I am excited Hunter Shea stopped by The Scary Reviews again. The last time was in early 2015, wow I can’t believe it’s been that long! Today Hunter talked monsters, cryptids and all things horror with me. I’ve been a fan of his books since his early releases like Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon, two of my favorites! More recent books I loved were the Mail Order Massacre series, which were out in 2017. I’m totally excited about his upcoming title Jurassic, Florida due out this June.
Hunter Shea’s bio says he is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.. I for one am sure as hell glad he is a product of all the above. Now on to the fun of the Q&A with Hunter!
The Scary Reviews: I’ve read a dozen of your books and I love the hell out of them. Tortures of the Damned was probably the first, and as post-apocalyptic stories go was one of my all-time favorites. Do you think another post-apocalyptic book is in your future?
Hunter Shea: A dozen? You’ve read more than most of my family! Just kidding. Not really. A lot of people have asked if there will be a sequel to Tortures of the Damned. Honestly, I never planned to write one, even though it can be interpreted that there’s more to tell in that world with the surviving(?) kids. I would like to dive into another post apocalypse book, but it has to be something that’s never been done before. Right now, I’m not sure what that is. I have some kernels of ideas, but I’m keeping them to myself for now.
TSR: Well I hope one of those kernels does grow because I love post apocalyptic stories. Another favorite was The Dover Demon, which by the way scared the crap out of me. How did the monsters and cryptids theme become what I think of as your bread and butter?
HS: I swear, I never intended to be the cryptid guy. It all started with a little novella for Samhain called Swamp Monster Massacre, a total B-movie romp with killer skunk apes and an ex-con named Rooster squaring off in the Everglades. That book caught the attention of an editor at Pinnacle who asked if I would write another creature feature based on a real life monster. Being a New Yorker, I chose the Montauk Monster. On a tour to promote that book, I did a signing at the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. While there, I had a long talk with the owner and famed cryptzoologist, Loren Coleman. He told me I should look into writing about the Dover Demon. That case gave me the willies. Well, that really cemented me in the cryptid world, and I’ve taken it from there. So much so that my Patreon-only weekly story is called Clash of the Cryptids, a kind of battle royale of all sorts of beasties. I just love writing about bigfoot and Nessie and the Mothman. The best part is taking a known quantity and putting a fresh spin on it.
TSR: I’m really glad you became the cryptid guy, I don’t know anyone else who kicks ass in that category. I also really enjoyed Island of the Forbidden and I Kill in Peace. Both are titles that felt like a departure from most of your other stories. Did these feel like a needed break from the monsters you are so good at creating?
HS: Island of the Forbidden was the third of my ghost books, all featuring Jessica Backman. In fact, I started out writing books about ghosts and hauntings. The monsters came after and just took over. I plan to have Island of the Forbidden back in print by this summer, along with the one before it, Sinister Entity. I hope to write a new installment in the series next year. Now, I Kill in Peace is a departure from everything I’ve written. That came to me in a kind of fever dream. It’s a quick and really nasty book. There were elements in it that I didn’t think I’d be allowed to do, but Don D’Auria is a writer’s dream editor. I look at that book now and even I cringe at a couple of scenes. It’s currently out of print, but I know it will return!
TSR: I’d have to agree, I Kill in Peace was one a crazy ride and I cringed several times myself. With the number of cryptids/monsters you have written about do you ever worry about coming up with the next one?
HS: Right now, no. I have my list. Man, there are so many to choose from, especially if you look at legends all over the world and go back in history. One of my goals is to resurrect ‘lost cryptids’ and introduce them to a whole new audience. Not to mention there are so many bigfoot-esque creatures to explore. So far, I’ve only tackled skunk apes and orang pendeks. Can a yowie be far behind?
TSR: How does the positive feedback you receive on a specific book affect the next book(s) you’re working on?
HS: By the time I start to get reviews and feedback on a book, I’m usually three books past it. In a way, that’s a good thing. The story comes from my imagination without being painted by any opinions outside my own. Although knowing me, if people hated a certain type of book, I’d probably go back to the well and try to make a better story with a similar subject just to prove them wrong. Or maybe I’d prove them right. Hopefully I never have to find out.
TSR: Do you have a favorite book(s) or series (like the mail order massacre) you’ve written?
HS: Certain books are special to me for different reasons. Forest of Shadows was my first, so that makes it special as hell. Swamp Monster Massacre started my cryptid roll, and also led to far bigger book deals. The Montauk Monster is very close to my heart. It got me through a very tough time in my life and was my biggest commercial and critical success. My book coming out later this year with Flame Tree, Creature, is so personal, I bled on each and every page. I think my upcoming series of novellas with Lyrical Underground, One Size Eats All (Jurassic Florida, Rattus New Yorkus, The Devil’s Fingers) is the best representation of the things that initially made me a horror fan. Gee, did I leave any books out? LOL.
TSR: Are there any books that you have considered writing a sequel for? If not, why and what are your thoughts on sequels?
HS: I initially thought there would be a sequel to The Montauk Monster, but my publisher was very happy with the book and decided it was best to walk away while it was still at the top. In publishing, sequels traditionally sell less than the previous book, with diminishing returns the deeper you go. But there are always exceptions. I like it when the odds are against me, which is why I’ve written sequels. Clash of the Cryptids is a way to write one book that is a sequel to a bunch of my books, tying them all together with a ragged, bloody bow.
TSR: As far as sequels go I’d love to see one for Tortures of the Damned. As you mentioned earlier many people have expressed interest and I would be interested in seeing what happened to the kids. You turn out a pretty steady stream of books, which as a fan, I totally dig. How do you find time for writing, putting out your newsletter, your podcast The Final Guys and Monster Men?
HS: I honestly don’t know. I love what I do, so I have no problem missing out on things so I can sit my butt down and write. The Final Guys podcast is a fun hour once a week. Easy peasy. And Monster Men, which we need to get going again, is a show where we can film a month or two worth of episodes in a day. I will tell you, the one thing that frees up a lot of time is walking away from the TV. When people talk about shows on TV now, I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. I’ve never seen an episode of Law and Order or CSI or just about any mega popular show. I tend to binge watch series after they’re done, but only after I’m finished with writing. The work always comes first.
TSR: Thank you so much for stopping by The Scary Reviews! Are there any special projects or books you’d like to share with us today?
HS: The first in my One Size Eats All series, Jurassic Florida, is now terrorizing e-readers and impressionable minds. Anyone who is a fan of big animals masticating hapless people will have a ball with it. In this case, we have dino-sized iguanas rampaging through a small, storm-ravaged town in Florida. Aside from the man-eating reptiles, I think readers will get a kick out of the human cast. There’s a mobster in hiding, 18 year old mayor fresh out of high school, same sex couple trapped in their car (which is wedged in the jaws of an iguana) and so much more. I wish Bert I. Gordon could magically be younger and turn it into a movie. I think he’d get a kick out of it.
You can connect with Hunter Shea at any of the following social media sites-.