With us today is one of my favourite authors. His novel, Animosity, was one of the most chilling and emotional books I have ever read. This man should need no introduction - his name is James Newman...
Hey James, could you tell us what work you currently have available?
My latest novel, Animosity, is now available from Necessary Evil Press. I'm really proud of this one, as it's my most "personal" work to date. Ever felt like folks looked at you funny because you enjoy watching movies and reading stories about "things that go bump in the night"? Well, Animosity takes that to the nth degree. Animosity asks the question: what if your love of horror one day threatened your very life?
Also due next month is a new novella, Olden. Delirium Books will be publishing that one. Olden is a fun little story that I plan to expand into a full-length novel one day. It's an end-of-the-world tale, I guess, my take on the big zombie craze but without a single undead flesh-eater in sight.
In the meantime, I've finally decided to throw my hat into the e-publishing after holding out as long as I could. My novels Midnight Rain and The Wicked are now available as e-books at all the usual places, as is my one and only foray into the "hardcore/extreme/gross-out horror" scene (and catalyst for many a hate letter sent the publisher's way, I'm told), Night of the Loving Dead, co-written with James Futch.
For someone unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your writing and what would your best book be for them to start with?
Ya know, i'll just quote a recent review (from the fine folks over at Dreadful Tales) that I think pretty much hits the nail on the head: "(a) unique voice and blue-collar style."
I can't argue with that.
As for the best book for new readers to start with, I'd suggest Animosity. Then again, we always think our newest work is our best, so I will say that Midnight Rain seems to be the one that my fans most often cite as their fave. That book really spoke to people, I'm proud to say, and even though I sure hope I've improved as a writer since then Midnight Rain still holds a special place in my heart.
What writers have had the most influence on your own writing?
I grew up reading Stephen King, so he was my earliest influence. Others since have included Ed Gorman, F. Paul Wilson, Ray Garton, and Nancy Collins (particularly, her short stories). My favorite writer of all time is Joe R. Lansdale. I love a simple, unassuming style that doesn't try to impress with flowery language and convuluted prose, but just tells a great story. Ya know, that "blue-collar" thing again. Give me that any day over long passages of pretentious "poetic" prose that leaves me scratching my head wondering what I just read.
What do you have in the pipeline at the moment?
I'm a bit behind on my latest novel -- who am I kidding, it's taken me about five times as long to get this one done as it should have! -- but I can see the finish line up ahead. It's called Ugly As Sin, and I think folks are gonna get a real kick out of it. This novel isn't quite horror -- I'm calling it "white trash noir" -- but my characters in Ugly As Sin live through (then again, some do not) a series of very dark, very violent events. At the same time, there's also a touch of twisted humor to the whole thing.
I can't wait for folks to read it. Here's the plot, in a nutshell: Nick "The Widowmaker" Bullman is a pro wrestler whose life is changed forever after he is horribly disfigured by two psychotic wrestling fans who kidnap and torture him because they think his "heel" character is real. That's barely the first 10 pages, however. Once the smoke has cleared and the men who did this to him have been convicted, Nick gets a call from his daughter, a young woman he barely knows. She's crying, has a problem and the police have been no help . . . now she pleads with her father to come back to his hometown, as he is her last resort . . . .
What was the last thing you read?
The Cold Kiss by John Rector. Good stuff. Think A Simple Plan crossed with . . . I don't know, maybe that John Cusak movie Identity? I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by Rector.
I'm about halfway through Chuck Hogan's Devils In Exile right now. What a great novel, and one hell of an awesome, unique premise.
I've been reading a lot of crime fiction lately (obviously), more-so than horror. Unfortunately it's been quite a while since I've read anything in the horror genre that really blew me away.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about?
Not off the top of my head, though I always think of something 5 minutes after an interview's over. I guess I'll just urge folks to check out my brand new website, www.james-newman.com.