I met Hunter Shea online. I’d just finished his novella, The Waiting (Samhain, 2014), and also just signed my first deal with the same publisher. I had heard nothing but great things about him and his work, and after reading The Waiting and then connecting with him via Facebook, I learned that the rumors were true.
I’ve since interviewed, been interviewed by, chatted/emailed with, and hung out with him. I admire the hell out of this guy as a writer and a person. He also happens to have not one, but two new releases (both novels-his second and third of 2015 after January’s Island of the Forbidden). Tortures of the Damned (Pinnacle/Kensington) and The Dover Demon (Samhain).
After meeting him and his family a couple weeks ago at his signing at the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, I caught up with Mr. Hunter Shea for this new interview.
Glenn Rolfe (iHorror): Tortures of the Damned centers around a family dealing with this end of the world as we know it scenario. When writing it, did you think of your own family in that situation?
Hunter Shea: Absolutely. Living within sight of Manhattan, I worry all the time about the next 9/11 event. Just because nothing has happened over the past 14 years doesn’t mean we’re in the clear. We live in very dangerous times, and New York is a prime target. The Padillas are an average, hard working, loving family, just like my own. Keeping that in mind made the fear palpable for me as I wrote.
GR: Do you know a doomsday prepper like Buck?
HS: You have to remember, growing up in the 70s and 80s, I was also part of the Cold War culture. Monthly air raid tests were part of my childhood. I’ve met quite a few folks even back then with tricked out bomb shelters. I also knew a guy who was the ultimate prepper. I mean, he was ready not only for the end of the world, but how to defend himself and his family from anyone who crossed his path. There are more people than you realize that are set for when everything hits he fan.
GR: This is your second Pinnacle book. Are there any differences in how you write for them versus Samhain? And how do you decide which piece is going where?
HS: With Pinnacle, they’re more thriller oriented, so even though there are fantastical elements, there also has to be a kernel of truth at the heart of the story. The key is to get things moving in a hurry and take the reader on a ride that will leave them breathless. Yes, both books to date absolutely have horror elements, but I like to think they’re clinging to the edge of your seat horror. Samhain is wonderful in that our editor lets our creative selves just go with it. With Pinnacle, I work in tandem with my editor to craft a story.
GR: The Dover Demon has just released from Samhain. I got to hang with you at the Cryptozoology Museum here in Maine during one of your signings. What was it about the Dover Demon over say, Bigfoot or the Mothman, that made you have to create a story?
HS: First, I can’t thank you enough for coming to the museum. It was so great hanging out with you. The Dover Demon is completely perplexing. Is it an alien? Is it some strange creature? Is it a person with a deformity? Why did it only pop up for 2 nights in 1977? It’s a true mystery, one that has made a deep impression on people interested in cryptozoology. I wanted to tackle the true story and see what I could do with it, maybe offer an explanation for it, no matter how bizarre. I’d already taken on Bigfoot and The Montauk Monster (and another for Pinnacle next year that’s top secret for now), and I wanted to delve into the strange world of a creature that doesn’t get as much attention.
GR: Are there any wild legends that remain untapped by you from New York or your stays in Maine? Have you ever seen or experienced something unexplained in one of these areas?
HS: There are so many, it’s impossible to go through them all here. I live at the tail end of the Hudson River Valley, host to countless UFO sightings in the 80s and 90s. I used to go out hunting for UFOs all the time. I saw an incredible one by accident with my wife (girlfriend at the time), mother, sister and thousands of others in 1988. That just fueled my fire. If you look, there are legends of strange creatures everywhere. One of my goals is to bring new life to them over the coming years.
GR: Of your Samhain books, which one do you wish more people would pick up and why?
HS: It would have to be Hell Hole. It was voted the #1 horror novel of 2014 by several prestigious horror-themed websites, but I think because it’s also a western, it didn’t get as much traction as it should have. It’s not cowboys and Indians. It’s haunted mines, wildmen, ghosts, black eyes kids and Djinn. It’s the single wildest ride I’ve ever written, with humor, romance and more action than you can poke a stick at. So come on pardners, saddle up!
GR: I know you’re a pretty prolific reader. Give me three or four pieces from 2015 that have stood out to you.
HS: I know it’s going to just go to his head, but I love Ronald Malfi’s Little Girls. That’s the kind of horror story I grew up on and love. I just finished Stephen King’s Finders Keepers. Loved it, especially the ending. I can’t wait for the next one. Others that have tripped me out have been your novella Boom Town, Greg Gifune’s Lords of Twilight and Kristopher Rufty’s Jagger.
GR: I Kill in Peace is listed as coming soon at the end of The Dover Demon. Is there anything you can tease us with in regards to that story? And do you have a release date yet?
HS: That’s a nasty little novella about a poor schmuck living in Maine whose life gets flipped upside down by a simple instant message on his work computer. Readers should be prepared for some tough stuff, because it doesn’t pull any punches. No release date yet, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be out early 2016.
Best new band you’ve been forced to go see live? New Year’s Day
King novel that you love that isn’t so popular? Gerald’s Game
Favorite non-horror book? Snow in August, Pete Hammil
Must have food to eat when you come up to Maine? The burger at the American Gastropub in Bridgton. Also, while you’re there, get a haircut at the Barber of Bridgton, who also cuts Stephen King’s hair.
Hunter Shea is back again with a Pinnacle/Kensington paperback following his smash hit of The Montauk Monster last summer. This time the world could be ending!
Follow along using the hashtags: #TorturesoftheDamned #Apocalypse #RunforYourLife
SHOCK… First, the electricity goes—plunging the east coast in darkness after a devastating nuclear attack. Millions panic. Millions die. They are the lucky ones. AFTER SHOCK… Next, the chemical weapons take effect—killing or contaminating everything alive. Except a handful of survivors in a bomb shelter. They are the damned. HELL IS FOR HUMANS Then, the real nightmare begins. Hordes of rats force two terrified families out of their shelter—and into the savage streets of an apocalytic wasteland. They are not alone. Vicious, chemical-crazed animals hunt in packs. Dogs tear flesh, cats draw blood, horses crush bone. Roaming gangs of the sick and dying are barely recognizable as human. These are the times that try men’s souls. These are the tortures that tear families apart. This is hell on earth. The rules are simple: Kill or die.
“A lot of splattery fun.”—Publishers Weekly “Harrowing, bloodsoaked.” —Jonathan Janz, Author of The Nightmare Girl “Frightening, gripping.”—Night Owl Reviews “Old school horror.” —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author
Hunter Shea, Biography-
Hunter Shea is the author of the novels The Montauk Monster, Sinister Entity, Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, and Evil Eternal. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales and the Cemetery Dance anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror.
His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on. He lives in New York with his family and vindictive cat. He waits with Biblical patience for the Mets to win a World Series. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com.
You can purchase Tortures of the Damned in mass market paperback at more retail stores nationwide, as well as bookstores, both independent and chain.
You can also buy online at:
Barnes and Noble- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tortures-of-the-damned-hunter-shea/1120138038?ean=9780786034772
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