Sunday, 18 October 2015

GUEST POST: Confessions of my Past, Present and Future #14 - Adam Light


Confessions of my Past, Present and Future

by

Adam Light


The Past


I was raised by a family of book lovers, and I am eternally grateful. My parents passed their love of reading down to their kids, and instilled in us that books were not just to be read, but to be treasured. So, you get the picture. Books are an integral part of my life. I am a voracious reader, and have been known to read two or three books at the same time. Somehow I can manage to juggle books with ease, though once in a while, a particular book fully engages me and I have to lay the others down to focus on that one.

There are quite a few authors whose works have influenced me throughout my life. I’m not sure what the first really good book that I read was. I can remember the time when books became an obsession for me, though. I recall my stepdad coming into my room one day, carrying a big, dusty cardboard box. He set the box on the floor and beckoned for me to open it up and look inside. I didn’t know what would be in the box, but when I opened it, I was mesmerized by what lay within. It was packed full of paperback books. About sixty Doc Savage books, written by Lester Dent under the pseudonym Kenneth Robeson back in the 1930’s and 40’s, to be precise. That was the coolest gift ever, and I swore to read them all. They were not in the best shape, but I read every one of them. I don’t remember what happened to those books, but I wish I still had them.

I can’t say I remember much of Robeson’s stylistic approach, but it doesn’t really matter. What made those stories special was how they introduced me to the concept of reading for pure escapism. I would disappear for entire evenings, and never hear anything else around me, and I was truly happy.

It turned out that, while adventure yarns were great, I wanted something more from the books I read. I found a collection of Washington Irving stories at a yard sale as a kid, and read it over and over again. Robert Heinlein intrigued me for a while, but when I found H.G. Wells, things began to get really interesting. Ray Bradbury made a huge impression on me, and I still re-read a few of his treasures now and then. His prose just never ceases to impress me. After reading The Martian Chronicles, I discovered Something Wicked This Way Comes. Both of those Bradbury classics are very special to me. Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft appeared next, and after reading their chilling tales, I knew I had found what I had been looking for.

My brother, Evans was also vital to my quest for books. He usually discovered and handed down the books I would come to love.

The author that influenced me most was still to come, though. At age thirteen, I was introduced to Stephen King. The first book that I selected was Eyes of the Dragon. It was a new arrival at the library, and the cover was pretty eye-catching. My mom surprised me by allowing me to check it out, because there was no way Stephen King was age-appropriate at the time.  The book was alright, but it was a fantasy story, and I wanted to have the hell scared out of me. The next book I picked out was The Shining. That’s the one that knocked my socks off. I have read the book several times, and it never ceases to thrill me.

I ended up reading all of King’s published work during high school, and by the time The Dark Half was released in 1989, I was caught up. The Dark Half was the first book I bought in hardcover on its actual release date. Since then, I have kept up that tradition. Nothing like a brand spanking new King novel to make everything else disappear for a while. I discovered some other great authors whom I will always cherish. Like most horror fans of that era, I read through Dean Koontz’s huge catalog. Books like Lightning, Watchers, Twilight Eyes, and Phantoms were some of my favorites. I’m not a fan of the direction his work has taken recently, but I will eventually revisit some of his older stuff. Other notable authors that left huge impressions on me were Clive Barker, Peter Straub, and Robert R. McCammon.

Then, there are the books I’ve stumbled upon purely by chance. Some of the best experiences I’ve had reading are when I have no idea what I’m getting into. A great example for me would be the book A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I have suggested it to several people, and I plan to revisit it this year. It is unlike anything else I’ve read. Dark humor is probably the best way to describe it. That’s just one example of a non-horror novel that lingered with me. And how could I forget the inimitable Douglas Adams! Life might not have ever held meaning without The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Now that I think of it, all of Adams’s books should be mandatory reading.





The Present


I have a few suspense thrillers lined up for post-Halloween from authors Nelson DeMille, Stephen Hunter, and Greg Iles. Actually, I have read the latest DeMille, Radiant Angel, and it was another good installment in the John Corey series. I love that character.

I love biographies, too. I have bought many rock-and-roll bios lately, so I have quite a few to read, but I believe the one I am most eager to start is I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy from Anthrax. I found a hardcover in great condition at the thrift store for a dollar.

One of the best books I’ve read so far this year is by the always impressive Jason Parent. His latest book, Seeing Evil was a real treat. It isn’t exactly a horror novel, but this supernatural thriller is peopled with strong characters, suspense that builds relentlessly, and some truly horrific scenes. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it big time. Parent’s first novel, What Hides Within, is also an amazing tale, one which defies categorization.

Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Bentley Little, Ed Lee, Ray Garton, Michael McDowell, and Joe R. Lansdale all have books in my to-read pile right now, as well.

I am impatiently anticipating a new release from my favorite author at present, Joe Hill. Hill is simply a master of the craft. I have read everything he has written, and every subsequent book has been an improvement over the one before.

My biggest obstacle is figuring out which book I should read next.

Also, at present, I am steadily writing my own stories. After procrastinating for so many years, I am doing it. And it feels great. I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going in that area. I would like to think that I might be able to quit the day job so I can write full-time. So, I will be working to achieve that goal. My first book is a collection of short stories entitled Toes Up: Horror to Die For. Right now, I am collaborating with my brother, Evans Light, on a couple of exciting projects.





The Future


I will be 71 in 2045. It’ll be a miracle if I’m still alive to see that far away year. If I luck out and I’m still breathing and conscious in 2045, I will still be reading a lot of horror fiction. I’m sure I’ll discover wonderful and talented authors in other genres along the way; I get excited just thinking of all the books that have yet to be written. Of course, I do hope to contribute as much of my own books to horror fan’s shelves, as well. My ultimate goal is to write books that shine, and find the readers that will truly appreciate what I do.

Maybe one day I will write a book that captures a reader’s imagination like Stephen King’s The Shining did for me. One can dream, right?




You can buy Toes Up by Adam here.




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Thanks.




Adam Light resides in northeast Florida with his beautiful wife and daughter, and their aptly, though perhaps not so imaginatively named Walker hound, Walker. He haunts a cubicle by day, writes horror stories at night, and virtually never sleeps.

He is the author of several short horror stories, some of which have been published in his first collection Toes Up. He also has stories in the anthologies Dead Roses, Bad Apples, and Bad Apples 2. He is currently at work on a novella, and a novel-length work, with his brother and frequent collaborator, Evans Light.

And for more about Adam, visit his site or find him on social media:


1 comment:

  1. Wonderful article on a very talented horror author!

    ReplyDelete