Today is the first time that anybody has ever been interviewed here in The Horror Booth. The first person to be honoured as first interviewee is Canadian Author Steve Vernon. Recently, I reviewed one of Steve’s books, titled, TATTERDEMON – and had some good praise for it, because it is a good ol’ horrific Scarecrow tale. I certainly recommend it.
JP: Can you tell the horror booth audience a little bit about yourself?
SV: At the heart of it I’m a storyteller. I am that old windbag sitting by the campfire spinning out yarns for anyone who cares to listen – and more than a few who don’t. I grew up in Northern Ontario and moved to Nova Scotia when I was seventeen years old. Being raised by my grandparents I had intended to come here to meet my mother. It was supposed to have been a visit but I’ve lived here in Nova Scotia for over thirty-five years.
JP: At what age did you realise you wanted to be an author and what are some of your biggest influences?
SV:I’ve been writing for about as long as I can remember. I sold my first story back in the mid-80’s – at about the age of twenty-eight – but I’d submitted my very first story to a magazine at the age of eleven.
JP: What was the original inspiration or idea for your novel TATTERDEMON?
SV: I have always dug scarecrows. There is just something cool and creepy about seeing that ragged tattery figure blowing in an empty field, particularly under the lantern of a fine fat full moon. I wrote TATTERDEMON thinking about all of those wonderful B-Grade monster movies where something bad is out there in the fields or the woods and it is aiming right towards this little backwater town.
I know it sounds corny – but where in the hell else would you expect to find a scarecrow – if not in the middle of a corn field?
JP: What is the last great horror novel you have read and/or horror film?
I read a lot of horror novels and watch an awful lot of horror films.
Some of my favourite books include Brian Keene’s DARK HOLLOW, Owl Goingback’s CROTA, Ray Garton’s LIVE GIRLS, Ronald Malfi’s SNOW, Norman Partridge’s DARK HARVEST and Stephen King’s SALEMS LOT.
As for movies – I’d have to list BASKET CASE, SILVER BULLET, REANIMATOR, PUMPKINHEAD, TREMORS, WRONG TURN, FRIDAY XIII for starters.
JP: Can you tell us what some of your other interests or jobs are outside of writing?
SV: Well, I have a day job. Writing has never paid enough for me to live independently. I’m a gardener and I’m a big fan of UFC. I read voraciously, am wild about old horror movies and would cheerfully marry The Turner Movie Channel.
JP: What are the two most important pieces of wisdom you would offer to up and coming writers?
SV: Write every day.
Finish what you begin.
Don’t be afraid to rewrite.
(hell, I guess that’ s three – I’m a writer, not a mathematician)
JP: Where do you see the horror genre heading? Is it moving in the right direction?
SV: The horror genre is always out there. There are some who believe that we are outgrowing the roots of the genre – that people are simply too hip to be scared. Baloney – fear is in all of us. You just need to tickle it a little to wake it on up.
JP: I’ve never visited Nova Scotia. What are some must see places for new visitors there?
SV: All of it.
Nova Scotia is a beautiful province – and ideally you ought to drive the entire coastline, stopping at every little town along the way. It is a wonderful crazy quilt of a province – with different dialects and dishes and beauty to behold at every turn. Really – it is a mistake to just look for the places that everybody goes to. Seek out the wonder in the unexpected – beauty lies just around the corner.
JP: What is your favourite hockey team?
SV: I grew up rooting for the Sudbury Wolves and the Toronto Maple Leaves.
JP: Thanks for doing this, Steve. It has been a pleasure.
You can find out more about Steve Vernon and his work over on Steve’s website at the link below: