Today for Supernatural Friday, I interviewed the president of my Horror Writers Association chapter. Enjoy learning about Dee South.
What was the first time you decided you wanted to be a horror writer?
In middle school. I was the kid who loved Hammer movies, Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. I loved reading stories and had already had a letter to the President published in a local book for students. I think it was called, Young Writers of Detroit.
What scares you?
Flying in an airplane. Yuck. Other than that, the thought of being eaten alive by an animal freaks me out. The animal doesn’t matter: ants, piranhas, sharks.
3 Are you working on anything now and can you tell us what?
Yes. I’m working on my debut novel about a rogue priest who’s a member of a special Vatican sponsored exorcism team. They travel the country investigating evil.
What was the first horror novel or short story you read that turned you to the genre?
My first horror novel that I remember is Phantoms by Dean Koontz. But there were short stories that stood out in my childhood like Rawhead Rex (if I remember correctly) by Clive Barker.
Name 5 good horror/thriller books that you feel others should read.
Most are from my childhood. Jaws by Benchley, Battlefield Earth by Hubbard (more scifi than horror), It by King, Any 47th Precinct book by McBain and Infernal Angel by Lee (extreme horror). My current favorite is the Dresden Files by Butcher, but that falls into contemporary fantasy.
Is there anything else you like to write?
Mysteries, Science Fiction and Fantasy. I really love cross-genre books and movies. Give me a good mystery inside of a science fiction story and I’m in love. Give me a horror story in a fantasy, same result.
Tell us why you joined Horror Writers Association? And why did you take on leading the Virginia chapter of the organization?
I joined horror writers because I needed to find folks with my twisted mindset. I got tired of attending critique groups where people flinch and grimace when it was time to critique my story. Most critiques started with the phrase, “I don’t generally read this type of story…” I took the lead on the Virginia Chapter in order to meet other horror writers in my state. Once I found out about the chapter program and realized that we didn’t have a chapter, my goal became to find ‘my people’ and bring us together.
What benefits do you feel the organization gives to writers?
So, so much. I’ve only been a member of the HWA for 2 years and already I’ve met so many horror writers. In addition, I’ve met writers on the national level such as John Palisano, Brian Keene and Edward Lee. The HWA has a wonderful mentorship program led by Michael Knost. I’ve had the benefit of having John Palisano, the author or Ghost Heart and Dust of the Dead, mentor me for an entire year. Our chapter have vended local conventions like RavenCon, MarsCon, and Scares That Care. Events like Monster Fest. Also, members can avail themselves of the HWA website and find various markets, editors and publishers.
Tell us your hobbies.
My hobbies: Reading, writing, and I’ve just picked up knitting. I love to play volleyball and softball, but my body is starting to rebel at those activities.
10. Are you a big Halloween fan? What is a favorite Halloween memory?
I’m a huge Halloween fan. My biggest memory is that when I was younger, we had a family challenge to make our own Halloween costume with items in the house. I chose to be a tree. I cut up some paper and drew green veins and safety pinned the leaves to my clothes. I was raised in Detroit, so Halloween could get pretty frigid for us some years.
What are five of the scariest horror movies you seen?
My five scariest horror movies: Exorcist, Amityville Horror, Aliens 1 & 2, Jaws and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. In fact, I won’t watch any of the demonic movies by myself. I even hate hearing the creepy theme song of the Exorcist and Amityville.
1 Tell us the links for your website and any social media you do?
Social media. FaceBook. My own blog is called “Journey of An Aspiring Writer”. I also run the Virginia Chapter Blog “HWA Virginia Chapter”. I guess I should update those soon. J
1 Give the writers and horror writers out there the one piece of advice you can. It can be in two parts, one for writers/writers to be, and the second one for readers of the genre.
One piece of advice I’d give horror writers out there is to join the Horror Writers Association. The wealth of knowledge is astonishing. For readers, I’d highly recommend providing feedback to your favorite author by submitting your review via Goodreads or Amazon.
1 Where can anyone find you next—what book festival or convention?
The HWA Virginia Chapter will vend the Scares That Care Horror Convention in Williamsburg, Virginia, from July 22-24, 2016.
One of my favorite pictures: Me and the legend of extreme horror, Edward Lee.