These interviews are related to our GHOST AND GHOULS AND OTHER CREEPY THINGS campaign. For those just joining us, we are crowdfunding three projects on Kickstarter and also taking some time to introduce you to our participating authors, some of whom are new to eSpec. The campaign has launched! Check it out to see how we’re doing, and what awesome rewards are left to be had!
eSpec Books interviews Robert Masterson, contributor to Even in the Grave, edited by James Chambers and Carol Gyzander.
eSB: Even in the Grave is a collection of ghost stories, without spoilers, can you tell us a bit about your story and how you came up with the idea?
RM: The Spanish conquest of the New World destroyed cultures and created an empire of torment. The ghosts within this vortex of anguish call out for vengeance…
eSB: What was the greatest challenge you had coming up with an idea that would stand out among the other submissions?
RM: I wanted to describe the curse of conquest, that the European entities that have come to exist on these continents have all been, quite literally, built upon ancient native graveyards.
eSB: Is your story a part of a greater universe stemming from other stories you have written, or does it stand alone? Whichever your answer, can you tell us about what makes that universe unique?
RM: No, this story stands alone in history.
eSB: Do you foresee writing more stories with this character or in this world? Whichever your answer, why?
RM: No. Everybody dies at the end.
eSB: Okay, first off the top of your head, who is your favorite ghost and why?
RM: There is an old Japanese ghost story called “The Boy Who Drew Cats.” In a haunted monastery, the titular cats save the boy from demons.
eSB: Have you ever incorporated aspects of your own experiences in your fiction? Tell us about it.
RM: Yes. Of course. Everyone does. How could it be any other way?
eSB: What haunts you as an author?
RM: The inability of language to convey meaning.
eSB: What drew you to appreciate the horror genre? What inspired you to write in it?
RM: Horror allows us to sprint right to the heart of any matter and peels back all protective layers.
eSB: Other than horror, what genres do you write in? Tell us something about your other works and what makes those genres different from writing horror.
RM: I’ve dabbled…
eSB: What is your least favorite aspect of being an author, and why?
RM: Actually, sitting down to write is a pain in the ass.
eSB: What are some of your other works readers can look for?
RM: Sharper Than She Ever Imagined (Hecate Press)
Artificial Rats & Electric Cats (Camber Press)
eSB: As a horror author, where do you find support for your writing?
RM: My local chapter of the Horror Writers Association.
eSB: What advice would you give aspiring horror writers?
RM: Read more than you write.
eSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?
RM: A novel about the Scottish cannibal Sawney Beane.
eSB: How can readers find out more about you?
RM: Just ask…
Robert Masterson is an English Professor at CUNY-BMCC in Manhattan. His publication record stretches back to the 1970s. His first real job while still in high school in Los Alamos, New Mexico, was in a print shop and, in some form or another, he has worked in the literary arts as a printer, writer, editor, teacher, and investigative reporter ever since. Masterson’s work as a student, a professor, and a reporter has taken him all over the United States, Japan (to seek out and interview writers and artists who’d survived the atomic bombing in 1945), China (to study Chinese and work as an English Instructor at Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, PRC), Ukraine (for a visit to the Chernobyl reactor and a 6-week tour of pediatric hospitals to observe the long term health effects of catastrophic radiation exposure), to India (for literary conferences and presentations), and inside maximum-security penal institutions in Colorado, New Mexico, and New York to lead creative writing workshops. His is the author of Trial by Water, Garnish Trouble, and Artificial Rats & Electric Cats.