Name: Weldon Burge
Where are you from?
Weldon: I’ve lived my entire life in Delaware, the second smallest state in the U.S.
A little about yourself:
Weldon: I’ve been a writer pretty much as soon as I picked up a pencil and a voracious reader prior to that. I’ve been a freelance writer since my high school years, writing articles for various publications (newspapers, magazines, newsletters, websites) and a writer of fiction as well (although it took some years to place a story). I’ve been a full-time editor for the past 24 years, and have been a publisher (Smart Rhino Publications) since 2012.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Weldon: I recently published THE BOX JUMPER, a historical/horror novella revolving around Houdini, by Bram Stoker Award Winner Lisa Mannetti. The book has been well-reviewed by fellow writers such as William Nolan, Joe McKinney, Tom Monteleone, Jason Brock, Gene O’Neill, and a good many others. The book is currently on the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards in the “Long Fiction” category.
I’m also about to work on a new anthology project, which will be Smart Rhino’s 11th book. Can’t tell you much about that project just now, though.
I do have a short collection of five of my stories, BROKEN: STORIES OF DAMAGED PSYCHES, for those who want to get a taste of my work. It’s available now and forever free on Smashwords in epub, pdf, and mobi (Kindle) formats. (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/514826) The paperback is available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Stories-Damaged-Weldon-Burge/dp/0984787666/).
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Weldon: First grade. I was writing stories, written and illustrated with crayons. I remember reading them to my grandmother. The art didn’t stick with me, but the writing did.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Weldon: When I had my first article published in high school, a gardening article. I think I was paid $10 for it. Until recent years, I was a fairly prolific garden writer, writing for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Fine Gardening, and many others—I even wrote Web copy for the Burpee Seed Company at one time. Although I still dabble with garden writing on occasion, my focus now is on publishing and writing fiction.
Fiona: What inspired you to publish your first Smart Rhino book?
Weldon: I’d wanted to start my own publishing company for years. But it wasn’t until POD became available that I saw a way to pull it off. And then along came Createspace and Kindle. It was a no-brainer at that point. But I never wanted to totally be a self-publisher. My intention was always to publish the work of others, especially those with immense talent who hadn’t hit the “big time” yet.
The first Smart Rhino book was a horror anthology, ZIPPERED FLESH: TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD, which proved to be a great success. I’d managed to get a few “name” authors—most noticeably Graham Masterton and John Shirley—but my greater joy was in publishing all the other folks represented. The book was quite successful and well-reviewed. I was pleasantly surprised, considering it was my first publishing effort. UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, an anthology of suspense and horror stories, followed that, and was also well-received. I’m still riding that momentum.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Weldon: My own fiction writing style leans toward horror and suspense writing, but I’m really open to anything.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Weldon: When I was 13, I read a story by Anthony Vercoe titled “Flies.” The story appeared in a fine little anthology, 11 GREAT HORROR STORIES, published by Scholastic Books. Vercoe’s story was unlike anything I’d ever read before, it was so in-your-face, so no-holds-barred when it came to the gross out. I then knew I wanted to write horror stories.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Weldon: THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larsen.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Weldon: As I said earlier, I always look for new writers for each Smart Rhino anthology, and have been really lucky to find talented writers such as Shaun Meeks, L.L. Soares, Jezzy Wolfe, Christine Morgan, and so many others. Part of the joy of my publishing ventures is having the opportunity of working with such wonderful authors.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Weldon: For myself, I’m working on a police procedural novel, with some elements of horror. I’ve written several novels, none published. I think this one has potential.
As I also mentioned earlier, Smart Rhino is taking its first steps to pull together a new anthology. I’m working with the Written Remains Writers Guild to develop the book, with my co-editor Joanne Reinbold. The first anthology Smart Rhino published with the guild was SOMEONE WICKED.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Weldon: I’ve been a full-time editor and writer for more than two decades. Writing is definitely my career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?
Weldon: I’d focus more on writing a novel and getting it published. I’d also jump into publishing much sooner.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Weldon: Here’s an unpolished section of the police procedural novel I’m currently writing.
Morning rush hour, and it was already 80º and the humidity was so thick, it hovered in the trees like ghosts. It was going to be a scorcher of a day, Marrs thought.
When they reached the scene, one New Warfield patrol car was already parked on Cheshire Avenue at the top of the exit ramp. Marrs and O’Daniel parked a block away in a church parking lot, and then used their shields to gain access to the scene.
Two state police cars were stationed at the bottom of the ramp, blocking the exit. Rush-hour traffic on the interstate was already backed up for miles. The ramp itself was two lanes, high chain-linked fence on one side and sheer rock face on the other.
As Marrs stood next to the New Warfield patrol car at the top of the ramp, staring at the man standing on the hood of a Dodge Stealth only twenty feet away, he thought of his favorite ZZ Top song. On a normal day, the guy on the car would be a “sharp-dressed man,” Marrs thought. Today was not a normal day.
The guy looked to be in his early 30s. He wore a pinstriped gray suit jacket, finely tailored, with a smart maroon tie that was a flame in the morning sun. The man was, however, naked from the waist down, his massive erection violet. His face matched the color of his tie, blood-red and glistening with sweat. He ranted at the sky, arms outstretched above his head. “It’s here!” he screamed. “You people don’t even know you’re infested! It’s here!”
Odd, Marrs thought, that the man still wore black shoes. No pants, but shoes.
Marrs turned to the two patrolmen, whose eyes were wide with a blend of fear and confusion. Both looked like recent graduates of the academy. One of them had the acne of a fifteen-year-old and the other looked barely twenty. Looking at their uniform tags, the one with the acne was Patrick Gomes, the other Anthony Barrick. “What’s the situation here, officers?” Marrs asked.
“We responded to a 911 call from the Chase Bank right up the street here. An administrator called saying that one of his floor managers, Stanley Murphy, had gone berserk early this morning, screaming profanities and acting like a lunatic before storming out of the building.”
“Did he assault anyone or cause any damage?”
“No, but the bank administrator who made the 911 call feared that Murphy would hurt himself or someone else, considering the state he was in. Murphy didn’t break any laws until he blocked the ramp with his car here. It’s an interstate highway ramp—state police jurisdiction. He’s not our problem. But they’re arguing with us, saying it’s our jurisdiction. We’re waiting on advice from HQ on what to do.”
“So, you’re undecided. On the basis that jurisdiction is determined by the site of the initial crime?” Marrs asked.
“Tell me, how did Murphy’s car get here?”
“Let me get this straight,” Marrs continued. “Murphy left the Chase building parking garage and headed south on Cheshire.”
The two rookie cops stared at him, as if he’d just spoken Swahili.
“Going the wrong way down a one-way street,” O’Daniel added, trying to help them along.
More staring and puzzled expressions.
“Which is illegal,” Marrs said.
The two cops looked at each other. “Aw, shit …”
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Weldon: I really don’t have a favorite, and I’m fairly eclectic. If you look at my bookshelf, you’ll see books by Elmore Leonard, Joe Lansdale, Ed McBain, Harlan Ellison, Jack Ketchum, Graham Masterton, Robert McCammon, Ray Bradbury, Donald Westlake, Stephen King, Jeffery Deaver, Joseph Campbell, H.P. Lovecraft, and so many others. And a ton of anthologies and story collections.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Weldon: I go to conferences and schedule book signings and other events as often as possible.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Weldon: I’ve been lucky enough to use cover art by Glenn Chadbourne, Shelley Everett Bergen, Dan Verkys, Whitney Cook, Safira de Meza, Jamie Mahon, and Nanette O’Neill. The cover designers were Scott Medina, Amy York, and Ju Kim.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Weldon: Just do it. Don’t wait, or be afraid. Don’t let anything stand in your way. If you haven’t started—start!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Weldon: Thank you!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Weldon: THE 500 HATS OF BARTHOLOMEW CUBBINS.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Weldon: Edgar Allan Poe. Aside from his alcoholism, I think he and I had a lot in common. I suspect we’d have a good deal to talk about.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Weldon: “He Wrote”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Weldon: Of course, gardening has been a passion of mine for as long ago as I can remember. Right now, I’m trying to learn how to play a ukulele.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Weldon: Probably not surprising, but I like the forensics shows like Criminal Minds and the CSI shows. I know they’re nowhere near accurate, but they’re interesting nonetheless. And of course I love horror movies, particularly the old B&W ones. Oh, and the Hammer films—mustn’t forget those!
Fiona: Favorite music?
Weldon: Progressive metal—well, most metal. But I also love solo guitarists like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Gary Hoey, Vinnie Moore, and a number of others. You’ll also see a lot of blues and jazz in my collection of CDs.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Weldon: Probably something involving horticulture.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Weldon: You can find my blog, descriptions of all the Smart Rhino books, and a good deal of information about me on my website, www.weldonburge.com.
You can find my Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/Weldon-Burge/e/B001KIVSDY/
Visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/weldon.burge
You can also sign up to receive the monthly Smart Rhino e-letter at http://eepurl.com/bj6s6X; we interview a different author every month!
Thanks, Fiona, for a great interview!