Sunday, September 18, 2016

Interview with horror writer, Israel Finn.

Today I have the honor of talking to a great horror author, Israel Finn. His collection of horror stories are fantastic and I highly recommend you pick it up. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I'm a horror writer living in southern California with my wife, and my dog, Sammy.

Does your wife share the same passion for horror as you?
Absolutely! I corrupted her early on!

What type of dog?
He's a Westiepoo. That's white west highland terrier and poodle mix.

Dreaming at the Top of my Lungs is one of the best indie books I've read this year. Tell us about the stories that are in it.
They're all very dark, psychological horror. Or most anyway. Water and War is more of an allegory, and an homage to Ray Bradbury. But all the stories have some deeper message. I wasn't really trying to do that consciously, but it just came out that way. Because, you know, wherever you go, there you are. And thanks, by the way!

Which story out of that collection is your favorite?
Stranded. No question.

And why is that?
I've always loved time travel stories. Can't get enough of them. Stranded is a bit of a twist on a time travel story. It's more of a time "stay" story. But the concept of playing with time is still there. It also has that message in it of "be careful what you wish for" which I love.

Why the horror genre?
It's the best there is, in my opinion. It can have elements of all the other genres and still remain true to itself. Horror goes deeper. It explores the nooks and crannies of human psychology, people's deepest fears and anxiety. Kafka said, to paraphrase, if a story doesn't wound you, if it doesn't draw blood, then there's no reason to tell it. Horror draws blood.

Great answer. Was there an author that influenced your writing?
Stephen King would have to be my greatest influence. But also Bradbury, Matheson, and McCammon, to name a few.

What was you first Stephen King book?
My first was my favorite. The Stand.

The second author I've interviewed who'd said that book. Fantastic read.
Yes it is. I've read it probably five times.

How do you go about planning out your stories? Or, do you write them on the fly?
Somewhere in between. I try to remain as much of a pantser as possible, because it's more fun to write that way. I get to be surprised along the way. But some stories demand a degree of outlining, depending on how complicated they are. 

Any rituals?
Not really. I just get up in the morning, eat some cereal, have a cup of coffee, walk the pooch, then start in

What are you working on now?
A novel about a man who is given the power to travel through the multiverse, and who has to stop another man from destroying it.

Sounds interesting. That will be placed on my TBR list. When is it expected to be released?
My plan is around Halloween to be finished with the first draft, so hopefully sometime after the first of the year.

What defines horror the best to you? Gore, or plain old creepiness?
Definitely creepiness. The late 70s and 8os slasher flicks hijacked the genre for a while, if you ask me. Blood is easy. Try scaring people without gore. It's harder. But it's almost always better. It's like Hitchcock said about the turning of a doorknob being scarier than actually seeing what's on the other side of the door.

Very true. You think that is missing in today's horror? The Exorcist still creeps me out today when I watch it. You don't see that much now a days.
I think it's making a comeback. You can only see so much blood and gore before you get desensitized to it. People want good stories, with strong characters. I love The Exorcist too, by the way. 

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and chat, but before you go, what's the one horror movie you've watched so many times you know it by heart?
Stir of Echoes. LOVE that movie!! Thanks for having me. This was fun! 

You can find Israel on social media.


Excerpt from Deadfall Lane.

No one else saw what happened that night between me and my wife out behind the shed under a full white moon. No one heard anything, either. Old Harlan Davis lives within shouting distance, but he’s deaf as a post and about half blind to boot. Besides, he’s crazy as a loon. Bill Pritchard says he was driving by Harlan’s house one day and saw him sitting on his porch eating night crawlers out of a coffee can, which I don’t doubt for a minute. That leaves our other neighbors, all of whom are pretty remote, and a good three-mile empty stretch of road that runs between the little town of Owensville, Indiana, and our place. The locals call that stretch Deadfall Lane, unofficially renamed from Cutters Lane after the big storm in ’05 wiped out much of the woods running along it. 

The place I’m speaking of is a twelve acre parcel of land that’s been in my family for three generations. Four, if you count my three-year-old son, Chris. I’ve never worked the land (don’t have the knack or the inclination), but for the last few years I’ve leased it to Milo Harper, a local farmer, so we’ve always got by alright.

Beyond our back door and catty-corner to the house is a hutch where I raise rabbits for meat. Overlooking the rabbitry is a gigantic sycamore. The great tree shrouds the outbuilding in its enormous shadow every late afternoon when the sun drops toward the western woods. Or at least it did, before things went bad. 

I spent a lot of time in that tree as a kid, playing Tarzan, or Robinson Crusoe, or whatever. I’ve always imagined my own son doing the same. But that won’t happen now, because everything changed when the tree started dying.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview. It is always a pleasure to discover an author who has a passion for horror. Am now following Israel and adding his books to my 'To Read' list.