We here at GLAHW have met so many amazing and talented people out in the big wide world (you know, OFF the internets) and thought it was high-time we introduced them to you. Who knows? You may end up discovering a favorite new artist, photographer, writer, or all-around awesome human. This time around, we will be talking to Sean M Davis.
GLAHW: How long have you been writing? When did you get started?
I’ve been writing since I could write. My mom has a four page story that I wrote in elementary school on doubled over construction paper about some fantastical things that happen while I get ready for school, like the washcloth being so cold, it freezes to my face, and my dad being so strong, he throws me to school. Not much in the way of plot, but it was a start.
GLAHW: Why did you choose the horror genre?
As you can see from my answer above, my mind has always tended toward the fantastical. I grew up on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and RL Stine, not to mention seeing classic 80s horror movies at friends’ houses way too young. But the turning point was when I read Thinner by Stephen King. The ending blew me away, I just sat there, unable to wrap my mind around it. I decided that that was the kind of writer I wanted to be.
GLAHW: Were you inspired by a person or event to begin your writing career?
I was writing in high school, poetry mostly, but also short stories, some stuttering attempts at a novel. I was in a composition class for which I was writing a paper a week. When we did fiction, I turned in a story about four teenage girls that publicly commit suicide without really thinking that I went to a conservative Catholic school. When my teacher was handing back our stories, he got to mine about halfway through the pile and said, “I’m going to wait to hand this one back.” I thought for sure I was in trouble and was in for a public shaming, which was why it was such a surprise when he said, “Sean, I just wanted to say ‘Great Job.’ This is writing.” Immediately, a couple classmates who weren’t my friends asked me to read my story. It was the first time anyone outside my friends or family expressed interest in what I was writing and so I thought, Okay maybe I can do this.
GLAHW: Are you a Plotter or Pantser?
I don’t think you need to be one or the other. My ideas tend to come to me in broad strokes, which I write down and try to flesh out. But I’m also open to things taking an unexpected turn while I’m writing the story.
GLAHW: Have you ever had an encounter with the supernatural?
Yes, I think everyone has had something happen to them that they can’t explain. Nothing really out of the ordinary, as far as extraordinary things go: sounds like words heard when I was alone, shapes seen from the corners of my eye, frequent feelings of déjà vu like I’m remembering forward in time.
GLAHW: Are you superstitious? Why or why not?
Yes, but not about anything in particular.
GLAHW: What do you do for a living, outside of writing?
I’m the head mechanic in a bike shop.
GLAHW: Do you keep a journal every day?
Not really. I have a mindfulness app on my phone that has a prompt for me to write about and record my mood for the day, but I don’t even do that every day.
GLAHW: What do you prefer to write – short stories, poetry, novels, scripts, etc.?
I dabble in everything, but I prefer to write novels, mostly because that’s what I prefer to read. Novels can give you a chance to really get to know your characters, get invested in them, care about them and the story they are in. But I continue to dream about seeing more horror stories done live on stage.
GLAHW: What truly scares you?
What scares me has changed over the years. While I still think about metaphysics and what lies beyond our reality and consciousness, I’m more scared of people now than I was when I was younger. I want to believe in a brighter future, but we can do some pretty monstrous things to each other for no other reason than a lack of empathy. That’s horrifying to me.
GLAHW: What sort of hobbies are you into?
I love riding bikes, all kinds of bikes. Good luck getting me to shut up about it. I also like playing Magic: the Gathering and board games and video games. I also enjoy science, history, and art, so I enjoy visiting all the galleries and museums downtown. I also love to travel, both within the US and abroad.
GLAHW: Do you read outside of the horror genre? If so, what else have you read?
I read a lot of history and news articles on my breaks at work. I also read a fair bit about bikes, both technical articles and nonfiction involving bikes and biking. I also read fantasy and some science fiction. And I read comics and graphic novels. Some poetry, but mostly narrative poetry.
GLAHW: What’s your favorite genre to write?
Probably psychological horror. Even when what I write has supernatural elements to it, I tend to focus on the psychological implications of those elements.
GLAHW: Do you use a pseudonym?
I’ve thought about it, but have decided that it’s better for my mental health to write as myself.
GLAHW: What do you think makes a good story?
Characters that you can care about. Maybe not like, maybe not necessarily agree with, but at least care about. If you can’t empathize with a character, you don’t care about what’s happening to them, so you don’t really care about the story.
GLAHW: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Astronaut. I put cardboard wings and a nose on my bed and went to science camp in the summer.
GLAHW: Are you spiritual?
Kind of. I’m an atheist, but still believe that there is an animating spark that gives us our individuality. I’m not sure what that spark is, where it comes from, or where it goes. I spend quite a bit of time thinking about that.
GLAHW: What are your influences?
The usual. King and Poe and Jackson and Shelley and Stoker. I’ve also been deeply affected by my love of Calvin and Hobbes, which showed me that just because your work is one thing—a comic, which is supposed to be funny—doesn’t mean that it can’t also be something else—philosophically poignant and visually beautiful.
GLAHW: What are you reading right now?
I’m almost done rereading It by Stephen King, but it’s become a grind to finish it, unfortunately. I’m more excited about my To Read pile, which includes The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling, The Only Good indians by Stephen Graham Jones, and A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay.
GLAHW: What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.
I love whiskey, so if we ever return to in-person conventions and you’re a fan of mine, offer to join me for a whiskey.
Seanmdavis.wordpress.com ~ though I’m really bad about updating it regularly.