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Author
Dustin Warburton!!!
Our staffer Holly caught up with author DUSTIN WARBURTON at the recent Chiller Theatre convention and spoke to him about his new book TASTE. Dustin is a writer you guys should be on the look-out for, so sit back, relax and read our FRIGHT exclulsive interview with Dustin Warburton!!! - by Holly 1/07

Holly Nikodem: What was the first horror movie you ever saw?

Dustin Warburton: “Monster Squad” – written by Fred Dekker. I was in 3rd grade and 9 years old.

HN: What do you find appealing about the horror genre?
DW: Horror has no boundaries. Anything can happen and I find that very appealing. All of us are afraid of something, were born with a primal instinct to survive. Horror defies life, and many of us are curious as to why we are afraid of certain things. Whether it is a snake or an axe murderer, horror is present in all aspects of life and I enjoy bringing out the horror in all of my readers minds.

HN: What do you enjoy about writing and when did you start?

DW: I enjoy getting a response from my readers. But most of all I like the inner sensation I get when creating a story. The story takes on a life of its own and I never know what’s going to happen. I started writing when I was 9 years old and in 3rd grade, it was shortly after watching the movie – “The Monster Squad.”
HN: Do you think novels/books are an appropriate medium for horror? What can horror novels provide their audience that horror movies can’t?

DW: Certainly, without the novel/book there is no story. The story has to be created before the film is made. In horror, many people watch the films but do not read the literature. It is a shame because the books are always better than the films. The novel provides much more than the film, it inspires the reader to use his or her imagination. The imagination is much more powerful than most people realize.

HN: Talking specifically about your novella, “Taste”… What is it about and what inspired you to write it?

DW: “Taste” is about the town in New York that I grew up in. The characters in the book are based on people I grew up with. The story is about a series of mysterious disappearances and deaths that take place in the town – spanning several centuries. Living in the town as a kid inspired me to write the story. All of the houses are run-down, old mansions that were built in the mid 1800’s. The town is surrounded by dense forest, miles upon miles of state land. Seclusion in the modern world.

HN: The name of the house in “Taste” is Hill House. Any connection to the Hill House from “The Haunting,” or just coincidence?

DW: No connection between the Hill House in “The Haunting,” actually I was unaware of the connection until now. The Hill House is a real house in the town, built by John F. Hill in 1832. John Hill is buried in the woods behind the house in an overgrown cemetery. Every town has a house that the kids are scared of. In McDonough there are many houses we were scared of. But out of all of them, The Hill House was the worst.

HN: When did you start writing “Taste”? How long did it take, concept to published copy?

DW: I thought about writing the story for a long time, I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be about. But I knew it was going to take place in McDonough, and that the Hill House was going to play a major role in it. I officially started “Taste” in August of 2005. I had it finished by Halloween. The next two months I spent editing and revising the manuscript. I ended up throwing the first chapter away and rewriting it. I actually wrote a final chapter in the book which I cut out of the book completely. I felt the book needed to end the way I had originally intended. Leaving the reader in limbo. I started working with my editor in December of 2005, and the illustrator started the art in December also. The first printing debuted in New York on May sixth.

HN: How much has the end product changed from your original concept?

DW: I never knew what was going to happen in the story. My original idea stayed the same, which was writing a horror story about McDonough. A lot changed through revision, but the idea remained the same. An old boom town secluded in wilderness was the perfect setting for a horror story.

HN: How successful would you say “Taste” has been? What kind of feedback have you gotten?

DW: “Taste” is my first book. It was a challenge for me in getting the ambition to successfully finish it. When I finished writing it I was very happy. When Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Stephen Bissette, and Stephen Blickenstaff endorsed the book, I was in awe. The fact that my writing hit them was good enough for me, I was happy with the book before it even came out in print. As far as feedback goes, I can’t believe how much support we’ve received. Our first book signing was back in N.Y. in our hometown, which is very small. We only had 100 books on hand and we sold out and had to take orders. People came out to support us and it was an incredible experience. So many people were touched by the fact that I had written a book about our town, simply amazing.

HN: Have you written/published anything before “Taste”?

DW: I was published in 12th grade when I was accepted to the New England Young Writers Conference in Middlebury Vermont. It is the most prestigious conference in the country, also the hardest to get into. The prologue in “Taste” was written in 1998, and it was that piece that got me accepted and published. I won a writing contest in 2002. It was a local horror writing contest for Halloween, I wrote the story in three days and entered, I won, and was published in the paper. It was only the second time I ever sent anything to anyone.

HN: You mentioned your next project is called, “Strange Things.” What is that about?

DW: It is a book of short stories, six of them to be exact. They are very intense, much more intense than “Taste.”

HN: It seems like you switched illustrators for this project. Why was that?

DW: I did not switch illustrators. Nathan Gorman has become my partner. His ability to see life with a third eye is what draws me to him. “Strange Things” is being formatted differently than “Taste.” In “Taste” the artwork is by itself, no page numbers, no writing, the art is by itself, presented as individual portraits summing up scenes in the book. In “Strange Things,” the writing and artwork blends together. Every page in the book has artwork, more like a graphic novel. But not with the bubbles with the characters lines inside them, we did not want this to be cartoon like in anyway. We knew the artwork in “Strange Things” was going to take a lot more time, so we recruited two more artists to work with us. So now, “Strange Things” will be illustrated by three different artists, each one working on a story of their own, in their own style, in their own way. We plan on presenting our second book in July, of 2006 at a show in Hollywood, California.

HN: Speaking of illustrators, do you believe illustrations are essential to a good horror novel, or can a story be just as scary without pictures?

DW: I do not think a horror novel needs artwork in order to be successful. It can be scary without illustrations. In “Strange Things,” the stories themselves are enough to give you high blood pressure. But, working with an illustrator allows the book to be marketable to a greater audience, and it also shows the story in a different way. You have the writer who has created the book, and then you have the artist who illustrates the book. So in reality the reader is getting two stories in one.

HN: How far would you like to go with your writing?

DW: I want to go as far as I can. My goal is to become the best writer I can possibly be. In order to do so I need to learn all that I can. Living is learning, and the process never stops. I’ll have my B.A. in writing and Literature this June, and then I plan on going to graduate school in the fall. I have wife and two sons and I work full time for the State of Vermont. My family is my motivation, and our future depends on my success.

HN: Who is your favorite horror author and why?

DW: My favorite horror author?? To be honest, I’m not sure. I would have to say Richard Matheson. I like the way his writing is easy to follow, moves right along. He doesn’t over describe. He says just enough to keep you wondering. But in all honesty, my favorite author isn’t a horror writer at all. His name is E.B. White. He was the master of the craft, and he observed the world around him in an attempt to understand himself. I look up to him very much.

Books are $15.00, shipping included
BareBones Publishing
P.O. Box 8
McDonough, NY 13801
VISIT: WWW.TASTETHEBOOK.COM

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