I’m delighted to welcome horror author and editor Joshua Demarest to the blog today. Joshua Demarest is a professional writer, editor, publisher, and filmmaker out of Atlanta, Georgia. In his spare time, Josh collects and repairs antique typewriters, because he couldn’t think of any other stereotypical writer activities to participate in. Josh believes in ghosts and the power of positive thinking, though he has his doubts about the latter. He used to work in theater, where he switched on microphones and hung lights at enormous heights, though he had his doubts about the ladder. He lives with his wife, who loves and supports him, and his two cats, who don’t.
I’ve invited Joshua to talk to us about his work and his exciting new project, Gallows Hill Magazine. Here’s what he had to say!
Hi Josh! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Sure. I’m Joshua Demarest, writer, editor, and publisher of all things horror at Gallows Hill Magazine.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
I have a deep love for Tolkien. He truly is a master wordsmith and is an inspiration to generations of writers all over the globe. When I’m talking to highbrow literary people, I pull out George Saunders and Shirley Jackson, two genuine masters of the short form. To the horror of all of my classmates in 10th Grade English, I fell in love with Henry David Thoreau on the shores of Walden Pond. Honestly…this question is unfair! I have so many authors that I want to fangirl over and I don’t have nearly enough time!
So, why horror? What first drew you to the genre?
Horror, to me, is the genre that can affect the reader the most. Great horror will often make the reader have physical reactions. Think about that – physical reactions from words on a page. The power to move the reader to the point where their body triggers fight or flight is truly amazing. I also think it is the genre that allows us to confront the darkness of human nature, society, and (perhaps most uncomfortably) ourselves. We’ve got to reconcile the fact that humans are capable of incredible evil, but also incredible goodness, perseverance, and endless hope. Horror gives me a place to do that. Every story is really just a projection of our own fears, and I think getting that out on paper is cathartic.
Horror, to me, is the genre that can affect the reader the most. Great horror will often make the reader have physical reactions. Think about that – physical reactions from words on a page.
Which horror trope would you like to see eliminated?
Man, where to start. I’m actually going to do you two better and list my top three annoying tropes. First up, sex=death. I’m not sure why this trope is still around. Horror is a genre where we revel in watching people suffer. Can we please drop the false conservatism of killing any character that has sex on-screen or on-page? I don’t know. It seems tired and outdated. Second is the brooding vampire. I get it – life leaves you jaded. Eternal life must leave you…super jaded. But can we PLEASE come up with something more interesting than the dark, quiet, struggling-with-the-weight-of-guilt, super sexy loner vampire? Please? Third has to be exclusively Catholic exorcisms. I want to see exorcisms from every faith on the planet. Almost every culture in the world has some sort of exorcism-like ritual. I’d love to read them.
If you could have created any fictional character, which one would it be?
Norman Bates. I think he is the most complete horror character ever created.
That’s a great insight into what makes you tick as a horror author! Thanks Josh. Can you tell us now about Gallows Hill Magazine – what inspired you to launch a new magazine?
I think there is a wealth of hidden talent that isn’t getting the recognition it deserves. I think the traditional horror genre has done a disservice to countless writers that aren’t as marketable as King or Koontz. And I think that traditional publishing is becoming less and less relevant. The horror genre is going through incredible changes. Technological advances and vast increases in accessibility of independent content are creating a new generation of writers who create experimental, experiential stories. Gallows Hill is the magazine for those writers. Of course we’ll have some of the best fiction in the market. But we’ll also have genre news and reviews, resources for writers, and articles on how the genre is evolving. Gallows Hill was created to be the one-stop shop for horror readers and writers who want to keep a finger on the pulse of cutting-edge horror.
I think that traditional publishing is becoming less and less relevant. The horror genre is going through incredible changes.
What sort of submissions would you like to receive for the magazine?
I want to read fiction that compels me further. I want to read a submission that demonstrates great pacing and leaves you unable to look away. Give me your exorcisms, your creature features, your deranged serial killers. Give me your weird cults and psychological destroyers. Cross the line between horror and fantasy or science fiction or whatever genre you choose. Don’t just cross the line – erase it. I want stories that make me question who the real monster was. But I don’t want gore for the gore.
That sounds great! Do you have anything exciting lined up for the inaugural issue?
Of course! Our featured author is Richard Chizmar, founder of Cemetery Dance, author of A Long December, and (with Stephen King) Gwendy’s Button Box. You’ll be able to read an interview with him, read one of his short stories, and see what he answered in a rapid-fire game of word association. There will also be articles that focus on non-fiction horror – plenty of inspiration fodder for all of our readers. There is a writer’s resource section with interviews, tips, and tricks of approaching the industry and building your career, and a reader’s resource section that recommends and reviews the best new horror on page and in theaters. And of course, a selection of the absolute best horror fiction from around the world.
How can authors submit their work to you for the magazine?
Whether you want to submit fiction or poetry, artwork or reviews, head over to https://greensubmissions.com/956/gallows-hill-magazine/index.php and send them over.
Let’s wrap it up here. Tell us one last thing you want the readers to know about you!
I love working with new writers. Please let me know if you have not published professionally yet and would like some feedback on your submissions. I’ll be happy to provide what I can. I also am easily reachable by Twitter – @JDDemarest – and am always available to answer questions and connect with other writers!
I’m sure you’ll all agree with me that Gallows Hill Magazine sounds fantastic. I wish Josh every success with his new project and I’ve no doubt he’ll do well. Remember, if you want to get in touch with Joshua Demarest and Giles Press, you can reach him via Twitter at @JDDemarest, and that link again to find the guidelines, rates and submit your work to Gallows Hill Magazine is here. Issue 1 is scheduled to be released in October 2017.