Please Welcome Troy McCombs
Your novel The House on Mayberry Rd centers around a haunted house, what was your mindset when approaching this classic set up?
I just wanted to try my hand at the haunted house theme and make it different than all the classic set
ups. Everyone knows haunted houses revolve around ghosts, poltergeists and demons, but what if the
haunting was something else entirely?
I had the first chapter of the book floating around inside my head for a while. Then one night I said
screw it. I'm writing this darn thing whether it kills me or not. Well, it did suck me dry of creativity for
a while. I even went through a three month period of not writing a single word. Lord knows, I tried. It
was like mental constipation.
Do you have a particular favorite story from Baker’s Dozen? What sets this story apart to from the rest to you?
Hmm. This is a really tough question. I probably can't say I have a 'favorite', but I do like some better
than others. The ones that stand out to me are:
Beneath the Soil
I like these best because they are very unique ideas that have never been done before. I've never read
a horror story about a select few people who can't walk on soil without hands coming up through the
ground and trying to take them... somewhere. And I've never read a story about a mental patient who,
after looking into the sun during a solar eclipse, is miraculously able to see bacteria and unknown
things with his damaged eyes.
How does your writing approach differ when crafting short fiction as opposed to a novel?
Short fiction is way easier to write but way more difficult to sell. Novels are harder to write and
probably easier to sell. People want to read novels, not short stories. Otherwise, most bookstores would
carry mostly anthologies.
Adam McNicols’ plight in Damaged feels very pertinent to the political climate right now? What prompted you to create a tale of revolving around bullying?
I grew up afflicted with a social anxiety disorder and was teased a lot because I was different. I had the
idea for Damaged floating in my head almost since I began writing. I basically wanted to flip off every
bully of the world and say this has to end. No child or teen should have to go through that crap growing
up. Everyone's different in their own way. I wrote this novel for every victimized person on planet
What is your favorite character that you created? Do you love or hate him/her?
Love them both: Stephen Stanson (The Music of 1997) and Bobby Gradison (Darkworld 'soon to be
published') I don't know why I like these characters so much. They just strike a chord with me. They
are very deep and very traumatized individuals who have suffered great losses and want all those loses
What fictional character had the greatest impact on you?
In my writing, Bobby and Stephen. Carrie White from Stephen King's 'Carrie'. The main character from
Lovecraft's 'The Outsider'.
What active authors are still excited to be following?
Eric Johnston, Brett Talley, Stephen King,
What is the first book you remember genuinely being frightened by? Was your immediate reaction to run out and find other similar tales, or stash it in your closet and block it out?
I distinctly recall reading Lovecraft's short story 'From Beyond' and being pretty creeped out about
it. He's really the only writer who's ever really struck fear in me. Aside from him, The Exorcist is
pretty damn scary too. I wouldn't say it 'scared' me, but 'The Conqueror Worms' by Brian Keene is
unsettling—something I enjoy feeling. Also, there's a short story that's hard to find that left me with
cold chills. I forget the author's name, but the story is entitled 'The Phantom Drug'.
Do you have anything new coming down the pipeline you would like to share?
A crime/sci-fi thriller that I'm being very tight-lipped about.