Horror's rising minds interviews one of the longest established horror webmistress.
Nickolaus A. Pacione: What got you involved in the horror genre and how did you get involved?
Brigit Dawn Knox: I've been in love with the genre since I was small child. I used to watch some of the Saturday afternoon "horror" shows out of Detroit like Sir Graves Ghastly and later on, The Ghoul out of Parma, Ohio. Cheesy horror hosts with even cheesier horror films. My favorite was The Creature From The Black Lagoon, I still love that movie today.
I also had a love of the occult, although I don't really remember how it I got started but I was bring home occult books from the library when I was 9, which I got into a small amount of trouble over but continued to do so. I also started to draw at an early age. My parents would send me to summer art school, which I loved. I got kicked out one summer when I was about 11, over a drawing assignment. We were taken out in the country to an open field that had a huge Oak tree in the middle of it. We were instructed to draw what we saw. I drew a gray and brown autumn setting with everything dead. The teacher didn't like that. She told my mom that I was morbid. My mom told her off and took me out of that school. My parents were way big on Halloween. We had to be scary things, not cartoon characters. In essence, I was born this way.
N.P.: What writers influenced you the most and what writers do you see changing the genre and taking it for their own and how do you see them do it?
B.D.K. : First, influencing authors...... growing up, Edgar Allan Poe made a big impact on me. My dad used to recite Annabel Lee to us at bedtime. He just loved that poem. I have copies of the original Poe writing of it. I also liked Stephen King when he came around, he was a great storyteller. It's hard for me to remember some of the other authors that formed my youth as far as horror. I'd spend a lot of time in the library, if I spotted something that looked good, I'd read it. Today some of my favorite authors are Tamara Thorne ( she writes some very twisted, silly and enjoyable horror), Kathe Koja (her writing structure is so unique, one sentence can turn into a paragraph and still make sense. Her stories almost aren't horror, they are more like looking into the abyss of madness, Skin is my absolute favorite book of hers). Those are a couple of the ones I admire today.
There are many up and coming horror genre authors today. The "splatterpunk" movement in the late 80's-early 90's started to change the face of written, anything goes kind of horror. I see some of the authors, especially on the web, following in that same vein. Sevrin and Chimera, Rich Logsdon, yourself, and John Dark (a.k.a. Bob Morgan) are all writing some very aggressive work. I've seen so many come across The House Of Pain over the past three or four years especially. Now it seems to be much easier to have your work printed than it used to be. Many more indie publishers have popped up. As long as they can be published and promoted, people will be able to have access to a new age of horror authors.
N.P.: You were at this site for close to ten years, what changes and trends did you see in the genre when you published the writers you published. Especially since you saw a range of writers from the horror tappings of Alex Severin & Kailleaugh to the Lovecraftian genre?
B.D.K.: I started The House Of Pain ten years ago, October 1st, 1994. It was originally started to have a place to put my own work and to showcase sites on the web that were worth seeing in the fiction, film and music areas.
After a couple years, I started accepting other peoples work to add to the site and it snow balled from there. It seems as though the more gritty type of horror was just taking off. Industrial music had come forward, Nine Inch Nails was very big, Marilyn Manson had just put out their first album.
Horror was leaning to a more dark, dirty, erotic side then it had been in a long time. Over the years, that edge has remained but it's refined itself somehow. It sometimes doesn't have the shock value it seemed to have years ago. Or maybe I've just been doing this too long and have become jaded, I don't know. I've been getting a new crop of very ballsy horror again, some coming from authors that I feature regularly but the style and depth has changed. I hate the word progress, it's not always a good word but I do see a progression to an even darker type of horror than I've seen in the past. I think it's step forward, myself.
N.P. : One writer I was most amazed by that you published is Angeline Hawkes-Craig, how did you manage to find her or how did she manage to find your site? I knew of your site since 2003 when I found her story titled The Green Lady.
B.D.K. Angeline found me. Very seldom do I go out looking for authors, unfortunately I don't have the time I wish I did. They find me through word of mouth, other web sites and author sites. She's an excellent writer. I always look forward to her work.
N.P.: We share the same opinion on the site gothic.net, but what are your opinions on the writers who are coming in via the avenue of FictionPress.com and AuthorsDen if you read other writers from there -- and what younger writers do you see being the influence on writers in the future? How do you think the horror genre will reflect the way it is written by a younger generation?
B.D.K. Ahh, good old gothic.net. No offense to Goths, but there's that off-shoot of it that just takes themselves way too seriously. When I think of gothic.net, I think of the little Goth group of kids on South Park for some reason. I know quite a few authors that are involved with AuthorsDen.com. I think it's a great way to meet other horror genre authors and (I hate this phrase) network. I know quite a few of my authors have come from there through word of mouth. There are also many sites like mine that have set up message boards.
Some that I've read have passed around info on my site as well. I wasn't really familiar with FictionPress.com until I met you. I know there's a whole world of sites like that out there, I just haven't had any time to get involved with them. I'd like to, I think they are very useful for budding authors. There are so many new authors popping up lately that I think will change the shape of things to come, it wouldn't be fair of me to name one or two. But if I had to drop a couple names, and we are talking net related, there's a new guy that's been submitting stories, Zombie "TheJesus" Dirge, if he starts to get noticed at all, he could go far.
Also, your story, Gruesome Cargo, that you submitted really grabbed my attention. If writing like that can get noticed by a wider audience, it can make a big difference in the face of horror. Also, people like Alex Sevrin, Hertzan Chimera, Forrest Hunter, Jason Windham, Angeline Hawks-Craig, and Kailleaugh Andersson. There are so many good authors out there that just need to be noticed.
As for how the horror genre will reflect the younger generation that writes it, one of the sad things today is that younger people are becoming so numb to the world so early in life. When it gets to a point, nothing seems shocking any more. In a way, that's a scary thing. There is a point when you go too far but for future generations of horror writers, where will that point be? Film, music, writing, it all reflects what's going on in our society. Only the Gods know where that will be even ten years from now.
N.P.: I read some of your work on House of Pain.com -- the story that was in the archives; what inspired you to write that story and how did you get the inspiration for some of your works?
B.D.K.: There are a couple hidden in the archives, I think you must have read "A Ghost Of Christmas Past". It's a sad ghost story of lost love. I have a fixation with death. Even though it's normal part of the life cycle, I despise it. The people left behind have nothing to do but mourn and it takes it's toll on those who can't deal with it. That story was written from the point of view of the deceased, that they couldn't handle it any better than the person they left behind. As for other stories that I've written, they just pop into my head with small ideas usually. I was sick in bed a few years ago and had nothing much to do. I got an idea for a story about five buddies going off on a fishing trip together that goes horribly wrong. I had my husband bring me a pad of paper, a pencil and my portable desk. I laid there and wrote the whole story out until I couldn't write anymore. It just had to be written, it had to come out and it's one of my favorites. Some of the things I've written have been because of the place I was in mentally at the time. Like many other writers and artists, I work better when I'm deeply depressed, the darker the hole I'm in the better. About six years ago I went through a bad round of physical illness which triggered depression, I starved myself down to about 104 pounds, I was in a very bad place. But I wrote some of the best things I've written during that time, both stories and poetry. I also did some of my best art work then as well. Some of it was fairly frightening stuff, as in, you read it or look at it a few years later and burn some of it because it seems a little too psychotic, even for you.