Today's Haunted Blog Tour post is an interview with author Daniel Kraus, who has written the young adult thriller: The Monster Variations.
How did you come up with the story in your book "The Monster Variations"?
Out of nowhere, I envisioned a scene in which a boy wakes up on the side of a road to find out that he has been hit by a car and his arm has been torn off. I wrote the scene, liked it, and then tried to figure out the mystery of who this kid was, how his town would react, and finally, who was driving the truck.
What is the scariest book you've ever read?
I can remember reading Stephen King's Pet Sematary when I was a kid and being pretty freaked out. I finished the last hundred pages or so in one night and I was all alone in the house, and I can remember tip-toeing around, turning on lights. Just to, you know, make sure nothing was hiding in the corners.
What's the most memorable Halloween you've ever had?
For some reason the Halloween that sticks out to me is the last one I ever went trick-or-treating. My friend Ben (to whom the book is dedicated) and I dressed up like vampires from the movie The Lost Boys. We were too old for trick-or-treating and mostly planned to scare little kids. Yet we wore costumes, which means we were still on that edge of growing up. One thing's for sure: we weren't very scary.
Do you have any Halloween traditions?
Halloween is my favorite holiday. I usually spend all day watching horror movies. I'll even take a day off work if I need to. Usually I write down all the movies beforehand to make sure I have my TV schedule all plotted out. I take my horror-movie watching very seriously. Very. Seriously.
Can you tell us a little bit about your next book, "Rotters" coming out in 2011?
It's an epic horror adventure about grave robbing. It's very creepy and very disturbing, and after you read it you may think I am a very scary man. But I'm not. Seriously. Hey, why are you backing away?
What is the scariest thing that has happened to you?
When my wife and I were driving around Scotland, we stayed in this old hotel in the middle of nowhere. We had spent the day roaming through empty castles and ancient stone circles and we were already kind of freaked out. So we settled down in this creepy room with a big four-poster bed, and both of us were suddenly seized by dread. It was too dark and too quiet. The idea of getting up to use the bathroom was terrifying. There was a sense of something very wrong in that room, so wrong that I almost felt sick. I don't believe in ghosts, but sometimes I think of that night and have my doubts.
What's your favorite horror movie and why?
Wow, that's a tough one. There's a flick made in 1962 called "Carnival of Souls" that I really like. It was made for about five bucks, all the actors are terrible, and it has some really lousy effects. But there's something about it that creeps me out - maybe it's the setting of an old abandoned theme park. There's also a French film made in 1960 called "Eyes Without a Face" that will scare the hell out of you. It's about a surgeon who kills women so he can cut off their faces and try to graft the skin onto the face of his terribly burned daughter. I saw it in a crowded movie theater a few years ago and during one scene in particular you could've heard a pin drop. The entire audience was holding its breath.
Most haunting nightmare you've ever had?
When I was four years old, I had a dream that I was walking through our house at night in my pajamas. I heard crying and I turned and saw my baby sister in her crib. Two arms were coming from the ceiling, reaching down toward the baby. In each hand was a bottle of lotion that was pouring all over the baby. I'm getting chills just thinking about it. It was so scary that, the following night, I had a dream where my room was filled with TVs playing the first dream, over and over and over...
What's the most strange, funny, or unique Halloween costume you've ever worn?
One time I poured a bunch of fake blood over a handkerchief and tied it around my head to look like some kind of crazy killer or something. It wasn't funny or unique, but it probably qualifies as strange.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Daniel! Readers - look for tomorrow's post for a chance to win his book "The Monster Variations"!