Friday, April 20, 2018
Books

What's Christopher Buehlman reading?

Nightstand

Christopher Buehlman

He's a busy guy. Buehlman, 47, holds a degree in French from Florida State University. His 2014 book, The Lesser Dead, was named best horror novel by the American Library Association. His poem Wanton received the grand prize in the Bridport Prize for Poetry competition in 2007. His play Hot Nights for the War Wives of Ithaka was performed by Jobsite Theater in 2012. And, he's funny. Seriously. Buehlman, a longtime Pinellas County resident who graduated from Northeast High, spends much of the year travelling to Renaissance festivals across the United States as Christophe the Insultor, flinging insults at audience members.

When home in St. Petersburg, Buehlman focuses on writing. This month, he's seeing the release of his fifth book, The Suicide Motor Club, a creepy, otherworldly horror story that takes place on the open road. "Actually, you could forecast my career with the comic book collection I had as a kid,'' he said. "It included Mad, Creepy, Eerie, Secrets of Haunted House and Weird War.''

What's on your nightstand?

The First Law: Book Two, Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie. He's a fantasy writer.

How does it compare to the first?

It's even better. He develops the characters further, and he is very good at building the reader's relationship with characters slowly. I think what he is doing in fantasy is what I'm trying to do in horror. He has rich characters, and he grounds his fantastical situations in reality.

Can you explain that reality?

He gives you sensory details that make the set pieces real and humanize the characters. I also have another book on my nightstand ready to go, too. The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack. I have a history minor, and I love the medieval period in Western Europe, but I have a knowledge gap in much of the rest of the world.

In light of the mass shooting in Orlando, we are all dreading real-life horror. Can you speak on the place of the horror genre?

There's a reason why I write about supernatural horror, and it's because there's plenty of real-life horror in front of us every day. I don't need to add to that by writing about a serial killer or terrorists. My villains are difficult to believe in and thus more fun to dread.

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.

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