Website & fanzine of the SF fan club USS Hudson Bay, Toronto, Canada






The Return
(to our pages, that is)

By Karen Bennett

[The following interview with author Edo van Belkom was conducted by e-mail and published in the March 2001 issue of The Voyageur.]

I gather that Teeth, a novel about a serial killer with a unique way of dispatching her victims, had a difficult time finding a publisher.

"Unique" is an understatement in this case, but yes, that's basically true. You would think that the horror genre would be one that was most eager to take chances and push the edge of the envelope, but that wasn't the case with Teeth. A lot of big publishers didn't want to touch it because of the subject matter. The closest it got to being printed by a mass-market publisher was at Leisure Books, where (I was told) the editor brought the book to the sales staff, told them what it was about and got "We can't sell that at Wal-Mart" as a response. I always thought that maybe the book wasn't good enough, but Stephen Pagel at Meisha Merlin is very enthusiastic about the book and is looking forward to standing up to any controversy it might generate.

Tell us about Six-Inch Spikes.

Six-Inch Spikes is my second collection of horror stories, and is a book I'm very proud of since collections were the things I always wanted to publish as a professional writer. The stories in Six-Inch Spikes are basically adult-content horror tales, and includes my only novella, "Yours Truly, Jackie the Stripper" (a title that plays on the famous Robert Bloch story), and the story "The Terminatrix," which has since been reprinted in Best American Erotica and the Italian anthology Latex. [Edo reads from "The Terminatrix" here.] It also has three original stories and an absolutely terrific (and very flattering) introduction by Michael Rowe. He really outdid himself. Finally, at the request of the publisher, to make the book a little more like a DVD with "bonus material," I wrote up story notes for an "About the Stories" section at the back of the book. All in all, I think it's a really good book.

Has the invitation come to appear as a guest on Mag Ruffman’s TV show Men on Women [a half-hour show which airs Thursdays–Mondays at various times on WTN]? That's an interesting and entertaining series.

I would love to appear on that show. I'd like to think with the books that I have coming out I'd be a natural for it, but such things aren't up to me. Put it this way, if they call me I won't say "No."

Have any of your novels or stories been optioned for TV or movies?

So far, only in my dreams.

Your press release announcing your upcoming books says that Writing Erotica asks, among other things, "What turns you on?" Does the ensuing advice involve "Write what turns you on"?

Absolutely. Before a piece of erotic writing can turn someone else on, it first has to excite the author. The same holds true for horror fiction, for that matter. I can't expect to scare anybody with a story if I myself don't find part of it scary. It also has to do with "Write what you know" and so, for example, if I had to write a story about people with rubber and gas mask fetishes, I wouldn't know where to start to make that sexy, because those things just don't do it for me.

How is Northern Schemers, an interview book with Canadian mystery writers, progressing?

Ah, Northern Schemers... Well, all was going well with that until Chapters pulled the rug out from under Quarry Press and every other publisher in Canada. I've interviewed about 10 authors—roughly half the book—but with the returns from Chapters cutting into every publisher's bottom line, the project has been put on hold for the time being. I could shop it around elsewhere but it would be a hard sell because every Canadian press is in the same boat and another publisher wouldn't have Northern Dreamers to piggyback the title onto, so for now I'll hope that the Indigo buyout turns things around and I can get back to interviewing mystery writers by the summer or fall of 2001.

If Writing Erotica is a follow-up to Writing Horror, what will be the follow-up to Erotica?

I had always wanted to do a book on Writing Short Stories, and that was what I first approached Self-Counsel Press to do. They said no to that, but asked me if I would be interested in doing Writing Horror. I said yes, but before I finished it I proposed Writing Erotica. They said yes to that and while I was writing that book I was asked if I would like to do Writing Short Stories. I would, but shortly after being asked, Self-Counsel Press changed its direction in terms of their writing series (as in not doing any more titles in the series) and so for now, that book is in limbo as well.

Since Northern Schemers and Writing Short Stories are in limbo, what are you writing now?

Right now, I’m writing a new novel called Martyrs for the Design Image Group, a small publisher in Chicago. The novel takes place at a Jesuit College in Central Ontario where a survey of a 200-year-old failed Jesuit Mission unearthed a key that can be used to open up a gateway between our world and hell. Many people die, some quite spectacularly, while a young Jesuit brother tries to stop the carnage. I have to turn the book in this fall and it's going rather well at the moment. I should have it finished in plenty of time to polish it up and give it a lot of Jesuit-type details. After that, I might be doing another Deathlands novel for Harlequin, or editing Be Very Afraid! for Tundra books, or doing a new horror novel. We'll see what happens.

You did several readings at the Ad Astra con in February. What readings are on the horizon?

In April I’ll be doing the Words in Whitby authors' festival, reading on a program with crime/suspense writer Gregory Ward. I'm really looking forward to it since it's sort of like the Festival of Authors set-up where you read for a bit and then someone interviews you on stage about your work. The interviewer for this festival is Ted Barris. Past that there's EerieCon the weekend of April 21st, and then the World Horror Convention in Seattle the Memorial Day weekend in May. But who knows, I might be visiting the USS Hudson Bay sometime soon.

Also on this site: interview with Edo from January 2003, and Edo's appearance on the Open Mike with Mike Bullard talk show, April 26, 2001.

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