DARKER, a Russian horror magazine, recently published one my stories “The Devouring.”
First off, Kristopher, thanks for taking the time out of your schedule for us. So, tell us about yourself, please. What do you do besides writing? What brought you into horror? Which books and authors have influenced on you most?
Happy to be interviewed. Thanks for the invite. I’m an author and all around horror maniac. I am also a professional dog trainer. As for the horror genre, I’ve been obsessed with it my whole life. I think as a kid the magic of Halloween lured me into all things dark and deadly. The authors who influenced me most as a youth would be Clive Barker, Richard Matheson and Stephen King, but as I really became passionate about writing in my twenties, my influences ranged widely to include Ted Lewis, Cormac McCarthy, Stewart O’Nan, Rex Miller, Nick Cave, and a lot of old fashioned western authors like Glendon Swarthout and Larry McMurty.
What was the first thing you wrote? What was the reaction of your first readers?
I have been writing stories since I was a child. My first novel attempts was a serial killer novel written by hand and a vampire story typed out on an old word processor when I was a teen. My close friends enjoyed them and I still have both of them!
So, even if you knew, that being a horror writer does not mean always to be followed by a crowd of desperate girls requesting you to sign their breasts, you chose to write instead of playing guitar. Is that hard to be a young horror writer in USA today? What did you feel when saw your first story published?
I think a lot of young writers all over the world keep their writing to themselves and never let it blossom because they are too afraid of criticism. Many creative people can’t stand feedback. But feedback is a good thing. After all, a writer writes out of need to do so, but unless it is interesting to the reader as well as accessible in style, then it will be little more than an exercise in creative masturbation.
My first short story i was paid for was a crime drama that was printed in Spinetingler Magazine. It felt like spending years chiseling away at a wall and then finally seeing a sliver of light. It was a great day.
True horror fans in Russia are like a one big family. Is this the same in USA? Do you keep in touch with fans and writers?
Oh, absolutely. There is a huge social network for horror fanatics. The internet and the popularity of horror conventions have really made a family out of us. I’m always happy to hear from fans and fellow horror fiends.
Could you name some writers of your generation, who, in your opinion, are the future kings in the field (except yourself, of course).
There are a lot of talented young writers out there that are just breaking into the field. It’s tough these days as people don’t read as much as they used to. Anthologies are where you’ll find some good, new talent. Underground presses like Post Mortem Press, Blood Bound Books and Dark Moon Books continue to give up and coming writers exposure. I was impressed by Matt Kurtz’s short story “Finger Cuffs” in D.O.A. II, which is where “The Devouring” first appeared. I also think that Tim Lebbon, Wrath James White and Edward Lee are going to continue to impress us.
Your website, the Tavern of Terror, shows your interest in extreme or bizarre horror. Could you give your definition of the whole genre?
The genre is limitless, almost beyond definition. It can be action-based, like in the South Korean film masterpieces of Kim Ji-woon, comedic as in Frank Hennenlotter’s brilliant movies, or it can be completely in-your-face intense as with books like Jack Ketchum’s Off Season and short stories like Edward Lee’s “Mr. Torso.”
Unavoidable question for every horror writer: what does scare you? Do you have any special phobias?
Sharks all the way. They’re the demons of the sea.
Do you have an idea(or ideas), that is so provocative, sick and controversial, that you won’t ever dare to use it in your writings?
Nothing is taboo in horror. That’s the sick beauty of it.
You kindly allowed us to translate and publish your story “The Devouring.” Could you introduce it to us? What was your inspiration?
I actually wrote “The Devouring” years before it was published. It was turned down many times and I saved the rejection letters because so many of them were so explicit in their rejection! Editors called it “too bloody and twisted” for their presses. But the staff at Blood Bound Books loved it and made it the opening piece for their D.O.A. II anthology. It was a big honor for me.
The story evolved in my head after reading about the real-life cannibal love affair that resulted in the trial of Armin Meiwes, a german man who used the internet to seek out men to actually eat – eventually forming a bond with another man who agreed to be slaughtered and consumed by Meiwes.
I decided to write a story about two twisted souls who share bizarre fetishes and who decide to push the limits of sadomasochism and even make art out of it.
A lot of people want to be writers. What can you say to those who always speak and dream of it, but don’t have guts to sit down and start to write anything?
A writer writes. That’s all there is to it. Someone who wants to be a baseball player but never steps up to the plate is just a dreamer, not a player. The same goes for writing.
And our traditional question: what would you like to wish to our readers?
I wish for them to continue to find great, new horror work out there. Don’t settle for tired remakes. Search for original voices.
As far as we know, your best short story collection will come soon, and now you’re working at your first novel. So, what awaits us?
Yes, Growing Dark is the name of my collected short stories. It will be published by Blue Juice Press this year. I am also still active with articles at Tavern of Terror, and yes, a novel is in the works. You can follow me at kristophertriana.com and tavernofterror.com, as well as on Facebook, to keep up with all the new scares!