Meghan: Hey, Feind! Welcome back! What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Feind: When I was very young my favorite thing at Halloween was seeing The Wizard of Oz on TV. The Wicked Witch was the first thing I ever remember scaring the bejesus out of me and it also meant trick or treating was only a few days away. These days it always seems to play around Christmas which makes zero sense to me. My favorite thing about Halloween these days is watching some of my favorite horror movies leading up to the big day. COVID killed it in 2020, but I had been frequenting a local theater that played horror movies for the month of October. It’s fun to view these movies, some that I never had a chance to see on the big screen, or get to relive my youth by seeing them that way for the first time in decades.  

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Feind: I live in an apartment so I can’t really decorate much and I get zero trick or treaters so my tradition is usually to pick 2 or 3 of my favorite horror movies to watch on Halloween. I try to pick something old like a black & white or old Vincent Price then build to something bloody & gory to end the night. Unfortunately this is usually me alone but add a few adult beverages to the mix and I have plenty of fun anyway. 

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Feind: As a horror writer it’s hard not to have some affinity for Halloween. It is the night we get to dress up and celebrate all the spooky things I only get to write about the rest of the year. Seeing everyone veer to the dark side always warms my heart. I won’t be the cliché horror writer who claims Halloween as my favorite holiday, for me that is Thanksgiving for completely personal reasons. Halloween is by far the most fun, or at least it can be if you’re not a stick in the mud. 

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Feind: I have to say I don’t really have any superstitions. Maybe that’s disappointing? It’s just me being honest. Send a million black cats across my path and I’ll just stare at how strange a sight that would be LOL

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Feind: I’m going to cheat here since it wasn’t specified books or movies. In literature I have to go with the beast to beast all beasts, Cthulu! Lovecraft’s Elder God, for me, is the coolest monster ever created and as far as I know he’s never really been done very well or at all in film. This is a fact that makes me very sad.

Now for movies, there are so many greats to choose from but I think my favorite monster is The Thing even though you never even see it in its true form, whatever that is. My favorite human villain of all-time is Otis Firefly played by Bill Moseley in Rob Zombie’s Devil’s Rejects trilogy (so far). I love Otis with an unhealthy passion. Also Bill is one cool MFer who loves to engage with fans whenever he can.  

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most? 

Feind: I have two and neither are a single unsolved murder. I think all lovers of the macabre have at one time or another been fascinated by the Jack the Ripper killings which so far are still frustratingly unsolved despite numerous theories that fill several books. The other would be The Zodiac killings even though this one has essentially been solved. I picked up the book Zodiac by Robert Graysmith when I was a teenager and I’ve been fascinated by the case ever since. The fact that both of these killers managed to get away with their crimes is amazing since every other killer manages to make a mistake or mistakes that finally get them caught.  

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most? 

Feind: Again I’ll disappoint everyone here because I don’t have one. I don’t believe in any of them hence I can’t find them very scary. Sorry.  

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Feind: Wow, there are so many to pick from which is the truly terrifying part. I’m going to go with a lesser known (probably) here and say David Parker Ray sometimes referred to as The Toy Box killer. He, his wife and a group of others who, I believe, remain unknown would kidnap, rape, torture and then sometimes kill their victims. What makes Ray stand out for me is a transcript I read of a recording he would play for his victims after he kidnapped them. He would drug young women and when they awoke they would be naked and tied to a gynecologist exam table. Ray would watch remotely then play a recording when he saw they were awake. In a cold, calculated voice he would describe exactly what the woman was going to be put through. If they tried to escape as some had managed to do they were quickly recaptured or killed and another woman would be kidnapped to take their place. Some of his victims were raped and tortured over years and some became so broken they stayed of their own volition. The transcript is absolutely sick and bone chilling. Look it up if you dare! 

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

Feind: Aside from The Wizard of Oz, since that stopped being scary by the time I was about 6 years old, my first horror movie was The Amityville Horror (1979). I don’t remember the exact year I saw it for the first time, but it was after it came to regular TV so probably about 1982-ish. My oldest sister is about 5 years older than me and she would torture myself and my other sister (also older than me, I’m the youngest) by watching it. At the time it scared the living you-know-what out of me, though I find that pretty laughable now. I was determined to watch it all the way through so my sister couldn’t make fun of me anymore. I did and my love of horror was born.

I became an avid reader around the ages of seven or eight. I blew through young reader books like the Hardy Boys then moved into mercenary books which became uber popular in the early 80s. Then I needed something more. My mother was also an avid reader who had hundreds of books of all genres so I went to her for a suggestion. She knew I liked horror so she suggested I read something by Stephen King. She had several to choose from so after much consideration I picked The Stand because it was huge which I saw as a challenge. I was eleven years old. I loved it and my love affair with King was born. 

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Feind: I am a bit of a weirdo here in that I’ve never really had any book scare me very much. Perhaps a passage here or there but it will likely surprise anyone reading this to know I’m not a very visual person. I find when reading you’re only as scared as your imagination allows you to be. I think from early on I had a knack for suppressing my imagination while reading. The best answer I can give though would probably have to be Zodiac because it was about a real killer who was never caught. I still find the things that scare me most are the real human monsters that could be living right next to you.  

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Feind: Now here I could name several so the hard part is picking just one. I’d say the last one to deeply affect me would be The Human Centipede. Again when you really get into it there could be someone as demented as the doctor in the film out there right now. Also, in this first film of the trilogy, Tom Six went out of his way to see if something like this could actually be done and how it would be done. The scene where one of the girls escapes and the doctor explains to her why he is going to make her the middle segment and why it’s the worst is so disturbing and disturbingly real I had a hard time continuing to watch. Of course, I did ‘cause I’m that kind of sicko. Also “The Scene” in A Serbian Film is the only thing more disturbing I’ve ever seen (if you’ve seen it you know exactly what I’m talking about).

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Feind: Well it wasn’t for Halloween but I would totally do it if it didn’t make such a mess! When I was young my mom and I were part of a “simulation team.” We did accident simulations to help local fire departments and first responders deal with real crisis situations. It was a lot of fun but my favorite scenario we set up was a simulated industrial accident which was actually at the factory my father worked at. I was given dual injuries. I wore a disembowelment prosthetic as well as a severed arm both were complete with blood bladders for me to pump out at the appropriate time. The emergency team that found and worked on me unfortunately failed miserably as they found and treated my disembowelment but completely missed my severed arm. This is why we did these things. So if I had the prosthetics and available fake blood I would totally do something like this for fun on any given Halloween (or really any day of the year just to freak people out)!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Feind: Music is a huge part of my life and I honestly couldn’t write without it. Since I’m a huge heavy metal fan most would consider much of what I listen to, at least, somewhat horror and Halloween themed. However, I think my favorite classic Halloween themed song would have to be Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett. I’ve always loved that one.

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

Feind: I honestly don’t eat very much candy but if you want to make me happy a simple peanut butter cup will do nicely! However, if you try to slip me licorice I may have to kill you in real life not just in print! Also there may not be anything worse than chomping down on what you think is a nice, fruity Mike & Ike’s only to find out it is actually a vile, disgusting Good & Plenty. This is a capital offense requiring the death penalty!

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by, Feind. But before you go, let’s talk Halloween books and movies.

Feind: I know some like to read on Halloween and that’s fine, as a writer myself I won’t discourage it. If that’s what you like to do on Halloween then I would go with an anthology of short stories like Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew or Clive Barker’s Books of Blood though I have stories in several that should fit the bill nicely as well! That said, I prefer to watch some horror films on good ol’ Halloween. You can never go wrong with a classic like John Carpenter’s Halloween (or even Rob Zombie’s remake) or The Thing. If you only have time for one movie you’ll just have to pick your favorite – I have a fondness for The Shining when this is the case. However, if you have time I always prefer to watch two or three films. Sometimes I’ll choose a progression from something old up to a new favorite. For example, a couple years ago I went with Steve McQueen in The Blob followed with Evil Dead II then ended with The Devil’s Rejects. I also find it fun to watch trilogies if possible. I’ve done the Evil Dead or Rob Zombie’s Reject trilogy. I even did a marathon of Ash Vs Evil Dead one year.

I know I was supposed to give you a list of my best but, honestly, it really depends on my mood as to what ends up on such a list. I am a life-long lover of all things horror from the old Universal monster movies to the 50s giant radioactive creature features through the slasher era to low budget Troma horror-coms and everything in between. It would probably be easier to tell you what I don’t like and that is the modern PG13 era horror films that have nothing to offer other than jump scares which is weak sauce to me. I like a good, well-written story that chills you to the bone. It doesn’t have to be bloody and gory but I don’t shy away from any of that either. I also don’t like films that only offer blood and gore with no story. A lesser known film that is a personal favorite is High Tension or Haute Tension which is the first film of Alexandre Aja (Piranha, The Hills Have Eyes, Maniac). I love the story and it has some over the top bloody kills along the way. For me, Halloween is a time to celebrate and revisit your favorite horror films or books. Leading up to it is a good time to check out some new stuff too but to a horror nut, like me (us?), I’m on the hunt for new great horror all year long to have as a new favorite for future Halloween marathons.

Feind Gottes [Fee-nd Gotz] is a horror nut, metal lover and an award winning horror author. Feind currently resides near Omaha, NE

Feind has short stories and flash fiction appearing in over a dozen anthologies with more to come. His novella, Essence Asunder, unleashed by Hellbound Books in 2018 was his first solo release. Feind also gained his first editing credit by co-editing the anthology, Blood From A Tombstone, with Don Smith Jr in 2019. Lastly Feind’s debut novel, Piece It All Back Together also published by Hellbound Books, was released in Spring 2021.

The first draft of Feind’s debut novel won the 2016 Dark Chapter Press Prize followed in 2017 by a Top Ten finish in The Next Great Horror Writer Contest and winning the Vincent Price Scariest Writer Award from Tell-Tale Publishing.

Piece it all Back Together
Deliciously gruesome, original, and highly innovative!

Private Investigator Jamie Windstein has a dark secret: she collects her victim’s heads.

When millionaire Thomas Combs hires her to find his long lost friend, Jimmy, Jamie’s world is turned upside down. Ghosts of the past pile mystery atop mystery while ghosts of the present add grim new riddles with no solution.

Jamie is determined to get answers even if she has to kill her way to the truth. She must tiptoe a fine line when she learns her only friend’s police officer husband has been assigned to a special task force on the hunt for Jamie and her head collection.

Dark secrets abound as the past is dragged kicking and screaming into the light. It’s serial killer versus serial killer versus the police in a race to the answers.

Jamie Windstein’s life will change forever if only she can Piece It All Back Together.

Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Feind Gottes

Meghan: Hi, Feind. It’s so wonderful to have you here today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Feind Gottes: Starting at the beginning… my name is Feind Gottes [Fee-nd Gotz]. I write horror. I listen to heavy metal. I attempt to fuse horror & metal in my own way to create stories that will make you soil yourself and stick with you long after you put the book down.

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

Feind Gottes: Wow! Well here goes nothing…5) I worked in debt collections for nearly 15 years 4) I possess somewhere around 4,000 albums3) My favorite view is a mountain view 2) I grew up in an area where I’m pretty sure cows outnumbered people, now I live where corn outnumbers people1) When I was about 5 yrs old I got bit in the crotch by a German shepherd.

Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?

Feind Gottes: Little Arliss by Fred Gipson. I was probably about 7 and it lit a spark in me for reading. I have never forgotten that book.

Meghan: What are you reading now?

Feind Gottes: I don’t read as much as I used to for many reasons, but mainly because I tend to pick up on other authors’ syntax easily. I want to have my own voice, not simply mimic whoever I read last. However, I recently found a graphic novel adaptation of Clive Barker’s The Great And Secret Show and I’m reading that!

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

Feind Gottes: People who know me personally may not be surprised, but I think The Watchmen written by Alan Moore is one of the most brilliant books ever written. Ignore that it’s a graphic novel, the story is just as poignant today as when it was first penned perhaps even more so today.

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

Feind Gottes: I was an avid reader for years devouring books. Then I read several in a row where I mainly hated how they ended. I started thinking I could do better, but it was a brief thought. A few years and several more books later, I kept having that same thought so I decided it was time I either did better or just shut up about it. After a few stops and starts, I sat down in 2012 and wrote my first tale from start to finish. After several edits and title changes, that story became my first solo published work, my novella, Essence Asunder.

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

Feind Gottes: I always write at my desk with headphones on and the music pumping!

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

Feind Gottes: I really don’t think so. I’m a pantser, in general, which means I get a simple idea and begin writing without making a very detailed outline. I may make a few notes but that’s usually about it though there are exceptions to that rule.

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

Feind Gottes: Trying to avoid interruptions and distractions. If I could write in a cabin, alone in the middle of nowhere, with no internet, I could pump out a half dozen novels a month. Maybe someday I’ll have that, but I doubt it.

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

Feind Gottes: The most satisfying and most frustrating would be my first novel, Piece It All Back Together, due out soon (sorry I don’t have the exact release date as of this interview). The story came out better than it was in my head when I began, but I’m also glad to be done with it.

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

Feind Gottes: Every book I’ve read in my life has inspired me in some way, whether they were so bad I wanted to write something better or so great I can only hope to come close some day. I’ve read books in pretty much every genre other than romance; for the record, I don’t just hate romance I despise it. Obviously, it’s fine in real life, in my personal life, but I enjoy watching or reading it about as much as smashing my crotch with a cinder block. The author part is easy and difficult because the answer is kind of the same. Clive Barker is someone I aspire to be able to write like, but style-wise we’re very different. Some have told me my writing style reminds them of Dean Koontz which is actually weird because I think I’ve read maybe two books by Koontz and I couldn’t tell you what they were. I consider myself an amalgamation of all the writers I’ve read which is too many to count.

Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?

Feind Gottes: A good story to me is one you don’t want to put down. Personally a little mystery does that well for me. Basically I want answers to the questions a book raises. The catch is the answers have to be worth the wait.

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

Feind Gottes: I’ve always been drawn to the villain or the “bad guy,” whether it’s in a book or movie. I want to know what makes them tick. Why do they do the terrible things they do? But again the catch is it better be interesting or you’ll just piss me off. I use that myself when creating my baddies. I want the reader to want to learn more and what I like to do more than anything is show you the character you felt sympathy for never deserved an ounce of your sympathy. Yes, I laugh when I reveal the “good guy” was really a big fat SOB the whole time. Sorry not sorry.

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

Feind Gottes: As a writer I can tell you there is a little of me in every character I write. Which one was the most like me? Well, I could tell you but then I’d have to sacrifice you to our dark lord and savior Cthulu!

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

Feind Gottes: I think everyone is turned off by a cover that isn’t visually appealing to them. Comics were a main avenue in creating the reader I became so I truly enjoy graphic art. So far because I haven’t self-published I’ve had very little, if any, say in my book covers though honestly they’ve all been great so far.

Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?

Feind Gottes: I’m completely self-taught in every aspect of writing thus far. I hold no degrees from a fancy university other than graduating summa cum laude from the School of Life. I had some great teachers when I was younger and I remember some of their lessons well, which helps the actual writing and my self-editing. I do all my own research. I’ve taught myself how to format Word docs. Basically everything you need to do as a writer I’ve taught myself. One of the coolest though was trying to learn some time specific ‘60s slang for a story that will come out about the same time as this interview. The story is Kairos Chamber which will appear in the anthology Tenebrous from Stitched Smile Publications.

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

Feind Gottes: I can name two so far. The first is in a tale that no one has ever read but myself. I wrote a necrophilia scene from the assaulter’s perspective in the 1st person. I wanted the reader to be uncontrollably turned on but absolutely repulsed by themselves for being turned on. Putting myself in that person’s skin was disturbing to say the least. When I write a character, I am that character and this particular one shook me to the core. Someday I’ll finish that tale so I can see if I get that reaction from readers. The second is a scene in my debut novel, Piece It All Back Together. I started with a couple of pretty sick ideas then decided to push myself to see how nasty I could make it. It involves the torturous murder of a child abusing pedophile but I don’t want to say too much on that. My goal was to make the reader want to throw up but be unable to stop reading at the same time. I spent about two hours on a single paragraph in that scene trying to achieve that goal.

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

Feind Gottes: I write horror for adult horror fans by an adult horror fan. I am not trying to appeal to everyone from 8 to 80 so I can sell a bajillion books. I toss in references here and there that only horror fans will get. I write adult horror that pulls no punches for adults who want to have some bloody good fun with their books. I don’t build my stories around the “ultimate gross out” but when I have an opportunity to turn a reader’s stomach I try to make sure they actually spew.

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)?

Feind Gottes: This is actually an easy one for me. Every story I write shares a title with a song or album that helped inspire it. I am a huge heavy metal fan, a metalhead, and doing this is my way of paying respect to the music that has given me so much in my life. I often use band member names or variations of them for my characters. Like my horror references these are little winks and nods to other metal fans. If you don’t recognize them your reading experience is not affected in any way, shape or form but if you do then they should bring a knowing smile to your face.

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

Feind Gottes: The cop-out answer is to say they’re both the same. Every story I finish fills me with an awesome sense of accomplishment. I love the short ones and the long ones. I would say finishing a novel was slightly more satisfying but there’s a reason for that. I spent nearly two years of my life working on my novel from the writing through the re-writes and editing. I’ve lived the thing for two dang years! I’m proud of it. I want people to read and love it. I also want to never see it again… like ever!

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

Feind Gottes: So far the bulk of my published work has been short stories in anthologies. The themes have covered demons, possession, serial killers, monsters and much more. My novella, Essence Asunder, is a work of “body horror,” which is a nice sounding phrase meaning it deals with massive amounts of torture. My debut novel is mostly a mystery along the lines of Dexter if he were placed in the movie Seven. I write for adult horror lovers, if you’re just starting to dabble into horror then my work likely is not for you but that doesn’t mean you can’t try. My mother says my stories are like Stephen King on steroids, but her drug knowledge is limited so I’d probably say meth. I want my stories to stick with a reader long after you’ve put the book down. I want them to swirl around in people’s brains and possibly inspire some to take up a pen and try doing it themselves.

Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Feind Gottes: I try not to pull any punches and so far I’ve worked with publishers who want exactly that. However, there was a scene in Piece It All Back Together that an editor suggested I change. It was the first murder scene. She felt what I wrote was pretty cool but a little too farfetched with the realistic tone I was setting unless there was going to be a paranormal/supernatural element which there is not. I had my killer stab a couple while they are having sex but, of course, I couldn’t be normal about it. Using a long thin spear I had my killer stab the man through his manhood into the woman. I agreed it was unlikely to be possible even though it pained me to change it.

Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?

Feind Gottes: I have a potential novel in the “trunk” that I hinted at earlier (with the necrophilia scene). It’s a story I started as a short story but it grew out of control until I got to about 40K words with no end in sight and no idea what I wanted the ending to be. I still don’t know but the story is too good to leave unfinished forever. At some point I will figure out an ending and then you’ll all be sorry!

Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?

Feind Gottes: Right now I’m working on a short story for an anthology called Blood & Blasphemy to be edited by my author friend Gerri Gray through Hellbound Books. Hopefully what I’ve come up with will make the cut. After that I have a pretty epic undertaking with a planned novel trilogy. I’ve been dying to get started on it for so long it felt like the day I’d start working on it would never come. I don’t want to give away too much this early, but I will say it involves Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, Satan, Lilith, curses, wars in Hell and much, much more. If I do it right, it will be the most blasphemous thing written since Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. Does that make me sound egotistical? I hope not, my ego isn’t that big in all honesty.

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Feind Gottes: Amazon ** Website ** Facebook ** Twitter

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?

Feind Gottes: I’d like to close, the way I close every post on my website, with my personal motto that I try hard to live by every single day…

Stay Positive & Make. Good. Art.

Feind Gottes [Fee-nd Gotz] is a horror nut, metal lover and an award winning horror author. Feind currently resides near Omaha, NE with his girlfriend, son, and two crazy cats.

Feind has short stories and flash fiction appearing in over a dozen anthologies with several more scheduled for release including his first ever published poem.

The first draft of Feind’s debut novel won the 2016 Dark Chapter Press Prize followed in 2017 by a Top Ten finish in The Next Great Horror Writer Contest and winning the Vincent Price Scariest Writer Award from Tell-Tale Publishing.

2018 marked a milestone for Feind with the publication of his first solo work with the unleashing of his novella, Essence Asunder, by Hellbound Books. Feind’s debut novel, Piece It All Back Together, is currently being edited for a late 2019 release by Hellbound Books.

Essence Asunder

A gut-wrenching, stomach-churning journey into one man’s private hell – Essence Asunder is one brutal novella! 

One man. Two fiends. A cold, dark basement. A table of torture devices. A garrote chair. Jacob Falgoust has woken into his own private Hell where Pain and Misery greet him with open arms. A reason wrapped in riddles of beauty and pain may be his only chance to escape the suffering. Jacob must find the answer before his very essence is torn asunder.