As with most people I'm now so fortunate to be connected with in the horror community, Damien and I met through the ole Twitterverse! It also just so happens that we'll be meeting up at the Mothman Festival that Angel, Mike, and I are attending in September (so stay tuned for crazy, fun photos/footage).
He's an absolute blast to chat with, and I look forward to being a guest on his new podcast endeavor with the equally wonderful Kyra R. Torres! His most recent book, In the Palm of the Left Hand Black*, was a victim of my Evil Eval (go read that here), and his writing is a fun, nostalgic, chill take on horror that cracked me up more than a few times! It absolutely appealed to the cheesy but morbid sense of humor I've been blessed with.
1. What inspired you to tackle horror comedy?
It felt very natural to me as I am kind of an idiot. I got into horror at a very, VERY young age and I remember watching Return of the Living Dead when I was around 4-5 years old; bad parenting, ~*TRAUMA*~ So, I’ve always felt that pull toward the more fun side of horror. I also love the 80’s stuff, most of that has a comedic edge. I started writing wanting to be a Clive Barker clone, because who doesn’t? But the more I read authors like Joe Lansdale, and A. Lee Martinez I felt my writing voice becoming more like my actual voice. This has either been a good idea or a bad idea.
2. What’s been the most rewarding part of the writing process for you?
I love the first few chapters. My favorite part of writing and reading is the characters. That kind of goes back to my love for 80’s horror; every character was a capital C over the top caricature. I love finding what characters I want to write, their dialogue, their history, and how they interact with each other.
3. Who would you say is King of the Cryptids, and why?
This is a tough question. If I have to choose one, I'm choosing Bigfoot, they aren’t my favorite crytpid—shoutout The Squonk, the big sad boi—but they are absolutely the most popular cryptid. When you start getting into the evidence, the sightings, the media, the theories, Bigfoot is the most recognizable cryptid and by far the most popular. I wish I could say it was The Mothman, The Flatwoods Monster, or Nessie, but none of them come anywhere close to where Sassy is.
4. What do you think has been the most useful tool for you when it comes to networking with other folks in the horror community?
I really love this aspect of the indie horror community. I tend to just like talking to people, I’m really kind of a social butterfly. I’ve never really thought of this as networking and more of gaining new friends with the same interests, but I would be lying if I said I don’t notice the boosts we all get as friends. It’s so cool having friends that appreciate my work enough to share it and recommend me to others. I’m always bothering people and talking to them.
5. If the apocalypse were to hit today, what roles do you think you would fill during/after?
Nothing useful. I would be, at best, a pain in the ass; and at worst, a liability. I’d probably be a bit distracting too. No one would benefit from having me chatting away all the time. I guess it depends on what caused the apocalypse too. If we’re talking zombies, I’ll just get in the way. If it’s flooding from global warming? Still going to be in the way.
6. What are 3 of your favorite horror movies?
Only three?!?!?! Ok, let's go with Return of the Living Dead, The Howling, and Puppet Master(But, like, especially 4&5)
7. What piece of advice would you offer to someone who has just decided they wanted to start publishing their writing?
Be prepared to find ways to hurt your own feelings. I do this every single day. Always be who you are. Write what you want to write, people will either love it or want to throw tomatoes at you but at least you’re being genuine you know?
8. What is something that really scares the daylights out of you?
The daily chore of living under the crushing weight of Capitalism, and ghosts. Ghosts scare me pretty bad.
9. I just recently was informed of your new podcast venture! Give us a rundown of what you and Kyra are getting into.
Bubble Bath with Baph is just chaos. We’re just two people who talk to guests from the indie writing community about stuff that has nothing to do with books or writing. It’s really a blast and Kyra and I will probably end up annoying a guest at some point but, eh, big shrug emoji energy.
10. What are some of your goals as a writer? Is it mainly a hobby and creative outlet, or are there other things you’d like to accomplish?
I really just write because I love it. I have fun writing and if I don’t, I don’t write. I’m not looking for anything really. I enjoy meeting other writers; some of which have become favorites of mine as well as close friends. I enjoy the sense of community and it always means the world to see people connecting with my writing. I like to hope that my writing will inspire others in any way at all to be the person they want to be no matter how odd they make think they are. A movie would be pretty bussin’, like, when is someone going to make one of my books into a movie?
Go find Damien!