RW Spryszak- Author Interview (2018)

I am so pleased and honored to introduce you great readers to an astounding writer by the name of RW Spryszak. I have a few interviews under my belt but have never felt like I was reading literature when reading answers. Mr. Spryszak has done that for me here. So eloquent and illuminating that they are a joy to read, I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I did. His book Edju was very hard for me to put down. So without further ado, please enjoy and here is a small bio to get you started.

Bio- RW Spryszak’s recent work has appeared in Peculiar Mormyrid, A-Minor Magazine, and Novelty (UK), among others. His early work is archived in the John M Bennett Avant Writing Collection at the Ohio State University Libraries. He is editor at Thrice Fiction Magazine* and recently produced “I Wagered Deep On The Run Of Six Rats To See Which Would Catch The First Fire*,” a collection of contemporary surrealist and outsider writing from around the world for 2018 under that banner, which is also available on Amazon.


Who are some of your favorite authors, or authors that have inspired you?

What inspires me to work is work that isn’t produced. I go into a bookstore just to browse and leave without buying anything. You could ask my wife this. She would verify what I’m saying. This happens a lot. And a long time ago I asked myself, well, what did you want to find that you couldn’t find? And maybe that is what you should write. Write what you’d like to read but can’t find. This is how I work. So, it isn’t what authors have written that inspires me, as you say, it’s what they haven’t written. It’s only a void I’m filling. In my own universe anyway.

Now, as an example of writers whose work has influenced me I have to go back to when I was young and didn’t know what I liked but found things that stayed with me. Gogol’s Dead Souls, first of all. I still have that old worn Penguin Classic copy from when I was in high school. The pages are quite yellow now. Of course, everybody who is a reader discovered Kafka as a teenager I think. But it was people who wrote things that made me go – “You can do this??” I mean when you’re young or naïve you expect a story to go from A to B to C, and twists and unexpected things make your head snap. So, there are the poems of Dylan Thomas and Guillaume Apollinaire. Thomas creates these spiraling images and ideas that blend and weave in and out of each other until you find yourself trapped in his crazy tornado. And Apollinaire writes the kind of things that make you say – “you can do that??” His work is one hundred years old and a lot of it reads like it was done yesterday.

But there’s Robert Walser. Naguib Mahfouz. Jan Potocki. I’m saying these names but I’m quite sure no one is going to look them up or anything. Still, I don’t think – for your audience – you can call yourself a true fan of horror if you haven’t read Potocki’s A Manuscript Found in Saragossa. Just saying. Maybe kitsch horror, but not gothic horror. Dracula, Frankenstein, certainly. But if you haven’t read Manuscript you have a missing part in there. An aspect that would make you say – “you can do that??”

When did you start writing, or what prompted you to start writing?

So how do I answer your question? I don’t know. I used to make up stories in my head as a little boy. Full technicolor epics before I would fall asleep. Wash up. Brush teeth. Go to bed. Roll around making up movies in my head.

And my first rejection letter came from Stan Lee. I wrote a story that pitted Doctor Strange against The Hulk. I was 10 years old. I sent it in and, with the innocent expectations of a kid I also sent along 12 cents to buy the issue my story would appear in. Well, of course, Marvel Comics would never use a hand-written story from a 10-year-old who didn’t know the highway from a footpath. So, here’s my Stan Lee story. 1963 or 4. I got a hand written note back from Stan Lee saying he enjoyed the story but could only use their own material. And – get this – the 12 cents I included with my submission was taped to the blue card he sent back with his note in an envelope. Was he the coolest guy ever? Yes, he was. By the way, Doctor Strange did face The Hulk in one adventure eventually, I think, sometime in the 1990’s I believe. I ought to sue, don’t you think?

How would you describe your style of writing?

I don’t think I think like a writer. I’m influenced by the visual. I look at things like a painter or a sculptor but I couldn’t paint or sculpt to save my skin so I write the form. Writing and acting were always easier than painting. Concepts. Visuals. I think probably because I was influenced by TV and movies when I was small. In Edju, in particular, I used something I learned from my long-ago acting days. How to stay in character from start to finish. Edju is a first-person story, so it’s vital you don’t “break character,” as actors would say.

Though I’m not in the Surrealist camp, so to speak, and never claimed to be, I do use the techniques they’ve developed. They try to bring the unconscious truth to things and so Arp’s ideas about Chance often come into play. Then there’s the process of automatic writing or even sentence collage. These are things I’ll utilize. Take for example in Edju, I used automatic writing as prompts. The start of some chapters is in italics. That was straight from the back of the brain and unedited automatic writing. Then I connected them. I left the strictly Surrealist process when I connected these prompts with a willful, consciously-produced narrative – which makes me not a Surrealist, I think. I don’t know. You’d have to ask them if I’m one of them or not. I mean, several Surrealists, people who have been with that worldview for decades, have supported my work – Max Cafard, J. Karl Bogartte, the New York Surrealist group – but I think that’s because I love the work they produce and have spoken up for their movement – which never went away, contrary to what the New Yorker may think – for years.

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And, really, I think this is a question better asked of my readers than of me. There are people who like my style and people who can’t stand it. Folks who tell me they can’t put it down and folks who can’t get through the first two pages without screaming and burning the damn thing. I know my stuff is difficult sometimes. So, what do I say?

Do you set a certain plot, or go where your writing takes you?

I could never work from an outline. I tried when I was younger. I couldn’t do it. It was like – I’ve written the outline and so the book is done, right? I have nothing but a vague idea and I’ve never known how things were going to end. Not ever. In Edju, I was going along and going along and wrote If I didn’t need to eat I would never trust your world again, and I would stay in these rooms till the spiders wept.” And I stopped and looked at it and said – Okay. That’s the last line. I’m done, now for the edits. And that line will lead into the first line of the next book because Edju, conceptually, is a trilogy. I have two vague notions about the two next pieces but I have no idea where they are going to go. The second book has been started at least five times and I think I only just settled on what to do last week. So, I guess my answer is I go where it takes me after a vague notion, or something like that.

If, while writing, I can’t visualize a title for the thing? I know I’m onto something. Whenever I’ve had a title first, nothing ever works. I don’t understand that. When I get to the point where I can’t come up with a title no matter what and it comes down to I don’t even care what anybody wants to call it, just get it away from me, you decide – it gets published. When I start with a title, it never even gets finished. It’s weird.

What are some of your favorite works of literature?

Well, yes, I mentioned these. Dead Souls, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa. Mahfouz’s The Journey of ibn Fattouma. Walser’s Jakob Von Gunten. But also, from a writer’s viewpoint, there’s technical aspect too, that you have to have. I’m not a big fan, but even if you don’t like him you have to say that Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is the perfectly executed novella. And it’s good to have a grounding. In fact, I’ve always felt you need a grounding in the classical and traditional before you can go off “experimenting.” You’ll find Picasso’s early stuff more traditional than you’d at first think it would be, being Picasso. Then, when he “got it,” so to speak, he created his own world and his own rules. But I’d say he couldn’t do it until he understood the starting point. I think that’s true for everyone to some degree. So, until you can read Dickens and explain why he’s a lousy writer, and he is, you should keep reading the traditional until you “get it.”

What is the most important aspect of writing for you?

Well it’s a compulsion that has to be fulfilled, isn’t it? When I was in my twenties I used to worry about getting published. Have to get published. It must happen. And so on. Of course, that’s when nothing ever happened. It wasn’t until I finally said, you know what, it doesn’t really matter if it gets published or not because I’m going to sit here and write anyway because I have to or I’ll just explode or go crazy. I would write because it was going to happen whether anybody was ever going to read it or not. That, of course, is when people started to accept and publish things.

Oddly enough, after that, I got this crazy notion that I wanted to bust into the mainstream. I had all this alternative work done and it was archived and I had a tribe and – for some reason – I said I’m going to try to break into the big time or something and – poof. Came the drought. I wanted to get published. I needed to get published. And nobody wanted anything I was doing. A couple of the bigger wigs even laughed at it. Because it was actually pathetic stuff, to be honest. So, okay, I went back to just doing what I’d always done and forgot about “trying” so hard and… what do you think? All of a sudden (to use a term that should never appear in anything you ever write), there I was back in print.

That’s the long way around the barn to say the most important aspect of writing, for me, is to not only be yourself, but if it’s working there’s nothing that needs to be fixed. If it ain’t broke. Stay true to your own voice, no matter how trite that may sound. Find your tribe and dance with them.

Do you put any of yourself in your writing?

Yes. There are dozens of things that happened to me, mostly filtered by metaphor, in Edju. Shards of dreams I had. People I’ve met. Or aspects of them. There’s even a scene in the book that I wrote forty years ago for something else. Something I wrote, never kept, but never forgot. It goes on for pages as if I was copying out of an old notebook. I never forgot the scene and it just came into the book on its own. That scene came from a particularly intense part of my growth as a writer. But, yes, they are all over the place. However, well-disguised. And this is all I will say about that.

What led you to write in this genre?

This is crazy because I didn’t write Edju to a genre. I just thought – a book. Maybe Literary Fiction. Maybe Dystopian. I didn’t have a target. When Spuyten Duyvil*, the publisher, first put it on Amazon they listed it as “Gothic.” To be honest, I didn’t even know what Gothic was. Gothic Horror – sure. I’d heard of that. And I didn’t know if there was a difference. Then a few people contacted me and said “Horror,” or “Speculative.” To tell you the truth, I don’t know what it is, exactly. So, my approach is like that old song – “any world that I’m welcomed to.” I’m becoming convinced it belongs in that Gothic category that the publisher listed it in. But you’ll have to believe me when I tell you I seriously didn’t have any kind of thing like genre in my head.

Do any movies or TV shows influence your writing?

Not off hand, no. I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore. My TV is mostly old movies and Baseball. Baseball is my escape hatch. Outside of that it’s just all noise. I suppose, growing up in the late 50s and 60s there were influences that happened then, but I couldn’t specifically tell you one thing or another.

Any future writing projects you would like to talk about?

The plan is to complete a trilogy with Edju as the lead before I croak. I have no idea what to call it, and that’s a good sign I think. But – you shouldn’t take anything for granted. I’m doing this but there’s no guarantee anyone will take it. Life in the small press universe is like that and you have to expect it. Unless you’re a best-seller you don’t make much money in writing. All the writers I know have a regular job somehow. Teaching, editing, or anything. Every one of them. You have to stay real.

I want to thank RW Spryszak so much for his valuable time and marvelous answers to my questions. For more information or to read his works please check out the following links:

Edju is at https://www.amazon.com/Edju-RW-Spryszak/dp/1947980890

*Spuyten Duyvil is at http://www.spuytenduyvil.net/

* “I Wagered Deep, etc.” is at  https://www.amazon.com/Wagered-Which-Would-Catch-First/dp/1945334045

*Thrice Fiction Magazine is at http://www.thricefiction.com/

http://www.rwspryszak.com/



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Villainous Monologue

I always seem evil when I tell you my plan

I go on ad nauseum  explaining who I am

To try to expound or maybe to trick

I give details up but never too quick

I lie, I deceive, I do dastardly deeds

Maybe not giving it away is what I most need

But I brag, and I bluster, and sometimes I gloat

For your weakness, and fear just make me emote

Your running offends me and try as I might

I can’t stop getting off on all of your fright

Some call me a malefactor, some call me a cad

You can cry all you want but I’ll always be bad

But outlaw or miscreant no matter the name

You’re always caught up in my winning game

So my monologue is done, run away if you want

I’m just wicked and cruel, and this I will flaunt

Villain I am and of this I am proud

Especially when you’re screams are always so loud

So goodnight little victims, hold onto your heads

Fore I am the scary thing underneath your little beds

Poem 11/10/2018

Dan Klefstad Author Interview (2018)

Radio host, Podcaster, and Author. This amazing man that I have befriended on Twitter is so inspiring. His novel Shepherd and the Professor offers fascinating plot lines and many twists and turns that make it a must read in my book! I am very glad to get to introduce him here to my readers at Chills From the Quill, so lets get to the questions!

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do for WNIJ News and NPR?

I’m the morning host for NPR station WNIJ, and the newscaster for two other NPR stations covering the length of Illinois.

How did you get into podcasting?

The president of the Rockford Writers’ Guild, Connie Kuntz, launched the “Guildy Pleasures” podcast one year ago, and Connie invited me to be the first guest. She read my first novel, Shepherd & the Professor, and was reading my more recent stories about humans who work for a vampire named Fiona. So I went into the studio with Connie and her husband Jesse who engineered the podcasts. During these sessions, I used my experience as a radio announcer to deliver the kind of recordings Connie and Jesse were looking for. We did the first five of my Fiona stories, and they got a great reception — I’ve heard nothing but good things about them.

Are you a horror lover?

I love to be frightened, I love Gothic atmosphere, and I enjoy stories that play up erotic tensions between monsters and humans. I’ll admit I’m not into splatter or torture. But I’ll never refuse a challenge to write this if I think gore can lead to a truly great story.

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Where did the idea for Fiona come from? And are you a fan of vampire fiction?

I’ve always been fascinated by vampires because they work on different levels. As mythical creatures, they transcend human limitations. They’re stronger, sexier, and live forever – who doesn’t dream of this kind of power? But they’re also rich metaphors for things that suck our life force. Your emotionally insecure neighbor is the vampire hidden in plain sight, ambushing you with questions when you return from work, draining whatever energy you have left. The vampire might be your lover, mother or pusher. I guarantee you: somewhere, somehow, a hidden thing is latched to your neck, taking from you and never giving back. When you finally see it, and admit your role in these encounters, I hope you have the strength to put a stake in it.

Favorite or inspiring authors for you?

Anyone who writes vampire fiction owes a debt to John Polidori, Bram Stoker, and Anne Rice. As a horror fan, I also owe much to Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson and Stephen King. In college, I was fascinated by Albert Camus and his treatment of the absurd – where humans desperately seeking meaning are confronted by a universe that offers none. There’s a connection to horror in absurdist philosophy that Jean-Paul Sartre brings home with No Exit. The final line of this play is: “Hell is other people.”

 What are some of your favorite books or works of literature?

To the above, I’ll add John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, Let the Right One In.  Lindqvist also wrote the screenplay for the 2008 movie of the same name, but the book contains an entire plot thread involving Eli’s caretaker, Håkan, that’s gripping and absolutely terrifying. Best horror novel I’ve read in many years.

Do you have a favorite quote?

I’m tempted to repeat that one by Sartre but I’d prefer something more hopeful. With your permission, I’d like to quote a character, Daniel, from my story “The Remains of the Daylight”:

“Because if one person thinks you’re good, you are good – right?”

(That line gives me hope)

What would you really like people to know about you?

I’m an optimist. Readers are often surprised to hear me say that.

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What inspires you to write?

Wow, that stumped me. I’ve done several interviews, but nobody asked me that before. The most truthful answer I can give is: I don’t know. I simply must.

And lastly can you tell us a little about your work and do you have any writing works set for the future?

I’m gathering all my Fiona the vampire stories that appeared in Dark Dossier Magazine’s Halloween issue (11 of them) and will add nine or ten more. These will be chapters in a book called The Guardian which I hope to finish this summer.

Thanks so much, Jaye, for the opportunity to share my thoughts, inspirations, and stories with you. You’ve been a wonderful host!

I am eternally grateful to Dan for taking the time to answer my questions and I hope we have inspired you to read some of his works! You can find links here for podcasts and readings:

The Caretaker” http://bit.ly/2lx3HyD 

“The Interview” http://bit.ly/2m9HKpX 

“Solstice” http://bit.ly/2D47OJg 

“Wolf at Fiona’s Castle” http://bit.ly/2GCZAKt 

“Hauptsturmführer Fillennius” http://bit.ly/2E6OSNL

You can also find him at Twitter at: https://twitter.com/danklefstad?lang=en

And on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/dan.klefstad

And at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Klefstad/e/B01IC5A1XK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trembling With Fear: Year 1 Book Review (2018)

I will honestly say that I am usually not big on short stories because I like to get involved within a story and live there for awhile. But that being said, the book Trembling With Fear: Year 1 really changed my mind on this. Everyone of the stories were beautifully written and thoroughly concise in there execution. I got everything I expect from longer books with just many more stories to enjoy!

The book is an amalgamation of stories from the site the Horror Tree of which Trembling With Fear is a branch of. Horror Tree is a great resource for authors, whether they be established or new innovative and ingenious voices, as an outlet  for their written material. Find more out about Horror Tree here:

https://horrortree.com/

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I have borrowed the next information from the intro to the book Trembling With Fear: Year 1 so that you the reader can get an exact idea of what they do:

Trembling With Fear is a branch of Horror Tree which publishes original fiction every Sunday morning. In it, they have a minimum of one short story and three pieces of flash fiction on a weekly basis. They are not a static publication however, and have recently introduced serials as a new feature and no doubt there will be other developments. Please check the Trembling With Fear Submissions page for details on how to submit.

You can find that page here: https://horrortree.com/submissions/

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And please pick up the book, it is a real slice of horror entertainment. So many diverse voices and ideas that there is something for everyone in it and you will not be disappointed!

It is available here at Amazon on Kindle or in paperback form with a 5 star rating!:

Idiom Madness a Poem (2018)

Into the out of it

Confusion the new norm

Chaos by the sound of it

Disorder my new form

Drowning in the Sea of Tranquility

Hiding on the Dark Side of the Moon

Dropping the hat of gullibility

Judging a book too soon

Burning the midnight oil of anarchy

The devils advocate my new sanity

Bewilderment and disorganization a calamity

Hitting a nail on the head of my vanity

There is a method to my madness

Fell off the rocker years ago

Wouldn’t be caught dead playing with a full deck

Speak of the devil you know.

Poem 10/30/2018

Feast of Samhain a Poem (2018)

The Feast of Samhain is quickly approaching

The harvest is done and winter encroaches

The nights grow longer, the autumnal equinox is leaving

Fore the winter solstice advances and the farmers are done reaping

The boundary between this world and the next soon will be crossed

Sprites, fairies, and even wee ghosties never get lost

Because we leave them an offering of food and of drink

To leave us alone and be quick as a wink

To go back to their side without giving us dread

So we may stay safe in our warm winter beds.

Poem 10/29/2018

Roger Jackson-Author Interview (2018)

Roger Jackson another friend from Twitter was kind enough to let me ask him some questions about his writing. He is a Whovian and a self-proclaimed proud geek and an intelligent and fun one at that! So lets get to the questions!

What do you love about horror?

Its flexibility as a genre. We can have Horror stories so many elements, romance or comedy or social truths and yet the core ideals of the Horror story remain undiluted. It rarely plays well in the other direction. I can have a love story about werewolves and it still works as a Horror story, but throw a lycanthropy grenade into the middle of Verona and Romeo and Juliet’s asses are mine.

Why do you write horror?

All of the above, but I think the most straightforward answer is that my brain is wired to embrace the darkness. I didn’t have any parental or familial influence as a child, which rather wonderfully meant that I was left to my own devices, and I was always drawn to the forbidden, the scary movies and books and comics. They’ve always been the most comfortable and natural way to process the world around me, and in the end that’s what writing is, processing the internal and external worlds through one’s own personal filter.

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Who are some of your influences?

I’ve been influenced more by concepts and events than by individuals, I think. Certainly, the more media I consumed, the more I saw what worked and what didn’t. I remember seeing my first dead body when I was perhaps five or six, a child a little older than me pulled from the mossy waters of a local river, and almost at once making the link between the fear and queasy excitement of the assembled onlookers and my own feelings when I watched a Horror movie. I saw that bridge between the real world and fiction, and I suppose that was a key point in terms of an influence.

Favorite books, authors, and films?

My favorite book would have to be Pet Sematary, if only because it’s so unrelentingly bleak. The pages are soaked in death and futility. I don’t really have a favorite author, though, because everyone brings something to the table. I have a least favorite author, but let’s not go there! Favorite movies? So many! The Devil’s Rejects, most likely, because the ending makes me cry.

Tell us about the art that is your heart-kintsugi?

Well … most people know that Kintsugi is the art of repairing ceramics or pottery with a lacquer dusted with powdered gold. Rather than throwing a broken object away, Kintsugi means to extend its life and make something beautiful out of its scars. A few years back, I was ill and at the same time experienced from someone close to me a level of coldness and cruelty that I didn’t think they were capable of, and as a result there was some emotional breakage. I picked up on the Kintsugi thing because that’s how I am now, proud of the scars I’ve been left with. Everyone should be proud of their scars. They’re symbols of survival. 

What do you prefer British or American horror and why?

I’d have to say British. There’s a weird kind of glamour to a lot of American Horror, whereas the British stuff is often realistically ugly and decaying.  Movies like Death Line or Mum And Dad or even Human Centipede 2 (set in London) have this wonderful texture of griminess and threat that’s often lacking in American stuff.

What are some of your favorite weird things, or what do you like to do that is weird?

Weirdness is subjective, but I love art like Goya’s Witches’ Sabbath, because I like things that subvert expectations or accepted morality. I don’t know if I personally do anything weird, but … if I pass a dead animal in the street, a crushed cat or slaughtered bird, I always take a snapshot on my phone. I have quite the collection, but I think that when the corpse has been removed and the last of the blood dispersed by the rain, it’s important to remember that the animal had lived at all.

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What do you want people to know about you?

Probably that I’m not as scary as these answers make me sound!

Do you have a personal motto or mantra?

“Get Better, Not Bitter.”

I want to thank Roger so much for taking the time to answer my questions and you can read more of his work here:

https://jabe842beyond.wordpress.com/

https://www.instagram.com/jabe842/

Broken Doll-Poem (2018)

There was a small broken doll named Jane

She had black hair on her head, like a goth mane

On her back a broken fairy wing

With little bat ears to hear the darkness sing

She had a wee fox nose

To smell a beautiful red rose

The black Victorian dress she wears

Goes so pretty with all that black hair

Her one eye is black, the other just a button

She would love to go out, but she was kept as a shut-in

She had one tiny friend

Whom most would not tend

A little corn snake who she named teddy bear

He wound around her fingers and curled in her hair

Never loved, never mattered

Her tiny heart did shatter

But teddy bear did kiss her

He could never ever resist her

So her little heart did mend

And they were friends to the end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Love Letter For Michael Myers and Halloween

You showed up in our lives in 78′

You were just a small boy up way too late

Your sister was brushing her hair till it gleamed

But your knife was shinier and so was your scheme

You stabbed her and killed her and put on a new mask

Taken away without completing your task

Fore another sister you had who we knew got away

But you finally came back on that one certain day

October 31st, Halloween night you went on a rampage and caused such affright

The residents of Haddonfield soon went running amok

Fleeing away from you without having much luck

You found your sister Laurie, now Strode her last name

And went about on your own killing game

You chased her, and chased her and cornered her you had

But a long came Loomis who shot you so bad

But die you didn’t, you disappeared in the night

Was that the Boogeyman? she asked and Loomis said right

So we welcome you back on this Halloween

Bringing back your sister a true scream queen

You’ve entertained and thrilled us, and caused us to fear

The Boogeyman is real and 2018 the year

 

Poem 10/13/2018

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