Last month I challenged people on social media, and on my blog, to send me questions. Ask me anything, I said.
Six brave souls took up the challenge.
Here are my answers.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?David Rae on Facebook
Great question, David! Thank you.
What is scary? Lots of things terrify me and it took me quite a while to rank my experiences and cross reference them with what I was prepared to share.
Let me tell you about the time I blacked out on horseback…
I went to horse riding lessons for a brief period as a teen. I was neither talented nor courageous, but I loved horses.
The instructors at the riding school where I got lessons thought the way to overcome my fears was to trick me into doing the things that frightened me. They were wrong.
One day we went on a hack through the local woods. I rode a new pony. He had nice movement and was foreword going, but his head was fizzy and he didn’t listen to me. He watched the other horses and the instructor rather than seeking a connection with me, so I wasn’t very happy riding him.
After cantering along the trail and stepping over some obstacles, the instructor told me to wait on the path while he took the rest of the hack into the trees to do some jumping, including a four foot high stone wall.
My pony was not happy when the other horses left us alone. I tried to settle him, but he wasn’t listening to me and I knew he was going to blow. I shouted out a warning, and then…
The next thing I remember, I was on the other side of the wall with the rest of the riders, sans stirrups. To this day I have absolutely no recollection of how I got there, but I’m very grateful that I managed to stay on.
So why is the scariest thing I’ve ever done one that I can’t remember? Exactly because I can’t remember. It’s horrible to have a chunk of missing time. How many other things have I done that I have no memory of?
Fast or slow zombies?Dan Soule on Twitter
Way to be controversial, Dan! I know my answer may alienate half the horror fans reading this, but it’s time to settle the decades long debate once and for all.
Slow zombies are the best.
While I loved the fast zombies in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, I have two problems with fast zombies in general.
1. From a story telling point of view, you’re shooting yourself in the foot with fast zombies. It makes them too powerful. The same if you include animals getting infected by the zombie virus. In a matter of days all life on earth would cease. Your story is finished before it’s begun.
2. Fast zombies aren’t scary. What, I hear you exclaim. An unstoppable foe with the speed of a cheetah doesn’t scare you? No, because I’d be dead before I realized zombies existed.
That’s one of the reasons slow zombies are so terrifying. You know they’re coming. They may not catch up with you for years, but they’ll never stop. You will need rest, but they don’t. There is that doggedness that wears you down, psychologically and physically. They’re inevitable, like death and taxes.
The other scary thing about slow zombies is how impersonal they are. They aren’t hunting you because of who you are or what you look like. They aren’t meting out punishment or enacting revenge. They aren’t even particularly interested in eating you, they usually give up after a couple of bites. They attack because you are there. Like time, they are the great leveler. Fast zombies, on the other hand, appear to have emotion and passion. Their speed takes away from their mindless indifference.
My question is what writing project are you working on now? How’s it going? (I guess that’s two questions!).Priscilla Bettis on this blog.
You’re right, Priscilla, that is two questions. Two excellent questions, and you get top marks for showing so much interest in my writing.
I’m writing all the books.
I’m working on several projects at the moment. The first is issuing second editions of Zoo of the Dead & Other Horrific Tales (completed), Return to Hades & Other Adventures (ongoing) and 7 Days in Hell (also ongoing) with illustrations and new author notes.
I hope to launch the novellas From The Ashes, Dead Jimmy and All of Me in the next few months. I had planned to publish them last year, but self doubt made me hold back. I haven’t conquered my imposter syndrome, but I decided to feel the fear and publish anyway.
I am writing the first draft of a dark fantasy series that takes place in the same world as my short stories A Tracker Becoming, A Lion in Colossus and Tracker School.
I am also working on the outlines for the next three books in the 7th Hell series – 7 Months in Hell, Good Intentions, and a free prequel novella, 7 Seconds in Hell.
Is your name Irish and how is it said? Judging from the pronunciation of Siobhán and Roisin etc anything is possible!Bruce Goodman on this blog.
Great question, Bruce. By now you’ve most likely listened to my interview with Mr Deadman and heard me pronounce it, but for the sake of those who haven’t, I’ll do my best to write it phonetically.
Ee (as in hE) + sult (as in inSULT)
Yes, it is an Irish name, which always comes as a surprise to Irish people. It’s Celtic in origin, most likely a form of Elizabeth, is also popular in northern France, and was made famous by an Arthurian legend (Tristan and Iseult). Some people are more familiar with the Germanic version, Isolde.
French people seem to have no problem pronouncing my name properly (the ones I’ve met anyway). I’ve met people who think my name is insult (for real), who’ve called me weasel because it was easier for them (!), or who insist I’m a mister because it’s a male name (I think they must be thinking of Isador, which is an awesome Spanish name but I’ve yet to meet someone called Isador in RL) but most Irish people think my name is Aoife (pronounced Ee Fah).
When will we see the next book in the 7th Hell series? I loved the first two and would like to see where it goes next!Valinora Troy on this blog.
Why thank you, Valinora. I’m glad you are enjoying the series. You get a gold star.
Hell at Halloween
As I said in answer to Priscilla’s question, the next three books in the series are still in the plotting stage, but if all goes to plan I hope to publish them at Halloween. It’s a tight schedule, so if there are any bumps in the road (and there usually are), they will be released next February instead.
I assume you’ve read 7 Weeks in Hell, so you know it has a choose your own adventure style ending. As a result, the next books are 3A 7 Months in Hell and 3B Good Intentions, which follow the consequences of the different endings.
A prequel that explains the origins of a certain charismatic man, called 7 Seconds in Hell, will be available for free download with both 7 Months in Hell and Good Intentions.
Do you write immediately minutes after you have awakened from your dreams or nightmares which serve as your inspiration?Bacardi Gold on this blog.
I love this question! Someone has been paying attention to my posts. You get a gold star too, Bacardi.
Nightmares stay with me.
I have very vivid dreams and they have inspired multiple stories or elements in my work. My nightmares stay with me, but if I think I might get a story out of one I’ll jot down a note in my notebook after a couple of days to help jog my memory in the future.
For example, I recently had a splatterpunk dream about a teenage girl being gaslit (gaslighted?) by two men into thinking the vacation home she is staying in is possessed by the devil.
It was a gory nightmare but I don’t know if I’ll do anything with it, however I might make a note of it in my notebook. Writing the description I’ve already given and a couple of lines about the twist at the end will be enough to bring the dream back to me in full technicolor glory.
Thank you for asking such wonderful questions and taking part in my AMA. I really enjoyed answering them and I hope you enjoyed reading this post too.