There’s only one author I could think of profiling this week, the week of horror, the week of Halloween! I “met” Charles Day through my work with Wicked East Press, and he is truly a stand-up guy. Positive, welcoming, and ready to lend support, he is also so active with his chapters of HWA, Evil Jester Press, Hidden Thoughts Press, and everything else that he has a hand in! I love that he’s so passionate about the horror genre, so I was really excited when he agreed to subject himself to my questions!
SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?
CD: Hello, Selah! First, let me start by saying thank you for inviting me on your blog to do this interview. I totally appreciate this. Okay, the first question. Well, I spent the last few years writing both in pen and straight to the keys on my laptop. As of late, I’ve been using the pen and writing on index cards. For example, I’ve been working on a YA horror novel titled SUMMER CAMP, and I wrote the first chap on the computer, but now I’m writing all the scenes out on index cards as the story develops in my head. This way I won’t lose all the ideas that have been floating around. I’ll refer back to these as I continue writing this amazing and creepy story on computer.
Nevertheless, before any story begins, my characters are always battling it out in my head. The voices can be relentless you know, forcing me to share their world with me, and of course my readers.
SJ: Bonus question – Do you put on a cape and do a chant before hunkering down to work? Sacrifice anything? Along with your process, what’s your quirkiest writing habit?
CD: Hehehehehe! Actually, my muse, my alter ego, my best friend and writing partner, the evil Jester is always with me in the writing process. For example, when I wrote THE GIFT, a short story in my TALES OF TERROR anthology with 23 incredibly talented authors, I actually had him dictate the story. Well, maybe it had to do with the story being all about him as a young evil jester. Hehehehe!
Seriously though, I’ll usually play some music, as this helps to get my mind in the right state before I begin to play God in the world I develop.
SJ: Are you a meticulous planner or do you believe in the muse? Where do your ideas come from? Do they filter in through your dreams? Do they show up at inopportune times and whap you upside the head? Do they result in a shady deal with a dark power?
CD: Many of my ideas come from all the crazy stuff I went through as a child. For example, in my YA horror novel, LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF, the story, the characters, and most of the imaginary world was almost identical to the shit I had to endure from the older kids in the neighborhood chasing after us on Halloween. The old lady Mrs. Needlewhitter, she was born from an old lady we used to harass on Halloween. Some of my stories come from real life happenings like this, while others just come to me in short bursts. Soon after, I begin to listen to my voices, and from there the story starts to take on a creation process all its own. It is quite fun!
SJ: bonus question – If your muse had a physical manifestation, what would he or she look like and how would she or he act? Is it a sexy superhero version of Callisto? A sharp-tongued rogue? A reptilian alien? Do they have a catch phrase?
CD: I think many of my followers, fans, friends, family, writer friends, the creepy guy who’s been following me on Facebook, and even my dog already know that answer. He’s a small and evil dude, dressed in a jester outfit that he lives in a sort of jack-in-the-box. The evil, evil Jester!
SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?
Well, I alluded to the back story to my LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF earlier, so I’ll talk a bit about my first adult novel DEEP WITHIN, which has been professionally edited, I’m just finishing the final touches before I send this out to a few interested publishers who want to read it. I hope to have it done before the end of this year. I’m taking my time with this 80,000 word novel, because I believe my readers are going to see my first dabble into adult fiction.
Anyhoo, DEEP WITHIN is about two young, recently graduated psychiatrists who befriended each other while in medical school, and they are unsuspectingly pulled into a supernatural horror, an evil born in a patient at the Moose Hill Psychiatric facility where one of them is employed. Now that they have witnessed this evil, they will need to stop it before this creature continues to mature, to materialize from a ghostly form to a deadly creature, evil incarnate and determined to continue on a killing spree along the way.
This story started while I was working on a secured Psych unit (spent 12 years working there) and since I’ve been in the field of mental health close to 24 years, (I lose track, sometimes) I blended the psychological with the mental illness and the horror in this novel, to make one kick-ass story. Well, I hope it does just that, kicks ass with my readers.
SJ: If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?
CD: Horror all the way, Selah! I love getting into the psychological mind, which can be seriously disturbing to say the least. I’m not a blood and guts horror writer, and I also prefer to write Young Adult. I love it for some reason. Why, you ask? Well, as opposed to writing my adult novel, when I spend time with my fictitious teenagers, I seem to relate to them more, and my childhood memories return and it just feels awesome to be in their world.
SJ: What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?
CD: The only frustration I have is not having enough time to write, or when I get stuck with the infamous, “writer’s block!”
SJ: If you had to be stuck in one of your own books/stories for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? If you had to stick a loved one in one of your own books, what would it be and why? An enemy?
CD: A three part question. Oh jeeze! Okay, I guess I would want to be stuck in my YA novel in progress, SUMMER CAMP! Maybe it’s because it’s not completed yet, but I’m also a country boy, and would love to run a summer camp or a campsite with cabins and trailers and a big lake up in the mountains of the Adirondacks. Of course I would not want what poor 15 year-old Nathan experiences while at summer camp, but Camp Wolfcreek is turning out to be a real cool place to hang!
Oh dear, if I had to put my wife in a book, it would be my western/fantasy. I’ll make sure my hero, Kyle McGertt will keep her safe.
An enemy. Well, that’s easy. Let him spend some time in my soon to be finished YA novel with my fellow author Theresa Newbill, IMMORTAL FAMILY. I let “the family,” embrace him into their abode. Hehehehe! He’ll never survive!
SJ: Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer? Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it?
CD: Hell, Selah, I just love to write, to escape reality and spend time with my fictitious friends. Since I was a kid, I played pictures with my friends, wrote and drew pictures. I love to create things. Am I starting to make some money? Yes! Will I quite my day job anytime soon, unfortunately no. My wife will be the first, if I ever do make enough money.
Also, the only way I can answer this is from my own experience growing as writer, and my watchful eye on those who have risen to become successful writers. So, with that said, I would continue to read everything you can get your hands on, not just your favorite genre, go to conferences, writer workshops, have mentors and beta readers to read your finished work with a set of fresh eyes, and always continue to be open-minded and willing to learn every day.
SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that. With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?
CD: Like I said above, follow your passion, and never give up on your dreams. However, writing and becoming a better writer is certainly a rigorous process, but being a great storyteller, now that one is tough to learn, most successful writers have this in their genes.
SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.
CD: Sure. Many people hear the word “Horror,” and immediately think blood and guts and serial killers hunting down sexed-crazed teenagers. Far from it. Horror is in us all. We all have feared something, or experienced an event that has traumatized us. Horror can be so much, but generally in the publishing industry, one just needs to create a supernatural element to consider the story horror. Over the last few years, and with the explosion of small press publishers, more readers are getting the opportunity to see that horror can be real cool, enjoyed by both young and old. This is just my opinion.
SJ: What do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?
CD: Charles Day writes engaging, action-packed and suspenseful novels for young and old. Just be sure to check if it’s YA or not!
SJ: Please tell us about your latest/favorite work or a little bit about what you’re working on right now. It’s plug time, so go for it!
CD: As soon as Halloween passes, I’m going to begin sharing the latest developments on KYLE MCGERTT, DESTROYER OF THE INDIAN CURSES, BOOK 1: THE HUNT FOR THE GHOULISH BARTENDER. The first novel of my new YA western horror/fantasy trilogy is coming winter 2013, from Blood Bound Books.
Young Kyle, is on the trail of the Ghoulish Bartender and his army of flesh-eating ghouls, but he’s found out more about the tribe of Injuns who call themselves “The Redeemer’s,” and how they’ve managed to place these evil curses on the white folk over the last few years. Do they also have an emblem of sorts with magical powers?
Sure, Kyle’s Pa told him stories about how this tribe has been able to do it, but Kyle’s found out some more information that will hopefully help him to take out this evil tribe of injuns and the Bartender ‘fore they kill more innocent town folk.
I love playing God in this western frontier, where the law of the land starts with the pointing of a six-shooter and one very important Gold Medallion, handed down to Kyle by the unfortunate early death of his father. This young man is going to learn just how much responsibility comes to those who hold the Medallion, and that there may be another, an evil medallion in the wrong hands. Look for Book 1: The Hunt For The Ghoulish Bartender to be released by Blood Bound Books, Winter 2013.