Getting to Know Horror Author, MARC L. ABBOTT
Today I have the pleasure of chatting with MARC L. ABBOTT, author, storyteller, actor, and singer, though shh...you didn't hear that from me. :) His new horror anthology is Hell at the Way Station with co-author, Steven Van Patten, and he'll be joining us in StokerCon 2019 this May.
WH: Hi, Marc! Welcome to the Witch Haunt. Please give us a brief introduction of your fabulous self:
I’m an author and storyteller from Brooklyn, NY. I have been performing at storytelling shows for six years and currently run my own monthly show called Maaan, You’ve Got To Hear This. I have written and directed several short horror films, two plays, several published short stories and three books including a new anthology released on March 23rd called Hell at the Way Station. I’m a nominated actor, husband and father to a beautiful little girl named Cosette. Oh, and I like building Lego sets.
WH: I love your daughter's name! My husband and I just finished building a Lego X-Wing. Congrats on your anthology! If someone was new to the works of Marc Abbott, which book/film should they start with?
I would say start with my YA novel, The Hooky Party. It’s a very fun book about the lives of teenagers and the best way to get an idea of my writing style. After that, they can delve into the horror that I create. I would also tell them to check out my short films starting with SNAP, one of my first horror shorts. I have all of that on my website.
WH: Great, will check it out! What other career would you have if not writing/directing?
When I was growing up, I used to sing. I attended the music and art school in NY that the movie Fame was based on. There was a time I thought I would pursue being a performer and recording artist but when I got to college, that all changed. But I think that if I had trained properly and stuck with it, I would be singing.
WH: That's pretty cool. I thought I would be a veterinarian, so I get it. :) Tell us a little bit about your creative process!
I try my best to write at least three hours a day, usually late at night when everyone in the apartment is asleep. I like to have a movie playing in the background. That little bit of distraction helps me think. Once I’m in the zone, I get involved with the characters and just write until I feel tired or there is no more to say.
Away from home, I like coffee shops. Those are the perfect places for me to come up with and formulate my ideas. I usually do outlines there and flesh out the stories I intend to write. It’s rare that I work on a novel or short story in those places.
Once I’m done writing, I’ll put a story away for a few days before going back to it to do my first round of edits. That way I’m looking at the work with a fresh set of eyes.
WH: Same! I outline at coffee shops but write at home. I wish I could say the same about having music/movie on in the background, but I need silence.
If you could interview any author, gone or alive, who would it be?
I would love to interview Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws. I fell in love with his work after I got out of college and was fascinated with how he could write from a creature’s point of view. I’d love to get some tips from him on how he was able to give the villains that could not speak such commanding voices and actions.
WH: Still one of my all-time favorites. How have you changed as a person from your early life until now?
That’s an interesting question. I would first say that I have always been disciplined when it comes to my work and that hasn’t changed much. I’m a lot more focused when it comes to my writing and storytelling. When I reflect on my days fresh out of college, I wanted to be involved in so many things. I really wanted to work in television and film but I never really carved out a path. After spending a couple of years working on Law and Order, I realized I had to take a different approach as to where I wanted to be in life.
WH: I find that so many authors "ended up" here with most of us starting out in different careers. It's like the path chooses us instead.
What is something few people know about you? Any secret talents?
A lot of people don’t know I can sing. Unless we go to karaoke or playing Rock Band, it’s a talent I don’t show off much. I do enjoy doing it when given the chance. But I do it more for pleasure than I do as a pursuit.
WH: What was the last horror movie you watched? What did you think of it?
Winchester and I was so disappointed with it. It had so much potential and somewhere along the way it fell short. The premise was interesting but they overdid it with the hauntings. And I love a good haunted house and/or ghost story.
WH: I agree. It felt under-developed to me. How do you like your coffee? What’s your favorite dessert? (This is the food portion of the interview, lol)
I take my coffee with a splash of skim milk and, depending on my mood, 1 sugar. As for dessert, that’s tricky. I love sweet potato pie. For years my mother will make two pies during the holiday, one for the family and one just for me. But a slice of Brooklyn Blackout Cake always hits the spot.
WH: I had to look that cake up and just gained fifteen pounds staring at the photo. :) What is the witchiest thing about you (we’re all a little witchy)?
I would have to say my temper. I’m a super easy going person. I love laughing and having great conversations with people. It takes a lot to get under my skin. But if I’m crossed then look out. You may want to stay clear of me for bit.
WH: *making a note of that* :) What do you feel makes a horror story (book or film) scary/compelling?
I don’t care what kind of horror book or film a person is doing, it’s all about the protagonist’s story. I have to feel something for the people involved. Without that, it just doesn’t work. Especially in movies. For some reason a lot of films are just going for cheap scares and invest nothing in character development. If you can get me to feel something for the characters, then I’m fully invested in the outcome.
WH: Yes, it's all about the characters for me, too, and I find this lacking in so many so-called blockbuster, big-budget films.
What is the most awesome thing happening in your life right now that you’d like to share with us? What’s next for you? We can’t wait to see what you have coming up!
I just released an anthology with fellow horror writer, Steven Van Patten. That was a major step for the both of us as indie authors. Next I’ll be at Stokercon in May, moderating panels and doing some readings from the anthology.
I will see you there! Will be on the panel about horror for children and teens. Well, it was great chatting with you, Marc. Good luck with all your endeavors, and I look forward to meeting you soon in person!
* Website: www.whoismarclabbott.com
* Latest release: Hell at the Way Station
* Facebook: Who is Marc L Abbott
* Twitter: @whoismarclabbott
Marc L Abbott is the author of the YA novel The Hooky Party and the children’s book Etienne and the Stardust Express. His short stories, “Welcome to Brooklyn, Gabe,” and “A Marked Man” are featured in the Bram Stoker Nominated horror anthology’s New York State of Fright and Hell’s Heart. He is the co-author of the horror anthology Hell at the Way Station. He is the director of the horror short SNAP. A two-time nominated best actor for his role in Impervia. A 2015 Moth StorySlam and GrandSlam winner. His featured performances include In It Together, coordinated by Kevin Allison’s RISK! as part of the Speak Up, Rise Up Festival, Yum’s the Word,Now You’re Talking! BadyHouse Storytelling Concert, Long Story Long, The Dump to name a few. His one man shows Of Cats and Men: A Storytellers Journey and Love African-American Style.He is the host of the monthly storytelling show Maaan, You’ve Got to Hear This! in Bushwick, Brooklyn and a member of the HWA New York Chapter. Find out more about him at www.whoismarclabbott.com
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