On Day 5 of 31 Days of Halloween event, we tap in musician, writer and Moth StorySlam Champion Nathan Carson. The Portland-based Jack of all artistic trades (or of music and stories, at least) is perhaps best known as the co-founder and drummer of doom metal band Witch Mountain, but he’s also the host of the FM radio show The Heavy Metal Sewing Circle and the owner of the boutique music booking agency Nanotear.
Carson’s byline can be found on thousands of music and film-related articles in outlets such as the Willamette Week, SF Weekly, Orbitz, Noisey, Rue Morgue, Terrorizer and Metal Edge, etc.In recent years, he’s turned his sights toward weird fiction, with stories published in acclaimed magazines and anthologies such as Cthulhu Fhtagn!, Strange Aeons, Swords v. Cthulhu, Eternal Frankenstein and The Madness of Dr. Caligari.
Starr Creek (out November 15 from Lazy Fascist) is Carson’s first standalone novella. A launch event for the novella is scheduled for Dec 1 at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne in Portland. Advance copies are available for sale on all stops of the Sept/Oct Witch Mountain tour.
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31 Days of Halloween… with Nathan Carson
Describe a time when a scene in a horror novel really unnerved you or caused you to turn on all the lights.
Quite recently, I read Earthworm Gods by Brian Keene. Late in the book, the main character makes a decision to venture out into the elements despite catastrophic danger and demonic beasts in pitch darkness based solely on the slim chance that he might recover a carton of cigarettes from the wreckage of a helicopter. It was so obviously the worst risk this character could possibly take at this point in the story, yet Keene had been preheating the nicotine addiction crucible since page one, which made this action agonizingly believable.
I was reading the book at night, alone in my room. When the old man stepped out into the absolute darkness, I pulled my feet under the covers at high speed–a completely involuntary, instinctual danger response. It made me laugh and smile because Keene had done his job so well.
In your opinion, what is the all-time scariest horror novel or short story?
I’m not going to say it’s my favourite, because I honestly prefer delicious horror that can be savoured over and over. But a book I had to put down not long ago is Garrett Cook’s A God of Hungry Walls. It’s a haunted house story, told from the perspective of a savagely sadistic house that torments its occupants. I am one of the hardest people to trigger, but this book left me feeling battered on multiple levels. Highly recommended to the sickest, most jaded motherfuckers out there. Garrett Cook commands gratuity and psychological horror like no one else I’ve read.
What’s the scariest scene and/or book you yourself have written?
A lot of people tend to die in my stories. I have written at least one story with a happy ending, but I think maybe only one, haha. There are two scenes I’ve written that come to mind. One is a key sequence in a short speculative fiction tale I wrote for Strange Aeons called “The Sculptress Has No Hands.” As the title gives away, a young artist loses her hands in a matter transfer accident. You can imagine the grief cycle Rainy experiences. At one point she keeps trying to pick up a spoon with her new hook hands and fails and slumps to the kitchen floor sobbing. (Hint: this is fairly early in the story).
The other is a scene toward the end of my novella Starr Creek. And since that’s coming soon and I want everyone to read it, I won’t give the details away. Suffice to say, a teenage boy loses his virginity in a way that is not of his preference, nor necessarily of his species.
List your top three fears.
2. Seeing a loved one in pain
For more about Nathan Carson, his music and his stories, visit www.NathanCarson.Rocks