For those of you following my fan page on facebook, I am going to go into detail on the writers who inspired me greatly and what writers introduced me to horror fiction in the print form. I was 10 years old when I read JAWS by Peter Benchley — Bencley inspired my story Leviathan’s Ghost where it is a supernatural shark story. It has hints of H.P. Lovecraft thrown in there too. It was my first over 9000 words and was written as the bonus story in Tabloid Purposes One. I remember where I was when I first read JAWS I in recent years purchased the original paperback from the 1970s. The writer I was introduced to first on the small screen was Richard Matheson when he wrote JAWS 3 and The Twilight Zone: The Movie. I didn’t discover his books until after I became published and a contributor mentioned Nightmare At 20,000 Feet on his blog on livejournal when he started writing horror. That was the first time I’ve seen a writer with Matheson’s influence but when I read Carrie by Stephen King for the first time a few years ago I saw it there too.
Christine by Stephen King was my introduction to supernatural horror in the written word. I was 13 years old and on a boy scout camping trip reading the book in the tent. Stephen King grabs you and doesn’t let up. That is the most original horror story ever written in the genre. Stephen King taught me how to effectively swear in horror without distracting the story. JAWS was the first book I learned how to say “fuck” but Stephen King taught me how to write regular people put in fucked up and scary situations. Reading Richard Matheson I learned how to do character development and dialog. I was still in middle school when I first read Stephen King — House of Spiders’ inspiration came directly from Stephen King and so did Gruesome Cargo II which was a nod to Survivor Type being it also had themes of self-cannibalism. Lloyd Phillip Campbell’s inspirations are their pen names. I took a lot of inspiration from the Skeleton Crew Collection by Stephen King.
In high school I discovered Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-tale Heart. My descriptive horror deliver comes from Poe. The nightmares on the journal — that is Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. I was in college when I discovered the works of H.P. Lovecraft and it was H.P. Lovecraft’s work that made me want to take writing horror seriously. I was writing horror since I was 14 years old but I was writing with themes of werewolves carrying machetes and killing off my classmates. Lovecraft taught me how to do the atmospherics and the build ups. I eventually wrote stories of my own in the Cthulhu Mythos and I am billed the most on the world wide web as a Lovecraftian Horror writer. I adopted Richard Matheson’s delivery after being published. I was compared to him by a journalist in an interview with one of Nicholas Grabowsky’s friend after being bounced by mockfear.com — she compared me to friend and author John Paul Allen then the Richard Matheson comparison came out. I re-read The Statue nine years after I wrote it and that is the story that is most like Richard Matheson and Rod Serling. I started screwing around with the idea of stepping in and out of the story as the narrator.
Play Rod Serling’s role in introducing the story made it more fun to write — it was the first time I really did character driven horror stories and toned it down. A reviewer on fanfiction.net said this story is like H.P. Lovecraft in the way that it would scare you long after you read it. Lovecraft and Bloch equally influenced me at the same time — I read Psycho II in college also first then I read Bloch’s introduction to the Best of H.P. Lovecraft. I also read The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker but I don’t cite him as an influence, I was just getting a feel for what I wanted to do myself as a horror writer. I was writing really graphic microfiction stories and a few that were 2000 words tops. I didn’t become the horror historian overnight, it took years to get that reputation — it cemented when I did the namesake, and more so after publishing the obscure short story The Temple by H.P. Lovecraft. When I read Barker I thought I can go sicker than him and darker. The Midnight Diner is a darker horse than Hellraiser, it is supernatural and atmospheric where the supernatural are zombie-like ghosts that go for the soul.
The story I describe it as cross between H.P. Lovecraft and C.S. Lewis. I read C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters also in college. That was a dark read for C.S. Lewis, it was the first Christian book I read then a correspondent gave me A Grieve Observed by C.S. Lewis. A friend from church referred me to Frank Peretti. I read a sample of his work and yet to write a story where it has his influence. In the recent years as of 2010 I’ve been writing visceral horror with elements of my Christian faith thrown in by writing realistic and tough Christian characters. I owe that to reading Coach’s Midnight Diner and the book Lucifer Dethroned. That book makes reference to H.P. Lovecraft too being he was a former Satanist. I was called a Satanist because I read H.P. Lovecraft. Since reading him my work got a lot darker and I can nail the Lovecraftian Horror vein almost as good as H.P. Lovecraft. The closest thing I wrote that would remotely be similar to Frank Peretti is When Angels Wept Blood which borrows themes from The Crow with spiritual warfare themes of Frank Peretti. This one was almost picked up by Lame Goat Press and the cover would been done by Christian Metal cover designer Rexorcist.
Another author I credit for the toned down style I do in horror is friend in the industry — J.M. Barlog. I read parts of his novel Windows To The Soul, I lost the book when I moved to Iowa so I never had a chance to finish it but what I read it is an original concept on horror and rather creepy with the atmosphere. Barlog almost broke me out there when I Was 20 years old. I discovered him the same time I discovered H.P. Lovecraft — I pay homage to Barlog by writing a character that is a politician that kicks a shooters ass as Lloyd Phillip Campbell. The thing that makes what I do unique in the genre is I am doing the extremely graphic horror fiction as a born again Christian. I wanted to be the alternative to the graphic homoerotic horror that is out there, the graphic horror fiction with traits of spiritual warfare and focusing on God. The anthology that changed my life is Coach’s Midnight Diner: Jesus Vs. Cthulhu Edition where I did find similar writers to my own Gothic Horror delivery. The author Melody Graves and Kevin Lucia — Lucia is like my Twilight Zone delivery. The writers I am influenced by are the classic horror, and the classic storytelling then the delivery came from the bloody pulps authors like Algernon Blackwood and William Hope Hodgson. Ghosts In The Tornado owes itself to Richard Matheson’s A Stir of Echoes. I discovered that book the same time as when I read parts of Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. What I learned from reading Richard Matheson is writing dystopic stories. I too play with some dystopia themes, and do different things with the vampire genre.
I’ve written in every subgenre of horror and coined two subgenres. Docuhorror and Storm Horror. Storm Horror is accredited to me because of Quakes And Storms: A Natural Disaster Anthology. Utica is the first story I wrote that falls under storm horror. Stephen King wrote a storm horror story in the screenplay Storm Of The Century. Ghosts In The Tornado is supernatural storm horror with traits of sci-fi horror. The twilight zone style horror I have published the entire history of The Ethereal Gazette and with Tabloid Purposes IV. I wanted writers to be well read in Richard Matheson and H.P. Lovecraft with Tabloid Purposes IV, and a lot of them brought a Stephen King influence into the book. I compare Tabloid Purposes to Night Shift done by various authors. I got noticed for doing nightmare style horror, and I started writing ghost stories after doing Tabloid Purposes. A site called Wheels of Terror had me as one of the staff writers who read my Cthulhu Myhtos — they encouraged me to submit stories in a different subgenre so I was doing ghost stories with Lovecraftian Horror traits. In The Reflection Of A Lens is a ghost story written with the strength of the Cthulhu Mythos that combined elements of docuhorror. What is docuhorror? It is when you use a video camera in the story as the unspoken narrator. You put the text between [these] and put them in italics — then you have the camera narrator and moving the scene along.