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Nerding Out with Kristopher Rufty

Kristopher Rufty writes the kind of books I like to read (see PILLOWFACE conversation below). His latest novel DESOLATION is arguably his best work to date, a psychological horror tale that is twisted and heart-wrenching. This book will haunt you, and not in that creeped out spooky sense. It will carve much deeper than that.

I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Krist during HorrorHound weekend in Cincinnati last year. Krist signed a shit-ton of books for me while we nerded out over our favorite horror films, slasher flicks in particular. Some of the questions that follow expand on these topics.

Enjoy this horror nerd out session.

DESOLATION synopsis and purchase links can be found after the interview.

Duane:  The emotional core of DESOLATION is the shattered dynamic of the Marlowe family. I had to put the book down during some of the more tense family interactions. I barely flinch at the bloodiest of gorefests, but the emotional cuts in this novel go pretty deep. I imagine it must have been draining to write these scenes. Does writing scenes of such complicated sadness impact your process and, if so, what do you do to return to a happier place?

Krist: They do affect me, greatly. Especially with this book. I’d be depressed, physically drained, by the time I was finished writing for the day. If I wrote at night, I had nightmares when I went to sleep. It was a rough, but compelling experience, writing DESOLATION. During the process, the daily writing, I’d spend time with my family to come out of the funk. They helped, a lot. Just talking with them, or sitting in the room while my oldest son played video games, watching how much he enjoyed it. Date nights with my wife, going out, or staying home and watching Netflix also helped.

After the book was done and turned in, I had to work on something that was more fun and less dark. I wrote BIGFOOT BEACH. I needed something like that to help me recover from the emotional brutality DESOLATION had been.

But I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy writing the book. I did. I enjoy writing anything. But it was just so abusive to me at times that it was hard to get back to it the next day.

Duane:  I’m a huge fan of your novel PILLOWFACE. I worshipped the 80s slasher icons when I was a kid. They were my heroes. My reasoning was that if you could domesticate someone like a Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, you could mold them to be your best friend and personal bodyguard. Jason and Michael could beat up anyone. They were indestructible. And they were scary. I suppose the intimidation factor played a big part in why I thought these madmen were so cool. PILLOWFACE captured all of that fantasy, but now fully fleshed out in front of me in novel format. Boy meets psychopath. Can you elaborate on the origins of this story?

Krist:  What’s funny is the initial idea stemmed from very much what you just mentioned. As a kid (and still as an adult), I loved Jason Voorhees. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Myers, Kruger, and Leatherface as well. But Jason…he was just something special. I know to anybody else, that makes me sound like a weirdo. Horror fans understand what I mean by that, though. I loved to cheer on Jason, to see how he would dispatch teenagers and how the final girl would dispatch him in the end.

I grew up in the sticks, on an old dirt road. We had a large yard with an even larger field behind it. Many summer days were spent mowing that yard. My dad also had me mow the field once a month. One hellish summer day, filled with crushing sunshine on the back of my neck, I worked on cutting the field. As I rode around on the tractor, I stared at the woods. I pictured Jason Voorhees stumbling out of the woods, wounded from a battle. In my heatstroke fantasy, I nursed him back to health, and in doing so, we became great friends.

That idea stayed with me. I wondered what would REALLY happen if a young horror fan and aspiring special FX artist was introduced to something straight from the movies he adores. I believed he’d be star-struck, and that would make him blind to the danger he was in until it was too late.

PILLOWFACE still might be the most fun I ever had writing a book. It flowed out of me quite easily, and usually with a smile on my face.

Duane:  What is your all-time favorite slasher franchise, and what are your top three entries in said franchise?

Krist:  FRIDAY THE 13th, without a doubt. And my top three would have to be 1, 4, with 3 and 2 tied. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series comes in at a close second.

I also am a big PHANTASM lover, although I know they’re not “slasher”. I may get some flak for this, but part 2 is my favorite, with part 1 coming in second and part 3 in third place.

Duane:  How about your favorite non-franchise slasher flick?

Krist:  The Mutilator, Madman, The Burning, My Bloody Valentine, House on Sorority Row, Final Exam, Don’t Go in the Woods…Alone, The Prey, The Dorm that Dripped Blood. Of course the Halloween series, and so many more. All those tie for my favorite!

Duane:  If you could play around in someone else’s yard, i.e. write fiction for an already established franchise, which fictional property would you pick and why?

Krist:  I’d love to do an F13 novel or script. I’ve had an idea for a sequel for a long time that I think would be fun to do. But to play around in other worlds, I might have to pick writing some comics. I’d love to work on THE PUNISHER or SPIDER-MAN. Maybe even resurrect the old DARKHAWK series from Marvel. Or do a run on MAN-THING.

I love comics. They really got me into reading when I was younger. I bought my first comic book when I went into a gas station to buy the latest Fangoria. This was in 1989. They were sold out of Fangorias, so I bought three comics. Two Spider-man books and one AVENGERS. I’ve been reading comics ever since.

Duane:  What would your dream film collaboration be between two different artists, be it director, actor, writer?  I’m talking about a teaming of talents from any era.  Envision, in an alternate-universe, Hitchcock directing Scarlett Johansson in a psychological thriller.

Krist:  That’s a really hard question. I could sit here and talk your ear off about the “what if?” factor for days. I would like to see what Lloyd Kaufman could do with a very large budget. Or let Trey Parker and Matt Stone take on something outside the norm for them.

Duane:  Zombie Apocalypse Team: You get to pick 3 fictional characters from ANY universe to be part of your zombie apocalypse team of survivors. The only stipulation is that they have to be human, without any supernatural powers or abilities in the paranormal, psychic, or magical arts. Who do you pick?

Krist:  Daryl Dixon (naturally): The man has survived a long time in the zombie apocalypse and has mostly kept his head together through it all.
The Punisher: He has no supernatural powers and is a weaponry master.
Miss Kay Robertson: Yes, from Duck Dynasty. She can make anything into a fine meal. She’d be great to have when food choices are scarce. 


Desolation, Synopsis

Samhain Horror
PAGES: 266
ISBN: 978-1-619233-09-6 Trade Paperback (List: $15.95)

There’s no escaping your past. Especially when it wants revenge.

Grant Marlowe hoped taking his family to their mountain cabin for Christmas would reunite them after his alcoholic past had torn them apart, but it only puts them into a life and death struggle.  On Christmas Eve, a stranger from Grant’s past invades the vacation home and takes his wife and children hostage. His agenda is simple—make Grant suffer the same torment that Grant’s drunken antics have caused him. Now Grant must confront his demons head on and fight for his family’s lives. Because this man has nothing left to lose. The only thing keeping him alive is misery—Grant’s misery.

Biography, Kristopher Rufty

Kristopher Rufty lives in North Carolina with his wife, three children, and the zoo they call their pets. He’s written various books, including The Vampire of Plainfield, Jagger, The Lurkers, The Lurking Season, The Skin Show, Pillowface, Proud Parents, and more, plus a slew of horror screenplays. He has also written and directed the independent horror films Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood. If he goes more than two days without writing, he becomes very irritable and hard to be around, which is why he’s sent to his desk without supper often.

Praise for Kristopher Rufty

“Kristopher Rufty is the demented reincarnation of Richard Laymon!” --Jeff Strand


A Dark Autumn is a wild gender role reversal of ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ with gonzo nods to Norman Bates and ‘Friday The 13th’ thrown in for good measure. Kristopher Rufty delivers the goods yet again.” --Bryan Smith, author of Kayla Undead and The Late Night Horror Show


“A creepy, gripping tale of horror. And it’s got one of the best death scenes I’ve read in a long time!” --Jeff Strand, author of Pressure and Dweller


“A powerhouse debut novel. Rufty’s prose will suck you in and hold you prisoner!” --Ronald Malfi, author of Floating Staircase and Snow


“An occult thriller with a new twist. Rufty juggles captivating characters, breakneck suspense, and insidious horror in a macabre story that will leave you feeling possessed by the end of it. Next time you think about taking that old Ouija board out...forget it!” –Edward Lee, author of Lucifer’s Lottery and City Infernal


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