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 Trevor Firetog, 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?
TF: My story is about a 1950’s TV game show that haunts a man with a dark secret. This was largely inspired by both mine and my family’s love for those old game shows like “I’ve Got a Secret” and “What’s My Line?”. I’ve been toying around with this idea for a few years, but it never seemed to click. When I sat down to write something for this anthology, this story was the only one I wanted to tell. It suddenly came together, and writing it was such a beautiful and cathartic process. In the end, I am quite happy with how it turned out.
eSB: What was the greatest challenge you had coming up with an idea that would stand out among the other submissions?
TF: I am an absolute lover of ghost stories, especially those from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. That said, I knew that with a project like this, there would be a temptation to tell the same kind of story that readers have seen a thousand times before. This particular story idea forced me to change my thinking of how I view “ghosts”, and that’s how I knew I had something that would stand out.
eSB: Okay, first off the top of your head, who is your favorite ghost and why?
TF: Casper. I mean, he’s the friendly ghost. What’s not to like about him? On the more serious side, I really appreciate the character of Santi in The Devil’s Backbone. Such a sad story, accompanied by an eerie apparition. It was really the first film that showed me that even ghosts can be haunted.
eSB: What haunts you as an author?
TF: All of my bookshelves stacked with the thousands of books I have purchased but have not gotten around to reading yet. They watch me, patiently, all the while planning their retaliation against me.
eSB: What drew you to appreciate the horror genre? What inspired you to write in it?
TF: Horror is something that has always been an important part of my life. There are a lot of real life horrors in the world, and that’s why I believe it is so important for the genre to exist. It gives us a glimpse of the darkness without pulling us any further, and there is a kind of beauty in that.
Growing up, the works of Clive Barker inspired me the most. Opening one of his books was a truly surreal experience. He could blend darkness, romance, thrills, story-book fairytales, and some of the nastiest horror you’ll ever read into one story or novel.
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.
TF: Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time writing mysteries and thrillers. There is certainly some crossover between the thriller and horror genres, but what I find most challenging about thrillers—at least the kind of thrillers I write—is that I can’t rely too much on any supernatural aspect. This forces me to examine my plot from every angle and make sure everything is airtight. It narrows the sandbox you’re writing in, but also opens up different possibilities.
eSB: Could you tell us about one of your most amusing experiences promoting your books?
TF: I used to attend New York Comic-Con every year with the Horror Writers Association. This was a fantastic way to get my books into the hands of enthusiastic readers. However, anybody who has ever been to NYCC, or any comic convention in general, might know about the interesting characters that wander the show floor. It’s quite challenging to try and explain your work to a potential reader while there is an army of cosplayers all dressed as Deadpool trying to chase down a man in a Tyrannosaurus rex costume.
Or there was that time—also at NYCC—that the lead singer of one of my favorite bands stopped by our booth, picked up my book, and then handed it back to me asking me to sign it for him.
eSB: What is one thing you would share that would surprise your readers?
TF: Here is where I would mention that I am an avid typewriter collector and restorer. My collection exceeds the hundreds, and I own some of the rarest typewriters in the world. However, that wouldn’t surprise any of my readers because I use any chance I can to talk about typewriters. So no, I’m not even going to mention a single thing about typewriters at all. Not one word.
However, something more surprising is that I am a classically trained actor. I have appeared in plays, television pilots, off-broadway productions, and films. Acting was my first love, and I believe it is a skill that has helped guide me into the minds of my characters.
eSB: What are some of your other works readers can look for?
TF: My novella, Usual Monsters was published by Crossroad Press and is out now. It is the story of a woman who is suffering from a tumor that makes her hallucinate monsters that she believes aren’t really there… until her husband is viciously torn apart and her niece goes missing.
Also, my short story European Theater was recently published in Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign, which was edited by James Chambers. This story is about what would happen if The King in Yellow play fell into the hands of America’s enemies during World War II. This story involved an immense amount of research, and I believe the result is apparent in the final product. I’m thrilled to have that story alongside such amazing others in that anthology!
eSB: As a horror author, where do you find support for your writing?
TF: The Horror Writers Association has been an amazing help while I navigate my journey as a writer. They have provided me with guidance and support, and I can honestly say that I would not be the writer I am today without the help of the HWA.
eSB: What advice would you give aspiring horror writers?
TF: Don’t give up. Be ready to make mistakes. Be ready for rejection. Don’t give up. Read widely—not just horror. Read romance, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, western. Read everything you can get your hands on.
Did I mention not to give up? That’s pretty important.
eSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?
TF: As I mentioned before, I am wrapping up a thriller novel that will soon be looking for a home. Aside from that, I’ve been working on a comic-book series that I can’t wait to share with the world. Hopefully I’ll have more news about that soon.
eSB: How can readers find out more about you?
TF: Readers can find out more about me through Twitter — @TrevorFiretog — and Facebook. Even though I don’t post quite as often as I should, I love it when readers reach out! Feel free to recommend me a book you’ve enjoyed recently! I am always looking for new reads, and to add another soldier to the army of unread books that will ultimately lead to my demise.
Trevor Firetog writes out of Long Island, New York. He is the author of the horror-thriller novella, Usual Monsters. His short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. Aside from writing, Trevor collects and restores vintage typewriters. When he’s not reading on the beaches of LI, or scavenging used bookstores, he’s usually holed up in his office, working on his next project.
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