Interview with Horror Author Gary Raisor
As a master of horror and dark fantasy, Gary Raisor has spent decades crafting chilling tales that linger long after the final page is turned. With a writing style that blends haunting imagery and compelling characters, Raisor has become a well-respected voice in the genre, known for his ability to tap into the deepest fears and desires of his readers. Join us as we delve into the mind of one of the most talented writers working in the field today.
Where are you from? What is your background?
I was born in a small town in Kentucky. My dad was a farmer. Him and Gramps. Dad was back from WWII and Gramps had retired from making shine. Shine being moonshine. I stayed in the small town, working on farms, until I was nineteen before moving to Chicago. The old saying you can’t keep ‘em down on the farm certainly applied to me. That was quite a change, I can attest to that. Worked odd jobs there while going to college at night. Worked my way into IT business where I stayed for many decades.
What inspired you to become a writer?
That’s a hard one to answer. I just loved reading as a kid. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne. DC and Marvel comics. Eerie and Creepy mags. One day, shortly after my dad passed, I just decided to give it a shot. Writing took my mind off the sadness over my dad. To my surprise I sold some stories to The Horror Show and Night Cry magazines, and I was on my way.
What was the first thing you remember reading at an early age?
That’s an easy one. The Island Of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells. I was about ten. To quote Cartman from South Park, it warped my fragile little mind.
What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most?
Joe Lansdale. What a writer. Comics, short stories, novels, movie scripts, TV, hell, even poetry, that guy amazes me. He can do it all.
What inspired your books Less than Human and Graven Images?
Less Than Human was a combination of my love for the movie Near Dark and the late Suzy McKee Charnas’ novel The Vampire Tapestry. I thought I could write a gritty vampire novel that was unique to the genre. To my surprise and delight, it was picked up by Berkley Books and went on to be short-listed for the Stoker award.
Graven Images is a mosaic novel compiled from short stories and novellas that had been published throughout my writing career. Stephen King’s Hearts In Atlantis gave me the nerve to try the mosaic novel thing. Making those stories fit together was incredibly difficult, but I persevered.
Do you think your environment, where you live, has an effect on type of art you create?
I do. I have a pretty good feel for the dark corners of life from my time in Chicago. Working in a factory with the blue-collar folks taught me a lot about how things really work in the U. S. I was exposed to Hispanic and Black culture. And more than a bit of violence on skid row where I sometimes hung out at night. In my part-time job, hustling pool, I’ve had both guns and knives in my face. So my descriptions of the pool halls and stripper bars, places where your feet stick to the floor, isn’t based on some movie or book, it’s based on real life. Mine.
I remember the magazine Night Cry. So cool you were published there. We definitely need more magazines like that.
Those were the golden days. I agree we need more magazines like that. Cemetery Dance has been filling that void for some time now. Richard Chizmar stepped up after David Silva of The Horror Show ceased publishing. Mark Rainyey’s Deathrealm hung in there for quite awhile, too.
What do you think the popular culture will be like in ten years?
Sex robots will take over. The human race will begin to decline in numbers due to no human to human interaction. Am I kidding? Maybe. Maybe not.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked to do in your profession?
Put my signature on a naked girl at a book signing. Yeah, I know, what the hell… but in my defense she had my book.
What projects are you working on now?
Trying to get in on the ground floor of that sex-robot thing. Just kidding. I’m working on a prequel to Less Than Human.