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Bookend: Tom Monteleone Finds Joy In Writing Horror

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Author Tom Monteleone in Baltimore
Jonathan Wilson
Author Tom Monteleone in Baltimore

In this edition of Bookend, Jonathan Wilson travels up to Baltimore to sit down with prolific horror and science fiction author Tom Monteleone, who is the author of 36 books, and more than 100 short stories — he's also written for the stage and for television. Wilson talks to Monteleone about how he got started as a professionally spooky writer - and why, for him, Halloween has never stopped being fun.

On his fervent childhood imagination:

"I was very easily scared. I had a very active imagination, which I think is what most writers and most creative people have to have... Even when you're a little kid, you realize that you are looking at the world differently than a lot of other people. That you're not just in it for the baseball cards and the bubble game, you get at the back of the pack. You're in it for something else."

Realizing he wanted to write stories:

"I was reading this story, and all of a sudden it hit me that somebody had not only thought up this story, but they had actually sat down and linked all these words together and made this story happen. And it was a very weird revelation for a kid to even think like that. And the next thought I had, naturally, was 'Hey, I think I'd like to try this." Because whenever [we had] the Cub Scout cookouts and everything — the campouts — I was always the guy telling a goofy story, you know, around a campfire. I just liked doing it."

Having science fiction master Damon Knight edit one of his early stories:

"The first page — there were so many corrections on the page — there was more red ink than my typewriter black ink. It looked like an Illinois road map, you know what I mean? I'm looking at that -- I was at this crossroads: I was afraid to even read what I had done wrong. It could have been very easy to just put it in the envelope and just say I'm going to be a dentist or a pharmacist or something."

[Music: "Frostbit" by Oddissee from Odd Seasons / "Theme from Alfred Hitchcock Presents" by Bernard Herrmann from 50 All-Time Favorite TV Themes / "Ball & Socket Lounge Music #1" by Bonejangles & His Bone Boys from Tim Burton's Corpse Bride Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ]

Author Tom Monteleone’s advice for writers:


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