Author Interview: Rick R. Reed

Author Bio Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed’s most recent published work includes a thriller about a serial killer using a gay hookup website to find his victims called IM (Quest Books, May 2007); a tragic vampire love story set in 1950s Greenwich Village and modern-day Chicago called In the Blood (Quest Books, September 2007); and a paranormal page-turner about a psychic reluctantly caught up in the murders of two teenage girls in her small western Pennsylvania town called Deadly Vision (Quest Books, January 2008).

Other published novels include A Face Without a Heart (a modern-day version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray), Penance, and Obsessed. His horror short story collection, Twisted: Tales of Obsession and Terror was published in April 2006.

Upcoming novels include a sexy thriller called High Risk about a bored housewife who chooses a very handsome–and psychotic–stranger to come on to (Amber Quill Press, February 2008); a reincarnation love story called Orientation (Amber Quill Press, May 2008) that crosses boundary and sexual orientation lines; and Dead End Street, a young adult novel about five teenagers who form a Halloween Horror Club that takes place in a house that may or may not be haunted (Amber Quill Press, October 2008).

His short fiction has appeared in more than 20 anthologies. Rick lives in Miami, FL with his partner. Visit him on the web at

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Rick Reed: Oh yes. I have been writing since I was six years old, when I wrote my first short story. Writing is something that’s constitutional for me; it’s not what I do so much as who I am.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s. What are their titles; which is your favorite if you have more than one, and briefly let us know what they are about.

Rick Reed: My books, from most recent to first, include:

High Risk (February 2008), a page-turner about a bored housewife who has anonymous sexual encounters while her lawyer husband works. And then she meets up with a very handsome—and very psychotic—stranger and it all goes to hell. Gruesome, scary fun.

Deadly Vision (January 2008), the tale of a reluctantly psychic single mother who begins having visions into the grisly fates of two teenage girls who have gone missing in her small town. This is one of my favorites not only because it’s a suspenseful story, but because of its final, hopeful message about the bonds mothers forge with their children.

In the Blood (September 2007), a tragic vampire love story that explores the link between art and immortality. I love the parallel story lines (present day and 1950s Greenwich Village) and the characters, who are all seriously twisted.

IM (May 2007), this serial killer thriller, about a murderer who finds victims in the cyber underbelly of online hookup websites, has been one of my most popular books and is the only one, so far, to have been optioned for film.

Twisted: Tales of Obsession and Terror (April, 2006) is a collection of my scariest tales, almost all of which have appeared in various horror anthologies over the years.

A Face Without a Heart (2000 and second edition 2006), this modern-day telling of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is also a favorite. Reviews have called it a really well-done update that holds its own against the original, which is huge praise for me, because I am a huge admirer of Wilde and his body of work.

Penance (1993; second edition 2006), this horror story about street kids in uptown Chicago and the pedophile who preys on them is one of my darkest stories.

Obsessed (1991; second edition 2006), is the story of a tortured serial killer who believes he is a vampire and is one of my most roller-coaster books.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Rick Reed: In May of 2008, my reincarnation novel, Orientation, will appear. It’s kind of a horror/love story that explores whether love is possible between a gay man and a lesbian, especially if one is the “second coming” of the other’s own love of his life. In October of 2008, Dead End Street will come out, my first young adult novel about a group of five misfit kids who form a Halloween Horror Club and that revolves around a mass murder that occurred in their town.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Rick Reed: A Face Without a Heart was shortlisted for the Spectrum Award and won the website’s award for best novel of 2000. For 2007, IM and In the Blood are both nominated for Lambda Literary Awards. I’m waiting to find out if either will make it to the finalist round.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Rick Reed: I need silence when I write. It helps me slip into the world of my characters better. Music would only distract me.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Rick Reed: Surprisingly, it’s not my books, although I am proud of them. But the truth is the first thing that comes to mind is my son, Nicholas, who will be graduating from college this May.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Rick Reed: I think my characters, both good and bad, all have aspects of myself…maybe they’re all me in a way. I’m not sure I could get into their heads otherwise. For some of my more monstrous creations, that might be a scary thing to contemplate…and I wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t have the outlet of writing.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Rick Reed: I really admire Ruth Rendell, a British mystery writer, and Stephen King. Both are remarkable genre storytellers who have transcended their genres by being writers who really have something to say. I also learned so much from my creative writing teacher in college, the late Milton White, who taught me to write simply, have something to say, and the value of telling a good story.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Rick Reed: I was a lonely child and books were a wonderful escape for me. I think they helped me become the writer I am today. The whole Wizard of Oz series were great books that helped me see how writing could really take people to places they’d never been.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Rick Reed: As I said above, Ruth Rendell and Stephen King. I also really admire the work of James Purdy, Denise Mina, and Patricia Highsmith. They all explore the darker side of human nature with great respect and skill.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Rick Reed: I do watch television; I always have. It’s more of a pure escape for me (unlike reading) and I revel in guilty pleasures like game shows (Deal of No Deal), reality (Judge Judy and Project Runway) and engaging fluff (Ugly Betty). Unlike reading, I like to use TV to shut off my brain and get away from writing for a while. It has never really inspired me.

What about movies? Same as above.

Rick Reed: Movies are more like books for me. They do inspire me and I think that’s why a lot of people tell me my books would make great movies. I’ve always loved movies and I think I tend to think in cinematic terms when I write. I sort of “see” the movie of my book in my head.

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