McCarty: Growing up, I was a dedicated fan of a show out of Pittsburgh called Chiller Theater with Chilly Billy Cardille. My mother and I would make a Chef Boyardee pizza and cuddle up on the couch to watch the Saturday night creature feature. I spent my childhood soaking up those wonderful old scary movies about werewolves, vampires, mummies, zombies and aliens. Just writing these words calls to mind that distinctive introductory riff of the show’s theme song and brings a nostalgic smile to my face. Later, in my teen years, I discovered wonderful horror authors like Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Peter Straub.
TAMI: Do you ever have nightmares related to monsters and has that changed since writing the book?
McCarty: I’ve dreamed scary stories since my early childhood, fueled by my Saturday night viewing habits, no doubt. I can still remember several of those dreams vividly, especially the ones featuring the same monsters I had just watched the previous weekend. To this day, when I’m feeling particularly stressed, I dream about the living dead. Sometimes, I dream a story that I think I should write, but I have yet to do it.
TAMI: How did you come up with the title?
McCarty: Well, at first it was a working title. You know, the kind you just make up off the top of your head the first time you save your work on the computer. The more I wrote, the more I realized that “Monster Story” was the only title I could possibly give it, because that’s what this book is; it’s a good old-fashioned monster story, where the creature is scary and terrified humans band together to save themselves from it. Readers won’t find any cross-species love stories in this book. The werewolf, even in his human form, is quite monstrous and I guarantee that most readers will be rooting for the main characters to destroy him.
TAMI: Which character in your book do you relate to the most and why?
McCarty: I relate to every single one of them, even the monster. I guess maybe that’s because I believe that every character a writer creates contains at least a small part of that writer’s psyche, and many times a whole lot more, whether they’re the “good guys” or the “bad guys.” I think every person has at least a tiny bit of villain somewhere inside. Most people wisely suppress those traits, sometimes with great effort, depending upon the individual. Writers are lucky in that they get to exorcise those villainous parts of their souls, through the creation of characters who can do and say all the terrible things most of us might briefly consider in a dark moment of anger, before sanity kicks back in and our civilized psyche reasserts itself. Writing a truly evil character can be surprisingly therapeutic.
TAMI: What would you say was the most interesting thing you learned from writing this book?
McCarty: I learned that even though I’m the one writing the book, and the person from whom presumably the characters spring, sometimes I’m surprised by how the plot and characters evolve, and what the characters sometimes do which is completely “out of character” for them. At times, Monster Story took on a life of its own, almost as if I wasn’t so much writing it as I was channeling it.
TAMI: If you had to do it all over, would you write this particular book again? Why or why not?
McCarty: Yes, of course I would write Monster Story again, because it was a lot of fun. I just love a scary story, whether it’s a movie or a book. Turns out I enjoy writing them even more than watching or reading them. And surprisingly, although perhaps not to other writers, I grew emotionally attached to many of the characters, especially Christy and Graeme, and felt a little sad when the story was finished, as if I were saying good-bye to old friends.
TAMI: If you were going to describe your targeted reader to a police profile artist, what would that reader look like?
McCarty: Okay, now that’s a hard one, because I’ve never really tried to target a specific type of reader. I’d like my story to have such a broad appeal that no such profile could ever be created. Is that asking for too much, for every reader to like my story?
TAMI: Please share your website URL and social media contact information.
TAMI: Please share anything else you would like my subscribers to know about.
McCarty: I have a novella called Half-Inch on Smashwords.com and will soon publish a young adult book called The Tribe. I am currently writing a futuristic sci-fi called Sub.
My books are also sold at Diesel, Kobo, Sony, Apple and Barnes & Noble. I hope they will soon be sold at Amazon.