Nick Carlson is a 24-year-old horror author residing in Marietta, GA. Since launching his writing career in 2020, he’s self-published a sci-fi/horror novel, been featured in a COVID-19 charity anthology, became a top contributing writer for the horror entertainment site Chilling Tales For Dark Nights, and traditionally published a horror novel entitled Hell’s Gulf, released in August 2022 under Temple Dark Books.
Nick and Christy met when his short story, World War C, was selected for publication in the The Unknown: A Covid-19 Charity Anthology by Twisted Souls Press.
Nick’s horror passion stems directly from his love for nature and the weirdness it has to offer. Hell’s Gulf is a direct result of his years squelching through the North Florida bays and marshlands, swatting at deer flies, evading alligators, and wrangling some of the sea’s more dangerous denizens, from stingrays to saltwater catfish to man-sized sharks. It’s this unabashed fascination with the natural world that gives Nick the inspiration and drive to create and reflect all that in his work.
How would you say you relate to the pagan or metaphysical community?
-While I don’t ascribe to any pagan beliefs, I am fascinated with the imagery and history behind it, from pre-Roman theologies to the more contemporary expressions. It is a broad system ripe for inspiration, which is important for any author, and I’ve found members of its community to be very open and willing to engage in dialogue with me. I’m always willing and eager to learn more about this community — after all, inspiration must come from anywhere and everywhere.
How would you fix the world’s problems, if you could?
-I believe if the mentality of seeing ourselves as individuals first and foremost, regardless of any of our immutable characteristics, were more widespread, at least half the world’s problems could be slashed. Having this mentality is difficult indeed, especially in a society that incentivises division and “other-ing,” so I feel the best we can do is lead by example wherever we can, because those in power right now definitely aren’t going to do it for us.
What kind of events do you have coming up?
-Temple Dark Books has been advertising at Dublin ComicCon this year and will be there again at their next session. There they’ll sell physical copies of both Hell’s Gulf and the rest of their library, along with contests and giveaways.
What concepts are you looking forward to in your new book(s)?
-There are two new concepts rattling around in my head: One is a follow-up to Hell’s Gulf set in the 1990s that further showcases the town’s history and expands upon the supernatural elements holding it hostage. The other is a completely unrelated paranormal mystery horror that involves freshwater catfish…and if that doesn’t intrigue you then I don’t know what will.
You do have a new book coming out, Hell’s Gulf, What can you tell us about it?
Hell’s Gulf is a dark fantasy/horror novel with a comically absurd edge that takes place along the briny shores of Northwest Florida. Rowan Vane, a young college Creative Writing major (aren’t they all?) finds himself stuck in the middle of the titular rural beach town on vacation with his broken family. Driven by the promise of inspiration and personal growth, he embarks on a half-baked spirit journey through the wilds to find what he’s looking for…whatever that might be. But the deeper he dives, the more he realizes he’s entangled with the town’s shadowy underside, with its menagerie of demonic creatures and its corrupt, blood soaked history. Can he break free from its grasp and emerge a better man? Or will the horrifying truth behind it all kill him?
Being half dark fantasy, Hell’s Gulf allowed me to be as unabashedly colorful as I wanted to be, incorporating elements from mythologies ranging from the Caribbean to the Celts, as well as from the ghost stories told around campfires at family vacations. Unusual for most modern horror novels is the cavalier, almost goofy sense of humor present throughout the story. From our protagonist’s self-deprecating asides to the kooky depravity displayed by the townspeople, this is a story defined by its snappy dialogue and lush, shameless descriptions. But it’s not all fun and games; it still packs enough heart, horror, and gravity to satiate any fans of the genre. In the end, amid the laughs, repulsion, and chills squirming throughout its pages, my goal was to create a story as fun to read as it was to write.
Praise for Hell’s Gulf:
“Nick Carlson has crafted a deep dive into a world of horror filled with well-drawn characters, explosive action, and surprising twists. [His] debut novel is a riveting excursion into a world best visited only in the pages of a book. Hell’s Gulf is wonderfully brought to life in this tale of men and monsters.” – David Lubar, author of Hidden Talents
“Brilliant and enchanting use of dialogue that demonizes whatever it touches…[a] rough and tough horror novel…” – N.A Battaglia
“Engaging prose, fun dialogue…the story is great, with dotted clues that fall into place towards the end.” – Ronald A. Geoby
Can people find your books online?
-Temple Dark Books is a newly-emerging indie publisher of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror based in Ireland. Since their debut they’ve put out six books between five authors (myself included) with much more along the way. They pride themselves on their high-quality output and outward marketing strategies, appearing at Dublin ComicCon’s March and August sessions this year to sign copies of their books and host giveaways for eager guests. Indie publishers and authors deserve our support more than ever, especially in today’s literary age of merges, monopolies, and lawsuits. https://www.templedarkbooks.com/
If you could offer any tips for budding writers, what would it be?
-My big piece of advice for new writers starting out, especially on the Internet, is to make friends and stick with them. Anyone can find submissions and publishers online, but networking allows you to bounce leads off each other and broaden your search beyond what your own parameters are tailored to. Social media is also emphasized in a writer’s journey, but the outlet that I find to be the most productive is Reddit. The various writing subreddits are very supportive and engaged, and you are almost always guaranteed feedback and advice when you contribute there.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us Nick. It’s been a pleasure. We wish you all the best and look forward to seeing where you go from here.
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