Author Steven Farkas has a dark mind! But that’s okay. We here at PopHorror love people with dark minds. His work is described as a cross between “Ed Wood, Roger Corman, Philip K. Dick, (Troma Films’) Lloyd Kaufman and a little H.P. Lovecraft.”
His latest horror book, Horror Circus, is available on Amazon. His other book, Mayhem, Murder, Terror A Flash Fiction Horror Story Collection (Scary and Terrifying Horror by Steven Farkas), is out in paperback from Asbury Book Coop. It features stories about a vampire, werewolf, aliens, quiet suburban cannibals, a murderous ex-girlfriend, killer clown, Bigfoot, a neighbor with a lot of anger, and others. Each story is 800 words or less.
Steven, a husband and father from from New Jersey and a member of the Horror Authors Guild, was kind enough to answer some of our questions about his writing and books!
PopHorror: Your page says, “Steven Farkas lives and writes in the Bizarro world of New Jersey.” Jersey is quite “bizarro”! Does anything from the state inspire your work?
Steven Farkas: I call New Jersey “The Bizarro World” because there are a lot of bizarre places hidden throughout the state. There are empty towns hidden in the woods, roads to nowhere, strange places in the mountains of the water gap… You can find a strange little towns or dead towns anywhere in the state. They make good settings. I set most my stories in some part of New Jersey, usually odd places like the Delaware water gap, or even my own town of Howell, such as in the book, Zombie Carnival.
PopHorror: How did you get into writing? Do you remember what inspired you?
Steven Farkas: Wow! I was into writing at a very young age. I think I wrote my first story when I was ten. It wasn’t much, just for fun. I think it was called The Witch. I can’t really say why I started writing, I just enjoyed it. Maybe I wanted to be Edgar Allan Poe or HP Lovecraft. I really started thinking of the idea of being a writer seriously during high school. My English teachers liked my horror stories I wrote in class and supported my desire to write. They weren’t necessarily horror fiction fans, but they helped and supported me no matter the genre I was writing in. I think they were excited that someone was interested in writing and reading at a time when most people were not reading anymore and students hated going to English class.
PopHorror: Flash fiction has become very popular in the horror genre. I have found that writing 800 words or less is quite difficult. How do you do it? Is it a discipline you get better at?
Steven Farkas: I’m good at flash fiction because it’s how my brain works – I think. I find it easy to create a whole world and a scary emotion, character, and storyline in few words. I have published a few stories online with Undead Press and the comments under the stories are always about how they are amazed how there is so much fear and story in such a small amount of space. All of my books are either flash fiction, short stories, novellas, and novelettes, because it’s just the way I write. What I’ve tried to get better at was writing a long book, but I find when I do that, I drift off into storylines that have nothing to do with the main storyline. I find I write throw away chapters just to lengthen the book. It doesn’t work, so I’ve just decided to go wherever the story takes me. If it’s 121 pages, 88 pages, or some other length, it just is what it is.
PopHorror: Is there anything you have not written like a zombie story, or a Bigfoot story that you would like to?
Steven Farkas: If you had asked me this a year ago, I would of said, “A vampire story and one about Bigfoot.” But since then, I wrote a Bigfoot story in Mayhem, Murder, Terror as well as a vampire story. And one of the biggest characters in my newest book, Horror Circus, is a bearded woman who is a vampire. I think I’ve hit most of the biggest characters…. zombies, vampires, aliens, serial killers, clowns, you name it. But one character I haven’t touched is a Frankenstein’s monster. I haven’t written a story where someone takes parts out of graves and creates a body from those parts and brings it back to life. Maybe my next book. Who knows?
PopHorror: What scares you? Is it something like a giant monster playing an accordion or something closer to waking up and having your friends forget who you are?
Steven Farkas: What scares me? The things I can’t see in the dark. It’s not just the dark. It’s the fact that I know something is there that I can’t see, but what is it? Or worse, who is it?
PopHorror: You also write science fiction. What is the big difference between the two? Is it more nuanced than just The Starship Enterprise vs. Overlook Hotel?
Steven Farkas: My science fiction is a series of books called the Blue Blaze books. It’s about a future America where the United States is gone and there are just a group of oligarchies controlled by very wealthy families. It’s set in former New York City, and the main character is a private eye who happens to also be a robot. He solves crimes, usually paid by the wealthy, but sometimes for his fellow robots who live in a shanty town in what was Central Park. I refer to it as Science Fiction Crime, and it’s written like the 1950s pulp crime. It’s kind of a cross between James Cain and Phillip K. Dick. While it’s dark and brooding like my horror, it’s definitely a break from the horror I write.
PopHorror: I know you are a big con guy and you love to meet readers and fans. Are you glad to get back out in the world of cons and events to meet fans?
Steve Farkas: Absolutely, yes. While I did several online events in 2020, it’s just not the same as being face to face with fans. What was good about online events was being able to hold events that anyone from anywhere in the country, or the world for that matter, could take part in. That’s something that, at least for me, doesn’t happen in live face to face events. On the economic side of things, since this is still a business, I’ve found that when I’m some place live, people buy my books after meeting me. But online doesn’t lead to sales.
I think both (live cons and virtual cons) have their place. In a perfect world, I would do both—online to increase my reach to people who would never be able to meet me face to face, and live events where I can meet people in person.
Pop Horror: Who do you enjoy reading?
Steven Farkas: My favorite writers to read are Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft. I started reading them when I was young, maybe 10 or 12 years-old, and they have definitely impacted my writing.
I also read lots of other writers. I like to wander around the bookstore and pick up something new that I’ve never heard of from a writer I know nothing about just to have that feeling of finding something new and interesting. Sometimes, it leads me to being a fan of their work, and I want to read more of their books, sometimes not.
PopHorror: For your own enjoyment, what is that one book or movie you revisit that is basically that favorite shirt, sneakers, or blanket? In fact, what do you enjoy watching horror wise?
Steven Farkas: I would say any of the Friday the 13th films. I think I saw the first one sitting in my grandmother’s house when I was a kid. It was probably the first horror movie I saw.
I also like horror comedy like Zombieland. Also I’m a fan of Evil Dead. My son and I bonded over the Ash vs. Evil Dead series. It was one of the things we watched together, dad and son family time.
PopHorror: That’s awesome! I love hearing how writers work time in with their families! It is so important! Steven, thank you for joining us!
Steven Farkas: Thank you!
To learn more about Steven Farkas, visit his website at TheDarkMindofStevenFarkas.com.