On a slow week, Mark Slade writes stories, novels, and radio shows.
Mark Slade is a guy who sits on that lonely literary desert island constantly casting out his line, and more often than not, he catches something nourishing not just for him, but for his audience.
His boundless imagination and artistic energy sustain a body of work that continues to evolve over several mediums.
Please tell us about your podcast, Blood Noir.
Blood Noir is an audio drama anthology series. Usually dealing with Crime and Horror, most likely the stories are crime stories with a supernatural bent, but not always. The Stranger (played by Pete Lutz), who sends cassette tape recordings of him telling the story of what happens. His Narration is this: “ I’m sure you’re wondering why you’ve received this random tape from stranger. But is it really random? Am I really a ‘stranger’? Or are we connected in some way? To a web of lies and deceit…..? Possibly….murder? You see, I hear things, see things, I know everything. To protect myself, I need these stories told.”
Then the actors take over and a lot of the times they make the episodes great. With talents like Lutz, Tanja Milojevic, Lothar Tuppan, Austin Beach, Mat Weller, Kessi Relliniki. So many other great actors I’ve worked with, you can’t go wrong.
I’ve written most of the scripts, but I’ve also had some great writers or adapted great stories from writers like G. Wayne Miller. Scripts by P.J. Griffin, Chris Roy, D.S. Scott. Had some great guest directors, too, like Pete Lutz, Lothar Tuppan, Daniel French. It airs on Para-X network every Saturday night at midnight (actually Sunday morning).
How do you motivate yourself to keep writing? Do you have a regular routine or wait for inspiration to strike?
I have to make myself work on the stories/scripts. I try to have a regular routine. For a long time I would get up between 9 am and 10:30 am and work for an hour. If I was off from work I’d work as much on it as I could, taking breaks throughout, heck I might even work on the project well into the early hours. Later part of 2018 hasn’t been so easy to do that. Some family things have happened, and it’s been tough, but somehow I have managed to write every day except Sundays. I usually take Sunday off. Funny, even when this one particular incident happened, I shouldn’t have been able to write. But I was caught up in the story, what ended up being A Barry London Novel. I did it in two months. Man, I was rolling.
You write in a variety of genres. Do you have a favorite as both writer and reader?
I really love Horror/dark stories. Things with a twist ending. I also love Crime/Mystery/Noir. 87th Prescient, Nero Wolfe. Then I really love Jim Thompson, Barry Gifford. Those guys told some gritty, dark stories, and they used humor, too. Playing in both genres, I feel like I can move around to tell stories I want to tell, instead of being pigeon held to one genre. SF really isn’t my game. Hard to tell a good SF story anymore. I mean, the science is happening now. I always feel I’m not smart enough for that genre.
What are your influences, literary or otherwise?
Oh, Definitely Bradbury. Bradbury’s stuff. I’ve tried my best to emulate him, Serling, Matheson, Beaumont. In my teens I was very much influenced by Clive Barker. His presence is still felt in my stuff. Robert E. Howard from the pulp genre, more so than Lovecraft. TV, Twilight Zone of course, Tales from the Darkside. I have to admit, comedies have been a big influence, dialogue wise. British Comedies especially. Cop shows. Movies by Scorsese, Romero, and definitely Kubrick and David Lynch. Also John Waters and the guys who did Airplane! Long list. Harlan Ellison, was just about the best writer to learn from. He wrote every kind of story. Never the same story twice. The only category you can put Harlan Ellison in is Ellison. One day I’ll muster up the courage to read the Biography on Uncle Harlan. I can’t forget comic book writers like Stan Lee, Alan Moore, Roy Thomas.
Another writer I feel gets neglected, and he has been very influential is Ross Macdonald. I don’t think I have ever figured out his mysteries. I can say, I never knew what was happening next.
What’s next for you?
Hopefully my book Strange Corridors, illustrated by Cameron Hampton, will come out from Cactus Moon. I have another Audio Drama in the works called Daniel Dread, that I developed with Lothar Tuppan. I have two book series I hope to get going with publishers Close to the Bone. One is about a Witch Detective, Evelina Giles. Books called Witch for Hire. Hopefully coming out in 2019, maybe summer? Not sure. The other is the Barry London crime series. He’s basically a Private detective/fixer for the mob. That book is Mr. Zero and it deals with Police corruption. I might also do another Audio Drama with Lothar about a conspiracy radio show host investigating all kinds of weird conspiracies. I have some anthologies I’m appearing in Southern Fried Autopsies, Douglass Draa is bringing back Startling Stories and I have a story in that. www.switchblademag.com/Switchblade will have the first appearance of Barry London. Another Barry London story will be in an anthology edited by Chris Roy and Andrew Rausch. So far, that’s about it.
All sounds awesome, Mark, cheers!