|Illustration by Luke Spooner, © LVP Publications|
Welcome to The Pulp Horror Author Interview Series. Today's interview is with Edward M Erdelac who explores the fear of time warps in his short story "A Bolt of Lightning" 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?
EDWARD M ERDELAC: I’d be hard pressed to say what draws me to horror. I could repeat the oft-said thing about confronting mortality cathartically or something, I guess. I would say I actively avoided horror as a kid, but even then I was into old black and white monster movies, whatever came on Son of Svengoolie. I feel like when I’m reading or watching something, if life and death isn’t on the line, I’m not quite as engaged. I like to see characters in upheaval, and nothing quite makes that happen so quickly and in such a literal sense as the introduction of some horrific event or supernatural threat. In the horror field, my biggest writing influences are Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, Cormac McCarthy, Alan Moore, and Stephen King.
LVP: What were your biggest fears as a child? Do you have any current phobias or fears now as an adult?
ERDELAC: As a child, my fears mainly revolved around my parents being lost to me or somehow turning out not to be who they were. I remember having a nightmare where they were mummies, of all things. I used to suffer from night terrors as well (still do, if I get overheated), which I always imagined as sort of, not being entirely in your body. Sort of being stuck halfway and not being able to settle or entirely control yourself. The Exorcist and the idea of demonic possession terrified me as a kid too. I developed mild claustrophobia from being piled on at a birthday party and being locked in a trunk once. As an adult, my biggest fear is existential. Just the possibility of oblivion.
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?
ERDELAC: I’ve written cosmic, occult, psychological, psychosexual, monster, slasher, religious, ghost, action, comedy, sci-fi, body horror, and folk horror. I tend to enjoy folk horror the most – stuff like Curse Of The Demon, The Wicker Man, Kill List, and Hereditary, and The Devil Rides Out. Things with cults.
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?
ERDELAC: Up until a year ago when I actually sat down and watched the Hostel movies, I would’ve turned up my nose at torture porn. I still don’t know that I’d read or write it, but I’m no longer averse to it. Never say never. I don’t like nastiness just for the sake of nastiness. There has to be a compelling story or characters.
LVP: In your opinion, what is the scariest or most terrifying thing you’ve ever written?
ERDELAC: My novel Monstrumfuhrer is probably the most terrifying. It takes place during the Holocaust, and I believe the real-life human horrors of Auschwitz I depicted are worse than anything supernatural I’ve done.
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.
ERDELAC: Never. If something in my mind becomes off limits I’m not being honest as a writer.
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?
ERDELAC: I think I’ve transferred an affection for horror to my kids which my wife doesn’t really share. My eldest daughter loves J-horror and sci-fi horror, my middle daughter likes monsters, and I think my son is a fan of Jason Voorhees. All of them love Halloween and dressing up, pumpkins, the whole schmeal.
LVP: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to try dabbling in horror writing for the first time?
ERDELAC: Write the kind of thing you’d like to read yourself. Don’t worry about catering to an audience. If the writing is honest the audience will feel it and come back for more.
LVP: What would you like your legacy to be? Or alternatively, what should your survivors engrave on your tombstone?
ERDELAC: It would be nice to affect the world or someone’s life in some positive way. I think my kids at least will remember me. I’ve love to have a positive effect on a broader swathe of people through my work, maybe leave the world a little better than I found it. Not sure how. I suppose entertainment can be an alleviation of one’s ills, so if I create something that people remember, that’d be great. I don’t think I want a tombstone. I’d rather be fondly remembered in peoples’ hearts.
~ Edward M. Erdelac is the author of twelve novels including The Knight With Two Swords, Monstrumfuhrer, and The Merkabah Rider series. His fiction has appeared in over two dozen anthologies and periodicals, much of it collected in Angler In Darkness. News and excerpts from his work can be found at http://emerdelac.wordpress.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)!