Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Interview Witches of Wildwood: Cape May Horror Stories and Other Scary Tales from the Jersey Shore

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre? 

Be happy to! I am an Los Angeles-based filmmaker and writer as well as a musician. I've been a horror fan all my life. I grew up reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, just to name a few. Horror is in my wheelhouse, so to speak!

I've made a few short horror films, and, in 2015, I wrote produced and directed a full length movie. It's a horror-suspense thriller called 'Abandoned Dead.' It won a few small film festival awards and since then it's run on quite a few cable systems and was just released in Europe on DVD.

I shot it very low budget using my credit cards in locations donated by family and friends. I like to say it was my film school trial by fire! I never went to film school – making films is how I've learned to do it. Films have greatly influenced my fiction writing.

What inspired you to write this book? 

Back in the mid-eighties I lived in Wildwood New Jersey in Cape May County. It's a very historic place, lots of Victorian buildings and a rich history of ghost sightings and hauntings.

Since then, I've been conceptualizing stories that take place in this most unique time period and place. Wildwood was a party town with a rich past and a carnival like atmosphere, but due to economic conditions and changing times, it became a kind of ghost town.  I thought it would be a perfect setting for contemporary horror stories that take place in the mid-eighties, so I finally wrote 10 of them and put them in this collection for publication.   

Please tell us about your latest release. 

 It's a collection of ten short stories and a novella. The novella is the cornerstone of the collection and the title of the book. It's called The Witches of Wildwood,' about a witch-hunting preacher hell-bent on killing four teenage sisters determined to destroy the world from their Wildwood boarding house.  
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write? 

I try to create a background for each of my characters, although a lot of the time I keep it in my head. Every character should be just like a real person, with a history and psychological and sociological reasons for doing what they do. 

The hardest thing is to keep them on track. Characters tend to take on a life of their own and the fact they are in the story to begin with means they are uncommonly motivated to act. That makes them rather stubborn. They will try to take over the story if you let them.

The main objective for me is to give each of my characters a driving goal and then put obstacles in their way. The problem is the characters want to do the things they want to do, not necessarily what I want them to do.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?  

I don't really get blocked as much as I get lazy. Writing is not a fun ritual for me, but I try to write every morning for at least 20-30 mins, when I first get up, before I log on to the internet. 

I find mostly I have to do it in short bursts or I lose my concentration. I really don't know how writers like Stephen King or Dean Koontz can sit for hours and write, I don't have that kind of discipline.  I suppose if I were doing it for a living I would have to force myself to write at least a few hours a day but for now I am just doing it in short increments. It's a lot more enjoyable that way, for me. 

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals? 

I sometimes pace between pages, I still do it sometimes when I'm writing for longer periods, it's hard to sit still. Walking seems to help the creative process for me.

Do you write in different genres? 

Yes, I can write in different genres but the one I feel I'm best at is horror-suspense.

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres? 

It's difficult to write well in any genre. It takes a lot of time and practice to get good at it. A lot of patience and a lot of rejection.

I don't feel I am there yet, I don't consider myself an accomplished writer by any means. But each time I finish writing something, I know I am learning, getting better, using the tools, working the craft. It doesn't often feel that way emotionally, but improvement is happening. 

What was the last amazing book you read? 

The last amazing book of fiction I read was  'STATION ELEVEN' by Emily St. John Mandel. Fabulous book. I'm also really into Herman Hesse and Steve Erickson. I'm always reading books, fiction, non-fiction, coffee table books, books on photography, I think I am  Amazon's biggest customer!
What can readers expect next from you? 

Right now I am working on two separate screenplays. Both screenplays are dramas set during the Civil War, one is a horror story, the other is a straight drama. As for fiction projects, I'm always outlining ideas. 

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Here's a short excerpt from 'The Girl In The Attic,' it's the story of a boardwalk carnival worker who believes the young girl living in his boarding room attic is a vampire.

She hunted at night and I followed her.
            She'd walk the streets of Wildwood once the sun went down. She was the perfect hunter because she used herself as bait. Being alone and attractive, in a town like Wildwood, a young girl, properly attired, could rack up incredible kills, if she put her mind to it.
            From the looks of the photos she took,  she was good at it. Everywhere she went she carried that camera. I watched her stand in the middle of crowds, freeze, and snap shots of people passing by and they'd never even notice.
            “Careful,” warned Vinnie, my stoner buddy. “You get hooked on a girl like that you may end up regretting it. Some tail ain't worth the price.”
            His words would come back to haunt me. For now I was on a mission.
            I walked the boards after dark, sometimes late at night. The crowds were thinning. It seemed each season brought fewer tourists. The town was starting to look aged and worn, like an old hooker used up and left to die.
            I didn't know what the future held for Wildwood, but one thing I was certain of.
            Victoria Martin was a vampire.
            I was the only one who could stop her.

Witches of Wildwood: Cape May Horror Stories and Other Scary Tales from the Jersey Shore 

A Collection of Contemporary Horror Fiction

Mark W. Curran 

Genre: Horror/Speculative Fiction

Publisher: NMD Books

Date of Publication: Sept 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-936828-51-7

Number of pages: 300
Word Count: 83,365

Cover Artist:  Robert Gonzales

Book Description:

Werewolves... vampires... swamp beasts... zombies... even a Jersey Devil... all of these chilling creatures and more await you in this haunting collection of 11 contemporary horror fiction stories by Mark Wesley Curran.

Uniquely set 'down the shore' in South Jersey's Cape May County, these scary tales are sure to terrify and entertain both adult readers as well as young adults.


There was no doubt among the sisters that the murders were increasing their power. Each felt the surge of energy that coursed through them with each kill.
“I feel so alive!” Zoey exclaimed on the morning after they’d tied Harlan Clemmons to a chair and stabbed him multiple times through the heart, “like I’m 
plugged into some bitchin’ electrical source!” she marveled.

The other girls felt it too. Both Jaz and Ali would lay awake at night and feel it running through them - bringing them even more vitality and strength than even their young ages provided. 

About the Author:

Mark Wesley Curran is a writer of contemporary fiction, specializing in the horror and suspense genre. Born and raised in Suburban Philadelphia, he spent many summers living and working in Wildwood, New Jersey during its heyday. He now resides in Los Angeles where he enjoys creative pursuits as a writer, filmmaker and musician.   

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