Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about D. Allen Crowley in his featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
Like many of my stories, “The Unloved Dead” started with a simple idea and I built the story around it. The idea was more of an image. I saw a woman – alone in a drafty house – with a hideous secret chained up in her basement. That idea was the stake in the ground that the story grew up around.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
Claire is a victim in many respects. She was victimized by someone she loved, she’s victimized by her curse, she’s even victimized by the world around her. But, underlying that victimhood, there’s a hardness to her. She started as a weak, sick, naïve girl – but she’s grown and changed over the years. Her life is an unending horror show and she’s had to adapt and do awful things because of one desperate choice she made many years ago. But, even underneath that hardness, there’s still a small little bit of the girl she used to be. She still has dreams and she’s still a romantic. She wants to love and be loved – just we all do. Sadly, that’s something forever out of her grasp.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
It’s interesting in that it’s rooted in the real world. The intricacies of Claire’s life and secrets reflect the logistics of having to move from town to town frequently. It reflects the need to find work and a place to live, with no credit and no identification. But, it’s also a world where magic is somehow real as well; but, it’s a magic so rare that it might as well be a myth – at least as far as Claire is concerned.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
It’s definitely horror and speculative fiction. It’s also, in some ways, very much weird fiction (especially around its use of magic and curses and magical tomes of unknown origin).
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
I have both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature, and my area of literary and academic focus is firmly rooted in early twentieth century weird fiction. My thesis was centered around the works of H.P. Lovecraft. As such, much of my fiction reflects my love for all things pulpy and weird, and this story is no exception. The title, in fact, is a variation and play on the notorious and reviled C.M. Eddy short story – “The Loved Dead” (which was ‘punched up’ by Lovecraft himself). That being said, this story, like many of my other stories, is firmly rooted in the modern world. I like writing about normal people, in normal settings, who find themselves thrust into extraordinary and unbelievable situations. I’m also something of a geek, and I love writing about fantastical things. I can’t help myself!
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
I’m not really sure, other than I hope that it is enjoyable for them. I’m an avid reader myself – and I don’t think it’s too controversial to say that one needs to be a strong reader to be a strong writer – and I know that reading is itself an intensely personal thing. Every reader takes something different away from every story. I suppose I could say something aspirational like, “I hope that they see that there’s still humanity to be found amidst the horror,” but the best I can hope for is that they are entertained for even a short time.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
Definitely the interaction between Claire and Eddy in the basement. I love that the post-curse Eddy is pure evil and no longer human, but he still has a human-like cunning and petulance. He’s also a true monster and is so far gone he’s unrecognizable. The thing is, Claire still treats him like the man he once was, or might have been, but that’s tempered by the fact that he’s a burden on her and she’s now his caretaker. It’s almost devolved to a twisted mother/child relationship between them. I absolutely love the juxtaposition between this eternally young and beautiful woman, and this shambling, grotesque creature; and their basement interaction was honestly just fun to write!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I was twelve years old, and I wrote a novella about the zombie apocalypse. It featured all of my friends and it was truly awful. Like, physically and painfully bad. The thing was, that was the first time I’d tried writing for myself, and I realized I really, really liked it. I’ve always been a bit dreamy, and really imaginative, and that first writing attempt made me realize I could put all of those screaming voices in my head onto paper. I was hooked.
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
It’s a short list.
- Moody music in the background (anything Goth or creepily instrumental, like Midnight Syndicate);
- My trusty Apple laptop;
- A glass of Irish whiskey nearby, or sometimes, a craft beer or two.
That’s it. I’m a simple man.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
That’s a really hard question to answer. Like I said, I’m a horror geek and that’s mostly my preferred genre to write in. I just can’t seem to lose the wonder I have for all things creepy and spooky and downright scary. For me, those roots began, undeniably, with the horror films I watched as a kid. I still love all the tropes and trappings of horror in its many forms. Horror films and horror anime, giant mutated insects, classic monsters, alien invaders, Gothic creatures, mad scientists, serial killers, Halloween, even visiting the filming sites of classic horror films – my obsession knows no bounds; and, that obsession influences my writing.
What font do you prefer to write in?
Let me preface this with: I always follow Shunn’s Manuscript rules when submitting (Times New Roman, size 12!)
However, I prefer to write my first drafts in Garamond. I just like the look of Garamond. That’s not weird, is it? Tell me I’m not the only writer with a preferred font? Please?
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
None that are specifically focused on writing, but I am a huge fan of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. It’s so creative and creepy! And I’m jealous I didn’t create it.
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
I love the word Vermillion. It’s both a color and the name of a nearby town where I live. I like it for the simple reason that it’s got a poetic sound and, interestingly, when you say it slow, you use every part of your mouth to pronounce it. Or sesquipedalian or prolixity, because I fight to NOT be either of those.
As for least favorite? Probably any word that’s a racial slur. Or kumquat because it sounds like it should be something dirty or pornographic, but it’s not.
D. Allen Crowley is a writer from historic Willoughby, Ohio, where he lives with his ridiculously tolerant wife, two insolent teenagers, and a clowder of cats of questionable breeding and intelligence.
He has published two novels: “North Coast Gothic: A Grim Fairy Tale” and “A Darkness Within”, as well as a collection of short stories entitled “Disturbed Graves: Tales of Terror and the Undead”. He has had several short stories and poetry published in both print and online magazines.
Additionally, he has a master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English Literature, and has published critical scholarly works on H.P. Lovecraft, weird fiction, and Modernism. He teaches English and Humanities at a small college in Cleveland, OH; and publishes a creative blog dedicated to horror, science fiction, and fantasy literature and film under the pseudonym of Doctor Zombie.