Peter Oliver Wonder is an emerging writer with a military background. Not only was he the winner of this year’s 2015 Spooky Short Story Contest, but his work also starts dropping onto the pro scene tomorrow with his short story, “Byron’s Bug” (Crossroads in the Dark anthology, Burning Willow Press). His first book, POW!: The Zombie Days, will be released in 2016, also from Burning Willow Press.
Down a good ale, sit back, kick your bloody-soled feet up, and take a gander at this fun chat.
JO: What is the most badass costume you’ve ever worn for Halloween?
POW: I’ve been many things over the years, but the most badass I’ve ever been for Halloween was myself. I was too lazy to get into costume, and let’s face it… I’m a fucking badass dude.
Vampires have taken over the world, and they sure as fuck don’t sparkle in daylight. Your neighbors know a guy who knows a guy who knows of a safe haven. You opt to run with them. What three things do you pack into your duffel bag first, and why?
I’ve been a fan of horror for a long time. Long enough to know that when the real vampires come we’re all screwed anyway. I’d stock my duffel with liquor, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and energy drinks. That way, if I don’t die in a shit-faced stumble to the “safe haven,” I’d have enough supplies to trade with anyone that was addicted to one of said vices.
Which is scarier: A dude’s hairy back or a chick’s hairy armpits?
This question is just wrong. As a former Marine, I’m no stranger to either. Hairy dude’s back – no big deal. Hairy chick pits – if you’ve gotten this far, it’s best to just power through it. On the plus side, these hairy pits are in close proximity to something quite wonderful.
A plague just broke out. It’s sweeping across the globe, and you’ve discovered a safe zone. The catch: You can only take three people with you. Who do you take, and why?
I would have to choose three people that mean nothing to me and hope that they are well prepared. Chances are, I’m going to just take all of their shit and kick them the hell out before I board up the doors and windows as I shut myself in for the next month or so. In the event of a plague, it’s not about who you’re with; it’s all about how well prepared you are to survive for an extended period of time without going near others.
You are gifted with the power to take away one ability/power of any one fictional monster. Which monster would you turn into a whimpering pussy, and what ability would you take away from them? Why?
I’d have to take Pennywise down and turn him into Patch Adams. I don’t care much for his shapeshifting ability, I just really hate clowns and feel the world would be better without him (if indeed he were real).
The voices in my head demand an answer to this pertinent question: Besides masturbation, what other hobbies do you partake in?
While masturbation does take up a good chunk of my time, I’m also quite fond of smoking and drinking. When I’m not doing those, or working or writing, I’m trying to appease my angry body by taking it on a run… after which, my body is further angered and demands more nicotine and alcohol.
Why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Reality sucks, and sometimes I need to escape into a world in which I have full control. Most of what I write is inspired by the events that I’ve already lived through. When that’s not the case, I really dig urban legends and I like to rework old ones or make up new ones of my own. I also draw a lot of inspiration from music. Horror stuff like Wednesday 13 and Lordi are great for getting me in the proper mindset.
I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for turning me onto them! So, which urban legend is your favorite, and why?
My favorite speaks to my inner pirate.
A young couple exit the freeway for a little bit of hot action in the forest. When they finish their business, they try to leave, but the car to won’t start.
The car is out of gas.
Homeboy takes off, on foot, to the nearest gas station as the chick fiddles with the radio. After a while, she hears an announcement that there’s an escaped mental patient with a hook for a hand in the area.
Time passes and it is getting dark outside. She hears a banging on top of the car out in the darkness. She exits the vehicle to see the psycho banging her dude’s severed head against the roof.
Add a hook hand to any story and I’m sold!
What one piece of famous writing advice do you roll your eyes at, and why?
There’s advice for writing? I’ve never really taken or sought any out. When it comes to the creative aspect, the only advice I use is “write what you know.” Everything else, I kind of hope gets caught in the editing process or never sees the light of day.
You and I were signed on with the same publisher who ended up restructuring their business model and downsizing its author roster. What helped you forge ahead in your writing career even in the face of such fuckery?
Despite such a heinous act of butt-fuckery, the thing that helped me keep my head up and keep fighting was the fact that I was signed with my (at the time) first choice publisher. After that, I had a lot of confidence in what I wrote (despite the many rejections that I received after the aforementioned fuckery). Though I never had anything put out by them, I’m grateful that they let me know that a hobby could one day pay for a beer or two.
What kinds of stories do you like to read? Which ones do you avoid?
Though I’d never write anything in the genre, I love to read recent military stories from the likes of Chris Kyle and Mark Owen and Marcus Luttrell. I like anything horror and anything sci-fi. Anything that can make me laugh is an immediate win. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily avoid anything. I just don’t have enough hours in the day to read all I’d like to.
There’s an anthology, CROSSROADS IN THE DARK, coming out tomorrow from Burning Willow Press and you’re included in it. Can you give us a little teaser of what to expect? Anything else coming up in the near future?
I’m excited for this anthology as it will contain my first piece of published work. My story includes a creepy little professor (think the guy from Human Centipede 2) and his love of insects (okay, now, stop thinking about centipedes). It’s a pretty short story, so I don’t want to give too much away, but hopefully it’ll leave your skin crawling.
Aside from that, Burning Willow Press has also accepted my first novel, POW!: The Zombie Days, which is slated for release mid-June 2016. It a story about yours truly and his best friend Kyle in the days of the zombie apocalypse (duh). It’s full of explosions, fowl language, there’s a hot girl, a mad scientist, drinking, and it’s basically an all-around good time. Horror, good comedy, and best of all, it stars ME! (As stated before, I’m fucking badass.)
And now we’ll wrap this up with the most important question of them all: Are you stalking me or am I stalking you?
Stalking is a bit of a strong word, but I must say, I love the way you’ve redecorated your living room.
Really? Aw. I’d blush but I don’t want you to see me embarrassed while I’m prancing around in my lavender boxer briefs. (They highlight the package quite well, wouldn’t you agree?)
To keep up with all POW-related things, visit him at his website.
And don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of this sweet-ass anthology, releasing tomorrow, Halloween 2015!