The Monster Wrangler: Kendall Reviews talks to the Master of Horror, Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weaned on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.

Publishers Weekly named The Montauk Monster one of the best reads of the summer in 2014, and his follow up novel, Hell Hole, was named best horror novel of the year on several prestigious horror sites. Cemetery Dance had this to say about his apocalyptic thriller, Tortures of the Damned“A terrifying read that left me wanting more. I absolutely devoured this book!”

Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. Copies of his books, The Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon, are currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME.

He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years.

Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light-hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptids and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane.

Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hot dogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

Time to grab a beer…

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

You mean the stuff that’s safe to print? Sure. I’m an enormous horror fan boy who somehow managed to worm my way into the heads of other horror hounds. I’m a lifelong New Yorker, growing up in the Bronx and nearby counties, but I prefer the lakes and woods of Maine. I have an amazing family (and next generation of lovers of terror), one cool cat, one total butthole cat, and more books than my shelves can hold. I love reading, always have. I wouldn’t be a writer if I hadn’t been such a voracious reader. I aspire to be the Dude some day. I just need to learn to abide more.

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

Reading is at the top of my list. Hanging out with my family. Going to the movies (even terrible horror movies make for a fun outing). I also juggle two podcasts, which ain’t easy. Last but not least, watching baseball. Love my Mets, and the minor league park by my house is a second home.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

Oh, that’s easy. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. It’s kind of funny that a book with no words is what spawned a man who loves words. I swear my love of the snow and cold comes from that beautiful and simple book. When we found out my wife was pregnant with our first child, I ran to the bookstore and bought a copy. We still have it on the shelf, even though our kids are grown.

KR: What are you reading now?

As usual, I’m juggling a few books. I love Robert B. Parker’s Spencer books. Just started the last one he wrote, Sixkill. I’m thoroughly enjoying Monster by A. Lee Martinez. Anything with cryptids is for me, more so when it has a sense of humor. Last but not least, I’d never read a romance, so I asked one of my editors, whose wife is a romance editor, for suggestions. She sent me The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis and I totally get it now. You won’t see me disparaging romance novels ever again.

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

The first adult book I ever read was Stephen King’s Night Shift when I was around ten. Been hooked, like most of the world, ever since. I devoured Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, Brian Lumley and Phil Rickman, building my horror base in the 80s. I’m an unapologetic Hemingway disciple (which is why my writing tends to be pretty lean). I can never get enough Elmore Leonard. This list could go on and on.

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

I’m what my friend and fellow horror author Jason Brant calls a ‘pantser’, meaning I write by the seat of my pants. I latch onto an idea and let my mind turn it over for a few months. I may do a little research, write down some character names beforehand, but mostly I just sit down and let it fly.

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

Because I have loads of deadlines, I have to be careful not to fall down the research rabbit hole. If I’m writing about a place that’s within reasonable driving distance, I’ll take a long weekend to get a flavor for the place and learn a thing or two you can’t find on Google. I like to go to the library and do any needed historical research. The rest can be found online as I go along or come across stumbling blocks.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

I wake up early (before the sun comes up) and try to get 500-1000 words in before heading to work. Then, depending on the day, I’ll write for about an hour or so after dinner. Weekend mornings are devoted to writing and promotion. One thing I learned, you never feel like there’s enough time to write. But there is enough time to get your writing done if you make some sacrifices and turn off the TV and social media every day.

KR: Which is your favourite of the books/stories you have written?

Oh wow, that’s a tough one. I guess The Montauk Monster because writing it carried me through a very difficult period in my life. I was a few chapters in when my father went into the hospital for a minor procedure. Something went wrong, and for the next 30 hours, we watched his body shut down organ by organ. I saw him fade, and was with him when he died. It destroyed all of us. If I didn’t have that book to escape to everyday, I don’t know what would have happened. Plus, I got to blend a lot of bizarre fact with fiction, so it’s just a wild, crazy book. Recently I wrote a novella called The Devil’s Fingers. It comes out this fall with Lyrical Underground. If you wanted to read a book that is me in a nutshell, that would be it.

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KR: Do you read your book reviews?

Sometimes. I don’t seek them out. Love good reviews. Love bad reviews, too. I learned long ago not to take them to heart. Everyone gets something different from my books, and that’s cool.

KR: What scares you?

Doctors. Flying. If I ever saw a flying doctor, I’d probably drop dead of a heart attack. (KR: HAHAHAHAHA)

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback all the way. I grew up with a paperback in my pocket and nothing has changed.

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

In June, the first of my One Size Eats All novellas, Jurassic Florida, will be born. It’s through Lyrical Press. Imagine great B movies from the 50s and 60s. A small Florida town gets socked by a super storm, unleashing dinosaur sized iguanas. It’s just fun, non-stop action.

KR: What are you working on now?

I’m actually in the middle of a non-horror ghost writing project. I wish I could tell you all about it, but that defeats the purpose of being a ghost writer.

KR: Fast forward ten years! Where do you see yourself?

Still writing, hopefully up in Maine, getting ready to go on an archaeological dig. And sipping an ice cold beer.

KR: Thank you very much Hunter.

You can follow Hunter on Twitter @huntershea1

To find out more about Hunter please visit his official website www.huntershea.com

Please visit Hunter’s author page here

Visit Hunter’s Facebook page here

You can watch Hunter’s video podcast Monster Men here

Hunter also features on the Final Guys podcast here

FLORIDA. IT’S WHERE YOU GO TO DIE.
Welcome to Polo Springs, a sleepy little town on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It’s a great place to live—if you don’t mind the hurricanes. Or the flooding. Or the unusual wildlife . . .
 
IGUANAS. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. 
Maybe it’s the weather. But the whole town is overrun with the little green bastards this year. They’re causing a lot of damage. They’re eating everything in sight. And they’re just the babies . . .
 
HUMANS. THEY’RE WHAT’S FOR DINNER.
The mayor wants to address the iguana problem. But when Hurricane Ramona slams the coast, the town has a bigger problem on their hands. Bigger iguanas. Bigger than a double-wide. Unleashed by the storm, this razor-toothed horde of prehistoric predators rises up from the depths—and descends on the town like retirees at an early bird special. Except humans are on the menu. And it’s all you can eat . . .

You can buy Jurassic Florida from Amazon US

WHAT HAS LONG PINK FINGERS AND SMELLS LIKE ROTTING FLESH?
It is a slime-covered fungus known for its pinkish red tentacles and pungent odor. It is indigenous to Australia but has spread to North America. Its Latin name is Clathrus Archeri, also known as Octopus Stinkhorn. Most people call it The Devil’s Fingers . . .

I DON’T KNOW BUT IT’S GROWING ON YOUR NECK. 
Deep in the woods of Washington, botanist Autumn Winters stumbles onto a field of the luridly colored fungi. Two of her fellow campers make the mistake of touching it. Now it’s growing on them. Fleshy gelatinous pods. Sprouting from their skin. Feeding on their blood . . .

AND IT’S STILL GROWING.
Autumn watches in horror as her friends are transformed into monstrosities—grotesque, human-fungal hybrids as contagious and deadly as any virus. Autumn knows she must destroy these mutations before they return to civilization. But if there’s one thing that spreads faster than fear, it’s The Devil’s Fingers . . .

You can buy The Devil’s Fingers from Amazon US

It Kills. . .
On a hot summer night in Montauk, the bodies of two local bar patrons are discovered in the dunes, torn to shreds, their identities unrecognizable. . .

It Breeds. . .
In another part of town, a woman’s backyard is invaded by four terrifying creatures that defy any kind of description. What’s clear is that they’re hostile–and they’re ravenous. . .

It Spreads. . .
With every sunset the terror rises again, infecting residents with a virus no one can cure. The CDC can’t help them; FEMA can’t save them. But each savage attack brings Suffolk County Police Officer Gray Dalton one step closer to the shocking source of these unholy creations. Hidden on nearby Plum Island, a U.S. research facility has been running top-secret experiments. What they created was never meant to see the light of day. Now, a vacation paradise is going straight to hell.

You can buy Montauk Monster from Amazon US & Amazon UK

Praise for Hunter Shea

Loch Ness Revenge is not only monsterific, but it’s also comedic.”Tim Meyer, author of Worlds Between My Teeth

Shea delivers a tense and intriguing work of escalating tension splattered with a clever, extensive cast of bystanders turned victims…An otherwise excellent, tightly delivered plot…Fans of cryptid creatures are likely to revel in this love letter to a legendary menace.”Publishers Weekly

Bloody good read! This guy knows his monsters!”Eric S Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Boggy Creek: The Legend is True, on Swamp Monster Massacre

Hunter Shea is a great writer, highly entertaining, and definitely in the upper echelon in the current horror scene. Many other writers mention either loving his work and/or having the man influence their own, and for just cause. His writing suits anyone with a taste for the dark and terrifying!”Zakk at The Eyes of Madness/The Mouth of Madness Podcast

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