Author Interview – Gerald De Vere

Today I’m joined by author Gerald De Vere, who wrote the psychological sci-fi novella Creatures.

Book Description: “De Vere is forced out of New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic, retreating with family south of the Mason-Dixon Line. In an attempt to keep his sanity, de Vere delves into the Carolina wilderness, only to uncover a plot of hate, deception, and Death.”

You can find Creatures on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

Q: Who are some of your literary influences?

A: Michael Crichton – for his stark and honest observations about our species. Everything I know about science; I learned in a Crichton book. I think the world was robbed of a brilliant voice with his untimely death. Good writers are like good wine; they get better with age.

H.P. Lovecraft – for the mind-melting creatures and the psychological breakdowns.

Shakespeare & Eugene O’Neill – for the way their drama taps into the human psyche

Sarah Ruhl & Charles Mee – for how surreal they manage to make the mundane world around us seem. All their characters and concepts are larger than life, and there’s a whimsy to it.

The Pythons (Cleese, Chapman & Gilliam specifically) – for teaching me at a young age just how absurd the world was through their work. True madness… and true genius.

Q: What fuels your creativity as a storyteller?

A: My undying need to escape – I think there’s a lot wrong with the world as we’ve built it, and quite frequently I need a break from it. Then there’s my own mental health… sometimes I’m just trying to escape myself. Even when I’m writing something personal, like Creatures, the exploration of my troubled psyche allows me to escape myself. I think that’s because I’m not on the thrill ride but watching from a distance to figure out how it works.

Q: What is the background story on “Creatures”? How much of the novel is based on real events?

A: A magician never reveals all his secrets, but I will say that a great deal of it is based on meditative writing I did while searching for mental stability in nature during the pandemic. The more writing exercises I did, the more I realized I wanted to find a story in them. Every encounter with an animal that occurs in the book was a real-life experience. Every encounter with Death, too. Death knows I’m terrified of crossing over into the next realm, and I think it feeds off that fear. I think that means I’ll live to a ripe old age, though; Death savors feasting on my fear too much to kiss me at the end of the night.

Q: What, in your opinion, is an ideal version of our world?

A: That is a loaded question for a person who struggles with depression… frankly, I think an ideal world is one in harmony with nature. The more we reshape the world for our comforts, the further we get from that. Then we wonder why everyone is dying of cancer. I don’t know of any other species so innately drawn to unnatural & harmful things. In my ideal version of our world, people work in concert together because we understand that we are part of a complex living organism (the planet), and, like cells in the body make up the whole of a person, so to the people in a community should make up the whole of society. I don’t know when or even if we’ll ever get there because of our looming egos: larger than life and as fragile as porcelain. We have to learn to play nice with each other and with the natural world, otherwise it’s going to move on without us.

Q: What is your idea of success as a storyteller?

A: I used to think it was acclaim and success on the level that someone like Crichton or O’Neill experienced in their lifetimes, but I think that’s one of the biggest problems my generation has. We live in a culture that defines success as notoriety and fame, but it’s created this troubling self-preservation. No one seeks collaboration – everyone has their very own pet project, and they all want to be the next Tolkien or Stephen King or… well, maybe not J. K. Rowling anymore. No one should want to be a bigot. You get the picture. At this point, success for me is holding the book in my hands. It’s knowing that anyone could stumble upon it and buy it online, and maybe take a wild ride they don’t soon forget. In the musical [title of show], there’s a killer lyric that says, “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing than 9,000 people’s 9th favorite thing.” There’s a truly eloquent truth in that statement, and I try to embrace it when I get down on myself for not being that New York Times bestseller. I’m never going to win a Pulitzer; my tastes were never that mainstream, even as a kid. I tell stories because I can’t stop myself.

State of the “Caedes-verse”

Long time no see, I know. How are you? I’ve been good. Good and busy.

Welcome to 2023 (which is hopefully, in many ways, better than 2022), the year of some changes both inward and outward.

Since I don’t tend to release numerous projects throughout any given year–typically just one book per year, plus some short stories here and there–I’ve decided to start posting some book and movie reviews, since that’s something I’ve always enjoyed, and since I no longer write for any horror news websites that give me a proper outlet to do so. I’m seeing M3gan tomorrow night, so that will probably be the first proper review I post. On the book front, I got through many, many books in 2022 (or is 89 a rookie number? I dunno) and I intend to start posting reviews for some of those books here. If you dig reviews, subscribe and keep an eye on this page.

2022 was also a big year for The Family Fright Night Horror Podcast, a biweekly show where I talk to various artists about their favorite horror movie for a while before delving into questions about their creative process and philosophies. I had 67 episodes in 2022 (whew!), and from the looks of my calendar of interview dates, 2023’s looking like an even bigger year for the show. You can find all episodes on Spotify, or any other podcast hub out there. If you dig the show and want to support it, you can purchase t-shirts here. If you’re not into snazzy t-shirts that all the cool kids are wearing, you can also support the show by a) telling your friends about it, b) sharing episodes on social media to boost the signal, or c) message me with guest requests or to tell me what you’d like more of on the show. I’m hoping the podcast stays for fun everyone, so I’ll do whatever I can to cater to listeners’ tastes.

On the writing front, I’m currently working on multiple short stories for upcoming anthologies, which means taking a break from upcoming novels (including the final draft of Parasitic Host). The good news is, you can find short stories of mine in a few new anthologies, including Tales from the Monoverse by Last Waltz Publishing, Road Trip God from PsychoToxin Press, and a few others than I’ll announce when the time’s right and the ink is dry on the contract. I’ve always been a fan of short-form horror, and I hope that appreciation for fast and furious storytelling bleeds into my work a bit.

Now, onto what’s coming in 2023:

First and foremost, I’ll be releasing a new novel called Coronation sometime this Summer. This novel’s been teased for a few years now, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. Fans of Birthday Girl, rejoice. While this book’s not nearly as gory as my Ash Crowlin work (it will be published under my own name, not my pseudonym), it’s a heartfelt story about sibling love and how far a young girl will go to save her older brother.

I also intend to release a short story collection sometime in 2023, maybe in time for Scares That Care’s Authorcon II in March/April. News on that later.

Looking far, far ahead at late-2023 and early 2024, I should have another novel coming out that takes place in what I call “The Caedes-verse,” which is the fictional town in which Moving Through takes place. I’m not announcing the book yet, because it’s still in early stages and I’m a known liar when it comes to release dates. All I can say is I’m having a blast revisiting old characters and seeing them grow into new stages of their lives.

I will also be updating my “tour” schedule for 2023 later this week. So far, there are only a few stops that I’m committed to, but I tend to rack up another ten or so before Summer begins. I will definitely be at The Texas Authorcon in July and at Scares That Care Authorcon II in March/April.

Movie and book reviews coming later this week! As always, stay healthy and keep reading.