Saturday, April 15, 2023

Carver Pike - Carving up Terror

Carver Pike

My name is Carver Pike. I’m a 3x Splatterpunk Award-nominated horror author. I also host my own YouTube show called First Chapter Freakshow where I read other horror authors’ books and talk about the world of indie horror publishing.

Most of the time I’m busy carving up terror, one bloody tale at a time, but I also love dark fantasy and grimdark. So, I’ve been known to play in that sandbox, too.

Since as far back as I can remember, I've been fascinated by everything horrific and strange. I'd sit cross-legged in front of the TV and get excited as soon as I saw the cloudy skies and crushed pumpkins at the beginning of a Halloween movie. My day was made when I heard the ominous music at the beginning of the original Children of the Corn or the wisecracking voice of Jack Burton over the CB radio as the opening credits rolled for Big Trouble in Little China.

At some point, I knew I couldn't sit back and keep watching this horror world from the stands. I wanted to be in the game. So, now I wield this virtual pen and sling ink onto the page from my home in West Virginia where the people are friendly, the scenery is gorgeous, and horror story inspiration is in every nook, cranny, and holler.

I want to create those worlds you disappear to when you need a break from this exhausting one, and I want to entertain you in ways only the greatest storytellers can.

As a Christian, a man of faith who writes some pretty messed up stories, I want to create some of the vilest creatures you’d ever imagine, so we can slay them together. 

That's enough about me. This is about you, the reader, enjoying the ride. Hopefully, we'll form a great author-reader relationship and you'll come to trust that Carver Pike will always keep you entertained.
Be advised, most of my books are very graphic in nature. Most are packed with foul language, violence, gore, sex, and more. My books are not for young readers or people who are easily offended. I'm tastefully twisted at telling tasteless tales.

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Carver took on the painstaking task of answering the Touch Questions below.

• Where is your favorite place to write? Read?
My favorite place to write is out on the front porch. From there, you can hear the swooshing of the wind through the trees and water running through the nearby stream. It’s amazing out there. I’ve only lived in West Virginia for a little over three years and this is really the first time I’ve had the opportunity to live out in the country like this. I was born in Oklahoma but moved around so much as a kid and then did the same as an adult, mostly living in cities, so I’m really enjoying West Virginia at this point in my life. Right now, it’s a bit cold out still, but when it warms up, I’ll be back outside writing as much as I can. As far as reading goes, I mostly read on my kindle in bed at night. I’d love to set up a hammock outside. Maybe I should do that this summer. That should be my goal for this year. To set up a hammock. I think the stray cats outside would just tear it up though. 

• What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be either a fighter pilot or an actor. I used to act in plays when I was young. Like school drama clubs and stuff like that. When I was in elementary school, I did a play where I was Happy the Snowman, the lead in the play, and had to sing a lot. I had a crush on a girl in the audience and when I saw her watching, I started giggling. I laughed so hard that my hat fell off and I couldn’t sing anymore. I just kept laughing. It was such a mortifying experience. I tried again in middle school. I got the lead in a play about a young kid who gets hooked on drugs and gets shot and killed by cops. We had to perform downtown at a big festival. It was great. I don’t know why I stopped acting. I guess I developed stage fright. Right now, I don’t even like public speaking.

At some point, I decided I wanted to join the military and be a fighter pilot, a dream I’d had since the first time I saw Top Gun as a kid. That was my plan until I was probably a junior in high school. I played football and noticed I was having a difficult time reading the numbers on the jerseys of all the opposing teams. Turned out I needed glasses. You can’t be a fighter pilot without 20/20 vision. So there went that dream. Around that same time, I’d started writing my first novel by hand in spiral notebooks and passing it around to all the girls in my classes. And I never stopped writing. 

• What is one thing you need when you sit down to write?
I don’t really have a writing “must have.” I guess coffee. I usually have a cup of coffee with me when I sit down to write. If I can, I’ll also keep something sweet nearby. I’m diabetic though so it has to be sugar free. Right now, as I write this, I have a big bag of assorted sugar free Werther’s Originals on my desk.

From BOH reader Heather L.
• Chili – beans or no beans?
I make a pretty awesome chili. Beans all the way. I mix it up though. I usually have red beans and I think I put black beans in there, too. Whatever the Bush’s chili bean kinds are. They have a couple of different ones, so I buy two cans of each. Four cans of beans in my chili, man. I make a big pot of chili though with three pounds of ground beef all the other fixins.

• Who’s your favorite superhero and why?
I was always a Daredevil fan growing up. I think that started when I saw the old movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk when Matt Murdock was Hulk’s lawyer. I’ve been a fan ever since. I like The Punisher, too. And, I know he’s DC and he’s a villain, but I love Deathstroke.

• DC or Marvel and why is it Marvel?
Overall, I’d have to go with Marvel, but I do have a lot of favorite DC characters. The Joker is one of my all-time favorite villains. And, I’ve already mentioned Deathstroke. I was never a big comic reader growing up, but I did collect comic cards. I had a bunch of the DC and Marvel trading cards. I mixed them all together though. I know! I know! I can hear everyone gasp, like, how dare you?!

• You need to hide a body - who do you call to help you?
I’d call Jules. She’s my wife and best friend. I know she’d give me a lot of shit about it, but she’s my ride or die.

• Next project (what are you currently working on)?
I’m working on a few projects. I always juggle books. I’m working on the prequel to Scalp (my parasitic head lice book). If you liked Scalp, I think you’ll love this prequel. It’s a lot of fun. I’m also working on expanding on my story Cannibal Caviar that was in Exits, the limited special edition book put out by Jack Bantry. I want to release Cannibal Caviar myself for anyone who missed that story. I’m also working on a book called Evade that has something to do with a possible World War III and some very angry, and very demented people who want to punish some young people they think are trying to evade a new draft put in place by the U.S.

My idea for the book came about as I thought about my own kids and how they were born in the U.S., but they live in a foreign country with their mom. They’re still expected to fill out the selective service info when they turn 18. If there was ever a draft, they would need to come back and fight for the U.S. So, in my story, that happens. And these two boys are with a group of other foreign young people who are on their way to the U.S. to attend boot camp and do their duty when they unknowingly get mixed up with some draft dodgers and become targets of this kind of ex-military/militia group.

• Scary movies - complete darkness or all the lights on?
Complete darkness! The lights have to be off!

• What inspired you to start writing?
Honestly? I’m such a dork. I learned to type in my computer class, and I just liked typing so much that when I found my grandfather’s old typewriter while visiting him on vacation, I sat down and gave it a whirl. I started my first story right then. When I got home, I continued the story in spiral notebooks and passed them around to all the girls in class. I had the book written out in 6 parts. That was crazy now that I think about it. It was my first and only draft. If someone lost notebook 3, for example, that would have been the middle of the book completely gone. Somehow these girls held each other accountable. They all knew who had which book and were all waiting for the next one in the series. It was pretty cool. That actually inspired me to keep writing. My first book was a slice of life, cheesy kind of YA romance. Then I did the same thing with a YA horror. Sadly, I threw all those notebooks in the garbage when I moved to Chicago years later. I just didn’t have the space for so many boxes in my tiny apartment.

• What is your favorite book/story you wrote?
I think my favorite book of mine so far is probably The Maddening, which is the last book in my Diablo Snuff series. So that means you’d have to read four other books to get to that one. The series order is A Foreign Evil, The Grindhouse, Passion & Pain, Slaughter Box, and The Maddening. Technically, you can read all the others in any order as long as you read The Maddening last, but I think the best order is the one I listed. That’s the order in which they were written.
I also really love Faces of Beth and Kin of the Fallen but they’re two very different books. Faces of Beth is more of a psychological horror with some demonic possession. Kin of the Fallen is a very graphic, very wild, slasher VS motorcycle club novel.

From BOH reader Derek T.
•    Is there a particular author that inspired you to write horror?

If I had to choose one horror author that’s inspired me the most or that has inspired my style the most, I’d probably have to say Bentley Little. One of my favorite reviews was one by author John Lynch where he compared me to Bentley Little. He’s my Stephen King. When everyone else was reading King’s books, I was discovering Bentley Little.

•    Skittles or Starburst?
This is a tough one. Why do you have to ask all these difficult questions, Derek? Hmm. I think I’m going to go with Starburst. I like the red ones best. Honestly, though, I’d rather choose Mambas. They have these new ones that are long, tube-shaped ones that are two flavors in one. My wife, Jules, picked some up when we had a road trip. One was like watermelon and cherry or something like that. They were pretty good. Look for those. My favorite road trip candy is Tootsie Pops. I feel like an old man saying that, but there it is. Tootsie Pops. I love Twizzlers and Red Vines, too. Both of them. I can’t pick one. I’m a fan of both Twizzlers and Red Vines! 

• Do you read or write anything that's not horror?
Yes, I love dark fantasy. Not so much elves and ogres. I’ve tried to get into Tolkien, and that doesn’t really appeal to me. I do love George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. I also really enjoyed the Night Angel series by Brent Weeks. I seem to like stuff with assassins, outlaws, and dark, gritty action. I also enjoy good revenge books. Without Remorse by Tom Clancy is a favorite of mine. I love all the Bob Lee and Earl Swagger books by Stephen Hunter.
As far as writing, I also write dark fantasy. I have one series out called The Edge of Reflection that’s about a dark world on the other side of the mirror. I have several others planned. I’ve written other genres under other pen names. Under Chris Genovese, I’ve written erotica and some paranormal romance. I have two books in a shark shifter series under that name. Oh, Bite Me and Bite Me Harder. Under CM Genovese, I’ve written romantic suspense (motorcycle club stories like Sons of Anarchy).

• Does pineapple belong on pizza?
There was a time when I would say that pineapple belongs nowhere near a pizza. I hated pineapple on pizza for a long time. I think as I grew older my taste buds changed or something because Jules ordered barbecue pizza with pineapple and onions on it or something weird like that one night and it was pretty damn good. Now, if there’s pineapple on my pizza, I just eat it. And when I lived down in Panama, there was a hot dog that had crushed chips on it, cheese sauce, and pineapple sauce on it, and it was awesome. So, give pineapple another try if you once hated it. Pineapple might just win you over. 

• What's your favorite taco?
The double decker taco from Taco Bell, and it pisses me off that they still haven’t brought it back as a normal menu item. I can order it, but I always have to pay way too much for it because I have to order a regular taco and then add a soft taco and add beans and by the time I’m done this taco that used to be like a dollar ends up costing me like three bucks. I sound like a cheapskate. But when I eat like three of them, that adds up. I think I ordered the Mexican pizza meal last time and asked to have the tacos in the meal made into double decker tacos and in the end, it was like twelve dollars or something crazy like that. I was like, “Damn, man. I can go to a sit-down restaurant for that much. That’s how much my chicken enchiladas cost across the street at my favorite Mexican restaurant!”

• Were you a good student?
I was an average student, sometimes below average because of missing a lot of school and because stuff going on outside of school. I didn’t take school seriously for a long time. I dealt with a lot of gang related bullshit and lived in some violent areas in my pre-teen, early teen years. When I got to high school, I decided it was time to take life seriously. I knew nothing about football but decided to go out for the team. I joined clubs, I got into advanced classes, I was in the Air Force ROTC for a little while. I got my GPA up to around a 4.8 with those advanced classes. I guess I just knew it was time to do things right and be serious for a change. I graduated and had a great scholarship but turned it down to join the military. I think I always knew I was going to serve.

• Who was your childhood crush?
Ha! This is funny because I had a crush on DJ from Full House. Yes, Candace Cameron. And, of course, I had a crush on Alyssa Milano when she was on Who’s the Boss? Oh, and I used to love Susanna Hoffs from The Bangels. Man, I watched the ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ video probably a hundred times just for her.

From BOH reader Shannon E.

• If you could have 1 hour to sit down with anyone and talk? Who would it be and what would you talk about?
This is a tough one. I think I’d probably say my younger brother, Kyle. He passed away not long ago. He was at a rough stage in his life. He drank a lot. We had a bit of a falling out and fixed it prior to his passing but things still felt off. I think I’d like to go back and talk to his earlier self, maybe pre-teen or even earlier. I feel like maybe as an older brother there’s something I could have said that maybe would have changed his life around. Probably not. I mean, I don’t have that much power, but you never know. It would still be nice to have that chance to talk to him before he got to that dark place where talking to him became so difficult. To me that would be more meaningful than talking to a celebrity.

• If your life were a movie who would play you?
I think that’s one of those things we’ve all wondered, huh? I’ve had a few people in my life tell me I look a little bit like Matt Damon. So maybe him. I don’t know. What do you guys think? It would be a boring movie. I don’t do much but write and cuddle up with Jules.

• If you could have a superpower what would it be?
Being able to fly would be cool. That or the speed of The Flash. My kids live in the country of Panama with their mom right now. The plan is to get them to come here for their school vacations but that’s been such a pain. It would be nice to be able to zip over there real fast and shoot hoops with my sons for an hour then soar home really quick. Or dash over there in five minutes and play a board game with them and be back before Jules gets off work.

And finally a few more from me:
• What is one tip you would like to share with an aspiring author?
Don’t get down when you see the rate at which other authors are producing work. It’s hard not to compare yourself to other writers. I know. I’ve done it. I still do sometimes, and I have to remind myself that my only competition is myself. Write something every day. Even if it’s only a hundred words. Keep upping your goal. Try to write 500 words a day. Then it’s only basic math. If you’re trying to write a 30,000 word novella and you can write five hundred words per day, that means you’ll have that novella written in 60 days. That’s two months if you wrote every single day. Of course, you’ll miss some, but you get the point. 

But it’s not about speed. I told you that so you can see that it’s totally possible to get it done if you put in the work. Just write your story at your pace.

Another piece of advice I like to give is to be careful about listening to all the advice floating around out there. Everyone tries to give advice and not everyone knows what he or she is talking about. Social media can be a cesspool of rotten information. Everyone is always trying to tell everyone else what to do and what not to do. So many times I’ve seen posts that start with “Authors please don’t…” Or “Authors please…”

If there’s an author you admire or one you know is doing it right, maybe listen to his or her advice. Find a good book written by a reputable author and read through it. Remember, not all rules stick around forever. You do want to learn the fundamentals of writing and understand the basics of storytelling/writing when you’re starting out. Don’t break all the rules before you know them.
But I guess my point is don’t let all the cornflake pissers out there make you feel negative about writing. It happens a lot. People get discouraged and think, “Well, I don’t know how I’m going to write if I can’t use an adverb, and I’ve used a dialogue tag other than ‘said’ when that post from so and so said you should only use that one, and I…”

No! Just write and have fun with it. Finish your first draft. Then fix that shit up later! 

• Are you a pantser or plotter?
I’m kind of both. A hybrid of sorts lol. A few years ago I would have told you I never plot. Now, I loosely plot. I tend to take a document and lay out the chapters. I try to, under each chapter, type what I’d like to happen in that chapter. Just a few sentences. I do that for as many chapters as I can. I often don’t know how I want the book to end. Then I pants the rest. If I come up with more ideas, I’ll type them into the chapters where I’d like them to happen. I keep doing it that way and if I come up with an end, I’ll type that idea at the end of the book. So it’s a growing loose outline most of the time.

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Thank you Carver for stopping by! Carver has graciously offered up a few of his ebooks as part of this months Giveaway! 🗡 Anyone wanting a chance to win can comment below or fill out the FORM to enter.

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