Friday 25 August 2023

Interview with Boo Rhodes - By David Kempf

When did you first become interested in horror stories and movies?

In the early 70s I would sneak up with my brother and watch Bob Wilkins on Creature Features on KTVU channel 2. I was 6 the first time I watched Night of the Living Dead on Creature Features and loved it. I became a fan of horror movies for a long time after. It was only natural because in the States we really celebrated Halloween back then.

At the time I was reading book like Black Beauty because I was really into horses but I think I started liking fantasy when our teacher read The Hobbit to us when I was 11 and my mom, knowing that I loved the Salem’s Lot mini series, bought me Salem’s Lot the book with pictures from the mini series and after that I was hooked on horror books. I think I was 13 when that happened.

What gave you the idea for your channel and getting on YouTube?

You know, I’m not even sure how I found out about the channel URMAKER, but I was listening to him while getting a story ready to send to a magazine and I realized he had tens of thousands of subscribers and was probably making some decent money. I thought how easy it would be so I turned my stories into videos and then realized how difficult it was to get views. I was totally wrong but I enjoy the process and reading to people.

Not all of the stories I tell are mine, but one day I hope to have more time to put more stories of my own out there.

I love the behind the scenes information. How do you research?

Google is my best friend when it comes to researching. It’s a little scary thinking about what if someone gets a hold of my search history because I search about horror and I’m sure that will scare a few people. Topics like “how long does it take the blood to pool at the lowest point of the body?” or “How long will it take a person to bleed to death with a small cut in a large vein?” or “What plants are illegal to dig up in a certain state?” might raise some eyebrows.

I also ask friends who work in the field I have a question on if I can’t find it on a website or encyclopedia. You try to make it reaslitic and believable but then again, it is fiction and it’s my fantasy world so some procedures or whatnot might be different than reality.

Sometimes, if possible, I will even go to the place I’m taling about or make a posterboard on Pinterest to work it out.

How did you develop an interest in fantasy/horror?

Pretty much the Stephen King book my mom brought home when I was home sick from school one day. I’m not sure she liked it much. She buys my books but doesn’t read them and reminds me of how I wrote that one mainstream story that brought her to tears. Maybe one day, but mainstream just isn’t as fun. Then again, she did take me to see The Omen and Jaws when I was 10. I love my mom!

The other thing is that while I’m not a religious person really. I’d like to be I think, but I have a hard time believing the stories. With that said, I love the stries about the struggle between good and evil, angels and demons, or heaven and hell—and I love these stories mixed with a bit of dystopia. It could be because Mom used to take us to Saturday night church movies. They thought the movies would scare us but they were cool! Oh! Half of the population disappears and suddenly you need to get at tattoo to pay for your groceries and be accounted for or they will decaptiate you? And they showed the decapitation? That didn’t scare many of us, that made us want more horror movies.

Do you have any plans to make films or write fiction yourself?

I write a lot of short stories at this time. I have written a novel that is only about 50,000 words. I’m not sure if I will release it. I would like to write a short story every week for my YouTube channel and build my world of Sandcastle. Sandcastle is the gateway between heaven and hell and sits right in the redwood trees off the Northern California coast. It’s Purgatory for some, a life for demons and angels. It’s every day life for others.

One day I’d also love to write a screenplay but my brain wants to write all of it and describe it into words that normally the director would do, I guess. I just need to figure it out.

Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?

I think people are looking for an escape to their own reality and horrors. Every day life is also pretty boring when you think about it. You get up in the morning. You go to work or school. You come home. You go to bed. Most of the horror in your life is how to pay the mortgage or taxes. In the past we ran from lions and tigers. We didn’t know where our next meal was coming from whether it be from hunting or putting food on the table. We escaped dictotators and religious fanatics. Life was exciting! Our genes need excitement and we thrive on it so we feed that need with horrors, thrillers, and fantasy.

What inspires you?

Seeing my name somewhere and people telling me how scary a book or scene was for them. More than that, though, is having something to hand down to the kids even if they think I’m a little silly. I want to be successful so they and others can say “she actually did it!” and then tell others how I scared them in this scene or that. For some whacked reason I enjoy other people’s fear. Maybe it’s because I don’t get scared.

What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is?

Besides the use of the letter ‘u’, I feel that British horror deals more with the supernatural and gothic or Victorian type literature and American horror is more centered toward serial killers and gore. British books seem to be more haunting and American authors want to gross you out. But this isn’t the norm or every single author out there. Every author has his or her own style. I personally like a bit of haunting and gore in my reading.

What are your favorite horror books?

I have so many that it is hard to decide, but I do enjoy shorter stories than longer. I used to have all of the Stephen King books in hardback but an old boyfriend gave them to his friends to read and I never saw them again and, even though I immensenly enjoyed them, probably wouldn’t read them again because they’re so long. My favorite books include: IT, Tommyknockers, Ghost Story (Peter Straub), The Changling, Come Closer just to name a few. The books aren’t scary to me though, I find the ideas fascinating.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

Oooh this another hard question. I have so many favorites, but with that said I have favorites in different generes of horror. My favorite kind are psychological thrillers and on the flip side vampires are wonderful. My favorite is Queen of the Damned simply because of the music of the Lestat character because his hair and dark eyes make me swoon every time but, gosh there are so many for different reasons it is hard to list them all. Here it goes, not necessarily in this order:

The Lost Boys, An American Werewolf in London, Night of the Living Dead, The Omen, Fright Night, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Evil Dead (87), and there are so many more. I’m the kind of person who likes more of a plot and then the scare and gore, but I do enjoy ridiculously hilarious scenes like the head blowing up in scanners or that fan coming off of the car and hitting the guy in the convertible at the fast foot line in one of the Final Destination videos.

Do you have any advice for folks who want to create a YouTube channel?

Don’t take it personally if it doesn’t grow quickly. Never do sub for sub for it will ruin your channel in the long run but find people who are interested in your genre. Biggest thing, title your videos appropriately. No one is going to find you by the title of your book or your name unless you are already established. Sadly, the world is now an index and no matter how beautiful your cover is and how clever your title is or how fun your pen name is, they aren’t searching for you, they are searching for your keywords. I know, it’s an ugly way to go about it but it’s what works.

Do you have any advice for new writers or filmmakers?

Never ever quit even if you think your work stinks. Don’t let yourself be the judge. Just start writing and don’t stop, don’t edit, and don’t think about how others will perceive your stories until they’re finished and then find a small group of people who will read your stories and give you honest feedback. Most people who think their work stinks don’t finish what they started and never find out if it does or not.

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

I love the new self pubishing trend as long as people take care in editing their work. Sadly, the self publishing market has two very distinct stigmas it needs to overcome before people will take it more seriously. One is editing. I’ve read books that had great potential, but the lack of editing pulled me right out of the story. This doesn’t just happen in self-publishing though. I’ve seen it in books that were supposedly edited through publishing houses.

The other is that people think self-publishing is for those who are not good enough for a publisher or turned down by one and this is simply just not true. There are many reasons people don’t go to a publisher. My reason is that I want to keep the rights to my Sandcastle multiverse and I don’t want a publisher to tell me to do something else with it. Perhaps, when I’m ready to write on a different topic, then I’ll decide to try out a publisher.

What are your current projects?

The biggest one is that I just renamed my channel to Splatterday Nightmares and I’m working to get my podcast episodes down to once per week so I can focus more on writing. It needs to be done or I will never get to write as I have another business that takes up 80% of my life.

I also have a couple of secret YouTube channels I’m working on. I know, glutton for punishment!

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

Boo Rhodes is a podcaster and an author whose dream is for people to say “you scare the hell out of me!” She has created a multiverse which is one of the portals of Purgatory nestled between between the redwood forest and the rocky beaches of Nothern California. This area, once uninhabitable by man or beast, is now the town of Sandcastle where the crimes of everyday mankind meld with the world of the paranormal. She tells the stories of Sandcastle, along with the works of others, from the lighthouse overlooking Sandcastle Beach through her short stories available on Amazon and her podcast available on YouTube and other popular podcast platforms.