|Illustration by Luke Spooner, © LVP Publications
Welcome to The Pulp Horror Author Interview Series. Today's interview is with Ray Garton who explores the fear of beautiful women in his short story "Beautiful Women" in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias.
LVP PUBLICATIONS: What draws you to horror, both as a writer and as a reader? Who is your favorite horror creator? Who are your inspirations or influences?
RAY GARTON: I’ve always been drawn to horror because of its honesty. It’s a genre that refuses to sugarcoat things. I don’t have a favorite horror creator, but there are some whose work stands above everything else, I think. Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, William Nolan, anyone in that group. I’m a big admirer of King’s work, of course. Matheson was probably my biggest influence when I was coming up and still remains influential.
LVP: What were your biggest fears as a child? Do you have any current phobias or fears now as an adult?
GARTON: My biggest fears as a child were mostly religious. I was terrified of the Last Days, the Second Coming, all that happy crap you find in the book of Revelation. These days, my fears are much more realistic and down to earth.
LVP: Horror has a million sub-genres, from psychological to splatterpunk. Which sub-genres have you written in? What's your favorite flavor of horror?
GARTON: I think I’ve written in most of them. I like the kind of horror that doesn’t reveal itself as horror for a while. It’s just telling a story and people are going about their lives and business when suddenly something that simply should not be is introduced into the story. And that can happen in any of the sub-genres.
LVP: Is there any sub-genre or area of horror that you won’t go anywhere near? Any one area that is completely off-limits?
GARTON: No, I don’t think so.
LVP: In your opinion, what is the scariest or most terrifying thing you’ve ever written?
GARTON: It would be individual scenes rather than whole books or stories. Like the scene in The Loveliest Dead when the ghost slowly rises up out of the floor of the little boy’s bedroom. Or the jar scene in Shackled. That sort of thing.
LVP: Have you ever had an idea for a story so scary or disturbing that you couldn't bring yourself to write it down? Tell us about it.
GARTON: No, that’s never happened and I doubt it would.
LVP: Are there any ways that your interest in horror bleeds over (so to speak) into other areas of your life? Do you throw legendary Halloween parties, do you dress like Alice Cooper when you go grocery shopping, do you have a pet albino snake named Nosferatu?
GARTON: It has certainly affected the decor of our house. Dawn is a horror fan, too, and our house shows it. We used to have a black cat named Boris.
LVP: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to try dabbling in horror writing for the first time?
GARTON: Read everything. Don’t stick to one genre. Read everything you can find. Try to learn how other writers handle various kinds of projects, pay attention to what they do and how they do it. If you’re not writing, you should always be reading.
LVP: What would you like your legacy to be? Or alternatively, what should your survivors engrave on your tombstone?
GARTON: I would like to leave behind a lot of books that can be enjoyed by people long after I’m gone. My work is my legacy.
~ Ray Garton has been writing novels, novellas, and short stories for more than 30 years. His work spans the genres of horror, suspense, and even comedy. His novel LIVE GIRLS made a permanent mark on vampire fiction. He received the Grand Master of Horror Award in 2006. He lives in northern California with his wife Dawn, where he is at work on his next novel. https://www.raygartononline.com
Pre-order The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias (paperback or hardcover) from your local indie bookstore through IndieBound, from Barnes & Noble or Amazon now... or come see us at Crypticon in Seattle, WA and StokerCon in Grand Rapids, MI to read this story along with all the other madness contained in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias (including limited edition autographed phobia card sets, available at conventions only)!