An Interview
with Stephen James Price

February 26, 2010

Q – When did you first start writing?

Stephen – I’ve been writing stories since I was about six or seven years old. I decided to do it a little more formally in 2007 (when I was 42.)

Q – Have you always written in the horror genre?

Stephen – No. I went through a rather dark period in my life when I was sixteen and I wrote several love stories and poems. A breakup with my first real love made the sugar and sap drip from my pen for a while.

This is what I called my pyramid poem.


See what I mean? Sappy!!

Fortunately, my pen mostly drips blood now.

I also wrote a very detailed book on how to solve the Rubik’s Cube when I was fourteen. I was sure it was going to make me a million dollars, because the country was addicted to the damned thing back then. I had 4 or 5 of them myself and it took me over 2 months to solve one the first time. My book showed how to solve it in about 4 minutes. 3 months after I finished the book, The Simple Solution to the Rubik’s Cube came out in Mass Market paperback. To my dismay, that book’s method and description really were simpler than mine.

I’m also a comedian by nature and I write a lot of humor and sometimes I mix the humor in with the darkness.

Q – What started you down the road to horror?

Stephen – When I was fourteen, my father worked nights and got home after midnight on weekdays. One Friday night, I was watching the movie Carrie (for the first time) on television when my father came home from work. It was almost to the end of the movie and the music caught his interest. He sat down on the arm of the couch where I was sitting. I was enthralled in the movie and honestly didn’t even notice that he was there. When Carrie’s hand shot out of the grave and grabbed Sue, my father grabbed my arm and screamed. I screamed louder. He was laughing so hard that he barely heard me tell him that it was a good movie, but the book was so much better. It was at that exact moment that I knew that I wanted to make people feel the same way King’s books made me feel. Shortly after that, I wrote a rather lengthy short story about a werewolf for an advanced placement English course I was taking in school and I got an A on it. I wish I still had a copy of it. Maybe I should look up old Mrs. French (no kidding, my English teacher’s name was French) and see if she remembers it.

Q – So I take it that Stephen King has been a major influence on you.

Stephen – I don’t want to sound cliché, but HELL YES! He’s written about everything and touched on virtually every monster, both real and make-believe, imaginable. When I read a King book I get deep into the story. My senses are alive with the feel, smell, sounds and tastes of each of his scenes.

Q- Who else has had been an influence on your writing?

Stephen – That’s a difficult question because I read so much, but if I had to name a few, it would be Stephen King, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, Tom Piccirilli, Bentley Little, Michael Laimo, Scott Nicholson, Brian Keene, and dozens and dozens more.

Q – You write about a lot of scary things, but what really scares you?

Stephen – I’m deathly afraid of spiders. My oldest daughter has a pink-toed tarantula and often kids me about petting it or taking it for a walk when I watch her house when she travels. I’ll feed her cats, and I’ll feed the spider to the cats if she asks me to, but I won’t feed that ugly, hairy spider. I’m also mildly claustrophobic. I was talked into spelunking when I was in the army and I swore the cave walls were closing in on me. I’m a rather large man and recently discovered that the rides at Disney World have rather constraining harnesses and locking mechanisms. My grandkids had to settle for Grandpa sitting in the sidelines while the rest of the family went on the scary rides.

Q – Do you have a specific writing style?

Stephen – (Chuckles) No. In Duma Key by Stephen King, the protagonist was described as an “American primitive” which meant that he was good at his craft but didn’t have any advanced training in it. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing and my style has just developed (from scratch) over the years.

Q – How much of your work is realistic, and are your stories based on people you know or events in your life?

Stephen – Every one of my fictional stories is based on or refers to something in my life, but it’s usually some very minor part of the story. I keep a folder of ideas or things that I see or that has happened to me that I think are interesting. Many of these ideas end up in my stories in some form or the other.

Q – What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Stephen – There are actually two things that I find equally difficult. The first is to slow down and tell the story. When I have an idea for a story, I usually don’t know how the story is going to end. I just write and write and write. Each scene and character unfolds nicely. Once that light bulb goes off above my head and I see the ending, I instinctively want to run to it. What should be done in 15,000 more words is done in 3,000. It makes the second revision process a little harder. The second thing involves the revisions. Like many writers, I put a completed first draft away for a while and then start editing when it’s not so fresh in my mind. Once I’m happy with that revision, I’ll do the same thing for the third draft. My problem is that I’m doing just that for 8 or 9 revisions and sometimes more. My father used to say, “Sometimes it’s time to shoot the engineer and just build the thing.” I’m just never really completely satisfied with the end result.

Q – And finally, what are you working on now?

Stephen – I’ve got a lot on my plate right now. I’m working on the 5th revision of my novel 2:27A.M. (laughs), the first draft of a supernatural thriller inspired by Kelly Braffet’s publicity photo, a collection of my short stories and I’m toying with the idea of turning a story developed by my wife and oldest daughter Rebecca into a novel, but they want top billing, so we’ll have to see where that one goes.


One Response to “”

  1. Great stuff. Nice to read some well written posts. A long way between them.

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