I’ve never been good at tooting my own horn; in fact, I suck at it. But I have to share how pleased I am to see positive reviews for my horror novel Unmasked. The development of this book has had a long history. Inspired by my youth spent reading trashy horror novels and watching TV Movies of the Weeks which were frequently occult themed, I decided to write a screenplay using a summer camp setting. I put a twist on the usual teenage slasher set-up by casting middle-aged characters with a gay protagonist at the helm. And speaking of twists, my novel has quite a few, and the fact that they’ve worked (so far) on my readers brings me (a sick) joy. I play with a lot of classic horror tropes: a Gothic mansion, a mad scientist, a whodunit, a glamorous villain, and spatters of sex and gore. To me, successful horror is the thrill of the Cyclone at Coney Island. I know what’s coming, but I want to ride it again and again.
I remember sweating out the first draft of the screenplay in a two-day summer marathon, which ending with me exhausted in the bathtub, sucking down a cold beer (and I hate beer) and breathlessly telling a friend: “I did it. I wrote a feature.” At that time, I was fully committed to a career as a filmmaker. I put my heart and soul (and quite a bit of my bank account) into my first project. I worked on establishing a career in indie film for ten years. I learned a lot, and I’m proud of the work I produced. But filmmaking is expensive and difficult. Plus, I am an impatient motherfucker. During the time I was waiting around for some project or another to take shape, I used my creative energy to adapt my screenplay into a novel (I recommend it, it makes an excellent outline). Now I write (nearly) full-time. A film project I’ve spent four years developing is coming out this week. I hope people discover and enjoy it, but I have no illusions on this front.
Yes, I know I’ve entered another overly-saturated field, and the challenge to even get anyone to read your book is daunting at best. But, if you are an obsessive creative type, you must do something. Collaboration can be a joy, but it can also suck. Creative differences (read: ego trips) are draining of soul and wallet. In my writer’s chair, I make the decisions, and it cost nothing except my time and energy. Sweet!
So, my first book is out. Readers are connecting with it and that makes me happy. I plan to release the second book (also adapted from a screenplay) this summer. Playing God is fun!