While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Dark River Press, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, and others.
Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself and what got you into horror?
When I was a little girl, I spent nearly every Saturday night at my best friend’s house. We would try to stay up late and watch the Bob Wilkin’s Creature Feature here in Sacramento. (I say try because we always fell asleep on the floor in front of the TV). Wilkins always showed gothic vampire films and B-grade monster mashes. That started my love of the genre…and then came Carrie by Stephen King. Need I say more?
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
Every Christmas my mom (or was it Santa Claus?) would give me a Nancy Drew book. But I also loved reading about fairies, and odd monsters such as WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. I also had a favorite comic book about a ghost ship, but I can’t remember the title. Too bad I didn’t save it, huh!
Tell us about your anthology, SHADOW MASTERS: AN ANTHOLOGY FROM THE HORROR ZINE. What themes or ideas do the authors explore in the stories?
Glad you asked! SHADOW MASTERS goes from classic horror and exciting suspense to Twilight Zone-type speculative fiction with twisted endings. As the editor of an award-winning ezine, I have sought only the finest fiction for this book. SHADOW MASTERS combines best-selling authors with the most talented lesser-knowns.. Featuring never before published works from best-selling authors such as Bentley Little, Yvonne Navarro, Scott Nicholson, Melanie Tem, Elizabeth Massie, Earl Hamner, Simon Clark, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Ronald Malfi, Lisa Morton, Jeff Bennington, JG Faherty and many others, this amazing collection of works also includes a foreword from Joe R. Lansdale.
What’s inside the mind of a horror writer?
An active imagination and the ability to ask, “What If?” Some of the best fiction in this genre takes a normal character and thrusts that character into an abnormal situation. In my mind, that turns into the scariest fiction of all, because it could happen to anyone, including you and me.
From the moment you conceived the idea for this anthology, to the published book, how long did it take?
It takes a long time to wait for the best quality to come across my desk. As the editor of The Horror Zine ezine, I receive submissions every day, a lot of them. I comb through the submissions to separate the good from the not-so-good, and once in a while, I receive a GREAT. This book contains the greats.
Who is your target audience?
Anyone who enjoys roller coaster rides, or haunted houses, or tales told around the campfire. Anyone who remembers The Twilight Zone, or who reads contemporary Stephen King or Dean Koontz. Anyone who reads Joe Hill or Joe McKinney or loves zombies, vampires, and werewolves, but even more, those who love the unexpected, unusual monsters that are not over-saturated in today’s media. SHADOW MASTERS has a surprise or two up its sleeves.
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? Did you have to pitch your idea first?
Fortunately, Cheryl Kaye Tardif and I have worked together before. Imajin Books has published an earlier The Horror Zine anthology titled WHAT FEARS BECOME: AN ANTHOLOGY FROM THE HORROR ZINE.
How easy or difficult is it to promote and market anthologies these days?
It is easier for me because I have an ezine that receives 30,000 hits a week world-wide. But for others, I would suggest developing contacts first before one tries to market an anthology. Book reviews are a great way to get word out about your book. On-line ezines are a great market for your book reviews.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
LOL, I have been talking about The Horror Zine, maybe now it is time for you to see it for yourself. The Horror Zine is a monthly ezine that has been published since July 2009 here:
Do you have another book or anthology on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
At this moment in time, I am working on the 4th Anniversary issue of the ezine. Happy Anniversary to The Horror Zine, July 2009 to July 2013!