An Interview with S.O.Bailey Inside Astradaemon's Lair

Recently, I was invited into #AstraDaemonsLair for an interview. I was apprehensive at first, because once my eyes adjusted to the darkness of the chamber, I saw unknown stains on the walls. There were metal objects that I didn’t dare examine long enough to determine their purpose—if I had, the interview might have ended abruptly, and how embarrassing that would have been. The title might have read: Short Interview With S.O.Bailey Before He Scurried Away Like a Scared Rabbit. But I stayed, and Ursula was kind, her questions sincere, and I was kind right back, because I suspected the metallic objects on display weren’t merely decor.

interview, horror, book, author, review

How did you get into writing? Did you deliberately choose the horror genre, or is that just the natural direction of your stories? 

         I consumed many books--mostly science fiction--as an adolescent, but I didn’t realize that I wanted, and would become a writer until I was twenty-three years old and attending Weatherford College in Texas.  By that time I had been in the Army Reserves for five years as an Intelligence Analyst, and held odd security and correctional officer jobs. I point this out because there is daily report writing involved for those types of positions, and I often found myself in charge of editing everyone’s reports before being submitted to the official record.  I knew I excelled at report writing, but that’s miles away from fiction. Fast forward back to college again »» I had a couple fantastic professors that were also writers--Miss Erwin for English and Miss ICan’tRememberHerName for History--who told me that I had a good “writer’s voice”.  Miss Erwin challenged me to submit an editorial I had written for class to the local newspaper for extra credit.  I did and it was published. Then I did four more times, and all five were published. I didn’t know exactly how, but I knew absolutely that my new passion for writing would be a part of my career. After a bit of life and crap jobs, I began writing short stories at thirty years old.
           Horror is fun isn’t it?!  I think that’s why most of my stories are naturally more macabre.  Reading a little bit of Stephen King didn’t help either. I don’t intend to adhere to any particular genre though, I have stories waiting in line at many different aisles.  The horror line is the longest, however, and those customers are impatient, and some hold weapons that I fear they’ll use if I leave them waiting too long.  

Your writing style has a strong folklore influence. Does this make storytelling easier or are you trying to breathe new life into a classic construct?

           You know, I honestly had no idea I was doing that.  I just use the voice I have to tell stories the way I like them to be told, with hopes that a few other people will enjoy them too.  To be even more honest, you guys and gals--the readers--are much better than I am at categorizing the fiction I write, and I like it that way.  I love reading the different interpretations. So, I’ll keep tossing the stories out there and let y’all (Texan) decide where they settle.  Perhaps my Irish ancestors are a bit of my influence. 

Unfortunately, we often hear about tourists vandalizing sacred spaces. Is MALDITO based on any particular headlines or are you trying to warn people not to be dicks when traveling?

           The idea behind MALDITO is an easy one to explain without giving away any spoilers, because, like most of them, it turned out completely different than I imagined it would.  My wife Ashley and I were in Mexico on a company paid vacation (like in the story) because (like in the story) she’s a badass saleslady and always makes the President’s Club.  That’s pretty much where real life ends in the story, the characters weren’t based on us. One evening, we were in the back of a taxi that was returning us to our resort, and I thought, What if the driver keeps driving past our hotel?  Where would he take us? What would I do? “What if” is how most of my stories begin.  My imagination took off and I envisioned a tourist main character who choked the driver from the backseat (a freakin’ hero), causing the taxi cab to wreck, and the death of the driver.  The police arrive and ultimately the main character is arrested and thrown into a Mexican prison. I thought of how interesting it would be to research Mexican jails, and really put the hero through hell during his stay at one.  If you’ve read MALDITO, you know that it’s nothing like this at all, and I couldn’t tell you how I made the gigantic leap from the story that never happened to the hell that Eric got himself and his wife Nancy into. 
           To answer your question, after I made the leap, Eric was a necessary “dick” and the warning was a byproduct of the story.  It’s always frustrating to see tourists disrespect local customs and superstitions.    

Horror, book, Stephen king, review, best seller

While MALDITO is my current Bailey favorite, BARE BONES is a close second. Without giving away any spoilers, where did you get the idea for that story? 

           Although BARE BONES eventually progressed as naturally as most of my stories, it had the least natural inception.  After completing THE WHITE MAN, TERRALING, and JOGGER, I simply decided that I wanted to write a monster-in-the-woods kind o’ story.  I had no idea what, or who, the monster would be initially, and my pen didn’t hit the paper until the (How did some of the reviewers put it?) sinister and grotesque relationship between Walter and Maynard came to mind.  The odd couple seemed original, and perhaps shocking, which are two very important goals I attempt to achieve whenever writing in the horror genre. I have much more fun with the antagonist characters, which lends to your first question, and probably why most of my stories are currently in the horror vein.      

horror, bare bones, book review

If you had the opportunity to option one of your short stories into a movie, would you? Which one?

           Hell yes.  As much as I would love to see Walter and Maynard on the big screen, MALDITO needs to be a movie.  

Any chance of a full-length novel in the future?

           For sure.  I’ve written about 20,000 words of what should be my debut novel, Shadow Grove, where you’ll meet the Loggins family.  They’re an awful bunch on the outskirts of Esel, TX, who live by their own laws, and may be connected to some of the city’s most heinous crimes.  I’ve set it aside for now while I work on my short stories, and I may have a couple collections released before the novel, but I’m excited to get back into the ring with some of the nastiest characters I’ve ever created.  My fingers are crossed for the end of 2020, but I won’t rush it. 

What can readers expect from you in 2020? Do you think you might make an appearance at one of the Texas conventions?

           My first short story collection, Love Letters, will be released in the beginning of 2020.  It will include some already published stories, and plenty of new ones. Then, I plan to use that same approach and trickle out a handful of short stories (and/or novellas) leading up to my follow up collection.  After that, I may or may not be ready to release Shadow Grove. I won’t make any of the 2020 convention dates, but you can look out for me in 2021! 

Where can fans follow you?

»@sobaileygram on Instagram is the best place to follow me.  Maybe someday I’ll get back onto Twitter and Facebook.

» for somewhat of a blog.

»You can also follow my Amazon author page HERE 

One last question: did you ever solve the mystery of the moving cement blocks?

           It’s funny you should ask.  I thought that it may have been my neighbor’s teenage daughter, using the blocks to help her hop back over the fence, and sneak back into their house; it turns out she’s out of town.  Also, it’s the strangest thing, every time I replace the blocks behind the shed where they were, they end up on the opposite side of the backyard again. It doesn’t matter if I go back inside the house for one hour or one minute.  The blocks move. As I sit and provide answers to your questions, I’m staring out of my bedroom window, and the blocks are there, mocking me.

Thanks for the great questions Ursula, it's nice being interviewed by someone familiar with my work.  Visit Astradaemon's Lair for reviews of horror, science fiction, suspense, fantasy, and more!


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