1. What’s something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
A lot of folks don't know I was a musician long before I started writing fiction. I started playing guitar around thirteen years old and decided early on it was what I wanted to do with my life. I went to the Atlanta Institute of Music for college and graduated in 2007 with a guitar degree. After not being all that happy in Atlanta, I moved back home to Indiana after I graduated and looked into starting a band. It was all I wanted, to be a touring heavy metal guitarist. But I couldn't find the right people who were dedicated enough to live that lifestyle. That realization was pretty devastating.
2. What got you into writing? Was there a particular life event that inspired you to write?
Soon after I realized the music thing wasn't going to happen, I was desperate to find some sort of creative output. Being a heavy reader, I took a stack of books and headed to a small horror convention in Indianapolis, where I met one of my favorite authors, Brian Keene. Meeting him and seeing how kind the other authors were was an eye opening experience. It gave me the spark I needed to try my hand at writing fiction. I'm really, really glad I went to that con.
3. What is your writing routine?
I just try to write a little bit every day, no matter how much I can get out. Its incredibly important to get something out on the page every day, if only to keep the juices flowing and the creative spark lit. It's easy to be lazy and push things aside until you're "ready." Right now is always the best time.
4. Do you self publish, traditionally publish, or both? Why do you choose those methods?
I have self-published in the past, but I prefer to go through traditional publishers. To me, there's no better feeling in the world than getting that email from a publisher who wants to put their publishing logo on the spine and back cover of your work. It gives me the chance to dance a happy jig a few times a year.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
I've always said the big three who made me want to write were Brian Keene, J.F. Gonzalez, and Tim Lebbon, but I still say my favorite author will always be Graham Masterton. I absolutely adore his writing style and his stories. He's able to take absurd story ideas and make them completely plausible. I'm also a huge fan of Ray Garton, Mary SanGiovanni, Edward Lee, Simon Clark, Richard Matheson, Kelli Owen, John R. Little, C.V. Hunt, and countless others.
6. Can you remember a time that a book made you cry or frightened you so much you had to put it down? Which book and what scene?
I remember crying because of Stephen King's "11-22-63." The end was absolute devastating and beautiful and it had me in tears. I had heard the original ending was much different, but someone suggested he change it to what it currently is. I'm so happy he did.
7. What are some lessons you’ve learned as a writer in terms of writing process, routine, publishing, etc?
The biggest thing I've been told is to always be true to yourself. Write what makes you happy. Write the book YOU want to read. If you're not happy with the words you're putting down on the page, it will come across that way to the reader. Also, do your due diligence on every publisher before submitting to them. I've been burned by countless "publishers" in the past and I have learned my lesson.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I think the best thing you can do as a young writer is to forge your own path. It's very easy to be envious or jealous of the success of your peers, but you can't feel that way. Be happy for your peers, be gracious, be generous, be available. They're on their journey. Put the horse blinders on and carve your own path. You're the captain of your ship. Sail on.
9. If you could meet one author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I'm dying to meet Graham Masterton. He was supposed to be at StokerCon last year, which was the biggest reason I wanted to go, but he ended up cancelling last minute. I was incredibly bummed, but I still got to meet John R. Little, so it was definitely worth it. I think I would like to sit and talk with him about what it takes to keep a career going as long as he has. He's been writing steadily since the early seventies and is still producing amazing work year after year. It's absolutely something to aspire to.
10. In your opinion, what are the most important elements of good writing?
Belief in your characters. If you don't believe in them and their actions and motivations, then the readers won't. Give them life and personality, even if that personality doesn't agree with everyone. I recently finished a novel, and my pre-readers told me the antagonist is the most abhorrent, disgusting, awful character they've read in some time. They also hated they were forced to feel sorry for him when they read his backstory chapter. This character was designed this way, to bring out a very specific emotion out of the reader, and with that feedback it made me know I did my job correctly as the author.
11. Where can readers purchase your books?
All of my work is currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
12. Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?
I'm pretty easy to find on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I also have my website www.wesleysouthard.com, which I try to keep as updated as possible.
Wesley Southard is the Splatterpunk Award-nominated author of The Betrayed, Closing Costs, One For The Road, Resisting Madness, and Slaves to Gravity (with Somer Canon) and has had short stories appear in outlets such as Cover of Darkness Magazine, Eulogies II: Tales from the Cellar and Clickers Forever: A Tribute to J.F. Gonzalez. When not watching numerous hours of ice hockey, he spends his free time reading and drinking copious amounts of Diet Dr. Pepper. He is also a graduate of the Atlanta Institute of Music, and he currently lives in South Central Pennsylvania with his wife and their cavalcade of animals.
Check out Wesley Southard on Amazon.
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Written by Sterp
I am Sterp. I write dark fiction and have a very unhealthy obsession with disturbing narratives. I am the author of The Cult Called Freedom House: Sophia Rey Book One. My short story The Lost Tea Cup is in Issue 26 of The Literary Hatchet. I am also a painter.
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