Featured Author: Chad McKee
State of Horror: Louisiana Volume I
Chad McKee is a biologist who moonlights as a writer of fiction and poetry. His contributions can be found in the anthologies Blood Rites, Best of House of Horror, Dark Visions, and D.O.A.: Extreme Horror Collection, among others. He is an American Southerner who currently resides in Oxford, England.
Synopsis: “Goodie-Goodie” from State of Horror: Louisiana Volume I
Maxwell Tibbs is fired from a job he’s held for forty-two years. His whole life had been about that job. He counted the owner Justin as a friend, had dated the wife and watched the sweet daughter Ruby grow up. Now as he is summarily dismissed, he is distraught and becomes angry. He stews in his anger, confronts Justin, but cannot find justice. Max heads deep into the bayou to find people who will help him get the justice he seeks. The people in the bayou are said to be witches of some sort and agree to call upon the Goodie-Goodie to exact revenge for Max. The Goodie- Goodie completes its mission, but Max never expected what happens next.
“The Goodie-Goodie. The Goodie’s gonna get ya.” Max said it like the kids did, low and urgent, with an unpleasant hiss.
Time to Meet Chad McKee
Charon Coin Press: What inspired your story in State of Horror?
Chad McKee: The Bayou is where a number of legendary horror characters have been born – the Honey Island River Ghost, the Rougarou, and now my contribution, the Goodie-Goodie. I have a vague recollection of actually hearing about a monster called the Goodie-Goodie when I was a 12-year old living in New Orleans. But there were no details – the name itself just stuck with me, and I imagined the horrifying details surrounding the beast.
CCP: Is there a reason this particular state appealed to you?
CM: I lived in New Orleans for a couple of years when I was younger. Louisiana is one of the most unique states in US – it’s in the South, but not really typically Southern. The Bayou in particular has an almost otherworldly feel to it, swampy and dark and mysterious. Much of it is quite secluded. The food, the culture, the history is fascinating – and of course it’s the only state where you can hear French being spoken! It’s a great setting for a horror story.
CCP: What do you look for in a horror story as a reader?
CM: Atmosphere. For me, the ambiance of the piece is important to set the tone. If the author takes the time to create that sense of dread and horror through building the proper backdrop, it makes the ensuing action much more effective.
CCP: What is your favorite writing snack food?
CM: I rarely eat or drink when I write – I tend to go as deep into the story as I can, and I find eating is a distraction. Caffeine is good, though – keeps me charged up and focused through the story.
CCP: What other works do you have out there?
CM: I have published contributions to eight other anthologies, most in the horror genre like Blood Rites and D.O.A.: Extreme Horror Collection and the Dark Visions series (the first volume of which was nominated for a Bram Stoker award). I currently in the process of writing my first novel.
CCP: What is one important thing the readers need to know about you?
CM: I’m a scientist by training, which requires a lot of precision and an analytical approach. Fiction gives me a little bit of an escape from that – though it is also helpful to work out things logically at times when I write, and to construct more intricate plots.
CCP: Who are your favorite authors?
CM: I read a spectrum of things, but in the horror genre I can’t underestimate the influence of Stephen King, Dan Simmons, and Peter Straub. Outside the genre, my favorites are Irvine Welsh, JG Ballard, and Phillip K. Dick.
CCP: What drew you to State of Horror?
CM: I loved the concept of writing about a topic specific to a certain state. A lot people figure the U.S. is just one big homogenous state, without much variation or local color. The State of Horror series gives a bit of personality to each state – and reveals some of its most horrible secrets as well!
CCP: Do you have a favorite state or state you are waiting to open?
CM: Massachusetts, or somewhere around it. Love the atmosphere of those New England states. Plus, there’s a lot of history to use for a story.
CCP: Music or no music when writing?
CM: Only occasionally – again, it breaks my concentration. If I do have music on, I like long twisty jams – Miles Davis, Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, that sort of thing.
CCP: If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would you go and why?
CM: I would love to go to Australia – the open spaces, the heat, the wildlife, the fact that the most of the population was actually founded from a penal colony – sounds like the makings of a good story, actually!
CCP: What was the hardest part about writing your story?
CM: It was not hard at all, actually. I made some drafts of this story that date back to 1991 – when I was a freshman in high school. The writing was a bit amateurish, but the essential story was there. “Goodie-Goodie” was a bit like one of those “box in the attic” stories you hear about sometimes – thought to be lost years ago, then you sift through some old boxes in the attic and find a hand-written version that you actually quite like. I made substantial edits, but I had a lot of fun recalling my mindset when I first had the idea years ago.
CCP: Do you have any writing rituals?
CM: Quiet place, low light, comfortable chair. That’s about all I need. I usually write at night – always best for a good tale of terror!
We appreciate Chad McKee stopping by for a visit. Catch more feature articles over the next few days.