Like many writers, I began with dreams of critical literary acclaim. I knew it would be instant for me, that I'd start with a few choice lines of prose and the rest would be easy, that I'd write myself into one of those Faulkner awards or some sort of Pushcart nonsense. That I'd be rich, and I'd hang out with rock stars, and women would scream when they saw me on the street... But, well, it turns out such notions may have been a tad unrealistic, and we writers really do "write what we know," to the extent, anyway, that a geek like me from Colorado who spent his childhood playing the Legend of Zelda, being a Dungeon Master, and collecting Magic: the Gathering cards, would wind up writing stories about dark and fantastic things. Who would have thought?
Which is, don't get me wrong, a very wonderful thing. The moment I gave up on that academic literary crap, and began to write the kinds of things I actually enjoy reading, was the moment I began to see success with my writing. In college I always felt the need to try and write "literary" fiction and that shit got me nowhere. I still read the stuff. I read all kinds of things. I love Hemingway, and Faulkner, and Thomas Pynchon, and Samuel Beckett, and a whole slew of others I can't think of at the moment. I've actually read "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace from cover to cover! I enjoyed it. A bit long, but it was good.
But, no matter what I read, no matter how much I enjoy the works of the celebrated literary greats, my favorite books always remain firmly rooted in the realm of the "horror" genre, oftentimes skating the edge between horror and fantasy. I greatly admire Clive Barker, and Peter Straub, and Stephen King, and Ramsey Campbell, and many, many others. For me, the works of such writers touch me in ways more meaningful than much of what I've been taught to call literary.
I guess I don't have a choice. I must write what I most like to read! Nothing to it. No problem. This'll be easy. Uh, well... I better get to work...