In light of my recent agent news and acceptance of YA horror, I’ve started a series for queriers of horror, paranormal, paranormal romance, fantasy, dark fantasy, thriller and those of us that write about things that go bump in the night all the way to the monsters that feast on human flesh. It’s for those of us that write anything out of the mainstream, but mostly this series is for those of you on the path to publishing looking for some like-minded souls.
Here you will find interviews from traditionally published authors, agents looking for the latest and greatest in our field, and authors that go the indy route of publishing themselves. The idea here is not to promote any one way as the right path, but to give everyone looking to get published or veterans in the field a place to meet and get to know other writers that write the same thing you do!
1) Welcome to the blog, Brooks! I hear you’re a Paul Rudd impersonator. Any favorite Rudd moments?
Thanks for having me! What I have learned is that you have to accept the Rudd, not own the Rudd. I learned this the hard way a few years back when I made the ultimate douchey fratboy move, and told some girl, “You know, some people think I look like Paul Rudd.” Her outraged response? “No you don’t! Paul Rudd is hot!” (Seriously, she got very offended on the behalf of Mr. Rudd.) What I have since learned is that if someone tells me I resemble a certain popular comedic actor, smile and say thank you, but never force the association; it never ends well. In all honesty, I live for the day when some girl comes up to Paul Rudd at a press event and asks him if anyone’s ever told him he looks like that literary agent, Brooks Sherman.
2) Tell us more about your clients! What sort of amazing work have you represented? I hear you like to hang with otters and amazing Peter Pan and Hook-inspired stories.
3) Why love horror? What sort of horror have you enjoyed reading or favorite films?
I’m a fan of old-school horror, that of suspense and dread, both in books and in film. Splatterpunk and torture porn are not really my thing, so I sit out most of the modern-day horror movies. Among the best horror I’ve read in children’s books is Rick Yancey’s gothic Monstrumologist series, and on the adult side of things, I’m currently re-reading Joe Hill’s HORNS, which is one of my favorite books from the past five years. Oh, and one of my favorite series growing up was Angela Sommer-Bodenburg’s The Little Vampire series, which took great horror elements but combined them with humor and heart.
4) Since you’re looking for MG, YA, and Adult horror, what sort of horror are you looking for?
See above. I’d love something atmospheric and moody. People might be tired of seeing sexy werewolves in YA, but I for one would love to see a spooky middle grade mystery involving wolves, and moors, and mists. Also, if anyone’s read John Bellairs’ gothic mysteries, I think some middle grade along those lines would be a nice return to form. For YA, I’d love to see some psychological horror, perhaps tinged with mystery or some supernatural element. (Say, perhaps Veronica Mars meets The Lost Boys.) And as for adult? I would do horrible, unspeakable things to work with a writer who crafts the kinds of terrifying yet heartbreaking stories Joe Hill pens. (If you haven’t read his ghost story HEART SHAPED BOX, go buy it now.)
5) What do you think makes a good horror story? What makes it different from say a thriller, paranormal romance, or dark fantasy?
I don’t think it’s so cut and dry. Plenty of thrillers or dark fantasies have horror elements, and vice versa. The one certain thing about a good horror story is that it’s going to scare you. How it does that, through gore, or shock, or (my personal favorite) the gradual build of dread, ultimately does not matter. What matters is at the end, you’re reluctant to turn the light out before you go to sleep, and you might just check outside your bedroom window a couple more times. I will say that suspense is key–if you have gruesome murders or monsters jumping out from closets every other page, the bang for your reader’s buck is going to diminish rapidly. You want to create a spark of uncertainty, then nourish it, gradually, until you build it to a moment of pure, unadulterated fear.
6) I’ve heard a buzz that editors are currently looking to snatch up good horror stories. Have you heard this as well? What is your take on submitting horror to editors?
I’ve heard this as well. I don’t know who started the rumor that “horror is dead,” but they’d best be keeping an eye out. Because horror’s sneaking up behind them. Authors like Joe Hill and (FinePrint client) Laird Barron are in high demand. Pulp horror might not be in vogue at the moment, but literary horror–evocative, atmospheric writing infused with blood and/or dread (and more blood)–appears to be quite popular.
7) In a recent interview, you mentioned wanting to sell this generations THE WITCHES in a recent interview with FizzyGrrl , which is a good and creepy middle grade favorite of mine. Why did THE WITCHES strike home with you as a favorite read?
I think I was about 7 when my mother first tried to read THE WITCHES to me. She had to put it down shortly after she began, because in the first chapter the narrator goes out of his way to convince you that a) witches are real, and b) they want to kill children. And that narrator more than convinced 7-year-old me. A few months later, though, I couldn’t resist, and I picked the book up for myself. And then I couldn’t put it down. THE WITCHES does a wonderful job of balancing whimsy and adventure with sheer terror. Add to that a narrative voice that makes it clear just how serious the stakes are, and you have yourself an irresistible combination for a child reader.
8) Last but not least, I ask every interviewee to share a scary story. Has anything happened to you that absolutely terrified you and lives with you to this day? If not a real-life tale, perhaps a story that stuck with you and still gives you the chills?
I…can’t. If I tell you, it might find me.
Okay, seriously, now: probably the scariest thing I experienced (albeit in a peripheral manner) was less than two weeks into my freshman year of college, when local police arrested a serial killer who was living just a few blocks away from my dorm. They found the bodies of eight women in his house. It was a very sobering welcome to “the real world,” and it was a very long time before I felt comfortable walking alone at night again.
Thanks for the interview Brooks!
If you’d like to learn more about him and what he’s looking for, take a gander over HERE