|Illustration by Luke Spooner, © LVP Publications
Welcome to The Pulp Horror Author Interview Series. Today's interview is with Kerry Lipp who explores the fear of jealousy in his short story "The Catalyst to Grow Some Guts" 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?
KERRY LIPP: In a word, versatility. What I love about horror is that it can scare you, break your heart, make you think, make you laugh out loud, and everything in between. The true beauty is when an artist can create a spectrum of emotions within a single work. My favorites and inspirations work in tandem with a couple of the heaviest hitters being Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum. As far as the living and active, my favorite writer is probably Kristopher Triana.
LVP: What were your biggest fears as a child? Do you have any current phobias or fears now as an adult?
LIPP: One of my mom’s favorite things to tell people is that when I was about 4 years old and we went to the video store to rent movies I would stand in front of the horror section studying each box, captivated by the covers. To her credit she never rented one for me, but who knows, maybe if I saw something like Friday the 13th when I was five it would’ve killed that devilish voice that’s lived in the back of my head for 35 years. Speaking of 35, I just had a birthday and my new phobia is the realization that I’m basically half dead and I’ve already been through the easy half.
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?
LIPP: I like it all as long it moves at a rapid pace. As a long time student of the game via Richard Laymon, I feel like my biggest strength as a writer is keeping the pace moving with a kind of energy or sense of urgency that I hope translates to the reader. I still don’t know how he pulls it off, but there’s something about him that makes his books incredibly hard to put down. I hope I’ve harnessed a fraction of that and put it to use in my own way. I try to employ that no matter the tone or sub-genre I’m attempting. As true answer to the question though, I think writing giant monster animal stories is the most fun.
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?
LIPP: Not really. If I felt like writing it, I’d write it, but I’m not the biggest fan of slow burn or stuff that leans too heavy on the supernatural/allegorical. That kind of stuff usually makes no sense to me. I don’t like reading or watching it so it’s probably not fair if I tried to write it. And I would most likely suck at it.
LVP: In your opinion, what is the scariest or most terrifying thing you’ve ever written?
LIPP: Four or five years ago I wrote a pretty tongue in cheek story called “Desensitized” about a mass shooter shooting up a mall and live streaming the whole thing. I wrote it to be both chilling and over the top in a kind of funny way. Considering how things have moved since then and will likely keep moving, that story has become infinitely scarier, at least to me.
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.
LIPP: Haha, no way. I’ve got plenty of stuff that I’d say is probably “unpublishable” but I still wrote it. One of these days my hard drive might summon the devil.
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?
LIPP: I refer to my youngest nephew as Chuck because he bears a striking resemblance to a certain famous doll. I sell stuff on the internet for a living and have pretty good instincts on what kind of horrorish type stuff is likely to turn a profit. Outside of that I’ve been a lifelong metal head and horror fan but never had any friends, at least within close physical proximity, that shared the same interests, so I just bottle it all up and let it go on the blank page.
LVP: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to try dabbling in horror writing for the first time?
LIPP: Sit down and write words. Don’t wait for inspiration or for the perfect time, both of those are largely bullshit and I don’t think the two have ever been seen together in the same room. Play around with all kinds of styles to find your voice and what clicks with you. Recognize that you are probably nowhere near as good as you think you are and be conscious of that. It sounds like I’m being a jerk, but it’s probably true and being aware of that, especially early on, will help you get better faster.
LVP: What would you like your legacy to be? Or alternatively, what should your survivors engrave on your tombstone?
LIPP: This is going to be a pessimistic and nihilistic way to end this, but there’s truth and motivation here if you read it the way I do, and I can’t think of a better place to read this than on a tombstone.
“Everything suffocates in the dust of past fortunes squandered.”
It’s a lyric from a Lamb of God song titled “Break You.”
LVP: Anything else you'd like to say or add? Any final thoughts?
LIPP: Not really. I’m sort of semi-retired from writing these days and this is one of few things I’ve written and published within the last couple years. I hope I still have whatever small piece of “it” I ever had and that readers enjoy it. One of the scarier things I’ve seen in recent years was watching the Brian Kil or Plainfield Massacre story unfold on Facebook in real time. That story shook me and most people probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Look it up, it’s scary as hell and is the genesis for my story “The Catalyst to Grow Some Guts” in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias. Thank you to LVP for hosting me this time around!
~ Kerry lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He hates the sun and loves making fun of dead people. His parents started reading his work and consequently booted him from their will. His stories have been featured in numerous anthologies including Intersections: Six Tales of Ouija Horror. He and co-author Ken MacGregor will release their debut novel in the near future.
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)!