For those of y’all who don’t know, me and Ricky have… history (haha). I met him at a Scares That Care event a few years ago… and it was an experience… such a great experience that I have made sure to invite him back to the blog every year since so that everyone else can experience the amazing Ricky Fleet… though, if you ever get the chance to experience him in person, I tell you it is SO much better. Super talented. Read all of his books. I know what you’re going to tell me – they’re zombies – but don’t hold that against him. They are GOOD.
Meghan: Hey, Ricky! Welcome back. It’s always a pleasure to have you on the blog. What is your favorite part of Halloween?
Ricky: My favourite part about Halloween is the knowledge that at no other time of year are the two realms, the living and those passed on, any closer. As someone who has lost family members, I like to think of them visiting us to see how we’re doing. Not to mention the vampires, werewolves, mummies, mermen, and assorted other monsters who come out to play.
And, of course, the innocent mischief of the makeup; sharing the night with ghouls and goblins, fairies and princesses.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?
Ricky: We’ve never really had the money to go all out on the decorations, but there will always be a few creepily carved pumpkins on our doorstep, inviting the unwary to knock on our door. My kids are all grown up now, but I’ll never forget the joy of walking them from street to street, taking in the displays from the more creative neighbours. We even had Anubis jump out on us one Halloween, nearly earning the wearer a right hook from a surprised dad.
Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?
Ricky: It would be my second favourite, simply because NOTHING beats Christmas. The nights are finally cold, and you get to wrap up warm and have the fires blazing. You can glut yourself on all manner of sweet treats without the calories counting (I’m sure that’s been scientifically proven). The kids are filled with a healthy dose of excitement and nerves, wondering what really lurks in the night.
Meghan: What are you superstitious about?
I salute lone magpies.
I don’t walk under ladders.
I try not to step on cracks in paving.
If I spill salt, I toss some over my shoulder.
I don’t open umbrellas in the house.
I’m cautious on Friday the 13th. Always.
However, I don’t mind black cats crossing my path and I don’t believe in the luck of a rabbit’s foot. They should be left attached the owner of said foot.
Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?
Ricky: Anyone who knows me knows the answer: Zombies! I freaking love the crumbly, rotting little horrors. They have to be, of course, the Romero type. They just fill me with a primal dread. Remorseless. Ever hungry. Never tiring. Runners are fun and all, but they just don’t stir the same passion. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Dawn remake, and, although they’re technically just infected, 28 Days Later. But nothing, simply nothing, compares to the feeling I had when I first saw the shambling zombies in the original Night of the Living Dead.
Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?
Ricky: Not so much a murder, as a disappearance that I believe is a murder. It’s a horrible one, but it’s Madeleine McCann. There’s so much wrong with the case, not least the fact that they left their children unattended to go out for dinner and drinks. It would never enter my mind to do what they did. Yes, they’ll pay for that mistake for the rest of their lives, but do you know who I care more about? Maddie!
Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?
Ricky: We’ve not really got any urban legends in our area. One mystery/myth that has always fascinated and scared me was the Bermuda Triangle. Knowing that people have been merrily bobbing along, and then suddenly, BAM, they’re gone without a trace. Where did they go? Did a whirlpool open, sucking them into the darkness? Did something unknown emerge from the unknown depths of the ocean to feed? I’d love to know. Or would I?
I tie these kinds of disappearances into my Infernal series.
Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?
Ricky: I think about what these types of people did and I’m of the opinion they should be questioned, studied, then put to death. If I lost a loved one to their barbarity, it’s the least I’d demand.
So, when it comes to my favourite, I look to films and books because the suffering is always pretend. Acting. And no two individuals sum up the pervasive evil of a soulless killer better than Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter. The first because he is an awkward, shy individual and the truth of his transformation and murders shocked a generation. There are few musical scores that can instantly transfer someone to a scene than the discordant strings of Hermann as the knife fell. The second is the polar opposite of Norman: educated, cultured, refined. The cannibalistic depravity hiding behind the suave face of Dr Lecter is absolutely terrifying to me.
Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?
Ricky: There are two that stick in my memory. One was a film when I was very young, but I have no idea of the plot or story. All I can remember was that I was scared to death, and someone had a massive bell drop on them. That’s it. The second was Return of the Living Dead. I was a year or two older, six or seven. I made it to the bit where they started to cut up the first zombie after burying a pickaxe in its skull before I bowed out. Now I look back and laugh as I LOVE the movie and its sequels, but at the time I had nightmares for weeks.
My first horror read was Salem’s Lot that I “borrowed” from my mum’s dresser. Barlow was in stark relief on the front cover, the vampirized townsfolk stretching off into the distance. I’ll never forget the words in those pages. A love for reading horror was born that day.
Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?
Ricky: I’ve never really felt “scared” while reading. Maybe I just haven’t found the right books. I can honestly say that two authors who can make my stomach churn are Matt Shaw and Aron Beauregard. Masters of extreme, graphic horror.
Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?
Ricky: There are two notable movies that have left a lasting impression on me. The first is Drag Me to Hell. As a comedy horror, it worked really well. I was laughing along with the best of them. But that final scene… damn. That has never gone away. There you have the boyfriend who never really bought into the whole doomed soul story, watch as the minions of Hell literally drag his girlfriend to an eternity of suffering. I mean, how do you come back from that? I’d be crazy in five minutes flat. Justin Long’s face captures that emotion perfectly as he leans over the side of the platform. Knowing that my lover was forever out of reach, being tortured over and over again without respite. A padded room would swiftly follow.
Number two is Event Horizon. (You’ll notice Hell is a key feature of both films). The rescue shuttle gets stranded and the gate to another dimension opens. Except the other dimension is not another part of our universe, but Hell itself. The sense of isolation and the steadily increasing terror thrilled me. Once again, I asked myself, what could you do? In other films like Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc, they were in peril but there was always a slim chance they could get away. Where could the team who found the Event Horizon go? Pop the airlock and run out into space. Nope. They were trapped from the moment they set foot aboard the vessel, and that stuck with me too.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?
Ricky: I’ve never been a fancy-dress kind of guy. I did go as Hannibal Lecter to one party. Meg as the Slutty Cat in Family Guy was pretty good. I think I’d have rocked that costume.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?
Ricky: It’s gotta be Michael Jackson’s Thriller, no contest. Closely followed by the Monster Mash.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?
Ricky: I’m not a massive sweet eater, but if I had to choose, it would either be lemon bonbons, or Lemonheads. Oh, or Maoam Sours. Anything fruity like that with a bit of kick.
Meghan: Before we go: Top Halloween movies and/or books.
Ricky: I’ve not really read any “Halloween” books that spring to mind, so I hopped over to Goodreads. They state that Sleepy Hollow and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark are two that make the list, so I’ll pick those.
As for Halloween films, the entire Halloween franchise, even the crap ones. I really enjoyed the recent remake and look forward to Halloween Kills later this year. The Craft. The Nightmare Before Christmas. Sleepy Hollow with Mr Depp. Night of the Demons (original and remake) Monster House the animated film. The Monster Squad (is that set on Halloween?). And lastly, one of the best films ever, The Crow.
Ricky Fleet has been a lifelong horror fan. One dark night, many years ago, he ‘borrowed’ a copy of Salem’s Lot from his mum’s bedside table. Sneaking it into his room, the terrifying visage of Barlow gazed out from the cover. Doomed townsfolk stretched into the distance, and in bold, silver font was a name – Stephen King. The story contained within those pages spawned an appetite for horror that has yet to be sated. Masterton, Lumley, Koontz, Laws, Herbert, Hutson, Laymon, Barker, and many more have influenced both his life and his writing.
His career took him into the plumbing and heating sector, keeping Britain’s homes warm and watered.
Born and raised in the UK, cups of tea are a non-negotiable staple of the English life and serve as brain fuel for his first love – writing.
With the Hellspawn series being enjoyed across the world, the growing saga has a dark edge that begins to explore the true horror of a world without rules. A nod to the master, George A. Romero. The only thing running on his zombies are the fluids of decay. What they lack in velocity, they more than make up for with utter remorselessness and insatiable hunger.
Infernal: Emergence is the first in his new demon series. A tale of conspiracy, untapped powers and the vast armies of Hell who yearn to tear our world apart. Only one man stands in their way; he just doesn’t know it yet.
His latest series – Devoured World – takes a new and terrifying look at the question ‘Are we alone in the universe.’ It appeared to be a gift; it was, in fact, a terrible curse. Nuclear Armageddon. A dead world. Billions of mutants roaming the darkened wasteland. These are the least of the survivor’s problems. The aliens are coming, and then the true war will begin.
Devoured World: Volume 1 —
A gift from the stars crashes to Earth, ushering a golden age of human cooperation. The genetic secrets in the pods eradicate Cancer, HIV, even the common cold with a single pill. The jubilation is short lived when the horrific truth reveals itself. The cellular changes wrought by the treatment continue, and degenerate. Global efforts to halt the rapidly mutating victims fail. Breaking free, the creatures spread their contagion with teeth and claws; tearing, ravaging, devouring. Nuclear Armageddon is mankind’s only hope to hold the infected back. Decades later, the radioactive dust has settled, and the survivors leave their bunkers. Woken from an endless sleep, Andrew Burton must choose his destiny within the Sovereign Guard army. Using advanced weapons and technology, they’re humanity’s last line of defence. Billions of monsters lurk in the wastelands of a dead world, but they’re not the only threat. Across the vastness of space, the aliens are coming, and with them, the real war will begin.
Devoured World: Volume 2 —
Following the devastating mutant attack on the mining facilities, humanity’s continued existence hangs in the balance like never before. Lacking the essential elements to power their advanced weaponry, it’s only a matter of time until the infected legions overrun the weakened defences of the fortress cities.
Empress Verena, ruler of the Divinity Alliance, is faced with a stark choice; trust G with full access to their most sensitive systems, or accept the extinction of every remaining human on Planet Earth. What secrets lie behind his sarcastic, cheeky façade? Will the newly created AI be a saviour, or only hasten their doom?
Appraised of the dire situation, Hardie is tasked with bringing an offer of cooperation to the band of Scavs. Taking Andy and the new recruits out into the wastelands, things aren’t what they seem. What they discover will shatter everything they thought they knew of their dead world.
Devoured World: Volume 3 —
The die is cast; G has been fully integrated into the Divinity systems. With the snarky AI in full control over every aspect of the Alliance territory, Verena can only pray she made the right decision. Will G’s cheery mask slip? Will the unknowable motives harboured by the newly created intelligence be their end?
Rocco arrives at Tempest City for Devastator training, but doubts begin to surface about his choice. A fleeting glimpse of something that could not possibly be sends him down a rabbit hole of danger and discovery.
To the north, Hendrick’s cowardly act sees Hardie and the team put in peril like never before. Facing the hordes of infected is one thing. What waits to greet them beyond the rotting totems is far, far worse. Secrets long buried will begin to surface, shattering the soldier’s belief in the system they fought and died for.
Meanwhile, out in the cold wastes of a barren world, something long dead begins to awaken.
Devoured World: Volume 4 —
The countdown begins for the critical attack on the corrupted mutant bastion of Fort Hope. With the trust of Verena, G works with the hardened battle commanders to minimise the casualties of his adopted people. Will the plan of attack be enough to turn the tide in mankind’s favour?
Out in the bleak wastelands of the old world, Rocco and Hyde race against time to discover the fate of their missing friends. Their search will lead them into the rocky Appalachian mountains and discoveries beyond their wildest nightmares.
In Toronto, maniacal troops search frantically amidst the abandoned streets of the ruined city. Andy moves like a ghost, hunting the hunters, working ever closer to his imprisoned team. A chance meeting will alter the course of his mission with catastrophic consequences for everyone.
The arena awaits. If they thought the infected were bad, they have nothing on what the dark minds of humanity can create.