Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: John C. Foster

Everyone, welcome John C. Foster to the blog. I’m featuring fellow contributors to Death’s Realm, of Grey Matter Press, with a short mini-interview to learn more about the talent involved, a preview of what we can expect from their story, and speculate on what lies ahead in the great beyond.

  Tell us aboJohn C Fosterut your background, who you are, and how you came to the writing life.

Well, I was born in Sleepy Hollow but raised in a small New Hampshire town, and despite the fact   that any number of teachers told me (in so many words) that I was a writer, I never believed it to  be “real” until I hauled stakes for Los Angeles at age 20, determined to be a screenwriter despite never having seen a screenplay – or Los Angeles for that matter. I did write screenplays on the side while building up a PR and marketing career, but I discovered that I didn’t really want to write what my agents and managers wanted me to write – or what the studios wanted to make. It wasn’t until I got to New York City that I realized what my real problem was: I was focused on being a writer and all the accoutrements that come with it, not on the writing itself.

Boom, that epiphany (yeah, I said “epiphany”) was like a caveman discovering fire and I focused intently on my craft, reading everything I could get my hands on, learning about the myriad of small presses, and writing-writing-writing. I went from someone who could only write when I was alone, everything quiet and the muse upon me to a guy who could plant his ass on a loading dock and crack open his laptop with all of NYC squalling a few feet away.

Then I started getting my stories published and a few years back, wrote my first novel, Dead Men, which will be published in July of 2015 by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. If folks are interested in updates on that or the rest of my writing they can check me out on Facebook or my web site, www.johnfosterfiction.com.

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Gray Matter Press has released an anthology, Death’s Realm, featuring your work, “Burial Suit.” Give us a preview of your short story without giving away too much.

This is the second story I’ve done with Grey Matter Press and I’m ecstatic at how damned good the books look. The story in Death’s Realm is entitled “Burial Suit” and deals with a man recently released from prison who learns of his father’s death and sets off with his dad’s favorite suit for the burial. And because he has certain dark preparations in mind to care for old dad in the afterlife, he’s also carrying a pistol, electrician’s tape and his cat, The Loose.

There are so many good writers in this collection, I’m flattered to have “Burial Suit” nestled in with their work.

The premise behind Death’s Realm is what happens after death. If there is a great beyond, what do you imagine it to be?

I don’t believe in any religious concept of an afterlife, although with half an hour and a pitcher of beer I can compose an argument in which various ideas might be “true” in a sense. I do believe that there is an energy to us that may move on to some other level of existence or perhaps return to the universe – much in the way our physical remains break down and return their constituent components to the earth. I also believe, particularly at night when I’m alone, that some of that energy may linger for a reason, perhaps a powerful trauma, and encountering such a lingering presence scares the hell out of me.

We thank John C. Foster for coming by to share his thoughts.
John C. Foster was born in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and has been afraid of the dark for as long as he can remember. A writer of thrillers and dark fiction, Foster spent many years in the ersatz glow of Los Angeles working in entertainment and marketing before relocating to the relative sanity of New York City where he lives with his lady, Linda, and their dog, Coraline.
 
Foster’s first novel, Dead Men, will be published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing in July, 2015.  His short stories can be found Death’s Realm (Grey Matter Press) as well as Shock Totem Magazine, Dark Visions Vol. 2 (Grey Matter Press), and anthologies such as Under the Stairs (Wicked East Press) and Big Book of New Short Horror (Pill Hill Press) among others. For more information, please visit www.johnfosterfiction.com.
Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: John C. Foster

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: J.G. Faherty

Everyone, welcome J.G. Faherty to the blog. I’m featuring fellow contributors to Death’s Realm, of Grey Matter Press, with a short mini-interview to learn more about the talent involved, a preview of what we can expect from their story, and speculate on what lies ahead in the great beyond.
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Tell us about your background, who you are, and how you came to the writing life.

I tend to think I was always meant to be a writer, but I never really believed that, or made the conscious decision to try being one, until I was 38 years old. As a child, my father (an English teacher) would tell me stories before bed, and often they were ones he made up himself. In grade school, I excelled in English, wrote stories that made my teachers spout about my talent, and drew comics that made my classmates laugh. But somewhere along the way in high school, all of that gave way to sports, girls, and music, and writing fell by the wayside, although I was always an avid reader. Several books a week. I tried my hand at a horror novel in college, but after the first couple of chapters I thought “This sucks compared to Stephen King and Peter Straub.” (My two favorite writers at the time.) “I guess I just don’t have the talent.”

I had no one to tell me that writing was hard work, it didn’t just flow out ready for publication. My college was big on business and science, poor in creative writing. I went on to hold a variety of jobs – marketing, laboratory sciences, photography – and never thought about writing until one day, after the company I was working for closed, I took on a gig writing elementary standardized test preparation books for the Princeton Review. It was fun, it was easy, and I enjoyed the creative writing passages the best. One day, I stumbled onto an internet ad for an anthology seeking submissions for horror stories. On a whim, I wrote one and submitted. No beta readers, no edits other than proofreading.


I was the last story rejected, and the editor sent me a note saying A) I had real talent and B) I should start meeting other writers and editors and learn more about the industry. That’s when I joined the HWA. And decided to start writing.

Gray Matter Press has released an anthology, Death’s Realm, featuring your work, “Foxhole.” Give us a preview of your short story without giving away too much.

My story, “Foxhole,” is the tale of two soldiers caught behind enemy lines. Best friends since childhood, they have to sneak and fight their way through more than 20 miles of enemy-infested jungle. One of them is wounded, and sometimes delirious. By the time they reach safety, he has learned new things about friendship, death, and what lies beyond.

The premise behind Death’s Realm is what happens after death. If there is a great beyond, what do you imagine it to be?

I’m sure this is something that not only every horror writer but every person on earth wonders about, especially as they get older. I’m a lapsed Catholic, but I’ve never believed in the traditional Heaven and Hell, although it would be great to think there’s a wonderful place in the beyond, where all you family, friends, and pets are waiting to see you again. Perhaps because of my background as a scientist, or because I’ve learned not to believe things that are too good to be true, that’s always struck me as a fairy tale. I think there is something to the idea of reincarnation, but that’s a story for another day. What I do believe is that there’s more than just a final blackness, that life doesn’t just end when you die.


We thank J.G. Faherty for coming by to share his thoughts. You can keep up with him at his website, here.
Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: J.G. Faherty

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: John F. D. Taff

Everyone, welcome John F. D. Taff to the blog. I’m featuring fellow contributors to Death’s Realm, of Grey Matter Press, with a short mini-interview to learn more about the talent involved, a preview of what we can expect from their story, and speculate on what lies ahead in the great beyond.
deaths_realm_anthology_cover_front
Tell us about your background, who you are, and how you came to the writing life.
My background is pretty heavily in writing.  I was an English major in college and worked for many years in the magazine industry–marketing & sales, editing & writing, all the way up the ladder to publisher.  I started writing fiction when I was in grade school, but didn’t get serious until around 1990.  Then I started in on short stories and never looked back.  I love to read and listen to music.  I just got married to my wonderful fiancee Deb, and am father to three great kids and three great pugs.

Gray Matter Press has released an anthology, Death’s Realm, featuring your work, “Some Other Day.” Give us a preview of your short story without giving away too much.

“Some Other Day” is actually a rewritten version of an older story that I somehow lost.  The idea stuck with me, about a boy’s unexpressed grief for his dead mother and how it affects everything around him.  So I rewrote it, even before the call for Death’s Realm went out.

The premise behind Death’s Realm is what happens after death. If there is a great beyond, what do you imagine it to be?

Probably just what you need it to be, what you think it will be, at least for some time after you die.  Until you get acclimated to what death really is, what it means.  I think the afterlife we all sort of mentally go to is a cushion to protect us from a reality that is so much larger than we can contemplate.  And I mean that in a good way…of course.
We thank John F. D. Taff for coming by to share his thoughts. His more recent offering also comes to us by way of Grey Matter Press, the much acclaimed “The End In All Beginnings.” You can keep up with him at his website, here.
Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: John F. D. Taff