Interview- Seven Questions with Horror Writer Blaze McRob

What’s news? 

My lovely wife gave me a Kindle for Christmas.

While this is not as big of a coup as some other people I know receiving an e-reader (as one friend has said, “You’d have to kill me and put it in my cold, dead fingers”), it’s still a pretty big step for me.  For a lengthier discussion of this internal debate, you can click my second ever post on this blog, To ‘e,’ or Not To ‘e.’

Otherwise, I’m kind of excited that I’ll be able to read more of my fellow writers’ works, given my meager teacher salary.  Not that I’ll have more free time to read, but at least I’ll have plenty of options when I do.

What does the future hold?

Next week’s take on horror will be a little more academic.  Several years ago, a friend of mine, English professor Dr. Kyle Bishop, wrote his doctoral thesis which has since been converted into a book called American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture.  Next Friday I’ll be featuring an excerpt.

But without further ado…

Horror writer Blaze McRob was another one of the very supportive writers in my early days of joining the online world as the author Paul D. Dail.  I met Blaze through the Masters of Horror group on Facebook, and let me tell you, he’s all over that group, whether it’s his own content on his blog or encouraging someone else.

Another something I could tell you about Blaze is that he’s not easy to pin a label on.  Maybe that’s why I like him.  I try to live the same way.  Keep people guessing.  I’ve learned quite a bit about Blaze over the past six months, and just when I think I know him, I learn something new.

Even his writing changes.  One week, he can turn your stomach with graphic gore (remember I said this is not your grandmother’s horror?), the next week he’ll make you blush, and then he’ll throw some iambic pentameter at you.

Oh, and he’s also one of the owners of Angelic Knight Press.  I could go on, but I’ll let him take it from here.

And NOW without further ado.

Seven Questions with Horror Writer Blaze McRob

1- As far as writing is concerned: a- your favorite hobby, b- your fiery passion, c- your full-time profession, or d- a combination of the above. Feel free to expand.

Writing, to me, is the most fun I can have with my clothes on. It is my favorite hobby; a fiery passion which makes it absolutely essential that I tell my tales, all of which have a message to relay; and it is also my full time profession.

[PDD: So are you saying you like streaking?  ha ha.  Seriously, though, great response.  I would agree that it’s also my favorite hobby and fiery passion.  Ahh, for the day when it’s my full-time profession.]

2- What was the last book you finished reading? What are you currently reading? If it doesn’t seem obvious by title, what are the genres? Do either of these fall under your favorite genre (you know, the book you pick out when you’re going on vacation)?

The last book I finished reading is A Killer Slice by Cindy Keen Reynders, a funny, murder, detective, love story. I am currently reading Space Crazy by Kathy Rowe, which is humorous sci-fi. I read horror, mystery, poetry, sci-fi, physics, military, math, political books from all sides, religion, history, etc. You get the drift. I read almost everything.

What’s a vacation? I haven’t had one since 1987.

[PDD: Vacations are one of the best perks of being a teacher… and enriching young minds, of course.  However, days off from teaching usually mean working on writing.  And that’s an eclectic mix of reading, but as I’ve said before, I think any successful writer should be widely read outside of their chosen writing genre.]

3- What is the TV guide synopsis of your most recently completed project… or whatever project you’d like to talk about today? (I’ve heard several people say you should be able to hook someone in 25 words or less, but I’m not offering to represent your work professionally, so 30 words will be accepted )

How does a dead, immortal reaper transport souls to Hell and still wage a battle for good? Read ’68 Buick and find out.

4- Okay, now your book jacket version (200 words or less).

Cover for '68 Buick. Artwork by Sue Midlock

Robert Anderson, a man plagued by a demon trying to get inside his head, is attacked and killed by this evil entity. But is he really? Satan and God are waging a battle for his soul. God loses when Robert kills himself.

Yet, not is all what it seems. A Reaper actually kills Robert, but the Reaper turns out to be Robert himself. Thus, he is doomed to roam in a limbo fashioned by the hand of the Dark Angel, unable to go to Heaven but too good to go to Hell.

This marks the beginning of his new career: bringing the most despicable souls to the portals of Hell in a ’68 black Buick rag top with red interior, dice, and flames on the front panels. This immortal, dead Grim Reaper does what needs to be done through the power of his mind.

’68 Buick has a lesson to teach all of us: it is never too late to do what is right.

Even from beyond the grave.

[PDD: Sounds pretty interesting.  And knowing your style, I’m sure it will be very visual (I already like the image I’m getting of the Buick), full of dark humor, and given the “most despicable souls,” some pretty intense material as well.  Let me know when it’s out so I can tell my readers.]

5- What is one of the biggest obstacles you have to (or have had to) overcome in regards to writing? Could be about content, your process, or any other way you interpret the question.

Impending death was my biggest obstacle. In 1986, I was given six months to live. I not only wrote my first novel in that year, but I ghosted an average of two to three novels a year since then. Not too bad for a dead guy.

Other than that, I have no obstacles. I get an idea and let my story people take over from there. No outlines for me. I am very prolific. My last novel of 84,000 words was written in less than three weeks and is pretty clean.

After all, Paul, writing is merely one word following another.

[PDD: I don’t think I knew about your impending death.  Hopefully not something that’s still looming over your head.  Glad to hear it kick started your writing.  We’ll have to talk more about ghost writing sometime.  Interesting market, but not sure how to get into it.  Anyway, glad  you’re still alive… or are you?]

6- What is something that your readers might be surprised to find out about you?

For many years, I was a world ranked ultra-marathon runner, running across states, 24 hour races, seven day races, and the like.

[PDD:  Awesome.  Although I’ve never understood runners.  I love to hike, bike and swim, but I never got into running.  I have a good friend who does trail running, and he made a pretty funny comment once.  He said, “I don’t run.  I just plan a two hour hike when I only have one hour.”]

7- If you could contact someone no longer alive (and depending on your beliefs or whatever other contingency, I’ll give you the choice between whether you traveled back in time to ask them, or are talking to a spirit), who would it be? And what would be three questions you would ask them?

The person would be Danny Thomas, the great comedian, but an even more impressive humanitarian.

1. Mr. Thomas, what inspired you to do what you did to start up St. Jude’s Hospital?

2. Do you think we will be able to find cures for the diseases ravaging the children so selflessly helped by the staff at St. Judes?

3. How were you able to maintain an outward show of happiness when your heart must have been breaking the way mine does when I see children in need?

[PDD:  An unexpected response.  Well, kind of.  We’ve talked before about what softies we horror writers can be.  And I know beneath the grit and the gore, there is a kind and gentle soul.  We’ll just keep it between us.  Dammit!  Too late.]

Final words from Blaze:

Thank you for your questions, Paul. I’m sure some of my answers are not what you expected, but the complexity of human kind can run on many different paths. As my friend Robert Frost said so well: the path less traveled.

Mediocrity sucks. Let us all do the best we can to avoid it.

[PDD: Here, here!  Great interview.  Thanks for your responses.]

What do I want from you?

Feel free to leave a message here for Blaze.  Comments on his responses?  Just want to say “hi”?

You can find more about Blaze at the following sites:

His blog: Blaze McRob’s Tales of Horror

Angelic Knight Press

Vamplit Publishing

And don’t forget to check back next week for an excerpt from American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture.

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51 responses to “Interview- Seven Questions with Horror Writer Blaze McRob

  1. Thank you for having me on your blog, Paul. I was especially happy when I saw the great picture of Danny Thomas you came up with. What a great man!

    As for being alive or not: if I’m not, I’m the most prolific ghost “ghostwriter” ever. Damn! That’s another great novel idea. Thanks Paul.

    Blaze

  2. First – Blaze McRob is an awesome name.

    Second – Cool interview. Horror writers seem like such cool people. This guy – with the familiar style of writing and the use of muscle cars – reminds me a little of Steve King.

    • Thanks, Mac Campbell! Very high praise indeed. We horror writers try to be cool. Crap! We are cool!

      Blaze

    • Personally I think Mac Campbell is a pretty good writer name, as well. I’ve debated mixing it up a little. P.D. Dail. Just plain Paul Dail. Technically I’m Paul D. Dail II, after my grandfather. I have a few pseudonyms as well, but who the hell has time to cultivate more than one writing personae? They’ll just have to wait their turn.

      And I’ll definitely be curious to see ’68 Buick. Because as a King fan myself, I would say much of the short fiction I’ve seen from Blaze makes most of King’s stuff seem pretty tame.

      Thanks for stopping by, Mac. Hope all is well.

  3. Greetings, Paul & Blaze. How is everybody?
    Thanks for sharing this cool interview. Wow! The most I have ever ran is about 5 miles. I can’t believe you’d run for 24 hrs or 7 days, Blaze. Next time, Paul and I will just come pick you up and we’ll take a roadtrip. I’ve got my fully charged Kindle ready to go!
    Happy New Year, my friends.

    -Jimmy

  4. Thanks for such a great interview! Yes, it’s great to learn more about Blaze, who reveals more about himself seemingly every day. Blaze is a complex man, and very kind, despite his penchant for horror writing, which is always top notch!

    • Hey Cindy, I agree. And nice to see you stop by. With Blaze’s recommendation, I have put “A Killer Slice” on my list. Oh, and I was surprised when I saw the cover. I had a very similar concept idea for a collection of shorts I was planning on releasing (hopefully by next summer). It’s different enough, but close enough that I wanted to let you know I wasn’t stealing your idea 🙂 Thanks again for stopping by. Happy New Year.

  5. Thank you, Cindy! What a kind lady you are.

    Blaze is certainly a man with many sides. Anything else would be mediocrity, would it not? 😀

    I’m so old, I have a ton of other goodies to drop along the way.

    Blaze

  6. Great interview, Paul! I already knew what a softie Blaze is, but now the secret is officially out! It never ceases to amaze me what truly good people most horror writers are. Maybe it’s because we exorcise our demons on paper.

    I want to go on the road trip. Seriously, I’ll make the sandwiches!

    Stacey

  7. Well blaze, I hate to burst your bubble but you do not need to have your clothes on to write. If u r on the shower and an idea strikes you, then just write, let everything hang free while you write. Free willy.

    But maybe you are like Robert Ludlum churning out books long after his demise. Real talent.

    Great interview

    • Hey Lawrence, I believe I’ve actually seen some sort of “shower marker” product or something. I think my wife might kill me 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Happy New Year.

    • Thank you, Lawrence. I have been known to write in the nude, but if the laptop gets too warm, a little adjustment is necessary. I have many hand-written novels sitting in my storage shed waiting for the light of day. I might be dead by the time they are published.

      Blaze

  8. Great interview! Definitely going to check out some of Blaze’s writing.

  9. What a great interview from my favorite author 🙂 and Efi Loo, The Cat Vamp’s, favorite ghost writer! Blaze, you gave me my first chuckle of 2012 with your visual image of readjusting the hot laptop as you write free willy!!! I cannot wait to read ’68 Buick

    • Thank you, T.K. and Efi Loo! I’m glad my laptop free willy writing gave you some chuckles. 😀 We writers are a hearty lot, though, and do what we must to write our tales.

      Blaze

    • Thanks, TK. Good to hear from you and glad you enjoyed the interview.

      Although, I may have to scrub my brain of that image 🙂

      Have I mentioned that my wife also got me one of those lap stands for our laptop? On the days I teach, we commute an hour each way, during which I try to get some work done. Not that I’m naked on the drive to work or anything. Too damn cold at 6:30 in the morning.

      Thanks again for stopping by. Happy New Year.

      • I’m trying to absorb the visual of Paul driving naked with frost on his moustache and the laptop frozen to . . . you know.

        Not pleasant!

        Blaze

  10. I can’t believe it took me this long to get over here and check out the interview. This was a fun read! Blaze, I love this quote: “Writing, to me, is the most fun I can have with my clothes on.”

    I, too, get teary eyed when I see children or animals who are in need. I cry very easily, despite billing myself as ‘the happy horror writer.’ We are softies, aren’t we?!

    Thanks for hosting the interview, Paul!

    • We are softies, Aniko, and it’s a good thing. Real life horrors are terrible, and as compassionate humans, we owe it to one another to do whatever we can to help and love those around us.

      I am glad you enjoyed the interview. Thank you for reading it.

      Blaze

  11. Natalie Davis

    Hello Blaze! Please tell me how you like the Kindle. Is it a Fire? I’m trying to decide out of the Nook Color or Kindle Fire. Looking forward to Dr. Kyle Bishop next week!

    • Hey Natalie, thanks for stopping by. Honestly, I just got the basic Kindle model. Nothing too fancy, just something on which to read books or short stories. So I can’t offer much help. As to Nook vs. Kindle, well, I don’t know much in that department either. From a reading perspective, I feel like most things one might want to read are available for both (although Amazon is still the leader in the ebook market from a sales perspective). Not sure how they compare when it comes to other applications. Good luck. And yes, it will be fun having Kyle. If you’d have told me 20 years ago that I’d be hosting Kyle on my blog for his book on zombies in pop culture, well, my first question would’ve been, “What’s a blog?” 🙂 But there would’ve been many more questions to follow.

    • I gave my kids some of the original Kindles and they really like them, Natalie. I prefer to read ebooks in PDF on my computer so I can adjust it perfectly to my tastes. Kindle apps are available, so it’s not a difficult thing for me.

      Blaze

  12. Paul and Blaze, Maybe I should design man lap covers for laptops. You know we have many “free living lifestyle” places here in Florida. I might have a hit!!

  13. Pingback: #WIP500 « Aniko Carmean

  14. Interesting interview, and I too, am a reluctant convert to ebooks. I suppose that’s how our forbears felt about switching from scrolls and tablets to books. Change happens, but I will always have a place in my heart for those beaten up paperbacks and hardbound classics.

    • Christian, I agree. And as a father, I love watching my two year old sit and fan through the pages of a book. I don’t think it will ever be a dead art form entirely, even if it’s relegated to something akin to vinyl (which actually had record sales last year, I believe… no pun intended).

      And yes, as I mentioned in my other post, we’re not exactly using pen and parchment anymore.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a good weekend.

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