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With the story 'Coffin Dirt', though, he creates a story, not a research article. And what a powerful story it is! I write notes about each anthology submission in my spreadsheet to refer to later. Next to his, I wrote: "F---ing near literary." It's horror, but it's not just horror. Learn more about the story, and Tom, now.
Q: What gave you the idea for 'Coffin Dirt'?
A: Winter itself gave me the idea. It's my least favorite holiday. Very dangerous. And much of the stuff in the story happened to people I know. That was the true inspiration for the story. The rest of it just came as I was writing it. I didn't know where it would go until I got there, but I knew that I didn't want to write an identifiable 'monster', such as a ghost or vampire. I'm not sure what Tyson is at the end, but I know he's not an illusion.
Q: You have an interesting day job: criminologist. Could you tell us more about that?
A: Unfortunately, that's a hobby and not a day job. I have a passion for unsolved crimes and like to try and solve them to my own satisfaction. The Jack the Ripper mystery is my personal favorite.
Q: Tell us about your Ripper research.
A: I've studied the Ripper case since the late 90's and have published around 20 essays on the subject. I have two books coming out in 2014. The first (due in January or February) is called The Bank Holiday Murders: The True Story of the First Whitechapel Murders and will include new evidence that I believe will cause quite a stir in 'Ripperology'. The second book, due later in the year, is called The Berner Street Mystery and focuses on the murder of Elizabeth Stride, one of the victims. Lots of myths and mysteries surround this woman and her murder and the book is intended to provide as many answers as possible. Following these I'll produce a larger, more mainstream book on the Ripper case.
Q: What made you decide to start writing your own stories?
A: Like most writers I don't think I had a choice. I was compelled to write and so write I did and will do.
Q: Who is your favorite fiction author and what really strikes you about their work?
A: At this moment I really like Dan Brown and Steve Berry. Popular novelists with a historical bent. Authors who like to explore historical mysteries intrigue me because I like to do that myself. I also love reading horror short stories and buy anthologies as well as journals. I don't like most short stories I read, but when I find ones I like they're often more powerful than a good novel. A novel is like a good nap, but a good short story is like an energy shot.
Thanks for talking to us today!
If you'd like to learn more about Mr. Wescott's Ripper research, he recently did an interview on the subject for the Jack the Ripper Investigations Blog. Click here to whet your appetite for his upcoming publications.