Getting into writing – an interview with Eddie Generous of Unnerving Magazine

EddieG

Eddie Generous is a Canadian living on the Pacific coast with his wife and their cats. He operates a fledgling literary horror outfit aptly named Unnerving.

What got you interested in writing?

I read quite a bit in the middle grade years, and in the latter years of high school. I used to go through waves of reading and they kind of coincided with when I wrote stuff, though I hadn’t much thought about it. I wrote and illustrated a book about a friend of mine at the time, like the equivalent of a sketched bird book with brief descriptors, stuff like my buddy as a sperm or a pirate or a banana. Then in high school, I made up characters on websites and then once in Art class I wrote a raunchy sexcapade that went on a little too long (I was suspended for three days due to content, the story included the perv teacher’s pervy ways…). Then I went to college for print journalism and what was going on all along at a minor lesson blossomed to a point and after the awesome crushing defeat of graduating with a ton of debt right after half the newspapers closed and the markets were six months from collapse and I’d bounced through all the opportunities open for me, I decided to chase an idea I had and wrote the worst novel ever written.

Now as for the publishing side of things (because I doubt there are many indie publishers who didn’t climb into their spot without doing some writing first), it was purely a case of looking around and considering my experience and thinking, maybe I can make this work where so many can’t. So far so good, Unnerving isn’t losing money… yet.

Tell us a little about your chosen genre.

Horror. I am child of horror. Goosebumps hooked me after way, way too young viewings of things unlocked on the big satellite dish in the backyard. When I was a kid, I used to walk miles to get to the closest variety store and rent horror movies, mostly the Stephen King mini-series offerings because they were two or four movies for the price of one. All the money I had came from dragging old fence rails from the bush to sell and from helping other farmers with stone picking and haying… but also I stole an allowance I virtually never had given to me to feed my beastly hunger, so I was serious about digging into horror.

What are your happiest memories in your writing career?

Writing is mostly heartbreak and constantly feeling less than par, even when you sell something, there’s always ten or fifty higher paying markets who don’t dig your stuff and will those novel manuscripts you keep stacking ever go anywhere and… Now as for publishing, that’s been mostly good. It’s hard work, but it pays off. I don’t have a distinct memory for happy, but having people buy and enjoy Issue #1 of Unnerving Magazine was pretty rad.

How do you handle success and failure?

Success in publishing is easy to gage, people buy or they don’t, and after they read, they give you a rating. Positive rating and not losing any money, suggests that you’re succeeding, and that you know how to move on and grow with all at your disposal. Failures you just move on from and ignore.

In writing it’s a different beast and success and failure all come down to whether those successes mean you’re moving in a positive direction, even the rejection slips, or if your publisher gets you enough honest opinions to gage whether your work is trash or if it’s really worth reading. I guess for self-publishers, this is a different bag of expectations and you’re mingling the marketing with the quality of writing, but you’re also probably giving yourself a ton of mental outs for failure (I couldn’t afford advertising, couldn’t afford an editor, the art I bought was mediocre, etc.) whereas you get to own all the success if you ever get enough or it that you always feel you’re moving forward and growing enough to smile about it.

What makes you write when you’re exhausted and your fingers ache?

I try to arrange it that the most important aspects of my existence come first. So I go through the rest of my life in a mentally tired fog because the writing/editing/art comes first. But also, I gave up on having a social life and that helps a ton with having time to exist before a computer screen.

What is your advice to young and new writers?

Holy, I could fill a book, a little one anyway, nonetheless…

Your work probably sucks, despite what your friends and family say, so seek honest, head-bashing opinions. Count your words and toss the first 500,000, or at very least, wait until you’ve written 500,000 before you go back to edit the first words you wrote. Also, write every day, or edit, or at very least read a chunk of a novel. Limit social media visits. Also, stop making excuses for yourself.

As for publishing, know your market and always under promise and over deliver. Make friends and remember (this is for writing and publishing) you’re not nearly as important or interesting as you think you are, so if you’re putting out your first self-pub, in general, nobody cares, and if you’re editing an anthology, don’t put your name in huge letters across the top; pretending relevance and importance only fools Trump voters and they aren’t huge readers.

Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paper or eBook)

I prefer a big, hardcover trade, that’s the best. However, to support the indie world, most of what I read comes from the little grey rectangle.

Even if you don’t care for digital books, get a Kindle and help the indie presses survive by buying as much as you can afford (unless you’re the only important writer out there and can’t nobody tell you nothin’ anyhow: see #6).

Do you blog?

Sort of, but not really. I write column pieces now and then for the Unnerving site. I write a ton of reviews, usually two a week. But generally, I’m not that important or interesting to release a constant spew of Eddie.

Do you self-publish?

I like the idea and I do in a sense that I run an indie publisher publishing a ton of others and jam a story or two of mine in places when I have an idea too absurd to fit elsewhere (my Cucumber Salad chapbook being one point of pure idiocy set free).

Issue 4.jpg

If you have a publication or promotion – tell us.

Well, ahem… you asked for it…
Unnerving Magazine Issue #4 is out in now (this has a ton of good stuff, William Meikle, Max Booth III, Somer Canon, Dustin LaValley, etc. It’s the extended Halloween edition, so big things.). The collection of dark poetry and fiction, Breathe. Breathe. by Erin Sweet-Al-Mehairi and the novella, Church by Renee Miller is also out in October. In November, Mike Thorn’s collection titled Darkest Hours is coming out, early buzz is great on this one. And in December, Hardened Hearts, a collection of stories involving difficult love comes out (this has big names and awesome stories, for real, like actually! Meg Elison! Gwendolyn Kiste! Tom Deady!). Also, available now for free with qualified purchases, Alligators in the Sewers chapbook features fiction and poetry from Ronald Malfi, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Mark Allan Gunnells, Jess Landry, Tonya Liburd, and Bruce Boston.

As for writing, I have shorts coming out in a few places and I’ve recently signed a contract for a collection of novelettes to be released sometime in 2018, but I don’t have a date or the go ahead to chat about that, so…

https://www.facebook.com/UnnervingMagazine/

@UnnervingMag

 

 

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