Short Sharp Shocks! 63 is The Corn Witch by DEMAIN author, Christopher Beck. The cover is by Adrian Baldwin. The book is published on the 31st December 2020 (though available at the time of writing for pre-sales). Early December, Dean and Chris had a quick chat about it:
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Welcome back to DEMAIN Chris. We loved your new Short Sharp Shocks! Can you tell us about it?
CHRISTOPHER BECK: Hi Dean, pleasure to be here. Yes – The Corn Witch came out of a conversation I had with my friend, Bill. He grew up across the street from a corn field and his brothers would scare him with tales of a witch that lived under the corn and flew over it at night.
DP: I love it – as I said to you over email initially, I’m really digging American rural horror stories right now and this totally fitted the bill so thanks for that. Did you have to do much research?
CB: There wasn’t a lot of research for this one, just the planting and harvesting time for corn in New Jersey.
DP: So did you find it difficult to write?
CB: The first go around turned out a bit cartoony, with less action and substance. Bill wasn’t feeling it. He was hoping for a take that brought to life the fear he felt as a kid. So I started again and it all came together.
DP: Great! Creatively what is your biggest success to date?
CB: I would say my first Short Sharp Shocks! The Birthday Girl And Other Stories, as it was my first stand-alone book.
DP: It also got some cracking reviews…what does horror mean to you Chris?
CB: Interesting question. Surely my answer has changed over the years but currently, to me, it means life. Life happens, and it isn’t always peachy. We all face hard times; dark periods; there isn’t always a happy ending. Horror is a part of life.
DP: It is, with that in mind then, would you say that horror is affected by world events? Do you ever put world events in your work?
CB: I would say a lot of horror is affected (low key or on a lager scale) by world events: it’s tough not to be influenced by what is going on around you. I can’t say I’ve put world events in my works, but I’ve certainly used life events.
DP: Indeed you have…I keep hearing horror is dead…would you agree?
CB: I would not. I would say, much like rock music, its heyday may have passed but that doesn’t make it any less Important or any less needed. And, there is still an incredible group of horror lovers out there. Life runs in circles, yeah? Horror’s time will come again.
DP: Oh it will and we’ll be ready for it! What is Christopher Beck scared of and has it made its way into your work?
CB: Loss, maybe, something I’m all too familiar with, and, yes, it has.
DP: Creatively is there anything you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet? If so – what?
CB: Still hoping to knockout that first novel, some novellas, and maybe even a film adaptation of a piece… perhaps The Corn Witch?
DP: Well, you know my opinion on that last one! How did you handle the lockdowns – what was your routine, was there anything different you did to get through them?
CB: A lot of hiking and exercise. I did a little drinking, too, at the start, but I wanted to improve my physical and mental health, so that’s what I did. The Corn Witch was written during that time, as well as a couple of other unreleased tales.
And we look forward to reading them.
Mr Beck – great chatting with you again. All the best with The Corn Witch.
If you’d like to connect with Chris direct: