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The 4th Circle: Interview with GARY ROBBE (author of NOT BURIED DEEP ENOUGH)

1. What is your favorite supernatural creature? And why?

I guess I would have to say ghosts. There are no strict guidelines, no boundaries, no limits, really, as to how you can define a ghost, or a ghost story. I’ve never seen a ghost and I’ve never had any supernatural experiences with them, but the idea of a ghost is pretty terrifying to me. What happens after death is one of the greatest mysteries, and to come face to face with something that has moved on from the physical plane to something else…It can be scary, comforting, sad, anything you want, or don’t want it to be.

2. As primarily a short story writer, how would you describe your process? And what piece of advice would you have for fellow writers?

I’m a slow writer. It can take months to go from an initial idea to words on paper, to a finished product. It doesn’t help that I am usually working on two or three projects at a time. When I am working on a story, I try to get it right from the start, editing as I go along. I’ll still go back when the story is finished (usually a week or weeks later) and do a second or third draft. Only a few times have I written a story as if possessed by a writer demon, finishing it in two or three days. For some odd reason those stories needed little editing or revising. I write almost every day, whether it’s one good sentence or two to three pages.

Advice to fellow short story writers: Write as much as possible, even when you don’t feel like it, and even if it’s gibberish. Practice truly makes one a better writer. Read everything, especially outside the genre you write in. Study the writers you admire. Watch and listen to how people talk and interact so when you write dialogue or action scenes it’s natural. Be persistent, submit often, regardless of rejections. And most important, be professional.

3. Name one horror author you admire and explain how they influenced you to become the writer you are today.

I was probably influenced more by science fiction, crime, and literary writers in my earlier years—so, so many great writers that I wanted to emulate. But the horror writer that blew me away when I first read him was Clive Barker. His Books of Blood got me reinterested in horror and pushing the boundaries in any genre that I want to write in.

4. You have recently released a collection of short stories, Not Buried Deep Enough, filled with some dark twisted tales. How would you describe the process of releasing them into the world? And of course, what is the next story we can look forward to reading from you?

Putting together a collection of horror short stories was a fun process. I wanted most of the stories to be ones that had been previously published, and it simply came down to picking which ones to share. I didn’t want a defined theme, really, so I put together an eclectic mix: western horror, folk horror, sci fi/horror, ghost stories, haunted house stories, etc. I fine-tuned the stories selected with fantastic help from editor Josh Schlossberg. It was funny to see how many mistakes I had made in stories that had already been published, so I was pleased with making what I thought were good stories better in the end.

I have a new story out in an anthology called They Hunt By Night, edited by Lyn Worthen. It’s available in both Ebook and paperback.

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