Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Kristopher Triana

I had the pleasure of meeting Kristopher last year around this time, when he agreed to take part in the 2018 Halloween Extravaganza. When I saw that he won the Splatterpunk Awards a few months ago at KillerCon in Austin, I knew I needed to have him back again. He is a man with a lot of talent, and one of the most interesting and entertaining guys I’ve met in awhile.

Meghan: Hey, Kris. Welcome back. It’s been awhile since we sat down together. What’s been going on since we last spoke?

Kristopher Triana: A great deal, actually. I’ve had several things come out in the past year and my novel, Full Brutal, won the Splatterpunk Award for Best Horror Novel of the Year. My next book comes out today. It’s a Halloween-themed novel called The Long Shadows of October.

Meghan: Who are you outside of writing?

Kristopher Triana: A dog nut and a horror fanatic.

Meghan: How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Kristopher Triana: That’s no problem. It’s when coworkers want to read it that I get nervous, given how extreme my books can be. You never know how someone is going to take it.

Meghan: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Kristopher Triana: It’s neither. Being a writer (or at least a good one) takes years of hard work and dedication to the craft. It isn’t something you’re born with. The imagination, however, I think is a gift.

Meghan: How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Kristopher Triana: Greatly, but I think that goes for all writers. You can always find a chunk of our hearts in what we create, bits and pieces of our history.

Meghan: What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Kristopher Triana: Crime scene cleanup for Toxic Love. And it made for one twisted book. That is one bizarre profession. I like to think I could handle it but…

Meghan: Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Kristopher Triana: It depends on the story, really, but getting started tends to be the most challenging. I always end up going back to the beginning and changing it as I write the book.

Meghan: Do you outline? Do you start with characters or plot? Do you just sit down and start writing? What works best for you?

Kristopher Triana: Ideas come to me and I jot them down. The dots start to connect in my head and the characters are given an outline, but they really reveal themselves to me as I write the story.

Meghan: What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline/plan?

Kristopher Triana: I adapt to what I think they would do, based on what they’ve become throughout the book. A character fleshes out as you write the book and are never exactly the same as when you first gave them life.

Meghan: What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Kristopher Triana: I’m one of those writers who are compelled to do it. I enjoy it so much that there’s rarely a day I have to push myself into the chair.

Meghan: Are you an avid reader?

Kristopher Triana: Definitely. You can’t be a good writer without being an avid reader.

Meghan: What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Kristopher Triana: The more disturbing the better.

Meghan: How do you feel about movies based on books?

Kristopher Triana: Depends. Some can be great adaptations, like No Country for Old Men and Requiem for a Dream. Others can be terrible bastardizations, like Come Back to Me, based on Wrath James White’s novel, The Resurrectionist, or mediocre efforts like The Lost, based on the Jack Ketchum novel.

Meghan: Have you ever killed a main character?

Kristopher Triana: Of course! That’s what they’re there for.

Meghan: Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Kristopher Triana: Not in a sadistic way. The stuff I write is dark and violent. Bad things happen in my books, often to good people. I’m not adverse to the bad guy winning. Suffering is the nature of humanity. We all feel it, endure it. Expressing it through art helps us cope.

Meghan: What’s the weirdest character concept that you’ve ever come up with?

Kristopher Triana: The Goddess in Body Art. She is stitched together by a twisted mortician using various body parts, ending up with multiple legs and arms and breasts. An unexplained evil makes her a sentient being.

Meghan: What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?

Kristopher Triana: Praise from some of my idols like Brian Keene, Edward Lee, and Jack Ketchum were huge for me. As far as constructive criticism, I ask for it from my editors. I want to know if I’m doing something wrong or if it isn’t effective. If your beta readers give you nothing but praise, they’re too damn nice and aren’t being helpful. The worst kind of criticism is when people bash your work because they just don’t understand it or didn’t realize what they were getting into as far as the horror element goes.

Meghan: What do your fans mean to you?

Kristopher Triana: The world and then some. That I can share my stories with them and that they ask for more is everything I’ve ever wanted in life.

Meghan: If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?

Kristopher Triana: That’s a tough one. I’m going to say I’d take Michael Myers from John Carpenter’s Halloween. I could write a brand new story that picks up where part four left off, ignoring all the other sequels and remakes.

Meghan: If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Kristopher Triana: Ted LewisGet Carter, just so I could write a fourth novel in the series. It would deal with Carter’s childhood and his earliest days in the criminal underground.

Meghan: If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Kristopher Triana: Clive Barker was such an enormous influence on me. Id’ love to write a supernatural horror story with him and bring him back to his days of splatter.

Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?

Kristopher Triana: Many things, indeed! I have at least three books coming out in 2020, plus two special edition hardbacks. Lots of projects going on. And there will be a German edition of Toxic Love for my fans overseas.

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Kristopher Triana: All the social media sites and my website. And look for me at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival on October 12th in Haverhill, Massachusetts. I’ll also be signing books at Scares That Care next summer, as well as Killercon and some other events.

Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview or the last?

Kristopher Triana: Halloween comes but once a year. Make it count!

Kristopher Triana is a Splatterpunk Award Winning author of horror, southern gothic, and crime fiction.

His books include Full Brutal (Winner of the 2019 Splatterpunk Award: Best Horror Novel), Toxic Love, The Shepherd of the Black Sheep, Body Art, The Ruin Season, The Detained, and Growing Dark, the latter of which was called “a must read” by Rue Morgue Magazine. His work has drawn praise from Publisher’s Weekly, Cemetery Dance, and The Ginger Nuts of Horror. Triana’s short stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Cemetery Dance, Blood Bound Book’s D.O.A. series, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Stiff Things, and Selfies from the End of the World, to name a few. His work has also been translated into several languages.

He lives in Connecticut.

Long Shadows of October

When Joe and Danny take on the job of housesitting Snowden Manor, they fail to realize they won’t be in the house alone. Inside the walls swarms a specter made of equal parts ghost, succubus and witch, and she uses the manse as a prison for souls. Now that October’s supermoon is falling over the mountains, she is ready to rise and reclaim her flesh.

Kayla has a crush on Joe, so when he asks her to come to a party at the manor she accepts his invitation. But no sooner do they get there than strange things start to unfold. People go missing, a mysterious dog appears, and then the boys begin to change . . .

Wraiths warn Kayla to save her friends before they’re devoured by the seductive witch. But she must hurry. For as Halloween approaches, the manor becomes a vessel for the black magic of the mountains, and the shadows that rule the woods return home.

Full Brutal

Kim White is a very popular cheerleader. She’s pretty, healthy, and comes from a well-off family. She has everything a girl of sixteen is supposed to want. And she’s sick to death of it. 

In search of something to pull her out of suicidal thoughts, she decides to lose her virginity, having heard it’s a life-changing event. But Kim doesn’t want to do it the same way the other girls do. She seduces one of her teachers, hoping to ruin his life just for the fun of it. This starts Kim on a runaway train of sadism as she makes every effort to destroy the lives of those around her. But soon simple backstabbing is not enough to keep her excited, and she nosedives into sabotage, violence and even murder. 

When Kim finds out she’s pregnant with her teacher’s child, a new madness overtakes her, and she realizes there’s only one thing that will satisfy her baby’s hunger . . .

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