Interview with John F.D. Taff On his new novel The Fearing, writing, and books | More2Read Interviews
 

Interview with John F.D. Taff On his new novel The Fearing, writing, and books



John F.D. Taff is a Bram Stoker Award®-Nominated author with more than 30 years experience, 90+ short stories and five novels in print. His first fiction collection, Little Deaths, was named the best horror collection of 2012 by HorrorTalk. Jack Ketchum called his novella collection, The End in All Beginnings, “one of the best novella collections I’ve read.” His fiction collection, Little Black Spots, was released in the Spring of 2018. His new novel The Fearing will be out in Spring of 2019 from Grey Matter Press. Look for more of his work in anthologies such as Cutting Block Book’s Single Slices, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, The Beauty of Death, Shadows Over Main Street 2 and Behold: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders. Taff lives in the wilds of Illinois with three pugs, two cats and one long-suffering wife.



Lou Pendergrast

Welcome and thanks for this peek into your writing and writing life. Congratulations on your new novel out in 2019 The Fearing. What was the seed and story behind this tale?

 

John Taff

Thanks for having me, Lou.

Yeah, The Fearing will be out later this Spring from Grey Matter Press. I had the idea for this many years ago when I started reading the writings of Carl Jung. His idea of the collective unconscious and psychological archetypes really planted the seed of the story. What if there were a sort of metaphysical bowl that held all of mankind’s fears, and now this bowl is filled and must be emptied to reset the system? Basically, it’s a way for me to talk about humanity and all its fears. It’s my everything and the kitchen sink novel.


Lou Pendergrast

That cover of Little Black Spots, I like the artwork, what is it?
Am I right that the character is in one of the tales?  

 

John Taff

That terrific artwork is by a talented artist Wendy Saber Core.
It’s a fantastic piece of art, but doesn’t really represent anything specific in the stories. But it’s so visceral and alarming.


    Buy From:

 


LP

When, where, and with what do you write?

 

John Taff

I have an office in the basement of my house that I go to each morning with my three pugs. The office houses all my geek stuff that my wife really doesn’t want upstairs…plus all my books. I work on a laptop with a second gigantic screen hooked to it so I can see what I type. Old age, man. It’s a drag.


LP

What is your music playlist for writing like?

 

John Taff

Mostly classical music and movie soundtracks, depending on what my mood is and what I’m writing.
I can’t listen to music with lyrics while I write, because it distracts me.


LP

What key advice would you give to the writer trying to write their first novel?

 

John Taff

Write it. Just sit down and bang it out. Once it’s written, you can improve it, cut it, hone it, edit it, rewrite it, sell it.
But you can’t do any of that until you sit down and finish it.
And believe me, I know that’s the hardest part.


LP

Story mechanics, do you outline a tale?

 

John Taff

Nah. I used to, but now I just seat-of-the-pants it.
I take notes along the way, but mostly just sit down and bang it out.


LP

We are going to have little time travel. Pick an author and his book, you have a first edition and attending a book signing.  Which book and author? What would be the one or two questions you would ask him about his novel, his writing, or writing life?

 

John Taff

Poe is like horror’s father, and he’s so mysterious, especially in his death. But wouldn’t it be great to have a signed, first-edition Poe? To meet the man and ask him where his ideas came from? And, oh yeah, what happened to you? How’d you die?


LP

Horror movies. What are your all-time favorite ones?

 

John Taff

An American Werewolf in London, Dracula (1931 & 1979), Frankenstein (1931), Alien, The Sixth Sense.


 


LP

Great movies, some of my favourites too!

Who are your most villainous characters from fiction that are a must-read?

 

John Taff

I don’t have a real answer for you here. Often I like stories where the main character is both the hero and the villain. By that I mean that the character is doing stuff he believes is the right thing to do, because of his experience or pain, but that stuff can be seen as bad or villainous. I’m referring to  the use of the unreliable narrator, a main character who’s not really honest or forthcoming on the page. The best example of this is in Peter Straub’s  The Throat, where the narrator, Tim Underhill, isn’t the most reliable.  Not a villain, mind you, just not completely honest.



LP

Which authors inspired you to become an author?

 

John Taff

King, Straub, Barker, Stephen R. Donaldson, Robert Silverberg, Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny, Poe.


 

(Left to right Stephen King, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Stephen R. Donaldson, Robert Silverberg, Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny, Poe.)


LP

Book recommendations, which modern tales deserve a re-read?

 

John Taff

Yes Trespassing by Erik T. Johnson
Stabco by Joe Schwartz
Lovebites & Razorlines by J. Daniel Stone
Goblin by Josh Malerman
Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk
The Isle by John Foster
In the River by Jeremy Robert Johnson
The Same Deep Water as You by Chad Lutzke



LP

Thanks for your time in chatting today.

 

John Taff

Thanks for having me!

 

 



 

Buy From:


Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 15 February 2019