (The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories. His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at www.jonathanjanz.com. You can also find him on Facebook, via @jonathanjanz on Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.

Brian Hodge: It’s a trick question, right? Because we’re supposed to always be working no matter what? Actually, I was in this position a few weeks back. I’d had seven weeks to write a novel, with no breathing room, which is not my optimal pace. After it was finished, I needed a few days of buffer zone to clear my head and rebalance. I watched movies, worked on music, worked out. I wanted to go for a hike up to the Red Rocks near the entrance to Boulder Canyon, then hit a brewpub for a pint, but the weather was too mucky and didn’t cooperate. So … mix-and-match from that.

Brian Hodge is one of those people who always has to be making something. So far, he’s made 10 novels, and is working on two more, as well as 120 shorter works and 4 full-length collections. His first collection, The Convulsion Factory, was ranked by critic Stanley Wiater among the 113 best books of modern horror. He lives in Colorado, where he also likes to make music and photographs; loves everything about organic gardening except the thieving squirrels; and trains in Krav Maga and kickboxing, which are of no use at all against the squirrels. His most recent releases include the novella In the Negative Spaces (half of a shared book called Dark City), and an updated edition of his early post-apocalyptic epic, Dark Advent. Visit him online at his website: http://www.brianhodge.net/

Jasper Bark: Depends what mood I’m in, I suppose. Some days I’d strip down to a loincloth, cover myself in bear grease and attempt to wrestle octopoids in a trench filled with creme anglaise. Other days I would wrap my head in seaweed and logan berries, trek to the top of a mountain and attempt to balance on my big toe atop a bamboo pole, while chanting the mantra: ‘Kwim Kwam, Baba-Lam, Hairy Mary’s Moose I am’. A chant whose specific frequencies are said to unlock the Harmonic Gates of enlightenment.

Mostly though, I would probably kick back with a good book, cook a meal with my wife, spend some family time with my kids and, once they’d finally gone to bed, spend some adult time with my beautiful spouse.

Jasper Bark finds writing author biographies and talking about himself in the third person faintly embarrassing. Telling you that he’s an award winning author of four cult novels including the highly acclaimed ‘Way of the Barefoot Zombie’, just sounds like boasting. Then he has to mention that he’s written 12 children’s books and hundreds of comics and graphic novels and he wants to just curl up. He cringes when he has to reveal that his work has been translated into five different languages and is used in schools throughout the UK to help improve literacy, or that he was awarded the This Is Horror Award for his recent anthology ‘Dead Air’. Maybe he’s too British, or maybe he just needs a good enema, but he’s glad this bio is now over. Visit him online at his website: www.jasperbark.com

Mercedes M. Yardley: Oh my goodness! What a dream. I’d meet a friend for lunch at my favorite Chinese place. I’d go thrifting. I’d watch horror movies and make a quilt. Perhaps I’d drive down to Primm for the rollercoaster with a seven story drop. I adore that thing.

Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist who wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair. She writes short stories, nonfiction, novellas, and novels. She is the author of Beautiful Sorrows, Nameless: The Darkness Comes, Pretty Little Dead Girls, Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu, and Little Dead Red (2015 Bram Stoker Award winner for Long Fiction). Mercedes lives and works in Sin City, and you can reach her at www.mercedesyardley.com.

Kealan Patrick Burke: Depending on the weather, I would either spend it outdoors walking around Downtown Columbus or taking a drive with my better half, or at home reading and catching up on my TV shows. I’m very low maintenance.

Kealan Patrick Burke was born and raised in Dungarvan, Ireland. He is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of five novels, over a hundred short stories, four collections, and editor of four acclaimed anthologies.When not writing, Kealan designs covers for print and digital books through his company Elderlemon Design. To date he has designed covers for books by Richard Laymon, Brian Keene, Scott Nicholson, Bentley Little, William Schoell, and Hugh Howey, to name a few.

This Blogger: I think back to last summer when my family went camping in southern Colorado and visited Mesa Verde. Waking early to make coffee al fresco and reading Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam before anyone woke. Exploring ruins all day and then relaxing by the fire. Making delicious camp food with my husband and daughter. Now that was a perfect day!

Read next question in the interview series here.

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