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).
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?
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:
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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