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If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Shaun.

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What are the genre(s) of the stories you write and why?

Horror and satire – because they’re the things I love the most.  Plus, the more TV I see, the more it seems there is to satirise, so, you know…that urge never goes away.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Just keep stubborn and keep on writing – even if you’re doing something just for fun that you know is never going to see the light of day, it’s still writing.  And sometimes you find gold there, even if it takes a while to see it.

What motivates you to write?

As a satirist at heart, normally something I see in the paper or on TV that irritates me.  Like this time, I read that some ‘celebrities’ were hiring themselves out for the day to turn up at people’s weddings.  What’s the only thing more ridiculous than that?  The idea of hiring them to come to your funeral.  Which became a pretty fun story I wrote called “Grave Diggers.”

 

From “The Conception Artist” by Shaun Avery:

I back away from the main room, unable to believe what I am seeing.

The music plays.

Still Mike Magnusson.

And amazingly, Satan and this man—this Bubba-Joe character—close their eyes and nod and sing along to the music.

I go to turn away, convinced I must be going mad.

That’s when Satan opens an eye. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Then a clammy hand grips my ankle.

I scream.

Dean’s hand grabbing me.

His face still purple from the throttling.

“Brad,” he says. “Hi.”

I pull away from his grasp, and that’s when someone licks my ear.

“No going back, lover.” Sheryl pushes me back into the room. “Only forward.”

“Yeah. I told you to sit.” Bubba-Joe’s eyes meet mine, peering out beneath an unruly fringe. “Brother.”

“Why do you keep calling me that?” I reluctantly take the seat across from him. “I’ve never even met you before.”

“Sort of true.” Satan stands behind him still. “Sort of not. Hey, can we turn this up?”

“Sure thing.” Bubba-Joe heads off to do just that.

It’s not my high-tech, state-of-the-art stereo propelling the music into the room. Rather, some shitty, retro 80’s thing, one of those huge ghetto blasters people in urban areas used to sit with. And just like my unwanted visitor Bubba-Joe’s face, it is covered in blood.

“Guy on the street wouldn’t give it up. Had to get a little…physical with him.” He does a little jig to the music, saying, “Hey, Moonlight Smooch. Love this one.”

I’m in the presence of psychos here, and one of them might just be me.

And what the hell is Satan doing, listening to this schmaltz?

So much for heavy metal being the devil’s music.

“Look,” I say to them both, “can you please just tell me why you’re here?”

But by the time they do…

I wish I’d never asked.

 

Shaun Avery writes horror and crime fiction in a number of mediums, often with a satirical approach to fame and media obsession.  He thinks his cynicism is healthy.  Though perhaps “The Conception Artist” takes it to extremes.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and our press store.

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