Coy Hall lives in West Virginia with his wife, and they share a home with a clumsy Great Pyrenees. He splits time as an author of mysteries and horror and as a professor of history. His short stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies and magazines.
His first book, Grimoire of the Four Impostors, released in 2021 from Nosetouch Press. His second book, The Hangman Feeds the Jackal: A Gothic Western, released in 2022.
History has influenced his writing, with many of his stories set in the distant past – sometimes the real past, sometimes an imagined one, but most often a mix of the two.
Welcome to my favourite section of the blog. Today we are accompanied by the horror author Coy Hall, whose book The Hangman Feeds the Jackal we are reviewing.
Let’s dive in!
1.- When did you start writing?
I began writing seriously when I was 18. I wrote my first novel, which will never see the light of day, then. I published my first short story in 2008, when I was 22. I haven’t stopped writing since.
2.- What made you decide for the horror genre?
I was drawn to horror as a reader long before I began to write. My love of horror stories and movies didn’t let go, so I gravitated in that direction. I want to add my voice to a tradition I admire.
3.- How was the query process for such a special genre as Horror it is?
With horror, there are many markets, large and small. I begin with an open call for submissions from a publisher and proceed from there. So far, my books are with Nosetouch Press, and my relationship there started in 2016 when I had a short story called “Wasp Wing” in their anthology Wax & Wane: A Gathering of Witch Tales. I then had a story called “Sire of the Hatchet” in their anthology The Fiends in the Furrows (2018). Then a story called “Hour of the Cat’s Eye” in The Fiends in the Furrows II (2020). Grimoire of the Four Impostors came in 2021, and then The Hangman Feeds the Jackal in 2022.
4.- Could you tell us more about Grimoire of the Four Impostors?
Grimoire of the Four Impostors is a collection of six horror tales, all linked, and all set in 17th-century Europe. Taken together, the stories form a larger occult puzzle. The book is layered with occult symbolism and messages for the reader to discover and decipher. I had fun with that.
5.- Why did you decide to choose a western location for The Hangman Feeds the Jackal?
I’ve been writing western short stories on the edge of the horror genre since 2010. That’s when I created the character Elijah Valero. His first story was published in an issue of Big Pulp. I went in this direction because, as a historian, I’m fascinated by the mythology of the American West, and how the mythology contradicts history. I confronted that in the novel.
6.- Which challenges would you say appeared in the process of writing some of the mentally sick characters of The Hangman Feeds the Jackal?
Getting into the mind of Elijah Valero is a painful experience. To see the world as he sees it isn’t pleasant. I wanted to bring sympathy to the character, but I wanted him to be an agent who moves the story, who makes an impact, not just a victim for whom the reader feels pity. I wanted him to be more complex. So that internal struggle was tough to carry as I wrote. The same can be said for Felix. He’s a young man who is mentally ill, but where Valero is older and fighting to do the right thing, Felix is young and willfully going to the other end of the spectrum.
7.- Which ones are your favourite horror plays (any medium)?
When it comes to that, I’m classical. Dracula as a novel, as a play, as a movie, as an audio drama, as an adaptation, or as variations on the theme—that’ll always be the best to me. I love gothic stories in general, so my reading and viewing tastes go in that direction. My favourite adaptation of Dracula is the 1931 film starring Bela Lugosi.
8.- What can we expect from Coy Hall in the future?
I have four books releasing in 2023. The Spanish translation of Grimoire of the Four Impostors will be released. That’s exciting for me. I’ll have a short story collection releasing in March called Scourge of the Flesh Devils: Tales of Pulp Horror. In September, I’ll have a new novel out called The Promise of Plague Wolves. It’s a horror novel set in 17th-century Austria. And after that, I’ll have my first mystery novel released. No firm date on that one yet, but the novel is called A Seance for Wicked King Death. It’s set in the 1950s.