ABOUT SCARY OUT THERE:Multiple Bram Stoker Award–winning author Jonathan Maberry compiles more than twenty stories and poems—written by members of the Horror Writers Association—in this terrifying collection about worst fears.
What scares you? Things that go bump in the night? Being irreversibly different? A brutal early death? The unknown?
This collection contains stories and poetry by renowned writers such as R. L. Stine, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Ellen Hopkins—all members of the Horror Writers Association—about what they fear most. The stories include mermaids, ghosts, and personal demons, and are edited by Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker award winner and author of the Rot & Ruin series.
Kara the Redhead – Q&A
With Jonathan Maberry
KARA: What is it like to be apart of the Horror Writers Association?
JONATHAN MABERRY: When I first joined the HWA it was mostly to get to know other horror writers. Even though I had written a nonfiction book on the supernatural, The Vampire Slayer’s Field Guide to the Undead (the only thing I ever wrote under a pen name), I really didn’t know anyone in that field. I’d lost touch with some older and more established horror writers that I’d gotten to know for a short while when I was in middle school –Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, and a few others. So for me it was about becoming part of a community of people who liked and wrote the kinds of things I enjoy. Over time that’s changed and expanded. Now I am actively community-building, but not just among horror writers. I use the HWA as a model, though, because there is a remarkable amount of openness, support, sharing, generosity, compassion and friendship in that organization. And very little of the infighting that can pollute some other writing organizations. I’m also on the board of directors now, serving as a trustee to help strengthen and guide the HWA so that it best serves the needs of its members. We have a mentor program, our own conference –StokerCon; our awards –the highly respected Bram Stoker Award; classes and workshops, local chapters, and we do a lot of publishing projects. Scary Out There was conceived as a book that would satisfy readers and benefit the HWA.
KARA: What are a few of your favorite Horror books?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I have so many favorite horror books, but there are a few I think are absolutely the best I’ve ever read. I Am Legend (1954) by Richard Matheson is the template for all plague stories, outbreak stories, apocalyptic stories, and post-apocalyptic/dystopian stories. It’s as brilliant and insightful now as when it was written, and sadly filmmakers consistently miss the point of the book in their film adaptations. Then there’s my favorite teen-centric dark fantasy novel, Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962); my favorite ghost story, The Haunting of Hill House (1959) by Shirley Jackson; and my favorite vampire novel, ‘Salem’s Lot (1975) by Stephen King.
KARA: What scares you the most?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I used to be scared of werewolves (when I was five), my father (until I was fourteen), and clowns (until I was eighteen). I got past each fear, and in different ways. Part of it was growing up and studying martial arts. I’m now a six-foot-four eighth-degree black belt and former bodyguard who has been practicing martial arts for over fifty years. So, no, I’m not afraid of clowns anymore, or muggers with a knife. I even think I could give a werewolf some problems. So what scares me now? Politics. The loss of our ability to discuss our differences without becoming polarized. And technology that has been mishandled. That scares the crap out of me, which is why I write techno thrillers –because when you’re a horror writer you write what scares you.
KARA: Did this book take a long time to compile? Was it difficult or easy?
JONATHAN MABERRY: Scary Out There took time to get it just right. It started fast. Once I got the green light to start putting the anthology together I made a list of writers who I felt would bring real game to the book, and then I reached out to them. Not one of them said no. Not one. I started with R.L. Stine because I remember buying a ton of his books for my son, and I see kids reading them all the time. And because I know Bob Stine and he’s a great guy. You see, that’s part of my process as an editor of anthologies. I don’t just bring in talent, I handpick people who are not driven by ego, who are not prima donnas, who are, in fact, the kind to play well with others while turning out superb works. Call it casting from the Good Guys List and brought in Ila Bick, Nancy Holder, Christopher Golden, Carrie Ryan, Cherie Priest, Ellen Hopkins, Neal Shusterman and a slew of others. I also reached out to some poets, because I love poetry and the genre of dark poetry is criminally underappreciated. And was a third phase that took a bit more time. I wanted to give a break to some new talent, so we opened up a limited number of submissions to ‘open call’, and let a tsunami of submissions come in. My two assistants and I read a LOT of stories. We actually had more good stories than we had slots in the book, which is good for what it says about the genre, but bad because I had to turn some fine works away. Overall the process of complicated but I enjoyed every minute of it,
KARA: What will you be working on next?
JONATHAN MABERRY: I am in the busiest phase of my career. This year I started off by having a board game released based on V-Wars novels and comics; then I had five novels out this year and five anthologies, plus graphic novel reprints of some of my Marvel Comics. While all that was happening I wrote two novels so far this year, I’m working on a third, which is X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate, which is about Dana Scully as a teen in high school; and my friend Kami Garcia is doing a companion novel about young Fox Mulder. I have the second of my Nightsiders middle grade science-fiction/fantasy/adventure mashup novels, Vault of Shadows, coming out August 30. And my upcoming teen space travel novel, Mars One, debuts in April and we just sold the film rights to it, though it’s possible it may head to TV.
KARA: Which writers inspire you?
JONATHAN MABERRY: James Lee Burke is my favorite living writer. His Cajun-flavored mysteries are brilliant. And I am always dazzled by the novels of my friends James Rollins and David Morrell.
KARA: What is the hardest thing about writing?
JONATHAN MABERRY: The hardest thing about writing, for me, is finding enough hours in the day to write all the stories that are in my head. As it is now I’m writing about a million words a year for publication.
KARA: Who designed the book cover for 'Scary Out There'?
JONATHAN MABERRY: The great Laurent Linn designed the cover, which is enormously creepy and very powerful. Laurent also did the covers for my Rot & Ruin novels. For a nice guy he has a very warped mind.
KARA: Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.
JONATHAN MABERRY: I can write anywhere…particularly if there’s coffee. I’m not temperamental. Usually in the mornings I write at my favorite local restaurant or at a Starbucks. But my favorite place to write is actually almost identical to the one I used to fantasize about, and it’s my office at home. A couple of years ago my wife, Sara Jo, and I moved from the Philadelphia area to Del Mar, a tiny Southern California town just above San Diego. We live in a condo on a cliff overlooking the gorgeous Pacific. I see whales and dolphins from my writing desk and the most awesome sunsets on Earth. So…yeah, that’s my ideal.
KARA: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
JONATHAN MABERRY: That I can write anywhere. I write in noisy restaurants, airports, on airplanes, walking (via recorder), between panels at comic cons and other events, and pretty much anywhere I can set up my computer, iPad, or a notebook.
Thank you, Jonathan, for answering all my questions! I now have more books on my TBR and I can't wait to read this compilation!
ABOUT JONATHAN MABERRY:JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries.
LINKS: Website | Twitter
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