Queer Horror

Interview with Rick Reed




A Face Without A Heart

Dark Destiny

The Darkest Thirst

Whispered from the Grave

The Crow

Dante's Disciples

Dark Destiny - Children of Dracula

Rick ReedName: Rick R. Reed
Occupation: writer
Orientation: gay
Website: www.rickrreed.com
Available story on this site: On Line, Man from Milwaukee

Do you identify as part of the l/g/b/t community?
Identify what? I am gay and out of the closet, if that’s what you mean. A lot of my writing does have gay characters, but I am not setting out to necessarily write gay-themed literature. It just comes out that way because I am.

How do you identify?
How do I identify what? Bodies in the morgue? Carefully, very carefully.

What have you written?
Letís stick to what Iíve had published rather than what Iíve written (what Iíve written would take, well, a book). Three novels: Obsessed (1991), Penance (1993) and A Face Without a Heart (2000). My short fiction has appeared in the following anthologies (roughly chronological order)

  • Confessions: Admissions of Sexual Guilt (To be released 2005, Thunder’s Mouth Press)
  • I Do/I Don’t: Queers on Marriage (2004; Suspect Thoughts Press);
  • Law of Desire (2004; Alyson Publications);
  • Best S/M Erotica (2003; Black Books);
  • Whispered from the Grave (1999; Design Image Group);
  • The Crow: Shattered Lives and Broken Dreams (1998; Del Rey; also special edition in 1998/Donald M. Grant);
  • Contra/Diction: New Queer Male Fiction (1998; Arsenal Pulp Press);
  • The Darkest Thirst (1998; Design Image Group);
  • The Kiss of Death (1998; Design Image Group);
  • Dark Destiny III: Children of Dracula (1996; White Wolf);
  • Dante’s Disciples (1995; White Wolf);
  • Dark Destiny (1994; White Wolf)

Penance and A Face Without a Heart are both heavily populated with gay characters. Both Dark Destiny stories have lesbians as main characters. Contra/Diction has a story about a young gay man whoís mother is dying of AIDS and is in serious denial that heís gay, so serious, in fact, that he feels a bizarre empathy for serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who has just been arrested at the time the story takes place.

Empathy with Jeffrey Dahmer? That must have caused quite a stir.
I wish it had. The empathy in the story was due to an identification the man made because he was so filled with self-loathing and so unable to accept his homosexuality. It wasn't really a thumbs up for Dahmer or anything, but an expression of a twisted view toward being gay. I think that's apparent if you read the story.

Rick in gearWhat inspired you to write these types of stories?
I think most writers write about themselves, regardless of how fantastic or horrific the genre. Inspiration may not be directly apparent (even to the author). In my own work, I detect a fascination with obsession (almost all of my characters are obsessed in one way or another). But I’d be hard pressed to tell you where that inspiration comes from.

Any movies (or books) that specifically inspired your love of horror?
Oh, I suppose there must be dozens. Some of my favorite horror movies would be: The Exorcist, The Bad Seed, Candyman, Nightbreed, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Hitcher and Carnival of Souls. Books? I've been reading Stephen King since I was a child, so no matter what anyone says, I still love him. I also really like a lot of Clive Barker's work (unless it gets too much into fantasy) and I get inspired a lot by true crime writing as well, which, to me, is the real horror.

Who is your favorite horror character?
I don't know who my "favorites" are, but I have the biggest fascination with criminals, killers especially. I like Hannibal Lechter, from Silence of the Lambs, because he's so smart and absolutely evil. But I also like the tortured killers, who aren't quite right with themselves, like Norman Bates or, in real life, Jeffrey Dahmer.

How has the gay community reacted to your books? Have they reacted differently than has the world at large?
I really can't say there's been any distinction between gay and the world at large.

Any future projects in the works?
I have just completed a new novel called Sacrifice, which I describe as a vampire tale that focuses on three very urbane vampires whose love for visual art matches their lust for blood. Moving back and forth between 1950s New York and modern-day Chicago, the book explores parallels between abstract expressionist art, realism, and the choices an artist must make for very different kinds of immortality (and along the way, spinning a very sexy, scary, and suspenseful tale). I just had a story accepted for publication in an anthology from Thunder Mouth’s Press called Confessions: Admission of Sexual Guilt. My story is called “Reckless Endangerment” and imagines the modern horrors of HIV, date rape, and lies. That book should be out later this year.

Where can people get your books?
I mostly encourage people to buy my stuff at amazon.com. It's easy to find, they always have everything and I can keep track of my sales ranking. There's a website called half.com that I know has copies of my first two novels, which are out of print, for half price...which is way cheaper than most places you can find them.

Last updated 2/24/05

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