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 passed the halfway point! Check it out to see how we’re doing, and what awesome rewards are left to be had!

eSpec Books interviews Oliver Baer, 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?

OB: “Insubstantial” is about being haunted. Perhaps it is more about the consequences of not preparing the right conduit to the living. It could also be said that it is just the ravings of a madman who is trying to relate to the other side.

Most of the idea came from a novella I wrote in 2020, which is a rewriting of a play that has been in the constant state of revision since the late 1980s. I threw in some Lovecraftian references because they called to me. It’s also possible something crept in from the weirdness that is my existence.

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?

OB: “Insubstantial” does stem from a recently written novella. I’m not sure the universe of the novella is unique but I’m hoping the telling of the story is.

eSB: Do you foresee writing more stories with this character or in this world? Whichever your answer, why?

OB: I’m hoping to write more stories with these characters. The novella mentioned above is split into five parts. My idea was that each part could be its own stand-alone story. “Insubstantial” proved to me that each part does not stand alone as it currently is, so now I need to take the other four and create stories out of them as I did with the part that became “Insubstantial”.

eSB: Do you believe in ghosts, and why? Is there an experience in your life you can share with us that strengthened that belief?

OB: I believe in ghosts. I believe that there is an energetic component to human beings. Whatever one wants to call it, consciousness, a soul, or life force, over time it becomes something that can become attached to our physicality. When that physicality is gone, depending on how strong the attachment is can determine whether the energy disperses into the universe or whether it stays around. One of the experiences that strengthened my belief involved one of my martial arts and meditation brothers who passed. Both my instructor and myself felt his presence among us at least a year or more after he died.

eSB: What drew you to appreciate the horror genre? What inspired you to write in it?

OB: I appreciate the horror genre for its attempts at giving explanation to the unknown as well as giving us a way to talk about fears, especially fear of the other. I started writing horror as a way to deal with the fears and unknowns, of which I have many, in my own life.

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.

Baer_BaerSoulOB: I write dark poetry, only some of which is horror, and have written essays as well as theatrical reviews. My book of poetry and photographs, Baer Soul, is laid out so that the poems can be read individually or together as an abstracted story. The photographs were created to be stills from a film that was never made so they also tell a story of sorts. The two stories are only tangentially connected, yet are presented together. In some of my poetry, words are together because of how they sound. In others, I’m thinking of an image or scenario in the abstract and then trying to convey that. This may not be that different from what we find terrifying in some stories. I have cowritten a history of the martial arts school I attend, Wu Tang Physical Culture Association. This was pretty straightforward factual writing whereas the theatrical reviews tended to be more subjective.

eSB: What is one thing you would share that would surprise your readers?

OB: I’m not sure who my readers are, other than humans, so I’m not sure what would surprise them. Perhaps that I’ve been part of a ritual to contact an ancient Taoist patriarch for guidance.

eSB: What are some of your other works readers can look for?

Baer_HorrorBetweenTheSheetsOB: Cthulhu Sex Magazine, Horror Between the Sheets, Letters to the Editor of Cthulhu Sex Magazine, Baer Soul, Gathering Souls by A Conclave of Baer.

Baer_LettersCthulhuSexeSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?

OB: I have an ongoing collaborative project, A Conclave of Baer, where I ask artists to interpret my work in any way they would like. I’m interested in getting my book of poetry and photographs, Baer Soul, reprinted. I have a novella and some stories that could become a collection as well as possibly another poetry book.

eSB: How can readers find out more about you?

OB: Go to my website, try summoning me, or just ask.

BaerOliver Baer was the editor of Cthulhu Sex Magazine and Two Backed Books. His epistolary novel, Letters to the Editor of Cthulhu Sex Magazine, was published in October 2019. His short stories have appeared in April Grey’s anthologies as well as others. His essays have been on blogs as well as books. His poetry has appeared in Goodreads Best Poems 2020, Paper Teller Diorama, Hell’s Mall: Sinister Shops, Cursed Items and Maddening Crowds, Birds Fall Silent in the Mechanical Sea, Cthulhu Sex Magazine, Horror Between the Sheets, Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase Vol. II and other publications. His book of poetry and photographs, Baer Soul, came out in 2011. His CD of poetry set to music, Gathering Souls, which came out in 2013, spawned the show A Conclave of Baer. The band Lucky Witch and the Righteous Ghost, released an EP, Dreams in the Witch House, that is inspired both by HP Lovecraft and his poems. He has appeared as an indescribable horror from the depths, sometimes with a light saber, and his likeness has appeared on tv and film while his voice has been heard on internet radio as well as a podcast or two. There have also been various artistic renditions created of him. 

Learn more about Oliver Baer:

Website GoodReads  *  Amazon  *  Alignable  *  BandCamp

Follow Oliver Baer on social media:

Twitter  *  Facebook  *  LinkedIn


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