The Nightmare Engine Podcast

Unmasking the Horror: A Deep Dive into the Mind of Award-Nominated Author Carver Pike

April 05, 2022 David Viergutz Season 1 Episode 8
Unmasking the Horror: A Deep Dive into the Mind of Award-Nominated Author Carver Pike
The Nightmare Engine Podcast
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The Nightmare Engine Podcast
Unmasking the Horror: A Deep Dive into the Mind of Award-Nominated Author Carver Pike
Apr 05, 2022 Season 1 Episode 8
David Viergutz

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๐ŸŽ™๏ธAbout the Episode
Have you ever pondered what lurks beneath a horror writer's psyche? Enter the spine-chilling world of award-nominated horror author, Carver Pike. In an engaging conversation, we peel back the layers of Carver's literary journey, tracing his evolution from erotica to horror. We also dive deep into the nuances that differentiate his writing styles in different genres, and the stigmas he battles as a horror writer. And trust us, it's not all gloom and doom - there's an interesting debate on the merits of 'Hereditary' and 'Midsommar' awaiting you.

We take you for a thrilling roller-coaster ride through Carver's unique writing style, revealing the meticulous plotting that goes into his terrifying tales and his innovative use of word count to enhance reader experience. We also explore the irrational fears that haunt horror authors like Carver and feed into their craft. Strap in as we break down his award-nominated horror writing and his spine-tingling Diablo Snuff series. Are you shaking yet?

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

๐Ÿ”—Connect with Jay
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

๐Ÿ”—Connect with Carver
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook |

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want Jay and I to c

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How did you like the show? Text us and let us know.

โญ๏ธEnjoy the podcast? Do your good deed for the day and leave a 5-star review here ;)

๐ŸŽ™๏ธAbout the Episode
Have you ever pondered what lurks beneath a horror writer's psyche? Enter the spine-chilling world of award-nominated horror author, Carver Pike. In an engaging conversation, we peel back the layers of Carver's literary journey, tracing his evolution from erotica to horror. We also dive deep into the nuances that differentiate his writing styles in different genres, and the stigmas he battles as a horror writer. And trust us, it's not all gloom and doom - there's an interesting debate on the merits of 'Hereditary' and 'Midsommar' awaiting you.

We take you for a thrilling roller-coaster ride through Carver's unique writing style, revealing the meticulous plotting that goes into his terrifying tales and his innovative use of word count to enhance reader experience. We also explore the irrational fears that haunt horror authors like Carver and feed into their craft. Strap in as we break down his award-nominated horror writing and his spine-tingling Diablo Snuff series. Are you shaking yet?

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

๐Ÿ”—Connect with Jay
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

๐Ÿ”—Connect with Carver
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook |

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want Jay and I to c

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Nightmare Engine Podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Viergutz and Jay Bower, where they discuss all things horror books, movies, stories. Nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

David Viergutz:

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to episode number seven of the Nightmare Engine Podcast. I am your host, David Viergutz, horror author. I'm here with Mr Carver Pike And we're going to be sitting down and have a cataclysm conversation today and just hear what's happening on the east coast on Carver's Inn. So, Carver man, how are we doing?

Carver Pike:

What's going on? Everything's fine Over here. on my end. the snow is finally melted, so weather's nice outside, finally, but I'm still cooped up inside riding. You know how it is.

David Viergutz:

Is it still sticking or is it all starting to melt now Because of the weather?

Carver Pike:

It's finally melting, but man, we've been hit with some crazy storms lately, so every time it melts it seems to hit us again and then it sticks for a while. But I'm up in the mountains, so that's kind of how it is around here.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, i remember trying to get a hold of you last week and I was like, man, this is, this isn't kind of funky on the east coast. It's getting funky down here in Texas. So over here they can't decide if they're going to freeze us to death or burn us up. It's just kind of weird. But I'm glad to hear you're doing all right. I'm glad to see that we got you on And you're in episode number seven and we haven't even launched yet. So this is going to be kind of interesting. When this goes out There's going to be a lot of episodes for people to listen to. So we've kind of talked a little bit about me and the previous episodes. I don't tend to talk about myself as much, but, carver, let's hear from you, man. So you write horror. That's what is the Nightmare in Gym Podcast. So that makes sense. So tell me a little bit about you. When did you start writing and what was your first book and what was the inspiration behind it?

Carver Pike:

Yeah, so I started writing horror. God man, it's funny because I actually started. I know we just said I wasn't going to say much about the romance side of things actually, but I kind of have to talk about horror actually because I started writing horror. I actually started writing Dark Fantasy to begin with. Dark Fantasy kind of horror.

Carver Pike:

My Edge of Reflection series that I have out right now under Carver Pike was my first series actually, and a friend of mine read that and she said you know, i really think you'd do well writing erotica. Why don't you give erotica a try? So I kind of tried it as a dare and started writing erotica for a little while And then I thought I could pull my horror ideas over to the erotica side and started writing erotica books and then writing horror at the same time under the same name, which is Chris Genevies, and it didn't work so well. First of all, you can't really romance readers don't necessarily want to read horror. I mean, there are some crossover but it's not like you think.

Carver Pike:

And horror readers don't really want to go to your Amazon page and sift through all the you know, the kinky romance and stuff like that to try to figure out what is the horror. And then I think maybe it was like the OCD side of me that was just I hated seeing my own Amazon bookshelf and saying, like a book called Kinky Carnival Games, you know, right next to a foreign evil, my first Diablo Snuf, you know book. So it was driving me nuts as well. And then at some point I just said, okay, i needed to create a horror pen name which is Carver Pike, and separate the two. So I would say probably around 2016-ish, i think something like that, carver Pike was born and from that point on I just separated the horror and kind of ran with it from there. So that's kind of how the, the so go ahead.

David Viergutz:

Had you always been a writer man, have you always wanted to write something, or is it? is this kind of a new revelation around 2016?

Carver Pike:

No, i've been writing since I was in high school. Really I was kind of a I when I learned to type without looking. I guess I did, i guess I was kind of a dork, i don't know man. I was in a computer class and and I learned to write without looking and I just had like a fascination with it. Once I learned to type and I was always typing like I'd be. I played football and stuff and I would be on the bus on the way to football games just pretending I was typing on the seat back in front of me.

Carver Pike:

And so I found an old typewriter one time at my grandfather's house and sat down to type at about 16 years old and started typing out my first book. It was a young adult novel, real cheesy, stupid stuff. And then once I went back to school because I was during a summer break I started handwriting my first horror book, but it was the young adult kind of RL Stein types, you know, stuff that was reading back in those days, and so I guess that's about the time I knew I wanted to write and I just never stopped Back then I was like handwriting everything.

David Viergutz:

That's cool man. And for those people listening, if you don't know, Mr Piker is a award nominated horror author, so you did something right. So let's talk about those awards man. So you've gotten it's a splatter punk. But has he gotten one splatter punk that you've been nominated for another? Is that correct?

Carver Pike:

No, I was nominated last year for the splatter punk awards for Slaughterbox, which is actually the fourth book in my Diablo Snuff series. I was nominated for that and they announced the winners for that during Killer Con And I did not win last year And then I was nominated again. I'm nominated this year for the Maddening, which is the fifth and final book in my Diablo Snuff series. So that's still going on right now. So I'm nominated right now and they will announce the winners at Killer Con this year, which takes place in Austin, Texas, in August.

David Viergutz:

We'll keep my fingers crossed. Oh shoot, man, we got to get together. I got to again. I remind me of that because you're, that's about 30 minutes from my house, man, i got to go to that convention. That'd be awesome.

Carver Pike:

That's awesome, man, and I just found out. Today. I'm allowed to finally announce, too, that I'm going to be a vendor at Killer Con also. It takes place the 12th through the 14th in Austin. If you go to Killer Con Austin, they sell the tickets still there. I think they're only selling about 200 tickets, so they're going to go pretty fast.

Carver Pike:

But yeah, I'm able to get a vendor table there. So I'll be there all weekend with my books and stuff there signing books And hopefully keep my fingers crossed for that Flatterpunk win. But there's some good books, man.

David Viergutz:

Yeah. And so I've heard we've heard Diablo Snuff, we've heard The Maddening. So I think there's some misconceptions and I even had these misconceptions too that you and your writing have been kind of piled into the Splatterpunk the gore, the shock value, extreme horror. I mean, that's not accurate, right? You told me, i think of you a messenger. That's not quite accurate. Well, some of it.

Carver Pike:

That's the tough part is and it's funny. Somebody just mentioned yesterday because I am part of the written and read podcast with Aaron Beauregard, daniel J Volpe and Roland Bersie Jr And people call us the gore four. Somebody made a comment yesterday or a post and said something about the gore four that were really helpful and stuff And people lump me in with extreme horror and stuff like that And some of my stuff is very gory. A lot of it has very graphic sex in it because I told you I came from that erotic side of horror way back in the beginning.

Carver Pike:

But most of that is that Diablo snuff series because it did start out as kind of erotic horror. But I would say that that series is kind of extreme horror. But not all of my books are So. For example, i have a book called Scalp that's about parasitic headlice.

Carver Pike:

It's about a group of teenagers that travel to this youth leadership conference in West Virginia And it's about these headlice that you know. it's almost a zombie type book. They jump from person to person, digging into the scalp and taking over the body And it's a pretty sick book, but it's not. I wouldn't say that it's extreme horror.

David Viergutz:

Like not just shock value, right.

Carver Pike:

Right And Grad Night is a book about students getting revenge on their teachers And there's some kind of sick stuff in it, but it's not extreme, it's not. I call it chasing the. What the fuck is kind of my way of putting it. I don't write to chase the what the fuck. I don't just try to get the you know the readers to go what the fuck on every page. You know like.

Carver Pike:

I'm gonna write something like this. I mean, there is story behind it, and sometimes with extreme horror not all, because there's very well written extreme horror out there too, but sometimes people do just write for shock value. So I've had people tell me like I've had other authors even tell me that they were holding off on writing my work because they're not too into extreme horror. They thought it was just going to be very sick twisted shit just for the for that shock value.

Carver Pike:

And you know that kind of bothers me because I do write and I do have you know, write for the story, there is a plot there And so I just don't want people to have that misconception. I don't write just for that sick twisted, you know. I don't just chase the what the fuck?

David Viergutz:

Yeah, yeah, i like that description, man. Yeah, that helps a lot because you know, and I had that misconception is only because I just didn't know. You know, and I listened to your podcast, you know, when I can And and it's kind of, i mean I like what you, what you have with Aaron and Mr Volpe and all that. So that was a, you know, i guess it was. I was kind of inspiration for this one. I wanted a little more intimate, so we just do the one on one or the two on one, but I do like your y'all's podcast And so I assume, because you were with those guys, that that's that's you were at. So thank you for that And I hope people listening that they're, you know they get they.

David Viergutz:

You know they might take a look at Mr Pike's books, because you know, if you're not into, splatterpunky clearly does not write Splatterpunky, you're going to find some, and so, okay, let's talk about topics in your books then. On that note, so I write along the lines I like the paranormal man, demons, ghosts, possessions, occult stuff, you know, haunted houses, you know, but just done a little bit different. That's kind of where I tend to stay. What kind of stuff can we find in your books. You mentioned Killer Con, you mentioned Gord. You have a lot of serial killers, or where do you think you kind of lie?

Carver Pike:

I try to kind of switch it up with most of the books because, like, really like, when people ask me where they should start with my books, i always ask them what they're into, because if you tell me you're mostly into like a Stephen King type of book, i would tell you probably to start with Grad Knight, because that's more of a tame. That's the one I told you that has to do with students getting revenge on their teachers. It's more of like a thriller, horror type of book.

Carver Pike:

And then there's if you're into zombie type stuff, i would tell you Scalp, because that's the parasitic head lice one. I have a book called Shadow Puppets. That's about Scarecrow's. That's kind of an erotic horror one. If you like military horror, there's one called Red Grave About a female military Air Force Security Forces member who's locked in a confinement building overnight with a serial killer whose her job is basically just to make sure he's locked in his cell at night, but she's alone in there with him And it's kind of a really suspenseful. It's filled with dread, kind of a slow burn. The one I'm working on now, faces of Beth, is kind of a possession story. Okay, so Faces of Beth is a bit of a possession story. I just wrote the blurb today. I've been trying to figure out how to explain it without giving too much away, so I like to almost with every book.

Carver Pike:

I kind of want to explore something different. Red Grave would be my closest military one I mentioned and probably to be the closest to a slasher story, And I do plan to write a full length novel with that character. So I kind of want to play in all the sandboxes and just kind of, you know, try a little bit of everything. So I wouldn't say that there's any one style that really defines what I write Really.

David Viergutz:

So yeah, i think there's. I think, when it comes to horror, that there's so much variety, you know, and there's such a huge emphasis on character, like we want our characters to be relatable. You know, one of the things that you mentioned was your, the female security officer for Air Force. You're a veteran, right?

Carver Pike:

Yes.

David Viergutz:

And so I'm a veteran as well. So let's tell me about that. When did you serve, man?

Carver Pike:

I served back in. Well, i got out of high school in 90, it was around 99, about 1999. So in fact it's funny because, red Grave, that story is very true to a point. So I was that female military, but in male obviously.

David Viergutz:

But, originally.

Carver Pike:

When I wrote that book it was a male character and it was in third person and I wrote it. So the base where I served I was up in Anchorage, alaska There was a situation where this guy was found off base. I can't remember the specifics of it, but he was brought on base and we didn't have. I was a security forces member and we really didn't. In the military you really don't arrest at least up there where we were at you really don't arrest that many military members. Most of the time when somebody's doing something illegal or they get in trouble, you usually just hand them over to their chief master sergeant. They're embarrassed, you know they get in trouble Sure.

Carver Pike:

You know, but you don't really put people in confinement cells very often. So something happened where this guy was caught off base He'd gone AWOL or something like that And so we actually needed a confinement cell. But our two actual jail cells on base were being used for like storage. I mean they had boxes and furniture and stuff in them. It was ridiculous. So they had to use this old building in the middle of the base. And you got to understand, in Anchorage, alaska, the base is massive, i mean it's. I mean there's a ski slope on base, i mean it just goes all back into the wilderness and stuff. So there's this building in the middle of kind of nowhere on base and they wanted to use it as a confinement cell. So they were asking for volunteers to be locked in this building. With this guy You had to be unarmed because you know obviously if you tried to escape they didn't want him to get your weapon.

Carver Pike:

So you had to agree to be unarmed in there. With them You could only have a flashlight. Anybody that came to visit you on the post had to lock their weapons in this safe before entering the building. So you were in there with, i think, a flashlight and like a walkie talkie or radio, and that was pretty much it. I mean, for the most part you walked around every hour on the hour You had to check the outlets to make sure no fire was starting and peek in this tiny little confinement cell window and make sure, because I worked the night shift So you had to make sure he was actually in bed asleep but he hadn't snuck out somehow. And that was it.

Carver Pike:

I mean me being a horror lover I am. I watched scary movies most of the night, got up every hour to check on him and, you know, put myself through mental hell watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre and shit for 12 hours, you know. So my mind was going 100 miles an hour. There were, there was creepy shit that's actually in the book. Like down in the basement there was this one room that had this metal chair just sitting in the middle of this room, Who knows what reason, and it just seemed really weird. It was like bolted to the ground and you're just wondering, like what was this chair used for? You know, it was just so stupid and random, but it just got you thinking.

David Viergutz:

Specifically to raise that question. Yeah specifically to raise that question. That's why it was put there.

Carver Pike:

Exactly. And then there were all these like you know, the guys that worked the day shift would have all these things rumors about things that happened during the day and the night shift would have all the I mean this went on for like a week or something, so anyway.

Carver Pike:

So I just used this. You know, the guy wasn't a serial killer I mean in real life and stuff. You know, i don't even know what he did, but I used that situation for this book. But I decided to rewrite it in first person, make it a female character And because it was back when I was still kind of in the erotic world, you know, i threw a little sex in there with the upstairs guy. I made it to where there was another. Yeah, i work in post with her and stuff like that. I mean. So spice it up a little bit, but, yeah, made a little more fun.

David Viergutz:

But yeah, that's some real world inspiration man.

Carver Pike:

Yeah, exactly, a lot of the shit in there was true. I mean you know the noises and shit she hears and stuff in the building and just the weird shit that goes on in there, and I mean other than the actual serial killer part of it.

David Viergutz:

But yeah, well, I can tell you that in you know, I'm a cop And one of the things that I can tell you is that in the jails that I've ever been in, a lot of those extra cells are used to storage. So it's not uncommon. Well, it's kind of funny, It's cool.

Carver Pike:

You like that's. That's so unrealistic. They would never lock somebody in there unarmed and not wearing a bulletproof vest.

David Viergutz:

And I'm like I did it.

Carver Pike:

I fucking know it's true because I did it. I was the one that did it.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, we do We do those regular cops too, man. Okay, so let's talk. Let's talk a little bit of process, man, because everybody, even readers, they're always wanting to know, like, how do people like us? how do we sit down and say I'm going to write a 50,000 word book? you know 20,. You know I'm going to write 200 pages. You know most people can't even fathom, like their high school essay, let alone Fifty thousand words. And we'll do it day in and day out. You know it's all about the word count, man. So what's your word count? and then what's your, what's your process like?

Carver Pike:

Well, my process. I used to be a more of a panster. I used to not plot anything out, and that's how I was for a long time And I still do that. Sometimes, if I just cannot plot anything out, it happens, and and sometimes it's more fun to do it that way, i think. But I've gotten to where I am able to plot out Quite a few of my stories now, and the way that I usually do it is all I'll open up a word document And I'll put in chapter one, chapter two, you know I'll just kind of lay it out that way, and then what I do is in all caps, i'll go under chapter one and I'll just kind of type out real quick what I'd like to to happen in chapter one, go down to chapter two, do the same thing, chapter three, so that way, as I'm writing it when I get there I'm not completely lost, you know.

Carver Pike:

I mean, i have some idea of what I'd like to happen throughout. Sometimes I'll do this on my phone. I hate to say there's no wasted minute in a day, but when I'm not laying down with my fiance watching TV and stuff like that, you know, i'm usually on my phone at least typing some notes up for a book or something like that. Well, a lot of people will tell you to not try to focus on a word count, to let the book Decide, let the story decide. I wish I could say that that's the truth for me. I try to keep it to around three thousand words per chapter. I don't focus on pages, i focus on word count. I try to keep the chapters around three thousand because I have fucked that up before. Are we allowed to curse on this? I have a few times.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, you're good.

Carver Pike:

We're trying to keep this. I should.

David Viergutz:

This is horror man.

Carver Pike:

So I have a. I forgot where I was going with that. What was I saying?

David Viergutz:

I'm talking about chapter. You fucked up the chapter length before.

Carver Pike:

Oh yeah, so when I first wrote the second book in the Diablo snuff series, i didn't really focus on Word count. I just wrote man, i wrote the chapters out and I actually I published it that way and I didn't think at all about the word count in the chapters. I don't know what was wrong with me. When I wrote that book I was in some kind of like fever dream. I was just typing my ass off, published the book, loved what I wrote, put it up, and then I had a couple of reviews that said, man, these I love the book.

Carver Pike:

But the chapters were long, like I had to take some breaks between the chapters. And I went and looked at it and I said, damn the right, like it's a novel and I only have like Six chapters or something. Now it was like I want to say like ten chapters or something and it was a novel. And so I went back and I looked at it and I was like, really I should break it up here, here, here. You know, it was only like my second book or something like that, you know. And I went back and looked at it and then I started asking some of my writer friends and especially some of my romance writer friends That have been doing this a while and I was it seemed consistent that Around the three thousand word mark is a good break for readers like. That just seems to be a good consistent spot. That Isn't too much, it's just a good break, you know. So I try to keep it there or a little bit shorter.

Carver Pike:

Lately I've seen who was. I reading Nick Cutters the deep. He wrote really short chapters which I thought was kind of cool For me as a reader. I liked that short break and I may try that. I've heard some readers say that was kind of annoying, But um, I liked that some of his chapters were like a page and a half long.

Carver Pike:

I mean they were really short and as a reader who sometimes only reads it at night as I'm going to bed, i thought that was kind of refreshing, you know. I mean, i only had to commit to like a page and a half, then I could decide at that point. Do I want to read another page? It actually kind of kept me reading because I knew I didn't have to commit to a really long chapter. So yeah, around 3000 words or something like that. That's kind of my process of how to lay it out and write it.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, and you used a term a little while back. He said plotter and pancer and we have a lot of readers here and may not be Not too familiar with that. Can you briefly tell me what a pancer and a plotter is?

Carver Pike:

Yeah, good point. So pancer is somebody who sits down and just just wings it just sits down and writes. They don't always know Where they're going next to their pants right.

Carver Pike:

They just write from the seat of their pants. I'm still, even when I plot. A lot of times I don't know the end of the book. Sometimes I'll know the end and I don't know the middle. A lot of people, though, when they're pantsing it like that, they don't know any of it. Sometimes they just sit down. They have a very general idea where the story might go, or they know the characters, or they know They want to write a book about a guy who haunts your dreams and has a claw On his hand, and that's all they know. And they want to sit down, they're just going to write, and whatever comes to mind They're going to write it, and that's how they have fun writing. That's how a lot of people are. And then there are plotters who can't. They can't sit down and write unless they know every chapter exactly how it's going to go down beginning, middle, end. That's just how they write. They can't do it unless they write it out like that.

Carver Pike:

So right that's how I described it to, but So I'm somewhere in the I tend to outline.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, i tend to outline, but my outline goes out the window plenty of times. I mean it just gives me a point, i don't. I have a weird fear of a blank page And so I'll copy and paste the couple of sentences I wrote from outline at the top of the page, just so I'm not staring at a blank cursor. You know, just because that's it's nerve-wracking Man's like I've got an entire book to go and I've got a blank page and it's just kind of a psychological thing. So one of the one of the common questions we have on this on this podcast and it's a lot of fun to ask is and Since Jay's not here, my co-host, i'll explain his fear because he's not here. I love making fun of him. I'll tell you mine. So Jay's fear He doesn't like haunted houses, and I don't mean like haunted houses like this story, i'm talking about the ones at Halloween, the fun ones.

David Viergutz:

You know Where. You go there and you run through with all your friends and somebody in just blabless chainsaw jumps out of you. He doesn't like those. It scares the hell out of him. He won't go in them and that's kind of funny to hear from a horror author now and and my fears are a little bit different And I got weird fears. So I don't like locomotives, like old locomotives, like old trains, cold trains.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, i won't touch him, won't go near him. I don't want anything to do with him and I don't like black holes. So if you've ever seen Star Trek, that scene in like the second, newer Star Trek, when the big ship's coming out of the black hole, i want nothing to do with it. Man, that's that scared the hell out man to turn it off. I don't know why. So Irrational fears coming from a horror author man. So so tell me what scares you it's.

Carver Pike:

I can't think of a one thing specifically like that. That scares me and it's kind of funny because we had this kind of talk on our podcast about this And the the first thing that I could think of really was that What, what scares me and what I and I kind of like to use it in my books a lot is Things that just don't make sense, that don't, that are abnormal and just don't make sense in a situation. So, for example, one of the books that I'm writing I started it out with uh, the dad's asleep and the kid wakes him up and says dad, there's a man outside playing basketball And he says you must be seeing things. It's the middle of the winter, it's three o'clock in the morning. Because that just doesn't make sense. Who the hell would be outside playing basketball at three o'clock?

Carver Pike:

in the morning In the middle of the winter, and then he hears of the dribbling of a basketball, you know, and he gets up and he looks out the window and, sure enough, there's a man standing outside under the basketball who holding the basketball. And to me, just now, like just now, that kind of gave me the chills and like that kind of shit, just Things that make no sense, like shouldn't be there. Like erin explained one time on his podcast because he has one called evil exam, and It was supposedly a true story about this girl that was taking a walk At night well, like walking her dog or something And there was a man in the middle of the street doing like a waltz And he had like a big smile and he was just doing this really creepy dance for no reason. And then when he noticed her watching, he stopped and ran at her And then got close to the video.

Carver Pike:

Yeah, And like shit like that. That just doesn't make any sense, is, i find, really scary, like if you can put something that Doesn't belong in a situation, that's like splitting up in the middle of a horror movie. What's that?

David Viergutz:

Yeah, splitting up like splitting up in the middle of a horror movie.

Carver Pike:

Yeah.

David Viergutz:

Like, yeah, we should really split up and cover more ground.

Carver Pike:

Exactly.

David Viergutz:

Well, i think you got to ask the question if you're, if you're walking around, you're like you got to ask This is the checks, this is a check on. Are you about to do something stupid, like are you about to be a statistic? and the question you ask is am I in a horror? Is this a plot point for a horror movie? You know, so I like I like simple concepts, like that man too. I like um, and so we talk about movies and stuff too, and so some of my favorite movies that are more recent, that are actually done a little bit better on very simple concepts, um, are uh, it follows. I don't know if you've seen that one.

Carver Pike:

Yeah, i liked it, it was good.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, it's simple and terrifying, It was perfect. And then the other one was lights out and I admit, on lights out, i jumped every few seconds. It was horrifying.

Carver Pike:

That was. I liked the con. I think the two conjure. I didn't like the third one too much, but the two conjuring movies To me were two of the scariest movies that have come out recently. I liked the new. I liked antlers I just saw that the other night. That was pretty cool. I didn't know that was a when to go story when I started watching it and that was actually.

David Viergutz:

I love the when to go.

Carver Pike:

That was pretty good.

David Viergutz:

I love the one to go and I was really disappointed with antlers man.

Carver Pike:

Really.

David Viergutz:

And I, you know, i wrote my own when to go book. You know I wrote it based on the lore Um, and I wrote it in a way that terrified me, because that's one of the only stories that scares me And that's a. That's a scary ass monster man. I tell you what.

Carver Pike:

But maybe because I didn't know much about it, because I don't know a whole lot about the when to go story. So maybe that's why, like, if I had known more probably, maybe I would have been disappointed in it too.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, i mean it was good for, for what it was, you know, but the the happy, feel good ending was just kind of It was. It was a little over the top for me, you know. But to each his own on that one I just liked. I liked it because there's a when to go story, you know, i just like the when to go, so I was okay with it. Last week We talked to Lee Mountford. He loved the paranormal activity movies. Since a lot of people hate them and I just I love them to death, man, all of them, all the found footage movies, man, i love them, i don't care how bad it is.

Carver Pike:

I haven't seen the last. Uh, i liked him a lot up and and then I didn't see the last couple of them. I think I want to say I saw like the first three or something like that. I didn't watch the last couple of them. Now, the good the question, though That brings up a lot of arguments on facebook Did you like mid-summer?

David Viergutz:

I did because I like Colts, i like the. I'm the same way I loved the mid-summer.

Carver Pike:

I didn't care so much for hereditary, though.

David Viergutz:

I hated that movie man.

Carver Pike:

Okay, see, we're okay. We're on the same page then, but we probably just lost half of your listeners.

David Viergutz:

Nobody wants to see a little girl's head get taken off heated about man on facebook.

Carver Pike:

People get so heated about the hereditary mid-summer argument. Seems like.

David Viergutz:

Well, nobody wants to see little girls get her head taken off.

Carver Pike:

I mean, come on, yeah, not on video You gotta say that was the only part of the movie that I don't want to say I liked, but it was like shocking. You know what I mean. So it was like that's the part that I was like, oh shit.

David Viergutz:

And then I don't know. It kind of came out of nowhere, but it did feel kind of gratuitous, kind of felt with shock value, like we'll just throw it in there.

David Viergutz:

I can see you could have had her go missing and Could have had her go missing, done the same thing and the mom still would have gone crazy, you know, and But I so the part that got me with mid-summer, the creep, the heebie-jeebies, is one. They, they stuck that dude in the um, in in the bear. I was like wow, like like as if the uh, what is it the What they do with the lungs when they, you know the, the angel thing when they do with the hung that guy up. Oh yeah, that was that wasn't enough. See cult creep me.

Carver Pike:

Let's put cults creep me out. Actually, now that we're talking, we were talking about things that scare you. Cults scare me because they're just the fact that so many people can follow like one persons. Just I, like I just at wall.

Carver Pike:

I was at Walmart the other day and they had one of those magazines that are way overpriced. They cost more than like a buck. I mean it was 13 bucks for sure. One of those magazines It said like cults or something It just said like cults on the front of it, and I bought it right and I'm reading through it slowly. I mean it's only like very The information that's in it. Yeah, it's not very deep, i mean it, but it gives you enough information to go look for more if you want. So just has a little bit information about each of the Colts that are in there. But, um, i want to write a book that has something to do with a cult. I've done it on the romance side of things, like a sick kind of Motorcycle club kind of story. But, yeah, yeah, like to me that shit. Just, i mean just read. I knew most of the stories that were in there because of course they go over the Manson family and stuff like that and ones that you know.

Carver Pike:

We've all heard a thousand go for some of the shit in there, i never. Yeah, they go over all those, but there are some in there that I hadn't heard of, and I mean there's some sick shit.

David Viergutz:

That made for some good reading. Those are listening was. You know, did a lot of commuting for a little while listening to Stuff about, like David Koresh We talked about David Koresh last week but you know about about Waco and about Jonestown and And it's just it's kind of crazy to think that these people got so infatuated and it would normally. And I was listening to up another podcast online and it was talking about how these cults get started. Number one They start saying the first thing they say is I, i can hear Jesus. And then the second step they say is I can, i am Jesus. And then the third step is I am Jesus And I need to take the burden of having sex with your wife off of you so you can focus on me.

David Viergutz:

It's gonna be a double-edged sword sometimes. Oh man, like imagine if it was. Like how do you have to explain that away? if you're like, if you're looking, you know, like No, not, not that wife you know like, how do you?

David Viergutz:

Yeah, so it's Kind of a wild. The horror is kind of like a wild west man. It's kind of, and I think I think there's a lot of times that people mistake horror as Shock value, you know, but and, and I think that's kind of troublesome, i think that, think that a traditional mark is kind of screwed over horror too. But just pushing Stephen King for the last 50 years or however, how much a hundred years, how old he is, you know he's gonna be dead and still writing horror books, somehow They're gonna find a secret stash of like a hundred manuscripts somewhere.

Carver Pike:

You know it's gonna be like two-part, i think people do music.

David Viergutz:

He's still alive. You can show up in Nashville, that'd be all right. Yeah, no, it's it. He's like Elvis. I just spotted He said I just bought a Stephen King. Yeah right, horror man, it's, it's a spectrum and it and the idea is, i think, the idea of any explain to people, because you know I, whenever I explain to people I'm a horror writer, they're like oh So you had a fucked up childhood. Huh, like no man had a good childhood. But I just, like you know, you think about, like dark fantasy.

David Viergutz:

So you got dark fantasy, which is, you know, you got fantastical elements, but elements of things that are you know terrible and scary and horrifying and atmospheric, and so you know you got the fantasy elements and that that creates dark fantasy. And then you know you, you've written erotic horror, which is the you know erotic Is. You know which is the sex part of it plus the horrific elements. You know The scary monsters and demons and all that. But when you think about you think about horror. One of the things we talk about on this podcast a lot is that horrors the genre of hope you need to have. Hope, you know, hope that your characters and survive.

David Viergutz:

Otherwise you just have some gratuitous Situation where you know the the character is gonna die and there's not real, no real substance behind it. You know. So you have to have hope, and I like to think that you know. Horror is the situations that people don't want to deal with. Yeah you know so. So what do you feel about that man? Do you think that there's a lot of hope in horror?

Carver Pike:

Yeah, i think I think there has to be and I think it also goes back to. It's funny because if you watch a lot of the Documentaries and stuff about Like it, those in I think they're called into the darkness and stuff, where they go back They show like all the 80s videos and stuff like that. And if you watch a lot of the Lately there's been a lot of documentaries and things about The 80s slashers and stuff like that. And one thing you see consistently is there's always at least one episode where they focus on the final girl And they talk about how there was that time when Those movies were being slammed for saying that they were just exploiting women and you know, just, it was all about women's nudity and stuff like that and that they were treating women like shit and stuff. And a lot of the Actresses in there are always saying it wasn't like that at all. They're saying actually It showed them as heroic. You know it was always a woman in the end who came back and beat the final girl.

Carver Pike:

You know what I mean. They were the final girl. They came back. It showed That they were badass and came back and destroyed the villain. You know what I mean. They kicked his ass. I mean, some of those women were fucking brutal man, you know right.

Carver Pike:

And I think it showed a lot of hope and stuff like that and showed I think it goes all the way back to that and and I think a lot. It's kind of funny because I write I considered myself a man of faith first of all and because there was a lot of talk about a while back because of you know, godless and stuff like that and Even even Drew Stepick, who runs Godless. He made a video about Religion and stuff like that and and Godless and so he used me as an example because one of the things we talked about When I first considered putting my books on Godless and stuff was that I do consider myself a man of faith and I Don't preach in my books, but in my books good always beats evil. For the most part it might take a book or two to get there.

Carver Pike:

I mean, if it's a sure you know what I mean, like the Diablo snuff series. Yeah, it's about an evil, sinister kind of organization, but good is still battling evil and in my eyes good will ultimately win at some point. It just might take a little while to get there, so I got. I don't know if that answers your question.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, no, it's, it's great insight, man, and and I've been asked that too, i was actually asked that question in person. They said you know, oh, you write horror, but you're, so we're, i think I'm, so, I'm a Lutheran, so which is just a you know, form of Christianity.

Carver Pike:

Yeah.

David Viergutz:

But I got asked you know how does that work? as a horror writer, i'm like what do you mean? like do you think I'm just sitting in a, sitting on a, on a pentagram with a bunch of skulls around me? you know, just writing terrible things, like it's? it's not like that. She had this weird perception of what horror writing really was and all horror really is. Man, it's just fear, just fear, whatever day people are afraid of. You know it's not any kind of evil doing. You know it is talking about evil and there might be different types of evil, but, like even the sci-fi book that I'm writing, there is evil in that, but the evil is coming from a person instead of from a team And it's the same thing, you know it's just how you describe it, what type of reaction you're trying to get out of people.

David Viergutz:

So, yeah, no I. I'm happy to tell people that I'm a fable man. I'm happy to tell people that I'm a Christian, that I'm you know, i'm raising my girls to be Christian and and that I'm happy to write horror as well, because all I do is write what people are afraid of, that's all.

Carver Pike:

I remember when because I mentioned living in Alaska a while back when I was in the military And I was dating this girl and things were pretty serious with her until I met her parents They were very religious, like the mom gave me a copy of the oath by Frank Paredi and I actually mentioned this on Facebook last night because people were talking about Frank Paredi's books and I mentioned how the mom had given me a copy of the oath and was like You need to read this and and I was like, alright, you know, i read it. It was interesting, it was very preachy, because Frank Paredi is kind of like that sometimes, but the book itself was a lot about cheating and about, you know, like in pure thoughts And I don't know if you've ever read the oath by Frank Paredi, so that had a lot to do with like cheating spouses and stuff like that, you know. So I was like, okay, i see what she's saying here, you know, it's kind of like a warning, you know. So anyways, i read it and I started learning her parents were very like the mom would not let the dad watch Star Wars Because she believed the dark side of the force was like evil and stuff like this the dad I found out would sneak down into the basement to watch it, so the mom wouldn't find out, and stuff like that.

David Viergutz:

That's.

Carver Pike:

I told you things were getting kind of serious with them until, um, we got into a big argument because the girl I was dating just kind of came out one day and was like uh, you know you, i'd like you to stop writing, whore, basically stop writing the stuff I was writing. She said do you really think you're gonna go to heaven Writing what you write? Yeah, i was just like I really don't give a shit. What do you think? and you know you're you can't make that decision. That's between me and God and You know I guess that's the end of it for us.

Carver Pike:

So we just kind of that's when we called it quits, and you know that was it. But I mean, uh, yeah, it's just crazy. Oh, it surprises me that living, especially since I moved to West Virginia And people have asked me and I say I'm a whore writer, no one's really come at me with that. I would like I expected more people to, you know, be against it or to challenge me a little bit with it, but so far no one's really said anything. Most people actually have said like, oh, really, like I love whore stuff, or you know so.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, and I've been pretty good at successfully getting people to See me as the person you know, see me, the author, talk to me and then say okay, now that you've talked to me a little bit, read my books. You know, when you talk to me, i'm a normal dude. Like you know, i'm a father of two girls, of a cop. You know I work out, i've got two dogs, i live in a golf course. You know I'm a normal dude, and so I think that helps a lot to remove some of the stigmas that might be attached to whore.

David Viergutz:

And I've turned some people on to whore because of you know being who I am And not some creepy dark guy in the attic of his, of his or the, or the basement or whatever, whichever one's scarier. You know I'm not some creepy guy just sitting in the in the dark writing down my most terrible thoughts. You know, one of the things that we talked about too, is that you know we're so cool, you were so chill because all the scary shit that we imagined is all on the page instead of, like in our minds, trapped there.

Carver Pike:

You know it's something a lot of people will tell you that, like on social media and stuff like that, the people the readers and the authors in the horror world are some of the nicest people You'll ever meet. I mean, i've talked to people in so many different genres, having written in different genres, and I can tell you that the Horror world they're the less catty of the of the genres. They don't so far from what I've seen, they don't. They're not as dramatic and fighting and constantly the bullying and the stuff that you see from a lot of the genres. They're just more peaceful and it is almost like you get it out, you purge it onto the page.

Carver Pike:

You know, I mean you just kind of get it out of your system And stuff like that. And I actually wanted to to kind of backtrack a little bit and something I'd said earlier I just want to make sure it didn't come out the wrong way when I talked about being called one of the gore four and stuff Like that, an extreme sure I actually have nothing wrong with being called extreme whore.

Carver Pike:

I actually like the term extreme horror. I just wish there was a difference between extreme horror And the extreme whore that doesn't have a plot. That's not.

Carver Pike:

That is just for shock value, if that makes sense, because Sometimes things there should be a difference between the horror that is more tame and The stuff that I write, because I do most of my stuff will have pretty Twisted scenes in it and some sex or just I mean just I write with a lot of foul language and stuff that some whore authors wouldn't use and stuff like that, but So I don't mind. Like I always I was comfortable with extreme horror, identifying that, like saying that my book is a work of extreme horror and stuff like that. But somehow The works that started coming out that were just for shock value, with no plot and stuff like that, are also being called extreme whores. So then it becomes How do you separate the two? You know what I mean. Like how do you separate just the shock value extreme horror from the full length novels and stuff that are extreme horror that A lot of work went into? you know what I mean? And there's more Of a plot there and stuff like that.

Carver Pike:

That's the only thing I was trying to say. Like the guys that I do the podcast with, they all write full stories and stuff I mean with plot and everything there. So they all fall into what I'm talking about as far as extreme horror with An actual story there. But there are books coming out where it's clear that And that's fine people eat that shit up. They want to have just the shock value and just get right to the you know, the dirty, the nitty-gritty, and I just wish there was more. I don't know how, i don't know what label you'd put on that like. I feel like there should be another category for that.

David Viergutz:

Well, sometimes you don't even need the labels, and the reason I say that is that I think our readers are pretty Pretty personal with us as the author and you know we don't my books Don't get spread around by their name, they get spread around by my name, and I think that's important, that There's a connection that I think that horror readers have with their, the authors that they like. I think they're very loyal fans. You know, i carry the, the same fans that they bought my books, the same ones who have always bought my books, and the ones who are coming on board That stick around tend to be the ones that stick around for a long time. You know, when I got a new something, you know something new out, they want to support me And I think there's a loyalty there that comes with horror writing that does not come, and I think it's because that carnal level that we get on with With our readers we are writing what scares us or what we think might scare somebody else, and fear is something that can unite people because, like you said, with the final girl At the end, you want to see that hero do something good, or at least there'd be some resolution to the story To the thing that made them scared.

David Viergutz:

You know, so that's I. I think the horror Genre wish there were more labels, but I don't think it would make much of a difference because in the end They're gonna go for carver pike book. You know, i'm saying they're gonna go for.

David Viergutz:

You know they're gonna. They might find it like hey, i'm looking for parasites in the head type book and then they say okay, well, carver pike wrote one.

David Viergutz:

Then they like carver pike from that point on, because they like that book, you know they might not be looking for the next parasite book, they're just looking for the next book that they like. And so, you know, i think um, i think that's one of the blessings that we have is horror writers is being able to connect with our readers like that, because they just seem, they seem so chilled, man, they seem like they always want to know how we're doing and you know, and See what's up next, and, and I'm really thankful for them, man, i really like my readers.

Carver Pike:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I totally get what you're saying is true.

David Viergutz:

Well, man, we are, we're getting to a close here, We're right up, right up to the to the mark. So that's, that's great timing, man, and I'm glad we could finally make this happen, because I know we've been trying to do this for a couple of weeks, and scheduling and winter weather and everything else, it just kind of gets in the way sometimes. And that's life, man, it is what it is. There'll be deal. I'm just glad it worked out the way it did. So thank you, thank you for coming on today.

Carver Pike:

I had blast man, it was awesome talking to you, so Conversation just kind of flowed right. It was nice.

David Viergutz:

Yeah, and that's how it always is, man. Just a casual conversation like what we might do and sit down, have coffee with one invited readers, just kind of sit down, have coffee with us. So that's, that's where we're at with things. So this, take this next moment, man. Let let let people know where they can find you, let people know what book they should be reading. You know, let them know what you got coming out. Just take a few seconds and just self plug, because that's what this is for them to find new books and new authors to read. So what you got, man.

Carver Pike:

All right, thanks, man. Yeah, i'm everywhere, i'm on social media and I have my website. Everything is Carver Pike. So my website is Carver Pike. Calm, i'm on social. All the social media is tick tock Facebook, instagram, everything is Carver Pike. Twitter, all those.

Carver Pike:

And If you want to get started on something of mine and you don't mind, kind of that, some of the graphic sexual content I'd love for you to start reading the Diablo snuff series. It starts with a book called a foreign evil. The second book is the grind house, and then there are two side stories that really should have been marked as book three and four. It's passion and pain and slaughter box, because that'll lead you to my most recent book, which is the Maddening, which is the fifth and final book in that series. I think that's my best work to date. That's the one that's nominated for the spotter punk award. And then keep your eyes open for Faces of Beth, which I should have out. I'm trying to get that one ready for these scares that care Author con. That's right at the beginning of April. I should have that one out right around that time or just before then, hopefully towards the end of March, i'll have that one out Faces of Beth bad-ass man.

David Viergutz:

So I'll make sure that the links to your all your social media accounts in your And Amazon and your email and face and Website and all that stuff is gonna be in the comment section of this, of this podcast. So I'll make sure we get that for me at the end of this and hopefully I'll send me a reminder later on this year when you Get ready for a killer con. That way I can at least swing by, even if I don't get a vendor table. See how, how work, what work lets me do. So that's gonna be awesome. It's gonna be cool to see you here in Austin and you know well, i'll take you around and, you know, show you things if you like. That'd be really cool to see you.

Carver Pike:

Awesome man, Thank you.

David Viergutz:

All right, folks. This is it for today. You're listening to the nightmare engine podcast. This is episode number seven, with author Carver Pike and your host David. Very good. Once again, folks, thank you for being here and have a good night.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the nightmare engine podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Virgoots and Jay Bauer, where nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

Horror Writing and Genre Separation
Author's Writing Style and Book Topics
Plotting vs. Pantsing
Writing Process and Irrational Fears
Discussion on Horror Movies and Cults
Navigating Faith and Horror Writing
Horror Writing and Reader Loyalty