Isaac Thorne is a nice man who wants to provide you with a few fun frights. Over the course of his life, he has developed a modest ability to spin a good year. Really. He promises. He is the author of Road Kills: Short Tales of Dark Horror and the novel The Gordon Place. He lives in Tennessee.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
First and foremost, I am a horror fan. Someone on Facebook recently commented that I “must live, eat, and breathe horror,” and, really, that’s true. I’ve loved the genre since I was a child. Aside from that, I’m a professional technical writer. I live in Tennessee.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
I watch horror movies and television shows. I listen to a crapload of podcasts, which are mostly horror-related. And I run. The great thing about pasttimes like audio podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things. That means my run is usually accompanied by horror talk instead of any kind of exercise-inspiring music. Hey, horror burns calories too.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
There were so many I loved as a child. I was definitely a reader. While other kids my age were running and playing, I’d go off in a corner with a book and entertain myself. I had a cousin who used to berate me for it. He’d say things like, “You might have a lot of book sense, but you’re never gonna have any common sense.” To that, I would simply prop up my feet and raise the illustrated copy of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow I was reading in front of my face to block him. When you’re a kid like I was, a book can be as much of a shield as it is a form of entertainment.
In addition to Sleepy Hollow, I was fascinated by the dark poetry of Edgar Allan Poe and the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
I’m a fan of what many people term “roots rock.” That means characters like Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, among many others. I count Mellencamp’s Scarecrow among my list of favorite albums, but I can’t say for certain that it influences my writing. You’d be more likely to find roles for classic rock and metal bands there.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
I do. My longtime favorite horror movie is writer/director Tom Holland’s Fright Night. Holland, who was also responsible for directing the first Child’s Play movie and penning the screenplay for Psycho II, is also among my favorite directors.
However, I think my all-time favorite director is Richard Donner, the man who brought us Superman: The Movie, The Omen, the Lethal Weapon movies, and Goonies. If I’d been old enough and bold enough to pen a screenplay in the 1980s, Donner is the director I would have sought to bring it to life.
KR: What are you reading now?
Several books by several different authors, but the biggest one is Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King.
KR: What was the last great book you read?
There are three that I recently rated five stars on Goodreads: S.A. Bradley’s Screaming For Pleasure, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, and Jay Anson’s The Amityville Horror. My to-be-read queue is massive, though, so this answer might change in a week or two.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
E-book. I used to think I would be one of those folks who would always prefer hardback because that’s what I preferred when I was a teenager curled up in bed with the latest Stephen King doorstop. But my taste changed over time. As I got older, I began to prefer trade paperbacks because they were easier to manipulate and get comfortable with while reclining. Now, I have a Kindle Paperwhite. It’s the greatest of reading experiences, in my opinion. Compact, light, easy on the eyes (and adjustable if it isn’t), and works in any lighting conditions. The Paperwhite converted me.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Stephen King, naturally. But there was also the classic authors of my early youth: Poe, Doyle, etc. Richard Matheson’s on-screen work in The Twilight Zone and films like Somewhere In Time also had a great affect on me. I wasn’t until much later that I actually picked up his novels and short stories, though. When you actually read Matheson’s work, you can see the tremendous influence he had on King. There are a few common King turns of phrase that I thought were King originals, but actually appear to have originated with Matheson.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I never outlined my short stories. When I started to write my novel, The Gordon Place, I set out with an outline, thinking I knew who the primary characters were and where things were going to go. Turns out that I didn’t know shit. As I wrote, the characters made their own decisions and took things in directions that I had never planned. So the outline went into the garbage.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Google has made research a less complicated issue than it was for writers in earlier decades. Because I don’t write with an outline, I don’t do any pre-research. Instead, I’ll research the logic and physics of a given scene as the scene develops. For example, if the character I’m writing suddenly has a heart attack, I’ll research heart attack symptoms and fallout in the moment as I’m writing that scene. For The Gordon Place, my Google history consists of a lot of research on dog skulls, women’s footwear, and styles of architecture.
KR: How would you describe your writing style?
One of the narrators for the audiobook edition of my short story collection Road Kills told me that my work has a terrific “tumbling drive” to it. I suppose that describes my style better than I could. If you’re reading my work, you might feel like you’re riding in the sidecar of a circa-1940s Harley Davidson down a rutted gravel road. In fact, I hope you feel that way.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
I wake, I run, I go to work, I social media and listen to podcasts, I think. All that has to be done before I can start filling white space with words. That part comes in late afternoons and evenings, usually for a block of about two hours (more if I’m not exhausted).
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
My favorite short story I’ve written and published is Diggum, which is about a cemetery caretaker who lost his wife and kid to a house fire and has decided to take revenge on God by burning the bodies of the dead who are buried in his cemetery. Diggum was a fun character to write. I liked his voice and story so much that I even developed a Tales From the Crypt-style screenplay from my own work. That screenplay even won a couple of small film festival awards. Sometimes, late in the night, I wonder how one would go about submitting such a thing to a Greg Nicotero for the Shudder Creepshow anthology or a Jordan Peele for the new Twilight Zone. Then I snap back to reality.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
So far. I think you can get valuable feedback from honest reviewers. Honest doesn’t have to mean asshole, although some folks think it does.
KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?
I think the pace of my writing has improved over the years. I used to worry about putting every little detail into a scene, explaining everything up front instead of just letting events unfold. As I’ve grown, it’s become easier for me to just let the words roll out of my fingertips and worry about cleaning them up and paring them down later. The editor’s knife is a much lighter wield now.
KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?
That was from New York Times bestselling author John Skipp, to whom I submitted a story for his Psychos anthology way back in 2012 or 2013. The one sentence I’ve always remembered from his rejection was, “It shouldn’t take a character four pages to take a piss.”
KR: What scares you?
The future. And heights. And depths. I don’t like depths, either.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
My latest release is a novel titled The Gordon Place. It’s a novel set in a little fictional Tennessee town called Lost Hollow, a place that’s occupied my imagination for many years now. The town just elected a new constable, Graham Gordon. He didn’t really want the job, had only threw his hat in the ring to impress a girl, but got it because he was the only one who campaigned for it. Some local kids have been reporting screams coming from the constable’s abandoned childhood home so, being the constable and the place being his old place, he goes to investigate and becomes trapped there.
Meanwhile, the town administrator is trying to put Lost Hollow on the map as a ghost tour destination. She has invited Channel 6 News reporter Afia Afton (a former Lost Hollow local) to interview her and tour the town’s hot spots. What she doesn’t realize is that Afia is being haunted by some old Lost Hollow-related demons of her own: mainly, the disappearance of her mother and the hate-crime murder of her father decades before. When Afia and her cameraman arrive in town, Lost Hollow’s past and present start to converge at the old Gordon place.
KR: What are you working on now?
I have a few new short stories in the pipeline as well as a follow-up novel. I’m expecting to release another short in the fall of 2019. My second novel, if all goes well, should be available sometime in 2020.
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.
If I found myself on a desert island, the three people I would wish to be deserted with would be Diggum, because he can get rid of the bodies, Roland from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, because he could protect me from Diggum, and Westworld actress Angela Sarafyn because…well, because she’s Angela Sarafyn and a fellow moonchild.
KR: Thank you very much Isaac.
My site: https://www.isaacthorne.com
My Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/isaacthorne
My Twitter page: https://www.twitter.com/isaacrthorne
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/isaacrthorne
My Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/isaacrthorne
The Gordon Place
Lost Hollow constable Graham Gordon just walked into his abandoned childhood home for the first time in twenty years. Local teenagers have been spreading rumors about disembodied screams coming from inside. Now, thanks to a rickety set of cellar stairs and the hateful spirit of his dead father, he might never escape.
Meanwhile, Channel 6 News feature reporter Afia Afton—whose father is the victim of a local decades-old hate crime—is meeting with town administrator Patsy Blankenship. Her mission is to develop a ghost story feature for a special to air on the station’s Halloween broadcast. When Patsy tells her about the screams at the Gordon place, the past and the present are set on a collision course with potentially catastrophic results.
Can Graham come to terms with his father’s past and redeem his own future? Can the murder mystery that has haunted Afia for most of her life finally be solved?
It’s a fight for the future and the past when spirit and flesh wage war at the Gordon place.