When you sit down to read a book, you want it to carry you away. With John Everson that's exactly what you get. After getting lost in a few of John's books I had to know more about him. So sit back and let me introduce you ( or re-introduce ) to John Everson.
John Everson is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of seven novels of erotic horror and the macabre, including the Bram Stoker Award-nominated tour de force NIGHTWHERE, as well as his Bram Stoker Award-winner COVENANT, its sequel SACRIFICE and the standalone novels THE 13TH, SIREN, THE PUMPKIN MAN and his latest, the spider-fortified VIOLET EYES.
John shares a deep purple den in Naperville, Illinois with a cockatoo and cockatiel, a disparate collection of fake skulls, twisted skeletal fairies, Alan Clark illustrations and a large stuffed Eeyore. There's also a mounted Chinese fowling spider named Stoker, an ever-growing shelf of custom mix CDs and an acoustic guitar that he can't really play but that his son likes to hear him beat on anyway. Sometimes his wife is surprised to find him shuffling through more public areas of the house, but it's usually only to brew another cup of coffee. In order to avoid the onerous task of writing, he occasionally records pop-rock songs in a hidden home studio, experiments with the insatiable culinary joys of the jalapeno, designs book covers for a variety of small presses, loses hours in expanding an array of gardens and chases frequent excursions into the bizarre visual headspace of '70s euro-horror DVDs with a shot of Makers Mark and a tall glass of Newcastle.
1. Tell me a little about yourself.
Failed rock star, bored journalist, harried horticulturist?
Sometimes I write fiction, too.
2. What attracted you to erotic horror?
Fame and riches? Nudity? Too many Prince songs growing up?
It wasn’t a conscious choice really. Most of the story ideas that come to my mind just naturally seem to have an overt sexual element. I guess I’m just intrigued by the dark side / inherent dangers of that very universal drive. For example, an early story of mine was called “Anniversary.” On the face of it, it’s a love story – the woman is getting ready to entertain her man on their anniversary. But her preparation is to lure another man home with her before her boyfriend comes over. At first you think she’s just kinky but… you see, her man happens to be a werewolf… and she uses her sexuality to bring him home some dinner for their date! The story wouldn’t exist without the sexual element. I think sex is one of the most repressed and hidden aspects of people. While we plaster sexually alluring advertisements everywhere, most people don’t readily admit to any aspect of their sexual desires in open conversation. So to me, that’s prime ground to explore for fiction. And frequently in my stories, people get into trouble because of repressed or twisted sexuality. My novel NightWhere is a prime example of following that idea through to the extreme.
3. How long have you been writing?
All my life, really! I wrote stories in grade school and high school, and was an editor on my high school and college newspapers. I always knew that I was going to be a “writer” of some kind, and majored in journalism. But my first short horror story appeared in an actual magazine at the start of 1994. So I’ve been publishing fiction for 20 years.
4. Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
Books! I was a voracious reader growing up. I used to bring home bags of adult science fiction novels from the library when I was in grade school. I loved any stories that painted a faraway bizarre world that helped me escape from the mundane one I really lived in. Science fiction books got me through my childhood by taking me away to amazing places. I realized pretty early on that I wanted to have the same effect on other people someday – I wanted to have someone read something I wrote and be transported into another world, no matter how fleeting the visit might be.
5. What do you find most challenging and enjoyable as an author?
The most challenging thing is to force myself to buckle down and write. When I started writing a lot of fiction 20 years ago, I had all the time in the world – I used to sit around all weekend and work on writing music or stories. That’s what I did for fun. I wrote dozens of stories in that first ten years, as well as my first novel, Covenant. But right around the time my fiction career started to actually take off a bit, I became a new father … and my dayjob responsibilities also steadily grew more demanding. It seems like the more I’m called upon for fiction by editors and publishers, the less time I have to write! And by the time my son is in bed after a long day at the office, really the last thing I feel like is sitting down and starting work on “the side job.” At that point, you just want to veg out. So the challenging thing for me is simply making the time – when I’m not wiped out! – to sit and write for a few hours.
That said, the flip side – the most enjoyable aspect of being an author – is when I DO get myself finally strapped in and really working on a story, and the words flow cleanly, easily, and a scene seems to “write itself.” That’s the real rush of being an author, because I’m telling myself a story then, and I enjoy the experience of realizing the story just as I used to when I read all those escapist books growing up. And sometimes, I even manage to surprise myself…
6. What books do you enjoy in your free time?
I’ve slowly migrated from reading mostly science fiction 25 years ago to reading mostly horror today. Tales of the macabre are the kind of fiction I naturally seem to write, and now most of my friends come from that world… so I usually have a stack of things in the horror genre to read from friends, on top of the things I would read just because I saw something that interested me.
7. Who is your favorite author and why?
My favorite working horror author right now is Edward Lee. His prose is perfect – when I settle in for a Lee book, I know that he’s going to suck me into some ridiculously bizarre situations that I won’t be able to stop reading. His characters, his dialogue, his story ideas – they lock me to the chair. And that’s what a good book should do. Lee’s novels are the only ones in the last twenty years that have kept me glued to my seat from the time I opened the first page in the afternoon until I finished the last page sometime after midnight.
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Spend more time writing, and less time on Facebook. And don’t worry about where you’re going to sell the story. Tell yourself the story you want to read. You are your most important audience.
9. Can you tell us about any of your new work?
My seventh novel, Violet Eyes came out from Samhain in October – it’s kind of my homage to old Creature Feature movies, with a horde of genetically engineered spiders and flies overtaking a small town near the Everglades. It’s a Sci-Fi/Horror/Thriller and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Currently, I’m finishing up a story called (tentatively) “The Family Tree” which was supposed to be a short novella, but now seems to have mushroomed into a short novel. This one returns to a more erotic horror bent centering around a tree which may be something of a Fountain of Youth. But every amazing thing has a downside, right?
10. What question do you wish someone would ask and what is the answer?
Q: Can I give you the money to pay off your mortgage?
A: Yes. Yes, you can!
Learn more about John on his site, www.johneverson.com, where you can sign up for a direct-from-the-author monthly e-newsletter with information on new books, contests and occasionally, free fiction.
Want to connect? Follow John on Twitter @johneverson, or find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/johneverson.