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J. G. Faherty

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The Monsters Inside

If you write horror and dark fiction, everyone asks you where you get your ideas from. The sarcastic answer J. G. Faherty would like to give is ‘From my imagination, butthead. Maybe you should try using yours.’ However, those types of comments earn him painful blows to the shin from his wife’s shoes, so instead, he will tell people about his misspent youth, how he grew up watching horror movies, building monster models, and reading scary stories.

One of his earliest memories is of going to the drive-in theater with his parents to see a double feature. Planet of the Apes was the first movie, and Night of the Living Dead the second. That would have been around 1973, making him…12 at the time. He’d previously seen all sorts of monster movies (Them! was hisfavorite), not to mention a million showings of Godzilla vs. anybody, but Night of the Living Dead was his first real gore-fest. He was hooked! His parents didn’t make it through the whole movie, but later that year he found it on television. After that, he couldn’t get enough dismemberments, disembowelments, and exploding skulls. So he guesses all you armchair psychologists can blame his parents. Personally, he thanks them!

Graveyards, Ghosts, and Twisted Teens

J. G. Faherty grew up in a small town 35 miles north of Manhattan. He still lives there, and it’s the setting for many of his stories, along with upstate New York, and the rural south. The county he lives in is full of history. Revolutionary War battle grounds, two-hundred year-old gravesites, ghosts, haunted roads, and tales of monsters in the woods – a great place to grow up.

Once he was old enough to take off for the day on his bike with his friends, he was able to explore all these things and more. They often played hide and seek in the graveyards at night (the same graveyards that years later became THE place to park, drink, and bring dates), and in fact it was a rite of passage in their neighborhood to be pushed into a sunken grave or locked in a mausoleum. There probably wasn’t a kid on his street who didn’t have some kind of strange encounter, including him. Naturally, a lot of the places and history of his town manage to find their way into his writing, which he guesses is par for the course for any writer.

In high school and college, armed with his driver’s license and a few dollars, some of these childhood adventures were replaced by ‘adult’ activities – booze, beer, and bimbos. But even then it wasn’t unusual for his friends and him to keep a dead cat as a pet (until a schoolmate stole it), sneak into a satanic ritual in upstate New York, charge money to let people watch his African Puff Adders eat their weekly meal (this involved having small mice bitten by large, venomous snakes), or just enjoy a beer at midnight in an old cemetery while “Funeral for a Friend” played on the stereo. And of course, there were the books and movies.

The Golden Age of Horror

Ahh, the eighties! Forget punk rock, Duran Duran, and The Breakfast Club. The eighties were the best years, in his humble opinion, for horror. It seemed like every week he’d go to the bookstore and pick up another paperback about vampires, werewolves, ghosts, or demons. Were a lot of them dogs, barely worth a place in the basket next to the toilet? You bet!

But many were hidden treasures, and launched many a career still going strong today. He remembers purchasing books and short stories by Tom Monteleone, Ramsey Campbell, Charles L. Grant, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Karl Edward Wagner, Richard Laymon, Dennis Etchison, Manly Wade Wellman, and so many others.
It was the heyday for King and Koontz, when you’d wait for months for that new novel to come out. Peter Straub, too, although unlike the other two he’s still going strong these days. One of the scariest nights he ever had was sitting in his apartment in 1983 reading Pet Cemetery. He started it at 2 in the afternoon, and at midnight he was so involved he forgot he was supposed to meet friends out at a local bar. When he reached the part where Dr. Creed makes his first trip through the deadfall trees, he was so creeped out he had to put the friggin’ book down and go out for a beer!

Today, horror is different. There are many more authors, and many more places to find short stories, great magazines like Cemetery Dance. Online bookstores like the Horror Mall and the late Shocklines, and specialty presses like Borderlands Press, Permuted Press, Delirium Books, and many others. But it’s become hard to pick up really good material. He goes back and reads his old favorites, and they’re constructed masterfully. Today? He’s lucky if one out of twenty books is worth reading twice. Too much psychological bullshit, with writers thinking they have to create entire new styles of writing just to be different.

Give him a solid beginning, middle, and end. Vampire, ghost, alien, lunatic killer, monster from the deep – he doesn’t care. A familiar plot is okay, if the writing’s good. Just don’t make him read 400 pages, only to find there’s no ending. Leave the art house writing to some other genre, not horror.

As a reader, he enjoys ‘classic’ horror, as opposed to vague, twisting tales that go nowhere. So it only makes sense that his writing follows suit. He’s not here to impress you with how many words he knows, or how far he can stretch a boring plot line. He just wants you to get that jiggly feeling in your spine or your gut. He wants to disgust you, unnerve you, freak you out. Make you laugh, make you cry. And maybe even scare you.

J. G. Faherty is married. His wife’s name is Andrea, and she is a casual horror fan. They have two dogs, a chocolate Lab and a yellow Lab. The dogs keep them busy, and they make sure he doesn’t get a fat ass sitting in front of the computer. He owns an online resume/CV/proofreading business, which pays the bills. His favorite holiday is Halloween. He used to collect lizards and snakes until he got married. His previous jobs have included zoo keeper, photographer, salesman, laboratory manager, medical researcher, marketing specialist, and teacher.

You can find all articles and fiction relating to J. G. Faherty at tag J. G. Faherty.

web site: J. G. Faherty
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J. G. Faherty

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Posted by on Saturday, January 15th, 2011. Filed under Who's Who. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry