SPLATTER CAFE CHATS WITH J. DANIEL STONE.
Updated: Aug 21
Ladies and gentlemen, monsters and freaks, bloodsuckers, motherfuckers, weirdos, and geeks, to the queer and the strange, and for those who are wicked and deranged!
Welcome to the Splatter Cafe!
I’m your host, Victor J. Roth and my special quest is queer author, J DANIEL STONE.
Born and raised in NYC, J. Daniel Stone, at one point or another, prepared bodies for the morgue, was a vegetarian, and nicknamed the devil. His body of work has been called "fierce," "dark and sensuous" and "lush ultraviolence like that of 90's-era horror" by writers such as Kathe Koja, Josh Malerman and John F.D. Taff, as well as legendary horror outlets Rue Morgue, HorrorNews.net and Fangoria.
He is the author of the urban horror adventures The Absence of Light, Blood Kiss, I Can Taste The Blood, the short story collection Lovebites & Razorlines and the upcoming Stations Of Shadow. He writes under a pseudonym to keep the wolves at bay.
Now, before we get things started, I’d like to point out, and I say this with total honesty, J Daniel Stone is one of my top indie authors in the game right now. I became a fan when I read his short story Wormhole in the Anthology: Dark Visions Vol. II from the Grey Matter Press. From there, I’ve been following J’s progress as an author ever since. Hell, if you won’t take my word for it, please, here’s a quote from Robin at Drunk in the Graveyard when she reviewed his sophomore novel BLOOD KISS.
It’s funny to mention this now, because in my review of J’s first book “The Absence of Light”, I mentioned that he writes quite similarly to Poppy Z. Brite, with that same grotesque style. I had also compared his writing to William S. Burroughs, and the comparison is still there, however, the style and flair with which J writes has morphed into higher end grotesquerie quite similar to Clive Barker. At points, I was thoroughly disgusted with what I was reading, the descriptions of homoerotic sodomy often rather off putting, and I write this as a queer person.
This is truly the part of J’s writing that has grown and become carefully improved – the ability to disgust. It’s rare for most artists and especially rare in writers. It’s even rarer for film makers. Clive Barker has always been able to disgust me, and now, J seems to take up that mantle quite easily.
You can read the full review here: DRUNK IN THE GRAVEYARD.
All right. Let's get to it.
VJ: Since this is the Splatter Café. What's your favourite beverage? Alcoholic or caffeinated?
JDS: I love both caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. I like my coffee bitter and black (like my soul) and I like my beer with lots of hops. I guess I'm just a bitter, bitter person.
VJ: Could you tell me a little about yourself, please?
JDS: I was born and raised in Queens, NY and I am of Italian descent. I write under a pen name because I like to keep my artistic and private life very separate. I would say that I am a certified horror geek, dinosaur nerd, cosmology obsessed, animal lover, wine lover and (to state the obvious) an author and avid reader. A plagued empath to boot.
I am extremely right brained. The left side of my brain is probably atrophied by now.
VJ: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
JDS: Dario Argento is truly phenomenal. His body of work is a force to be reckoned with. I also love everything Rob Zombie does for horror. His aesthetic brings me great joy, and he has a great love for the horror genre which can be felt in his work, for a long time now.
VJ: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
JDS: I usually can be found in the gym or doing puzzles. I love to explore my city, from the shadiest parts to its most magnificent. Of course I read a lot. I also love to be surrounded by as much art as possible, and lucky for me in NYC it's easily accessible. Music is usually always playing in the background.
VJ: How would you describe your writing style?
JDS: I don't really know, but reviewers have described it as "Fierce" ... "Sensual" ... "Electric" ... "Visceral" ... "Ultra-violent" ... "Poetic" and so on.
I mean, if you want to get a better picture of the ones who have helped shape my writing, then I'd say read the following authors right away: Kathe Koja, John Skipp, Caitlin R. Kiernan, William S. Burroughs, HP Lovecraft, Gemma Files, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anne Rice, Mark Z. Danielewski, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Harlan Ellison, Mary Shelly, Algernon Blackwood, Emily Bronte, Clive Barker ... I could go on and on.
VJ: What is your favourite album and does music play any role in your writing?
JDS: I can't really say what my favorite album is, since music (for me) is so mood dependent. I have a wide range, and can go from abyssal prog rock, to delicious heavy metal, then flip the switch to gay dance in the blink of an eye. And everything in between.
VJ: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?
JDS: "Go where the pain is, go where the pleasure is. Create the book that you want to read." - Anne Rice
VJ: Describe your usual writing day?
JDS: I used to heavily write at night. My first two novels (The Absence of Light and Blood Kiss) were written strictly at night. My earliest short stories as well, which can be found in Lovebites & Razorlines, were all written at night. My current body of work is mixed between very early morning and very late at night, schedule depending. Day job gets in the way
VJ: What can we expect from Stations of Shadow?
JDS: Macabre drag queens, pious artists, transsexuals, rogues, outsiders and rebels. The pain that love brings, wanting everything we can never have; lust, passion, envy, decayed romance. Ghosts, mental disorder, hauntings; shadows, metamorphosis, performance, subterranean and queer culture.
VJ: This being your third novel, how do you think you’ve developed as an author? How does this book different from your other two novels?
JDS: I definitely feel different as an author. If you were to read my books in order, you'll find I am the same author, but my outlook and my inspirations have changed. Thus, it changes the writing.
My first novel, The Absence of Light, is naturally an angsty abyss written with every piece of uncontrollable energy my mind could get on paper. For me that's how all first novels should be. We should show off our wordsmith power, make it extra, make it go there! WE need to do this so we can alleviate all that first novel madness. Once we get it out of our system, we can move on happily.
My sophomore novel, Blood Kiss, is a laid back version of all that angsty madness found in The Absence of Light. It's a more controlled novel that, naturally, shows off versatility in prose, going from sickening madness of thought, to relaxed exposition. I had the most fun writing Blood Kiss, mostly because I love first person P.O.V. as it puts me in the driver's seat even more so than third person. Half the book is first person, the other half is third person. Dorian Wilde is a ferocious character. I'm not done with him yet.
Stations of Shadow is my longest, most daring book. I like to think of it as a Tool song: lengthy, artistic downward spiral, sometimes a little extra, but always ferocious. I learned a lot from my first two novels that I had no desire repeating with Stations of Shadow. With my first two, I feel like I tried too hard to be all of my heroes rolled in one, laced with my personal touch. Stations of Shadow represents me throwing all of that out, and writing authentically from my own black soul. This is my most honest work to date in terms of being my authentic self, and just letting the words speak for themselves. I am never looking back. Nothing has filled my creative gas tank more than just being me.
VJ: Art being one of the main constants in your work, as you get older, do you see yourself evolving, changing your perspective on life or the writing industry?
JDS: Art is my life. All mediums of it. I just love the act of creating. The people behind these exquisite creations interest me more than anything. But as I age, I definitely am evolving, which is also affecting my perspective on life. That includes the writing industry, my social life, my emotional livelihood, my thoughts about the universe, who we are and where we are going, and everything in-between. This of course takes a toll on my work. It takes a toll on everything. But I think that's healthy. For me, the purpose of art is to hold up a skewed mirror of the reality that has affected the artist. We do this to save our sanity. We do this to heal ourselves. I actually have a quote in Stations of Shadow from one of my heroes, Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle. I will leave you with that quote because I think it sums this question:
“The idea is, if I can’t heal from my art, then how can you heal?”
You can purchase Stations of Shadow at LETHE PRESS
SYNOPSIS-STATIONS OF SHADOW Sebastian Ricciuti, known by night as Hydra, wants to change the way people think about drag by infecting the scene with a macabre flavor. To be the best, a performer must reach into their psyche and pull out the nightmares that lie beneath. What would happen if we tapped into the full potential of our brain? Could it change a person's skin and reveal the monster beneath?
Adrian Zapatero also wants to be the best drag performer New York City has ever seen. He will stop at nothing to become the reigning supreme as Hera Wynn. Bejeweled in glitz, tattooed with lace, and slathered with lipstick the color of shadow, Sebastian and Adrian bring freak culture back to subterranean clubs with storms in their eyes and theatrical violence in their heart.
But desire makes people weak, and envy breeds bitterness. There can only be one Queen of the Night. And she must do whatever it takes to earn that crown, even if it means destroying romance, reputations and friendships. Drag in New York City has never been darker.
You can stalk or follow JDS on Twitter and Instagram @SolitarySpiral
Also be sure to check out his new website: www.solitaryspiral.com