Since today’s author was found in a pumpkin patch on the eve of Halloween, I guess today is his birthday? Harvest anniversary day? See which movie gave him night terrors for months as a ten-year-old. Welcome Phillip T. Stephens!
Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep? Which one?
Absolutely. Believe it or not, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. I was ten, and my father, a Baptist Minister, dragged me and my sister to a high school retreat because he didn’t want to pay a babysitter. And the movie they showed that night was Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, which I’ve seen several times since then and find the effects in the scene that scared me laughable (a bomb destroys the mummy leaving nothing but a box of bones, over in an instant). I went to sleep that night, but in the morning my father insisted I go with the high schoolers on a walk and I saw a stick rising from a creek that looked like a bone and that triggered night terrors for months. Who knows why? My father was too cheap to send me to a shrink even if he wanted to, which as a Baptist minister in 1960 he would have found the equivalent of turning over to the devil. So, I slept with a light on for several months and finally the terrors went away.
If you were in a horror movie, would you rather have a loaded gun or a car that wouldn’t break down?
If I were in a horror movie, I don’t think either one would matter. That’s how horror movies work. Bullets can’t hurt monsters, and your car always breaks down. I would choose a bus ride out of town. But then the monsters in my movie would be hive minded swarm creatures who upend the bus. I’m f$*%#d either way.
Would you rather put your hand in a box and feel something slimy or furry?
Furry, and hopefully the kitten will be alive, but we won’t know until I put my hand in there.
If you had to give up snacks or drinks during writing sessions, which would be more difficult?
I don’t snack when I write, but I’m a coffee addict. Easy choice.
Which comes first for you – plot or characters?
It can be anything, an image, a setting, a situation, a person or a scenario.
Describe your writing space.
I prefer my living room or bedroom, but wherever I have my laptop or iPad, I can write.
A clueless optimist ruins a perfectly good hell.
Pity poor Lucifer. He rules hell with a vice grip. Demons and damned scatter at the sound of his footsteps. The Supreme Butt In hasn’t pestered him in eons. Lucifer’s future looks perfect, pitch black, until an administrative error sticks him with an innocent soul—an overweight optimist who calls himself Pilgrim and who believes he must be in hell to do good. Lucifer never considers sending him back. Why waste a second chance to corrupt an innocent soul? He orders his subordinates to torture, degrade and humiliate Pilgrim until he promises to become evil if only it will ease the pain. Unfortunately, Pilgrim makes the best of the worst possible experiences. Always polite and well-mannered, he makes Pollyanna seem like a prophet of doom. Even worse, the damned start catching on, and set about making hell into the most enjoyable place of everlasting torment they can.
Raising Hell eBook
Raising Hell paperback
Phillip T. Stephens was found in a pumpkin patch on the eve of Halloween by two teenagers looking to make costumes out of Jack-O-Lanterns. The Jolly Green Giant was a popular character in advertising, and they wanted to create the Jolly Orange Giant and his Jolly Orange brother. Not sure what to do with the child they consulted a local Baptist minister who realized a child in a pumpkin patch on Halloween must be the AntiChrist. So, the minister and his wife adopted him and exposed him only to the Bible and Gospel records.
When he turned 18, they realized they had raised a smart ass and not the AntiChrist, so, they turned him loose on the world where he spent the rest of his life chronicling accounts of these bizarre creatures called humans for his pumpkin kin. Unfortunately, he hasn’t met any.
His art was most recently featured in Maintenant and Duende, and most recent stories appear in the Kill Switch, Monsters We Forgot and On Time horror anthologies.
Other than their association with him, his wife and son are completely normal, although pumpkin pies are never served at their house.
Stephens is a leading proponent of Pumpkin Squash Zucchini Cantaloupe Cucumber and Gourd Rights but has been unable to garner support for the cause. You can support the movement at pszccg.org.
Wind Eggs. My daily publication