Chester has its own version of Clive Cussler, Dean Koontz and Thomas Harris in horror author Kristy Tallman.
Taken from the Chesterfiled Observer October 31, 2007
Growing up, Kristy Tallman was surrounded by great storytellers, as she divided time between her home in Chester and visiting with relatives in the Appalachian Mountains. Now, she's carrying on that tradition as a psychological thriller/horror author, poet and songwriter.
Tallman's first novel, "The All-Soul's Faire," was nominated for Fiction Book of the Year by the Library of Virginia Literary Awards for 2007. She's also received recognition as a songwriter by the VH1-sponsored Save the Music Foundation two years running. She's authored two published books of poetry under the pen name, Rainey Moon, and formerly served as associate editor of the Hopewell News.
Tallman is currently putting the finishing touches on her second novel while still touring nationally for "The All-Soul's Faire." The Chesterfield Observer recently caught up with her to talk about her work and inspiration.
Q. When will your book "Behind Closed Doors" be published?
A. "Behind Closed Doors" has taken a back seat to "Crows on the Cross," which is being co-authored with Malcolm Deeley, a close friend and wonderful writer. It will be out in December this year. "Crows on the Cross" is another psychological thriller/horror story about two lovers, who wake up 1,000 miles apart, each in a red 1969 Cadillac that may or may not be a demon on wheels. Rainey and Drew start on an odyssey to find each other, and it doesn't take long to realize that they are on Hell's Highway rather than I-95 between Florida and Virginia.
Q. Who are your readers?
A. My readers are all devoted to the horror genre, from classic to modern. I also have a strong following of readers who would rather be scared to death psychologically than by a bunch of guts and gore. My target audience is readers who enjoy Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, Thomas Harris, Alfred Hitchcock and H.P. Lovecraft. Q. I saw you compared to Clive Cussler. Who do you compare yourself to? A. I had no idea I was compared to him! Wow - that's great. I like his style and his format. Honestly though I don't compare myself to anyone other than members of my family. I grew up with great storytellers, and I credit them for my imagination and drive to use it. I also give a great deal of credit to the teachers and mentors I had growing up. They pushed me when I wasn't willing to push myself.
Q. Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?
A. I've always liked horror but loved suspense and thrillers. I've never cared for the blood, guts and gore found in what is considered "commonplace" horror such as [the] "Friday 13th" [and] "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. Give me "Silence of the Lambs," and I'm in heaven though. The horror I love is the kind that stays with you psychologically forever - I guess in ways scars you when it comes to what horror it does instill. Thomas Harris did just that. You will never forget the words, "she puts the lotion on her skin" or even the haunting whisper of the name "Clarice," because Hannibal Lector will never die in the minds of those who came to know him. That is a truly horrific character who will leave you deathly afraid of him but wanting more.
Q. Who are your favorite authors? Who inspires you?
A. I've already mentioned Thomas Harris with his Hannibal Lector series, but beyond him, I'm a great fan of Harlan Coben for his suspense and ability to weave a great mystery and Anne Rice for her beautiful way of turning monsters into tangible creatures of need and desire, but my true st inspirational authors come from times past - Joseph Conrad, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Milton, Emily Dickenson, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Washington Irving. Though they weren't all necessarily horror authors, they were dark and mysterious authors who wove fascinating tales through both stories and poetry.
Q. What prompted you to write horror?
A. I actually fell into the horror genre through art and dark poetry, which were the inspiration behind "The All-Soul's Faire." I've always had a fascination with the supernatural and enjoyed delving into the dark side of the human psyche, but beyond that it just so happened that the first novel I finished was a horror novel. If you ask me the definition of horror I don't know that mine would be the same as most. Horror doesn't always consist of made-up monsters, serial killers and such, but horror can consist of the deeds of mankind against one another. There are thousands of people in this world who have suffered a horrific deed done to them by another person - some will never find a quiet to the monster that was left behind to remind them while others will come to terms with their demons, but in either instance both have seen/lived through something many of us can't imagine ever happening to us, and that is the true st form of raw horror I believe there is.
Q. Some of your poetry is really edgy and sometimes angry sounding. What's behind that?
A. I'm more of a realist and truly try to capture what many would like to say but don't. I also like to show the world what it's like through the eyes of folks who aren't so fortunate in their lives because of circumstance, choices made, good and bad things. However, many times music is the culprit of my words. The mood of a song can create a poem, and there are not many types of music I won't listen to.
Q. What upcoming tour stops do you have in Virginia?
A. We probably won't be doing anything in Virginia until December when "Crows on the Cross" is launched. Right now, my tour stops are in other states. I believe we are going to Florida, Colorado and Indiana for certain this year. In 2008, we will be doing the SheVaCon conference in Roanoke and the RavenCon conference here in Richmond. There should be several book signings scheduled from December on here in Virginia, but those details are still being worked out.
Q. When people think of horror writers, they usually think of dark personalities. Is that true of Kristy Tallman?
A. Actually if you met me on the street you would never know I write horror and psychological thrillers. I'm usually a lighthearted, good-natured, comical person who tries to see the good in everyone. I do, however, believe each of us possesses within us a dark nature. That was the reason I chose the subject matter for "The All-Soul's Faire," to delve into that aspect of its main character. The darkness is there in all of us, each person possessing thoughts of ill nature at some point in time in their lives, but how we act or react upon it is the ultimate answer to our own moralities, be they instilled or learned over time. The true dark people of this world are those who cannot draw a line between good and evil and act upon their darkest nature that is a natural part of life - yin and yang.