It’s a fun little tale about a man who awakens one morning to find that his family has quite mysteriously disappeared during the night. Then the skies start to rain blood. And it’s all downhill from there. The Hell Season is what I like to think of as my “kitchen sink” book because there are a lot of ideas at work throughout its pages. One horror follows the next as our hero tries keep his sanity about him, find a way to be reunited with his family, and do what he must in order to survive.
2. You also have a short story collection slated for independent release. Can you share a little about what you have in store for your readers?
Horror. Sheer, mind numbing, soul crushing horror... Oh, and maybe a few laughs along the way. The collection will include quite a number of stories I’ve published over the past ten years or so. A few previously
unpublished pieces will be included too. Most of them will be straight horror pieces but there may be some that cross genres.
3. You have published both independently and through small press. Which route do you prefer, and why?
I’m so new to the self-publishing biz that I haven’t really developed an opinion of the process yet. So far, so good, I’d say. The rights to THE NAMELESS recently reverted back to me and as the whole self-pubbing thing has had my interest for a while now, I figured it would be a good book to start with. And as I have a bunch of short stories sitting around, I figured that a collection would be the next logical book to put out there on my own.
4. What does your writing/editing process look like from conception to final edits? How long does it generally take you to complete a novel?
I wish there was a process to it. I really do. And I’m not trying to be at all facetious. Each of the books I’ve written has had its own process. With THE NAMELESS, I had already written the short story upon which the novel would be based. So it was all about expanding an existing story, filling in the blanks, so to speak. It was the first novel I had ever written and ended up taking me a while, probably about a year and a half. After that, I wrote THE HELL SEASON. That book started with the idea of a man waking up one day to find that his family has disappeared. And then the skies start to rain blood. The whole thing was written with a stream of consciousness approach. I really had no idea at times where it was headed or what would even happen next. I have to say that I surprised myself on several occasions with what actually did end up happening throughout the book. In all it took about seven or eight months to finish. With ESCAPE FROM ZOMBIE CITY, I ended up writing a big chunk of it during NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month). The first draft of that book got written in about six weeks. I think editing it actually took longer than writing it. I can get a bit obsessive with the editing process and spend several months getting things right.
I’ve always written horror and I knew I’d be a horror writer the first time I sat down and tried to put a story together. In my early twenties I wrote a touching little tale called “The Hand of God.” As far as I can recall, it was the first story I ever completed. In it, a man finds a worm while working in his garden, decides to kill it but doesn’t get the chance as the slimy little
thing burrows into his hand and disappears inside his body. Then it gives birth to a host of
burrowing baby worms. At the end, he takes a dive out the window of the hospital where he’s been staying, his body exploding on impact, showering those gathered there in worms. And, thus, the cycle continues... It wasn’t all that good of a story but, hey, it was a start.
6. With that in mind, who are your biggest writing influences, and why?
H. P. Lovecraft because of the mood his stories convey and the grand scope of his horrors. Clive Barker because of his ability to merge the utterly fantastic with the truly horrific. Joe Lansdale because of his ability to make you cringe one moment and laugh out loud the next. Edward Lee because of his fearlessness. Stephen King because, well, he’s Stephen King! And Pet Sematary was the first horror novel I ever read.
publication, what would you say you’ve learned the most about your own writing?
That I have my own way of doing things and that I’m fine with that. I’ve read my share of interviews and articles over the years offering advice as to the best ways to write effectively and efficiently. Most of what I’ve read seemed like rather sound advice too. And some of it I would try to implement into my life but never for very long. The bottom line is that I’m terribly unorganized. And, by extension, my writing habits can be terribly unorganized. Stories get started and never finished. Ideas grab me only to have another, what at the time seems like a better idea grab me two days later. Then another one two days after that. Yes, there’s quite a bit of chaos at work. But a number of stories and novels have managed to arise from that chaos. I used to beat myself up over the fact that I was so disorganized. Still do, a little bit. But, for the most part, I’ve come to accept the fact that it is what it is and it seems to be working on some level. Hopefully, I’ll manage to really get my act together one of these days. But until then...
8. Your books range from supernatural to survival horror. Which is your favorite subgenre of horror to write?
I can’t say that I have a favorite subgenre. I never set out to write any certain type of horror story. It’s all about the idea at the heart of the story, the one that sets everything else in motion. If the idea is compelling enough, if it blossoms into something much bigger than a single idea, if it compels me to flesh it out, to imagine scenes and characters and plotlines, then that’s the story I’ll write. It becomes what it becomes and falls into whatever subgenre it may.
9. Which of your favorite authors do you think your own unique voice is most similar to, and is there anyone you strive to be more like?
I’d like to think there’s some Joe Lansdale there with maybe a touch of Clive Barker. When things are too grim for too long I like to add a touch of humor at times. It’s one of the things I really enjoy about Lansdale’s writing. Can’t really think of anyone who’s better at this little trick than he is. As for Barker... It’s tough to think of many writers who can infuse their horrors with the fantastic and otherworldly quite like he can. Especially in regard to his early writings. It’s something I’ve attempted to do myself on occasion. It would be nice to think that one day I’ll be able to do it as well as he can. We all have our dreams...
I’d have to say THE HELL SEASON. There’s just so much craziness going on in that book. It
would be great to see in a movie.
Bonus question: If you woke up tomorrow to find the zombie apocalypse had come, would you be prepared?
The truth of the matter is I would be terribly unprepared for a zombie apocalypse. It’s not like I’ve been stockpiling food or water or fortifying my place of residence against an attack of walking, ravenous corpses. Hell, I don’t even own a gun. Although I do think I would be mentally prepared if the day ever comes when the dead start rising from their graves. I have read and watched my fair share of zombie books and movies. I’ve also written my share of
zombie stories. So I tell myself that I wouldn’t overly freak out if the apocalypse actually did
occur. Although I’m not in any particular hurry to find out.
Thanks so much, Ray!
For more information about Ray Wallace and his writing, check out his website, or stop by his Amazon author page and Facebook fan page.