Nevertheless, today's guest is a horror author I've admired for a while, ever since the mortifying cover to his third novel first blazed itself indelibly into the backs of my retinas. (Don't worry, we'll talk about that in the interview.)
I'm talking, of course, about the inimitable and amazing H.E. Goodhue, author of the brand-spanking new TIDAL GRAVE! Let's get to know the man first, and then jump right into the interview.
About H.E. Goodhue:
H.E. Goodhue is an author and educator. Goodhue's series, ZOMBIE YOUTH (Severed Press) has been called “unrelenting”, “thrilling and exciting” by both fellow authors and literary critics. Goodhue is also the author of PINK SLIME, LOVE BUG, TIDAL GRAVE, and the the soon to be released, DRY ROT. H.E. Goodhue currently resides in New Jersey with his wife, daughter and two hardheaded pit bulls.
You can find out more about him on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.
HEG: Hey Stephen! I'm happy to be here, but being that I basically broke in, I guess I should just be happy that you don't have a guard dog or baseball bat.
SK: Ha ha, if only you knew how I felt about both dogs and baseball. Let's get started. If you could eat anyone's brains, living or dead, whose brains would you eat?
HEG: Man, that's a tough question. I can only eat one? I'm not a glutton or anything like that. Hell, I'm actually a vegetarian - I know that you (Mr. IH8Veggies) and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. But anyway, what's the point of being undead if I have to have self control? Although you didn't specify that I was a zombie, which brings this question to an entirely new and uncomfortable level. Do you have a hole in your basement floor and a basket with lotion in it?
I guess, the straightforward answer seems like it should be someone like Einstein or Lincoln, but that's too easy. Keith Richards would be an interesting one, though I'm not sure what's knocking around in there. But in truth, since I've become a father and my daughter discovered Caillou, I'd want to eat the brain of the person who created that awful show. Hopefully, I'd eat their brain before they had time to release that evil little monster into the world. Granted, I might need a time machine to pull that off. Is it okay that I base my answer upon the availability of a time machine?
SK: [actually laughing] I can't believe someone actually read my IH8Veggies article! That's awesome! Yes, time machines are naturally fine. But as for the "alleged" lotion hole, I plead the 5th. Moving on...how did you get hooked up with our mutual publisher, the legendary Severed Press?
HEG: Honestly, I was supposed to be doing other things. I was sitting in a graduate class, which was awful, and was editing ZOMBIE YOUTH: PLAYGROUND POLITICS instead of listening to the recycled drivel that was wafting back to me from the front of the room. Randomly, I wondered if a publisher would be interested in ZY, so I started submitting it to them online - again, not doing what I was supposed to do. I ended up with three publishers interested in it, but Severed stood out. They appreciated the genre, put out quality books and didn't ask their authors to sign deals in blood. Severed Press had a solid reputation and I was happy to sign on with them.
SK: Let me just get this out of the way: your cover for PINK SLIME is the. Grossest. Cover. I have ever seen. I'm sure there's a story behind both its conception and creation.
HEG: THANK YOU! I love that cover! As I said before, I'm a vegetarian, but that's not really where PINK SLIME came from. I'm not really into preaching to people or thinking that my way is the right way. But anyway, I had been hard at work on the ZOMBIE YOUTH series and got to a point in one of the books where I was offing characters left and right. I realized that I was a little burnt and needed a palate cleanser.
Don't get me wrong, I love writing and reading about zombies, but I wanted to write about a monster than didn't get much love, something that wasn't corrupted to make it more palatable. I'm tired of monsters becoming shiny or too human. They serve a purpose and it gets lost when they sparkle, which is why I always liked the blob. It's a pure monster. There is no way to make the blob sexy, at least no way outside of Japanese comic books. I strung this thought together with aliens, cheeseburgers and that gross pink crap they cut ground beef with and decided to try and write a story using that as a prompt.
PINK SLIME oozed out of that brain break and granted I'm biased, but I think it's a solid story. It's definitely horror, but it's got some funny parts and a guy named Squirrel, so what's not to love? Severed Press was crazy enough to pick it up. When it came time to design the cover everyone kind of shrugged. So I said how about a pile of cheeseburgers oozing slime? I didn't really think it would happen, but a day later Severed sent me three beautifully sticky options for the cover.
SK: (E-mail me the other two. I'm not kidding. I have to know what the rejects looked like...) I understand you're from New Jersey. First of all: my condolences. Second of all: where do you do the shore thing? Wildwood? Cape May?
HEG: Hey now, don't start insulting the great Garbage State! That stupid show was full of morons, that for the most part, weren't even from my state. I grew up pretty close to the beach. Fortunately they were smaller beaches that didn't have pretty names like Wildwood or Cape May. I learned to surf at a beach called 'The Pit', which was a pretty accurate name. It really was a pit of rocks that you had to climb down to get to a small strip of sand and ocean. Some days you'd find more beer balls than shells, but it was still a great place. Sadly, some soulless developer bought the land and built condos. All the good places go toe up eventually, but I still love the good ole' Armpit of America. I honestly don't think I could manage living in another state. Jersey has great folklore, crazy people and good music - I'd miss it too much to ever leave.
SK: Nah, trust me, I have enough personal experience with New Jersey (shudder) not to base my preconceptions on The Sopranos. Next question: Was school a LORD OF THE FLIES-style ordeal for you? I'm just looking at your ZOMBIE YOUTH series here and extrapolating...
HEG: That's not an uncommon assumption for people to make when they look at the ZY series, but in truth, school really wasn't that bad for me. Everyone thinks I was Piggy, which probably should make me feel bad, but whatever. I'm not exorcising educational demons in ZOMBIE YOUTH. Sure, I suffered the usual embarrassments and rites of passage - in 6th grade I tripped an entire line of people during the Electric Slide at my first school dance. I still hate that song, but not school per se.
ZOMBIE YOUTH is set in a school for a couple of reasons. First, a fellow teacher and I were talking about what would happen if zombies ever got loose in a school. I kept arguing that the students would do much better than the adults because they were more resilient and hadn't committed to one way of thinking. And second, schools are where young people prepare to run the world, but lately it seems like their abilities are being seriously underestimated and undermined.
When it came time to pick a title for the book my wife suggested ZOMBIE YOUTH because of an article she had just read. It used the term to devalue young people and rambled on about how they were unprepared and the world was swirling the bowl. I seriously disagreed and wanted to use the term against them.
I ran with these ideas and created a world where the students literally would have to run everything and have no guidance. It felt right that a school would be their base of operations.
SK: Well, thanks for being with us today, H.E. Any parting shots for your fans?
HEG: Thank you! I appreciate you allowing me to wander over and stay for a bit. Everyone says it, but I truly do appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read something that I have written. Through writing I have met some very cool people (both readers and writers) and I whole-heartedly appreciate their feedback and support. Please feel free to find me on Facebook or Twitter.
I've got a few things in the works with Severed Press right now - a new zombie series and quite possibly some more sea monster mayhem. My latest book, TIDAL GRAVE, just came out and people seem to be enjoying it, so I'd say it might be worth a read.
Thanks again for having me! Like Severed Press, you're one of the few who are doing things right. Too often authors find themselves jealous of rank, sales or deals, but as far as I'm concerned we're all in this together and should celebrate success because it draws more attention and respect to the horror genre.
About TIDAL GRAVE:
Every summer the residents of Sunset Island are besieged by an ungodly plague - tourists. Ray Weller, known to most as The Captain, pilots the ferry that brings the very thing he hates to the shores of his beloved island. Ray loathes the tourists, detests his job and nickname, but will soon discover that Sunset Island is threatened by something far worse than tourists.
Something lies beneath Sunset Island. Something ancient and long forgotten. Something man should never have woken from its slumber.
As a hurricane cuts Sunset Island off from the mainland, residents and tourists alike, are trapped as the sea reclaims the island. Sharks, fleeing what has risen, swarm the flooded streets. The creature, starving from its long hibernation, swims towards Sunset.
Now Ray must find a way to save the island he loves and maybe even a few of the people he hates.
Purchase it now on Amazon US and Amazon UK.