After the Hugos is before the next Hugos, so I’m continuing my Non-Fiction Spotlight project, where I interview the authors/editors of SFF-related non-fiction books that come out in 2022 and are eligible for the 2023 Hugo Awards. For more about the Non-Fiction Spotlight project, go here. To check out the spotlights I already posted, go here.
For more recommendations for SFF-related non-fiction, also check out this Facebook group set up by the always excellent Farah Mendlesohn, who is a champion (and author) of SFF-related non-fiction.
Interview collections have long been a part of SFF-related non-fiction, therefore I’m thrilled to welcome Michael McCarty, author of More Modern Mythmakers: 25 Interviews with Horror and Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers to my blog today:
Tell us about your book.
MICHAEL McCARTY: More Modern Mythmakers features Horror, Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy’s most influential writers and filmmakers interviewed about the art and craft of their genres.
The 25 interviews include Steve Alten, Reggie Bannister, Terry Brooks, Charles de Lint, Dennis Etchison, John Everson, Alan Dean Foster, Ray Garton, Sephera Giron, Owl Goingback, Charles Grant, Nancy Holder, Paul Kane, Ronald Kelly, Joe Lansdale, Bentley Little, Jeff Long, Jonathan Maberry, Elizabeth Massie, Larry Niven, William Stout, Jeff Strand, Harry Turtledove, J.N. Williamson, Connie Willis. The foreword is by Gerard Houarner and the afterword by Jeffrey Thomas
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
McCARTY: I’m from the Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois along the Mississippi River). I am a 5-Time Bram Stoker Finalist and author of over 50 books. I did win the David R. Collins’ Literary Achievement Award from the Midwest Writing Center. I am married to a lovely lady named Cindy and we have a pet rabbit named Yeti.
I was a freelance writer for about twenty years working for such magazines as “Starlog,” “Fangoria,” “Cemetery Dance,” “Filmfax,”and eventually became a staff writer for “Science Fiction Weekly,” the website of the Sci-Fi network, which eventually became the Sy-Fy network.
What prompted you to write/edit this book?
McCARTY: I do apologize in advance because this is a long answer.
My first pro sale was in 1983 for a regional music magazine. My first national sale was in 1993 to Starlog. And my first book was in 2003.
In 2015 , Crystal Lake Publishing, published Modern Mythmakers, a collection of 35 interviews with the likes of Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, John Carpenter, John Saul, Dean Koontz, Elvira, Whitley Streiter, Forry Ackerman, Timothy Zahn and more. It was ten years of my life boiled down to 90,000 words.
At this point, doing hundreds of interviews for over four decades, I decided to retire from interviews.
I hadn’t done a nonfiction book for a while, but when I hit Haunted America up with the idea of doing a true ghost book called Ghosts of the Quad Cities they eagerly agreed. For that book, I had to do several interviews with paranormal investigators, librarians, and local historians.
Of course, I did a sequel called Eerie Quad Cities in 2021.
I got bitten again by the interview bug. And although it was about five years after the original Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror and Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers it contained to sell well over the years.
I decided to leave retirement for doing interview behind and hit Joe Mynhardt (the editor and publisher) about doing a sequel and he said yes.
Why should SFF fans in general and Hugo voters in particular read this book?
McCARTY: I have some great interviews with some great science fiction and fantasy writers such as Alan Dean Foster, Harry Turtledove, Terry Brooks and Charles de Lint and Connie Willis. Plus, a slew of horror and dark fantasy writers and filmmakers as well.
The book is bursting at the seams with great interviews. You’ll walk away knowing more about the interviewees but also about the horror and science fiction publishing and film industry the art and craft of writing books and doing movies.
I hope the reader comes away more knowledgeable and inspired and will write a terrific work after they finish the book. No thanks needed.
Do you have any cool facts or tidbits that you unearthed during your research, but that did not make it into the final book?
That would take a book length to answer to be honest. Each interview really was like travelling a dark and mysterious river and by the end, I seen the light and discovery and joy and knowledge.
I’ve read tons of interviews by my interviewees in the book, for example Ray Garton, Jonathan Maberry, Alan Dean Foster and Connie Willis – and they were even a bit surprised at the questions, and I was equally surprised with the answers/
SFF-related non-fiction is somewhat sidelined by the big genre awards, since the Nebulas have no non-fiction category, and the Best Related Work Hugo category has become something of a grab bag of anything that doesn’t fit elsewhere. So why do you think SFF-related non-fiction is important?
Winning awards are nice. Super nice, the icing on any cake. But I don’t write books to win awards, I write books to educate, entertain and for the reader to be hopefully inspired to also write a terrific book or screenplay as well.
Are there any other great SFF-related non-fiction works or indeed anything else (books, stories, essays, writers, magazines, films, TV shows, etc.…) you’d like to recommend?
The Writing Life by Jeff Strand, How to Write Horror Fiction by William F. Nolan, Let’s Get Creative also by William F. Nolan, Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing by David Morrell, How to Write Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction edited by J.N. Williams and Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. Every writer listed here has been interviewed by me one time or another, these books are close to my heart.
Also of course, Stephen King’s On Writing.
I’d also highly recommend the book On Writing Horror edited by Mort Castle for the Horror Writers Association. This book is terrific, it is eight sections and has essays about writing from Harlan Ellison, David Morrrell, Jack Ketchum and Ramsey Campbell (who, also, at one time or another I interviewed too).
The thing about On Writing Horror, I am most proud of is this, like I said, the book is in eight sections. Section One is “Horror, Literature and Horror Literature,” and consist of two essays and a speech by Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King and Michael McCarty (yup… that’s me).
Where can people buy your book?
Where can people find you?
And I have a monthly blog at: https://monstermikeyaauthor.wordpress.com/
Thank you, Michael, for stopping by and answering my questions.
About More Modern Mythmakers: 25 Interviews with Horror and Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers:
More Modern Mythmakers features Horror, Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy’s most influential writers and filmmakers interviewed about the art and craft of their genres.
The 25 interviews include:
Charles de Lint
Alan Dean Foster
Foreword by Gerard Houarner
Afterword by Jeffrey Thomas
If you’re interested in books on writing, the horror genre, science fiction, famous authors, or even becoming a full time author, this book is a must-have.
More Modern Mythmakers is the sequel to 2015’s Modern Mythmakers by Michael McCarty, published by Crystal Lake Publishing.
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
About Michael McCarty:
Michael McCarty has been a professional writer since 1983, and the author of over fifty books of fiction, including I Kissed A Ghoul, Frankenstein’s Mistress, Dark Cities: Dark Tales, A Little Help From My Fiends, Liquid Diet & Midnight Snack, Dark Duets, Dracula Transformed and Other Bloodthirsty Tales (with Mark McLaughlin), Lost Girl Of The Lake (with Joe McKinney), the vampire Bloodless series: Bloodless, Bloodlust and Bloodline (with Jody LaGreca). He is a five-time Bram Stoker Finalist, and in 2008 won the David R. Collins’ Literary Achievement Award from the Midwest Writing Center.
His nonfiction books include: Esoteria-Land: The Authentic, Eclectic and Eccentric Nonfiction of Michael McCarty, Ghosts of the Quad Cities (with Mark McLaughlin), Eerie Quad Cities (with John Brassard Jr.), and Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews With Horror and Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers which features interviews with Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, John Carpenter, Richard Matheson, Elvira, Linnea Quigley, John Saul, Joe McKinney, and many more.
Michael McCarty lives in Rock Island, Illinois with his wife Cindy and pet rabbit Yeti.
Are you publishing a work of SFF-related longform non-fiction in 2022 and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.