T.S. Woolard is an up-and-coming young horror writer with some short stories under his belt and a new collection, Solo Circus out now. It features 15 shorts, some previously published, some brand new to the collection. I like Shane and I very much want to support new writers coming up through the ranks. So I offered him an opportunity to a guest post, below. Also you should buy his book, here.
“When Sir John F.D. Taff asked me to guest blog to his many fans and followers, I projectile vomited all over my wife and dogs. No. No, I didn’t, but I did have to take a few days to calm down and regain my bearings. I’ve never had such a large audience before (John says the six of you, which is at least four more than my usual, minus one because I’m one of the six). It was quite unnerving, very intimidating. But I finally got around to getting something together for you all.
I’m going to start with my short story collection, Solo Circus, as that’s what has earned this prestigious spot on John’s blog. It’s my first solo project. My debut, if you will. There are fifteen stories, ranging in tone from weird supernatural to bad days gone worse. Five of the shorts are previously published in anthologies compiled by the editor and publisher of Solo Circus, James Ward Kirk. The other 10 are brand-new.
The collection idea began forming in my mind a little over a year ago. I wrote several short stories for different anthologies that I missed deadlines for. Of course, when you are two-thousand words into a story you don’t quit on it. So I held on to them, because, well, you never know. After I had my fifth short story published with jwkfiction, I approached Mr. Kirk with the idea of a 15 story short story collection. From the first email to the day Solo Circus was released, he was on board unwaveringly. I fast-tracked the last five stories, which happen to be my favorites of the collection, and—TADA!—we have Solo Circus.
John gave me the idea to write about this next topic via Twitter. He threw some things out there for me to hit on and this question stuck with me. I even enjoyed thinking about an answer. The question was: Why Horror? What attracts me to it?
My, my. How cool of a question is that, and more importantly, how to answer such a great question?
The first answer that jumped out to me was “no boundaries.” Let me go back to my teens for a minute. I started writing by rewriting lyrics to songs so they fit my life a little better. I started when I was eight years old. Anyway, the older I got the more I hated boundaries, in my life and in my writing. Now, I’m not one of those guys that say they hate authority or they’re not going to be told what to do, but writing is about imagination. What part of imagination lends itself to boundaries? No part. Horror, of all the genres, is the most boundless. At least, to me it is. Fantasy would probably seem more so, but you are still bound by whatever universe you create for yourself. I know because I started as a dark fantasy writer. I wasn’t good at it, but I didn’t love it like I do horror, either.
There’s also the fact that everybody can identify with horror. There’s not a person, including newborn children, that hasn’t felt it at some point. Not everyone has felt unconditional love for someone they’re not related to, or been in a war, or been addicted to something, or have an interest in Rom-Coms, or been abducted by aliens. But everybody—everybody—has been scared before. Fear is the purest form of undeniable emotion. You don’t have to be talked in to it. You don’t have to make yourself believe that you’re scared. You just are, and that’s beautiful.
I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know me, and I’d like to thank John for letting me borrow you guys for a little while. I have enjoyed it, and hope some of you reach out to me. You can follow me on Twitter @TSWoolard, or follow my blog at tswoolard.wordpress.com. Please grab a copy of Solo Circus and get to know my work, as well. I sincerely hope you all have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.”