An AudioHopper Podcast about Horror Writing, hosted by Philip Fracassi. Produced by AudioHopper and Book and Film Globe.
Dark Word #024: Ramsey Campbell
Season Two of The Dark Word takes the ferry cross the Mersey to conclude in style.
Ramsey Campbell was born in Liverpool in 1946 and still lives Merseyside. The Oxford Companion to English Literature describes him as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer”. He has been given more awards than any other writer in the field, including the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association, the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2015 he was made an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University for outstanding services to literature.
He is the author of more than 30 novels and hundreds of short stories. Among his novels are The Face That Must Die, Midnight Sun, The Darkest Part of the Woods, The Grin of the Dark, and more recent titles include Think Yourself Lucky and Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach and The Wise Friend. His latest is Fellstones.
His novels The Nameless and Pact of the Fathers have been filmed in Spain, where a film of The Influence is in production. He is the President of the Society of Fantastic Films.
Dark Word #023: Polymath Josh Ruben
Josh Ruben is an award-winning actor, writer, and director whose feature film SCARE ME—which he wrote, directed and starred in alongside Aya Cash and Chris Redd—debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. For television, Josh directed sketches for "The Late Late Show" with James Corden and episodes of TruTV's "Adam Ruins Everything." As one of the founding members of CollegeHumor's "Originals" department, Ruben has directed and/or starred in thousands of comedic shorts, amassing views well into the billions.
He directed and cameos in all 10 episodes of Funny or Die & Spotify's narrative podcast, THE LAST DEGREE OF KEVIN BACON opposite Rob Reiner, Lamorne Morris, Kyra Sedgwick, and Bacon himself. His second feature, WEREWOLVES WITHIN, premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and is distributed by IFC Films and won a Hollywood Critics Association Midseason award for "Best Indie." Ruben recently produced BLOOD RELATIVES, a genre road trip dramedy, and currently stars in Travis Stevens' feature film A WOUNDED FAWN, which premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. Both films are streaming exclusively on Shudder.
We've interviewed him before and this lively conversation goes into even greater depth about his career in comedy and horror.
Dark Word #022: Catriona Ward
Catriona Ward was born in Washington, DC and grew up in the United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen, and Morocco. Her fourth novel, the gothic thriller Sundial was Observer Thriller of the Month and a USA Today, CNN and Apple Books selection for best new fiction. Stephen King called it ‘Authentically terrifying.’
Ward’s third breakout novel The Last House on Needless Street won the August Derleth Prize, and Esquire magazine listed it as one of the 25 best horror novels of all time.
Ward’s second novel Little Eve won the 2019 Shirley Jackson Award and the August Derleth Prize. It was a Barnes and Noble best Horror Book of 2022 and a Guardian best book of 2018. Ward’s debut The Girl from Rawblood took her “eight years to write,” she reveals on this podcast, likening the experience to a seance. And it also won the 2016 August Derleth, making her the only woman to have won the prize three times.
She also talks about the curse of the second novel (hers was Little Eve) and cautions, “Don’t miss your deadline, kids.” Hashtag Helpful Advice. The book bombed but the descriptions of why are fascinating and helped set the stage for Needless Street to explode.
Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and have been shortlisted for various prizes. She lives in London and Devon.
Dark Word #021: Brian Keene
What's changed? Everything. Brian Keene says the thing that’s changed the most in the years since he sold his first story in 1997 is the rise of the indie press. “The Big Five weren’t publishing horror novels in the mid 90s so you saw the indie press grow and blossom.”
And now, maintains the wildly successful author of over fifty books, the gap between the Big Five and indie presses hasn't just narrowed, it's disappeared.
Keene writes novels, comic books, short stories, and nonfiction, mostly in the horror, crime, and fantasy genres. They have been translated into over a dozen different languages and have won numerous awards. He's mentor to four promising young authors, including Stephen Kozeniewski, the author of the excellent and terrifying Skinwrapper.
He has also written for such media properties as Doctor Who, Thor, Aliens, Harley Quinn, The X-Files, Doom Patrol, Justice League, Hellboy, Superman, and Masters of the Universe.
From 2015 to 2020, he hosted the immensely popular The Horror Show with Brian Keene podcast. He also hosted (along with Christopher Golden) the long-running Defenders Dialogue podcast.
Several of Keene’s novels and stories have been adapted for film, including Ghoul, The Naughty List, The Ties That Bind, and Fast Zombies Suck. Several more are in-development. Keene also served as Executive Producer for the feature length film I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday.
Keene’s work has been praised by The New York Times, The History Channel, The Howard Stern Show, CNN, The Huffington Post, Bleeding Cool, Publisher’s Weekly, Fangoria, Bloody Disgusting, and Rue Morgue.
Keene also serves on the Board of Directors for the Scares That Care 501c charity organization.
He's starting his own IP studio. And if you're looking for one of the greatest Jack Ketchum stories you'll ever hear, it's at about the :31 min mark.
Dark Word #020: Chuck Wendig
Chuck Wendig is the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderers, The Book of Accidents, Star Wars: Aftermath (plus tons of other Star Wars stuff), and more than two dozen other books for adults and young adults. A finalist for the Astounding Award and an alum of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, he has also written comics and games, and for film and television. He’s known for his popular blog about writing, terribleminds, and books about writing such as Damn Fine Story.
Here he talks the nuts and bolts of writing, including whether it’s smart -- or advantageous -- to write “out of order,” as well as the "shape" of the prose on the page and why "all books are audiobooks." Above all, he lives by the commandment “Don’t be boring.” Good advice!
Wendig lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his family.
Dark Word #019: Sadie Hartmann, Sadie Hartmann
As the operator of her own small press, Dark Hart Books, Sadie Hartmann has developed deep expertise in the marketing of this genre. Here she chats with Philip Fracassi about building a "bookstagram" presence (her Mother Horror persona boasts over 21,000 followers), where Stephen King is an active follower, and also talks our agorophobic host through the phenomenon of BookTok.
Hartmann also operates the Nightworms book club, which curates packages of horror related books and merch. She reviews horror for SCREAM magazine and Cemetery Dance Online and is a voting member of the Horror Writers Association. And yeah ... "whatever happened to old-school professionalism?" An insightful, practical guide to earning attention for your craft.
This is one of the best writing podcasts I’ve ever listened to. An absolute treasure trove of information. Fracassi is a great interviewer who asks the kinds of questions I want to see answered by some of the best in the business. Hope this podcast gets resurrected someday!
I miss this show; the archive is invaluable!
I was really hoping AudioHopper would renew this show for another season. Having an up-and-coming household name in the world of Horror Fiction writing, Philip Fracassi, interview established authors and individuals in the publishing world has provided immensely valuable insight for anyone wishing to become a published author or work in the publishing industry. The stories I enjoyed most were the interactions between authors and their editors, and how they came up with ideas for well known works. I hope Philip produces more content, either as a host or a guest, as I will always seek out his informative and entertaining voice in this exciting niche-industry.
My only note? Make the episodes longer! For real, this podcast is super helpful and interesting, with a focus on looking behind the curtain of writing. Great guests and great host!