Our next author spotlight, continuing with contributors to A Darke Phantastique, shines on Don Webb.
“Lovecraft’s Pillow” is about, well, you know what it’s about!
Edgar Wagner’s son Mike had come out as gay, and Edgar could handle that, he really could. Mike also decided to leave Stanford mid-semester and live with his lover. Edgar’s wife of twenty years asked that “they take a break.” Edgar’s doctor was not happy about his blood pressure or his bad cholesterol. Edgar’s latest novel Those Outside had a mixture of a couple of bad reviews—and worse still NO reviews from some of the big newspapers that had lauded him for the last decade. There were big stacks of the book at various dealers tables at World Horror, and the adoring lines of fans asking for an inscription had died down to the few asking for an autograph as a possible E-bay investment. Edgar was wondering what it would be like to go back to teaching at his age.
It was fall and it was Providence, Rhode Island so it meant that every other panel Edgar was on had to do with Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937). Every writerly virtue (‘My god his imagination!’) and every writerly vice (‘Do you really need to use the word eldritch twenty three times in one story?’) of Mr. Lovecraft was being discussed again and again. But Edgar Scott Wagner was not getting the panel he needed. He needed the panel called ‘What do you do if you have an idea for four horror novels and you are writing your ninth?’ It was late afternoon and Edgar walked out of the hotel and took off his badge and headed downtown. He always loved to walk. There was lots of walking in his books. He wrote a novella about walking, called “Walking” which (as almost every reviewer pointed out) owed a great deal to Stephen King’s The Long Walk. There were four things that Edgar Wagner loved: walking, pawn and thrift shops, history, and horror stories.”
“The theme and title of this story was suggested by Stephen King. I wanted to take the idea of Lovecraft’s pillow away from the obvious dreams of Cthulhu sort of thing, and deal with I feel was the most frightening part of his psyche—his materialist atheism. Also, with over 300 published short stories, I’ve shared book covers with most of the humans writing here—except Mr. Bradbury, who one time helped to heal the wounded pysche of a dear friend. It’s a long story: ask me about it at a convention sometime. By the way, writing for anthologies is my drug of choice; editors can find me on Facebook.”
Don Webb has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, the Intentional Horror Guild Award, and the Rhysling Award, among others. In addition to a surprising number of awards and nominations, Webb has written
twenty books ranging from computer security, poetry, mysteries, and avant-garde fiction. His latest works are Through Dark Angles from Hippocampus Press and Beyond the Seven Labyrinths: A Rhinestone Manifesto from Oneiros Press. He teaches creative writing for UCLA Extension and lives with his lovely wife and two spoiled cats in Austin, Texas—or, as O. Henry called it, “the City of the Violet Crown.”