Author Interrupted is delighted to welcome Steve Peek to the blog to share some of his Halloween thoughts. Originally we should have been ‘hopping’ around 13 blogs today, but that fell through, so I’m hosting the best ones here this week 🙂
What is your favorite Halloween decoration or costume?
One Halloween we hosted a costume party for 100 + people. My brother told me his wife and a theater makeup artist were transforming him into Quasimodo. I changed my plan to attend the party as Edgar Allen Poe and instead went as Groucho Marx just so that when I opened the door for my brother I could say, “Ah, Quasimodo, I had a hunch you’d be back.”
What really scares you?
I am frightened by many things. I always have been. Over the years I’ve learned to deal with it in peculiar ways. I live in remote mountains in Virginia. Sometimes I go out on the porch at night and stare at shadows and listen for footsteps. I let my imagination run free. By inviting the imagined beasties my mind conjures the strangest creatures. They seem so real.
What is your favourite Halloween snack or drink?
Hotdogs: cut in half with slices where knuckles would be and pieces of onion for fingernails. A little ketchup at the point of amputation and YUMMY!
What are you working on next?
ISLANDS: What if we woke up one morning and the world’s oceans were occupied with new, major land masses.
Trick or treat? Why?
Trick. I treat myself as often as I can the rest of the year.
Do you only write horror? If so, why? If not, why?
I grew up loving horror and science fiction. By the time Stephen King came along and mastered both the story and the telling, I was hooked. Now I write horror, science fiction, spiritual stuff and just about anything that really grips my imagination.
What’s your absolute favorite horror story? And author?
Tough and not fair question. It’s like asking someone their favourite movie. There’s always more than one answer. It is usually a question of mood and the moment. The book that gave me a lasting scare was the Exorcist.
If you could rewrite something pop culture to horror, what would you choose and why?
A new political party secretly run by vampires. Why? Because the demons running the current show need some competition.
Tell us about your main character?
a. Pete, Tom and Royce Mason are the main characters in Longclaws. Pete is a teenager struggling with the world of school, formal education and dysfunctional parents. Survival and revenge cause him to forget his other problems as he fights for those he loves.
What influenced your choice of book setting, and which book is it in?
Piedmont Alabama is the setting in Longclaws. I spent many days of summer visiting relatives in this isolated, rural area.
Flash fiction prompt – As the slates outside smashed to the sidewalk/pavement outside my door…
… I looked at the heart of the coming storm. Its glowing orange vortex moved into my on the horizon along the north shore of Lake George. It still had twelve miles of destruction before it reached my cabin.
The storm’s eye looked to be forty or fifty miles in diameter. The news said it was orange because of the fire tornadoes. As I watched I imagined tractor trailer trucks and houses swirling around inside the devil’s eye. The news said, before the power went out to most of central Florida, no one knew where or how the storm formed. It suddenly, in all its fury, popped into existence.
The next time I looked the storm’s eye had a purplish cast. As it moved over the lake dirty, yellow lightning flashed in the swirling clouds and enormous bolts of lightning shot from the lake into the storm.
I doubted the cabin or I would survive until the storm reached us. The winds outside already exceeded any hurricane in my experience and the hail sounded like thousands of hammers slamming what was left of the slate roof.
I poured myself a glass of wine. It was all I had. I kept it for guests. The storm had narrowed the distance by half. My view was filled with unimaginable waterspouts pouring millions of gallons of water per second into the sky only to disappear in the storm.
A portion of the roof screamed, rattled like rapid explosions then was ripped off the house. Outside, the lake’s water level was dropping as the waterspouts filled the heavens yet above, where the roof had been a moment before, the hot dust, dirt and grit swirled into the house. It whipped my exposed skin like sandpaper.
The destructive chaos was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
Steve Peek has written various books, but I personally recommend Longclaws. Spooky, nerve-tinglingly fun!