Did you ever tell ghost stories around the campfire growing up? Which scary story gave you the worst nightmares?
My father, without knowing, taught me the art of delivering a scary tale:
pausing at just the right spot; increasing the volume of the voice in just the right part; and making the listener feel just comfortable enough right before driving them to the brink of insanity.
The story that gave me the worst nightmares and made the hair on my neck stand up like the quills on a porcupine was Thump, Drag. Even though I have seen and heard multiple variations of the story, I have always felt that the version told to me, and the version I now tell my kids, has always been the most frightening.
The story begins with a group of boys scouts camping in the remote wilderness (I enjoy the isolation factor). The scout master mentions that he heard on the radio that the area, in which they are currently camping, was the site of the disappearance of a child not too long before they had arrived. Everyone that night sleeps lightly, sensitive to every sound pushing its way through the lining of the tents. A few hours after the boys had settled down and fallen asleep, several awaken to the slow and sluggish sound—thump…drag, thump…drag. The horrible noise makes its way around the tent and then gradually back into the woods. The next day they discover their scout master missing from his tent. The same horrible sound occurs for the next two nights in a row and two more scouts come up missing from their tents. The remaining boys decide the following day to form a search party, and they find an abandoned saw mill filled with numerous chopped up corpses. They hear the distinct sound of thump…drag, thump…drag and scream in horror to discover that it is the long lost child from the news: he has only one arm and has to drag himself to move forward. The boys run out of the saw mill and pick their way through the forest to the nearest town in order to alert the authorities. When arriving at
the saw mill, the police find a Nazi scientist who was completing his unfinished experiments from WWII. He admitted that he would let loose the one-armed boy at night around the campgrounds in order to distract the frightened campers and allow him to drug and kidnap another victim for his experiments.
Anyway, that is the summarized story and it always scared the living hell out of me and made it a little bit harder to sleep while camping.
How do you get inspired to write those intense, scary scenes?
I am truly inspired by the thought of someone’s reaction to a scary scene. I know it is unrealistic to expect someone to scream out loud while reading one of the scary short stories that I have written, but all I desire is that when they
place their book down on their dresser and shut the light off, they at least have to open their eyes once when they hear a noise and their heart beats just a little bit faster than normal. That, my fellow book enthusiasts, is inspiration
enough and would give me the greatest joy.
What type of parameters did you set for the magic elements in your book?
I normally don’t set any parameters, but sometimes I want the reader to have the thought that the magic they are reading about could possibly happen in real life. I really try to strive for a type of blurred lines between fiction and
nonfiction. An example of this in movies would be Phenomenon starring John Travolta. Throughout the movie he can move and control things with his mind. The dim-witted townsfolk are scared by him and believe that he had been
abducted by aliens. Eventually it is discovered that he has a tumor on his brain that makes him ultra-focused. I left that movie questioning the reality of it. It made me think that maybe that could happen in real life. And, that is what I try to achieve in my own writing.
Tell us about your book in 25 words or less.
Title: Amnesty Day (Coming Soon)
The year is 2022. United States population has reached one billion. Desperate for solutions, the Government legalizes murder during a one day period: Amnesty Day.
THIS or THAT
Angels or demons?
Historical setting or Modern setting?
Historical can really enhance a scary setting.
Tricks or treats?
Bram Stoker or Stephanie Meyer?
Of course, Bram Stoker
Where can we find out more about your books?
You can visit our website at www.shedead.com
Come join me on Twitter @shedeadpress
God of Burden: Epic’s Story
Amnesty Day coming soon