>An Interview With J G Faherty


Hello folks today for your reading pleasure, please allow me to presenmt an interview with the author J G Faherty

GNOH – Hi JG, how are things with you?

Fine, thanks! Glad to be talking with you.

GNOH – Could you give the readers a bit if a background on your good self?

Sure. Depending on how you look at it, I guess you could say I either started writing fiction very early or late in life. In elementary school, I was always writing weird stories about killer cats and my own comic strip versions – usually gross – that mocked the television shows of the sixties and seventies. But then I stopped writing for some reason, and never really picked it up again until I was forty. That was ten years ago. I got back into it by accident. At the time, I had a part-time gig with Princeton Review to do test prep guides for elementary school students. Part of that included writing reading essays for tests. I realized it was fun, and I was pretty good at it. So I started trying my hand at short stories. As a lifelong fan of horror and scifi, I just naturally wrote in that genre.

GNOH – Reading your biography, it’s clear you had one hell of fun childhood.  
Do you think it’s different for children these days?

Way different. When I was a kid, you left the house on Sat. Morning and came home when your mother called you for dinner. We sometimes biked 20-30 miles a day just to see places. We played baseball and kickball without leagues or supervision. We built forts in the woods and then slept there on summer nights. There were no video games, and you only watched tv if it was raining. We drank our water from a hose if we got thirsty, and we swam in lakes and streams. And, of course, we did a lot of crazy s**t too. Hide and seek in cemeteries. BB gun wars. Fun times!

GNOH – How much of your childhood experiences has made its way into your writing?

The experiences themselves? Not a lot, probably – kids, and even some adults, today wouldn’t relate well to the things we did 35 years ago, because times are different today. But what does make it in are the emotions I felt, because those are universal, and the actual places where I lived and played. I set a lot of my stories in upstate NY, the Hudson Valley, and the south because I either lived or vacation there. The only exceptions would be stories that take place in the seventies or eighties – for those, I can include more of my own experiences.

GNOH – Your short stories have appeared in a number of publications.  Is there a personal favourite out of them?

Wow, that would be hard to say. I’ve proud of everything that’s been published, and grateful to every editor who published me, because it’s a tough business getting published in the horror genre. Getting into Cemetery Dance was a thrill, because that’s probably the number one horror mag. And there have been a few anthologies that were exceptional. For me, the biggest thrills have been when I get published in a magazine or antho alongside the same people I enjoyed reading back in the 80s and 90s, people like Peter Straub, F. Paul Wilson, Thomas Monteleone, John Skipp, etc. Of course, there are plenty of heroes I haven’t been published together with, so I guess I need to keep writing.

GNOH – Is there a dream publication you’d like to see carry one of your stories?

I’d love to see myself in Postscripts. I’d like to get into Cemetery Dance again and show myself it wasn’t a fluke! For anthologies – Year’s Best Horror.

GNOH – How would you describe your writing style?

I don’t know. I don’t think a writer can tell you their own style, unless they only have one. Most have more than one. I’ve written stories that were fast and frightening, slow and suspenseful, and just downright creepy. I’m going to be in the upcoming Blood Lite III from the Horror Writers Association, so I’ve done ‘funny.’ I can be gross and violent if the story calls for it, but I don’t do a lot of stories in that vein – I’m not a fan of the current ‘torture porn’ or ‘psycho killer horror’ trends. All gross-out and no plot does not a good book or movie make.

GNOH – Carnival Of Fear is your debut novel, what was the inspiration for it?

A dream. I dreamt about this carnival where all the monsters in the rooms of the haunted mansion came alive, and the people were trapped inside. And there was this scary skeleton-like demon watching them, controlling everything. But it wasn’t a nightmare – I stayed with the dream to the end, and when I woke up I remembered the whole thing so vividly I didn’t even have to write it down. I started working on the book the next day. The first draft was 120,000 words and I wrote it in only three months.

GNOH – How hard or easy was it to get the book published?

Incredibly hard! The first draft was a bloated mess, and it took me two years to get it down to 100,000 words and no plot issues. Then I took the Borderlands Bootcamp novel writing class and had it beaten and flogged by F. Paul Wilson, Thomas Monteleone, Thomas Tessier, and Ginjer Buchanan, plus all my camp mates, several of whom have novels published as well. After that, I went home and lopped off another 6,000 words. By this time, it was almost four years after I wrote it. I tried selling it for two years, got lots of interest, but no takers. Then a small publisher agreed to buy it, but they went out of business before the contract was signed. I put it aside for a while, and then in 2009 started shopping it again. This time it was picked up by another small press company, Graveside Press, who’d previously published a short story of mine also set in the Carnival of Fear universe.

GNOH – How did writing a novel differ from a short story?

They’re two very different beasts. In short stories, you don’t really worry about subplots. It’s tell your story as succinctly as possible. In novels, you need subplots, and more characters, and a larger view of what’s happening. In a short story, there’s no downtime. It’s hit and run. A novel is a long drive across the state where you have to keep your passengers entertained the whole time – and yourself. I often find I get bogged down in the middle and I often have to fight through that part of the writing.

GNOH – What do you think makes a good story?

A good story, whether short story or novel, needs a well-written beginning, middle, and end. The plot can be simple or complex, but it has to exist. You need believable characters. They don’t have to be likeable, but they have to seem real. No connivances – I hate when a story ends in the hero’s favour because he miraculously finds a gun on the floor or gets saved by the angel that’s watching over him. And too many stories don’t have endings – they leave you totally hanging, wondering what the point of the past x-number of pages was. Lord save me from the ambiguous ending!

GNOH – Why do you think so many people look down on a good pulpy horror novel, even amongst genre authors?  Personally I love good old fashioned pulp horror.  I read to be entertained not enthralled by some clever word play.

Actually, there’s no reason you can’t have both! But I know what you mean. Too many editors and teachers will tell you that pulp horror – B-horror, I call it – has been overdone. And to a degree it has. The trick is to create a pulp story that is more than just a pulp story. Combine the classic with something new, whether that something new be better word play (King’s SALEM’S LOT is a perfect example of that) or a new twist (as in the first few Anita Blake books. Classic vampire hunter tales, but with twists – she’s a sexy supernatural herself.) It also helps to be in the right place at the right time. Brian Keene did that with his zombie tales – started a zombie fad that’s still going. And I think pulp horror is making a bit of a comeback – a lot of magazines and anthologies are requesting it.

GNOH – The novel has almost every classic monster thrown into the mix, were you ever concerned with getting carried away?  Personally I love the novel so far.

Concerned? Try worried as hell. During the early stages of the book, when I was having sections critiqued by writer friends and writing groups, overall everyone loved it. But the one universal criticism I received was that there were too many monsters, which in turn necessitated too many characters, because a lot of people had to die. That’s why the book had to be non-stop action, so it would hold the readers’ attention. It’s one thing to have a movie like the Friday the 13th films or Halloween films where you start with 10 or 15 people and kill a couple in every scene. Movies hold peoples’ attention better than books. In a book, that’s a lot of characters. But I felt it was possible to do it, and do it right, because it’s been done on occasion before. King’s THE STAND. Keene’s CASTAWAYS. And I guess it did work. I’ve gotten nothing but four and five star reviews from the horror review sites and on Amazon.

GNOH – Carnival Of Fear, is clearly a love letter to the days of Drive In Theatres, do you think we have lost something special with the demise of them?

Yes. I’m lucky because where I live in the Hudson Valley area of NY, there are still two drive-ins within a half hour’s ride. We go all the time in the summer. It’s something everyone should experience in their life time. But I think it’s more than that – it’s not just the drive ins that are disappearing, but the B-type movies. Nowadays it’s all torture this, chop up that, eat those people. We need more fun scary movies. ‘Cloverfield’ was a great drive-in movie. So was ‘Paranormal Activity.’ And ‘Scream 4’ – a perfect drive in movie.

GNOH – Can you tell us about The Monster Inside?

Sure. That’s a collection of short stories and poems where I decided to try my hand at self-publishing an electronic book. About two-thirds of the stories are reprints, many of them no longer available anywhere else. The rest are new and aren’t available anywhere else. It’s more of a collector’s book than anything else. But it does give you a good look at the wide range of styles I write in. Everything from pure, traditional horror to psychological terror to quiet chills.

GNOH-   If you could clear the rights to any monster, which one would you love to write about?

Well, I have been, and always will be, a vampire addict. Dracula was the first monster I loved as a kid. And what’s great about vamps is there are infinite possibilities with them. Good, bad, ugly, handsome/beautiful, ancient, new – you can do anything with vampires. But there are some overlooked monsters that could be fun – mummies, for instance.

GNOH – What do you do to relax?

Who has time to relax? Actually, I work from home – I own a resume company, http://www.a-perfect-resume.com – (plug, plug), so I can often find time to write and edit during the day, which leaves my evenings free to relax with the family. We watch TV, cook, maybe rent a movie or sit out on the deck in the summer and have a glass of wine. On the weekends, my wife’s a bit of a late sleeper, so again I can usually get a couple of hours of writing done on Sat. and Sun. mornings, and have the rest of the day free for yard work, golf, hiking, whatever. I enjoy playing the guitar, and I’m an amateur photographer. Used to be a professional, but gave it up. I’m also a Mets fan, but that’s not relaxing.

GNOH – Can you tell us about any future projects?

Yeah, I think 2011 will be a busy year. I’m in the process of signing contracts to have two more novels published, by JournalStone Press. They’re a new small press, but they’ve got some great marketing strategies that I hope will get my name out there. We’re shooting to premier the first book, a YA novel about a teenage girl who can see ghosts, at this year’s HWA Stoker Awards Weekend. The second book, about a group of four friends who, as adults, have to undo the evil they let loose in their town as teenagers. That one I’m hoping will be out in October. And in the meantime, I’ll have a short story in the HWA’s Blood Lite III and an essay in Butcher Knives and Body Parts from DarkScribePress, both coming out later this year

Many many thanks JG, it has been a pleasure.  JG’S books can be purchased in both physical and electronic versions from all the usual places





2 thoughts on “>An Interview With J G Faherty

  1. >Yes, very good interview. JG's answers pack a punch, especially on how hard it was to get that initial publishing deal, but he never gave up.Following now, after finding you on BookBlogs.

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