Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Author Interview: Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed: Horror's Dark Master
Author Interview by A.J. Llewellyn

Part One - Part Two tomorrow

1. Rick, welcome back to the Dark Divas! We’re very excited to have you back here. Since your last visit, you’ve had two new books released, Fugue and How to Become Sexually Irresistible (I personally think you’ve got that one nailed!) but I digress. Your newbie Dead End Street looks frightening and creepy. Can you tell me where the inspiration came for the Tuttle House and do you believe in haunted houses?

Thanks for having me, AJ. I’m excited about Dead End Street, and even more excited that it’s coming out around Halloween. Like most inspiration, it’s hard to say where this one came from. The story is about five misfit teenagers who decide to form a Halloween Horror Club and have a contest to tell terrifying stories. The twist is that they tell the stories in the old abandoned Tuttle house, the scene of an infamous murder of almost an entire family fifteen years prior. The house may not be as empty as they think… I guess the inspiration came from growing up in a small Ohio River town much like the one in which the book is set. I grew up in a valley with tree-covered hills all around and lone houses as the tree line were full of possibilities for horror.

I do believe in haunted houses and ghosts. I think the energy of living people can sometimes stick around long after they’re gone physically. At least it’s more fun to think that way.

2. Have you ever seen a ghost or had an ‘other worldly’ encounter?

Yes. Do you want to know more? It happened when I was in college. My girlfriend (who later became my wife…a whole ‘nother story) and I had stayed on campus over a holiday weekend, so the place was fairly deserted. We had just settled down to go to sleep when I heard someone jiggling the doorknob on the bedroom door. Before I could do anything, I looked over and a short young man about my age at the time (20) was walking across the bedroom, toward the bed…naked. This was not sexy by any means. It was terrifying. I shut my eyes and turned toward my girlfriend. When I looked back, he was gone. I got up and checked around the apartment and the door was still locked from the inside. The scariest thing was: my girlfriend and I said nothing to each other until several minutes after this happened. And she saw the exact same thing.

I still wonder if it was a coincidence that the apartment complex I lived in that year was next door to a cemetery.

3. Well, since you bring up the issue of your wife, were you attracted to men at the time or was this something that developed or became more obvious to you over time?

That's a question that probably needs a lot more involved answer than I can give here. I will just say that I was aware of an attraction to men, but it took me a long time to accept it. Acceptance and awareness can often be miles and miles apart.

4. Do you watch scary movies? Since it’s Halloween I need to know and if so, what’s your all time favorite?

I LOVE scary movies! I always have, which is probably why I like to write scary stories. It’s a point of contention between my partner and me because he does not; I usually load up our Netflix queue with horror movies when he goes out of town on business. My all-time favorite horror movie? Do I have to pick just one? No, no, I can’t. Some favorites that immediately come to mind are Carnival of Souls, Psycho, an Asian horror film called Audition (the most disturbing, to me, horror movie I’ve ever seen), The Haunting (the original version), and Night of the Living Dead. I also am absolutely creeped out by Repulsion, an old Roman Polanski film with a very young Catherine Deneuve.

5. Wait…do you mean the Japanese movie Audition…original title Odishan? I remember seeing trailers for that saying “It makes Psycho seem quaint.” What is it about the movie that was so disturbing?

That’s the one! I think the filmmakers manipulate you very well, the movie almost seems like a light romantic comedy at the start, and then the downward plunge into insanity and terror is unrelenting. The idea of using acupuncture needles for torture was a fresh and chilling idea. The anti-heroine (stalker) looks so sweet and innocent, it just makes it all the more shocking that she is so evil and twisted.

6. Did you ever see the Italian horror movie Suspiria? It’s my guilty pleasure. I love Psycho and still find it chilling even after watching I a million times. I interviewed Anthony Perkins many years ago and he told me he couldn’t have a shower without leaving the door open. Do movies or stories affect you that way? Take hold and not let go – apart from Audition, that is?

I have never seen Suspiria. Guess I’ll have to add it to my Netflix queue. Of course, movies and stories affect me very deeply, although I have become a bit jaded when it comes to horror, which is why Audition had such a profound effect.

7. What was the first Halloween costume you had as a kid? What do you remember of your first time out trick or treating? Oh…and what’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Although I’m too chicken to do drag now, I can remember being in first or second grade and dressing up as a little girl (why my parents or no one else thought this was strange is still a puzzle).


I wore a blonde wig with pigtails, white dress, patent leather shoes, and even had a little girl’s coat, borrowed from a cousin. At that school, we all went home for lunch. We put on our costumes then and came back to school and sat at different desks from our usual. No one knew who I was!

8. You’d be too chicken to do drag now…is this really true, Rick? Because I’ve seen your MySpace page and you have a lot of photos there…aren’t there a few of the adult Rick in a frock and some nice high heels??? You can trust me with this info…nobody will know oh…I’m forgetting where I am…

No, it’s true. I admire drag queens. I think they’re some of the toughest, bravest men around. And I just do not have their courage.

9. Who or what would you dress up as now if you could be anybody or anything this Halloween?

I’d strip naked, wrap myself in aluminum foil, and go as leftovers.

10. This is where I could make some remarks about the um…other white meat, but I won’t. I grew up in Australia. Halloween did not exist and trick or treating was something I read about in Archie comics…but it’s something I know has changed over the years, right? Weirdoes putting razor blades in candy etc…and now, pedophiles in Maryland are forced to put up pumpkin signs outside their houses saying “No Candy Here” and they have to turn out their porch lights. Is Halloween still Halloween, Rick?

It’s a different world from when I grew up, but I’d like to think that, yes, Halloween is still Halloween. Everything changes over time…Trick or treating was very different, I suspect, from what kids experience nowadays. I grew up in a small town, and we went out after dark and were out for hours. I would come home with a pillowcase full of teeth-rotting treats. My favorite candy? Good and Plenty, honey. I loves me some black licorice.

11. Here’s some licorice…all yours. What was your favorite toy growing up?

Charlie, a stuffed monkey I slept with every night. One night, his ear fell off and I was hysterical. My mother had to get up and stitch it back on immediately.

12. Was he a spooky monkey or a nice monkey? And what happened to him?

He was a very nice monkey and I don’t know what happened to him. The real version is I outgrew him and he went into our basement. He probably was thrown out when my mother sold our house after my father died. Or maybe…he’s still with me. And he’s my muse and inspiration for everything.

13. It’s Halloween and I have to ask…which of the Village People singers do you consider the sexiest/most intriguing?

Well, since I have some history with the leather gear, I suppose the leatherman and I would have some things to talk about (in addition to all things chaps, harnesses, caps; we could also discuss big moustaches, something I also used to have).

14. Tell me about your life in Seattle. All settled in Seattle? (Hey, swell movie title!) And have you found your personal coffee shop yet? How does Lily like living there?

Seattle has been great so far. I love the natural beauty, the political left leaning, and the kind of laid-back energy of the place. I’m still working on making it home, but I’m confident it will become that. I’m much more suited to Seattle than I was to Miami. I have found my favorite personal café and it’s a dangerous place: it’s an organic, vegan friendly doughnut shop (only in Seattle!) near my house called Mighty O. I can walk there and try to limit myself to no more than once a week because I am simply unable to just buy coffee or even one doughnut. Lily is adjusting well. As a Boston Terrier, heat and her snout do not mix well, so I think she’s more comfortable here.

15. A vegan friendly donut? Surely this must taste…gruesome? The Mighty O? That sounds a little bit…naughty, Rick...

Far from gruesome. They’re the best doughnuts ever…moist and cakey. Just biting into one makes me have a mighty O! Talk about your glazed doughnuts!

16. LOL! Do you anticipate many trick or treaters coming by this weekend? What kind of candy will you give them or will you make the little buggers sing for their snacks…you know do tricks?

We live in a very residential area, so I would imagine we’ll have some trick or treaters. I’d love to give them some good Washington apples, but that’s a no-no these days, so I will probably stick with sterile-wrapped mini candy bars. I am not making children do tricks. I save that for adult men.

17. You walked right into that one, mate. What’s the best trick Bruce can ever do for you?

Put up with me.

Please stay tuned tomorrow for more Halloween, Horror and Celebrity Cell Mates with RICK R. REED.

In the meantime, please check out his er...horrifically cool links:

Dead End Streete-book: http://amberquill.com/DeadEndStreet.htmlAmazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/Dead-End-Street-Rick-Reed/dp/1602729174/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224538461&sr=8-3How I Became Sexually Irresistiblee-book: http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/SexuallyIrresistible.htmlFugue:e-book: http://amberquill.com/AmberAllure/Fugue.htmlOrientation:e-book: http://amberquill.com/AmberAllure/Orientation.htmlAmazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/Orientation-Rick-R-Reed/dp/1602729379/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224538643&sr=1-4


Jon Michaelsen said...

As always, A.J - you ask the best questions to get authors to share a little insight about themselves; I can wait for the part; thanks for sharing one of my favs with us!

Jon Michaelsen

Jambrea said...

Another great interview AJ. I love getting to know authors through you. :) I can't wait to find out more about Rick R. Reed. :)