• Gaby Triana

A Bite-Sized Chat with Horror Humorist, JEFF STRAND

Today on the Witch Haunt, I interview four-time Bram Stoker nominee, winner of the Splatterpunk Award, former host of the Bram Stoker Awards, and horror novelist, Jeff Strand! Welcome to the blog, Jeff!

WH: Please give us a brief introduction of your fabulous self:

I've written a bunch of books. Most of them are various blends of horror and comedy, though I also have some books that are exclusively funny without the horror. I have some that I describe as "serious" horror but they still have a lot of humor. After a couple of decades in Florida, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia last year.

WH: Yes, and I heard that you are not happy about the change in weather! What other career would you have if not writing/publishing?

Something miserable and unfulfilling. Working retail, maybe. Offering fake smiles to customers while controlling the urge to smash a roll of quarters into their face. My soul dying a little more each day. Or I'd still be washing dishes at a restaurant, taking crap from all of the servers who have to take crap from the customers. Basically, my life would suck. Why would you even ask me such a thing?

WH: Because horror is agony, and I aim to pain. What is your writing process like?

It depends how close I am to the deadline. It begins with "Life is a merry delight!" and gradually transitions into sheer panic. I don't do a full synopsis beforehand unless my publisher makes me (which is usually the case for my young adult novels) but I like to know the ending and have a general idea of how things are going to go. Unlike some authors who adhere to a "just get the first draft done and worry about fixing it later," policy, I tend to rewrite constantly as I go, so that by the time I type "The End" it's pretty close to the final draft.

WH: I used to do the same thing, but nowadays I’ve shifted more toward laying it all down then fixing afterwards. I think I’m getting lazy. What’s your favorite dessert?

Strawberry shortcake, heavy on the strawberries and light on the shortcake. Chocolate cake is also acceptable.

WH: A dessert traditionalist. Both are favs of mine. What short story or novel are you most proud of?

With Kutter, I challenged myself to create a reprehensible, pathetic, monstrous serial killer with no redeeming qualities (he's not even witty or clever) and gradually turn it into a legitimately heartwarming tale. I've written other books that I think are better, but this was the one where I was most able to sit back and say, "Wow, I really pulled that off!"

WH: An ambitious undertaking. I will have to check that one out. If you could interview any horror author, gone or alive, who would it be?

Aside from the really big names, I've been fortunate enough to get to talk to most of the horror writers I admire. So I've gotta go with "gone" and say Richard Laymon.

WH: Good choice. Funland is in my TBR pile (along with The Haunted Forest Tour)! How have you changed as a person from your early life until now?

I don't play video games any more. I like sushi now. I now acknowledge that the humor in Return of the Living Dead Part II is pretty bad.

WH: Personal growth takes a lifetime, Jeff. How do you like your coffee? Do you have a favorite libation?

I don't like the taste of coffee very much, so I put in a ridiculous amount of french vanilla creamer. I also don't like alcohol, but I'll have a cider if it tastes enough like a soft drink.

WH: Horror novelists are said to be some of Halloween’s biggest enthusiasts. What’s your favorite Halloween tradition?

Usually we just stay at home and hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters. The good stuff, though—none of this cheap generic crap. I'm not saying that we do full-sized Snickers or anything—that would be madness—but the fun-sized candies we offer are brand names of the highest quality.

WH: That’s very kind of you. Nothing ruins Halloween like a roll of Necco wafers or lint-covered candy corn from the bottom of Grandma’s purse. What is the most witchy thing about you (we’re all a little witchy)?

Probably my green skin, warty nose, cackle, boiling cauldron, and propensity to fly around on a broomstick and threaten people's little dogs.

WH: Grandma! Who is your favorite Addams Family character?

Lurch on the TV show, Wednesday in the movies.

WH: I love when people say it’s Lurch. Not many do. But Lurch is the smartest one in the room, the fly on the wall, and the glue holding the household together. What do you feel makes a horror novel scary?

Identification with the characters. The more I care about these people, the more scared I'm going to be when they're in danger.

WH: What is the most awesome thing happening in your life right now that you’d like to share with us?

I'm not a big award-winning kind of guy, so it was very cool to recently win the Splatterpunk Award for my story "The Tipping Point." Other winners in the inaugural ceremony included Edward Lee and Jack Ketchum, so I'm in pretty good frickin' company. And though I haven't seen it yet, a feature film version of my book Stalking You Now (retitled Mindy Has To Die for the movie version) has just been completed by Irish writer/director George Clarke.

Congrats on your Splatterpunk Award, Jeff! And can’t wait to see Mindy Has To Die. We look forward to seeing all your projects come to life right before you kill them. Thanks for taking the time to hang with me today.

To follow more Jeff Strand, visit the links below:

* Your website: www.jeffstrand.com

* Your Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Strand/e/B001K8D3F0

* Your latest release: Bring Her Back. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D5S25FL

* Facebook: www.facebook.com/jeffstrandauthor

* Twitter: www.twitter.com/jeffstrand

* Instagram: www.instagram.com/jeffstrandauthor

Jeff Strand is the four-time Bram Stoker-nominated author of 40+ books, including Pressure, Dweller, and Dead Clown Barbecue. Cemetery Dance magazine said "No author working today comes close to Jeff Strand's perfect mixture of comedy and terror," a quote he has been milking for everything it's worth for years and will continue to milk for many more.

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