An Interview With Troy Ray McCombs
Hello folks please extend a warm Ginger Nuts welcome to Troy McCombs, an new and upcoming author from the US
Things are great. I’m happy to have my first novel published. It’s a lifelong dream come true!
GNOH – Can you tell the readers a bit about yourself?
Yes. I’m an Agoraphobic 31-year-old writer of horror. I love pretty much anything to do with that genre, although I have branched out over the years. I also love all forms of art.
GNOH – How bad is your agoraphobia, and do you know what caused it?
It started off as a social anxiety disorder, and just escalated from there. As to what caused that, I don’t really know. When I’m around groups of people—especially people I don’t know real well—I get very nervous. As I teen, I used to even black out and have severe panic attacks. Not the least bit fun. I can leave my house, but I can’t go far without feeling homesick (or just plain sick). I don’t even like going grocery shopping. Sitting outside on my porch is as close as I like to come to getting out.
GNOH – How do others react to you when you tell them? Would I be right in thinking not a lot of people understand the condition?
You would be right in thinking not a lot of people understand the condition. Heck, I don’t fully understand the condition, and I’ve had it for almost two decades. I’ve gotten weird looks from telling people, been rejected for it, and been treated poorly because of it. I believe a lot of people think it’s not a ‘real’ disorder. It’s certainly not a ‘common’ disorder. All I know is that it does exist, and I do have it.
GNOH – So how did you get into the writing game?
I first started writing when my third grade teacher made the class write a short story for credit. I was hooked immediately. That was the day when I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up.
GNOH – So what’s the appeal of horror to you?
Why horror? Easy. Fear. When I was a kid, everything scared me. I’d cry after watching Unsolved Mysteries, the Exorcist, or Amityville. I’d be too afraid to go to sleep by myself, thinking a ghost or demon or monster or alien would get me. I hated being scared, but at the same time, it was somehow entertaining, too. Now that I’m older, I realized being afraid was fun. Still is… except for the fear of getting on a plane. That scares me so much, I don’t want to travel anywhere!
GNOH – Who would you say are the main influences on your writing?
One name: H.P. Lovecraft. Nobody has had more influence on me, and you can definitely see it in any of my stories.
GNOH – What would you say are your three favourite Lovecraft Tales are and why?
Oh wow. That’s a very tough question. I don’t know if I have a favourite top three. If I had to say, I’d probably say: From Beyond, The Outsider, and a toss up between The Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in the Darkness. From Beyond has one of the most interesting concepts I’ve ever read (and parts of it, in a sense, tie into Mayberry Road). I love The Outsider for its theme. It has the best twist ending! Anyone who ‘feels’ like an outsider has to read that story. The Call of Cthulhu and Whisperer in Darkness are just downright eerie. The former gives me the creeps when I think of looking at the ocean and what REALLY lurks beneath all that water. The latter gives me the creeps when I think of what lurks in outer space and whether space travel is relevant for mankind.
Hmm. Well, I write short stories differently than novels. With shorts, I rely on twist endings and more ‘atmospheric’ horror. Little action. With novels, I write much more action, add lots of subplots, and try to really flesh out all my characters.
GNOH – When composing a novel, how much prep work do you put in before actually writing the story?
Depends on the story/possible length. I’ve written novels with virtually no prep work. I’ve also written them with up to fifteen pages of prep. Varies from story to story.
GNOH – Do you develop the characters first, or the plot first, and which do you think is the most important?
For me, plot comes first. Characters, however, are probably more important, though. The characters control the plot.
GNOH – Prior to The House on Mayberry Road being published, you self published a couple of novels? Did self publishing teach you anything?
Yes, I’ve self-published quite a few novels. What it taught me: writing isn’t all there is. Marketing and getting your name out there takes the real work.
GNOH – What was the hardest part of self publishing?
Marketing. Getting my name out there. Getting people interested.
GNOH – How are you doing this? Have you tried places like BOOK BLOGS, it’s a good site for new authors to network with bloggers.
I don’t think I’ve really tried book blogs; at least not yet. So far, I’ve been posting blurbs on the Amazon Discussion Forums (or had been; they kind of did away with them now). Just as I’m not good in real-life social situations, I am not so good at online social situations, either. I’m a writer, not a publicist. I know it’s another part of the game, but I just don’t know how to communicate with people.
Some of them, yes. I either get rejected or get no responses at all. I understand that this is just a business. No rejection is personal. Editors and publishers are very busy people.
GNOH – How hard was it getting The House on Mayberry Road published?
Not too hard. I sent it to the company, they liked it, and it all bloomed from there.
GNOH – Writing is a rather solitary job, so how did it feel having an editor look over your work, especially after being self published?
Good question. I just hoped the editor liked it. She did. I have faith in my ability, even though my work is not everybody’s cup of tea. No two people like the same thing. That’s the way it is in every art.
GNOH – Can you tell us about The House on Mayberry Road
The House on Mayberry Road is about a haunted house harbouring much more than mere ghosts and demons. The things in this house are beyond man’s scope of conceivability.
‘When four adventurous teenagers go to investigate the haunted house out on Mayberry Road, they get more than they bargained for. One boy ends up dead, two others psychotic, and another comatose. The house is not just haunted, it is somehow alive. And extremely dangerous.
Soon, local Sheriff Charlie Steera and Psychic John Rollings team up to investigate the dreaded abode and to determine the underlying source of its deadly history. What they find is startling—even to a gifted psychic like John. Ghosts and poltergeists are the small potatoes in this assignment. Something big has burrowed a hole into the world through this house. John must figure out what… before it gets to him first.
The first chapter basically ‘popped’ into my head. I thought it would make a great beginning to a novel. So I wrote it.
GNOH – What album would you suggest as the soundtrack to the book?
Tough question. I can see the music from John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ as the soundtrack. In fact, the monsters in that movie gave me ideas for monsters in Mayberry Road.
GNOH – The haunted house novel is a well used trope, have you tried to give a fresh spin on some of the basic ideas?
That’s one of the very reasons I wrote it—to do something new… or at least try to. I tried to throw in LOTS of fresh spins. I really admire originality.
GNOH – Can you spill any beans on some of the twists, or do we just have to read the book. I’ve peaked at the first couple of chapters and I’m really liking it so far. As soon as I read the next three books in my review pile I’ll be diving into this one?
Can’t spill any beans. What’s the fun in reading it if you know what’s going to happen? 🙂
I think you’ll be diving into this one. I tried to make this as fresh and as interesting as possible. During the read, I think anyone familiar with Lovecraftian themes will find many references to him and his work here. The only difference is that there is a whole lot more action taking place in Mayberry.
GNOH – So what can we expect from you in the future?
More novels, horror and otherwise. More new, unique, cool ideas. The sky isn’t the limit for imagination; the human being’s mind is. A quote I often write, goes: “Imagination is boundless; reality is a confinement from true freedom.”
Thanks Troy i’s always fun getting to talk to new and upcoming authors. A review of The House on Mayberry Road will be appearing soon.
In the meantime why not a pick up a copy from