Wednesday, August 7, 2013

“The Bell Witch” by John F.D. Taff

Since being published by the Books of the Dead Press, I've met a group of wonderful and supportive writers. Most of us are in the same boat -  a group of creative and passionate penmonkeys looking for a place to stick a knife in our hearts and bleed all over the page.

One of the writers is a bit more seasoned than the rest and carries a hefty resume. I'm speaking of John F.D. Taff.  In fact, if we were a group of Dwarves venturing to face the dragon Smaug, John would be our Gandalf. If we were Rocky training to fight Appollo, he'd be our Mickey.  If we were the X-men, he'd be our Charles Xavier. If we were Jedi, he'd be our Obi-wan.  You get the picture.

John has a novel being released today. The Bell Witch is an American ghost story, brought to life  in a wonderful and haunting way.  It's a great accomplishment. 

Here's a few more words and a quick Question and Answer from the author:

  1. What is your inspiration for writing?
Everyone.  Everything. Eveywhere. Every moment.  And that's not a joke.

  1. What made you write (each of your) book(s)?
I've been fascinated by The Bell Witch since I read about it in grade school.  It's one of the best-known, well-documented poltergeist cases ever.  And most of the ghost stories I'd read as a kid were set in Ye Olde Englande.  So, that this was in America (OK, nearly 200 years ago) made it more visceral to me.  So, it's been floating around back there in the recesses of my brain for a long, long time.
  1. Does your inspiration ever come from people you know?
Absolutely.  To be a reader is to be a listener and an observer.  Characters I write are all little pieces of just about everyone I've ever encountered.  I think you take away pieces of people you meet.  If you're smart, you incorporate them into your work.
  1. While not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I read…a lot.  Mostly history—Civil War, Ancient Egypt & South America—some fantasy and scifi.  What don't I read a lot of?  Horror.  And the reason for that, simply, is I don't want a lot of that floating around in my brain when I sit down to write.
  1. Who is/are your favorite author(s)?
Peter Straub.  Hands down.  The Throat is, hands down, one of the best books I've ever read.  I like Jack Vance, Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny, Stephen R. Donaldson in fantasy and scifi.  I like travel writer Bill Bryson a lot. Tolkien, King (of course), Gaiman, Barker.
  1. Which movie/drama series do you love the most?
I'm a big Star Trek fan, though the latest two films aren't my favorite.  I enjoyed the remake of Battlestar Galactica.  And I am awaiting with immoderate joy the arrival of the final book in Stephen R. Donaldson's decade's spanning Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Last Dark.
  1. What genre do you enjoy writing about most? Why?
Here's the thing.  I find that most of the stuff I write isn't truly, really horror.  I mean, I have more of a Twilight Zone-vibe to my stuff.  It's dark, sure, and creepy, and there's an atmosphere of dread, of something wrong in my work.  But some people don't think it's horror.  OK with me.  It's what I enjoy writing.  No, really, it's not even that.  It's what I write; what comes out of me, regardless of whether I like it or not.

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