GNOH – Hi Derek, how are you doing?

Great, thanks!

GNOH – First things first, your not the Derek Clendening who went to MadrasCollege St Andrews, if you are hey it’s Jimbo, if not then errr just ignore me?

Nah, I went to Brock University inCanada.

GNOH – Who are your top three favourite authors of all time?

Stephen King, Peter Straub and John Irving.

GNOH – You said that horror chose you.  Are you glad it did? 

I am, actually. We all have a calling in life and this was mine.

GNOH – How do think horror has held up since you first fell in love with it?

I think it’s doing okay. Certain horror tropes have reached themainstream, for better or worse, but I think it’s up to horror scribes to keepthese tropes scary, relevant and, most importantly, ours.

GNOH – What is that you love the most about the genre, and what is it that youhate the most?

I love the fact that horror can bewhatever you want it to be. It can be quiet and spooky or it can be gory andin-your-face. Most of all, it helps us to understand fear, and to betteruntangle the fear that binds us every day.

I don’t care for the perception that’s often held by those outside of thefield. Confusing horror with science fiction, fantasy and even spy fictionreally bugs me. Other misconceptions are ones that we sometimes createourselves, but it still kind of bothers me

GNOH – I love horror fiction, oddly I’m not a big fan of horror movies, but Ihave never had the urge to write.  What was the catalyst that made youjump from fan to author?

Really, it was knowing that I havestories to tell, even if they weren’t so great in the beginning. Everyone hasto start somewhere, so I just took the liberty of beginning.

GNOH – How easy does writing come to you?  Is it something you have towork at?

It comes more easily than it used to, likely thanks to experience, but I stillhit speed bumps once in a while.

GNOH – Do you think writing is a talent or is it something that can be taught?

Both. Certain approaches and techniques can definitely be taught. Whatyou can’t teach is brilliance or how to be in the right place at the righttime. 

GNOH – How would you describe your writing style?

I like to take a more literary approach in some cases, but not always. Itry to balance description to dialogue because that’s the type of fiction Iprefer to read. Nothing bugs me more than a book that reads like a screen play.I like to tap in to the viewpoints of other characters so they all have a sayin the story.

GNOH – Your novel The Vampire Way had a long genesis from initial idea toprint, can you tell us about it?

Early versions of that book reallylacked because I was young but also very inexperienced as a writer. When itcomes to writing novels, I think you have to successfully complete the processat least once to understand how it’s done, and future attempts become mucheasier. As for my youth, I just needed more life experience – and I gained agreat deal of it while writing the first draft. I used all of that in the bookand I hope readers can relate to it.

GNOH – How would you describe the vampires in the book?

Scary, but sympathetic just the same.Readers will likely feel sorry for Damien, at least in the beginning, becausehe’s struggling with issues like all the other central characters.

GNOH – It’s a young adult book, how hard was it for you to self censoryourself?  Were you ever concerned about being too graphic?

Actually, I did have to censor myself abit. I would have cheerfully left tons of stuff in, but I know what kind offlack I would’ve gotten.

GNOH – Can you tell us about Between The Years?

The novel was inspired by my nephew’sillness and the dread caused by the fact that we almost lost him. The story Iwrote tackled the scenario of what might have happened had we actually losthim. This is a story for anyone who’s ever lost a child or who has been hauntedby the tenderness caused by a close call.

GNOH – It’s a very emotional subject matter; did you ever feel that it was bittoo emotional?

Not really. Douglas Winter once said that horror is an emotion. Peter Straubonce told me that, among other things, horror deals with a sense of loss.

GNOH – How much research did you do for the novel?  It must have beenpretty harrowing?

In all honesty, research takes up very little time for my work. I’m notsure why. Other writers may have a very valid purpose in researching for theirwork, perhaps because the plot and themes depend on the information. In mywork, I spend a lot more time leaving the reader with questions, which tends tobe “my deal”.

GNOH – Are there any messages in your work?

To a point, much of my work deals with social commentary (without beingpreachy, of course). It’s funny because I don’t even do it on purpose. It’sjust what inspires me.

GNOH – Besideswriting, what else floats your boat?

Football. Lot’s of football. You guys call it soccer though, right? 😛

GNOH – Can you tell us about any future projects?

Well, right now I’m outlining a novel that deals with show businessrelationships and horrific things that happen when “real lives” go off script.

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