Interview with Ray Wallace
I grew up in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Moved to the Tampa, FL area after my junior year in high school. Developed a passion for reading all things fantastic (fantasy, SF, horror) when I was in my early teens. Was in a few metal bands and industrial music projects throughout my twenties. And, now, here I am dedicating most of my free time to writing my crazy little dark fiction stories.
2. Can you tell us about your latest book, Escape From Zombie City?
I actually wrote a big chunk of it for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a couple years ago. Lots of Zombies. Lots of insanity. Lots of dying. The perfect stocking stuffer, really.
I really enjoyed those books when I was a kid. I think it’s always been in the back of my mind to write a CYOA book at some point. But I wanted to do something a little different with it. Thus, the One Way Out idea, where only one pathway leads to your survival. Placing the reader in the midst of a zombie outbreak just seemed like a natural fit. I really enjoyed writing it and have been developing a few other One Way Out ideas.
4. Why did you decide to write in the horror genre?
Well, of course, I enjoy the horror genre a great deal. A lot of my favorite writers are horror writers--King, Barker, Lansdale, etc. I think horror writing is the most liberating form of writing. You can do pretty much anything in a horror story. Let all those nasty little thoughts always bumping around inside your skull loose on the world. It’s a lot of fun, really. And a lot cheaper than therapy. Everyone should try it.
5. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?
Whenever I have some free time and the urge hits me, that’s usually when I get my writing done. There’s no real process or routine. I’ve always been terribly unorganized. I keep telling myself that I’ll get better at managing my time some day but I’ve been telling myself that for a long time so we’ll see. As far as where I get my ideas... I think when you read enough, write enough, immerse yourself in what you’re doing enough, the ideas just seem to happen. And it’s always cool when it does happen, when a particularly interesting idea pops into your head. That’s the magic moment of doing anything artistic.
6. What is your greatest challenge as a horror writer?
Trying to do something a little different. Trying to not fall into all the old cliches. Because there is definitely no shortage of cliches in the horror field.
7. What sort of research do you do for your books?
Any research required for my stories is usually done on the internet. And it usually involves the small things, getting the details right. If a character’s wielding a gun it means reading up on makes and models of handguns, what sorts of ammunition they use. Looking up floor plans for different types of buildings. Checking out maps of cities or towns to get a better sense of the fictional city or town in which my characters interact. That sort of thing. Haven’t had to do the levels of research it would take to write a historical thriller although I’d like to give it a whirl one day.
8. What advice would you give writers thinking of writing horror or paranormal fiction?
The usual, I suppose. Read a lot of horror fiction but also read a lot of other types of fiction. You never know where that great idea will come from or what style might influence you. And write a lot. That should go without saying.
9. Who has inspired you as an author?
Wow, there are just too many to name. King and Barker, of course. And I love Joe Lansdale’s writing. Chuck Palahniuk. Skipp and Spector. Ed Lee. Poppy Z. Brite. Charlee Jacob. I could go on and on. There are a number of sci-fi and fantasy authors who have inspired me too: China Mieville. Stephen R. Donaldson. Frank Herbert. William Gibson. It’s a terribly long list. There are a number of bizarro writers I enjoy reading too.
THE HELL SEASON will be released by Severed Press here in the near future. I’m also editing a collection of my short fiction which I hope to have out in the next month or two. Putting the finishing touches on a novel called A MAN POSSESSED and hopping around between a few other projects. The fun just never ends.