Saturday, March 17, 2018

From the PH Archives: An Interview with EDWARD LEE

A blast from the past from the Page Horrific Archives; this interview is dated 2005. Enjoy!!


[Edward Lee has had over twenty-five books published in the horror and suspense field, including FLESH GOTHIC, MESSENGER and CITY INFERNAL.  He is a Bram Stoker nominee, and his short stories have appeared in over a dozen mass-market anthologies, including THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES OF 2000, Pocket’s HOT BLOOD series, and the award-wining 999.   Visit his official website at]

  1. What book are you currently reading?

EL: Tom Piccirilli's NOVEMBER MOURNS, which is absolutely stellar, and more proof that Piccirilli is an absolute master of the horror novel.  I actually don't read very much–I'm real busy most of the time, plus I don't want another author's muse interfering with mine–but over the past year I've read more than usual.  I also just finished Tim Lebbon's BERSERK, which I  wrote an intro for, and it too blew me away.  In December I re-read John Shirley's CELLARS for yet another intro (it's being re-released soon).  I've made no secret that I believe that book is not only one of the first hardcore horror novel but remains one of the very best.  Next on my list is Doug Clegg's THE ABANDONED and Michael Laimo's THE DEMONOLOGIST.  I can't wait to sink into the both of them.

2. What is your all-time favorite horror novel?

EL: Hands down, it's Fritz Leiber's OUR LADY OF DARKNESS.  No book has creeped me out more than this 30-year-old masterpiece.  Several years ago I took a trip to San Francisco solely to see Corona Heights and the "Mt. Sutro" tower that Leiber worked prominently into the story.  I'm hoping I'll be able to see it from my hotel window at World Horror next year.   

3. What was the first horror book you ever bought with your own money?

EL: The first horror book that I ever bought upon becoming aware of horror as a genre was the late Brian McNaughton's SATAN'S LOVECHILD.  I bought it in an Army PX when I was training at Fort Knox in, I believe, 1977.  The title (which McNaughton hated) rang my bells.  Of course, there's no Satan and no love children in the book.  Instead, it's sort of Lovecraftian and unique in that it's shockingly explicit–a wonderful, wonderful proto-hardcore horror novel full of teeth-grinding erotica.  It was actually released by a paperback porn publisher (Carlyle) but I think McNaughton got to bend the rules by slicing hardcore sex into a keenly-plotted and absolutely explosive horror project.  Incidentally, I read most of this book in the driver's compartment of an M60 A1-series main battle tank.  It was this book that got me actively interested in modern horror fiction.  I'll ramble a bit and add that immediately after reading the McNaughton, I spotted–in another Army PX, this one in Erlangen, West Germany--a Hamlyn (I think) hardcover of classic horror stories.  It contained everything that matters: Poe, Le Fanu, Onions, "The Horla," of course, Grave's "The Shout," Machen's "Count Magnus," and many others.  But the last story was "The Rats in the Walls" by Lovecraft, which absolutely warped me.  After this I became addicted to Lovecraft and devoured all of those old Ballantine paperbacks of his.  By the time I was finished on this HPL binge, I was back in the USA, and I picked up the mylar-covered pb of THE SHINING.  Then I was officially hooked on horror fiction for life.      

4. Who is your favorite writer?

EL: Impossible to name just one, but I can say that my favorite horror writer is Ramsey Campbell.  Every sentence he writes is somehow nightmare producing.  (And my favorite Campbell story is "Loveman's Comeback."  Jesus.)

5. Tell us a little about your next novel.

EL: It's officially untitled as yet, and I don't want to jinx it by running my mouth about it.  All I'll say is that it's a Big Bug book–but doesn't involve bugs; it's much grosser.  For the longest time I've wanted to write my own Big Bug-type book, like the old Guy N. Smith and Shaun Hutson novels...only Edward Lee-style.  I'm two-thirds done with it now and I can say I'm having a ton of fun writing it.   

6. What is your favorite post-punk album?

EL: Another impossible one to answer but if I had to name one right now, I'd say 154 by Wire.  Over the past two years 90-percent of what I've been listening to is either Industrial or Classical (I'm a huge Vivaldi fan).  My favorite Industrial group is Funker Vogt, and I think I can say my favorite song since 1991 is Vogt's "Faster Life."  I have the lyrics taped to the inside of my front door.  Their SURVIVOR lp is unparalleled in my opinion: unmatched Industrial.  In the early ‘90s I lost all interest in music for some reason, which is inexplicable because music has always been crucial to me.  The first three albums I ever bought, for instance were, in this order, Led Zeppelin I, Sir Lord Baltimore's KINGDOM COME, and the first Black Sabbath lp.  I was 13 at the time, when everyone else my age was listening to The Archies and The Beach Boys.  I hate ALL pop music.  From there my addiction to non-pop music took off, and throughout the ‘70s it was King Crimson, Hawkwind, original Genesis, and perhaps my all-time faves Van Der Graaf Generator.  I had a brief punk period (I bought the Sex Pistols album in, again, Germany, and went on to become a huge Stranglers and Siouxsie fan).  As far as post-punk goes, I love Magazine whose frontman, Howard Devoto was a founding member of the Buzzcocks in, I think, 1976.  He seemed to realize at once, though, that he was a bit too intelligent for the raucousness of punk.  He's my all-time favorite singer and poet.  The biggest curve ball in my oddball musical taste was a non-categorizable ‘80s group called the Gun Club, and a vocalist/songwriter named Jeffery Lee Pierce–which is nothing like any of the other stuff I've mentioned!  (Think: nightmares of the deep south.)  But Wire was the first stuff I was buying right after the "punk" wave.  Also, two of Wire's members (B.C. Gilbert and Lewis) did an lp much later called The Shivering Man, which is another work I couldn't live without.  PS–I know that many author's listen to music while they write but I've never been able to do this, with two exclusive exceptions: Eno's DISCREET MUSIC, and Fripp & Eno's NO PUSSY-FOOTING.

7. What is your favorite Edward Lee book?

EL: I’m pretty sure it's INFERNAL ANGEL, for reasons I can't pinpoint.  Perhaps because it's less "fantasy" than CITY INFERNAL and more in-the-face horror.  It's odd, though, that I like that book so much because it received more reader complaints than anything else I've written.  One fan even wrote to me and said I should have to go to Edward Lee Hell for the ending.  Oops.  All I can say to that is that all things dead in an Edward Lee book can easily come back to life.  

8. What is your biggest vice?

EL: Collecting crab shells.  No lie.  Most people wrap crabs shells up in the newspaper and throw them out but I collect them.  I have crab shells from all over the world and have gone to preposterous financial expenditures to procure them.  I could probably have a decent crack habit on what I've spent on crab shells.
9. What is your favorite bit of writing advice?

EL: Write a page a day and in a year you've got a book!

10. Any parting words for PAGE HORRIFIC readers?

EL: I won't be able to attend the Horrorfind convention this summer (and I hate to miss it because Horrorfind truly is the best convention) but I will almost assuredly be at World Horror next spring.  I hope to see some of you there!

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