The Kendall Reviews Interview
Kendall Reviews: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
Sheldon Higdon: A dad, husband, and writer, who used to be a background artist in films such as Adventureland, Wonder Boys, The Temptations, and Inspector Gadget. By day I daydream of fighting Astro Zombies across the universe and by night I explore nightmares in search of ideas.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
SH: Watching movies, reading, and listening to music.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
SH: Crooked Tree by Robert C. Wilson. In 1980 I read it several times and it still sticks in my mind to this day.
KR: I keep seeing Robert C. Wilson being recommended. Think I’ll have to pick one of their books up. What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
SH: Yeah, music plays a role in my writing. For some reason, I can’t write when it’s quiet, so I blast metal, punk, and film soundtracks into my ears. I listen to music to keep outside noise away, but also because it can help in setting mood in my story and in me. Gets me into a certain place. I have many favorite albums. Way too many in many genres.
KR: I’d struggle to pick my favourite album ever. Prince’s Sign Of The Times would always be a strong contender for me. Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
SH: I love so many horror films and I love them for many reasons. My favorites tend to be films, or books such as the aforementioned Crooked Tree, which are ones that I recall from my childhood. One such film being A Nightmare on Elm Street. When I was thirteen years old I knew the owner of my local movie theater and I got to watch an R rated horror film by myself, in a near-empty theater, and I loved it. As for favorite director? Again, there are so many. But I love George Romero and Guillermo Del Toro.
KR: I don’t think I saw any of the Nightmares at the cinema. I wish I had. What are you reading now?
SH: Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby, and I am loving it. He’s an amazing writer.
KR: I have both of his novels in my TBR pile. What was the last great book you read?
SH: Two great books by two amazing writers: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones and Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
SH: I’m a person who likes the feel of a book in my hand. Its texture and its smell. So e-books aren’t my thing. I like hardbacks and paperbacks, but I prefer hardbacks most. Although, they’re a pain when it comes to moving into a new place.
KR: I couldn’t agree more. Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
SH: Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Matheson, Emily Dickinson, Ray Bradbury, among many, many others.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
SH: Both. I create an outline that is nothing more than chapters broken down into bullet points. It’s the sketch to my novel, and then I paint it in with characters/plot, et cetera. I have no idea what colors I’ll use, or if I’ll use crayons, markers, watercolors but I do make sure I stay within the lines.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
SH: It depends. If I’m writing a story, or novel, in a genre I’ve never written in before then I do research by reading in that genre before I start the story. If it’s in regards to something specific like how the Large Hadron Collider works then I’ll spend a few days or a few weeks on researching it. Depends how deep I want or need to go. It can become a rabbit hole if you don’t lay out what your research is beforehand. What questions need to be asked? Why do they need to be asked?
KR: How would you describe your writing style?
SH: Stories that forces the characters to examine their internal selves because of external horrors, whether they be real/personal or supernatural/personal. Melancholy lies beneath the story, sits beneath the skin of the characters, because reality still has dark shadows on bright sunny days.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
SH: I try for four hours on weekdays and eight hours on Saturdays and Sundays. I don’t aim for a certain word count. I aim to write scenes/ideas/plot points, or entire chapters, and get those out of my head and onto paper. However, I am trying to become faster. I am a slooow writer because I rewrite as I write, editing, and I think things to death.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
SH: My favorite is always my latest story. (But between you and me, I do have one that is unpublished that I like a lot. Don’t tell anyone.)
KR: My lips are sealed. Do you read your book reviews?
SH: I don’t seek them out.
KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?
SH: Obviously, I’m better now than I was fifteen years ago. Now, I experiment more. Creatively, I push myself harder.
KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?
SH: Get out of your own head and don’t second guess. (I’m still trying to accomplish this. Lol.)
KR: What scares you?
SH: As a film watcher/book reader? Nothing. As a writer? Not getting better. As a Dad? Name it.
KR: I’m with you on the scares increasing since becoming a parent. Can you tell me about your latest release please?
SH: My story “And the Winner is…” which appears in In Darkness, Delight: Fear the Future, is a story about a possible future. To me, people, reality, is far scarier than any demon/creature/monster conjured up by my imagination. I didn’t set out to write a story about a young girl who lived in a country that had no hope, who was given no hope; instead it set out for me to write it. I didn’t outline. When it comes to short stories I never outline. I just write them. And this story is what came out of me. I may turn “And the Winner is…” into novels, a series, because the story is much bigger than realized. And there’s an unseen character that has watched this story unfold via the TV, sitting in their home, and who may be the spark needed to change this story’s world.
KR: What are you working on now?
SH: A psychological/supernatural horror adult novel and several short stories.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose
- One fictional character from your writing.
SH: The main character of my current WIP (novel), because she’s been through a lot and she refuses to let her past define her. She’s strong, resilient, and is brave in the face of her personal horrors.
- One fictional character from any other book.
SH: Frodo Baggins for he has stories to tell.
- One real-life person that’s not a family member or friend.
SH: George Carlin. He’s intelligent and funny. Both go a long way.
Since I’m stuck on an island I hope I don’t end up like Richard Pinzetti from Stephen King’s short story “Survivor Type”. *gulp*
KR: Thank you very much Sheldon
Sheldon Higdon’s story “And the Winner Is…” is in In Darkness, Delight: Fear the Future, an anthology from Corpus Press. With over forty publications to his name, SHELDON HIGDON has been featured in publications such as Rue Morgue, The Portland Monthly, Tales from the Lake Volume 4, Anthology Year Three: Distant Dying Ember, Writers on Writing Volume 4, and the anthology Madhouse, to name a few. He is also an award-winning screenwriter for his short script “Conundrum”, which won the Best Short Screenplay category at the Eerie Horror Film Festival in 2009. In 2013, he completed his MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.
Follow Sheldon on Twitter @HigdonSheldon
Corpus Press Anthology In Darkness, Delight: Fear the Future
In Darkness, Delight: Fear the Future, edited by Andrew Lennon and Evans Light, and a cover by Mikio Murakami, delivers twenty-two strikingly original tales of terror from Bram Stoker Award® winners, best-selling authors, and rising talent in the genre – even a world-renowned celebrity is part of the lineup – in the third volume of its ongoing In Darkness, Delight horror anthology series.
Be warned: these are not science fiction stories with a dash of dread. These are visions of the horrifying futures that may await us all.
Fans of television’s Black Mirror are sure to enjoy Emmy winning and New York Times best-selling author Penn Jillette’s (of Penn & Teller fame) delightfully wicked short story “The Pain Doctor,” which was adapted for the Netflix hit series and is available here exclusively for the first time in book format.
Lisa Morton, six-time Bram Stoker Award® winner, gets things off to a strong start with the chilling “Airborne,” while Max Booth III (whose film We Need to Do Something is set for theatrical release later this year) shines a light on the madness of modern technology with the ever-escalating “Noise.” Two-time Bram Stoker Award® winner Eric J. Guignard creates magic of his own with shimmering prose in the dreamlike “If I Drive Before I Wake.”
Michael Laimo, author of the bestsellers Deep in the Darkness and Lost Souls, turns the wonders of childbirth inside-out with the grotesque “Err.” Joanna Koch, Shirley Jackson Award finalist and rising star of all things bizarre, delivers the goods in their unique style with “Schroedinger’s Head.” Stories by Tim Curran and William Miekle show the genre favorites at the top of their game, and the list goes on, even including some first-publication authors so talented you won’t be able to pick them out from the more established.
These stories have been selected by the editors from over two million words worth of prose submitted from authors all over the world, enough stories to fill twenty-five volumes. These tales were specifically chosen for inclusion because, together, they offer a perfectly balanced blend of style, substance and diversity of themes. In Darkness, Delight: Fear the Future is a collection you don’t want to miss.
In Darkness, Delight: Fear the Future Info –
Humankind’s greatest fear is and will always be the unknown, dreading whatever gruesome horrors tomorrow may bring. The pain of the past is nothing when the worst is yet to come. The only thing that’s certain: it’s going to end badly.
In Darkness, Delight is an original anthology series revealing the many facets of modern horror —shocking and quiet, pulp and literary, cold-hearted and heart-felt, weird tales of spiraling madness alongside full-throttle thrillers. Open these pages and unleash all-new terrors that consume from without and within.
In Darkness, Delight: Fear the Future is available now (Sept 14, 2021) with worldwide release and available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover editions.
Order your copy of Fear The Future HERE
Table of Contents –
“Airborne,” by Lisa Morton
“Err,” by Michael Laimo
“Daddy’s Girl,” by Ben Eads
“Husk,” by Marshall J Moore
“We Have Names, Too,” by Michelle Muenzler
“The Haunting of Asteroid H111,” by Van Aaron Hughes
“Shoulda Read the Fine Print,” Blanche by Ben Lawrence
“Transference,” by Jenn Hopkins
“Game Over,” by Andrew Lennon
“Schroedinger’s Head,” by Joanna Koch
“Locusts,” by Dominick Cancilla
“Pain Addict,” by Penn Jillette
“The Sluggie Rebellion,” by William Meikle
“Noise,” by Max Booth III
“They Mattered,” by Evans Light
“Billy Campbell’s Bones,” by Jason Washer
“Survival is an Act of Selflessness,” by Frank Oreto
“Boxed In,” by CS Mergo
“What It Takes,” by Phil Sloman
“Neuroworm,” by Tim Curran
“And the Winner is…,” by Sheldon Higdon
“If I Drive Before I Wake,” by Eric J Guignard
About the Authors –
Max Booth III doesn’t exist. If you spot him in public, call your local authorities immediately, but let’s be honest: by then it’s probably too late.
Dominick Cancilla lives in Santa Monica, California, with author Deborah Markus, their lizards, and a deep bitterness for a universe that would allow Disneyland to be closed for so long. His short fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, and he’s very proud of his most recent novel – Tomorrow’s Journal – but right now he’s mostly just pissed off about the Disneyland thing.
Tim Curran is the author of Skin Medicine, Hive, Dead Sea, Resurrection, The Devil Next Door, Dead Sea Chronicles, Clownflesh, and Biohazard. His short stories have been collected in Bone Marrow Stew and Zombie Pulp. His novellas include The Underdwelling, The Corpse King, Puppet Graveyard, Worm, and Blackout. His fiction has been translated into German, Japanese, Spanish, and Italian.
Ben Eads’ short fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies published by Crystal Lake Publishing, Shroud Magazine and Seventh Star Press. His first novella, Cracked Sky, was published in 2015 by the Bram Stoker Award® Winning press Omnium Gatherum. His latest book, Hollow Heart, is now available.
Eric J. Guignard is a writer and anthologist of dark and speculative fiction, operating from the shadowy outskirts of Los Angeles. He’s twice won the Bram Stoker Award, been a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award, and is a multi-nominee of the Pushcart Prize. Latest books include his novel Doorways to the Deadeye, novella Last Case at a Baggage Auction, and short story collection That Which Grows Wild (Cemetery Dance), as well as an ongoing series of author primers championing modern masters Exploring Dark Short Fiction, through his press Dark Moon Books. Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com or Twitter: @ericjguignard.
With over forty publications to his name, Sheldon Higdon has been featured in publications such as Rue Morgue, The Portland Monthly, Tales from the Lake Volume 4, Anthology Year Three: Distant Dying Ember, Writers on Writing Volume 4, and the anthology Madhouse, to name a few. He is also an award-winning screenwriter for his short script “Conundrum”, which won the Best Short Screenplay category at the Eerie Horror Film Festival in 2009. In 2013, he completed his MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.
Jennifer Hopkins was raised in the stormy Pacific Northwest where the clouds roll in at noon and the sun goes down at four in the afternoon, transforming everything to midnight. It’s a setting that has inspired much of her dark fantasy and horror fiction. A lover of nature and well-baked treats, Jen lives in Seattle with both the rain and her lucky black cat. She has seven magazine publications and a long-running blog. She earned an Honorary Mention by the Richard Hugo House’s Quattro Spec Fiction contest for her story “Earthbound” and by Scriptapalooza for her script “Supernatural: Green-eyed Monster”.
Van Aaron Hughes has published stories in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Writers of the Future Vol. 27, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several other magazines and anthologies. IRL he is a commercial lawyer practicing in Denver and has argued before the United States Supreme Court. His wife, his three children, and his dog are all much cooler than he is.
Penn Jillette is an American magician, actor, musician, inventor, television presenter, and author, best known for his work with fellow magician Teller as half of the team Penn & Teller. The duo has been featured in numerous stage and television shows, such as Penn & Teller: Fool Us and Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, and is currently headlining in Las Vegas at The Rio. Jillette has published eight books, including the New York Times Bestseller, God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales. His story in this book was adapted for the hit television series Black Mirror.
Joanna Koch (Joe) writes literary horror and surrealist trash. A Shirley Jackson Award finalist and author of The Wingspan of Severed Hands, their short fiction appears in anthologies such as Not All Monsters, The Big Book of Blasphemy, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror 5: Going Global.
Michael Laimo is the author of seven novels and over 100 short stories, most of which have been published in four collections. His novels Deep in the Darkness and Dead Souls have been made into feature films and are currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. He is currently at work on a new novel, an erotic thriller titled Missed Connection.
In his mind, Ben Lawrence is a best-selling author ranking alongside the very best horror masters, but in truth this is his first time having a story published and he has bloody loved every moment of it. Ben wishes he wrote on a haunted old typewriter atop a wind-swept hill studded with tombstones, but he really lives in a one-bed apartment in London with his better half and their over-weight Frenchie ‘Peggy Olson’. If his work is well received, Ben intends to write more revolting shenanigans.
Andrew Lennon is the author of Every Twisted Thought along with many other novels, collections and short fiction. His work has been featured in anthologies alongside horror royalty such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Richard Chizmar and Clive Barker, and he is fast becoming a recognized name in the genre himself. Andrew is happily married, living in the Northwest of England with his wife Hazel and their children.
Evans Light lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, surrounded by thousands of vintage horror paperbacks. He is author of Screamscapes: Tales of Terror, the upcoming I Am Halloween, and more. He is editor of Doorbells at Dusk and the In Darkness, Delight horror anthology series, and is co-creator of Bad Apples: Halloween Horrors and Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love.
C.S. Mergo writes stories about long lost pasts and broken futures.
William Meikle is a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with over thirty novels published in the genre press and more than 300 short story credits in thirteen countries. He has books available from a variety of publishers including Dark Regions Press and Severed Press and his work has appeared in a large number of professional anthologies and magazines. He lives in Newfoundland with whales, bald eagles and icebergs for company. When he’s not writing he drinks beer, plays guitar, and dreams of fortune and glory.
Marshall J. Moore is a writer, filmmaker, and martial artist who was born and raised on Kwajalein, a tiny Pacific island. He has traveled to nearly thirty countries, once sold a thousand dollars’ worth of teapots to Jackie Chan, and on one occasion was tracked down by a bounty hunter for owing $300 in overdue fees to the Los Angeles Public Library. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Megan and their two cats.
Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, and prose writer whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening.” She is a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, the author of four novels and over 150 short stories, and a world-class Halloween expert. Her most recent release is the collection Night Terrors & Other Tales; she also writes weekly new fiction for the Spine Tinglers podcast. Lisa lives in Los Angeles and online at lisamorton.com.
Michelle Muenzler, author of the weird and sometimes poet, writes words both dark and strange to counterbalance the sweetness of her baking. Check out her website for links to more of her work (and cookie recipes!), or say hello on Facebook where she often lurks.
Frank Oreto is a writer of weird fiction living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His stories have appeared or are upcoming in Unnerving, The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, and Pseudopod. When not telling stories he spends his time creating elaborate meals for his wife and many hungry children.
Phil Sloman is a writer of dark psychological fiction. His first story was published in 2014 and he has been writing ever since, with his work making regular appearances on “Year’s Best” lists. In 2017 his novella Becoming David was shortlisted for British Fantasy “Best Newcomer” Award, and was a contributor to Imposter Syndrome (Dark Minds Press) which was nominated for the British Fantasy “Best Anthology” Award in 2018. In 2020, he edited The Woods, which was also nominated for the British Fantasy “Best Anthology” Award.
Jason Washer lives in rural New Hampshire and divides his time between caring for his three young children, running a small business, and writing late into the night at his kitchen table.
About Corpus Press –
Corpus Press is a publisher of horror and weird fiction, specializing in modern pulp that emphasizes plot over gore. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the press has garnered praise from SCREAM Magazine, Cemetery Dance, Horror Novel Reviews, Hellnotes and others for its Bad Apples: Slices of Halloween Horror series, the anthology Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love, and for its short story collections and novellas.
Follow Corpus Press for news on the In Darkness, Delight anthology series and much more:
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