When it comes to a lot of things I’ve never been into trends. I’ve never taken an interest in glittery vampires or little boy wizards or even galaxies far far away. I’m not sure w hy, that’s just the way I am. When it comes to books and movies there are some reoccurring archetypes that have inflicted me with a rabid devotion. I’ve always had a fascination with monsters, whether it be Bella Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr or something whipped up Clive Barker like Pinhead and the Cenobites. And of course the Master, HP Lovecraft and his Cthulhu mythos. There’s always been that appeal/draw. Perhaps it’s because these creatures exist on the fringes of our world/reality. Despite all our advancements, there’s still that unknown factor, that primordial fear that monsters represent. They prove that the waking world isn’t as banal as our protagonist believes. Clive Barker and HP Lovecraft both were brilliant at weaving their monstrous creations into their banal worlds in a believable manner. I think the best of this from Barker is Imajica, a brilliant novel. Although Lovecraft did this often in his writings, the one tale that stands out to me the most is The Mountains of Madness. Despite all the insanity and monstrosity, Lovecraft often had his tales deeply rooted in science of his day more the occultism. I think their style has influenced me in some manner. Especially, Lovecraft’s idea of things existing long before humanity existed and returning to reclaim it.
Besides that I’ve always loved movies and tales involving organized crime. Whether its The Godfather or Good Fellas, I adore well written stories about the seedy crime world. Perhaps it is because it too lies on the fringes of the 9-5 blue collar world. It is also something that’s generally feared, and has a tendacy for violence. There’s also a wide range of personality types in these types of stories that appeal to me, the nutjob enforcer, the greedy and immoral wanta be, the snitch, etcetra. I’ve written a few short stories, currently working on a new one, that involve some aspect of the organized crime world.
Westerns have always held a special place in my heart/mind. As a kid back when there was no cable tv and we only got 3 or 4 channels via antenna (yes, I’m that old) I remember watching old Clint Eastwood movies on a Sunday afternoon. What I always liked about Eastwood’s Westerns was that not only were his characters bad asses when it came to a gunfight, but they were intelligent and clever. Cleverness displayed either through dialogue or action, usually both. Besides that Eastwood’s characters generally had a sense of right and wrong and displayed a level of compassion toward the towns folks, etc. His characters weren’t the type to shed a tear or give a hug and tell someone he loved them. But that level of compassion was still there, in a gruff and rugged manner. That defintely appealed to me, and still have an influence on my own writing. The novel I’m working on now is set out West and Eastwood’s characters did have a bit of impact on the character. What I also enjoyed about the Westerns is the sense of freedom the West represented, from the government, society, etc. It also had plenty of man vs nature in them as well. What I like so much about the 19th Century in the American terrotories is that so much was unknown/unexplored and there wasn’t the overdevelopment and destruction of resources like back East. Its a time period rife with potential for setting a story.
I’m not really content to simply write a single genre story. Most of my work combines one or more of these genres into one tale. I think that if handled properly, elements of horror can be used in any or all three. But its not enough to simply throw zombies into a mob story. The horror has to be something more then just filler or for shock value. It has to be a critical piece of the plot, character, theme, and setting.