Charles Day is a talented fiction writer from New York State. His writing is diverse because it includes both YA and adult fiction as well as novels and published short stories. It was great to interview him about his books, his day job and his love of Stephen King and King's son Joe Hill.
How did you get involved with writing? Do you prefer short stories or novels in terms of telling a story?
A few years back I began writing my first novel, “Deep Within,” while working on a secured psych unit doing evening and overnight shifts. After I finished it and started sending it around, all I received was rejection after rejection, so I placed it back in my drawer. About a year later I started going on line to these small press publishers who were looking for submissions for short stories into their anthologies. So I started writing short stories. Well, in less than two years, I received a bunch of rejections, but I still managed to sell 14 short stories to various small press publishers. I also finally was able to sell my first novel, “Deep Within” to Twisted Library Press, last May.
Yet, many of the short stories that were rejected were because I put too much into my stories, and I also received information from editors that I should expand on these stories; make them longer so I could build more into my plots and characters. This made me realize that I could write a novella, and eventually novels. Now, I’m all about longer fiction because I like to get totally immersed into my protagonists and storylines, with no restrictions on word count.
Who are some of your influences?
I have many influences. The first came to me when I was young; playing out movie characters with my friends from all the fun I had watching movies. I always wanted to be an actor or director, write screenplays those kinds of things, but never really pursued any of it. As time went on, I read many books and became influenced by Stephen King, Dan Simmons, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Douglas Clegg, and so many more. My newest influence was last year at the Stoker conference, when I received an arm hug from Joe Hill. I had read his book “Horns,” but after listening to him talk about his graphic novels, I went on and read almost everything from him. He is now my biggest influence.
Over the last couple of years, my peer influences also come from my writer friends and their stories. I also get so much motivation and reassurance from my mentors, such as Peter Giglio, Gregory L. Norris, Hollie and Henry Snider. And then there are those who have taught me so much through shared conversations and their overall professionalism, such as Lisa Morton and Vince Liaguno, two board members on the Horror Writers Association, and I guess unofficial mentors for me. I truly look up to them both as they are huge inspirations with regards to writing and navigating this sometimes very complex publishing industry.
How many hours a day do you spend writing?
Well, that’s the hard part. Most of my writing is either very early in the AM, or late at night, after my three-year old goes to sleep. I’m sure many writers can relate to this. Most of us have day jobs as well. So you have to improvise!
You’ve done some dark stuff here. Why did you decide to write a YA book?
It’s funny because I never thought when I wrote “Legend of the Pumpkin Thief,” that I was writing a YA novel, it was after I submitted the story to an editor, Erika Gilbert, who was looking for YA novels, that I found out I had a true YA book here. Of course I had to change my main character from 14 to 17, and then I resubmitted and had it accepted.
What do you love most about fiction?
I love when I can get a hold of a book that just takes me to an imaginary world, holds me by the neck and doesn’t let go until the very end. I love a book full of action and suspense, great character building where I’m in love with the characters well after I finish the book. That’s what I love most about fiction.
What is your day job?
I’ve spent over twenty-five years in the mental health industry. I’ve worked twelve years on a secured psych unit, finished college with a Masters degree in Public Administration, and subsequently held positions as a director, faculty instructor, and case manager.
Currently, I’m employed with the Family Service League and work with the NYS Office Of Aging’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. I’m their Adult Home Coordinator and I’m responsible for a sleuth of volunteers who go into adult homes to advocate for residents. If there is an issue of concern and they need me to come in and do an investigation or to just help advocate, I’m there. I really enjoy my day job. I get to go up to Albany and meet with our NY assembly members and senators, and I also get to meet so many providers, consumers, and caregivers in the adult care community, many who I’ve come to know over my years in the business as friends.
How does your work environment influence your writing?
That’s simple. Being in a people driven business, I’ve met so many personalities in my career, it’s easy to pick out people I can make into interesting characters for a story I’m writing.
What are your favorite horror movies and books?
Oh man, I could name so many. I loved Aliens, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Shining, etc. As for books, everything Joe Hill and Stephen King have written, and many horror books from my writer friends.
Which one of your books would you like to see made into a movie?
Without a doubt,“The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief.” It would be so cool to use the computer animation of say, “Monster House,” and use that to create my characters from Legend
Tell us about Evil Jester Press.
EJP was born from continued conversations between myself and my executive editor, Peter Giglio, who came up with the idea to start a press based on the avatar I was using when I first joined many of the small press forums. The evil little jester became my alter ego, my muse, my best friend. EJP is a small press publisher of great horror, including our semi-annual evil jester digests. Feel free to visit our website at www.eviljesterpress.com to find out about our latest books and submissions.
Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself & your work.
I’ll give you my bio as that seems to be the best way to showcase my work and what I love to write.
Charles Day A.K.A, the evil little Jester, is the Horror Writers Association’s Mentor Program Committee Chairperson, and a member of the New England Horror Writers Association. He's published 14 short stories with various small press publishers.
His biggest successes to date are the recent sales of his first YA western horror trilogy “KYLE MCGERTT, DESTROYER OF THE INDIAN CURSES, BOOK ONE: THE HUNT FOR THE GHOULISH BARTENDER (Blood Bound Books Nov/Dec 2012) his horror novel, DEEP WITHIN (Twisted Library Press, summer 2012), and a mystery novella DEADLY WORKOUT (Dopamavoli Books, spring 2012).
His published works available now are his YA horror novel, LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF (Noble YA Publishers LLC.), his mystery novelette THE PLAN (Naked Snake Press) and his horror novella LOCKDOWN (Included in Hannibal’s Manor, Wicked East Press) which received an endorsement from four-time Bram Stoker award wining author, Lisa Morton.
He also edited his first anthology TALES OF TERROR & MAYHEM FROM DEEP WITHIN THE BOX (Wicked East Press, winter 2012) compiled with 24 terrifying stories by amazingly talented authors, including four-time Bram Stoker nominated author Jeremy C. Shipp. Includes the debut, never before told story of just how his alter ego, the evil little jester became so damn evil, titled THE GIFT, by Charles Day, edited by Hollie Snider & Jessica Weiss.
He is the founder/owner of Hidden Thoughts Press- Non fiction works where the primary focus is mental wellness collections- and Evil Jester Press, a fiction imprint.