Indie Horror Spotlight with Horror Author Frank G. Poe, Jr, courtesy of www.strangeamusements.com.
The further I dig beneath the surface of the growing indie horror realm, the more great people I seem to find. Recently, I got connected with a writer I had never heard of named Frank G. Poe, Jr., a poet and writer of short horror fiction…and apparently the reincarnation of a great horror figure from the past (can you guess who?). As I got a chance to interview him, I discovered a writer who is eloquent and passionate about what he does, funny, intelligent, and a guy who seems genuine about his desire to help other people. Below, you will find a transcript of our discussion in which Frank talks about poetry, politics, indie publishing, and how a brush with a life-threatening disease made him realize he needed to start living like everyday could be his last. I hope you’ll enjoy the talk, and, if so, be sure to click those links below to learn more about Frank and buy or book or two of his while you’re at it—your well-being may very well depend upon it.
1. How long have you been writing, and what made you decide you wanted to be a writer?
My first poems were published when I was in the 3rd grade. Funny, the teacher who forwarded them thought I would be a minister one day. I’m a very spiritual person but not in the traditional sense. I’m no preacher, but people can find out more about that from reading the introductions to my books.
2. How would you sell a potential reader on giving your fiction a chance?
If you’re tired of reading the same old stuff and want to read something new, unusual and twisted, read both of my books. If you’re timid, conservative or easily offended then don’t. My books are only for the cool, open-minded, sexy people.
3. You share a name with the one of the greatest masters of short horror fiction, and one of your books is titled Raven Wings. This suggests you must have an appreciation for the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Why do you think Edgar Allan Poe’s stories have endured to this day?
As many people already know, I claim to be the reincarnation of Edgar Allan Poe. I go into detail as to why I returned, the pains I undertook to jar my memory, and proof is offered in the introductions of my books. People are free to believe it or not. Now to answer the question, I was as cutting edge then as I am now. Many of the same things people are saying about my writing this time remind me of the last. I get love, hate and everything in between. One thing is for certain my writing will spawn some type of reaction.
4. What is your writing process like? Do you spit out perfect first drafts, or are you a meticulous editor and rewriter?
I’m glad you asked these questions. Currently, I’m writing a book called, How to Write Twisted Tales ~ Sneak Inside My Brain Damaged Mind ~ in response to the question I am asked the most, “Where do I get the ideas for my stories?” The rough draft is finished, but the book is far from complete. As with everything I write, I hand scribble notes and a story idea. Second, I research the subject and write the rough draft. Third, I revise and edit about three to four times then I let an editor see it. Finally, when it is published someone still finds a few mistakes.
5. How did your near-fatal brush with MS in 1997 affect your writing, if at all?
It lit the proverbial fire under my ass. Until then, I was satisfied publishing a few poems and articles. As soon as I could, I began doing community service and constant writing. My advice to everyone, writer or not, if you don’t feel like you have a purpose, make one and act like there is no tomorrow because my friends there might not be.
6. On your blog, The Political Poet, you write quite a few issue-based political entries. Do you worry that writing such opinionated pieces will alienate potential readers?
No, I don’t. If I worried about alienating readers and alter my views to appease them then I’m betraying myself and my readers. The opinions I express on http://frankandpoe.blogspot.com/ are open for comments if someone disagrees. I don’t sensor points of view, only obscenity or material promoting violence against others. On the record I’m a moderate independent for lack of a better term. I spent 12 years as a Democrat and 12 years as a Republican before changing to an independent. Having both liberal and conservative opinions, I’ve taken to calling myself a moderate, and I believe most Americans don’t fall into the one-size-fits-all, far right or far left categories being forced down our throats. I encourage everyone to become independent and yearn for the day we have a viable third party for moderates.
7. As a writer and blogger, you seem to do a lot of work to promote poetry. How do you think contemporary poetry fares within the evolution of poetic styles and forms?
Wow, you squeeze a bunch into a question.
I love poetry old and new,
From free verse to an old haiku,
Modern slam with a glass of wine,
Or heroic epic with rhyme….
Drop the microphone…thump… silence.
In reality not much has changed. What are the songs we hear on the radio if not poetry? Bards sang their poetry, too. Is free verse truly modern? A quick example comes to mind. In 1775 Patrick Henry gave his speech, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty or give me Death!” to House of Burgesses in Virginia, wasn’t he speaking poetry, free verse poetry? I’ll admit some poetry is meant to - only - be read on the page, but poetry is the spoken word. Obviously, I have an affinity for poetry.
8. Your bio says that you are a published and recorded poet. I'm very intrigued by the "recorded" part of that statement as poetry is always so much better when you can hear a good reading that savors the sound of the words themselves. How did that come about for you and where can people find it?
My poem, Animal Crackers, was entered in a competition and later selected to be recorded with others on a collection. I’m not sure where you’d buy a copy today. On the other hand, several of my poems were converted to lyrics by request for consideration by music artists for recording. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
9. What about horror has motivated you enough to write fiction within the genre?
The line blurs between fiction and reality when it comes to horror. Our world is a scary place, and I think of my twisted tales as public service announcements. All horror is cautionary in the fact it warns people what not to do. I’m just fulfilling my civic duty.
10. What do you hope to accomplish by writing, publishing, and selling your own fiction? Is this a career goal or something else for you?
Besides bringing attention to MS, I’ve pledged 6% of my royalties to MS charities. I’d like for those donations to be substantial. Another 4% is, also, going to other charities including a university. Ultimately, my goal is to prove to people being disabled doesn’t mean your life is over. I hope to throw off that label and be recognized as a working writer. In my wildest dreams, one of my scripts wins an Oscar and gets turned into a musical on Broadway winning a Tony Award, a song I wrote for the musical goes platinum and wins a Grammy Award and all the attention spawns a television show delivering an Emmy Award. EGOT it.
11. From your Amazon listings, I see that you are utilizing Infinity Publishing to help put your books together. Do you see an advantage to using a service like that as opposed to going it completely on your own like many authors are doing today?
To each his or her own, I say. If you have the backing to hire a promoter and publicist then do it. If you don’t, do the work yourselves. The industry is changing so all bets are off. Writers have to create their own buzz, regardless, so why not take the lion share of the royalties instead of a traditional publishing house. If you create a stir for your book, sales will come. If you don’t self promote, the traditional publishing houses aren’t going to give you a big promotional budget. Your books will sit on the shelves and end up in the .99¢ Store™. Print on demand publishers like Infinity allow your book to be available in softcover, hardcover and eBooks formats forever, no waste. Some people like having a book in their hot, little hands. They enjoy turning the pages and inserting a bookmarker in-between reads. They can read on the plane without being told to turn off their electronic devices. Other people prefer the modern ability to change font sizes or color background for ease of eye strain. They like the ability to carry an entire library at their fingertips. With Infinity I saw a chance to please both types of readers making my books available in all formats indefinitely. Bookstores can still stock them for book tours, but they usually want you to bring your own and give them a taste of your sales. When I do radio shows, I don’t have to worry about the listeners getting copies of my books. They can go online and order a copy or walk into a bookstore and they’ll order one for them. The greatest advantage to eBooks is they can get a copy on their Kindle, Nook or laptop in seconds.
12. Do you read a lot? If so, who are some writers, indie or otherwise, writing right now that you really enjoy?
I’m in Stephen King’s corner on this one. Don’t trust a writer who doesn’t read. I devour books, but I read old stuff as well as new. Carrie Green looks like a promising new horror writer, and Dorlana Vann’s Supernatural Fairy Tales are interesting short stories. I can’t mention all the new writers no more than I could name all the established or deceased writers I’ve read. R. A. Salvatore’s books are not horror, but I like dark elves. I love Angela Carter’s Bloody Chamber collection of short stories, RIP. Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Anne McCaffrey, Isaac Asimov, Philip K Dick, George Orwell, H G Wells, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Ursula K. LeGuin, Jack Ketchum, Anne Rice, Clive Barker,Robert E. Howard, Mary Shelley, Robert Bloch, H P Lovecraft, Richard Matheson are a few Science Fiction and Horror writers I enjoy. I read a lot of history and informational books, too. Facts and details make stories more believable so I read before I write.
13. With the “gold rush” of indie publishing going on right now, are you finding that the market is so saturated that it is hard to get noticed?
It is the best of times; it is the worst of times for writers. I love the fact the industry is no longer locked down by the traditional publishers, but I recognize the problem of a saturated market. Unless you have your own television show like a Chelsea Handler or Snooki, you have to do more work to get noticed. I find it humorous the book industry is only now going through the metamorphosis that television started back in the 80’s and radio started in the 90’s, a few channels to a plethora. Variety is great for the consumers, but it sucks for the person trying to get noticed. Gone are the days when everyone talked about the same TV show, movie or book at the water cooler. I actually think big events like the Superbowl attract the audience size they do out of nostalgia for that “we all watched the same thing and talked about it at work” era. Niche appeal will drive the indie publishing “gold rush” much as in other industries. Many writers will fail, but the authors who build a platform geared to a targeted audience will find success. Unfortunately, being a talented writer or awful hack makes no difference. Failure will come to those who quit, and success will come to the tireless self-promoter that hasn’t changed.
14. What is the one thing you hope people take away after reading a Frank G. Poe, Jr. story?
Entertainment, I hope they want to read more. Beyond entertaining readers, my goal is to evoke emotion and thought. If readers find haunting characters, images and actions provoking enough to get angry, sad, scared, embarrassed or make them laugh from my stories then I feel successful as a writer.
15. Thanks a lot for taking some time to talk about your fiction with Strange Amusements. It has been my pleasure to have you featured here on the site. Before we end the interview, please take this opportunity to let everybody know all the places they can find you on the web and where they can buy your books.
Thanks for having me as a guest. I hope people know me a little better now and buy my books because I know where they sleep. Just kidding but really, they have to sleep sometime.
To Purchase Frank’s BooksFor Raven Wings or Star Child in Paperback or Hardcover $10.95 to $24.95
To Follow or Contact Frank
Follow Frank’s blog The Political Poet at
Follow Frank on Twitter® at
Or on Facebook® at
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Posted by Nicholas Strange