AUTHOR INTERVIEW: C.R. Richards

Meghan: It’s been a bit since you and I sat down last to talk. Welcome to this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. Thanks for stopping by. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

CRR: I love to read spooky stories year-round, but the special Halloween vibe takes “the scary” to a higher level. There is nothing like curling up under a blanket on a spooky October evening with a gripping ghost story.

Meghan: Do you get scared easily?

CRR: It takes some doing to scare the jaded adult me, but it can be done!

Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen, and why?

CRR: My mom and brother took me to The Omen (1976 version with Gregory Peck) when I was eleven. I remember we were at the drive-in, so I spent most of the movie hiding on the floor of our station wagon. That movie had a profound impact on me. It was the first time I contemplated what Evil was and how it could potentially harm me. I think my mom regretted taking me to see that movie. It gave me screaming nightmares for weeks. I haven’t watched the movie since.

Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?

CRR: Slasher movies have made viewers desensitized by fake gore. I feel it is true-to-life murders like the little girl’s killing in The Lovely Bones (2009 film based on the book) that are the most disturbing. It could happen to anyone in any neighborhood.

Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?

CRR: Yes! Paranormal Activity. I don’t know why, but it’s too creepy for me.

Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

CRR: One of the classic Alfred Hitchcock movies like Psycho or The Birds. I love that era in Hollywood.

Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?

CRR: The Mummy (1999). It would be awesome to hang out with Brendan Fraser.

Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?

CRR: Dracula. He is the ultimate scary vampire (as they should be. No sparkly vamps, please).

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

CRR: I love handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters. Some of the costumes are so clever.

Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

CRR: The theme from Psycho (1960). It’s immediately recognizable.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

CRR: There are two classic Occult novels by the same author team that keep me up at night. The First is The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. FBI Agent Pendergast chases a madman who mutilates his victims via dissection. The Second is one of my all-time favorite books, Still Life with Crows.  Killer in a small town who disappears without a trace.

Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

CRR: I visited Boston several years ago and stayed in an old mill the owner had converted into condos. One night I heard someone slam open the front door. A man’s heavy boots stomped down the hall past my bedroom. I flipped on the light and crept to my sister’s room. We were the only people staying in the condo at the time. The front door was undisturbed, and I couldn’t see any uninvited guests. My sister told me the old mill was supposedly haunted by some workers who’d perished there over 100 years ago.

Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?

CRR: I am fascinated by the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. Why did Sarah Winchester, widow of the famous rifle’s founder, build a house with stairs going nowhere and room layouts that don’t make sense? Was she really trying to avoid the ghosts of the rifle’s victims? Or was she insane? Visiting the house is on my bucket list.

Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?

CRR: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It’s a hard one to beat.

Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

CRR: I’d go with a cricket bat as an homage to the movie Shaun of the Dead with Simon Pegg.

Meghan: Okay, let’s have some fun… Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?

CRR: Vampire!

Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?

CRR: Let me at those zombies!

Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?

CRR: Zombie juice, of course!

Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?

CRR: Poltergeist house.

Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?

CRR: Yuck! I think I’d have to take the melon.

Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?

CRR: I wouldn’t mind trying the spider web cotton candy if I could add pumpkin spice.

Boo-graphy: C. R. Richards is the award-winning author of The Mutant Casebook Series. Her literary career began as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper. She wore several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer, and cranky editor. A lover of horror and dark fantasy stories, she enjoys telling tales of intrigue and adventure. Her most recent literary projects include the new historical dark fantasy thriller The Vengeful Dead and the epic dark fantasy series Heart of The Warrior. She is an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association.

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The Vengeful Dead
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The Dead don’t always rest in peace.

Dunham Raynor is a second-rate psychic traveling with a rundown medicine show. Months after the end of the American Civil War, Dun and his partners head west with dreams of easy wealth. They finally have a chance to make some real money when they cross paths with a murderess in a s small Missouri town. The blackmail job is sure to give their band of swindlers the stake they need to reach San Francisco. But luck is a fickle mistress.

Marked by magic as a youth, Dun isn’t the fake he pretends to be. His mysterious tattoo of an Ouroboros allows him to see and speak with the Dead. When the ghost of a Confederate soldier arfrives with a dire warning about the little town’s imminent destruction, Dun must choose between loyalty and his own skin.

The Undead never forget.

Dun tries to escape his past by traveling west along the Santa Fe Trail, but vicious killers haunt his every step. Their ruthless games turn deadly as Dun’s new traveling companions are brutally slaughtered. Are the supernatural hunters bent on delivering justice, or is the Necromancer holding their leash after revenge? The answer lies in the living Ouroboros embedded in Dun’s chest.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Katie Marie

Meghan: Hey, Katie! Welcome to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books. It is so nice to have you here today. What is YOUR favorite part of Halloween?

Katie: I love Halloween, it’s really difficult to pick a favorite part! I love so much about the holiday, I love decorating the house, I love the events around Halloween, especially the rise (at least in the UK) of live action events with actors, etc. I love the excuse to eat too much sugar and to dress up.

But if I had to pick a favorite thing, it would be the coziness. I love spending Halloween night curled up on the sofa in some kind of cozy costume (I was a shark last year) with my partner, the lights down low, lots of tasty snacks, the cats curled up dozing and something blood curdling on the TV. The only interruption being the doorbell every so often as we’re invaded by tiny monsters come to partake of our snacks.

Meghan: Do you get scared easily?

Katie: This entirely depends.

I’m unbothered by hyper violence, I very much enjoy a good psychological horror but rarely find them overly frightening but when it comes to certain types of horror, I’m a bit of a wimp. I suppose supernatural horror is most likely to scare me.

So, if you show me people being scary, I’m less likely to be bothered, show me something inhuman and I scare easily.

Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?

Katie: I found the movie Paranormal Activity (the first one) terrifying. The idea of something threatening being in the house but you couldn’t perceive it. You couldn’t see, smell or touch it but it could touch you and had malicious intent. Burrrr. The level of vulnerability I felt for the characters really got under my skin.

Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?

Katie: The ending of Eden Lake. I was cheering for Jenny and when she got away from the woods and you thought she was out of danger only for that to happen to her… ugh, makes my skin want to crawl off and hide.

Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?

Katie: Can’t say there ever was, the more freaked out I am by a trailer the more likely I’m going to want to see the film.

Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

Katie: It’s not a movie but I’d choose the Netflix Haunting of Hill House Series. I’d totally fix up a super Haunted House that eats people.

Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?

Katie: I’d be Tree Gelbman from Happy Death Day, hunting a murderer in a ground hog day like scenario. Each day full of new opportunities to kick the villains head in.

Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?

Katie: Probably a ghost.

I love the mystery element behind most ghost stories, I also feel most afraid when I can’t see or touch the threat but I can see or touch me. Most of my favorite horror films are ghost stories. Ever since I was young and watched the Lady in White a 1988 horror film about the murder of a young girl.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Katie: Decorating the house with all the spooky decorations. I put my decorations up probably a week earlier than I should and even then, it’s only through epic self-control that keeps me waiting that long. I love making my house look like somewhere Winifred, Sarah, and Mary from Hocus Pocus would feel at home.

Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

Katie: It’s a tie between ‘This is Halloween’ from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Thriller by Michel Jackson.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Katie: When I was young my mum used to read to me before I went to bed. Sometimes she would make up stories, sometimes she’d read children books and fairytales to me. Then one day she came into my bedroom with a copy of The Thief of Always by Clive Barker.

It was my first experience of horror and I remember feeling super unsettled but also utterly captivated. I was gutted when the book finished and went on my own little crusade to find horror books that my mum would let me read.

Even now when I occasionally re-read this book, I feel the way I did when I was little.

Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

Katie: My partner and I were on our first holiday together. We went to Boscastle in Cornwall, an absolutely beautiful village in a glorious part of the country. We stayed in an old fisherman’s cottage down in the harbor. One evening I was upstairs, in the bedroom, faffing about while my partner was downstairs. I heard the tap in the bathroom turn on.

This tap was the kind where to turn the water on you lift a lever and to turn it off you push the lever down. So, it turning itself on was bloody odd. I went and turned it off. I went back into the bedroom and continued my faffing. The tap turned itself back on.

This happened multiple times during the holiday, I’d wake up during the night to the sound of water running. It got to the point where I just left it alone. If spooky ghosts want to wash their hands, who was I to stop them.

Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?

Katie: Oh, this is an easy one, mass disappearances.

The Roman 9th Legion, Aztalan Indians, Moche Civilization, ghost ships, there’s too many to list. But cases where large numbers of people vanish up in smoke. Usually suddenly.

If you enjoy those kinds of mysteries as well, I would recommend the book and film Phantoms by Dean Koontz, the video game Man of Medan and the very recent film directed by Jordan Peele, Nope.

Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?

Katie: I love Creepy Pasta for this kind of thing. It’s impossible to name just one, but the No Sleep Podcast and Reddit pages are an absolute goldmine for great ghost stories.

Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

Katie: I really struggle with this.

A shotgun would be great but bullets are not infinite. So, some kind of melee weapon, maybe an axe, something heavy and weighted because I’m not particularly strong so if I need something to give weight to my attacks.

The downside with a melee weapon is that I’m also pretty short and I don’t have much in the way of reach.

So, with that in mind, I’d probably go with my car. My car is big, heavy and I can squish things with it with very little effort on my part. If I had unlimited resources I’d trip my car out with window armor, big spikes and junk. I’d probably also have an axe and a shot gun on the passenger seat.

Meghan: Okay, let’s have some fun… Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?
Katie: Vampire. I don’t need fleas on top of everything else. Also, I’m pale and have red hair so I’m used to avoiding the sun.
Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?
Katie: Zombies, aliens would be smarter than me. Zombies I think I’d be on a more even keel with.
Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?
Katie: Grim. I guess eat dead bodies, provided they’ve not been embalmed cause that’s toxic.
Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?
Katie: Poltergeist house, it was a great film with a strong sequel. Though I’d get annoyed that the ghosties like moving my furniture. I’m particular about things being tidy.
Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?
Katie: I’m intolerant of spicy food, it literally makes me sick. Whereas I like cheese, so I guess I’m eating maggots.
Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?
Katie: I’ll have the witches brew please, hopefully she’s put some kind of adult beverage in there.

Boo-graphy:
Katie Marie is a horror enthusiast and writer from Norfolk, England.

She has been published in several anthologies and magazines, and her Novella, A Man in Winter, was recently released by Brigids Gate Press.

Katie started writing while studying for her Law Degree at Aberystwyth University in the early 2000’s and several years and stories later she received her Masters Degree and published her first novel.

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Arthur, whose life was devastated by the brutal murder of his wife, must come to terms with his diagnosis of dementia. He moves into a new home at a retirement community, and shortly after, has his life turned upside down again when his wife’s ghost visits him and sends him on a quest to find her killer so her spirit can move on. With his family and his doctor concerned that his dementia is advancing, will he be able to solve the murder before his independence is permanently restricted?

A Man in Winter examines the horrors of isolation, dementia, loss, and the ghosts that come back to haunt us.