Horror Writers Association Blog

Interview Spotlight: Sean Patrick Traver


Happy Friday everyone! Today, Halloween Haunts catches up with horror writer Sean Patrick Traver, author of The Temple Tree & Towerseries and the recent novella, Wraith Ladies Who Lunch. Both are in print and available at Amazon.

Halloween Haunts:  As a life-long resident of Los Angeles, Sean you often set your stories, such as your recent Wraith Ladies Who Lunchand Red Witch: The Tales of Ingrid Redstone(The Temple Tree & Towerseries), in LA. Can you discuss why it is important to write what you know?

Sean Patrick Traver: Well, I figure it gives me a big advantage over writing things I know nothing about. That’s difficult. It’s also a great excuse to know and look into interesting things.

HH:  You weave fact and fiction into a believable, alternate “real” world. Will you pull back the curtain and reveal how you find and connect interesting facts into your narratives?

SPT: Finding them is not always so direct a process. Sometimes a weird bit of trivia will rattle around in my head for a long time before I find a story to use it in. Other times I’ll just seem to stumble across the right fact or idea at the right moment, synchronistically. Sometimes history suggests and directs a story, in which case it becomes a matter of crafting fictional elements to match the existing facts.

HH:  I imagine with working in a bookstore – The Iliad Bookshop (folks, go visit if you are in the Los Angeles area) – you might be a subscriber to the writerly advice to read a lot. If you are, what are you currently reading?

SPT: I’ve dialed the time machine back as far as it goes lately, to read Homer. The Iliadand the Odyssey. (Working at the Iliad, I had to eventually, right?) It’s fascinating to know these names and stories that have been handed down for more than three thousand years. I’ve also been reading contemporary novels that deal with the same characters and events. Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiadexplores the story of Odysseus’ long-suffering wife, left home on the island of Ithaca. Right now, I’m reading The Silence of the Girls, by Pat Barker, a dark and serious portrait of Trojan War captives. But my favorite new author is Madeline Miller, author of Song of Achillesand Circe, which is about the mysterious witch Odysseus meets in his wanderings. Circeespecially was a complete delight, full of magic and myth and gorgeous turns of phrase.

HH:  I’m curious, do you write every day? And, how do you quiet your internal editor voice?

SPT: That depends in part on how you define “write.” I don’t type every day, necessarily. There’s a lot of mulling and musing and staring off into space required to think a plot through, which can look like doing nothing at all. Research trips to libraries and museums and places I’m using as locations can all be a part of that effort too. I do something every day that serves to keep the story turning in my head. In answer to the second part of the last question, I guess I don’t try to quiet my internal editor voice very much, but rather try and direct it toward useful ends.

HH:  How many edits do you put your stories through?

SPT: As many as it takes, I suppose. I don’t have a set number, or even a consistent idea of what a draft is, as I like to go back and fiddle with what I wrote recently as a way to get back into the narrative. So, things are being refined and re-thought constantly as I go.

HH:  What three tips do you have for writers?

SPT: 1) Read what compels and fascinates you (not necessarily what you’re told you should pay attention to). Then try to understand why it resonates, why it attracts and works for you. 2) Read stuff aloud! It really helps provide a sense of how everything is flowing. 3) Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

HH:  Lastly, Sean where can people find you on social media?

SPT: You can find me on Facebook at Sean Patrick Traver, Author; on Instagram at seanpatricktraver; or on Twitter @SPTraver. I’ve got two new pieces of work coming out shortly: the first volume in a series of novellas titled Brujachica, The Education of a Witchwill be released on Oct. 29thfrom Omnium Gatherum Publications. I also have a story called Indica Asterion & the Wizard of Ozymandias in 18 Wheels of Science Fiction, a new anthology coming from Big Time Books on Nov. 4th.  I’m sure I’ll be plastering the internet with news about both, so please connect!

HH:  Sean, thank you for your time and much continued success to you!


TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Whether you are storing research, carrying your stories on the go, impress others with an HWA branded USB stick. Don’t forget that your comments will enter you for today’s giveaway, but also our grand prize!

4 comments on “Interview Spotlight: Sean Patrick Traver

  1. Cool interview! I’ve got some reading to add to my to-read list. Really intrigued by horror set in L.A. because, to me, it seems like such a non-horror place, but I’m also fascinated with the city (and I teach a class analyzing L.A. in my freshman comp class). Really interesting, as well, how contemporary fiction can respond to and reinvent the classics.

  2. Joanna, I have read Sean’s “Red Witch: The Tales of Ingrid Redstone” and “Wraith Ladies Who Lunch” and I think you would enjoy both, especially the latter, which is a novella and set primarily in LACMA and Miracle Mile.

  3. Thank you for the writing tips and insights into the craft. We will have to read some of your work too.

    I’ll have to refresh on the Iliad and Odyssey for sure now.

  4. Very fun interview. Thank you!

    I especially like the information on modern takes on Homer and about your own writing process.

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