Interview with Indie Horror Author – Jack Wallen
Broadway actor turned horror writer. Jack Wallen is as fascinating as any of his characters, and extraordinarily prolific with almost thirty books to his name.
Terror Realm (TR): What is your first memory of horror?
Jack Wallen (JW): My passion for horror began as a child in the 70s. The first movie to truly call out to my primal love for things dark and twisty was “The Gorgon”. I was certain snakes were going to wind their way out of my mother’s head and turn me to stone. Thankfully, that flaming red hair of my mothers never turned serpentine and my meat and flesh remained plyable [sic]. Since then, horror has become my comfort food.
TR: What has been your greatest success so far?
JW: Although I’d like to lay that claim to one major reviewer comparing Hell’s Muse to the earlier works of Clive Barker, that honour would probably belong to the first book in my I Zombie series, I Zombie I. That particular book has won a few awards but, more importantly, it has been read by tens of thousands of people. On top of which, it was that book which kicked off a series that currently contains thirteen books (and counting).
TR: Who are your horror heroes and why?
JW: My idol is Clive Barker. He is not only the reason I fell in love with reading but helped to make me realize I wanted to be a writer. Not only that, but he’s the master of writing the horrific with an unmatched grace and elegance. I’ve never been a fan of pedestrian writing … I always look for a more poetic leaning. Words can be so sexy.
TR: How long have you been working in the horror industry?
JW: When I first began writing, I knew I wanted to pen tales of terror. However, I wanted to make sure I had the chops to do the genre justice. To that end, I started out writing thrillers (the Fringe Killer series). That series was just dark enough that it helped me to develop a voice that was perfectly suited for horror. Many consider that voice similar to the rhythms of prog metal like the Devin Townsend Project. A sort of Math Rock time signature shift with a heady syncopation. My first horror novel was I Zombie I, released in 2009 (though some would consider Gothica, written in 2004) to be more horror than a thriller. I’ve tried writing “normal” … it never works out.
TR: Tell us about your most recent horror project.
JW: I am about to submit a new work to the Kindle Scout program. This is an amazing program, run by Amazon, in which an author can submit an unpublished work for consideration. If accepted, the book will gain the promotional efforts of Amazon to help pimp the work. The book I am submitting to Kindle Scout is called “Suicide Station”. This is a love story of a different ilk. Suicide Station is a paranormal romance with a twist even the Grim Reaper wouldn’t see coming.
Excerpt from Lament, by Jack Wallen.
The hack’s the thing. At least that’s what we told ourselves as neophyte data jockeys, sipping liquid candy crush through straws the size of our fingers. Truth be told, during our alpha period, it wasn’t as much about the hack as it was the high.
The rush. The crush. The speed-induced thrill of knowing the comedown wouldn’t occur in binary. In those moments we were gods and goddesses. We’d entwine our limbs into an ouroborus of flesh, until you had no idea if your fingers were dancing across ribs or a keyboard. It didn’t matter then…the outcome was the same.
Garbage in, garbage out.
The early days.
We were young and dumb and forever searching out the next big high.
Until we found it. And by it, I mean that final high you never truly survive. That paradox of junkie justice. A soul crushing, brain squeezing, heart tripping dubstep drug that did everything and nothing.
We didn’t even realize what we’d done. Outside of forming a ragtag group of coders who thought we were as cool as those cyber trash-core films of the thirties, we really had no clue what was going on around us. At the time, Big Data ruled the planet. A handful of major conglomerates held every politician, corporation, and ultra-millionaire by the balls and would gently squeeze now and then to remind them who was truly in control. Simultaneously, Big Pharma still had the ego from its golden days and was certain they’d tilt the wheel of power back into their favor.
Big fucking deal, right?