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on the
Open Mike
Mike Bullard

Talk Show

[Transcribed by Lynda Ciaschini from Mike Bullard's TV interview with Edo van Belkom on the Open Mike with Mike Bullard talk show, April 26, 2001, Toronto. The photo of Edo van Belkom (left) with Mike Bullard is reproduced by permission of Edo van Belkom.]

Mike Bullard (MB): All right, ladies and gentlemen, our next guest is currently nominated for five writing awards and he's Canada's premier horror fiction writer. Please welcome Edo van Belkom.

[Music plays. Edo walks in, shakes hands with Mike, sits down.]

MB: Now, this is great to have you here. Last night I, well, I read a couple of your books. I read—uh... [Mike looks through the books on his desk.]

Edo van Belkom (EVB): I produced many of them.

MB: [still looking for Edo's books and can't seem to find what he is looking for] Well, none of them are here. Uh, Death by Semi.

EVB: Death Drives a Semi.

MB: Death Drives a Semi. Oh, that's hugely different, huh? Also a book you edited, a compilation.

EVB: Be Afraid. Yes.

MB: Yeah. Be Afraid. That was an excellent book.

EVB: Thank you.

MB: You did a hell of a job editing it, and your own short story in there was fabulous.

EVB: Thank you. Thank you very much.

MB: You closed the book, which I really enjoyed. [The last story in Be Afraid is Edo's "To Be More Like Them."] Now people call you Canada's Stephen King, uh? You ever been hit by a car? [In 1999, Stephen King was hit and severely injured by a car while he was walking along a road.]

EVB: No. I don't go for walks much.

MB: All right. Good. Now, does that bother you? Because people often compare me to people in the U.S.A. East Canada is, you know, whatever—I don't want to say it right now because I'm on the air.

EVB: It wouldn't bother me if it came from my bank manager, but he's never the one to make the comparison.

On the one hand it's great. Any time that you can have your own name mentioned with Stephen King, that's terrific because everybody's heard of Stephen King. On the other hand it raises expectations that, "How come I haven't seen a movie of one of your works yet?" Well, it's not for lack of trying. It might happen sometime.

MB: We're in Canada, Edo. You don't want them making a movie out of one of your works.

EVB: Yeah, that's probably true, but I'd like to discover that myself.

MB: Yeah. OK. Now, one of your books, Writing Horror, tells the reader how to write good horror stories. Has it not occurred to you that that could put you right out of the business? Do you need that kind of competition?

EVB: Well...

MB: I'm helming a book right now, How to Host a Talk Show, but I'm giving them all the wrong information.

EVB: But you have talent, Mike, which someone just reading the book, they'll lack that one ingredient. That's the thing.

MB: The same holds true with you.

EVB: So many people want to think that there's a magic spell or potion. "I'll read this book and I will know how to write," or "I can do it too," but there's a lot more to it than that. In the book you can learn about basics, but there does take some talent or degree of ability.

MB: What makes a good horror story?

EVB: I could say that when I know I'll let you know, but—usually it's the emotional context. Editing these books—I've read lots of stories where people's heads get lopped off and people think, "Oh, that's scary." But that's not, in itself, scary. It's having, say, a five-year-old child standing there as his father gets his head lopped off. The emotional context that the young five-year-old's going through is the essence of the horror story—the emotional baggage that goes with it.

MB: You also write erotica.

EVB: I do. I write a lot of things.

MB: You talk about diverse, my friend.

EVB: Well, they are diverse in some—

MB: Horror and erotica are the same thing in my house, but it could be different elsewhere.

EVB: Well, the sex can get pretty scary in my house too, but a lot of people talk—

MB: It will be tonight, that's for sure.

EVB: The thing about the two genres is that they both elicit a response from the reader. In horror, you try and get the reader's hair to stand up on end, and in the erotic genre you're trying to get other things to stand up.

MB: Good. Now, you got Six Spikes here. This is one of your erotica.

EVB: Six-Inch Spikes, erotic horror stories.

MB: Why do I always leave a word out of the title? I don't know what that is.

EVB: I don't know, Mike.

MB: I don't know either. It's weird, huh?

EVB: Yes.

MB: I want you to read an erotic passage for me, but I want you to clean it up a bit for TV.

EVB: Oh, OK.

MB: So hang on a second; we'll get Tony to play a little music to go with this. OK, let's hear some of this.

EVB: "I rewarded her for following me into the bathroom by sucking on her... melons... a bit more, stimulating them simultaneously from both the outside and inside. Then I moved my hand along her firm belly, past the dark patch of neatly trimmed... oranges... and down over her... pomegranates. As always, she responded to my touch by spreading her legs as wide as they would go, opening the way for me to come inside." [From "The Terminatrix" in Six-Inch Spikes.]

MB: Thank you. I think you got a little dirty there at the end, Edo, huh?

EVB: Uh, I often go that way. I'm sorry.

MB: Let me tell you, I was getting all worked up there. That's pretty good. I'm heading right to the produce section of Loblaws as soon as I leave here tonight.

EVB: Well, it's a sexy section of the supermarket, absolutely.

MB: You bet it is.

Well, thank you very much for coming, and I wish you continued success. You've written a lot of great books and I know you'll write many more. I hope you'll come by again.

Also on this site: interviews, via e-mail, of Edo in January, 2003 and March, 2001.

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