Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Horror Author Wesley Southard. He gave us his own introduction, and here it is:
My name is Wesley Southard. I am an author from central Pennsylvania, and I live with my wife, Katie, and our cavalcade of animals. I write mostly horror fiction, but I’m always looking to expand my horizons in genre literature.
We asked him where people can find his work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)
My work can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I try to have updated links on my website to every book.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
Everyone can visit me on my website (wesleysouthard.com), on Facebook (Wesley Southard), Twitter (@wessouthard), Instagram (wesley_southard_author) and on YouTube (Wesley Southard).
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from One for the Road?
I tend to always lean into horror fiction. It’s something I’ve been passionate about for most of my life. I enjoy writing a wide range of dark fiction, from extreme to quiet to literary. My newest novella ONE FOR THE ROAD leans a bit more into the surreal, weird side of the genre. I think readers can expect a bizarre story with this one, not knowing exactly where it’s going to go. It’s a definitely a wild ride, like ALICE IN WONDERLAND on a bad acid trip.
What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
To be honest, not a whole of research had to go into this book. The story is about a heavy band full of twenty-somethings, traveling the country and playing music. Being a musician myself, it wasn’t hard to write about other musicians or the difficulty of touring and putting up with others in a small space.
What was the inspiration for One for the Road ? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
The initial inspiration for ONE FOR THE ROAD came just after I moved back home college. My friend from school was traveling with a band, and they needed a place to crash after they played at a bar in my home town. Before the show they came to my apartment and ate all my food, and individually lamented to me how much they hated all the other guys in the band. They desperately wanted someone to vent to, and ultimately the first nugget of the story began to develop.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out [newest release/spotlighted release]? How did you overcome that challenge?
This was my first release under an actual publishing house. I had previously self-published my other two books, but I wasn’t happy releasing my work on my own anymore. I had always wanted to be published by traditional publishers, and when the opportunity came to submit this book to Deadite Press, I jumped at the chance. I think the hardest thing was waiting to hear back about whether they’re accepting it or not. I’m honestly not a very patient person, so the four months or so of waiting on pins and needles was excruciating. Luckily, it all worked out.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
I hated writing the character of Steve, the lead singer of the band Rot In Hell. He’s a misogynistic, loud-mouthed, racist, violent pig. Nearly every scene he’s in, he’s berating someone or saying something awful. I hope I never meet someone like that in person.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
I think I enjoy horror fiction because, unlike many other genres, limits don’t exist. When you add a vampire to a romance story, then it forces it into another genre. If you add aliens to a fantasy story, then it changes the rules and parameters of that category. With horror fiction, it’s wide open. You can add just about anything―romance, science fiction, fantasy, western―and the story doesn’t change. Horror is a limitless genre, and it’s all the better for it.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
My favorite parts are finally just getting the story out of my head and onto the computer screen. After dwelling on an idea for so long, there’s no better feeling than purging it out of your thought bank, so you can make room for other stories. The only other feeling that’s just as good are holding the new book in my hands and hearing from my readers. It makes the whole process worth it.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
I always tell writers to know their contracts and read their galleys. Take your time with reading those galleys, because there’s nothing worse than a book full of errors. And get to know the publisher you want to work with beforehand. It could save you a lot of heartache.
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
I’ve only been living in Pennsylvania for two years now, so it hasn’t been a huge part of my writing yet. I’m originally from Indiana, and most of my stories, even if it’s not location specific, have always been set in the Midwest in my mind. I imagine the North East will creep into my writing at some point.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
In the near future, I have a few releases to look forward to. My first short story collection, RESISTING MADNESS, will be out on December 15th 2019 from Death’s Head Press. It contains thirteen short stories and a brand new novella. I’m really proud of the novella, and I hope others like it as much as I do. After that, at some point the collaborative novella I co-wrote with author Somer Canon titled SLAVES TO GRAVITY will be out. We’re currently waiting to hear back from a couple of publishers about it. Other than that, I’m always working on something new.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
When I’m not writing, I’m a massive hockey fan. I try to watch every game my team plays. I’m pretty passionate about it. So when it becomes hockey season, I have to write as much as I can between games, that way I don’t fall behind.
What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?
I have a home office that write in, which I prefer to do most of my work in. It’s got all my bookshelves and artwork, and I love it. I like to be surrounded by books when I work; I find it very motivating.
What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?
Most people don’t know that I’m a graduate of the Atlanta Institute of Music with a guitar degree. I don’t play a whole lot anymore, but it’s still something I’m proud of.
What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?
My favorite adventures have always been traveling around the country to do signings and conventions. I love to meet other authors and new fans. I really enjoy talking about books and sharing experiences.
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
I’ve always preferred silence when I write. I get distracted very easily. But I have recently discovered I can edit with music on at a low volume, so that’s nice. I’m a big metal head, so I’ve been listening to Lacuna Coil’s new album a lot lately.
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
There are usually one or more of our animals with me in my office. We have two dogs and three cats, and as I type this I have one dog, Brody, on the floor next to me and my cat, Ozzy, on my lap. I love having him on my lap, but I tend to lean forward as I work, so I eventually have to put him on the chair behind me.
Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?
I tend to eat very terribly when I work. I like to have a soda and an open bag of chips next to me, but I know that that’s really bad. I’ve been trying to switch to water.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
The hardest part of the writing process is just making yourself sit down and get the writing done. Sometimes I’d rather be watching a hockey game, reading a book, or spending time with my wife, but the words don’t write themselves. It’s a challenge to balance your life and writing, but if you want to get anywhere in this business, you have to put the work in.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
I’ve always been told to be yourself and write what you love. Write what make you happy. If you’re not happy with what you’re working on, it will show in the writing, and readers will pick up on that.
Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?
I think finding a community of writers and creatives to surround yourself with is incredibly important. Where I lived in Indiana I didn’t have much of that, and my creativity suffered for it. Now that I live in Pennsylvania, I’m always around others like me: writers, creators, filmmakers, artists. I always feel inspired now, and my work and creative drive has thrived. It’s so much more important than most people realize.
Wesley, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer ALL our questions!