You've probably heard of John FD Taff. If you're a fan of dark fiction (and assuming you are, or why else are you here?), then there's a decent chance you've read something he's written. Luckily for Unnerving Magazine, John FD Taff sent a story in for consideration (What Returns, What Remains, included in Issue #1) and doubly lucky, he agreed to answer some questions.
Q: What’s the most recent book you finished and loved?
JFDT: Josh Malerman's A House at the Bottom of a Lake out at the end of October 2016 from This is Horror. Beautiful and very relatable, yet definitely creepy.
Q: What’s the worst horror movie ever made?
JFDT: Wow. That's a wide open question. It's so easy to screw up a horror film, so there are a lot of bad horror movies out there. My problem is the decent horror film that manages to hold it together for 90 or so minutes, then fucks it all up in the last five minutes. Ugh…and then, there are a lot of those—Insidious and The Conjuring serve as recent examples. But the worst one I've seen in the last year or two is Crimson Peak, which was just awful on a lot of levels. Surprising because it was Guillermo Del Toro, whose movies I generally like.
Q: How many hours a day do you write?
JFDT: Well, I try to write for about five to six hours a day, usually in the afternoon, from about 1 to 4 p.m., then back at it late at night, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.I do more late night/early morning because there are so few interruptions.
Q: If you had a pet raccoon, what would you name it?
JFDT: Foamy, because it'd probably be rabid.
Q: Who would win in an Olympic speed-walking race, Jason Voorhees or T-1000?
JFDT: Jason is some sort of revenant of some kind.The other is a Terminator. So, obviously, the T-1000.
Q: What was the first horror story you ever wrote?
JFDT: "The Two of Guns," which I wrote in about 1990. It was also the first story I sold, to a now-defunct magazine called Eldritch Tales.
Q: Who’s an editor you haven’t worked with, but would love to and why?
JFDT: Well, I haven't worked with editor and industry icon Ellen Datlow, so, yeah, I'd like to work with her. She's a lovely person, and I bet she's a terrific ass-kicker as an editor.
Q: If you could co-author a story with any author, living or dead, who would it be?
JFDT: Peter Straub. Hands down.
Q: What was the first horror book you read?
JFDT: Poe. We had a series of volumes of Poe's collected works, and I remember plowing through those at any early age.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure food?
JFDT: McDonald's Filet-O-Fish. Horrible for you, surely, and not the pinnacle of seafood eating, but oh so good.
Q: What are you watching lately on TV, if anything?
JFDT: My son got my wife and I hooked on Game of Thrones, so we binge watched this in about two weeks, all six seasons. We did the same with Daredevil, and tried to with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, which were well-done, but very, very slow. We're really digging Westworld so far.
Q: What is the worst fashion trend you’ve ever participated in?
JFDT: The '80s. 'Nuff said.
Q: Is there a subject you haven’t written about, but would like to?
JFDT: I've always been interested in doing non-fiction supernatural writing, like a book on Patience Worth. I began some research on the subject, and might come back to that some day.
Q: What are you working on now?
JFDT: A novel called which is sort of my master's thesis in horror fiction. Hopefully, it will be done in November, so that I can shop it around next year.
Q: Who is a publisher you’d like to work with, but haven’t yet?
JFDT: Luckily, I've had the good fortune to work with some of the best publishers in the small press—Grey Matter, Cutting Block Books, Books of the Dead. I guess I'd like to take that shot at some of the big houses, but we'll see.
John FD Taff was reached via email and I thank him for his time.
John F.D. Taff is a Bram Stoker Award-Nominated author with nearly 30 years experience in all sorts of writing…public relations, marketing, sales, journalism and creative. He’s a published author with more than 80 short stories and seven novels in print. His writing tends to be categorized as “horror,” though most of it has a weird, pulpy Twilight Zone vibe to it. He also writes fantasy, suspense and some science fiction. Over the years, six of his short stories have been awarded honorable mentions in Datlow & Windling’s Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror.
John resides in a lovely house smack in the middle of the country. He shares the house with his three wonderfully cute pugs, Sadie, Tovah & Muriel. He shares his life with his wonderful wife, Deborah, who puts up with a great deal from him. He has three mostly grown children–Harry, Sam and Molly.
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