Author Interview: Jeff Strand

Jeff Strand is the four-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of over forty books, most of them humorous horror but with various other genres (thriller, fantasy, a romantic comedy and a smut comedy) sprinkled into the mix.

Jeff Strand Author Photo for Blog

What’s new and exciting in your life as an author? 

My latest novel, MY PRETTIES, just came out. I’m known as a “horror/comedy” guy, but though this book has a lot of humor, at least in the early chapters, it’s definitely one of my darkest books. My previous novel, FEROCIOUS, which didn’t come out all that long ago, is a fun-filled action-packed creature feature with all the chainsaw mayhem you could want. Maybe even more than you’d want.

What is your connection to the American South?

I lived in Tampa, Florida for over twenty years, and I’ve lived in Atlanta, Georgia for two. So I’ve got the street cred, even though before that I spent fifteen years in Alaska and eight years in Ohio. After I graduated from college, my #1 priority for a place to live was warm weather. I’m completely thin-blooded now and even the Atlanta “winters” are too cold for me.

How has that connection to the South informed your work as a writer?

It varies by book. I have to admit that I’ll usually default to setting a book in whatever state I happen to live in at the time, unless there’s a reason the story won’t work there. I lived in Florida when I wrote PRESSURE, but I had an idea for a great scene that took place amidst a field of cacti, and that’s really the sole reason the book took place in Arizona. The closest I have to a true “southern” book is probably WOLF HUNT, which is very specifically set in Florida because our heroes are from New York and are miserable in the hot sweaty weather.

Cabin 12 Roan Mtn

Jeff Strand, finishing his novel MY PRETTIES at a haunted cabin in Roan Mountain, TN
(look closely and you can see him on the front porch)

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Look for at least two more novels in 2019. Plus I’m working on a very cool project that I’m not allowed to talk about that definitely will NOT be out in 2019, so there was no compelling reason to share it in this interview. Those crazy enough to want more information about my books can find it all at www.JeffStrand.com.

Days of the Dead & Con-Tagion

2019 is off to a great start! In January I was one of the authors featured in readings at Days of the Dead in Atlanta, where I read the title story from my short story collection “I Never Meant to Start a Murder Cult” and sold several copies of the book!

DOTD 2019 Darrell Reading

2019 Days of the Dead Readings Poster

And in February I attended Con-Tagion 2019, a new con in Charlotte, NC, focused on professional development for writers and other creatives. I sat through some very informative writers’ workshops conducted by Gail Z. Martin, Jeff Strand, and John Hartness, the coordinator of the con.

Friends at Con-Tagion 2019

Selfie at Con-Tagion 2019 with friends and fellow writers Lynn Hansen, John Hartness, Jeff Strand, Jessica Nettles, and Richard Dansky.

2019 Con-Tagion Nicole Kurtz

At Con-Tagion with Nicole Givens Kurtz, whose new collection of Weird Western stories, “Sisters of the Wild Sage,” will be published this Spring!

2019 Con-Tagion Gail Z Martin

…and with Gail Z. Martin. I’m a big fan of Gail’s urban fantasy novels (check out her latest, “Sons of Darkness”) and the gay paranormal romance/action novels she writes under the pen name Morgan Brice (check out “Badlands”).

Smelly Cat Coffeehouse, Charlotte 2:9:2019

Me drinking coffee and being cool at Smelly Cat Coffeehouse in Charlotte, NC.

2019 New Year’s Day Review

2018 was a great year for me as a budding author! I did my first two author readings, moderated my first-ever DragonCon panel, got to be on two DragonCon panels with my friend James Tuck, and was on a panel at Monsterama for the first time. I had 4 story publications, and I released my first collection of short stories, the horror/crime chapbook, I Never Meant to Start a Murder Cult and Other Stories.

Some highlights of 2018:

Getting involved in the Atlanta Chapter of the Horror Writers Association

Reading my story “The Curse of the Spider” at Scary Fireside Stories for Halloween, on October 27th at the Lake Clair Land Trust in Atlanta. Good times and s’mores were had by all! Authors reading their spooky tales were (L-R): Lynne Hansen, Nancy Collins, me, Michael Wehunt, Gini Koch, Peter Salomon, Jessica Nettles, Jeff Strand, Amanda DeWees, and Brian Kirk.

2018 Scary Fireside Stories

Being on the Occult Detectives panel at Monsterama with Amanda DeWees and John Hartness:

2018 Monsterama Occult Detectives

Being on a DragonCon panel with my literary idol Katherine Kurtz:

2018 DragonCon Katherine Kurtz

According to Goodreads, I read 104 books in 2018. Several were multiple books by the same author: 2 by Amanda DeWees; 2 by E.J. Stevens; 2 by Katherine Kurtz; 2 by M.C. Beaton; 4 by Bobby Nash; 6 by Gail Z. Martin and her pen name Morgan Brice; and most disturbingly, 13 by Jeff Strand. A spookily large percentage of these books were ghost stories.

Looking forward to an awesome 2019!

DragonCon 2018

[Updated] I was on three panels this year at the DragonCon Horror Track, including my first-ever panel as moderator. All three panels went well and were a lot of fun! Hope to see you at DragonCon 2019!

Friday 8/31, 1:00 pm, Westin, Peachtree 1-2
V-Wars (picture below) 
This year, we’re helping to fill the Jonathan Maberry-sized hole in the schedule by assembling authors who have contributed to his V-Wars (Vampire Wars) anthologies.
V-Wars is coming soon to Netflix!
James R. Tuck, Dacre Stoker, Scott Sigler, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Larry Correia (moderator Darrell Grizzle)

Sunday 9/2, 2:30 pm, Westin, Peachtree 1-2
Collaborative Storytelling from Hell!
A roundtable of authors contribute to a collaborative story that is sure to put the “corpse” in “exquisite corpse.”
E.J. Stevens, Eric Asher, Shawnee Small. Darrell Grizzle (moderator David Maynor)

Sunday 9/2, 5:30 pm, Westin, Peachtree 1-2
Candles in the Night: Christians in Dark Fantasy
Authors discuss the role of Christianity in Horror & Dark Fantasy.
Katherine Kurtz, Faith Hunter, Tim Powers, Clay Gilbert, Darrell Grizzle (moderator James R. Tuck)

DragonCon 2018 V-Wars Panel

DragonCon Horror Track photo

Ghost Ship!

Here’s a preview from my upcoming short story collection, “I Never Meant to Start a Murder Cult and Other Stories.” Two of the stories will be illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Brian MacGregor from Savannah. Here’s one of Brian’s awesome illustrations! The collection will be a chapbook of horror and crime fiction: four short stories and five flash-fiction stories. All of the stories have been previously published except for one, a brand new ghost story set in the Victorian era. The collection will be available in paperback as well as eBook. I’ll post links as soon as the book is available (sometime before the end of August).

Ghost Ship

First Author Reading

My first author reading went extremely well! The reading was on February 4, 2018, at the Days of the Dead convention in Atlanta. The two stories I read were very well received, and it was an honor and pleasure to share the panel with Jeff Strand and Nancy Collins. I read my ghost story from Mad Scientist Journal (Summer 2017) and a macabre humor piece that recently sold to a major sci-fi market and will be published soon. Several people took my author business cards and said they look forward to reading more of my work. We had a much larger audience than we expected, especially for the very last time slot on the last day of the con.

My First Author Reading 2-4-2018

Many thanks to friend and filmmaker Lynne Hanson for this pic of the reading (L-R: Nancy Collins, me, Jeff Strand)

Days of the Dead author reading 2

and this pic of (L-R) me, Jeff Strand, Days of the Dead Blue Track director Nathan Hamilton, and Nancy Collins:

Days of the Dead author reading 1

Here’s my favorite photo from the con! Jeff Strand, me, and Lynn Hanson with a giant Yeti!

Yeti Jeff Darrell Lynne