Friday, October 25, 2013

20 Questions for Horror Authors: C.W. LaSart

A lifelong fan of horror, C.W. LaSart is a mother of three, lover to one, and minion of a veritable household menagerie. When she is not at the computer screaming for peace and quiet, she manages an Irish Pub, tends bar and makes the world's best Long Island Iced Tea (so she's told). A proud member of The Horror Writer's Association and Bram Stoker Award ® Committee Member, her fiction has been included in publications from Dark Moon Digest, Cemetery Dance Publications, Eirelander Press, Evil Jester Press and many more. Her debut horror collection, Ad Nauseam : Thirteen tales of Extreme Horror was released in 2012 by Dark Moon books. Find out more at


1. What do you think makes a good story? A good story is one that drags you into it until nothing else exists. The kind of story where details don't matter, realism doesn't matter, typos won't jar you from the narrative. If you find yourself questioning whether the scene is realistic or not, the story has failed. A truly great story grabs hold of you and lingers long after the reading. You are loathe to put it down once you start, and you don't want to read anything else immediately afterward, for fear of disturbing the memory.

2. What do you think makes a character a compelling villain or hero? 
I think humor is key to any compelling character, whether hero or villain. Humor bonds us through bad times, it soothes us and makes a family out of us all. A good, dry humor in a villain always makes them likeable, and a hero who is too straight-laced may be likeable, but not nearly so much as one that makes us laugh. Also, they must be relatable. Heroes must have their flaws and villains, their charms. Otherwise your characters become static and boring.

3. What did you learn from writing your book that you think would help other writers out there with their craft? 
Well, I can tell you it's a hell of a lot of work. Anyone who thinks the actual writing of the book is the hard part, has some surprise in store. The amount of edits you go through are mind numbing, but in the end they produce a much better book.

4. Are there any horror books that have influenced your life? If so, what are they? 
I would have to say "Pet Sematary" was very important to me. It was the first Stephen King book I ever read and really cemented my desire to write horror. I have read so many wonderful books in my life, but that one stands out as a life-changer.

5. What is the scariest book you ever read, and what was your reaction to it? 
I don't remember a single "scariest" book I've ever read, but I can think of one scene in a book that made me sweat. The scene in Bag of Bones (yes, King again) where the main character is in the basement and the lights go out was very powerful for me. I don't like basements much myself, and that scene really grabbed hold of me. I think I slept with the lights on the night I read it.

6. Do you think that writing will be a long-term career goal for you? 
I think so. I don't know if it will ever pay the bills completely, but I am comfortable with my voice and have plenty of ideas to last a lifetime. I intend to write as long as I breathe. I don't think there is another option for me. If I don't write the ideas down, I become distracted and would surely perish in a fiery car crash. My passengers are already afraid of that likelihood!

7. Who is your favorite author, and what have you taken away from their books? 
Though I am a huge fan of Mr. King and many other authors, if pressed, I must say my favorite author is Robert McCammon. I discovered his books in my early teens and fell in love instantly. I remember spending all my babysitting money at B Dalton for at least a year or more, buying up his entire collection. I would like to think his influence is present in my voice, but I'm not sure. I'm just thrilled he's back to writing and I have been fortunate enough to meet him a couple of times. He's truly an awesome writer and an incredible person.

8. While this may seem like a given to some people, others may be wondering, why write horror? 
It's my favorite genre. It's the thing I like to read, the thing I like to watch. The supernatural is so wonderfully interesting. The macabre so repellant, yet satisfying for that little reptile part of our brains that's drawn to tragedy. Horror is both uplifting and life-affirming. I'd be more interested in why anyone would NOT want to write horror.

9. What is it that attracts you to the macabre? 
Ha. I've always been a morbid person, but I think my biggest influences were probably my parents. My mother loved horror films and we would watch them together from the time I was very young. My father loved Poe and read his stories to me way before I was old enough to even grasp the subtle nuances of the story lines. I always loved Halloween the best. I don't know. I think I was born this way!

10. Halloween is just around the corner. Have you ever had any interesting/spooky/fun experiences during the best holiday of the year that you'd like to share with your readers? 
Hmmmm. I do so love Halloween. I don't know that I have any truly interesting tales to tell, but I have worked in a bar setting during Halloween for several years and that always proves unusual. I'm always amused by the women who dress scantily for the holiday, despite bone-chilling temperatures and often deep snow.

11. What is the one thing that scares you the most?
Loss. Loss of loved ones. Loss of control. Loss of creativity. Loss of sanity.

12. How were you introduced to the horror genre? (already answered above)

13. What is your favorite horror movie? 
ALL OF THEM. No, really. I love horror movies. Good ones. Bad ones. Cheesy ones. Troma's stinkers. Romero's zombies. Carpenter's humor. They all have a special place for me, regardless of quality. I have seen very few that I totally hated. If I have to pick a favorite of all time, it would probably be the original Halloween. It is a staple of the genre. A must see for all generations.

14. Do you use childhood experiences and your own nightmares as inspiration? Have you ever used some of your own personal phobias in your writing? 
I don't write my dreams. They are far too mundane. Who wants to read a story about someone forgetting to pay the cable bill? I have often explored my own phobias though. Spiders, absolute dark, and the terrors of motherhood play heavily into many of my stories.

15. Does your creative process, the one where you originally come up with the concept for a horror story, involve daydreaming, brainstorming, ripping stories from headlines, research into legends and myths, or just using plain old terrific fantasies that you've had? 
My stories come from the ether. Occasionally, when presented with a theme, I may do research to start the ideas flowing, but most of the time they just pop into my head. They start as a single scene or line, then I let them roll around a bit as they form more details. When they're ready, they become an itch in the back of my brain that must be scratched. That's when I write. I don't plot, only research when absolutely necessary, and try to stay away from themes as much as possible.

16. What is one thing that you'd like people to know about horror writers? 
We don't all write like "that King fella". We don't even all want to write like "that King fella". We are mostly fun-loving and easy going, not ghoulish and brooding. We aren't weird. Okay. maybe we're a little weird. And, apparently we aren't too good at following directions, because you asked for ONE thing!

17. What got you interested in writing, and how long have you been doing it? 
Reading got me interested in writing. I have wanted to be a writer ever since I learned to read stories. I have been writing that long as well. Terrible plagiarisms in grade school, worse poetry in high school, and short stories ever since. I still have it all, too. Sometimes I look back at my early writings just for the cringe factor.

18. What, for you, is the hardest part of writing? How do you overcome writer's block? 
Scheduling is the hardest thing for me. I'm a natural born procrastinator. Actually budgeting my time and getting my ass in the chair is a huge chore for me. I tend to write in bursts, hammering out thousands of words in a day, then nothing for three days. I look at guys like Maberry who are so devoted and dedicated and I'm envious of their discipline. I just don't have it, but I continue to strive for it everyday. Well, not everyday... Maybe tomorrow!

19. Tell us about your current novel. 
I have two novels in the first draft stage, both in need of expansion. One is my homage to the 80's splatterpunk pulp horror that remains my favorite type of novel. The second is more dreary, far less flashy and sexual. It's a more emotional horror for me. I'm not sure which one I like better.

20. Are you working on your next novel or short story at the moment? If so, what is it about? 
I'm always juggling several stories at one time. There are two different projects that I've been invited to work on and I'm really excited about them. One is top secret, but I think it will be an amazing collaboration. The other deals with my least favorite thing to write... Zombies. Let's hope I can redeem myself this time!

Good luck C.W.! 

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