Guest Post – Scott Nicholson

I met Scott about 7 months ago and ever since he has been a permanent fixture it my literary world. Being a lover of the great unknown it was only natural that I form some sort of sick demented attachment to his cultish type writing, but getting to know him is what really sucked me in. So here you go… My little version of “What Makes ‘Em Tick?”

Oh!!! And be sure to read the whole thing (my sometimes lazy Kindle-ites) there’s a surprise at the end!

Q: Before we get started; there are a few things I think we need to get out into the open. I remember telling you about a month ago (after I read Drummer Boy) that you should probably seek professional help (aka: a shrink) How’s that going? Are you making any progress?

Scott: I wouldn’t trust a counselor of any persuasion, whether they carry a cross, a quart of gin, or a diploma. If you read The Skull Ring, you will see why. The only thing I’ve found that works is to let these crazy people in my head out on paper. Ebooks, I mean. Ebooks. Right? Or am I getting confused again? Where’s my medication?

Q: You are a horror writer, which to me screams “I have an excessive amount of idiosyncracies” care to share any of those with my readers? OCD, pen chewing… (Dear God, please don’t say hiding bodies in the barn.)

Scott: Well, my friend Monster A-Go-Go accuses me of all kinds of obscure goat practices, of which husbandry is the most legal. I am a recovering horror writer, I think. If you read As I Die Lying, you can see why I am almost cured now, and what happens when people are running loose in your head and you are trying to be a writer. Then again, Richard Coldiron wrote that book, and I killed him, stuck his body in the barn, and stole his manuscript.

Q: What fills your time when you’re not scaring that crap out of innocent people? (and by “innocent people” I mean me, and by “scaring the crap out of” I mean writing “The Red Church”).

Scott: I am pretty boring, really, except for the “occasional ax and alcohol” binges. I tend an organic garden, have two chickens, can my own tomatoes, write for a newspaper, and love my family. Writers are boring unless they are self-destructing, but perhaps we all do that, all the time.

Q: Who are your 3 favorite authors, and what is it that makes them YOUR cream of the crop?

Scott: Dr. Seuss is the best. Brilliantly succinct, playful, a master of language and rhythm, and incredible insight into human nature. My other top two changes from time to time but currently I will say Richard Brautigan, an obscure hippie literary writer, and Stephen King, a not-so-obscure hippie literary writer.

Q: I noticed that in your “odd jobs I had before I became a huge success” list “Paranormal Investigation” was stuck somewhere in the middle. #1. I’m horribly jealous! And #2. Share a story with us. (<–This is the part where I live vicariously through you.)

Scott: You have to die and possess me to live vicariously through me! All I know is hidden in the annals (and that is two “n’s,” folks) of Speed Dating with the Dead. I actually hosted a paranormal conference for the specific purpose of writing a novel about it. Ghost hunting is actually kind of boring, because you sit in the dark for eight hours for three seconds of “What was that?” The serious scientists put in the time, but most of us are casual paranormal tourists like in the novel. Except when the demons come. I have some links and videos at my Web site for those wanting more more more.

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to write for a living? Was there a light bulb moment or did you just fall into it?

Scott: As I kid, I was always playing with crayons and making my own comic books. Still doing so in my middle age—currently working on five or six different comics series. I was the weird guy in high school who wrote poetry about what one guy called “mustard and aardvarks.” After a side venture as a rock star, I got serious about writing. The plan was to write 10 novels, and if one didn’t sell, I would quit. But I was having so much fun by the time I sold the fourth one, I knew I would never quit.

Q: Out of the 12 thrillers you have written… Which are you most proud of and why?

Scott: Well, As I Die Lying is my first real novel, not counting a Vonnegut rip-off I wrote in high school. I revised it for 14 years, got 117 rejection letters just like in the book, and it’s basically my autobiography. The highest praise came from Neal Hock, who said, “I’ve never read a book like it.” I haven’t, either. I am not even sure it is a book.

Q: Do you ever suffer from writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?

Scott: Not really. I have suffered from disappointment when I gave up too much control of my happiness to other people. Now, with my weird little cottage industry, I can be Full Scotty all the time. The weirder it gets, the happier I am. Conventional wisdom has never worked for me.

Q: You have a very extensive social networking circle (twitter, facebook etc.) Do you think being so well connected with your readers (and even other authors) has directly affected the popularity of your books?

Scott: This tour has been the most fun I’ve ever had, meeting readers and bloggers and even a few people as weird as I am! I have learned more about books and e-books from the people on the tour (so keep commenting!) than from all the “plugged-in industry observers” put together. Thanks, you guys.

Q: What was the determining factor in your decision to ditch traditional publishing and rely solely on eBook sales? And…do you have any regrets in that decision?

Scott: Oh, I have a great agent and we are shopping a graphic novel right now. I better understand what New York requires and I would sign a book contract again, but now I know what the books are worth, and what they’re not worth. Unless you are a bestseller, you might as well put it out there and find your audience. And I am enjoying all this so much I’d be bored to death if all I did was write.

Q: I have yet to read all of your work, but the ones I have tend to migrate towards the Appalachian Mountains for their settings. Is this because you reside in this particular area or because it makes an extremely creepy backdrop? (cue banjos)

Scott: Yeah, I was the “Deliverance Banjo Boy of Horror” until I broke a string. I borrow local legends here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and later in the tour I will be paying video visits to some of the sites, so stay tuned!

Q: OK… on to the juicy stuff! Tell me a little about your new baby “Speed Dating with the Dead” ( p.s. I don’t know how you came up with that title because I’m lazy and haven’t read it yet, but BRILLIANT!)

Scott: As I said way up there, it came from the paranormal conferences I used to host. I coined the phrase “Speed Dating with the Dead” because we had to shepherd people around to the various haunted hot spots in a short window of time.

Q: A resounding trend in your novels (or at least the one I’ve picked up on) is folklore. Are there truths to any of them, (neighborhood fodder maybe?) or are you just pulling them out of your mildly psychotic magic hat?

Scott: Yeah, I collect Appalachian folklore and ghost stories, for the newspaper. And I get more visitors to my Web site for that than all my bad writing advice put together. There’s a big dollop in Creative Spirit (originally The Manor), but it’s only available for the UK Kindle until I get my rights back.

Q: What (in your opinion) are the most important elements of good writing? (<– look a serious question… aren’t you proud?)

Scott: The more I write, the more I realize I don’t know anything. I know what makes good reading, but I guess the best advice I have is “Write a lot, make a lifetime commitment to craft, and be honest.” In my own case, two out of three ain’t bad.

Q: Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, and leaves you wondering where that came from?

Scott: When I get a stomach ache while I am writing, that’s when I know I am tapping something. Really, if you read Disintegration in October, every nasty little fear and impulse and negative vibe was purged. I am actually writing funnier stuff now, including a children’s book with Lee Davis and a lighter collaboration with J.R. Rain.

Q: How do you feel about the horror boom of the 80’s and early 90’s?

Scott: I wrote an article called The Cheesy Trunk of Terror about this store’s box of 25-cent paperbacks. Horror killed horror but horror is undead so it never went away. Make sense?

Q: And last… Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they? (don’t say focus… I know I have that problem… OH LOOK! A tree)

Scott: Cut down that tree, mash it into pulp, and spill your guts on it. Simple enough?

 

Thanks Scott for taking the time to answer my mildly neurotic questions!

Scott Nicholson is author of Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, and 10 other novels, five story collections, four comics series, and six screenplays. A journalist and freelance editor in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, he often uses local legends in his work. This tour is sponsored by Amazon, Kindle Nation Daily, and Dellaster Design.

 

 

To be eligible for the Kindle DX, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free ebooks to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. And, hey, buy my books and put me in the Top 100 and I’ll throw in another random Kindle 3 giveaway through the blogs. Thanks for playing. Complete details at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm

About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.

112 thoughts on “Guest Post – Scott Nicholson

  1. Cool interview. Scott touched on a few things I’ve feeling about the industry and the craft of writing. The reason conventional wisdom doesn’t work is because there’s nothing conventional about true wisdom.

    michaellmartinjr[at]gmail[dot]com

  2. I LOVE this blog and have been following Scott around too.

    Great interview! I’m not sure I could write horror, for fear of… well, fear.

    authorjcphelps(at)yahoo(dot)com

  3. I was looking forward all week to this highly interesting exchange between crazy Ms. KindleObsessed and nutty Scott Nicholson. You two should collaborate on a book together! Love you both. Just got “As I Lay Dying” oh, I mean of course “As I Die Lying”.
    Cheers,
    Christa
    cpolkinhorn@msn.com

  4. Yay, the first tour stop that didn’t require i have a goggle or blogger or someother “Profile” to leave a comment.

    Love what you’ve been doing Scott and been following you around for most of the tour.

    Blight777 (at) Hotmail(dot)com

  5. Great interview! I think Christa is onto something; a collaboration between you two would be interesting. 😀

    And Scott, you make me blush. 😛

    Seriously, everyone should check out Scott’s new one, AS I DIE LYING. It’s a unique work that demonstrates Scott’s versatility and talent.

    -Neal, nealhock78@hotmail.com

  6. Great interview! It’s interesting to hear about the author world.

    Nice blog too, I look forward to reading more of it.

    lorraine_lanning[at]yahoo[dot]com

  7. Excellent, entertaining interview. I’ll have to check out your books, Scott…been quietly seeing you here and there as you tour, and am always intrigued by your posts and book titles. 🙂

    Thanks Misty!

  8. That was the first interview I’ve read with Scott and it was excellent and rather funny. Thanks for putting yourself out there like that Scott.

    calseeor (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. Great blog post. “Horror killed horror but horror is undead so it never went away.” Good stuff!

    Tom E
    tztomfromcali _ at _ gmail _ com

  10. Finally, an interviewer with a cheeky side. Loved both the questions AND the answers for a change. Kudos to you both for an enjoyable interview.

    Scott’s comment that “Horror killed horror but horror is undead so it never went away” is a quote for the ages.

    J.T. Cummins
    Cobblestones

  11. You have such an interesting mind, Scott. Dr. Seus and Stephen King as favorite authors is a total kick.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  12. Entertaining interview. Not only shows the sense of humor of the interviewee and interviewer, but their love of writing.

  13. Ooooo… Scott, Scott, SCOTT!! What are we going to do with you? While it is reassuring and encouraging to know you are finally paying attention to your shortcomings (“The more I write, the more I realize I don’t know anything.”), the shocking thing is you continue to write and pan the product off on us—kind of like that hypothetical experiment with monkeys and typewriters—sooner or later they’ll accidentally pound out a work of Shakespeare’s (but with you on the keyboard, we’ll settle for something much, MUCH lower down the scale…something along the lines of Scott Nicholson, perhaps?). It’s like, in yesterday’s post, you wrote about one of your novels being turned down 117 times. You obviously don’t understand what “no” means—which has lead to all sorts of drama in your own life (assault charges, jail time, restraining orders, etc.). And we won’t even bother to go into your other “shortcomings” (we’ll leave that for Mrs. Nicholson to post. She has quite a list…)

    Blah! Blah! Blah! I have a microbiology test to study for—so just ignore me today (which you usually do anyway).

    CHEERS!

    1. Monster A Go-Go,

      You are a comment leaving genius! Will you marry me? Oh… Shit already hitched. Hey Scott, can you take care of that for me?

      🙂

  14. Yes!!! I really really really like Brautigan’s works so seeing he is one of your favorites made me smile.

  15. humph…i got dropped out in the crash! ok, will repeat…found new blog to follow (thank you very kindly…love people who don’t ask standard questions) and wondering more and more about your writing…is your sense of humor reflected in your books?

  16. Fun comments, guys! Kaitlyn, yes, it’s a challenge to make every one of these stops different, and I am UP for it.

    John, yes that’s the pipe and bong collection of a police station where I was in a movie–there will be a later blog about my “movie career.”

    Estella, yes, I have half a dozen children’s books. Part of the goal of the tour is to get out from under the weight of those horror paperbacks. I like horror but I don’t want to marry it. Maybe a three-night stand or something, if the goats can get out of the way.

    Monster aGoGo, read “Welcome to the Monkey House” by Vonnegut and you see where that will get you!

    Kenette, yes, I like Brautigan, he stays fresh. Tomorrow I will have different favorites, though! Lethem kind of writes like him.

    Misty, thanks for a fun date. Don’t tell my wife. I think she’s following the tour, though.

    BTW for people on Twitter, Wednesday we are playing a meme game making fun predictions about the future of publishing. Just use the hash tag “#pubfuture” with your quote. Tomorrow at Debbi Mack’s place I will be making some rather bold and threatening predictions about the future of publishing.

    Scott

  17. I wish I had read this post before posting on the last website! I have purchased As I Die Lying, and will put it in with the 7 or 8 books that I am currently reading! Thankyou KindleObsessed for asking Scott what book that he is most proud of! (Sorry about the preposition at the end…I’m actually quite hopeless!

  18. awesome post! You have a good blog, absolutely the ideal Ive read so far. I will be looking forward to your next article. Thanks again.

  19. This is a great tour, Scott! How are you enjoying it so far? Do you ever run out of things to say?

    Margay1122(at)aol(dot)com

  20. I read my first Stephen King novel when I was 12 (Salems Lot) and never looked back . I am now into UF/PNR, but I would never miss a King novel. I am now starting to pick up some other horror. Have you heard of Dweller by Jeff Strand? Very distrubing

  21. The more I write, the more I realize I don’t know anything. I know what makes good reading, but I guess the best advice I have is “Write a lot, make a lifetime commitment to craft, and be honest.” In my own case, two out of three ain’t bad.

    This is an extremely profound and true statement, if there ever was one. Speaking from my own experience, yes, it’s true, the more you write, the better you get. It’s also true that you will never master the craft. You may be deemed a “master” by your peers and fans, but in all truth, they just mean you’re very good at it. There will always be a better way to describe something, turn a phrase, use a metaphor, succinct a sentence, etc.

    What I enjoy about keeping up with writing is some stuff that gets typed really rocks, and other stuff is just dry and stupid. That said, I love it when the dry and stupid stuff becomes more and more apparent the better you get at putting a story together. Back in the old days, it took an editor to point it out. Now, you can see it for yourself and, since you’ve already fixed it, your editor didn’t even know it happened. (They’ll just come along and point something else out.)

    “Be honest.” Yup. Find your voice. Run with it. Be honest in your stories and tell it like it is. Use your style, not anyone else’s. (For those wondering, this means you can still do things your way while still adhering to the rules of good writing.)

    Thanks for the reminder, Scott.

  22. Your questions were hysterical and really allowed Scott’s personality to come through! It was a great interview!!

    ♥Spot

  23. Glad to know that As I Die Lying is that first book you’ve mentioned. I’m going to have to read that one, too.

  24. Scott,
    I’m loving the tour. Great quote:
    The more I write, the more I realize I don’t know anything. I know what makes good reading, but I guess the best advice I have is “Write a lot, make a lifetime commitment to craft, and be honest.” In my own case, two out of three ain’t bad.

    However, I disagree with the third requirement. I think an author, or protagonist that is unreliable at times can add great depth and twists and turns to a story. But, you may disagree.

    Wakincade@gmail.com

  25. I’m so excited to find all these new blogs as well as have a chance to win a kindle. Thanks for the opportunity!

    Kelly

    kelly.r.morin(at)gmail(dot)com

  26. Now that was a fun interview. The list of blogs I follow is already too big to keep track of, but I think I’ll add this one anyway.

    Twitter: MachineTrooper

  27. Love Scott’s blog tour, this is awesome! Great interview! I love anything horror! 🙂

    Thanks for the chance to win a Kindle! I’ve been wanting one since DAY 1. Woooot! 🙂
    purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

  28. Great interview, I learned a lot. I love that you like to collect Appalachian folk tales. I’m interested in them myself, I prefer the creepy and ghostly ones the most.

    waitmantwillie at hotmail dot com

  29. I Love Scott’s blog tour, this is Fabulous! Great interview and my favorite authors of horror are Stephen King and John Saul.

  30. These have got to be the funnest questions in one of the most refreshing interviews I’ve ever read — Thank you KindleObsessed.

    I can’t wait for “Disintegration” — I have a feeling it will replace “The Red Church” as my favorite Scott Nicholson book. And even if it doesn’t, it’ll be a great read for a horror fan like me.

    “Horror killed horror but horror is undead so it never went away. Make sense?”

    AMEN
    –Greg the Undead Rat

    theundeadrat (@) gmail (.) com

  31. What a good interview. Loved the questions and the answers as well. Nice to be able to eavesdrop in on a conversation like that.
    Looking forward to your continuing tour Scott and “Kindle Obsessed” I think I may need to start following your blog, quite entertaining.
    Thanks again guys! All the best.
    Julie pjtansey@hotmail.com

  32. loved the interview.I think I would love sitting for hours waiting for a ghost but lots of people say I’m boring I guess now you know why.I watch ghost hunters all the time dream of sitting in house talking to the dead where did my mom go wrong more then likely it was when she would take us to grave yards for pickniks
    sasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

  33. Really looking forward to reading the new one Scott and enjoying finding all of these great blogs too! Thank you!

  34. @shawnee glad you’re keeping the folk tales alive! (or dead, as the case may be)

    @sharon yes I like Strand’s work, he’s doing Draculas with a few other authors

    @ Lisa Richards, yes, I’ve done some workshops for ASU and also took some writing classes there, got a Communications degree (and still can’t communicate!)

    @Stacey Guess I’ll have to google Arthur Denton now

    I just had to be Post #100. Thanks for following and please stay with the tour–lots of tricks still up my sleeve.

    Scott

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