It is said – one picture is worth a thousand words. So take a gander at this photo of Simon Wood. Looks like the guy next door, right? Clean cut, happy smile -loves his dog, Royston -just the epitome of a happy-go-lucky guy who waves at his neighbors, helps elderly women across the street, catches the ball for the kid next door and throws it back with a huge grin. Just your all-around nice guy. Hmmm. Hard to believe that open, charming smile belongs to a guy who hunches over a laptop until the wee hours conjuring murder, fear, and enough horror to make you hide under the covers. Mr. Charm here has done just that in countless short stories, four horror anthologies, four books – CRESTFALLEN’S WIDOW, DRAGGED INTO DARKNESS, ACCIDENT’S WAITING TO HAPPEN and his latest – WORKING STIFFS. Oh, and did I mention several articles in Writer’s Digest?
I’ve known Simon for quite some time – I always want to hug him when I see him. He just does that to me. But after I began reading his work…well, now I just blow him a kiss and leave it at that. See, I’m afraid of the dark. I admit it. And – well, Simon scares the hell out of me now. I mean, anyone who can come up with some of the stories he’s done – well, I’d rather stay on his good side.
But not today.
SIMON WOOD http://www.simonwood.net
EE: Scuttlebutt Station reports the real reason you moved to the U.S. was to infiltrate the Northern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America to suss out the rumors that the surplus of talent there is a result of the unique weather conditions surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. Don’t tell me your Brit handlers think that just because the climate surrounding San Fran is the key to the best French bread (Sourdough to the unenlightened) in the world might have something to do with growing creativity!
SW: I must admit I have a bread addiction. I used to travel to France for bread. Living in Breadtown by the Bay seemed like a cheaper alternative. Then I saw the house prices. I’d leave but I’ve blown all my bread on bread. That’s why I turned to writing. I’m hoping to earn enough to cover my addiction.
Oh, very clever – but you don’t fool me. I happen to have it on good authority that you’re working undercover for Ali Karim who is planning an expose for SHOTS MAGAZINE. I’ll plead for mercy in your behalf – but I can’t promise anything, okay?
EE: But then, my number one Brit spy has another version for your immigrating to the colonies. He tells me that Fergie was smitten with you when she first saw you race those single-seaters in old Blighty – and she’s still sending you flowers. How well is Julie handling this?
SW: No, I came to this country for a different Fergie, she belonging to the black eyed peas variety. Julie handles it well. She’s hoping someone will take me off her hands.
A different Fergie and black eyes peas? I’m sorry, darling…but you really lost me there. Oh, wait. I get it. Answer #44a/397/TK when being interrogated by Evil E. Yes, yes – I know all about that code being passed around Mysteryville. Like I’ve said – I have spies everywhere.
EE: So, Simon – I understand you have a thing about elephants. What does Royston think about this?
SW: Lainey, I’m not sure what you’re referring to here???
Oh, sure – use your pet name for me here will you? If you think that’s gonna soften me up and make my questions less intense – think again, baby. I don’t fall over that easy. Well, that’s not to say I can’t be had – but the price is high.
EE: I’m hearing rumbles that you plan to fly over and buzz Barbra Streisand’s beach front villa just for kicks. Guess you never heard about the guy she sued, huh? You ready for her heat? The publicity will NOT endear you to her fans. But then, now that I think of it – I doubt they read.
SW: I’m doing her the favor. She needs some good buzz after cussing out a heckler. I do what I can for Babs.
True. That’s awfully kind of you. She is getting rather long in the tooth – and I imagine her career could use a boost or two. By the way – I know a few good lawyers just in case. In fact, you could always sic Dylan Schaffer on her or John Hart. Dylan’s in South America now, but John might be willing to take time out from his next mega-hit and help out. Call me, okay?
EE: Horrorville is abuzz with talk about a certain jealous writer (name withheld for security reasons) blabbing that the reason you write creepy-scary stuff is because you’re really afraid of the dark and your therapist insists it will help you manage turning off the lights at night. Here’s your chance to squelch that dastardly rumor.
SW: Jealous people say mean things. I ain’t afraid of the dark. No night lights in my bedroom, although Royston’s eyes do glow in the dark. He makes for a great dachshund flashlight. Mirrors at night, that’s a different story…
I think I’ll leave that one alone.
EE: You’ve just rented a billboard on the freeway heading for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge – what does it say?
SW: Where’s the sodding cycle lane?
Oh, hell, Simon! That’s not fair. I wanted something profound – earth shattering – scintillating – explosive!
EE: So – what’s this I hear about you wanting Selma Hayek to sit on you lap? Is this something you’d like to share with us, Simon?
SW: Selma said, "I keep waiting to meet a man who has more balls than I do." I’d just like to know whether I pass muster.
EE: Uh, after that – I think we’ll just ease into one of my regular questions. Sound of clearing throat goes here. Which writer would you love to have all to yourself (note: I have eliminated ‘cozy’ in deference to our Head Mistress) – in a dark corner of the bar at LCC next month?
SW: Well, not all authors get the kind of advances they would like. This is where I come in. I lend a little money here, a little money there. I just request that when they pay back my generosity they include a little gratuity. So I have a number of writer friends who’ve yet to repay my kindness. I won’t embarrass anyone by saying who they are, but I’ll be needing a dark corner. The darker the better.
Gratuity? Uh, isn’t that called ‘vig’? And now that I think of it – money lenders usually have a sign outside their place of business – three balls, right? So listen up, Simon – if you took those three balls…and …well, you could call Selma then. You will keep us posted, won’t you?
After that – I think we’re out of here, folks…
But do stop by again – coming attractions include, besides the rest of my blogmates (why should they get a free pass?) – and not in the following order: Jim Born, David Corbett, Lee Goldberg, Doug Lyle, Joan Hess, Gillian Roberts, Phil Hawley, Dave White & Bryon Quertermous together!, Bob Levinson, Keith Snyder, Barry Eisler, Suzanne Beecher, Kevin Burton Smith, Ken Bruen, Lee Child and Marcus Sakey. And return engagements by …well, never mind – you’ll just have to drop in and see for yourself.
Hmmm…I just noticed I only have three women listed. I wonder what a shrink would have to say about that?