Patrick C. Greene Unveils g. Elmer Munson
g. Elmer Munson is the author of the story
in the new anthology from Sekhmet Press
Hi g. Elmer! Thank you for joining me today. Let’s kick off this interview with the most important question. Have you ever encountered a ghost?
I certainly hope I’m not the minority on this one, but I don’t believe in ghosts. I don’t believe in much, really. Obligatory back story time! When I was a kid, I grew up in a house that just about everybody thought was haunted. Some still do. The prior residents were apparently Satanists. There were bizarre paintings all over the house and outbuildings (like symbols, inverted crosses, and all that). There was one building full of chicken bones and a super creepy Satan (horns and all) painted on the wall. People would tell me about crazy stuff that went on in the house before we moved in and my father gutted the place. Everyone thought they saw and heard things all the time, and for a long time I thought I did too. Then I moved away and life events changed me completely. I became what some like to call a “hardcore rationalist”, and my capacity for belief pretty much went away. What didn’t go away is one thing: the memory of how good it felt to be scared, to really believe that bad things were waiting around each corner, and to be so scared at night that I tucked my blankets in all around me so nothing could get in. I didn’t sleep with my head in the open until I was in my late teens. These days there are precious few places I can get that feeling from, hence my love of dark fiction.
What kind of music do you listen to for inspiration?
I’m a metalhead at heart. If it’s loud and screaming, I’m probably in. However, I don’t really listen to anything except classical while writing. Anything with a beat takes me out of the story. Editing, though…that’s a different animal altogether. That’s the time for screaming.
Have you ever started a project, felt it run out of steam and had to abandon it?
Unfortunately yes, and I find myself thinking about the “what-ifs” from time to time. I’ve even gotten close to 30k words on a project and it just…stopped. It mocks me to this day, staring in my “limbo” list with bold letters. Of course, there is always the chance for a happy ending. I once got about 15k into a novella, stopped working on it for over a year, then finished, edited, and wrapped it within a period of 6 months. It’s currently looking for a home. I just had to wait for the story to speak to me again.
What’s the most shocking book or story you’ve ever read?
Oooh, good question. A tough one, too, since I’ve been reading for more years than I care to admit! I’ll go with a recent read: Cannibal Fat Camp by David Hayes and Mark Scioneaux. I wouldn’t call it shocking in a scandalous way, but it’s the first book in years to make me stop reading, stand up in amazement at what I’d just read, and laugh until I couldn’t breathe…more than once. It’s a great book.
Do you remember a particular moment or incident that made you decide to be a writer?
I went through a phase in the 90’s where I was unemployed for a while and pretty much miserable. I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I spent an awful lot of it reading. One day I just thought I’d give it a go (what else was I going to do?) and what I wrote really sucked. I think that made me want to get better. After a decade in the military spent NOT writing, I found the urge to write once again. By this point I had gone through graduate school and understood writing quite a bit better than in the 90’s.
Do you have a certain space and time set aside for writing or is it more of a free-form process?
Totally free-form. I wish I could have dedicated time, but with the various “real world” obligations I have, I write when I can. Sometimes I get the luxury of sitting at a desk in front of a computer, sometimes it’s a laptop on the couch, sometimes it’s a tablet in bed, and sometimes it’s talking to my phone while driving. Most of the time, I write while standing in the kitchen with my laptop sitting on top of the microwave. I have no idea why.
How would you describe your writing style?
I write by the seat of my pants. I tend to get an idea and just start writing, usually with no clue as to where the story is going. The good part of this is that the story is always new to me. The bad part is I can easily write myself into a corner (see the “run out of steam” question above). Even so, I’ll take that chance because there’s not much better than this: being honestly surprised at something you just wrote because you never saw it coming
What other sorts of themes or genres would you like to explore?
I’ve said this before, but I’d like to write something where no one dies; just a piece of commercial fiction that anyone could pick up and enjoy. I don’t know if that’s possible though. Once the words start to flow, the blood follows close behind…
Please briefly describe your path to publication.
I try not to think about it. I write and write and write, then edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit. When I think I’m done, I send it out. When someone picks it up, we edit some more. I wish editing was the fun part.
Who are your favorite fictional antagonist and protagonist and what was it about them that struck a chord for you?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Steven King’s Gunslinger. Shooting guns, killing people, not giving a damn…he’s just cool, you know? I dig a “good guy” who kills everyone. The first story I ever wrote had a protagonist that suspiciously resembled Roland the Gunslinger. Of course, there was a big difference: mine sucked.
As for antagonists, I think the thing from The Thing (1984) is damn creepy. What really does it for me is how no one knows who’s real. Once everyone stops trusting each other, it jumps straight to all bad. That’s the kind of tension you just can’t buy.
Aside from writing, what is your favorite artistic medium?
I love writing music. I’ve been playing and writing music since I was a kid. Actually, I still do, but it’s something I have little time to enjoy. Given 10 minutes of peace, I’d rather work on a story.
Thanks again for joining me today and letting us get to know you better. I wish you the best of luck with Wrapped In White and all of your future endeavours.
g. Elmer Munson is a New England writer of the strange and unusual as well as the horrors of everyday life.
He lives with his family and a posse of various critters in a creaky farmhouse that’s older than America herself.