Ray Garton is to me one of the masters of horror and the writing world. He has a wicked sense of humor that I love and his books are as equally incredible. I remember being introduced to his work by a lovely librarian. She loved horror and thought I would enjoy his writing. She was so very right. There haven’t been many of his books I haven’t found and read several times. They will draw you inside the stories and make you feel and see what the characters are feeling. To me that’s what reading is all about. A movie that plays in your head and if this is how you love to read then I highly suggest you read his books if you haven’t before now. The Folks is probably my favorite of his books. It is a page turner and I was mad when I got to the last page but only because the story had ended. Fortunately for me there is a second book that is just as awesome. If you have not read his books get one, get to know him you will not only love his books but will be amazed at the man behind them as well. I can’t say enough that you need to read his books. What are you waiting for? Go on, get them. So, without further ado please welcome Mr. Ray Garton to Roadie Notes…..
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
It’s difficult to say. I started writing stories before I could write. I would draw them in panels and they would visually tell a story that usually turned out to involve monsters. As soon as I learned how to write, I wrote constantly. I guess it was in my blood because I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Even longer, according to my mother.
2. How many books have you written?
Including the novelization and tie-ins, it’s over sixty, something like sixty-five.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
No, but there are things I will write about cautiously. I don’t think any subject is off the table, but how it’s handled makes a world of difference. For example, a rape scene— if I’m writing a scene in which a woman is attacked and raped, it’s going to be ugly and horrific and not erotic in any way. Some writers handle it differently and depict it as a sexual act, but I do everything I can to portray it as the act of violence that it is and to avoid titillation. In my novel Shackled, children are kidnaped, treated brutally, sold, and violated in horrible ways. I didn’t want to write something that would excite some monstrous pervert out there. I did everything I could to make those scenes as brutal and horrifying as possible because I don’t think there’s any other way to handle that sort of thing. If you’re going to write about something that’s horrible, it has to be depicted that way. There’s nothing sensitive about the rape of a woman or the brutalization of a child. I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be written about, but how it’s written about is vital.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I’m going to be 54 soon. My wife Dawn and I have been married for twenty-six years. We both made the decision, long before we met, that we didn’t want kids. We’ve had a lot of cats over the years, though. I don’t have another job, I write full-time.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
My personal favorite is Sex and Violence in Hollywood. It’s not a horror novel, and that may be the reason so few people were interested when it was originally published. My non-horror fiction seems to have a harder time finding an audience because I’m expected to write horror. I usually do, of course, but sometimes I veer out of the genre. This book is a darkly comic thriller with horror sensibilities (the two protagonists are diehard horror fans). It’s been optioned and a producer is developing it as a limited series for TV. Writing that book was the best writing experience I’ve ever had. I began with the idea that I wanted to write something set in the movie business and to focus on violence in movies and other media and what kind of cumulative effect it might have on us. The book flowed out of me so easily and smoothly—it was amazing. A book has never happened like that for me before.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
Given how early I started doing it, I’m not sure. But there were writers who inspired me to keep writing. Richard Matheson was a big inspiration, as were Stephen King, Graham Masterton, Peter Straub, Robert Bloch, and others.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
My wife and I are big readers, so you can often find us sitting at our kitchen table, each with a book, reading and listening to music. I spend so much time alone in my office that any gathering with friends is like a party to me. I go for a lot of walks. And I write. I still find it fun, so I do it a lot.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
No, I’ve never had a book-finishing tradition. I usually just move on immediately to the next project.
9. Where do you write? Quite or music?
I write in my home office, a room that looks like it collided at high-speed with a public library. There are books everywhere, and where there are no books there are DVDs, monsters, toys, a tyrannosaurus rex head on the wall above me, and a lot of movie posters. I usually have music playing. When I’m not actually writing and doing more technical stuff, like proofing, editing, I will run a movie in the background. But it has to be one with which I’m familiar so it’s not distracting.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
Everything. I can’t read my work once it’s been published because I always want to rewrite it, and by then I can’t. If I could change something about my writing ability, I would be better at prose. I think my strength lies in storytelling. I’ve always found my prose clumsy and lumbering. I just read a book by Pat Conroy, and the whole time I kept thinking, I wish I could write like this, I’d KILL to be able to write like this!
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
I have no desire to be famous because fame seems toxic these days. I wouldn’t mind being rich, but I’m in the wrong line of work for that. My dream has always been to be able to write and pay the bills, and that’s been the case for most of my writing career. I’m living my dream. I tend to complain, I’m a bit curmudgeonly, but I really shouldn’t because I am wildly lucky to be doing what I love and to have such a wonderful wife—I’ve got nothing to complain about at all.
12. Where do you live?
We live in far northern California, a short drive from the Oregon border.
Cats. At one point, we had eleven cats. We’re down to three: Buddy, Sally, and Ducky.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
The writing itself. When it’s going well, when something is working, I fall into whatever I’m writing and it’s like taking a mini vacation from my own life. Everything falls away and I’m in whatever I’m writing. It’s a lot like reading, but instead of reading something I’m creating something to be read, and for that to work, it first has to be an adventure for me. I have to scare myself, I have to be in suspense about what’s going to happen next or the reader never will be. It’s like test-driving fantasies for other people. Best job in the world.
You can connect with Mr. Garton here:
Facebook personal page: https://www.facebook.com/ray.garton.3
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/Ray-Garton-156345234439062/?fref=ts
As always, thank you so much for letting us get to know you better. It is a privilege and honor to call you my friend. I wish you continued success and much happiness.
Just a few of Ray Garton’s books: