It’s my tremendous pleasure to interview Mike Lester, an accomplished author with work both long-form and short-form to his credit and who is a fellow contributor to Wrapped in Black: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult!
Michael: Wrapped in Black is an anthology of stories about witches and the occult so let’s get right down to the meat: do you believe in magic and the powers of those who claim to practice it? There’s no wrong answer, of course, but if you say yes and then don’t tell at least a little of the story I am going to be serving some serious side-eye.
Mike: I do believe in things unseen and higher powers, however, I do not believe that humanity has the ability to harness or practice any kind of “magick.” There is always a puppet master pulling the strings. We are merely the puppets.
Mike: Horror? Because I am a realist. The horror genre is the only real, true-to-life genre. Anything else is pure fantasy.
Michael: As writers, we’re supposed to be tired of being asked where we get our ideas. (Personally, I love hearing myself talk.) Thus, I’m not asking that: I’m not asking from where in your brain your ideas come (unless you want to tell me). Instead, I’m curious as to whether there’s a physical location or activity you find particularly helpful. For my part, I go running when I need ideas. There are specific trails and dark wooded places where I can put my body to work on that repetitive task and my brain will eventually start coughing up inspiration.
Mike: Before I started writing I used to love to go on midnight walks. I loved the dark, empty streets with only the sound of far-off sprinklers hissing in the park or the wind through the trees for company. My mind used to wander. Now, I sit in my favorite chair in my library/bar. That seems to do the trick.
Michael: What work (horror or otherwise) do you most wish you had written, and why?
Mike: Anything by Robert Aickman. The man was a genius.
Michael: You and your favorite writer are stuck in an elevator while repair crews try to rescue you. What do you ask them? Do you have a grand time together or do they eagerly anticipate their escape?
Mike: I imagine we would both want to escape as quickly as possible. Writers in the company of other writers may be cordial at first, but, like magnets with a similar charge, they soon repel each other.
Michael: What’s next for you? How can we keep up with your goings-on?
Mike: This is a mystery. I’ll keep scribbling on my yellow legal pads, buying or stealing new pens as I must, and posting movies to my blog, www.saturdaysinema.com.