Me: Well who the F are you?!? Just kidding – My name is Feind Gottes [Fee-nd Gotz]. I am a horror author, metalhead and according to most people a pretty decent dude to be around. “Most” because you can’t please everyone and who the hell would want to?
Me: I’m a bit of the odd man out in the writing game. While I wish I could’ve started sooner, I found myself unable to focus when I was younger then after a few stops and starts I decided to finally give it a go in 2012 slightly before I turned 40. I found that I could now focus, that I f’ing loved creating, and I’ve been at it ever since.
Me: Why? Why would I want to write anything else?! I am a lifelong fan of horror ever since I forced myself to watch my first horror movie, The Amityville Horror (1979), and then a couple years later read my first Stephen King book, The Stand. I love horror and how so many other genres can be blended seamlessly into it so really I can write anything but because it’s me it is always going to end up dark and creepy no matter what. Anything that is except romance because F**K Romance!
Me: Yes and no. In cinema very much yes. There are way too many horror movie makers today who do not understand horror. They know how to do jump scares and little else but that isn’t horror, at least not to me. Then at the same time you have some real standouts who do get it like Robert Eggers (The Witch), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) or even Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us). These guys get that horror isn’t about a cheap jump or scream but by building fear and dread until you’re left shaken to your very foundations by the end.
On the literary end simply look to the Indie Horror Community that barely existed 10 years ago but now is thriving. If you want great horror don’t look to one of the big publishing houses, all you’ll find there is homogenized horror to please the masses because it’s all about selling books. Sure in the indie world we like to sell books too and we wish we could sell millions of copies but what we really care about is telling good stories. We care about making readers feel something whether that is revulsion or soul shaking terror. It isn’t any easier to get your work or name in people’s heads these days but it doesn’t take a genius to see that it’s much easier to make your work available today through numerous outlets.
Me: Even with what I just said about big publishers mostly publishing homogenized horror for the masses I would be an idiot not to want a big publisher taking an interest in my work. I don’t long for fame and fortune but if someone offers me the latter I’m not dumb enough to turn it down. To see my name alongside my heroes like Barker and King would be a dream come true. That said I f’ing love the indie world and the independent horror publishers I’ve worked with and many I have not yet. These guys love horror and they give little nobodies like me a chance to be somebodies. My real dream would be to have my work be so loved that it raises one of these publishers out of relative obscurity. If my work can help someone else become popular that would make me happier than having some NYT Bestseller. But then why not both?!?!
Me: I have two cats. Jackson is older (about 12?), part Maine Coon and he is huge. Cara is young (about 5 yrs old) and she is a tiny thing. Both delight in walking across my keyboard in the middle of the night which leaves me fun surprises when I turn the monitor on. And by fun I mean I find things that make me go, “How in the holy hell did they even do that????”
Me: When I’m alone it’s listening to new music. I have thousands of albums and I’m always on the lookout for some awesome new metal. The rest of the time I enjoy spending time with my lady whether we’re trying out a new restaurant, going to a movie or just chilling out at home. I enjoy cooking though I’m no gourmet chef. I also love going to live metal shows mainly small clubs, arena shows suck. Oh and Hockey! I f’ing love watching hockey especially my old hometown Buffalo Sabres! Blue & Gold til I’m Dead & Cold!
Me: Currently I live just outside of Omaha, NE but I’ve only been here a little over a year. I was born and raised about an hour south of Buffalo, NY then I moved to Buffalo in ’99. I also lived in Newark, Delaware for about 18 months and Tucson, AZ for about 2 years. I loved the mountain views in AZ but 110-120 degree heat is not really fun at all.
Me: Every writer I’ve ever read! My favorite author is Clive Barker but style wise I don’t write anything like him. I was an avid reader for the first 40-ish years of my life before I started writing and I’d say probably Stephen King is who I think of most when I look at my own writing. I don’t write like King but I always admired the accessibility of King’s writing. By that I mean he writes in everyday language only using uncommon or what I call $10 words when necessary. I see a lot of writers try to throw in big words way too often trying to show off how smart they are but when you look close you’ll see those words are used incorrectly 9 times out of 10. I see it as an insecurity or an arrogant thing, both are bad reasons. Some may like it but it’s a real turn off to me if you constantly stumble on words that are difficult to pronounce or so arcane that even the author doesn’t know what the hell they mean.
Me: Horror was my main go to when I considered myself a reader and again Barker is at the top of my list. These days however I try to read out of genre when I have the time. I had started reading George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series but honestly, I don’t have a lot of time for much outside of my pay-the-bills job and trying to write. I don’t even watch much TV any more. I tend to pick up other author’s syntax relatively easy so to keep my voice “my voice” I try to read things I won’t slip into in my own writing and Martin is a great example of that. Graphic novels are also something I love to read. I recently found a graphic novel adaptation of Barker’s The Great And Secret Show that I didn’t know existed until I saw it in a store so I’m reading that right now.
Me: I don’t really consider it a routine. When I began writing I had one, more or less, but my circumstances were different at that time. Now, I have to write when I have the opportunity due to a lack of free time. So my routine is very simple – place headphones on head, crank whatever music I’m in the mood for, and dive into a page. That’s it.
Me: I think, no matter what your job is, if you’re not constantly trying to improve then you may as well be dead. Every new story I write is the culmination of everything I’ve learned and the experience of having written those stories that came before it. Sure some ideas are better than others but that’s also a matter of perspective, both mine and the eventual reader’s. The only real thing I would change is having more time to actually write. Trying to balance work with having a life I enjoy and trying to write is difficult to say the least.
Me: I have no real desire to be “famous”. Honestly, since being introverted is practically a prerequisite of writing I don’t know any real writer seeking to be famous. Those who do seem to think writing the next big thing is going to be easy and then when they find out it isn’t they generally stop writing. Respect is a big thing for me and I think I’ve earned the respect of some of my peers so far with how hard I work and with the quality of my work. Now to hear some respect from one of my writing heroes? Now that would probably force my heart to explode in my chest out of pure joy! Do you hear me Mr. Barker?!?
Me: The next release I have coming is an anthology from Stitched Smile Publications called Tenebrous. It contains a really cool short story I wrote called Kairos Chamber which is hands down the most difficult story I’ve ever written. It was difficult for me to write, not for anyone to read. It’s a period specific story so I had to do more research on it than I have for anything else ever.
The big announcement though is that my debut novel will be coming out very soon. I do not have the release date yet but I’m super excited. I’ve spent a solid two years working on it and I’m very proud of what I produced. The book is called “Piece It All Back Together” and it is a horror/mystery/thriller involving a private investigator, a missing person, a billionaire, multiple serial killers and one of the nastiest scenes I’ve ever put on the page. I’ll be able to share more details very soon.
As for what I’m writing next, that’s a different question. Since I’ve been basically editing for like the last year. I’m writing a short story for an anthology called Blood & Blasphemy being edited by a great writer and friend Gerri Gray and being published by Hellbound Books. My story hasn’t been written nor accepted yet but I have enough confidence in my writing to believe it will be but if not that’s okay too. I chose to write for this antho on purpose to get myself back in the swing of writing and due to the subject matter: Blasphemy. I’m a big fan of it you see. What I really have planned to do next is a novel trilogy focused on being the most blasphemous writing since Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. I know that sounds arrogant though I am not an arrogant man, not even a little. I say that because what I have plotted out will really get under the skin of any religious folks. It’s based around the story of Cain and Abel but that tells you very little about what I have planned. I hope it ends up being like nothing anyone has ever read before. The first book is fully plotted out, something I’ve never done before, and I have rough outlines for how I want the second two books to go. After that I have no idea and I’m sure things will come up before I finish the next novel, they always do. I do have a partially written novel that I need to finish some day and Piece It All Back Together is left open-ended so I can revisit those characters if I wish to do so. I think I’ll wait on that to see if people like it first. My hope is for horror readers to get sick of seeing the name Feind Gottes... not so much that you stop buying my books though!
Still waiting for Satan to appear while he can get my soul for a bargain price!