As someone who at one time spent a large part of my life commuting by subway, I’ve never been so glad to not rely on public transportation anymore as I was after reading “Cell Phone Lights” by T. M. Starnes. Read on to find out why…
Q (Crone Girls Press): What do you write? How long have you been writing? What are your preferred genres and why?
A (T. M. Starnes): I primarily write horror/suspense/thriller, then Sci-fi and adventure. I also have written romance. I’ve been seriously writing to publish for the last five years. I have eight novels and I’m featured in several anthologies. I prefer a blending of all my chosen genres.
Q: What inspired your story in this anthology? Tell us the “story behind the story.”
A: I lived in Washington DC for a while. I often wondered what would happen if a power outage trapped people in the subways and something came out of the shadows while the subway was stopped.
Q: What draws you to the genre of horror/dark fiction? What do you find there that you don’t find anywhere else?
A: I have seen a LOT of horror, actual horror, in my life. Horrific people doing horrific actions. I have watched men and women die slowly in front of me while I was going through lifesaving operations. I have witnessed all this and know how horrible some people can be. That’s why all my monsters ARE monsters. A lot of times humans get away with things. In my stories, the monsters hardly ever win and the heroes save the day.
Q: There are a number of subgenres/tropes/flavors of horror. Where does your story fit? What drew you to this particular category?
A: I hate, hate, hate, let me say it one more time: hate, the trope that one person, the expert in the field/the doctor with the cure/the only one who can fix the door/engine/whatever, is in the story. I kill those people off in the background noise. You! You there! What would you do generic customer service rep from behind the McDonald’s counter! How would you save the world?
Q: Why horror? Why do you write it? What about the genre appeals to you as an author?
A: Hahaha, It’s therapy! It gets all these wild people in my head to shut up! I love horror movies, even B-grade, always have. No matter the cross genre.
Q: Of the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite, and why?
A: Huna from my Aurora Skies series. He’s me most of the time. Well, if I was a short green alien on a distant jungle world trying to keep displaced humans from 1990 alive.
Q: What do you find the most challenging about the writing process, and how do you meet that challenge?
A: One of my favorite authors is Edgar Rice Burroughs. I believe his stories are timeless because, even though it was for pulp magazines of his age, it was written for the widest possible reading audience. I try to do the same with mine. I have adult themes but nothing a young adult couldn’t read or at least with the okay of a parent sometimes. I have given adults nightmares, but the same novel could barely make a teen cringe in others.
Q: What was the worst writing advice you ever received? The best writing advice? Why, and how did it affect your writing?
A: “Write what you know.” Ugh. I must know a lot of monsters, aliens, inter-dimensional science, and fantasy creatures. I’ve watched Neil Gaiman’s Master Class on writing. I found I do everything he suggests. I guess I’m on top of the curve. Best advice: “Sit down and finish the story” and “Write about the people IN the story. Let them talk to you and tell THEIR story.” I tend to do that.
Q: If someone asked you to recommend books/stories similar to what you write, who/what titles would you be giving them? And, why?
A: I’ve actually had this done to me. So I’ll say what they say, trust me, I am extremely flattered for the comparison. Andre Norton. Anne McCaffrey. These comments were from people who read many of their books. So I would recommend “Time Traders” from Norton, and any “Pern” novels from McCaffrey. I also think my style is close to a post apocalyptic series author named David Robbins, his “Blade” series to be exact. It influenced my own post apocalyptic series.
Q: What’s next in your writing journey?
A: I’m currently writing a fourth “Unchanged” novel in my series and a short novella about a time-traveling/dimension hopping/warrior poet/barbarian cockroach (yes, its a comedy). I also have several short stories coming out this year, at this writing, in four anthologies.
Q: Anything to add?
A: I hope you’ll take the time to read my stories in other anthologies, as well as this one, and I suggest, if you want to try out my novels on Amazon, try downloading a sample first unless you have prime. I’ve discovered many authors I’m now a fan of by doing that and follow them. Remember to leave a review on any author’s novel, it helps with the search engine algorithms.
When not practicing or teaching Kung Fu, T. M. is reading or watching horror, thrillers, or sci-fi movies.
T. M. prefers writing in those genres or in post-apocalyptic and, occasionally, the romance genre.
T. M.’s favorite authors include Clive Barker, Patricia Briggs, Dean Koontz, and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
T. M.’s post-apocalyptic series “The Unchanged” and his science fiction survival series “Aurora Skies” and other novels are currently available on the author’s Amazon author page and upcoming news of other short story anthologies he has participated in, are on T. M. Starnes-author Facebook page. You can also follow T.M. at Amazon.com.
To read “Cell Phone Lights” by T. M. Starnes, pick up a copy of Stories We Tell After Midnight 2. And, once you are finished, please think about leaving us a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews make our cold, dark little heart so happy…