While we love horror movies here at The Blood Shed, were big fans of their literary counterparts as well. While I’m guessing most of you out there reading this have at least cracked open a Stephen King novel or two in your time, horror literature is a vast genre that encompasses hundreds of authors, thousands of books, and more urban legends than you could shake a rusty hook at. I recently had the chance to sit down with a man who has achieved success in the genre, horror novelist Deno Sandz. Eloquent and a true gentleman, Mr. Sandz provides us some insight on what its like to be a scribe of scary stories.
The Blood Shed: Thank you for joining me Mr. Sandz.
Deno Sandz: Oh, I’m happy to be here Jeff. Happy to be here.
Shed: Could you tell us a little about your body of work?
Sandz: Well, I’m in the horror genre field, mostly the supernatural horror genre field. I’m a multi-faceted writer, so I write other things. But my passion is horror.
Shed: I Know you describe yourself not only as a horror writer but as Horror Fiction in a more personal sense. Could you tell me what that means to you?
Sandz: Well, like I said before, being a supernatural horror novelist, man it’s just so thrilling. supernatural horror has no boundaries in my mind, and that’s the reason why I started in this genre. I love to go beyond, which I call the “Un-Reality”. I love to base my stories in the Un-Reality. So horror was the only way for me to go to express my talents. So horror was the way to go, and I’ve been loving horror, and stories, and dreams, and nightmares since I was a young child, so this was the way to go.
Shed: What are some experiences with horror that inspired you to get into the genre?
Sandz: Well my first novel, that sparked my career, was Mrs. Mary Weather: A Southern Nightmare. It was based off of nightmares I had as a young child. I was raised and born in Alabama, and the supernatural southern stories I heard were a big influence. Mrs. Mary Weather used to come in my dreams, and my grandma would have to pull me out before she attacked me.
And over the years, about when I hit 30, I thought I’d type up the story. Actually Mrs. Mary Weather was already hand written at 30. I had wrote it years before and put it away, because even though I loved writing, I wasn’t sure if that was my niche, supernatural horror. But then I picked it up and I though “Let me type this out.” And I went from there, and its been novels after novels after novels after novels.
Shed: You have been a very prolific writer. I noticed going through yours books the size of your output.
Sandz: (Laughs) It has been quite a few, plenty of them. I just released The Sin Cup and have two more planned within the next two years. I have so many ideas, and I’m so creative, so I’m just trying to keep the ideas flowing. I would never stop writing horror, so it doesn’t matter.
Shed: Could you give us an example of some of the “Un-Reality” elements within your novels?
Sandz: Well I’ll start with Mrs. Mary Weather. When I created her, you know you see the movies Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, and their all males. So when I started to write Mrs. Mary Weather I wanted to create a woman with the same characteristics as those three males. So I combined all of them into Mrs. Mary Weather. And you know, even as a woman with all these powers, and so evil, Mrs. Mary Weather is beautiful. I transformed all the traits of being ugly, being hideous, and turned them into something beautiful. She’s an evil woman, she died and she came back, but she’s still so beautiful. My tagline for Mrs. Mary Weather is “Her beauty will scare you”, and that’s how I came about Mrs. Mary Weather.
But all my characters have a twist of unreality. When I wrote I Am, which is a biblical horror novel, it had a great many characters that I had to write for, to create. So when I decide to run a book, I make a character. Most of my books are character driven, but a lot of them are plot driven as well. My latest novel The Sin Cup is character and plot driven at the same time, so that was kind of difficult for me to do.
Shed: So what is The Sin Cup about?
Sandz: The Sin Cup was created around this basis of the reality of evil. I wanted to really, truly combine todays reality with supernatural horror. I wanted to create something that the streets, the people, and the world know about crime, gangs, and drugs, and that sort. But I wanted to make sure they knew that in this day and age with all this crime and death and things going on that people who you deal with, people who you think may be your friends can be demons in disguise, who manipulate you to do these evil acts. So I wanted to create something that would bring in readers who could recognize something they might see on the news, with a twist of supernatural horror.
Shed: How would you say you put your own voice, the voice of Deno Sandz, into your work?
Sandz: Well voice can be a great thing to have in your work. Voice can definitely be good. But I try yo step back and not put my voice. I try to put what I see in my books. My voice comes from people I see everyday, people I interact with. I try and integrate them into the book as far as the characters. You know, voice is a good thing, but I try and take society and turn into the voice in my books.
Shed: I know this is a question every writers been asked a thousand times, but I’ve got to ask it. Where do you get your ideas from?
Sandz: (Laughs) My ideas come from the world Jeff, they come from the world. I’ve done a lot of interviews, and a lot of videos, and I always say 99.9% of the time, everything I create in my books, it hasn’t been done before, no ones done it before. The plot, the scheme of things, the climax, the characters, the dialogue, everything I create is mine. So when I walk around the world I’m not oblivious to the birds chirping, or the tree leaves blowing, that sort of thing. That’s how I get my ideas when I write.
Shed: That’s really interesting, how even though you write in the supernatural realm, you get your ideas from the real world. Would you say this fusion of unreality with everyday life spurs your creativity?
Sandz: Yes it does, yes it does. I am a spiritual person, and truly I believe in two sides of situations. So especially in the horror genre, you have to step outside the box to understand different aspects of what you want to write about in your book. So Jeff, I use everything I see, I smell, situations I go through, and try to combine everything to horrify, and to entertain my readers, to let them know this could happen. I always go on the what if theory, always on the what if theory. What if this happened, what would you do? So this is how I bring horror to the pentacle.
Shed: For any inspiring horror writers out there, would you have any tips?
Sandz: Well, this is a quote I’ve always said. If a writer wants to be read, the writer too must be read. And that’s what you have to do. And you can’t let society stop your voice or your creativity. Just keep writing, because I’ve been through it. I’ve been writing for years, and I’ve had some bad reviews, and I’ve had numerous good reviews, it all just depends. But a lot of writers stop writing because of one review, and that’s allowing someone to take your creativity away, and you can’t allow that, because every writer has their own style. You can’t allow that, you just have to keep writing. If your a writer, your a writer. Don’t get into this field, not just horror but the literary field period if your not going to go 100%. 150% really. If your not going to give it 150%, why get into this field?
Shed: Well thanking you for joining us Mr. Sandz. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
Sandz: Oh its, been a pleasure Jeff. Thanks for having me on for a minute.
Deno Sandz was a pretty cool guy to have a conversation with. As a writer myself, albeit more journalistic than literary, its always a pleasure to talk to someone with a love for the written word, especially when that word is filled with ghosts, goblins, and other such horror. For those of you who want to read more from Deno, you can purchase all of his books here. I highly recommend you check them out. And as always, keep checking back to The Blood Shed for all the quality horror coverage you can handle.
Jeff is Head Writer at The Blood Shed, and eats, drinks, and bleeds horror. You can shoot him story ideas or generally harass him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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