A Quickie with John McNee

Nikki Noir (NN): What’s your darkest fantasy? And why will you never act it out in real life?

John McNee (JM): My fantasies are all about control. Manipulating other people––either through mind control or magic––to do things they wouldn't otherwise do and create situations that I can just sit back and watch. I'll never act it out in real life because there is currently no technology that gives you the powers of a God. But it might account for why I write. In a story, I control everything that happens.

NN: We all have a guilty pleasure. What’s the movie, television program, or music you’re a bit embarrassed of?

JM: There isn't much I feel guilty about. I definitely enjoy a lot of things that my generation might consider uncool. For instance, I'm a big fan of Cliff Richard and a committed follower of the long-running British soap Coronation Street, but not ashamed of either of those things. I do feel a bit guilty about the number of episodes of 'Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away' I've watched, though. It's a documentary series following debt collectors as they evict people from their homes. It's grimly fascinating, but it should not really be a TV show. I've also seen way too many episodes of barrel-scraping dating show/social science experiment 'Take Me Out' and its companion show 'Take Me Out: The Gossip'. If you'd seen even 30 seconds of it, I think you'd agree that's pretty indefensible.

NN: If you could collaborate with any small press author on a project, who would it be and why? 

JM: First of all, it is highly unlikely that I would ever collaborate with another author on a project, because that would mean giving up some control and, as discussed above, being in control, for me, is one of the big joys of writing. But if I had to collaborate with someone, I don't see the point unless it's someone who might offer a different perspective from me. So someone like Betty Rocksteady or Paula D Ashe who have quite different backgrounds from me and who would be likely to bring some experience or knowledge or insight to the table that I don't have. And then at the end of the project we could both go away, rewrite each other's chapters and publish completely different books.

NN: Tell us about your latest project or work in progress 

JM: My most recent publishing credit is THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS VOL 4 from Sinister Horror Company, containing my short story TEARS OF HONEY. It's about a stone idol that weeps tears of honey that, when ingested, transport you to another universe. I'm also about halfway through a novella. I've been at it a while.

NN: Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite and why?

JM: My first horror novel, PRINCE OF NIGHTMARES, is about a hotel in the Highlands of Scotland that guarantees horrifying dreams to its guests and so has become a popular destination among a certain thrill-seeking crowd. The character of Heinrich is the most eccentric representation of this––a German popinjay and pansexual sadist who gets off on extreme violence - all of it consensual, except in his dreams. I enjoyed writing him.

NN: What’s your favorite philosophical quote or phrase to live by?

JM: One of my heroes is Vincent Price (some people are already aware of this), who said “A man who limits his interests limits his life”. And I adhere to that philosophy. I maintain a healthy curiosity about life and when something captures my imagination I pursue it. I've ended up with a lot of hobbies.

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