I came on the horror scene with Hunter Shea during Samhain Horror's launch almost three years. In fact, he was the first fellow author to reach out to me and offer congratulations. I will always remember that. Since then, we have become close and I am happy to have him as a friend. His books have influenced my own writing as heavily as some of the classics I grew up reading. I enjoy how he writes, the stories he tells. He's also somebody who can match me on horror trivia.
Hunter is in the middle of a big tour for the Pinnacle release of his book, The Montauk Monster. To find where he's already been and where he's going, be sure to check HERE!
Hunter was kind enough to stop my little blog and chat about writing, his new books, and more.
KR: Reading THE MONTAUK MONSTER reminded me a lot of those ‘70s Roger Corman, nature-run-amok movies that would have played to packed crowds at the Drive-In. Were those movies an influence to this book and your writing in general? They are with mine, for sure. There was a great AIP (American International Pictures) town-in-peril vibe as well, and that’s a compliment from me.
HS: That is scary that you said that. And by that, I mean scarily intuitive. When I was working on the idea for the book with my editor, Gary Goldstein, we talked about bringing a classic Roger Corman movie to life in book form. That’s right. We specifically wanted to pay homage to the man who has entertained us for decades. Having you bring it up really makes me feel like I accomplished exactly what we set out to do.
My two-book deal with Kensington specifically states that they involve ‘nature gone wild’. With The Montauk Monster, I initially planned to have just a few of the beasties hit the shore. You all can thank my editor for making it dozens and really amping up the scares and action. You know me and how much I love my monsters. Writing this book was about as close to heaven on earth as I’m going to get.
KR: Which three authors inspired you to become the writer you are now? Was it a certain book of theirs that led you to pursue writing?
HS: The very first ‘big people’ book that I read was Stephen King’s Night Shift. I’ve been hooked on and influenced by him ever since. I don’t think there’s a horror writer under the age of 50 who hasn’t been influenced by The King. The other two authors actually have nothing to do with the horror genre. First is Hemingway. I devour his books and short stories. Can you imagine totally reinventing the way books are written? Along with him is Elmore Leonard. Both taught me how to write lean and pack as much punch with an economy of words. Make every word count, have them move the story along without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.
KR: Do you have a particular routine you try to adhere to when it comes to writing or does your schedule even permit a routine? Are you a day writer or night writer, or both?
HS: When I’m working on a book, I write every day. That includes Christmas, birthdays, when I have the flu, you name it. I work a day job, so most of that writing is done at night, right after dinner. As long as I can get at least an hour in during the weekdays and about three on Saturday and Sunday, I’m happy. I’ve learned to write anywhere. The perfect writing space isn’t always available. Aside from my home office, I tend to write a lot in the kitchen in the midst of mayhem. I also work in libraries, airports, hotels, park benches and even, sometimes, my car. The key is to get something written every single day. My good friend Brian Moreland says he writes more like a sprinter, getting in large chunks over a short period of time. I’m more of a marathoner. I just took my first real break in 3 years this past month and it feels both great and weird. My mind is already writing the next book I plan to start very soon.
KR: If you could only read one book over and over for the rest of your life, which would it be?
HS: So far, that book has been Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. I’ve been re-reading it every summer for about the past 20 years. I’m envious of all the amazing artists he befriended (then turned on) during his time in Paris. If I feel my writing batteries running low, I pick up that book and recharge.
KR: Being a fervent paperback collector, I was very thrilled that The Montauk Monster was released in mass market form. Do you prefer the trade-sized paperbacks, or are you an avid supporter of the paperbacks you can carry in your pocket?
HS: Having The Montauk Monster come out in paperback is a dream come true. When I started out writing, that was my main goal. I grew up devouring paperbacks, and still do. I have a Kindle but just can’t get into reading books with it. That sucker is collecting dust on my dresser. To me, hardcovers are cumbersome. Trade paperbacks are fine, especially now that I’m older and appreciate the larger type. But paperbacks hold a very special place in my heart and life. I’m literally the guy that walks around with a paperback stuffed in his back pocket.
KR: What are you working on now? And what can we expect to find in bookstores from you in the near future?
HS: I just had my next book with Samhain hit the shelves, a horror-western called Hell Hole. It’s set in an abandoned mining town in 1905. There are cowboys, former Rough Riders, Teddy Roosevelt, black-eyed kids, wild men, ghosts and even the Djinn. It’s a crazy one. My father was a big western fan, so I wrote it for him. In January, my follow up to Sinister Entity will be out. It’s called Island of the Forbidden. It takes place 3 years after SE and I put Jessica Backman, our stalwart ghost hunter, in a very, very bad place. She’s still mad at me about it. :)
I also recently turned in my manuscript for my next paperback with Kensington. Right now, it’s titled Run Like Hell. I don’t want to give away anything. Let’s just say that if you crave action and thrills, this will satisfy your hungers.
Later this month I’ll start working on a new book that will be a statement on the sate of our country and its impact on future generations. As Marcellus said in Pulp Fiction, things are very fucking far from OK with our country. This is going to be a dark one.
I’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. I don’t just write about the paranormal. I actively seek out the things that scare the hell out of people and experience them for myself.
My novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre , Sinister Entity and The Waiting are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. A horror shorts collection, Asylum Scrawls, is available as an e-book, straightjacket not included. My first thriller novel, The Montauk Monster, will be released June 2014 as a Pinnacle paperback. I live with my family and untrainable cat close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.
I’m also proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with my partner in crime, Jack Campisi. Our show is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. We explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun.
Feel free to contact me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. Writing is lonely work.