Author/Filmmaker Kristopher Rufty, whose new horror novel Angel Board is available now wherever ebooks are sold (the paperback will come out in just under three months), has been kind enough to answer five of my questions on this blog. So without further ado, here they are!
1. The title of your novel is Angel Board. Have you ever used an angel board, and how did you get the idea to use one in your story?
No, I haven’t used one personally, but I’ve used a Ouija board several times. The idea behind Ouija boards is terrifying, and the movie Witchboard scared me as kid, but has become one of my absolute favorites.
The angel board idea came from a friend’s mom, who I actually based the character of David’s mother Carol in Angel Board from. She’s very spiritual, very spiritual, but sometimes does or says something that leaves you scratching your head. Her heart’s always in the right place, though. She does angel readings with what are basically tarot cards with angels on them, and they’re called, surprisingly enough, angel cards. I’ll always remember her talking about angel boards and how they are peaceful and wonderful, and the one in my book is pretty close to the one she owns. The conversation in the book between Amber and Carol was taken almost word for word from my friend and his mother. Angel boards are scary things just like Ouija boards but painted beautifully.
2. You’re a horror author and a very, very good one. What scares you?
Thanks Jonathan! I owe a lot to other writers and of course Don D’Auria for seeing something in me and helping me along the way. I am forever grateful.
A lot scares me. You’d think with all the horror that I read and watch that I would be pretty much jaded, but nope, I am easily terrified. I’m truly fearful of insects…the more legs they have, the more terror I have. I’m not very fond of snakes, either. And anything in the ocean thanks to Peter Benchley. Corn fields are a scary place which is why I made them a prominent setting in my next book for Samhain, The Lurkers (creatures hiding in the Wisconsin corn fields). Corn fields are a different world once you step into them, so quiet, and there is always a feeling of being watched when you’re in one.
There’s so much I’m afraid of that I could spend days talking about it and why.
3. What writers have influenced you and the way you tell stories?
Hmmm…The number of authors that have influenced me is probably near my number of fears, haha, and possibly the reason for most of them as well. I could spend days discussing this, but a few that always come right to mind are Richard Laymon (probably the best storyteller there ever was or will be). Edward Lee, Wrath James White, Jack Ketchum, Samhain’s own Ronald Malfi, Gray Brandner, Al Sarrantonio, Johnny D. Boggs, Louis L’Amour, Jeff Strand (I love his ability to effectively combine humor with horror, but he can also write bone-chilling suspense, and brutal horror when he wants to). And, the obvious Koontz and King of course.
Just this past year I began to obsessively read Ray Garton and he has quickly become a huge influence on me. The way he crafts his stories is amazing. Other than Laymon, no one has been able to scare me like he can.
4. As well as being a writer, you’re also a director. Can you share how the two methods of storytelling differ, as well as discussing what commonalities they share?
Man, they differ in so many ways. In a movie you only have a brief window of time to make the audience care about characters that I will probably do nasty things to before the credits roll, where in a book I can take my time, delve into a lot of backstory, and hopefully a reader will connect with them on a personal level. You don’t get that connection with a character on screen, but you also have visuals and settings the viewer can identify with. Also in movies you have the support of music, lighting, and creative editing to help you, where in books you only have your words. But, I love them both dearly and hope to continue horrifying people in each format.
5. What are your writing and filmmaking goals for the future? Do you envision adapting your work into film, or would you rather another filmmaker tackle that task?
I hope I’m able to do them both for the rest of my life, and continue to grow in my abilities. You know, I’m interested in seeing what someone else could do with something of mine, but at the same time, I can be such a control freak, and when I learned how badly the producers of Watchers drastically and bastardly changed the storyline to make Dean Koontz‘s novel about a grown man and a dog into a Corey Haim vehicle, I can’t help but not trust others opinions, haha. But, seriously, I’m always open to seeing what someone else may take from something I’ve written, but I would never turn down the opportunity to adapt it myself, at least the screenplay.
And there you have it! Thanks so much to Kristopher for answering these questions, and thanks to you, Dear Readers, for buying Angel Board.