{Interview} Bram Stoker Award Nominated Author JG Faherty talks to Kendall Reviews

JG FAHERTY is a multi-award-nominated author of dark fiction, science fiction, horror, and urban fantasy. Since 2010, he has had six novels, 8 novellas, and more than 50 short stories published. His paranormal thriller, THE CURE, was a finalist for the 2015 Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a Novel and his young adult paranormal romance THE GHOSTS OF CORONADO BAY was a finalist for the coveted Bram Stoker Award® for YA Horror in 2011. In addition, his supernatural thriller THE BURNING TIME was a finalist for the ITW Thriller Award in 2013. Both THE BURNING TIME and THE GHOSTS OF CORONADO BAY earned ReadersChoice.com 5-Star awards.

JG’s works range from quiet, dark suspense to over-the-top comic gruesomeness. A fan of horror and science fiction since he was able to change the channel on the TV, one of his earliest memories is seeing Planet of the Apes and Night of the Living Dead as a double feature at the drive-in with his parents. Already addicted to Godzilla, Star Trek, and classic sci-fi movies such as Them!, his introduction to horror on the big screen made him an instant convert and science fiction took a second seat to the thrills offered by ghosts, vampires, monsters, werewolves, and zombies.

Throughout elementary, grade school, and high school he read everything dark and scary he could get his hands on, from Poe, Shelley, and Stoker to Wellman, King, Straub, Wilson, and Koontz. He made his first real attempt at writing horror while in college, but when that experiment failed miserably he went another 15 years before trying his hand at fiction again. In the interim, he worked a variety of jobs, including lab tech, R&D scientist, lab manager, photographer, zookeeper, teacher, marketing specialist, and resume writer.

Houses Of The Unholy

  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Cemetery Dance Publications (April 16, 2019)

KR: Coffee?

KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

Sure. I am an ex-biologist and ex-photographer who’s been running a successful resume business since 1999 and also writing fiction since 2000. My first novel, CARNIVAL OF FEAR, came out in 2010 and since then I’ve written a few more, earned some award nominations, served in a variety of capacities in the Horror Writers Association, and written lots of short stories. My work is mostly in the horror / dark fiction areas, but I do dabble in sci-fi and urban fantasy, as well as YA paranormal, on occasion.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

I noodle around on the guitar (I’ve even built 3), read, watch TV/movies – preferably superhero, comedy, horror, SF, or old, bad SF/horror like on Svengoolie! – and cook.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

That’s a tough one. Early childhood or tween years? Among my favorites would be Frankenstein, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Haunting of Hill House, and all the Hardy Boy mysteries.

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

Most likely either On Your Feet or On Your Knees by Blue Oyster Cult or BOC’s Agents of Fortune. Music plays a dual role in my writing – I love to have it on when I’m editing (not writing, I need silence for that), and several of my short stories and one novel (THE BURNING TIME) have resulted from ideas that came from song lyrics. My new novel, HELLRIDER, which comes out in August 2019, actually includes lyrics from one of my favorite songwriters, Richard Christy of Charred Walls of the Damned. He was nice enough to let me use them.

KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?

There are a lot of movies I love, and even more I can’t stand. Modern favorites include Them!, Alien, The Shining, Cloverfield, and the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness trilogy. I also love the classic Universal films of the 40s and the Hammer movies from the 60s and 70s. I don’t really keep up with directors.

KR: What are you reading now?

Actually, I’ve just started THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste, a YA novel, because after I finish the novel I’m working on my next one will probably be a YA, and to get in the mood I typically read several YA books beforehand.

KR: What was the last great book you read?

Hmm. Great? I really enjoyed SLEEPING BEAUTIES by Owen and Stephen King. Also SUNBLIND by Michael McBride and HANNAHWHERE by John McIlvene.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

There’s nothing like holding a solid book in your hand. For many years, I always bought paperbacks if I didn’t know the author and hardcovers by my favorite authors. I resisted ebooks. But then about 10 years ago I broke down and bought my first Kindle because lugging 7-10 books with me when we went on vacation was getting to be too much. And I got hooked! Not only can you carry hundreds of books with you when you travel, but if you’re stuck at the doctor’s, or find yourself out of the house with time to kill, you can just open Kindle on your phone or pad and pick up where you left off. And the low price of ebooks (I’m on Book Bub) lets you try a lot of new authors without spending your entire paycheck on books. These days, the only solid books I get are ARCs or freebies at conventions. The only hard copies I buy are those of friends because I believe in supporting other authors.

KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

It goes back to childhood. Shelley, Poe, Stoker, and Verne got me into horror. Then, when I was 11 or so, I read a book called SNAKES AND SNAKE HUNTING, by Carl Kauffeld. He was the head herpetologist at the Staten Island Zoo for many years, and when I was a kid I wanted to do that for a living. Loved snakes, lizards, dinosaurs, just plain outdoor biology in general.

And he wrote in such a casual, every-day manner that it made me think anyone could write. In grade school, I used to write silly stories about magical cats and draw cartoons that were goofy, MAD Magazine-style spoofs of TV shows I liked, such as STAR TREK. Then, in high school, I discovered Stephen King and Dean Koontz and Peter Straub and I was hooked. I wanted to be a writer. I went to college as an English major.

Sadly, 2 things happened. My college’s English program was devoid of creative writing offerings and my first try at a horror novel, a la King (about a monster in a lake), was terrible. 3 chapters in I realized it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the writers I enjoyed. I had no idea then about multiple drafts, editing, practicing, etc. I thought writing just ‘came to you.’ This was in 1982, long before the internet. I didn’t even know about writer conventions. So I stopped. Switched back to the sciences and worked in that field until I was 40.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

Typically, I get an idea and run with it. I’ll write the first 2-3 chapters, to see if it has legs. I’ll have a good idea of the ending, which I’ll jot down. Then, I sit back and start delving into the characters and the subplots and the twists, and for that, I do my version of an outline, which is more like chapter summaries, longhand in a notebook. Then from that, I do the book.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do very little research before a book, mainly because I don’t write in-depth historical pieces or advanced science fiction. However, as I write, I do research throughout, because I believe in getting the little details as accurate as possible. I hate when you see a book that goofs on basic scientific facts, like where a certain species of snake is found, or how many bullets a gun holds. For my most recent novel that I just turned in to my editor, I had to do more research than usual because it takes place in the 1880s and I needed to know the terminology, the slang, the modes of dress, what kinds of food were popular, etc. But I mostly just Google that stuff when I come to it in the manuscript.

KR: How would you describe your writing style?

Much like Stephen King and Brian Keene have described theirs, as more of an everyman kind of storytelling rather than deeply literary.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

I get up at 6:30am. Walk the dog. Write for an hour or 90 minutes (M-F) or 2-2 ½ hours on the weekends. Then it’s right to work for the day job (again, during the week). I do that until 4:30. Then I walk the dog again. Then I typically go back and edit what I wrote in the morning, or do some research, or do some outlining. That takes an hour. Then it’s family time. On the weekends, if I happen to be home alone in the day or at night, I’ll do a couple more hours of writing.

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

My favorite short story of mine that’s been published is “Bones,” about married cousins who have certain abilities. They have to stop a supernatural creature killing people in their town. My favorite unpublished short story is “The Fishhook Prophecy,” which my beta readers love but editors keep saying is too gruesome. Among novels and novellas, my favorite will always be CARNIVAL OF FEAR, simply because it’s the first novel I ever had published. Most readers say THE CURE is their favorite.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

Sometimes. I always read the professional ones, the ones in magazines and ezines. The stuff on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley I’ll glance at from time to time just to get a sense of what people are saying because that lets you know if the book is hitting the right chord with readers. But I don’t track reviews or agonize over them.

KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?

I’m more careful now, both with my techniques and my research. I used to just do the whole first draft and then have to go back and make enormous changes. Now, against conventional wisdom, I edit parts as I go, mainly because it drives me crazy to be working on a chapter when you know 9 chapters ago something is there that makes the current chapter wrong. It’s a bit OCD. So I write slower now than I used to, much slower, but when it’s done, usually it needs far less editing.

KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?

“Write every day.” There probably isn’t anything more important. Even if it’s just 100 words. Because when you stop, when you go days without writing, it gets harder to return to that mindset, to let the creative doors open up and the ideas come out.

Second would be, “Don’t be a dick.” You’re a writer, not a superstar. Just an ordinary person. Treat others nicely, help other writers, and don’t let your head get big.

KR: What scares you?

In terms of horror, pretty much nothing. I’ve only jumped at 2 movies in my whole life (Phantasm and White Noise), and there’s only been one book that gave me such chills I had to put it down (PET SEMATARY). I am a terrible judge of my own books because I don’t know if they’re scary until people tell me they got frightened.

In real life, spiders give me the creeps, especially big ones. But they don’t ‘scare’ me. Only the idea of death scares me. I don’t want to die, I don’t want to grow old and sickly. I want to be healthy and live into my hundreds. The idea of not being around is terrifying to me. Yet, as a scientist, I know I can’t control how long I live. Even the healthiest person can get hit by a car or have a heart attack. I eat well, but I’m not obsessive over it. I still enjoy some wine or bourbon now and then. I don’t go to a gym but I do exercise each day. I enjoy life, and that’s part of the reason I want it to last forever. I always tell my wife that when I get old, I want to have my brain put into a robot so I can live forever.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

My newest collection, HOUSES OF THE UNHOLY, is out right now from Cemetery Dance. It features new and previously published short stories, plus a brand new novella, “December Soul,” which is sort of an apocalyptic tale about zombies, love, and loss.

My next novel, HELLRIDER, comes out in August from Flame Tree Press. It’s a bit of a departure for me, very much a grindhouse tale about a biker who’s been murdered and he comes back from the dead pissed as hell and out for revenge against the gang that killed him. It’s dark, it’s funny, and it has a lot of over-the-top violence. Imagine if Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez did Sons of Anarchy.

KR: What are you working on now?

Well, I recently turned in the first draft of my next novel, SINS OF THE FATHER, to my publisher, so soon I’ll be getting edits back on that. It’s a gothic tale that straddles the line between Lovecraft and Frankenstein, as much love story as it is horror.

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing. –

b) One fictional character from any other book.

c) One real-life person that is not a family member or friend.

That’s easy. The fictional character from my writing would be John Root from THE BURNING TIME, because he’s got magical abilities and is also a herbalist, so he’s great to have around to keep you alive.

The fictional character from any other book Einstein the dog from Dean Koontz’s WATCHERS, because I can’t imagine being trapped forever without a dog.

The real-life person who isn’t a family member or friend would have to be Emilia Clarke, because, well, if I’m going to be trapped on a deserted island……….

KR: Thank you very much James.

Houses Of The Unholy

In this new collection of stories, genre favorite JG Faherty takes you on a tour of unholy houses, where you’ll find:

– A man struggling to discover why all the people in his life are disappearing when he falls asleep.
– An accident in a mountain pass that turns into a deadly encounter with a mythical beast.
– A man who learns that the only thing worse than being a passenger on the train to Hell is being the engineer.
– A town where the dead coming back to life isn’t the worst thing that can happen.
– A young couple who uncover a terrible secret in the town that has ostracized them for their sins.
– A science experiment gone wrong that could spell the end of mankind.

The collection also includes “The Lazarus Effect,” a chilling post-apocalyptic story where survivors face off against godless undead, and a brand new novella-length sequel, “December Soul.”

You can buy Houses Of The Unholy from Amazon UKAmazon US

Hellrider

When Eddie Ryder is burned alive by fellow members of the Hell Riders motorcycle gang for ratting on them, he vows revenge with his dying breath.

He returns as a ghost, with his custom motorcycle Diablo by his side.

After he finds out he can possess people, he launches a campaign of vengeance that leaves plenty of bodies in its wake and the police in a state of confusion.

Spouting fire and lightning from his fingers and screaming heavy metal lyrics as he rides the sky above the town of Hell Creek, he brings destruction down on all those who wronged him, his power growing with every death.

Only Eddie’s younger brother, Carson, and the police chief’s daughter, Ellie, understand what’s really happening, and now they have to stop him before he destroys the whole town.

You can buy Hellrider from Amazon UKAmazon US

HELLRIDER is a thunder and muscle hell ride through dangerous territory. Fun, wicked, and unrelenting. A horror-thriller that breaks the rules and the speed limit at the same time.” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of CODE ZERO and DEAD OF NIGHT

“I’ve known JG Faherty since he was an up-and-comer.  Now he’s arrived.  Start reading him now – as in TODAY – so you won’t have to play catch-up later.” – F. Paul Wilson, author of the bestselling Repairman Jack series 

“Faherty’s THE CURE is a terrifically written novel. It’s a wild read with many unexpected turns. THE CURE takes you in directions that are unexpected and masterfully realized from Faherty’s imagination.” – Matt Molgaard, Horror Novel Reviews.com 

“JG Faherty’s stories continue to astound, compel and challenge the parameters of imagination of even the most seasoned of readers.” – Dave Gammon, HorrorNews.net 

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