Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Nick Botic

Meghan: Hi, Tristan. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Nick Botic: I’m Nick Botic, an author/publisher from Milwaukee, WI. I’m 30 (it still feels weird to say that), and I’ve been writing since I was about 13 years old, but I’ve only really been taking it seriously since 2015.

I’m a huge fan and proponent for the horror genre, and have been my entire life. I’m a film/TV fanatic, an “aficionado” of sorts.

I am a proud and unabashed crazy cat lady. I might be 6’5” and covered in tattoos with a history of violence, but when I see a kitty, I can’t help but fawn over it like a little kid.

Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?

Nick Botic:

  • My girlfriend’s nickname for me is Penguin. Still have no idea why.
  • I have 10 cats.
  • I’m four years sober.
  • I’ve spent over a year of my life in jail.
  • I once spent $400 on boomerangs.

Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?

Nick Botic: The Giving Tree. It’s one that I read again as an adult, and when I did, I really understood it. It’s a good book for both kids and adults in terms of themes.

Meghan: What are you reading now?

Nick Botic: I just finished the entire 193-issue run of The Walking Dead, and have since moved onto the ongoing Absolute Carnage storyline. And in preparation for a project I have coming up, I’ve been reading all of the classic “creepypasta” stories.

Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?

Nick Botic: A People’s History of the United States. Learning about the different cultures that all commingled to make the country we know today was fascinating

Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?

Nick Botic: I’ve liked writing since I was young, but I didn’t start taking it seriously until I found the Reddit community r/NoSleep. The stories there fascinated me, but the ones I found effective were few and far between (which is simply a matter of personal preference, I don’t mean that as an insult to any writer’s work). I continued going through the stories and thought “I can do this”, and somewhere around March of 2016, I began writing short horror stories.

Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?

Nick Botic: Most of my writing gets done in bed with a cat and my girlfriend next to me.

Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Nick Botic: Not really a quirk or process per se, but I can’t write in silence. I always need to have a TV show or movie playing in the background.

Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Nick Botic: The most challenging part for me is filling in the blanks. I know the story I want to tell, but actually getting the words down always feels like such a chore. Other than that, endings.

Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?

Nick Botic: I have a story I wrote called “I Found Something Impossible in my Backyard”, that I’ve always been quite happy with. I think it’s the fact that even as the writer of the story, I have no idea what was going on in the story.

Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Nick Botic: As far as the type of writing I do, the books of other authors who write in similar styles have always been particularly inspiring, particularly Stolen Tongues by Felix Blackwell and PenPal by Dathan Auerbach.

Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?

Nick Botic: A good story needs to make the reader care about what’s happening. They need to be able to relate, to find a bit of themselves in the characters, in order to really get immersed.

Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Nick Botic: As I mentioned, to love a character, there needs to be an aspect to them that the reader can empathize with. To accomplish that, I find it easiest to give characters flaws, be they small (such as a character who habitually bites his/her nails), or large (such as a character who is in recovery). Something that the reader can look at and think “ah yeah, I do that too” or “oh, my friend/family member has that same issue”.

Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Nick Botic: All of my first-person perspective work has a narrator who is essentially me; I find it easiest to imagine a situation and its outcomes when I can imagine myself in it. The character telling the story in Daughter’s Drawings, especially so.

Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Nick Botic: A cover is the first part of a book someone sees, and it sets the tone for what lies within, so yes, I would absolutely say I’m turned off by a bad cover. For my first release and its second edition (The First Collection and later The Things We Fear), I created the covers entirely on my own (probably why they aren’t very good!), and for the group anthologies and other author’s work I’ve released under my imprint NBH Publishing, I’ve been lucky enough to have the incredible Scott Savino to do the covers.

Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?

Nick Botic: The devil is in the details. From both a writing standpoint and a publishing standpoint, making sure there are no holes anywhere in the book is key. As far as the story goes, that means making sure there are no loose threads, no plot points that lead nowhere or have been left unresolved. For publishing, it means going over the book with a fine-tooth comb, reading and rereading every word as many times as necessary to make sure everything is in order.

Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Nick Botic: Not necessarily a scene but a whole piece. There’s a story I wrote called “My Little Sister’s Beautiful Imagination”, and despite writing in horror and having the strongest stomach of anyone I’ve ever met, the subject matter of a child being sexually abused made me sick to my stomach. I ended up removing the story from r/NoSleep and my website. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a well-written story – I feel as though I’ve both written far better work and work that wasn’t nearly as good – but it’s just something I’d rather have not written. I don’t think any subject is taboo in horror, if that subject is broached in a responsible, tasteful, respectful way. If I’m not 100% that’s how I’m addressing a particular topic, I generally won’t continue until I am. That’s a story I’m not 100% sure on.

Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Nick Botic: I feel as though I have a unique perspective when it comes to human suffering. I know real terror, I’ve seen true vulnerability. Combine that with what Kimmy calls “an encyclopedic knowledge of all things horror”, and I feel like I’m able to produce stories that haven’t yet been told. I’m able to, hopefully seamlessly, mix and match the most effective aspects of several different other works, to what I hope is an original final product.

Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Nick Botic: A title is most definitely important. It should hint at what the story is going to deal with but of course not give too much away. It should be the enticing appetizer that leads to a delicious meal. Titles have always been something of an issue for me. Being one of the many horror authors who got their start on r/NoSleep, I’ve been almost conditioned to writing informal titles (for example, the original title of Daughter’s Drawings was “My Family Has Been Stalked For Four Years”), and breaking that habit has been a task in and of itself. For the book I re-release every Halloween, I chose the title A Halloween in Glarus because it’s straightforward, it tells the reader what the book is about, it doesn’t give anything besides the most general plot away, and at least for me, it rolls off the tongue quite nicely.

Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story? (Explain.)

Nick Botic: I’m currently writing my first novel, but I can already say with complete confidence that that will be the more satisfying completion of the two. I can write a short story in a few hours, and while it always feel great knowing I’ve completed a piece of writing, the process of writing a novel is much more grueling and cumbersome, and therefore I know the weight lifted from finishing it will be extremely fulfilling

Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Nick Botic: My target audience is anyone who likes horror. Horror has so many subgenres, be it psychological, comedic, occult, folk, Lovecraftian, and I try to make my books, at least my anthologies, include as many of those subgenres as possible. I aim to give every fan of every aspect of horror something to enjoy. As far as what a reader takes away? I hope each reader takes away something different from every story.

Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?

Nick Botic: At the moment, I’m working on my first two novels. The first is an extended version of my viral short Daughter’s Drawings, the other another offshoot of an earlier project called “The Agoraphobic Journals, which is going to be an experimental novel, something I’m really excited about. Beyond that, I have two podcasts I’m currently in the writing phase of, one of which is the project I’m by far most excited about. I can’t say what it is yet, but I have no doubt it’s going to interest the fans of the genre to no end.

Lastly, I’ve been slowly but surely compiling ALL of my work from 2016-present, and I plan to release one huge book that showcases my improvement as an author. It’s going to include pictures, behind-the-scenes stuff, anecdotes, all of which I’m really excited about.

I also am working on my first podcast, entitled “100% True: The History of Creepypasta and Internet Horror”, in which I take a deep dive into the internet’s most famous stories. I’ve been forunate enough to have the authors of the most widely recognized creepypastas answer questios for me, as well as Nick Antosca, the creator of Channel Zero (a TV show that ran for four seasons, each of which was based off of a different creepypasta), and the star of seasons 3 and 4 of the show, Brandon Scott. I have an interview with the man who wrote what many people consider to be the very first creepypasta, “Ted the Caver”, the creator or an longest-serving moderator of r/NoSleep, and the creator of the SCP Wiki. In addition to them and the creator of Slenderman and Marble Hornets, I have a breadth of information I can’t wait to share. I’m really excited for it!

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Nick Botic: Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Instagram ** Reddit

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?

Nick Botic:

  • If you don’t think Black Widow is the most hardcore and talented Avenger, watch the entire MCU again.
  • Don’t declaw your cats.
  • SUPPORT INDEPENDENT AUTHORS.

Nick Botic is a 30 year old author and publisher from Milwaukee, WI. Following a stay in a rehabilitation facility in order to rid himself of a years-long heroin addiction, Nick began writing after discovering the Reddit community r/NoSleep. His first series, an 8-part saga about a hotel worker, received rave reviews, and prompted him to continue writing.

Since then, he has written over 100 short stories and series, including the viral, award-winning hit Daughter’s Drawings. His stories consistently find their way to the top 5 spots on the 13 million-plus member Reddit community, often receiving awards. His work has been published in over 10 collections, including his own anthologies The Things We Fear and An Ode To Terror and his novella A Halloween In Glarus.

Towards the end of 2018, Nick ventured into the world of publishing. His first release, the erotic horror anthology Goregasm, reached the top 10 in the new releases category on Amazon, while David Feuling’s The American Demon Waltz has been met with overwhelmingly positive reviews.

In 2019, Nick has secured adaptation deals, with several of his stories in various stages of production. His next release, the 25-author anthology Sirens at Midnight is due July 1st, and has already been met with positive reception.

Nick plans to continue balancing the responsibilities as publisher while also writing new material to keep his fans happy and horrified.

Sign up for his mailing list to receive updates as new stories and books are released.

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