A Chat with Horror Author JOHN F.D. TAFF
Today on the Witch Haunt, I sit down to talk with horror/dark speculative author of more than 90 short stories and seven novels, the amazing JOHN F.D. TAFF!
WH: Hey, John! Thanks for being on the blog today. Please give us a brief introduction of yourself:
I'm going on 55 years old, been doing this for more than 25 years now. I am married to the love of my life, the lovely Deborah. I have three mostly grown kids—Harry, Sam & Molly. I love with three pugs and two cats on a secluded estate somewhere in the wilds of Southern Illinois.
WH: A full life so far with much more ahead. :) What other career would you have if not writing/publishing?
Well, I was in trade publishing for many years before the magazine business took a swan dive. So probably something like that.
WH: Your short story, A Ware That Will Not Keep, was featured in the Bram Stoker Award-Winning anthology, BEHOLD!: ODDITIES, CURIOSITIES, AND UNDEFINABLE WONDERS. What was it like being in the same company as Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, and Ramsey Campbell, among others?
Always very cool to share the TOC with names like those. Kind of humbling. Also it keeps you on your toes. You never want your story to suffer by comparison.
WH: Of course. It must’ve felt surreal at the same time. Which of your written works are you most proud of, John?
Whatever I just finished. Seriously, I have a soft spot for my novella collection The End in All Beginnings. It was nominated for a Stoker Award and kind of put me on the map.
WH: So it was a defining moment for you. That’s awesome. If you could interview any horror author, gone or alive, who would it be?
I met Jack Ketchum a few times, talked with him. I love his work. My first professional sale appeared in the same issue of Cemetery Dance as his story "The Box." He always had nice things to say about my work. I would have loved to have had more of an opportunity to sit down and have some drinks with him. Barring Dallas, Poe.
WH: Maybe you will in some other reality far down the line. So, how have you changed as a person from your early life until now?
Oh, Lord, in every way imaginable. I am fatter, balder, much more patient and less douchey…at least I hope so.
WH: Ha, so great that you can admit to former douchiness. Quick break…how do you like your coffee? Do you have a favorite libation? What’s your favorite dessert? This is the food portion of the interview. :)
Food portion. I am all over that!
Coffee? Once a day with half-and-half and monkfruit. I drink a lot of diet green tea, though.
I'm partial to a stadium cup of gin (or vodka!) & tonic, and I particularly like whiskey. I'm amassing (much to my wife's displeasure) a whiskey library of sorts.
Favorite dessert…hmmm…I love pie, particularly sour cherry, but apple, pumpkin, blackberry, peach, whatever.
WH: You love the good things but keep it sensible. What about Halloween? What’s your favorite Halloween tradition?
I do not live in a Halloween friendly house. My long-suffering wife hates horror, but is tolerant of me and my tastes. Halloween, since the kids are grown, is pretty quiet. I stay up until all hours watching scary movies, reading books, listening to scary music.
WH: You’re probably the first horror author I’ve interviewed to keep Halloween quiet. What is the witchiest thing about you (we’re all a little witchy)?
I have familiars. They're all pugs, of course—Tovah, Sadie and Muriel.
WH: Who would be your favorite Addams Family character?
Gomez. He's so damn suave.
WH: So true! And a fiercely protective father. What do you feel makes a horror novel scary?
That's a deep and a wide question. I'll try to keep my answer short.
Two things, to me at least, make a story scary or at least allow it to be scary. The first is when it takes you out of your comfort zone. It puts you in a situation or with characters that you're unfamiliar or uneasy with, to keep you on edge and guessing as to what might happen.
Conversely, when the situations or characters are squarely in your wheelhouse…and then the author amps it up the plot or the atmosphere. Turns up the danger or uneasiness to 11, as it were.
Those are the short forms of what would probably be much longer, rambling answers.
WH: And that comfort zone is so different for everyone! So, what is the most awesome thing happening in your life right now that you’d like to share with us?
I've got a new collection of short stories coming out in September from Grey Matter Press, Little Black Spots. It features 15 stories, some reprints, some brand new, plus an introduction from Bram Stoker Award-Winning Editor Doug Murano.
Also coming is a follow-up to I Can Taste the Blood, a collection of novellas from me, Joe Schwartz, J. Daniel Stone, Erik T. Johnson and Josh Malerman. It's called I Can Hear the Shadows, and it should be out sometime next year.
In Spring 2019, my epic apocalyptic novel The Fearing will be out, also from Grey Matter Press. Expect more news on this soon.
WH: Wow, you’ve got a lot lined up. What’s next for you? We can’t wait to see what you have coming up!
I just finished a new novel, He Left, which I'm very excited about. I also am collaborating on a project with Brian Kirk, and some things with Josh Malerman. I'm also working on a follow-up to The End in All Beginnings, a novella collection to be released in 2020.
Hell, yeah! All great things and we can’t wait to see it all materialize. Thanks for hanging out with me today, John, and good luck on all your upcoming projects. To follow John F.D. Taff, visit the following links:
* Website: johnfdtaff.com
* Latest release: Little Deaths: The Definitive Collection, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078NVWM36/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i6
* Twitter: @johnfdtaff
* Instagram: johnf.d.taff
John F.D. Taff is a horror/dark speculative fiction author with more than 25 years experience, and more than 90 short stories and seven novels in print. His writing has a distinct, pulpy Twilight Zone vibe to it. He also writes fantasy, suspense and some science fiction.
He has appeared in Cemetery Dance, Eldritch Tales, Morpheus Tales, Deathrealm, Big Pulp and One Buck Horror, as well as anthologies such as Hot Blood: Seeds of Fear, Hot Blood: Fear the Fever, Shock Rock II, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Behold!, Shadows Over Main Street 2, Horror Library V, Best of Horror Library, Dark Visions Vol. 1, Ominous Realities, Death's Realm and Savage Beasts. Over the years, six of his short stories have been awarded honorable mentions in Datlow & Windling's Year's Best Fantasy & Horror.
Taff's novella collection, The End in All Beginnings, was called one of the best novella collections by Jack Ketchum and was a Stoker Award Finalist.
Upcoming work will includes updated versions of The Bell Witch and Kill-Off, from Grey Matter Press, a 5th anniversary edition of Little Deaths and a new short horror fiction collection entitled Little Black Spots.
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🔮 GABY TRIANA ☠️