First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who
don't already know you?
course! My name is Andrew Buckner. I am a poet, author and self-confessed
cinephile and book fanatic. Also, I run and write for the review site AWordofdreams.com!
talk about some of the most recent stories/books of yours, and the ideas
most recent stories are Rules for Monsters (2019), The Normal
House (2019) and The Crickets Called with Human Voices (2019). I
have also had an anthology of short tales called Junk: A Sextet of Trashy
Horror Stories (2019) come out in July. Also, I’ve had a book of poetry
called Meaning Plucked from the Gods: A 7-Poem Set (2019) come out in
Normal House came from looking out my window and seeing a house
decorated as terrifyingly as possible for Halloween. Upon doing so I one
day had a thought, “What if a Halloween house went the opposite way and
it terrified the onlooker because of how ‘normal’ it appeared?” I
think that notion helped set the approach of the story as well.
for Monsters was born from just the image of a typewriter writing by
itself in the attic and a vague idea of someone crafting rules for a new
society after it was destroyed.
Crickets Called with Human Voices came in a similar fashion. It was
sparked from the notion of the odd sound crickets make and the question,
one that really appealed to me, of “What if the crickets spoke in human
voices to someone? What if things only got weirder for the protagonist
after the crickets spoke to him this way?”
was me poking fun at the idea that my stories are trash. The title also
worked because all the stories in the volume revolved around, you guessed
Plucked from the Gods is my way of pondering my importance and potential
impact as a writer.
future projects you'd like to share?
am currently working on a collection of micro-fiction stories and a new
poetry book! They are both in the early stages and neither have titles
What got you into
writing to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the
had a few years of Journalism classes in college, but otherwise no real
formal training. The
sheer immersive power of stories and being able to create entire worlds
out of mere words was an addiction to me since I learned how to spell.
Being a fervent reader and witnessing again and again how easy it was to
escape into someone else’s world and viewpoint as I devoured the works
of my favorite authors as a child only fueled this fire. I wanted to be
able to have this power over readers. Hence, my lifelong obsession with
Do talk about some past writings of yours, and
in your eyes, how have you grown as a writer over the years?
first published book of poetry was The Human Condition (2008). It is a
wonderful concoction of experimental free verse, introspection and social
themes. You can also get a great sense of my yearning to be a rapper, and
my love for the rap genre, at the young age I was when I penned them
(approximately 19-21 years old). This is based on the content, tone and
rhyme schemes in a lot of the poems in the work.
mellowed out a bit with my sophomore poetry book, Song of Survival (2010).
Regardless, as was the case of The Human Condition, I really admire the
amount of topical ground I was able to cover.
back on these first pair of published books, it really set the groundwork
for the introspective and social focus in my poetry. I might have branched
out past free verse to more classical forms in my later
collections of poetry, but the foundation of self-expression at all costs
set in The Human Condition and Song of Survival is still prevalent in my
more recent collections of verse. This
social and introspective center is a big part of my earlier and more
current works of prose as well.
are some of your personal favourites among your stories, and why?
debut novel The Extraterrestrial Presence (2012) will always be one of
my favorite stories of mine. It is because I have always been fascinated
with real-life tales of alien abductions/encounters. It is also because I
have always dreamed of publishing a novel. I think I used all the
information I gleaned on the subject well in the story. It also has a nice
mix of character development, suspense and emotion.
is a sequel to it I wrote several years ago, The Abduction Syndrome, that
I would love to publish one day.
enjoy my most recent stories The Crickets Called with Human Voices,
Rules for Monsters and The Normal House because they have a
great balance of the surreal and creative. Rules for Monsters has
some timely themes and questions. It also provides some nice answers for
said social questions in an inventive and entertaining way.
also really enjoy my young adult novella, Locker 222 (2016), which was
inspired by my love of 1950’s drive-in movies. It’s a lot of
nostalgia-laden fun for me and, hopefully, for similar-minded audiences.
Love, a drama about a man trying to write a story with no negativity
and only actions of love in it, is also a personal favorite. It is a
contemplation on positivity and kindness that our violent world can
novelette Weary Travelers (2016) is another favorite of my stories. It is
an inventive look into the creative process. I also really relate to the
main character, William Le Crux. He is a 74-year-old man who is still
clinging to the hope that he will be a famous writer. As someone who still
hasn’t been anywhere near as successful in my writing adventures as I
would like to, I found it easy to speak through him when penning the book.
of your stories are of the horror variety - so is horror a favourite genre
of yours, and do talk about your overall approach to horror!
has always been my favorite genre! I love the imagination and the
cathartic value of it all, whether literary or cinematic horror, by being
confronted with your deepest fears. It’s an escape from the
routine of the real world that often reflects some of the most terrifying
elements of the real world. Some of the best horror stories smartly weave
social issues into the fabric of their stories, which, as I mentioned
earlier, is a big component to my writing. Thus, horror often reflects the
fears and issues of its time. They are also often far more
character-oriented than many give the genre credit for. This
is one of the main reasons why I have always idolized Stephen King. He
almost always follows my main rule of “character’s first”. You
can’t have an effective story if you, as the storyteller or the
audience, don’t care about the characters. King knows this and he
utilizes it brilliantly. My
overall approach is almost always of the “characters first” variety.
There are times, like with The Crickets Called with Human Voices or
Rules for Monsters, where I focus a bit more on creativity.
Regardless, a character focus is always important in my material.
only other rule in my writing approach is to try my best not to recycle
ideas, especially plotlines, that I have used before. I think I’ve been
mostly successful at this.
also written a handful of screenplays, right? So what are your intentions
for those, and how does writing a screenplay compare to writing prose, and
which do you prefer, actually, and why?
I’ve had a few feature-length screenplays that I have completed. My
first finished screenplay was for Whispers in the Darkness (2012). It was
co-written by my friend from high school Russell Stiver. We are both
really into demonic possession stories, so it seemed natural that we would
do our take on the sub-genre. Stiver is also a paranormal investigator, so
he was able to use some of his firsthand experience and weave it into the
tale to make it more authentic. We
were going for a more subtle and intelligent, 1970’s psychological
thriller/character-oriented style approach to the script. I think we
succeeded. Whispers in the Darkness was a runner-up at The Great Lakes International Film Festival Screenplay
Competition in 2012. That honor was a real rush! It has been one of the
highlights of my writing journey thus far!
also have DeShawn Deathblow: Prehistoric Hunter, which I penned solo. The
idea was to combine Jurassic Park with Indiana Jones. I wrote it in 8
days. This was while I was anticipating the release of Jurassic World
(2015). While I pride myself on having a relevant social theme or emotion
to our society in most of my stories, I just had fun writing DeShawn Deathblow: Prehistoric
Hunter. I think
it shows in the finished script itself. If I had the funds for a movie, I
would’ve loved to direct it. The
finished product is on sale at Amazon as an eBook, if anyone is interested
in checking it out.
also done several short film scripts that were published on Amazon. The
Fun Family Christmas Vacation of Death (2017) is part comedy, part
horror. It is like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) set in a place that
sells Christmas trees.
short film I wrote is Cheap Schlock: The Epic, Short Film Motion
Picture (2017). It is another comedy/horror about two horror icons from
the 1930’s getting together in a house and trying to create a modern
genre effort. This is while deliberately inserting as many terror clichés
as possible into their work (with jokes aplenty about the found footage
also have the feature-length screenplay, The Cycle of 666 (2014),
available at Smashwords.com! It was my first attempt at an “evil
child” type story. That one is pure horror from the first page to the
intention with these scripts was really to get the story onto the page and
out into the world. While I am a bit sad that none of these have been
turned into actual features, due mostly to the hefty financial issues of
making a film (even a low-budget indie picture), I am glad they exist in
one form or another.
enjoy writing prose and scripts about equally. Scripts are a bit more
challenging to me comparatively because I have less experience with them
as opposed to writing a prose story. Regardless, they are both rewarding
in their own ways.
Can you take us
through the process of how you're writing a story, and do you have any
I enjoy about the writing process is how different it is every time. On
some occasions, you get a cool nugget of an idea and build the story
around it. Sometimes an entire plot will fall into your mind while you are
thinking about something else. For me, it usually happens out of the blue
as I am going about the routine of my day.
only real habit I have is to make an outline of a story once it is fully
formed in my brain. That way I can utilize all the ideas I have for it. I
feel that outlining too much ruins the story. It usually makes it hard to
write or no fun at all. This is because you are so focused on crossing off
every occurrence you have on your outline while writing the story. I
like to have enough room to surprise myself as I am writing with certain
situations that occur or ideas that bloom while the creative process is
going. That part has always been one of the most fascinating elements of
writing to me. It is like being an audience member and the man on the
stage all at once.
How would you describe yourself as a
writer, and where do you get your inspirations from?
mainly a horror author, but I am not afraid to branch-out into other
inspirations come mostly from my love of reading and movies. It’s always
fascinating to me how certain scenes, or even a vague notion, in a book or
film can bring on an entirely new story if you look at it right or think
about it long enough.
I said before, sometimes ideas just drop unexpectedly into your mind
unprovoked. All you need is the motivation to get it down on the page and
story working the story out. A
lot of the time I can be inspired to write by simply thinking about a
topic or idea and asking myself the simple question of “What if?”
who inspire you?
Stephen King has always been one of my biggest inspirations. I’ve always
admired his unique structure, character focus, brilliant imagination and
writing style as well as his ability to pull terror from everyday
also an avid reader and admirer of the work of his son Joe Hill. I
am also a huge John Grisham fan. I have always been in awe of how he can
take social themes, his firsthand knowledge of the legal system and his
effortlessly enjoyable and meticulous writing style and turn it into a
literary four-course meal every time he spins a tale. I
also adore the works of Michael Chrichton, Whitley Strieber, Jules Verne,
Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker and Dean
Koontz. There are plenty more, but those are the main ones.
You also run the review blog A Word
of Dreams - so what can you tell us about that one, and the philosophy
was born from my desire to be a critic and my love of film and books. I
review both there.
philosophy is to bring well-written and respectful reviews, primarily of
lesser known films that deserve the extra attention, to readers. I
also do an occasional interview on the site.
Since this is first and foremost a film site,
your favourite movies?
all-time favorite movie would be the original Jurassic Park (1993). It is
the film that showed me the sheer power and exhilaration of cinema. I had
always enjoyed movies beforehand but seeing Jurassic Park at the drive-in
for the first time, upon its initial release, was such an unforgettable
experience that it cemented my eternal love and passion for film. I
also love the original Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989).
They are a huge part of my childhood. Having re-watched them both recently
with my oldest daughter, I must say that after all these years they both
hold up beautifully. Like Jurassic Park, these movies are so brilliant
that every viewing feels like the first. That is the definition of “a
of my other favorite films are Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of
the Third Kind (1977), Joe Dante’s Gremlins (1984), Willian Friedkin’s
The Exorcist (1973) and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). Alfred
Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), the original
King Kong (1933) and Fritz
Lang’s masterpiece Metropolis (1927) are also top-tier pictures in my
book. I also adore Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh
Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011), Schindler’s List (1993) from
Spielberg, Eraserhead (1977) by David Lynch, Poltergeist (1982) from Tobe
Hooper and Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful (1997).
... and of course, films you
never been able to get into comic book/superhero films. Nothing against
those who enjoy those types of films. It’s just a type of picture I have
a hard time getting into.
Feeling lucky ?
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The links below
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Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
for reviews, lists and interviews.
am also on Facebook and Twitter @Moviesforlife09.
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
that I can think of. Thanks for covering so much ground! Also, thank you
for your time, Michael! I appreciate it!
for the interview!