Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Don't Be Cruel: An interview with Edward Lorn

Today's guest is Edward Lorn, author of Cruelty, an episodic horror novel, and other works.

What was your first published work?
A coming-of-age novel entitled BAY’S END. I caught a lot of flack over the language used by the kids in the book. I don’t regret a thing though. Growing up, I could have made sailors blush with the language I used. I wanted to capture that time. To this day, BAY’S END is still my favorite out of all my work.

What made you decide to go the self-publishing route for your most recent works?
This answer is easy and kind of boring. My publisher doesn’t take serial novels or novelettes. CRUELTY is an experiment I’m trying, and CRAWL just didn’t want to be any longer than it was. I refuse to lengthen a piece simply to catch a publisher. I also missed the fun of self-publishing. Being a cog in the wheel of a company isn’t half as much fun as running the show. It also gives you more freedom; freedom to succeed and call that success your own, or to fail without having to worry about letting someone else down.

What was the inspiration behind Crawl?
Strangely enough, a sad love song. “Say Something” by A Great Big World/feat. Christina Aguilera came on the radio one day and I absolutely fell in love with it. I wanted to delve into the broken relationship between two people on the verge of a collapsed marriage. I’d never tackled something like that before. Very quickly, the first half of CRAWL spooled out in front of me. When I got to the car accident I knew the story would be a keeper. I had no idea CRAWL was going to turn out so intense though. All I wanted to do was tell a tale about a couple whose relationship is crumbling. Sorry, Juliet.

What was the inspiration behind Cruelty?
Baby dolls have always terrified me. I have an eight-year-old daughter and I won’t allow her to keep them in the house. Luckily she makes due with her Monster High dolls. With my debut novel, I tackled a fictitious version of a dog bite incident I had when I was a preteen. It was cathartic. I figured I’d try that again with CRUELTY. I’ll just say that the magic did not work twice. I’m even more scared of dolls now than I was before. But at least now I get to share my nightmares.

What made you decide to do Cruelty as a serial novel?
Because the novel was 150,000 words of disjointed madness. It wasn’t until I finished the first draft of the novel that I sat back and said, “Who the hell is going to read this?” I jumped back into it with the intention of rewriting. While I was doing my first real read-through, I felt like I was watching a television show, the literary equivalent of a cable TV drama, only with slasher film overtones. I started doing some research and I found that Kindle serials weren’t all that uncommon. Scott Nicholson had announced his McFall serial, and the guys behind YESTERDAY’S GONE seemed to be doing pretty well, so I thought, “Why not?” So I self-pubbed it and rode the risk. It paid off in the end and the serial is becoming quite popular.

How many episodes are currently slated for Cruelty? 
Ten in all. Episode Five will be a mid-season finale. I’ll take a break for a month or two then come back for the final five episodes.

Biggest lesson you've learned with Cruelty?
That I should have had the entire book edited all at once instead of a chapter at a time. I’m having more and more problems finding quality editors with openings in their schedules. I think I found the answer though, so all’s good.

Any plans for non-horror works?
BAY’S END and HOPE FOR THE WICKED aren’t technically horror. One’s a coming-of-age tale with a single horrific incident that changes a group of friends’ lives forever, and the other is a thriller about a married couple who just so happen to be retried killers with a code of ethics, respectively. In the near future I have a collaboration with Linton Bowers, who’s new to the publishing scene. It’s a science fiction outing about a murder on a space station. The book is called PORT IN A STORM, and we’re halfway through with it.

Jason vs. Leatherface: Who comes out on top?
Machete beats chainsaw in my world. I never saw Leatherface as an unstoppable killer. In fact, Leatherface’s family scared me far more than he did. I’d hear that engine coming from a mile away. Blades and arrowheads and sleeping bags don’t make a sound. Extra points to anyone who knows why I included sleeping bags. One of my favorite kills of all time.

What are you reading now?
STEELHEART, by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve been branching out as of late and reaching beyond the horror genre. Any writer worth his salt is an avid reader. Need to keep your skill set honed.

What is your favorite book of all time?
Currently, NIGHT FILM, by Marissha Pessl. That book infected me, and I will be judging books based on that novel for a long time to come. Before that, Stephen King’s IT held the top spot for me for over twenty years.

What writer would you say is your biggest influence?
This is a tie between Stephen King and Richard Laymon. King is far more verbose than Laymon ever was, but King can make you care for a slice of cheese if he tried. Laymon was much quicker with his character development, if he developed character at all. What I loved about Laymon was how twisted that man was. He didn’t give a flying fornication for sensitive readers or censorship. He knew his audience and he wrote to please them. His content is the most intense I’ve seen outside of dark fantastic, gorehounds like Edward Lee and Brian Keene, who seem only to be doing what they do with the sole intent of making people sick to their stomachs. Characters be damned. Jack Ketchum is the present day Laymon, but he’s not really an influence of mine.

Is there a particular book that made you want to be a writer?
DOLORES CLAIBORNE, by Stephen King. Before that novel I thought horror was all about monsters: vampires, werewolves, and masked serial killers. I got to part where she throws her husband down the well and had to put the book down. I heard that man scratching at the walls of the well every night for a full month. I ended up finishing it, but I’ll never read it again, and I have reread almost everything King’s ever produced. I went away from that book with one goal. I wanted to do that to a reader. Scare the bejeebus out of them with nothing but my imagination and some well placed words.

What's next on your plate?
PENNIES FOR THE DAMNED, the sequel to HOPE FOR THE WICKED, will be out at some point. I’m in the thick of rewrites now, and not sure when I’ll be done. I have a collaboration other than PORT IN A STORM with Linton Bowers, too; a novel entitled CHUCKLERS that author Jeff Brackett and I are writing together. The book is based on a short story I wrote called “He Who Laughs Last.” Then I have two novellas, SICK LOVE and PRETZEL, that I’m currently writing, and a novel, OLD SCRATCH. I’m always busy, but 2014 will be my busiest year yet.

Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
Everything you write should be looked upon as expendable. Never write a story, novelette, novella, novel, epic, anything with the sole intention of getting it published or publishing it yourself. Write for you first then the reader. If you find yourself bored with a story, odds are your reader will be bored as well. Finish everything you write, no matter how much you hate it, and then tuck it away. This is about practice, and you should practice how you want to perform. If you’re constantly throwing away manuscripts, you’ll never learn how to complete one. This writing game is a game of averages. You’ll eventually come across the diamond in the rough. Or you won’t. Then I suggest taking up another hobby, like collecting your toenails or cat hoarding.

Oh, and for the love of Tom Cruise, read! Read, read, and read some more.


  1. Nice interview, and I learned a few new things. Plus, for those who are unfamiliar with his work, Edward Lorn is one heck of a writer.

  2. Great review, Dan. :)

    And I agree with Ty - anyone who hasn't read Edward Lorn MUST do so - he is really good, especially with his twists that come out of nowhere.