Shells Chats with author Shawn Riddle

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

It was sometime last summer, 2010. I was working the night shift and had been toying with the idea for some time. Lexy, my girlfriend, had suggested that I go for it, almost insisted on it. So I thought I would take a stab at it and see where it went. Her support has been wonderful.

Who inspires you as a writer?

My greatest writing inspiration has been David Moody. Wayne Simmons and Eric S. Brown as well. I really enjoy reading their work. They have 3 unique and contrasting styles. They’re a great pleasure to read, also 3 of the nicest people I’ve talked to in a long time. I hope to one day be able to meet them all.

Do you feel real people or experiences can float into a writer's story?

Most definitely. Real people are the base of my first story, “The Four of July”. My friends are in there as well as myself. Real experiences I am sure will have a bearing on my future endeavors.

Does your current job have an influence on the stories you write?

No, not at all. I work as a Quality Assurance Engineer in construction for my “Day Job”. It has no real bearing on my writing.

Why Horror?

I have been a huge fan of all things horror since my early teenage years. I had been sheltered from it as a child and wanted to know what it was all about. I suppose it’s the dark side of human nature that intrigues me the most. The evils we are all capable of are an enigma to me, the evils and horrors of the world are as well. The horror genre reflects a lot of those things. Even amplifies them, I think it’s a much more productive way for people to entertain our darker nature.

What is it about zombies that you like and how do you feel about the way zombies are portrayed in books today?

To me, the zombie represents the most primal instincts in man. What are they anyway? How did George A. Romero put it in “Dawn of the Dead”? They’re pure motorized instinct. They’re heartless, without souls, and completely unforgiving and relentless. They represent terror in its purest form. The thought of being ripped apart and eaten is one of the greatest fears most humans have; they’re the walking epitome of that fear. They are portrayed so widely in the genre it’s hard to comment on that. From David Moody’s vision of zombies that start off “deaf and dumb” and then evolve into smarter creatures to Eric S. Browns short stories of talking and fighting zombies, to Wayne Simmons portrayal of zombies that can “find their way home”they’re all wonderful. Variety is the spice of life, and I haven’t found a version of the undead yet I haven’t liked.

Can you tell us about your story “The Four of July”?

Well, without “giving away the farm”. It’s a story based on myself and my friends. I was always told a writer should start writing what he/she knows. It’s about a few buddies staying at their cabin in the mountains, hearing helicopters during the day and night. They decide to investigate the choppers on their way home, only to find the world has been thrown into turmoil by the takeover of the undead. They meet one more along the way, and engage in a major battle for survival. Who will win out in the end? The story is slated to be publihed by Wild Wolf Publishing in their upcoming anthology "Wish You Were Undead" scheduled for release in June of 2011.

You started a group titled Moody's Survivors - The Last of The Living, can you tell us what it is about and where you can find it?

The group can be found on Facebook. I spoke with Author David Moody and gained his kind permission to start a fan group for him there based on his work. I have many other friends who share the same interests, many of them authors. It is now a fan based group for David Moody, who, along the way, help to introduce other authors as well to David’s fans. I’m having a great time with it.

What are your writing goals for the future?

I intend to submit stories for several upcoming anthologies in the next few months. I think the next thing once my first few stories are published is possibly a Novella. Perhaps even a novel depending on how it evolves during the writing. I am currently writing my novel/novella in between short story submissions and plan to have it finished by mid to late summer. I have already achieved my main goal at first, which was to get published. I have the honor of being published alongside many of the finest authors in the genre in the upcoming anthology mentioned earlier.

If a new writer approached you and said they wanted to step out of their normal writing area and try something different, what would you say to them?

I’ve always been one to say, “Go with your gut”. If another writer came to me and wanted advice on switching, that’s what I would tell them. Only the writer themselves can decide what’s best for them. And I always have said, variety is the spice of life.

Where can people find out more about you?

Well, the best way I suppose at this point in time is my Facebook page. I can be found under the name Shawn Rotting Corpse Riddle. Thanks.

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