Thursday 2 April 2015


Welcome to night four of the Dead Roses Special week.

Tonight sees the third author interview with Gregor Xane. He will be answering some general questions about himself and his writing and then some specific questions about Loving the Goat, his story in the book.

Of course, at the end, Gregor will take on The Ten Confessions!

From what I can see this is a hard man to pin down so I’m really excited to have this interview. You will also notice that there aren't any pictures to be found of the elusive Mr Xane. He is the Sia of the book world. Not that I'm saying he wears a hat with a mop on it when he goes out or anything......or a mask like Michael Jackson.....or make-up like Kiss.....or does he?

You will also's a bit nuts....but funny nuts....not...really nuts!

Grab your poison and it's Thursday Special night...Indian Curry all round......most of all enjoy!

COAF - So tell everyone a bit about yourself in general?

GX - I live with a talking dog named Velvet and together we manage two dozen White Castle restaurants throughout Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

When we're not working, Velvet and I play chess, read to each other, or just plop down in front of the ol' boob tube and catch up on our daytime soaps.

COAF - Why writing? Why decide on that as a career?

GX - Shit. I don't know. Because I'm stupid? I've done the math; the prospects ain't good.

Because I'm wilfully stupid?

COAF - You seem to deal with the surreal horror and the funny horror in your stories. I’ve seen Six Dead Spots described as “insane and hilarious”. Why follow this style instead of say, all out slashers?

GX - I've always enjoyed the surreal, the absurd, startling imagery, body horror, imaginative fiction, and stories that are darkly humorous. It's just the way I'm wired, I guess.

Why not slashers? That horror subgenre has never appealed to me much. There are some works that fit that category that I like, but, in general, I won't pick up a serial killer/slasher book. Too mundane, maybe? I like supernatural horror and horror that crosses over into fantasy territory.

COAF - Take us through your process for a story. How do you start it and follow through to the final product?

GX - After an idea comes to me, and they just come to me out of nowhere, I build a story around it in my head over time. I envision key scenes, story beats, key character moments, the basic shape of the story, how it ends, and then I sit down to write it all out.

After I've got the zero draft, I let that sit for a while and work on other stuff. Then I get to editing, and that takes a very, very long time. I force myself to cut 10% of the word count from that zero draft over subsequent drafts. I then send it off to the usual line-up of folks to help me get the thing cleaned up.

COAF - What’s the most difficult part of writing for you?

GX - Getting started, finding the injection point into a story.

COAF - Your recommended reading on your blog suggests the likes of Graham Joyce and Joe R Lansdale. Would they be typical of influences on your writing or just authors you like to read? Can you differentiate between influences and people you just want to read?

GX - I'd say everything I've ever read has influenced me in some way and that the authors who I consider my favourites maybe influence me more than others? I'm not sure. That's a very good question.

I like to think that I'm learning via osmosis about building well-rounded characters that you really care about from Graham Joyce and that I'm learning the power of simple and direct language, pure storytelling, from Lansdale. But I don't think about any of these things all that much when I'm reading their work. I'm just enjoying the hell out of it, getting lost in it. If, while reading your story, I'm thinking too much about how you're doing something, then you're probably doing something wrong.

COAF - If I can quote you, you say “I prefer science fiction, fantasy, and horror without the spaceships, dragons, and zombies”. If you were offered a six book deal from a major publisher for any of the above genres, how would you get around having to include spaceships or dragons or zombies?

GX - Well, there's a fair amount of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror out there that doesn't contain these tropes.

But, I think what you're getting at is what if I got a huge six book deal with a major publisher and all they wanted was spaceships, zombies, and dragons? What would I do?

I'd do my best to make these concepts my own. I've actually got an idea for a 'zombie' novel that's been in the wool-gathering stage for some time now. But, admittedly, I'd find it quite difficult to write a straight space opera, epic fantasy, or zombie apocalypse book.

All right. Now that you've got me thinking, here's my pitch. Way back in Earth's antediluvian past, there was a super advanced civilization that built a generation ship to escape the great flood. That ship is returning to Earth now. Of course, no one on our planet knows anything about this ship because all records of this ancient civilization have been lost to antiquity, and when we see this huge, dragon-shaped spaceship headed our way, we can't help but to think 'alien invasion.' When the ship lands, an army of undead, superfast, super intelligent zombies are unleashed on an unsuspecting population--the result of a mad, ancient scientist's quest for immortality.

COAF - Which of your stories are you most proud of? Why?

GX - The Riggle Twins because I think I accomplished what I wanted to with that one, and that was to write a story that was pure Halloween. I was also quite pleased to see that it made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award.

COAF - What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

GX - Read.

COAF - What’s coming in the future from Gregor Xane?

GX - I should have a novella out in the next few months that belongs on the same shelf as Loving the Goat. I'm polishing that one up now.

I just finished the rough draft of another novella, but that won't see publication until late next year. I'm working on a couple more Halloween tales, a couple of shorts, and I hope to have a novel or two polished up over the next six months or so. When the novels might come out, I can't say. They're science-fiction, and I think they'll need a lot of beta reader feedback and revision before they're ready for publication.

Also, I'll be offering up a short piece of weird fiction soon. It will be exclusive to those readers who agree to sign up for my new release mailing list. That one's called I Will Tell You About Knoist.

COAF – Moving on to Dead Roses, give us your take on Loving the Goat?

GX - I think goats are funny, nature's version of the Marx Brothers. I see them as obstinate, impulsive, mischievous, challengers of the status quo. One cannot remain dignified in the presence of a goat. When a goat enters the scene you can expect destruction, slapstick mayhem. Someone is going to get hurt.

When I wrote this story, I set out to write the most goaty story I could manage, to really infuse it top to bottom with what I consider to be the spirit of the goat.

COAF - It’s a bit extreme in parts. Is this the norm for you? Do you not worry about readers being offended?

GX - Yes, the content in this story will make some people very uncomfortable. It's supposed to. It's in a horror collection, after all. There is a content warning on the Amazon product page. People should have at least some idea of what they're getting into.

Are my stories usually extreme? It all depends on what the story calls for. I'm sure some people would say that all my stuff is extreme. But I'd say that each story is at least extreme in a different way from all the others.

Loving the Goat is very different from anything I've published so far.

COAF - Bill was heavily involved in the comic world. Are you a comic fan?

GX - Yes, I've been a life-long fan of comics. Superhero comics, underground comics, horror comics. I love 'em all.

COAF - I’m tempted to ask is any of this based on your own personal experiences?

GX - Only the most mundane details, I assure you. For example, I like drinking bourbon and I hate flying.

COAF - Is this a theme you would like to continue, with the character Loving? Maybe in its own actual comic?

GX - Yes, I've thought it would be fun to do an actual comic book featuring Loving. I've got some ideas of how his origin story would play out. Perhaps one day I'll have the resources to get an artist on board to make such a thing a horrible reality. That'd be great.


1 Who would you view as your main competitor in the writing world?

My own lazy, procrastinating self.

2 What book or author have you read that you think should never have been published?

There are thousands upon thousands of first drafts of stories and novels that self-published authors should never have uploaded onto Amazon. 

3 Are any of the things your characters have experienced in your books been based on something that has actually happened to you? What was it?

Yes. Sort of. Let me explain.

I wrote Six Dead Spots during a pretty successful attempt to quit smoking. I was using those transdermal nicotine patches. You wear them around the clock, even when you're sleeping (especially if you're accustomed to having a cigarette first thing in the morning). I typically have vivid dreams, but the patch magnified their intensity, their tenacity, tenfold. I'd get up in the middle of the night to have a piss, then go back to sleep and continue the same fucked-up dream from where I'd left off.  The lucid dreams seemed to come easier, too, and I'd always been interested in lucid dreaming. So, I started reading up on the subject again and wondered if it were possible to program yourself to dream specific dreams using some arcane combination of pharmaceuticals and intense, directed audio-visual stimulation. And worrying over this idea--this question--eventually resulted in a story about a guy named Frank who wakes up one day with these numb spots on his body that his doctor just can't explain.

Now, just for the record, Frank isn't me. I never downed a bunch of sleeping pills and Viagra, slapped on a nicotine patch, and watched a bunch of porn with the intent of drifting off into a virtual reality dreamland under my complete control. Even though I thought this method would likely yield some interesting results, I was unwilling to experiment on myself.

And, so, I invented Frank.

To be clear, I don't endorse, and I strongly advise against, the methods described above for inducing a sort of dreamscape world filled with fantastical dalliances (however much, in theory, I think it might work) because it could lead to cardiac arrest, or, most likely, a permanent interruption in sanity, very much like what is described as happening to Frank in Six Dead Spots.

4 Have you ever blatantly stolen an idea or scene and adapted it for one of your own books? If so, care to share?

There is a character from Edward Lorn's Bay's End universe that I stole, repurposed, and inserted into Loving the Goat. The character is a caricature of a character Edward Lorn based on himself. So, really that's more of a literary allusion than it is stealing.

5 Have you ever anonymously left a bad review for someone else’s book? If so, care to share?

No. All negative and bad reviews are written by me, as me.

6 What’s the one thing you are least proud of doing in your life and why?

In the US we have daytime talk shows, and I'm pretty sure they pay people to air their dirty laundry.

7 What’s the one thing you are MOST proud of doing in your life and why?

Finishing what I've started, finishing anything I've started.

8 What’s your biggest fault?


9 What is your biggest fear?

I'm afraid of everything, especially everything inside my own body, all those organs, all the blood. I'm really afraid of seeing all that stuff coming out.

10 If you had to go to confession now, what would be the one thing you would or need to get off your chest?

I'd say, "Father, for the record, I don't fuck goats. I don't make love to them. I don't have any impure thoughts regarding goats."


My huge thanks to Gregor for agreeing to take part in this interview and for giving up his valuable time to give us an insight into his thoughts and writing.

I'm sure you will agree Xaneworld seems like a very interesting place to live!

You can see more of Gregor at his website.

Gregor's author page is here.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for night five when I have the next in the series of interviews for you. This next one is with Adam Light.

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