BOOK BLOGGER INTERVIEW: Shawn Remfrey

Hey, Shawn! Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. I’m so excited to have you on one day to start this whole thing out!

Meghan: What Is your favorite part of Halloween?

Shawn: It has to be Slappy’s Escape. Slappy is a ventriloquist dummy from the Goosebumps series. He’s super creepy but so much fun! Every year at our Halloween/Birthday Bash, we set up this really cool trick or treating circuit. The premise of the game is that the group stops at each station in an attempt to find where Slappy has stolen all the birthday gifts to. Don’t tell anyone, but this year Slappy is going to be stealing the gifts by trying to ride the lawn mower to get away. At each station, a costumed person will read out a clue and then treats are handed around. The clue leads them to the next station. Setting this up is sooo much fun! We hand out Ramen noodles and fruit snacks and bath toys and all sorts of silly stuff. I get so much joy out of planning this! Last year Slappy tried to steal my car! It was such a blast taping his hands to the steering wheel and peaking at him through my windshield throughout the entire party!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Shawn: It’s easily The Sorting of the Ramen. Do you know just how many flavors there are?! Invariably, when the kids reach the ramen station at trick or treating, they rifle through to find their favorite flavor. Ramen noodle packs fly everywhere and people get whacked on the head. Last year I’m pretty sure somebody threw elbows over a pack of shrimp lime. It’s like Halloween Hockey!

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday, why?

Shawn: It used to be my second favorite. Since the pandemic that has changed. For me, it’s all about the magic factor. Christmas used to be top of the list. I spend the entire year preparing for Christmas and then my entire family shows up to my magically lit home to open magically wrapped gifts and I get to see the magic release itself as they open each gift. Now I send boxes of stuff for people to open whenever they open them. Halloween gets to retain its magic. I get to dress up in costume and be someone else and throw joy and intrigue at people. Halloween is magical. You get to live in another dimension for a short time where pumpkins and blood and a little fear are at the core.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Shawn: I enjoy canning food. I only have one superstition. When the jars are lining the counter, while they’re cooling, they make a pinging sound as each one seals. Every time a jar seals, I yell out ‘Thank you for your service!’ If I don’t do this, the other jars will feel like I take them for granted and they won’t seal and I’ll be wading through rotted food up to my hips. No way! Thank you for your service!

Meghan: What/Who is your favorite horror monster or villain. 

Shawn: I gotta tell you, I don’t even remember his name but the guy that Jeffrey Jones played in Ravenous. Okay, yes, he’s a vampire. He’s gonna eat my brains with a spoon and that kind of stinks. But! What does he plan to use his eternity for? Knowledge! He just wants to eat a little flesh and study all the great philosophers and figure out the meaning of life. Who wouldn’t respect that?!  

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you most?

Shawn: Honestly, I can’t go here. This is a world that I don’t let myself get into. I’m obsessive and I know that somebody would end up writing a cozy mystery series about a crazy woman and her paper dolls that tour the country solving unsolved murders.  

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Shawn: My older son and I were talking about this last week. Final Destination. When Death wants you, it’ll get you one way or another. Oh you took the wrong flight? Didn’t die when you were supposed to? Guess what? Now rabid dogs will be eating your entrails.  

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Shawn: I can’t pick a favorite specific one. I just really love cannibals. If you’re gonna kill people, at least be productive.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie?

Shawn: Story time!!

I have this aunt, we’ll call her Aunt Smelley. You know, anonymity and all. So Aunt Smelly has me spend the night with her when I’m 8. I had no idea she’s a horror junkie. She knows I love Santa though. So we get our cappuccino and some cookies to nibble on and sit and she begins the movie. Silent Night Deadly Night. I’m doing just fine, thinking how cheesy it is. Then it reaches the scene where the guy peeks through the door and sees the couple getting intimate. I was even alright then. He walks in with his knife. I’m still alright. He plunges it into the woman’s side. Still, heh, not so bad. Then there’s the moment he’s sawing down her side and you can see the knife halting momentarily in the more gristly areas and you can hear that sound! Oh that sound! I still have nightmares.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you most?

Shawn: This is an easy one. There has only been one horror book that upset me so much I had to stop reading it. Spilled Milk by Paul Dale Anderson. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I couldn’t make it past chapter three.  

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Shawn: You probably think I’m going to say Silent Night, Deadly Night. I’m not. Big Trouble in Little China. Scariest movie I’ve ever seen. They don’t die! It doesn’t matter what you do, they just keep coming! And the fingernails! The fingernails! They want you dead and they’re not gonna stop when the movie ends. Oh no. They’re still coming. They’re still after me. They won’t stop until they get me!  

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Shawn: These are such fun questions! Okay so a few years back we went to a special needs trunk or treat event. It was amazing! I, in my infinite wisdom, chose to be She-ra: Princess of Poweeeeeeerrrrr! I bought these amazing gold knee boots. I bought this great costume to go with it. I went all crazy and got this wretched blonde wig that really finished off the look. We’re walking along and I’m having the time of my life. I’m She-ra! Then this sweet girl came over and started stroking my wig. I smiled at her and she scowled at me. “Is this a wig?” “Yes it is.” “I don’t like it. Take it off.” It’s such a fun memory! She-ra is awesome! I got to be her until this sweet little pumpkin told me to stop.

P.S.  I kept the dang boots.  I like to sit in the bottom of the closet and hug them sometimes.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Shawn: It’s a toss up between Rockwell and Alice Cooper. Somebody’s Watching Me or Feed My Frankenstein. Until they have a sing off, I’m gonna have to pick both.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy?  What is your most disappointing?

Shawn: I love candy corn!  Love it! Gobble a hand full and I’m Spider-man bouncing off the walls and ceiling. Love it! Sugar high! Anybody wanna send me some? 

As for my most disappointing, wow I don’t even know if they make them anymore. My grandma always bought them and everybody gave them out back in the 70’s and 80’s. They were these wretched peanut butter taffies and they were rapped in the prettiest papers of orange and black. They were the epitome of what a Halloween treat should be, until you took a bite. Peanut butter dust on the inside and since it was mostly a taffy texture, you couldn’t get it out of your mouth.

Meghan: Top Halloween movies/Books.  

Shawn: That’s like asking me which kid is my favorite! (It’s the smartass one) Okay so I don’t have a favorite Halloween book or movie, but I do have a favorite Horror book that is terribly underrated. It was a gift from one of my kids and I treasure it so much I keep it in the bathroom where I keep all my extra girly stuff. That way, if I wanna do a face mask or have a bubble bath, this book can keep me company.  

Bon Appetit: Stories & Recipes for Human Consumption edited by Hydra M. Star and Alder Strauss. It’s an anthology of short stories about cannibalism. Some of them are meh, but most of them are pretty dang good!  Plus there’s a mystery to solve!


Boo-graphy:
I’m Shawn and I began reviewing books about 20 years ago. I’ve been a blogger off and on for nearly as long. Though I started off reading everything, I really found my niche in the horror community. These days most of my time is spent teaching, learning, and arting. I’m still a part of the book community, but for medical and personal reasons I’ve had to really pull back. Most of my recent work has been behind the scenes as well as throwing up the random review on Goodreads. I think the hardest part of being a book blogger came a few years ago when I began losing my eyesight. In an electronic world, it’s difficult to be productive when you can’t see things very well electronically.  

Halloween holds a really special place in my life. I have a special needs teenager with severe cognitive delays. It was only a few years ago that he began to understand what a birthday was and that he had his very own. At that time, he was an avid Goosebumps fan. He still is. His birthday is in October and Halloween is his favorite holiday. We began throwing Halloween themed parties for his birthday and it’s been a huge success! The entire family shows up in costume and we have a rollicking good time!  

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