Friday 25 March 2022

Interview with S. L. Yarbrough by David Kempf

When did you first become interested in writing?

I started reading at a very early age and loved scary stories. I was the storyteller for all of the kids, verbally telling the stories I made up. So I decided to write my own ghost story at 6.

How did you get involved in writing about famous movie serial killers?

While in undergrad psychology class, we had to write up a psychological assessment of a fictional character. My assessment was Dean Winchester from Supernatural. I loved doing it. Years later while in graduate school, I was having a conversation with my son, we talked about how Jason was actually a victim. My son suggested I write a book about my views on Horror villains. I chose Psychology as a major because I have always had a fascination with how our brain works and how some people become deviant while others refrain from criminal activities. While revisiting these beloved Horror icons, I found out much more about them. When I look at these characters, I look at the whole picture. I find what may have created the deviance. By using fictional serial killers, I can show my readers how a person can fall into criminal behavior. Maybe even find understanding on why they became a serial killer.

Tell us about your first publisher.

I self-published my novel. I am very particular in how I want to structure my series and it is hard for me to relinquish my creative freedom. I may eventually look for an agent to traditionally publish more of my series.

How would you classify the genre you write?

I write narrative non-fiction. I write my non-fiction in a way that is more conversational instead of dry narration.

Why do you think horror and murder mystery books remain so popular?

Our desire to be scared and the adrenaline rush we receive from reading a horror novel is pleasurable. The element of suspense and surprise at the revelation in a mystery is what I think keeps these two genre popular.

What inspires your stories and topics?

I find inspiration from various sources. Many of my stories come from my dreams and nightmares. Sometimes from watching television, movies, reading books, listening to a song, thinking about what if scenarios.

What do you think the difference between how academics view horror and horror fans is?

Academics tend to view horror as nonessential, crass, childish. They may pick a horror film apart focusing on what is not feasible. Horror fans view horror as entertaining, enjoyable, some films intellectual. Now there can be academics such as myself who enjoy horror but I do have certain horror subgenre’s that I don’t like or watch such as found footage films.

What are your favorite horror books?

Anything by Clive Barker. He is my favorite author. The House of Nodens By Sam Gafford. Cycle of the Werewolf by Steven King.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

The Insidious films, The Howling, Alien, The Thing (1982), Blade, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Other’s, Doctor Sleep, Hellraiser, Nightbreed, Phantasm (I have many more).

Do you think Halloween’s Michael Myers is the greatest fictional serial killer in movies and books?

I wouldn’t say the greatest but one of the most prolific ones.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?

The fact that I finally completed and published one of my many manuscripts.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Keep writing! Don’t get discouraged. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to finish as long as you finish. Make sure you edit your work whether you pay someone or use a software. Research publishing options and choose what you feel more comfortable with. Always check the legitimacy of any agent and publisher. There are a lot of publishing scams.

What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?

I like having the option to self-publish with ease and low costs involved. For someone like myself, self-publishing was the right option for me. Unfortunately, it also allows for many people to publish unpolished books of poor quality. Self-published doesn’t equate to non skilled. Many famous author’s are choosing to self-publish now.

What are your current projects?

I am working on book 2 in my Psychology of…series. I have another non-fiction book chronicling my fight with Lupus and the many rare disorders I have due to Lupus. I have 4 fiction books in various stages of completion.

Please in your own words, write a paragraph about yourself & your work.

I love books! I have always loved reading and would read anything. I have a library in my home with over 1,000 books. Majority of them are Horror, Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Mysteries. I am also a cinephile with an extensive collection of films on VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray, and 4k Blu-ray. I used to write as a hobby but while taking classes in college I was encouraged to publish my writing. I received my master's degree in Applied Behavioral Science with an emphasis in Psychology and Criminal Justice. I have been married 30 years this July, a mother to 28-year-old twin daughters and a son. I have 4 grandchildren and gaming is a passion of mine, board games and video games. My Psychology of.... series is vast. There will be 19 volumes and special editions. Each volume focuses on different genres and characters. The first three volumes focus on Horror. Volume 1 and 2 are movie editions and volume three is tv edition.