I welcome to my blog today author Ray Wallace. Ray hails from the Tampa, FL area and is the author of THE NAMELESS and ESCAPE FROM ZOMBIE CITY. More than two dozen of his short stories have appeared in various publications. His story “One of the Six” took first place in CHIZINE’s second annual fiction contest. He now writes reviews for CHIZINE and SFReader.com. You can find out more about Ray and his work at http://www.raywallacefiction.com/
Q. Your new novel “The Hell Season” has just been released from Severed Press. The story opens with the main character, Thomas Wright, waking up to discover that his family has disappeared, as have most of the inhabitants of his town. Many male horror writers, when asked, will say that their greatest (and often only) fear is of something bad happening to their families. Is this one of your personal fears?
A. Well, as I’m not married (that’s right, ladies) and I have no children, I would have to say that no, it is not one of my greatest fears. Although I think everyone, with maybe the exception of any psychopath who may be reading this, is capable of experiencing a certain level of fear at the thought of something bad ever happening to those who are close to him or her. And as I (contrary to what some people might say) am no psychopath, I found it fairly easy to convey the thoughts and actions of a man who wakes up one day and discovers that the unthinkable has happened, that his family has suddenly and inexplicably been taken from him. He’s also dealing with the fact that he has no real idea as to what happened to them. So there’s a level of uncertainty he has to deal with. Will they ever be returned to him? Obviously, this can act as a rather severe form of torture on its own.
Q. Anything else prospective readers need to know about “The Hell Season” before buying a copy?
A. I like to think of it as my “kitchen sink” book. There are a lot of ideas at work here. A lot of different horrors. Definitely was a lot of fun to think about and put together in a narrative. Hopefully readers will enjoy it too.
Q. “The Hell Season” is published by Severed Press, but you also have self-published titles, such as “The Nameless” and your forthcoming collection “Letting The Demons Out”. Authors are all in a flap about traditional publishing (further broken down into Big 6 publishers vs small press) vs independent publishing. You have a foot in both camps. What’s your view on the debate?
A. I’m such a newbie to self-publishing that I have yet to form a real opinion on the subject. THE NAMELESS was originally published by Black Death Books a couple of years ago. Recently the rights reverted back to me and I figured, hey, why the hell not? Let’s give this crazy self-pubbing thing a whirl. As far as the collection goes… I have all these stories just lying around on the ol’ hard drive at this point, collecting virtual dust, many of which were previously published in various mags and online zines over the years. And there was that question again: Why the hell not? So I’ve been having fun editing and compiling the book which should be released in the next few weeks through Amazon. Once I see how well everything goes I’ll be able to give you a better answer on this particular subject.
Q. You’re a reviewer as well as a writer. Do you have trouble ‘switching off’ and enjoying the reading experience instead of constantly analysing as you read? Out of everything you’ve read in the past twelve months, what are your top three recommendations to horror fans (besides your own work, of course)?
A. No, I don’t think I have much trouble at all, actually. I’m just such a big fan of reading that I find myself easily immersed in most of the books that I pick up. Sure, there are times when a particularly poignant or well written passage really gets my attention, something that makes me say to myself, “Damn, I wish I would have come up with that!” I’ll probably go ahead and re-read that particular passage but then I’ll find myself settling back into the book once again.
As far as a few recommendations… I finally got around to reading Brian Evenson’s LAST DAYS and it was just awesome. Totally strange and dark and unique. Definitely worth checking out. Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan concluded their Strain Trilogy quite nicely with THE FALL. A bit more bleak than I was anticipating. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that as far as I’m concerned. I also enjoyed PEOPLE LIVE STILL IN CASHTOWN CORNERS by Tony Burgess. Can’t say that I’ve met a Tony Burgess story that I haven’t liked yet. Always something interesting and just plain different about his tales. One of the more original voices working in the field of dark fiction today.
Q. What’s next for Ray Wallace? Any plans to step out of the dark speculative fiction genre? Or is she your only mistress?
A. As of right now, we’re pretty exclusive. It seems that she is a fairly jealous mistress and does not like me flirting with any other genres. Although I do try on occasion. It’s the strangest thing, however… Any time I even attempt to write something that might be considered more mainstream, terrible things start happening to the characters. It’s as though there’s this little voice in the back of my mind, saying things like, “You know someone’s going to have to die here, don’t you?” A temptation it seems I’m helpless to resist.
As far as what’s next… Due to the success of ESCAPE FROM ZOMBIE CITY, Apex Publications wants me to write two more One Way Out novels for them. So I’ve started work on that front. I also have a couple of other novels that are near completion that will hopefully be released sometime this year.
Q. Writers often talk about their art nourishing their spirit, about needing to write. But they also need to eat. Is writing your only source of income, or do you have a day job? If for some reason you could no longer write, what would be your second favourite career choice?
A. I have a day job. Unfortunately, the writing has not yet gotten to the point where I can tell my boss to “take this job and shove it.” (Crossing fingers.) If I could no longer write I would have to hope for a job opening at the Large Hadron Collider in France, one that doesn’t require a doctorate in physics (or any other degree in physics for that matter). Failing that, I could sweep up around one of the major observatories in the world. Which one doesn’t really matter. I’m not that picky. So if anyone knows of an observatory that’s hiring…
Q. Which actor would you choose to play you in the biopic of your life? And who would you cast to play the main characters in “The Hell Season”?
A. Johnny Depp. He’s played a number of weird and interesting roles throughout his career and I’ve led such a weird and interesting life. (Not really.)
As far as casting characters from the book… As long as someone like David Fincher or Guillermo Del Toro or maybe even Sam Raimi directs the movie, the casting doesn’t really matter all that much to me.
* * * * *
To purchase any of Ray’s publications, head on over to Ray’s Amazon author page, here –