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Nick Younker – Interview With A Horror Author

Nick Younker – Interview With A Horror Author

Hello, horror fans! Horrormadam here to tell you about one of my favorite authors Nick Younker. His short stories and novellas run the gamut of themes from Native American curses, to sociopaths, vampires, unnatural chaos, and the Zombie Apocalypse. They are so intelligent and engaging and give you a complete story in a concise manner. I love them so much that after completing I am compelled to review on Amazon. Before we talk to Mr. Younker, I wanted to show you the synopsis for my favorite of his Don’t Bury Me:

Evan, an activist hell-bent on exposing corruption within the pharmaceutical industry, accepts an invitation to go on a daring mission to Croatia in search of an ancient corpse that fell victim to a 14th-century plague. The mission becomes a stunning success with the discovery of a femur bone, but it comes with a price when he takes it to Indiana University in Bloomington for independent research.

After it reanimates, the outbreak takes a supernatural turn and the government responds by quarantining five states in the Midwest. The terminal virus, also known as the Rip Tide, forces people to self-cannibalize near the end. Evan, who seems to be immune to the Rip Tide, travels up and down the deserted roads of Southern Indiana to help people die peacefully.

Aided by both FEMA and the CDC with a satellite phone and airdrops, Evan encounters a young girl who was abandoned by her parents. To make matters worse, a 14th Century witch appears to him as an apparition, taking the form of a dead Goth-Rock Star he admires to manipulate him into spreading her lethal spores. But Evan has other plans and he starts to break through her supernatural code, finding unique ways to keep the young girl alive.

If that doesn’t get you interested I don’t know what would!

House of Tortured Souls: When did you get the writing bug and what made you want to be a writer?

Nick Younker: I never got the “writing bug,” per say. But I did write some prose in college and found out that I had some skills inherent to people in the industry. Honestly, I only wanted to be a news writer when I was in college and that’s what I did after I finally got my BS. But the more time I spent in the television industry, the less I liked it. So soon after I started working for Turner in Atlanta, I also began doing small projects at home. Just a short story here or a screenplay there. Eventually, my flow began taking me in the direction of prose, which is a world apart from screenwriting, and I started producing stories one after the other. I did write a novel and a few novellas but found short stories to be the most fulfilling work. They contain less filler and I write in Grunge Narrative style, so that’s extremely attractive to me.

HoTS: Who were some of your early writing influences?

NY: I’m assuming you’re asking about novelists, but I have a long list of writers that have influenced me from different mediums. In the literary industry, novelists like Bukowski, Vonnegut (both used Grunge Narrative style), Ketchum, Blatty, Irving, Larsson and Algernon Blackwood were the most attractive scribes for me.

But my influences in movies and music include Alan Ball, the Coen Brothers, Cobain, Springsteen, Vedder, Cornell, Cantrell, Jett, Hetfield, Hendrix, Morrison and most importantly, Roky Erickson. The works of these fine names have exploded my ability to think critically, fourth dimensionally, and allowed me to pursue creative works that have far surpassed my expectations.

HoTS: Why the horror genre?

NY: Why not? I have frequently been asked that by my family and friends, who do not seem to share the same love of horror that I do but never miss an opportunity to download one of my works.

Horror entertains a reader the same way drama, literary fiction, romance, sci-fi, young adult (vomit), thrillers and human-interest stories do. I don’t think anyone sits down to read a book that they already know what happens at the summit. Everyone wants to be shocked, to see some originality. I would argue that horror is the premiere genre to achieve such goals. It is much broader and the freedom to shock a reader is virtually limitless.

HoTS: Who are some of your favorite authors and books?

NY: Well, I’m not a big fan of playing favorites, but The Willows by Algernon Blackwood did for me what The Blair Witch Project did for horror movie fans. I should also add that 1984 has been a big hit in my playbook. But my all-time favorite book(s) is the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).

HoTS: Have your influences changed as you’ve grown older?

NY: Not really. I rarely buy new books from mainstream authors, instead opting for indie writers who have a good following from people I know and trust. Even though I write primarily in horror, I like books that feature characters who struggle with poverty, especially poverty in the richest nation in the world. I suppose you could say that I identify with them, given my chosen “career.”

HoTS: What are some of your favorite horror movies?

NY: There’s a laundry list of those, but I will try to condense it. Let The Right One In, What We Do In The Shadows, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rawhead Rex, Return of the Living Dead, Zombieland, An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Candyman, Dawn of the Dead (1978), The Conjuring, Rosemary’s Baby, Demons, Demons 2, Spookies… oh shit, I got carried away.

HoTS: Tell us about some of your favorites that you have written?

NY: Out of all my stories, Don’t Bury Me is perhaps my best work to date. Although there is a special place in my heart for the others, that one really tugged at my heartstrings. I have a new one I’m working on right now that’s a passion project, titled The Birth of an American Vampire. It features a character who was turned by immaculate conception following the death of his mother and the extreme grief that left him vulnerable to the curse. He has no sire, just a victim of natural selection following a perfect storm of internal and external conflicts gone violently wrong.

HoTS: Are there any author’s quotes that keep you going?

NY: I wouldn’t say that the quotes keep me going, but there is one that I really admire from Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption:
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” ~ Andy Dufresne as written by Stephen King.

HoTS: For young writers out there, what words do you have for them?

NY: Embrace poverty and love the poor because they’re going to be your brethren.

HoTS: Where do your ideas come from?

Nick Younker: Thick air… cause I find it hard to breathe or think, in thin air.

HoTS: When they make a film about your illustrious writing career, who do you think should play you?

Nick Younker: The late, great Chris Farley. I can’t say for certain, but I think he’d return from the grave for an opportunity like that.

HoTS: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

NY: Not really, but I would like to take this opportunity to address the rise of Grunge Narrative writing style. Writers like myself use it and I find it to be the best way to read any great short story. I wrote an article about the many different tenets of the style that you can read here.

If anyone wants to check out my works in the horror genre, you can visit my Amazon page.

You can catch up with him on Twitter (@NYounker) where he publishes over 20 smart-ass tweets and horror images every day. You can also connect with him on his website, FogstowJamison.com, where he publishes articles on news in the horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy industry.

Thanks for speaking with me, Jaye! You rock girl!

And I want to thank Nick Younker so much for answering my questions and giving us such great reading material! Nick, you are an inspiration to me and my writing!


Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, SCI-FI HORROR, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, 0 comments
SPOTLIGHT: Claus Holm

SPOTLIGHT: Claus Holm

By Woofer McWooferson

SPOTLIGHT: Claus Holm

I honestly can’t recall how I met Claus, it may’ve been on a Dark Tower website or on Facebook, but it was our mutual love of The Dark Tower that initially brought us together. When Claus mentioned that he needed proofreaders for his work, I volunteered. From the first story I read, I was hooked, and I’ve had the pleasure to continue to proofread for him. You can read my review of Tempus Investigations here, and my review of Dreams and Awakenings here. And now, without further ado, a few minutes with Claus Holm.

Claus Holm

House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started to write?
Claus Holm: I’ve been telling stories ever since I was a little kid, but because I had a very hard time writing (I suffered from extremely bad motor skills, and my handwriting was and is atrocious!), I started out by narrating them out loud and recording them on tape. I’ve still got a couple of those lying around somewhere. Mostly they were fanfiction-type stories – one of them was a sequel to Katherine Patterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. I wrote my first “real” story on paper when I was fifteen years old. It was five typed pages, single-spaced on an electric typewriter, and was called “The Mystery of Loch Ness”. It’s been lost (thank God!), but it concerned a private investigator uncovering a smuggling ring using a submarine to bring goods in and out of Loch Ness. Terrible thing, and best forgotten…


HoTS: Where did you learn to write? Did you take classes?
CH: No, not really, although when I was seventeen I attended a kind of creative boarding school where I did a lot of theater and had a single writing class. I remember it as being three weeks of us writing poems, and I learned absolutely nothing from it. Most of my “education” (if you can call it that) comes from two books. On Writing by Stephen King (the best book about writing, in my opinion) and How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. All in all, I’ve learned mostly from reading a lot and writing a lot.

HoTS: When and why did you fall in love with writing?
CH: I fell in love with writing and storytelling very early, as I said. Denmark has a lot of wonderful books for kids that I enjoyed throughout my childhood. I particularly loved a Danish writer called Knud Holten, who wrote a series of books about the 12 year old boy Alex Morningstar, who has all sorts of amazing adventures. They were the books that made me want to write my own books. But what really set me off was reading a book of short horror stories, and finding out that you could do something that wasn’t a long novel and still tell a good story.

HoTS: How do you compose your work? Do you write in longhand? Type it up? Or dictate to a recorder and then translate?
CH: I write on my laptop, and I start at chapter one. I rarely write down any kind of notes in longhand because my handwriting looks so terrible, and I usually don’t need it. I have experimented with writing various parts of a story and putting them together, but that doesn’t work for me. I have to do it chronologically.

HoTS: Do you have a favorite monster or horror character?
CH: That’s a tough question because there are so many horror characters I love. I’ve always been terrified of the “body snatcher” type of monster that takes over your friends and family and turn them against you. One moment they are to be trusted, the next… BAM! They turn against you. That’s probably my biggest overall fear – not being able to trust the people I know all of a sudden. But the monster that scared me the most in my entire life was the creature from Dean Koontz’s book Phantoms. It’s this kind of big protoplasm blob that can split itself into smaller blobs – that can change shape into anything it wants. Humans, dogs, birds, bugs, whatever. And the creature can dissolve you with acid if you touch it. I had nightmares about that thing for weeks after reading the book. It was the first book of Koontz I ever read, and his best, I think.
An honorable mention should also go to Bob from Twin Peaks. He was one scary dude!

HoTS: Do you do comic cons or art shows?
CH: Denmark is a very substandard country when it comes to comic cons (We had our FIRST comic con this fall!). But I’ve done the national book fair in Denmark (Bogforum) twice.

HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
CH: My English books are for sale on Amazon. My Danish ones are available at www.Saxo.com and www.forlagetegolibris.dk.

HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or a Twitter account so we can keep up with your work?
CH: My official Facebook, Official: Claus Holm https://www.facebook.com/clausholmwriter/, is the best way of keeping up with me.
Clausholm.tumblr.com is my blog, both in Danish and English.
My website is www.clausholm.net where you can also drop me a line, if you’d like.
My YouTube channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXxRs16AM8gfl6cnr5YNmpg.

Checkout the freebies over at Claus' website!

HoTS: Do you have a Patreon or PayPal account in case people want to donate?
CH: I don’t have a Patreon account, but I do have PayPal, mrwriter1701@gmail.com, and I do accept donations.

HoTS: Are you working on anything right now?
CH: Currently, I’m writing two things. One is a collection of short stories, which I refer to as Tucson Time Travellers. It started out as a book with only time travelling stories, but I’m probably going to add some other stories as well. That should be out next year, hopefully.
I’m also writing Tempus Investigations – Season Two, the sequel to my book that came out this year. That one will be ready when it’s ready, I don’t have a date yet.

HoTS: What are some of your pastimes outside of writing?
CH: I’m a movie buff, and I love to watch them. I read a lot, and I’m very much into tabletop roleplaying games. I used to be quite active in community theater, but it’s been a long time since I was on stage.

HoTS: You’ve said that the primary influence on your writing is your dreams. I can’t help but notice Jim Corrigan, the protagonist in your latest work, Tempus Investigations, can’t or doesn’t sleep much. Does this speak to the general fear of many writers that they will lose inspiration at some point?
CH: That’s a very good question. I hadn’t actually considered that – to me, Jim doesn’t sleep because he doesn’t have the need for it. His body works differently than the rest of us. But when you lose your sleep, you lose your dreams, and that changes a person. If you don’t dream, your mind has a hard time processing what happens to you, and you will often get irritable and annoyed. In the new book, I’ve actually written that Jim has started sleeping more, because he’s less annoyed, so it’s a sort of a process that turns the other way. When his life becomes better, he can rest a little more.
But I think that any writer has that deep, nagging fear that there are only so many ideas out there for you and at some point the well will run dry. If that happened, I’m not sure what I would do.
On a side note, I’ve actually in the last two years tried a new treatment that has reduced my amount of nightmares substantially – without killing my creativity! So that’s good news.

HoTS: That is great news. May I say, speaking of Tempus Investigations... You’ve presented it as a television series, with each story being a single long episode, but you offer it as a single book. Was this planned as a television series or did you start writing a traditional story format?
CH: Tempus Investigations started life as a roleplaying game. My group all loved Joss Wheedon’s shows like Buffy and Angel, and we wanted to create a sort of a meta-gaming idea where we created this fictional TV show. We took all of our favorite things from the genre and dumped it into the story. So we had a Slayer, a wizard, a Highlander, a werewolf, a demon…it was crazy. Then, we started writing fan fiction about this fictional TV show, writing out episodes that we didn’t play. Those stories had a lot of good stuff in them, and I always thought it was pretty sad that they essentially had a readership of five (the members of our group.) So I began to re-do the concept, getting rid of all the stuff we had stolen from other shows, and making the story accessible to outside audiences. I suppose you could consider the original stuff a kind of TV pilot and the finished book the series itself.
But I really loved the format of the stand-alone episode stories, so that was always my plan. Originally, only the first chapter ("How Like a Fallen Angel") was supposed to have been published, to sort of “test the waters” and see if people liked it. It would have been a part of the book Between Above and Below. But when the book was done, I found it didn’t fit the concept of the book. I wanted that book to be three “straight” stories and one supernatural one, just like Stephen King’s Different Seasons. So I cut the story, and decided to finish the season and give it a chance on its own.
It was always my hope that it would bloom into a continuing story.

HoTS: I’ve been editing professionally since 1990, so I’ve read many stories from natural born Americans whose American characters were awkward at best and painful at worst. That said, I’m genuinely impressed with your grasp of American culture and language, the nuances of dialogue and description. To what do you credit this?
CH: When I began taking English classes at the age of eleven, I took to it like a fish to water. If I believed in reincarnation, I would have speculated I had been an American in a past life. When I met my ex-wife, who was American, she told me she hardly believed I was Danish. I sounded American to her. And I credit living with her for nine years, speaking only American English for a lot of the way my dialogue “flows”. But I’ve always had a good ear for dialogue and I’ve always been an Anglophile, to the point where I sometimes feel more American than Danish.

HoTS: You say that you’ve spent a lot of time in the US and consider Tuscon, AZ, your spiritual home. Have you ever considered relocating here?
CH: Oh, God. Many, many times! Ever since my ex-wife took me there for the first time, I’ve felt like the city was the perfect fit for me, and I would be very happy moving there. Unfortunately, there are some things that prevent me from doing it.
First of all, I don’t drive. I don’t have a license, and since I flunked the exam eight times, I don’t think I will ever learn. And getting around Tucson without a car is very hard.
Second, my family is here in Denmark. I’ve got a niece and nephew I love very much, and since I can’t have children, they’re the closest to kids I’ll ever have. I would find it very hard to be away from them.
I’ve got a girlfriend who lives here, who I also love very much and wouldn’t want to move away from, and she’s told me in no uncertain terms that she would never move.
In a perfect world, I would have a vacation house in Tucson and go there whenever I felt the need for some desert air.

HoTS: Super Bonus Question: In "The Body" from Different Seasons, part of the tale has Gordy Lachance (the narrator) recalling how he would tell his stories to his friends Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp, and Vern Tessio. To me, this is one of King’s most powerful portraits of the artist as... Do you have a similar piece that taps into your childhood to show us a glimpse of Claus Holm? Or is this even something you’ve considered?
CH: Super Trivia Fact: The character of Franklin in the story The Guardians (which is in Between Above and Below) is for all intents and purposes me. He talks like me, thinks like me and has some of the same experiences as I did. The scene where an entire school class gangs up on him to beat him up, just because that’s something you do when you’re in 10th grade actually happened to me when I was a boy. Obviously, there are some fiction elements in the story (I never met an angel. As far as I know…) but he’s probably the character closest to being a self-portrait.
This has actually had some readers who knew me as a boy tell me that the story was extremely hard for them to read, because they saw my face on the character in their mind. So I probably shouldn’t have told you that…

So there you have it – and straight from the author’s mouth. We’ve provided links to some sample chapters as well as to the Amazon pages to purchase Claus’ books below. I strongly encourage you to purchase the books if you like the sample chapters. You won’t be disappointed.

tempus-investigations_claus-holm

Jim Corrigan was killed back in 1933. Today, he’s a private investigator on supernatural cases. Immortality is a bitch…but it does help.

Read a sample here.

Purchase from Amazon here.


Four stories with elements of light and darkness, love and death, heroism and betrayal – and everything else between above and below…
between-above-and-below_claus-holm


Read a sample here.

Purchase from Amazon here.


dreams-and-awakenings_claus-holm

This book is a journey through 29 different dreams. Some dark and scary, some amusing, but all with a twist. You’ll never quite know if you’re dreaming or not.

Read a sample here.

Purchase from Amazon here.


Four short stories about isolation – in one way or another. Whether it be personal, geographical or physical – it all comes down to the same feeling.
Introduction-to-isolation_claus holm


Read a sample here.

Purchase from Amazon here.




Purchase a copy here.

Posted by Alan Smithee in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
HoTS LIVE : MITCHELL ALTIERI

HoTS LIVE : MITCHELL ALTIERI

By John Roisland/Allen Alberson


Hello, boys and girls, and welcome to yet another great addition of House of Tortured Souls Live with special guest Mitchell Altieri! That's right. On this exciting pre-recorded episode, John and Allen welcome special guest writer-director Mitchell Altieri. Mitchell fills everyone in as he discusses the new upcoming horror comedy The Night Watchmen, starring Ken Arnold, Dan Deluca and Kevin Jiggetts that is holding its big screen premier next Thursday, 11/17/16. He also talks about his past movies such as The Hamiltons and The Violent Kind . Along with all this, Mitchell Altieri also talks with us about the pros and cons of independent vs high-end Hollywood production films.

Mitchell Altieri on House of Tortured Souls Live

On this week's episode of House of Tortured Souls LIve, John and Allen also discuss the upcoming remake of legendary horror film An American Werewolf in London as Max Landis, son of the original director, is now behind the camera. Your horror-fic hosts give mention on our artist of the month Corey Newman as well as welcome our newest member to the staff of House of Tortured Souls, Laura James who will be bringing us true horror in American history.

House of Tortured Souls Live also takes a moment congratulate the winners of our first annual Scary Story Contest. We also touch base on House of tortured Souls own Rocky Gray with his upcoming horror anthology film 10/31/16, as well as give you a sneak peek at our upcoming guests on House of Tortured Souls Live.

So give a listen and as always,

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in PODCAST, 0 comments

THIS JUST IN: Rob Zombie and Mila Kunis are Trapped

Rob Zombie and Mila Kunis
Are Joining Forces

Trapped Coming to Starz

By John Roisland

Trapped Zombie Kunis

Rob Zombie and Mila Kunis join forces? I always thought that when a well named celebrity hit TV, their careers were about over. But nowadays it seems like more and more big names are jumping on the TV/series bandwagon. News has broken that Rob Zombie (musician, writer, director, actor, artist) and Mila Kunis (producer, actress best known for her roles in Ted, That 70s Show, Black Swan, and, of course, the voice of Meg Griffin on The Family Guy series) have joined forces and will be executive producers on an upcoming Starz series Trapped.

The show is being written and created by Joey Slamon. This horror-comedy series takes place over the course of one night in a wealthy family's home, who are under attack from a crazed and murderous cult. Seems to be a storyline Zombie would get into or maybe come up with himself.

Rob Zombie is said to also be lending his eye as director. That really wouldn't surprise me, and I wouldn't mind it either!

No release dates or names of cast additions have been released as of yet but we will of course keep you up to date on any developments as we hear about them.

We here at HoTS wish the two good luck on this new venture, and we hope it is a success!

Posted by John Roisland in COMING SOON, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments