July 7th sees the publication of Gerald Mood’s horror collection, The Faces We Fear (with a cover by Adrian Baldwin and central art-piece by Dark Artist Roberto Segate). Gerald is new to DEMAIN but came highly recommended by Dave Jeffery (author of the A Quiet Apocalypse series amongst many others and our good friend) so when Gerald’s manuscript landed in the DEMAIN in-box it was already highly anticipated.
Four cautionary tales by a new voice in Horror, Gerald Mood.
SNOWBALLS FOR CLEOPATRA
A man trapped in his relationship plays the doting partner. But all isn’t exactly as it seems…
A husband and father dons a Halloween costume as his alter ego while he plans to take over the world. Things usually don’t get better until we stop pretending…
THE PITTED STAFF
An up-and-coming musician will stop at nothing for fame and fortune. When you want something so bad, would you sacrifice your world for it?
Three sisters are hunted down indiscriminately. Is it because of the nature of the hunter, or the hunted?
You can preorder The Faces We Fear from Amazon
Gerald Mood Talks To Demain Publishing
(Originally featured on the Demain Publishing Blog, HERE)
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Hello Gerald, great to talk to you – welcome to DEMAIN. So, tell us a little about you.
GERALD MOOD: Hello! And thank you…I’d be happy to introduce myself. I was born and raised in Delaware, USA, which is the second-smallest state in the country. I’m an Environmental Scientist for a living, where I help prevent hazardous air pollutants, particulate matter, and other dangerous airborne emissions from entering our atmosphere. I started writing as a young teen using roleplaying games, like Dungeons and Dragons, as a vehicle for my adventures. Initially, I was a player, but I discovered very quickly that I liked being the narrator even more. Creating the drama and impetuses for conflict in a way that would celebrate my players was very satisfying for me. In fact, I still reminiscence with my friends over their old characters and the trials and tribulations that they went through. Those experiences and memories are held very dear to them, even to this day. Listening to them fondly [I still] remember those adventures I crafted years ago has had a tremendous impact on me. I want to do that for a larger audience.
DP: Nice one, sadly I was never really into D&D and all that – no real reason I guess, maybe I just didn’t know others who were into it. I do remember trying to play it one drunken night at Towson State but enough said about that the better (and now I do have some friends who are well into it perhaps I need to give it another go) – anyway, so your background and did that have some influence on you as a writer…
GM: Something I didn’t know about myself until I was a young adult is that I’m compelled to create. When I entered university, I began studying Biology. Three years in, I had reached my limit and thought about dropping out. It forced me to really take stock of what I enjoyed. I remembered all those fond memories that I had crafting RPG adventures for my friends, and wondered if I could somehow do that for a living. When I brought up to my academic advisor the idea of switching my major to English Literature, she laughed; I was three-quarters of the way to a Bachelors of Science. In an effort to help keep me on track, she suggested I double major. It was brilliant. While I could have written-off my science degree while job hunting for a more creative career, the distinct nature of my education allows me to work full-time using the technical and analytical side of my brain while saving up my creative energy to pursue writing fiction when I’m not working. If I was spending my creativity on my day job, it’d be much harder for me to work on my personal projects after hours, and I most likely wouldn’t be here.
DP: Fair play to your academic advisor then and by the sounds of it yes you were able to have the best of both worlds. At college I double majored in history (American/World History – focusing on Revolutions) so all my creative stuff was done outside of my studies which worked for me. I started writing stories for the college magazine which I then discovered were being discussed (positively I will add) by one of the English tutors to his classes– when I heard about this I should have spoken to him about it as he may have been able to guide me and it would have been fun to talk to others about my creative process at that time (which hasn’t changed too much – lots of booze haha) but I didn’t…our college also offered a couple of writing prizes but I never went in for them either…again a bit of a missed opportunity now I look back at it. I’ve always wanted to do a Masters at some point so perhaps I’ll try and right those wrongs…anyway, before I get lost down memory lane I have to remember this interview is about you, not me (though of course Dear Reader I am available for interviews hahaha) – what was your first introduction to the genre…
GM: I think my first introduction to Fantasy was the movie Willow. Everything–from the late 80’s special effects, to the characters and storyline–was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I remember thinking Madmartigan, played by Val Kilmer, was the coolest person I’d ever seen. Regarding Horror, I remember reading Vampire of the Mists by Christie Golden, and being blown away by the duality of its characters and the severity of their moral consequences. They were horrific and beautiful at the same time. I think that’s what made the biggest impression upon me.
DP: I haven’t heard of Vampire of the Mists before so will check it out. I’m not a great fan of Willow personally (but I’m glad it resonates with people even today!) but Val Kilmer I adore [and if you haven’t I thoroughly recommend you check out the recent documentary about him called Val]. So now we’re a couple of questions in, let’s talk your collection…
GM: I hope they’re cautionary tales. Stories about characters who want something so badly, they’ll go to extraordinary lengths to obtain them. Lengths that make them monsters. Having said that, regardless of what they’ve done, no one is beyond redemption. My stories are about taking my characters to some of the worst possible places, and then attempting to bring them back into the light. Ultimately, it’s for the reader to decide whether or not they’ve redeemed themselves.
DP: I like it – so in that regard did you find the stories hard to write…
GM: Oh, definitely. Some of it was uncomfortable. A few of my stories travel to some pretty dark places. Realizing what has been done, coupled with how things are dealt with, was difficult. I try to be very sensitive and thoughtful though, because I understand I’m taking my readers along on this journey with me.
DP: Well I for one think you’ve been very successful, so well done! Okay, I’ll throw this out there – what has been your biggest creative success to date?
GM: You mean aside from this, my first time being published? I’d have to say it’s my yet-to-be published novella, The Sea Under the Mountain. It’s a Lovecraftian tale surrounding a doctor and her investigation into a long list of strange maladies plaguing the fictitious village of Prism, Alaska. What makes it my biggest success is that it’s not only my longest piece to date, but it’s also proof to myself that I can write a manuscript of admirable length. Having accomplished that, I’ve outlined a full-length novel, and I now know I’m unequivocally up to the task of writing it.
DP: Good luck with the novel for sure. I promised myself I’d write my long planned one a couple of years back and the covid struck and I ended up writing other shorter stuff and now as well as DEMAIN I’ve got my film company (with Sharon Axcell) called DrAx Productions BUT I’m going to put some time aside, find myself a little place in either Paris or Marseille [Lordy that sounded pretentious didn’t it] and write the damn thing…so what does horror/fantasy mean to you?
GM: Initially, it was hunting literal monsters in an imaginary setting. Very black and white. It meant saving the damsel in distress. David versus Goliath. Slaying the dragon. Now, it’s more of a gradient. Nothing is completely good, or completely evil. Discovering that threshold for each character is intriguing, while evoking an emotional response is what keeps us revisiting those stories in our minds. They can be cautionary tales, or ways to experience the Otherworldly. Sometimes, both. Whether it’s a way for us to observe behavior we don’t expect or wouldn’t want to come across in real life, or a fresh perspective to challenge us and how we perceive the world, it’s what allows us to reflect on life from a safe distance.
DP: I like that and you’re so right about nothing being completely good/completely evil and sometimes it does come down to perception (there’s a meme/gif you maybe aware of – based on a sketch in a UK comedy show called Mitchell and Webb – where one Nazi officer says to another “Are we the bad guys?” – which whilst funny in its own context is also quite profound…). For Gerald Mood is writing a long-term career…
GM: I’d have to say it’s a long-term endeavor. Whether I continue to be published or not remains to be seen, but I can’t stop writing stories. While I view writing as a positive and enjoyable activity, it’s also very cathartic for me. I used to call it, “getting the poison out.” Sometimes, when I don’t have the energy to sit down and formally write, I’ll have my characters tell me a story, usually by asking them where they go or what they do, and then watching them in my mind as they go about doing those things. When they interact with another character or situation where they don’t have any control, I’ll roll a die to see what happens. It’s incredibly entertaining, albeit quite solitary. Of course, before I met my wife, being alone was one of my favorite places to be!
DP: Keep at it is my advice – you’ll have good days and you’ll have bad days but keep on going! Okay, I’ve enjoyed this but don’t want to take up too much more of your time so last one: what is something your readers might be surprised to find out about you?
GM: I’m on YouTube co-hosting the first fourteen episodes or so of a show called Digitally Distracted. We talked about retro (80s and 90s) topics related to video games, movies, and technology. I’ve also acted in a short-lived YouTube sitcom called Looking for Love by the same content creator. It’s shot in a mockumentary style, à la The Office, and follows the trials of a naive divorcé looking for love in modern times. I ended up playing the character’s best friend. I think some of the episodes are still floating around out there.
DP: Wow – will check them out immediately. Great to chat with you Gerald – all the best with The Faces We Fear.
Gerald Mood lives with his wife in Middletown, Delaware. He feeds his body as an Environmental Scientist where he helps prevent hazardous air pollutants, particulate matter, and other dangerous airborne emissions from entering our atmosphere. He feeds his soul breathing life into the characters that live in his pages and the monsters that stalk them.
The Faces We Wear is his literary debut. You can learn more about him by visiting his website at www.geraldmood.com or by connecting with him below.