Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’, Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’, Stephen King’s seemingly endless multitude of creepy stories: you can’t deny the fact that some of the world’s most memorable horror narratives come packaged in just a few pages.
Taking the classic horror story to new and strange places is The Endlands, a short story anthology written by a selection of contemporary horror writers. One of whom is Texas-based Vincent Hobbes, who is also the brains behind the book’s concept, and describes it as “a collection of 17 mind-boggling short stories, a carnival of tales, sure to entertain your darkest fears.” Rather than sicken you with gore, The Endlands injects its short stories with Twilight Zone-style bizarreness.
Awesome Art chats to Vincent Hobbes about the release of The Endlands, the development of his own writing style and why gore and ‘torture porn’ horror leave him cold.
How did your interest in writing begin?
I was always creative, even as a child. I think that motivated my passion to write. I enjoyed a wild imagination, and needed an outlet for it. Writing came naturally for me. I remember creating stories in my head at a very young age, and began writing them down when I was a teenager.
What about your interest in horror? Can you remember the first horror related piece that you wrote?
I’ve always enjoyed scaring people. Ask my sister or her childhood friends—it was quite the hobby of mine! I wrote a horror novella in my freshman year of high school. It wasn’t very original, and not even well written, but it started me on the right track.
How would you describe your own writing style?
I write much differently now than I did before I wrote professionally. In the past, I focused a lot on description and less on characters and plot. I now understand the importance of character connection. I find my style is faster paced, a more furious approach. I still keep the description, but it’s a better blend.
Tell us about some of your previous writing projects pre The Endlands.
I previously worked on a fantasy series with two other authors. But it’s an ongoing project—a very complicated project!
What was the initial concept for The Endlands? Where did the idea come from?
The original idea was to put together a short story book of my own work. As the idea grew in my mind, I decided I wanted other authors to contribute. I have always loved the bizarre side of horror, like The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, and I wanted a collection of stories that were really out there, really creative—The Endlands is that place. Thank my wife for the title!
How do you think the stories connect with each other?
Each story is different in every way, yet each fits into the same realm of unexplained.
Tell us about the other writers who have stories featured in The Endlands.
After presenting this project to my publisher, we sought out talent. Through different means my publisher helped me take submissions. After just a few weeks, hundreds of submissions flowed in—some by professional writers, some by writers who simply had a good story. From there came the painstaking process of attempting to find the best work—and the stories that best fit the project.
Do you have a favourite story in the book?
Hard for me to pick a favourite, though I really enjoy Patrick Greene’s stories. His writing is so fluid, and his imagination is endless. Craig Wessel’s work is also great.
Do you think that the subject of horror is particularly suited to the short story?
The short story allows for a quick scare, so in that way, the short story is conducive to horror. I think the short story has a bigger impact at times. An example of this is Shirley Jackson’s story, ‘The Lottery’.
Do you have a favourite short story horror writer?
Are you a big horror movie fan as well? What do you think about the current ‘torture porn’ fascination?
I am a huge fan of horror films. I’ll watch almost any movie that is horror, but it takes a lot for me to truly appreciate a horror film. I prefer horror that relies on a solid plot and a creative take to it. I’m not a fan of ‘torture porn’ or gore. Gore is necessary only when it fits the story, but often—both in movies and books—gore is used to shadow poor ideas and poor writing.
Who are some are your favourite horror writers and why?
I’m a fan of Stephen King, perhaps the master of horror. I think my fear of clowns can be attributed to IT. I also love Rod Serling’s work, and Ray Bradbury. Though they are often categorized as science fiction writers, I think they fit into the horror category as well. These writers know how to tell a story, they know what makes the reader cringe. They also make you think. Horror that makes you think is the best kind. Horror that leaves you wondering is even better.
Are you currently working on any new projects?
I am currently working on two new projects. First is a horror novel that takes place in the Wild West. Secondly, I’m working on a dystopian novel. I hope to finish these this fall and have them released sometime next year.
What are your other interests outside of horror and writing?
Spending time with my family and friends, and my German Shorthaired Pointers.
Can you talk us through a typical day in your life?
I’m lucky because I have a flexible schedule, so every day is not the same. I typically write in the morning and late at night. Other than that, you may find me outside with my dogs or on the Internet. I am happily married and own a home. I work, hang out with my friends, and spend time with my family. I especially enjoy time with my beautiful niece.
My life is as normal as anyone else’s!
Vincent Hobbes lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, chickens and ducks north of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. Visit his website here.
The Endlands is available now from Amazon.