I’m pleased to have author Ross Baxter on the blog with me today talking about writing and his short story, “Fifty-Five Shades of Green” featured in Mocha Memoirs Press’s horror anthology, In the Bloodstream.
ER: Hi Ross, welcome! Tell us a bit about your background and what makes you tick.
RB: I spent thirty years in the British Royal Naval Reserve (1981-2011), which certainly colored my thinking. Through the Navy I met my Norwegian wife (in Albania!) and two kids later I’ve never looked back.
ER: Give us a short blurb about your “Bloodstream” story. How did you get the idea?
RB: When in the local bookstore I had a crafty flick through Fifty Shades of Gray, and was a little surprised what I read given all the media-hype. That’s where the idea for my short story Fifty-Five Shades of Green came from; love, lust and zombies!
ER: Why did you start writing? What drew you specifically to horror?
RB: I started writing when at sea, partly to relieve the long hours of boredom whilst on watch. I’d seen a lot of horror in real life, and decided to try and capture some on paper.
ER: Is writing horror different from other genres? What makes a great horror (or dark fantasy) tale?
RB: It has to be believable, and the characters have to earn a certain amount of empathy with the reader. In some respects the best horror books aren’t necessarily filed under the genre of horror; examples of such books are written by authors such as Cormac McCarthy or Pete Dexter. (ER: Agreed. McCarthy’s The Road is one of the darkest books I’ve ever read.)
ER: Do you have a day job or do you write full time? Would we be surprised by what you do for a living?
RB: I wish I could write full time but what I make from writing a year buys just a couple of tanks of gas. In real life I manage a truck depot.
ER: What scares you?
RB: My mortgage! (ER: Ha! Completely understandable.)
ER: What do you do when your muse deserts you? How do you stay inspired?
RB: In over ten years of writing I’ve not lost it yet (hope I’ve not spoken too soon)
ER: You’re going to the gallows. What’s your last meal?
RB: I’m English, so it’s got to be Fish & Chips.
ER: Tell us a joke.
RB: A hungry lion came across two people out on a camping trip. One was sitting under a tree and reading a book, the other one was typing away on a laptop. With a roar the big cat pounced and gobbled up the person reading the book. Even the king of the jungle knows that readers digest and writers cramp.
ER: What’s your next project? Will you share with us?
RB: I’m just finishing an action novel based around tensions in the South China Sea. I’m waiting to see if the situation in North Korea deteriorates as then would be a good time to try and hawk to publishers.
ER: What’s missing in fiction? What (and who) do you like to read?
RB: Decent Westerns, such as Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. This genre is well overdue a comeback.
ER: What’s the most difficult part of writing? What do you love most?
RB: Rejection letters are the worse part, receiving the book in the post the best.
ER: Any suggestions for aspiring writers out there?
RB: The three Ps: practice, practice, practice.