Thanks to David at Hellnotes for running this weekly series of interviews with some of the authors included in the anthology, JournalStone’s Warped Words, 90 Minutes to Live.
90 Minutes to Live is an anthology dedicated to Rocky Wood. Rocky, the current president of the HWA, was diagnosed with ALS and the proceeds from this book will be donated to help him purchase much needed medical equipment. If you are interested in purchasing the book please follow this link to Amazon and know you will be supporting a great cause.
JG Faherty’s “Univited” is one of the short stories included in 90 Minutes to Live and Brett J. Talley, author of That Which Should Not Be was kind enough to conduct the interview.
So sit back, relax and get to know what makes JG Faherty tick and how he came about writing adult and young adult horror.
Talley: Before we get into your writing, why don’t you introduce yourself? Where do you live? What do you do for a living when you aren’t writing?
Faherty: Hi, Brett! Well, let’s see. I live in a small town in Rockland County, NY, about 40 minutes north of Manhattan. When I’m not writing, I’m writing – my business is writing resumes and other employment search documents. I also do the occasional newspaper article, plus some proofreading and editing. So, basically, I’m at the keyboard all day long.
Talley: What made you decide to submit your story, “Uninvited,” to the 90 Minutes to Live Anthology?
Faherty: Well, there were a few things. First, it’s for a great cause. Rocky Wood, the current president of the Horror Writers Association, was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and proceeds will be going to help him buy some much needed medical equipment. On top of that, it’s being put out by people who besides being professional associates, I also consider friends. And it was a chance to appear in a book with some excellent new and established writers.
Talley: “Uninvited” tells the story of a couple kids who build a transporter in their basement capable of bringing alien lifeforms into our world. Where’d you find your inspiration for the story?
Faherty: Ideas come to me in funny ways. This one was one of those, ‘hmmmm, what if’ moments. As in, all these kids movies about aliens always show the alien as a basically nice guy. What if two kids accidentally brought a real bastard of a life form to Earth?”
Talley: You know, “Uninvited” reminded me of that television show The Outer Limits. Did you ever watch that?
Faherty: I take that as a real compliment. As a kid, I loved reruns of Outer Limits and Twilight Zone. My father introduced them to me.
Talley: You’re also the author of critically acclaimed young adult novel, Ghosts of Coronado Bay. Tell us a little bit about that novel and your inspiration for it.
Faherty: That was another ‘what if.’ This time, it was, what if the Ghost Whisperer was a young girl, and instead of just talking to ghosts, she could make them real? From there, the story just took off. Naturally, her powers get her into trouble with some bad ghosts.
Talley: Both “Uninvited” and Ghosts of Coronado Bay are young adult stories. What draws you to that style of writing?
Faherty: Actually, nothing, which I guess isn’t the answer you were expecting! For me, the story writes itself. I get the idea, and it’s either an adult story or one for teens. There really isn’t much difference, anymore, except you cut back a little on the violence and sex for the teen books.
Talley: C.S. Lewis once said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Do you agree with that statement?
Faherty: Absolutely. I still read YA books – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, the Wendy Ward series. Those stories are just as good – sometimes better – than adult books.
Talley: Given that both adults and young adults can enjoy them, what do you think is the real difference between young adult novels and other novels?
Faherty: Well, as I said earlier, a little less overt sex and violence. Of course, it depends on the age group. Just think TV. If you’re writing for the pre-teen group, your book should be the equivalent of a Nickelodeon show. A little older, and you can go with regular night time TV. Once you’re writing for the over-15 crowd, then it’s basically HBO R-rated movies. Ghosts of Coronado Bay is the equivalent of network TV. Only a few curse words, no sex scenes. But virginity is discussed, and a ghost tries to assault the heroine of the story. And people die.
Talley: What’s your writing process? Do you outline or just dive right in?
Faherty: Both. I start with a basic premise, maybe a paragraph or two summary. Then I write the first couple of chapters. Then I usually get stuck and start forgetting stuff, so I have to create an outline summarizing each chapter in 1 paragraph. Then I do the actual writing, and usually I stick to that outline about 75%. I did write my first novel, Carnival of Fear, without any outline or summary. It all came right from my head, after I had a dream about it. But I haven’t been able to create like that again, at least in the novel format.
Talley: How is your process different when you are writing a short story instead of a full length novel?
Faherty: I don’t outline, for one. I go right from that initial summary paragraph to the story. And I write short stories fast, whereas books often take me a long time.
Talley: Who are your favorite authors? Novels?
Faherty: That’s a tough question. Growing up it was Stephen King, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, Alan Dean Foster, F. Paul Wilson, Roger Zelazny, and several others. Nowdays, it’s Michael McBride, Shaun Jeffrey, Brian Keene, Greg Lamberson, and probably still Stephen King. No one does a better short story than Jack Ketchum or Stephen King. Also, Manly Wade Wellman and Karl Edward Wagner were great short story writers. God, there are so many good writers out there, and then there are the new writers who are making big noise – you should know, you and I are a couple of them, ha ha!
Talley: If you could quit your day job and write full time (and still eat) would you do it?
Faherty: Maybe. It depends. I hate deadlines. I don’t do well with them. I could never be one of those writers like Brian Keene who pitches a book and then agrees to have it done in four months. I like to write when I want and what I want. Now, if each book made me a few hundred grand, and I could do one every two years, then yes, I’d do it full time. But if I had that pressure looming over me every month that if I didn’t finish something on time I couldn’t pay the mortgage, then no, I wouldn’t. Because I think that pressure would take the fun out of it for me, make me less creative. Sometimes when you go from a hobby to a job, you lose something. The passion. It becomes ‘work’ instead of ‘fun,’ and then the next thing you know you’re complaining about the time you spend in front of the computer, instead of looking forward to it.
Talley: What are you working on now?
Faherty: A sequel to Ghosts of Coronado Bay. A new adult horror novel. And 3 or 4 short stories. My usual schizo work pattern. Each day I sit down and work on whichever project excites me at that moment.
Talley: What do you think about the growing trend toward e-readers, like the kindle or nook?
Faherty: Initially, I wasn’t a fan. Much like Capt. Kirk, I believe that there’s no replacing the feel of holding a book in your hands, smelling the paper, seeing the cover art. But then I bought a Kindle, and I’m hooked. It’s totally great. You can go on vacation and have a whole library with you, instead of lugging 6 books in your suitcase. You can buy books for a lot cheaper than $30. And from a writer’s point of view, it’s opened a whole new revenue stream, which is always good. Reading will never go away, even if books become the 8-tracks of the reading world. But I don’t think they will. They’ll be more like vinyl albums, respected and cared for by collectors and forgotten by the teens. Which is okay, as long as those teens are reading something, even if it’s digital. Hell, I don’t care if they’re beaming the words into their brains – we writers still have to write the stories.
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