John Boden lives a stones throw from Three Mile Island with his wonderful wife and sons.
A baker by day, he spends his off time writing, working on Shock Totem or watching M*A*S*H re-runs.
He likes Diet Pepsi, cheeseburgers, heavy metal and sports ferocious sideburns.
While his output as a writer is fairly sporadic, it has a bit of a reputation for being unique.
Welcome John, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
JB: I’m getting older, crankier… I live in a small town in Pennsylvania with my wife and our sons. My day job is as a bakery manager for a grocery chain. It keeps the bills paid. I write when I can. I always wanted to be a writer but kinda forgot about it after graduating…until I was in my late 30’s and Ken Wood asked me to help him with a fledgling horror fiction magazine called SHOCK TOTEM. Had I not agreed to, I’d not have rekindled my love of stories and decided to give it whack myself.
Your writing has been known to put it mildly, be rather weird but with a beating heart, is it your intention to have a story be that way or is it just a natural talent?
JB: I don’t usually plan for it to turn out that way. I always write characters based on people I’ve known, or composites of folks. I try to paint them as realistic as possible and try to handle the situations that way as well. After nearly 30 years working in retail, I’ve got mad people watching skills and that comes in mighty handy. I just try to write what I know.
You’ve created an all manner of characters, but who would you least like to meet down a dark alley and why?
JB: Of my own characters? I’d probably say Levi Keene from WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN, while he is sort of a tragic monster….monster he definitely is.
At what point did it all click, and you realised “now I’m a writer?”
JB: I still forget sometimes. I suppose, technically it was when I first had something published but there have been a few “Holy Shit!!” moments, like the first time I got a box of my own books. Or when someone has asked me to sign something of mine to them…being sought out to blurb another author…lots of things. But I’d say the moment when JEDI SUMMER came out the first time and I started seeing peers and readers alike saying nice things about it. I won’t say it didn’t feel nice. But the truth is, if you write you’re a writer. Whether you have a myriad of readers or just a friend or two….or yourself. You’ve coughed up words, arranged them and metered out a story. You’re a writer.
What were your stories like at the beginning of your career?
JB: The early ones were attempts at trying to find my space. I tried extreme stuff and just more traditional tropes…I’ve always used unique prose and phrases but it didn’t take long for me to tire of that and just start swinging things my way. More comfortable to run in comfy shoes that someone else’s ill-fitting sandals.
Your horror stories have a very real human embodiment. Do you think that’s the scariest element of all time? Humans?
JB: Definitely one of them. I myself, find myself terrified at the idea that in an instant anyone can be gone. Death is stealthy thief and wholly necessary. If I give it too much head space…But humans are vile and stupid creatures, who act out of ritual and habit and learn little regardless of how enlightened they claim to be. We’re always, ALWAYS going to be two steps from flinging our shit at one another or shlumping out of the surf to suck air.
Would you like to co-write another book, if so, who would be an ideal candidate?
JB: I’ve collaborated often…Mercedes M. Yardley, Bracken MacLeod, Chad Lutzke, Robert Ford, Brian Rosenberger, are all cohorts I have committed crimes with. And I love collaborating. It’s a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s seamless. But rewarding, especially if you manage to find a partner who really gets you, then you key in on a harmony that can be magical. I’ve been fortunate to have had that with every one of my collaborations. I’m done with that for the time being, focusing on my first novel.
So, spill the beans, what’s your favourite sub-genre?
JB: Quiet/weird horror. Rural Noir/crime. These are my favorites to read and write.
You’ve written both short stories and novellas, do you prefer either format?
JB: I prefer novella. I think it’s a perfect length for a story. I say that as someone who always thought they’d never be able to reach beyond a word count of maybe 20K…but now, I’m finding it much easier to go longer, and see a novel as an attainable thing. But still…novella.
So, What’s next? What does 2023 have in store for you?
JB: I have a new novella coming out later this year from Dead Sky Media, called SNARL. It’s a rural crime/weird fiction tale. There’s a new novel, BLACK SALVE, written with Robert Ford that is really close to completion, so it may eek out this year. Then Chad Lutzke and I wrote a novel called BEDMAKERS that is coming in early 2024 from Crystal Lake Publishing and after that my debut collection, THE ETIQUETTE OF BOOBY TRAPS from Cemetery Dance. There may be other things. I have a finished novella I’m shopping around and another horror western nearly done.
Thanks for asking me to do this. It’s been fun. 🙂