Daniel I. Russell is the author of Entertaining Demons, Samhane, Retard, Come Into Darkness, Critique, The Collector Book 1: Mana Leak, Mother's Boys and the huge collection Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem. Daniel is a HWA active member and represented by the Tobias Literary Agency, NYC. Daniel has also been the vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers' Association, special guest editor of Midnight Echo, associate and technical editor for Necrotic Tissue, and Shadow Awards judge.
THE DARKNESS IS COMING...
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Thursday, January 12, 2012ON THE COUCH - SUZANNE ROBB. OH MY!
This, the first in a series of interviews, sees horror writers, publishers, reviewers, basically anyone crazy enough to agree to this rubbish, take a seat on our psych couch so we can get down to the cause of their problems and...you know...help them and stuff.
First up is the delightfully macabre author of Z-Boat and Were-wolves, Apocalypses and Genetic Mutations, Oh My! It's Suzanne Robb.
The Couch: So welcome, Suzanne. Come lie on The Couch. We have a choice of restraints for your delectation, being the traditional straight jacket (but now with pockets for sweets and Lego and things), a heap of chains and locks that usually keeps my bicycle safe, or these super sensuous silk scarves. What can I do you for?
Suzanne: Well, I have no idea where to start with the fact I am not a horror writer, but continue to write horror stories. I have no idea what the hell is wrong with me. Can you help?
Couch: In which case, I think it best to use all three, just to be on the safe side. My colleague, Dr. Sally, can strap you in. There we go, all comfortable and just a little blue in places.
You've been described as darkly humorous, but with a penchant for good horror. Would you say this is true? Do you aim to hit that dark comedy button with your writing?
Suzanne: Thanks, I like this jacket much better. The pockets on the back so I can reach the LEGO's are really great. Sorry your bike will be unsecured for the duration of this intervention.
To be honest I have no idea if I can do good horror. I know I can do comedy because people laugh at me all the time. When I imagine my revenge on them, and those who I knew as a kid I get in touch with my horror side.
I do aim to hit the dark comedy button, I think that is one of the best forms of entertainment. Most likely why people sent me to you.
There really is nothing like making someone thing they are reading something fun and light-hearted and then throwing them for a loop with something absolutely horrific. I like that dichotomy, though it makes me feel a tad crazy myself at times.
The Couch: Those you knew as a kid. A ha! I knew all this horror stuff came from a childhood event...
Looking through this copy of Were-wolves, Apocalypses and Genetic Mutations. Oh My! and I have in your case file. Looking at the story Welcome to the Future, which sees an underachiever cajoled into a life, and indeed future, changing decision.
Was this stemmed from an event in your childhood? Were you the drop out, the nerd...or the class clown?
Suzanne: I think most childhood bullies end up creating horror writers. It is the only way we can legally get revenge, except for that one time...anyways.
As for Welcome to the Future, a movie I watched in childhood created it (The man with two Brains) and also not being in any particular category. I was mostly made fun of as a kid, I made nerds look good. I am pretty certain should I ever truly let loose all my anger, I would end up in front of a judge.
Can I have a blue LEGO to match the pills?
The Couch: You can have a blue LEGO, but only one of the flat one dots, as they are fiddly and hurt your nails to remove.
Moving on. Compulsions and neurosis. From a medical point of view, I noticed in your piece The Moonlight Killer that your main character has a thing about words, how things should be pronounced and what he deems is a 'cooler' variant. Certainly writers tend to be into words more than your average Joe, but do you find yourelf obsessing about word usage? Is there anything else you obsess about?
And stop looking at me like I have a round, yellow, detachable head. This is all going in your notes.
Suzanne: I love words, and word play. I have a weird obsession with crosswords and would love to have a story be told in one.
I like to play around with them, and find alternate meanings, or variations on what we think. Like in The Moonlight Killer, wolf-man can be either or a man who turns into a wolf, or a wolf that turns into a man, yet no one has done that reversal.
I also really enjoy the world pulp, it is very descriptive on so many levels.
Does it hurt when your head detaches or you stick on a different LEGO helmet?
The Couch: (Long, thoughtful stare)
...I see. I think I have a new diagnosis and treatment plan for you, but the first step is admitting that you need help. Firstly, for my records, can you inform my colleagues where more of your work is available?
Suzanne: (fidgets with blue LEGO)
I have been able to infiltrate many places with my work. You can find my current e-book/novella with Dark Continents here
I also have a book out, a thriller suspense that takes place on a sub with zombies at the end here
As for my other stories, they are in several publications, some that make me the happiest (I need a happy place) Dead Souls with Post Mortem Press, Live and Let Undead with Twisted Library Press, and Citipati in Monk Punk.
Is it hard to see through those plastic visors?
The Couch: (longer, more thoughtful stare)
...hmm. Well I humbly request that my colleagues and readers click on those links and have a look see. I especially recommend the well written Were-wolves, Apocalypses and Genetic Mutations. Oh My! from the Tales of Darkness and Dismay from Dark Continents press.
Any departing comments to plead your case before Dr. Sally takes you back to your room, Robb?
Suzanne: Just the usual - The voice in my head told me to do it, my imaginary friend has a really bad temper, and Viva LEGO's
On a side note, as soon as they let me out of here I am going to see just how detachable that yellow head of yours is.
The Couch: Nonsense! I hope this little intervention leads to many sales of these horrific books you write. I think that writing horror might actually be therapeutic. The real issue is this LEGO fixation! Dr. Sally, book her in and show her to her new accommodation (whispers: the MEGA-BLOCKS room. That'll really fuck her up when the LEGO doesn't fit.)
She gone? Finally. I can hardly breathe in this thing.