Meghan: Hi AJ. Welcome back to Meghan’s House of Books and our annual Halloween Extravaganza. It’s always great having you on. What is your favorite part of Halloween?
AJ: I’ve always loved Halloween, the scary movies, the costumes and makeup, the candy and scaring people, but for me, Halloween is the last fun day before the holiday season starts in November. It’s also the time of year I visit a friend’s grave. He died on Halloween in 1995 and my wife and I visit his grave on Halloween every year. We take a candy bar and toast our friend, then we eat the candy. It’s kind of sombre but it’s tradition for us now.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?
AJ: Watching It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. I’ve seen it every year as far back as I can remember. I love that show.
Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?
AJ: It’s the one day and night you can celebrate the creepier things and not have someone look at you like you’re cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. It’s the one time of year that people actually talk about scary things. I like scary things, creepy things, monsters and things that go bump in the night. It’s the single most awesome day of the year.
Meghan: What are you superstitious about?
AJ: I’ve never really been superstitious. A lot of members of my family are/were, but I thought some of the things they were superstitious about were silly. Never let a black cat cross your path? I’m going to pick that cat up and pet it. Don’t walk under a ladder? I’ll walk under it. So many people make superstitions out to be scary, but I never thought they were. I write stories about them.
Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?
AJ: Whew, that’s a good question. For monster, I’ve always thought Pennywise the Dancing Clown from Stephen King’s IT was terrifying. But he’s a monster and monsters have weaknesses. However, I find human bad guys far more terrifying than the monsters. For villain? That’s The Joker from Batman, hands down. He’s maniacal and you never know what to expect from him. He’s terrifying like nothing else.
Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?
AJ: The Jack the Ripper murders. There are so many theories about who committed the crimes, but nothing definitive that actually points to a culprit. I don’t think it will ever be solved.
Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?
AJ: Honestly, urban legends, like superstitions, don’t scare me. They fascinate me and I’ve gone to a few places here in South Carolina where a ghosts is seen on a certain night or lights will chase you or your car will die on a railroad track only to be pushed to safety by a bunch of unseen children. But I have never gotten scared by them. If anything, I always hope to see a ghost or something in those places.
Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?
AJ: Wow, that’s another tough one. Ed Gein. Leatherface and Buffalo Bill (from Silence of the Lamb) are loosely based on him. But other than that, I’m not so sure Gein was all together there in the head. I’m not entirely certain his mental capacity was like that of a ‘normal’ individual. That makes his case more fascinating.
Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?
AJ: I was nine and the movie was Salem’s Lot, a miniseries. There was a scene where the Glick Brothers ran through the woods and one of them was snatched up and killed. He later showed up at his brother’s hospital window and scratched on the window. “Let me in. Let me in,” he said and when the brother opened the window, he killed him. That scared the s#%t out of me, not because it was particularly scary, but because my older brother and I always cut through a set of woods on the way home from school. He also would leave the house in the middle of the night when he was nine and ten and eleven. When he came back, he would tap on my window and say, “Jeff, let me in, let me in.” A few nights after watching the movie, he skipped out of the house and came tapping on my window. I grabbed my pillow and clutched it so tight to my chest it was almost a part of me. But I didn’t get up and I didn’t open that window… and he got in a lot of trouble when Dad caught him.
I read King’s Carrie when I was eight. I loved it. I thought it was mean how they treated Carrie White and I loved how she got revenge on her tormentors, especially her crazy mother. It’s really the book that propelled me to a love of horror fiction more than anything else.
Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?
AJ: I don’t know if I would consider it a horror novel, but The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks was disturbing. The story itself is great, but when you get to the end and Banks revealed what he had left little hints about along the way, it blew my mind and made me think ‘oh wow, this is worse than I thought.’ Masterful story telling.
Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?
AJ: Salem’s Lot is the only horror movie that ever scared me and that one scene… whew… that one scene still haunts me.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?
AJ: I’ve always wanted to dress up as a zombie, but I never have. I wouldn’t want to be one of those painted green zombies, either. Make me like one from The Walking Dead.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?
AJ: This is Halloween by Marilyn Manson. I sing it throughout the year.
Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?
AJ: Favorite? Candy corn. Most disappointing? Black licorice. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.
Meghan: Thanks for stopping by. Before you go: What are your go-to Halloween movies?
AJ: Hocus Pocus is a fun movie, and as I mentioned before, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is my favorite Halloween themed movie. Also, put Monster House in there as well. As you can see, I really don’t find many horror movies that great. Give me a good, enjoyable story. Most Halloween movies and books don’t do that, at least for me.
A.J. Brown is a southern-born writer who tells emotionally charged, character driven stories that often delve into the dark parts of the human psyche. Though he writes mostly darker stories, he does so without unnecessary gore, coarse language, or sex. More than 200 of his stories have been published in various online and print publications. If you would like to learn more about A.J. you can check out his website, Type AJ Negative. You can also find him on Facebook and on Amazon Amazon Author Page.
Five Deaths —
Andrew Colson never intended to kill anyone. The dead that haunted his childhood had other plans.
The first ghost to appear to him was Billy Jumper, a four-year-old special needs child murdered by his stepfather in a drunken fit. Billy was followed by Sarah Lockingham and Janie Whiteside, then the one person who he loved most, his father.
After the death of a close friend, Andrew learns what the ghosts want from him and sets out to fulfill their needs. In doing so, Andrew discovers a devastating truth that may push him beyond setting things right for the dead. It might lead him to revenge.