Interview with Wade H. Garrett

How old were you when you wrote your first story?
I started writing in my late thirties. Never written anything before that, except technical documents. What I wrote turned into my first full-length novel, The Angel of Vengeance. It took about eight years to write it. When I started out, it was a way to channel my anger in a constructive manner and I never intended it to be a book, much less having it published. In fact, at the time, I didn’t even know the extreme-horror/ splatterpunk genre existed and that there was a big audience for such. My lack of knowledge of this is primarily due to me not reading fiction, so I had never heard of Richard Laymon, Edward Lee, Matt Shaw, Tim Miller, Jack Ketchum, Wrath James White, Ryan Harding, Down Cano, Sam West, etc. I do read though, mainly technical stuff due to my job, and non-fiction for personal enjoyment. In the last couple of years, I started reading the authors mentioned above, so technically, I can’t say I don’t read fiction anymore.
Who or what inspired you to write?
As I mentioned previously, I wrote to channel my anger in a constructive manner. To shed some light to why I prefer, or I could even say, take pleasure in, writing about torturing lowlifes in the most sadistic and barbaric ways, I’ll share something personal. When I was eight, my four-year-old sister, and only sibling at the time, was killed by a drunk driver. She was sitting on the curb next door waiting for a friend to come out and play when the driver backed over her, crushing her head with a tire. My mom was in the house baking her birthday cake, which was a few days away. I was at school and my dad at work. This was in the seventies, and we lived in a residential neighborhood in a small town. The street seldom had traffic. It wasn’t like she was sitting next to a busy intersection or highway. I’m not going to go in detail with the aftermath, you can probably imagine the horror our family endured. The worst part is, it was considered an accident and the jackass only had to pay a fine. Remember, this was the seventies, and driving while intoxicated didn’t have the repercussions like today.

When I was eighteen, I was living with my grandmother, who I called Granny. She was the most important person in my life. She was seventy-years-old and could have been retired, but chose to keep working. She worked at a rental company that also did Western Union transactions. Three scumbags, all AWOL from the Fort Hood military base, murdered her during a robbery. They beat her, shot her in the legs multiple times, once in the stomach, then blew her brains out. They stole less than two-hundred dollars. That was a life changing event for me, and something I thought about often for the next two decades. I had a lot of anger in those days. When I was in my late thirties, the assholes came up for parole. Their parole comes around every three years, but instead of all three coming up at the same time, they were, and still are, staggered. Meaning, jackass #1 comes up this year, jackass #2 next, Jackass #3 the following, then back to jackass #1. Each year I have a discussion with the parole board regarding one of the assholes and relive that horrible event. This has been going on for ten years. When this parole shit started, I needed to find a way to release my anger since I had to re-experience the horrendous act of three men in their early twenties torturing and murdering my seventy-year-old grandmother. I have a family, and carrying out what I’d like to do to them wouldn’t be fair to them since I’d be dead or in prison, so I started writing. Writing about things I’d like to do to shitheads like them. Out of approximately 2000 pages that I’ve written, and over a hundred scumbags that I’ve tortured, I’ve never written about them. Not sure why, but, something in the deepest and darkest parts of my mind is whispering to me, deviously insinuating I’m saving them for the grand finale, and all the sadistic torture that I have constructed in my writing is a “how to manual”. Fortunately for them, and all the other assholes I’ve ran across in my life, I have no desire to be worm food or Bubba’s bitch.

I’ve had some criticism that my first book was too much torture, one sadistic event after another, with not much storyline in between. Like I revealed, I never intended it to be published, and considering what influenced me to write should shed some perspective to that. Now I write for enjoyment since there is a market for such. I only wish I had more time to write. If I’m lucky, I might get two books completed a year. I’m planning on writing short stories between novels to help fill in the large gaps.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
A few of my friends that read my first book said I should self-publish on Amazon. I didn’t even know that was possible at the time. Once I released it, I assumed it wouldn’t be read, and if it was, it would be despised. I was shocked when it started receiving good reviews. That was a humbling experience when I realized there were others who related to it, which encouraged me to write book two. Currently, I have six books and a short story self-published on Amazon. My first and forth books have been published by Festa Verlag, a German publishing company in Germany.
How do you create your characters? Are they based on real people?
Yes, they are based on real people. The scumbags in my books are based on real life criminals, and all others are friends and acquaintances. I have a bizarre story I’d like to share regarding a particular scumbag, Kenneth Allen McDuff (March 21, 1946 – November 17, 1998). McDuff was an American serial killer. He was convicted in 1966 for murdering a 16-year-old girl, her 17-year-old boyfriend and the boyfriend’s 15-year-old cousin. The three teenagers were abducted by the twenty-two-year-old McDuff at a baseball field in Everman, TX. McDuff used a broomstick to break the girl’s neck after he raped and tortured her, and the incident is known as the Broomstick Murders. McDuff received three death sentences. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all death penalty statutes in the United States. McDuff’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In 1989, his parole board decided that he could still "contribute to society" and granted him parole. Between 1990 and 1992, McDuff raped, tortured and murdered three women. It’s alleged he killed a lot more women during this time, and the time before he was convicted for the Broomstick Murders. He was executed on November 17, 1998.

Fuckers like McDuff help fuel my anger towards the predators of society, and amplify my annoyance for our judicial system. In my first book, my main character, Seth Coker, captured and tortured the members of the parole board in a story that was loosely based on McDuff. The bizarre part of this is, my wife and I own the land where McDuff, and his accomplice, Hank Worley, had raped, tortured and killed one of his latest victims. Of course, that information wasn’t disclosed to us at the time of purchase. I have a 1976 GMC truck that I use on the farm. My father had bought it new, and I’m not sure of the reason, but it didn’t have a rear bumper. During that time, Hank Worley was into stealing and parting out vehicles. My father bought a bumper from him. I’ve never driven the GMC to the part of the property where McDuff and Worley murdered that woman out of fear the damn thing might burst into flames.
How many books have you written?
Five in my “A Glimpse into Hell” series, one kid’s horror book and one short story that author Matt Shaw published in his book, The Devil’s Guests. So far, my combined page count is approximately 2,000 pages.
Anything you won't write about?
Harming kids or animals. In my short story, Filthy Movie, I did use a fetus in the early stage of gestation. That entire story was outside of my normal character since I usually don’t write about killing innocent people. Matt Shaw invited me to write a chapter for his book “The Devil’s Guests” and not to hold back. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the shit out of pushing my boundaries, ‘cause I did. I just don’t want to be known as an author that must resort to that type of gore to get attention.
Tell me about you. Age (if you don't mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc...
Wrong side of 40, married 28 years to my high school sweetheart, and one son. I’m a building inspector, plan reviewer and instructor in the residential, commercial and industrial building industries. I hold a Texas electrical masters license, HVAC license, Texas plumbing inspector license and backflow license, a dozen or so inspector and plan review certifications and a degree in electrical technologies.
What's your favorite book you have written?
Human Cruelty because I love animals so much.
What do you like to do for fun?
I spend a lot of time in my shop designing and fabricating, such as woodworking, metal fabrication, industrial controls and integrated systems, gunsmithing, restoring, modifying and repairing ATVs, motorcycles and vehicles, making props and painting. I also enjoy spending time with my family watching TV, geocaching, metal detecting, hiking, shooting and rocketry. I spend a lot of time building on my house and working on the farm. Tattooing (getting and giving) has also become a pastime. Oh yeah, and playing pranks.
Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Not really.
Where do you write? Quiet or music?
Usually in the living room. Quiet is nice sometimes, but I am more relaxed and focused if my wife and son are watching TV in the same room. I play music on occasion, depending on my mood.
Anything you would change about your writing?
I would like to re-write my first book since I’ve evolved as a writer. At least I think I’ve evolved. But, it’s who I was at the time and probably should remain as is. I enjoy writing from the perspective of the killer, which drastically reduces the reader’s emotional bond with the victims, so I’d like to try my hand at a traditional horror story written from the viewpoint of the victims. But, I will never stray from my signature writing style since I enjoy it so much.
What is your dream? Famous writer?
Just to keep writing what I enjoy. As long as there are others who appreciate my work, I’ll continue. I know my limitations and will never be a Stephen King or Jack Ketchum. Those guys are extremely crafted. I just finished Jack Ketchum’s book, The Girl Next Door, and all I can say is, that man is a phenomenal writer and storyteller.
Where do you live?
Central Texas out in the country.
Pets?
As of now, dogs, cats, rats, mice, sheep, pigs, horses, donkeys, llamas, alpacas, ducks, roosters and turtles.
What's your favorite thing about writing?
Having others relate to how I feel about certain issues, and that my work is appreciated.
What is coming next for you?
“Insane Bastards”. I’m about two-thirds done. It’s a story about two psychopaths that escape from a mental institution and wreak havoc on the assholes of society. One is a midget and the other a large man with gigantism. The book is packed with extreme violence and dark humor. After that, I’d like to do some short stories: “Pigs”, which is about getting justice against crooked cops, “Jihadists”, fucking up ragheads, and “Critic”, a story about teaching someone a lesson. I’ve been getting a lot of requests for the sixth book in my “A Glimpse into Hell” series, so I’ll be working on that too. Also, I’m working on a book with my wife, Missy, called “Scorned”. It will have a female main character with two personalities. My wife is writing one of her personalities and I’m writing the other. These projects have their covers designed and the stories are outlined. The only obstacle now is finding the time to write them.
Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?
I don’t get bothered by negative reviews, because whatever that person is criticizing me about, another person is giving me praise for it. I know I can’t please everyone, no writer can, and what one person likes, another doesn’t. But, there is one pet peeve that I have; some folks make comments how a lot of the stuff I write couldn’t happen. I beg to differ. I spent years extensively researching medical procedures, the human body/mind, and drugs. Everything I write about I feel that I could implement. A person doesn’t just fall over dead from torture. The human body can take a lot of punishment when blood loss is controlled, blood pressure maintained, and organs performing correctly. Anyone can do a simple search on the internet and see how much trauma soldiers have endured and survived. Same is true with people involved in car wrecks. There are numerous stories of people being mutilated and left for dead by real serial killers who’ve have in deed survived.
Do you have a “day job” besides writing? If so, what do you do?
Yes. I’m a licensed master electrician, certified electrical inspector, and I have an electrical technology degree. I also hold a State of Texas Plumbing Inspector License, an HVAC license and backflow license. For the last twenty-five years, I’ve been doing electrical design, PLC programming, consultation, inspections and plan approval. I hold numerous inspector certifications and do combination building inspections. Outside of my day job, I own and operate a mechanic, design and fabricate and gunsmithing shop.
What does your family think of your books?
They are my number one fans and enjoy them as much as I do.
Who are you favorite authors and books?
Up to finishing my second book, I hadn’t read fiction since high school. I do read a lot of technical stuff and non-fiction, such as, science, history, alternative history, astronomy, forbidden archeology (opposite of conventional science, which is like a closed system with a structured belief system), and biographies of people I find interesting. Basically, I started out as a writer that didn’t read fiction, so I wasn’t influenced by anyone. My style of writing is mine. But now I do read fiction, primarily in the extreme-horror genre.
What attracts you to the horror/gore genre?
I get so sick and tired of reading about scumbags (rapists, molesters and abusers) getting slapped on the wrist, then going out and doing it again. Writing about punishing them gives me satisfaction.
How do you come up with the ideas for torture?
It just comes naturally. I even dream about it.
Do you see Seth as a hero, anti-hero or villain character?
Hero all the way.
Do you have an outline for the series or are you writing “one book at a time”?
An outline, but there will be an occasional book that will be a spur of the moment thing, just like with book 4, Human Cruelty. It was inspired by Cecil the Lion. The book is about Seth punishing animal abusers.
What are your favorite characters so far and why?
Of course, Seth Coker is my favorite. He gets to the things I wish I could. As far as others, I try to give Seth a major character in each book. He works well with others. I think it adds to the humor. In the first book, The Angel of Vengeance, Dicky had a negative relationship with Seth. It was kind of on the dark side. In book two, The Angel of Death, Wyatt and Seth became friends. It was a positive relationship. In book three, Splatterpunk, Barry had a mixed relationship with Seth. It was a love/ hate type of thing. In book four, Human Cruelty, Seth is working with Kenneth Evans. Their relationship is similar to Seth’s and Wyatt’s. I’ll be bring back Barry in book five, The Reckoning. In the future, Wyatt will be brought back as well. The reason I like these characters is because I based them on my friends. Their character, habits, traits, etc.
Seth has very strong opinions on our justice system, morals and ethics. Do you share those views personally with Seth?
Yes. I am Seth, I just don’t do the illegal stuff he does.
Has any of your torture scenes made you feel a bit queasy? If so, which ones?
Not at all. In fact, I hold back a bit. I don’t want to get too far out there and scare away my readers.
What is your favorite torture scene and why?
This is a hard one to answer. Each torture scene is special. If I had to choose one from each book, I guess the scenes with Bill in the first book, Barry in the second one, and Muff Divin’ in the third.
The “low-lifes” that Seth goes after are mostly men, why not more women?
I simply didn’t feel right about torturing women when I was writing my first two books. I wasn’t sure how people were going to take the graphic torture scenes as it was. As I stated above, I don’t read fiction, so I didn’t know there was an extreme-horror/ splatterpunk genre. To my surprise, there is a huge following of this genre, which excites the hell out of me. I get to write what I enjoy and what others want to read it. As far as the lack of women in my books, my female readers have asked me the same thing, so I added more women in my third book. Human Cruelty has some too. From here on out, I will be adding them since my female readers want more. They say women do horrific crimes as well and should be punished.
I noticed that you have a lot of women readers. Why do you think that is?
I’ve asked the same question. The answer I get back is men have been abusive to women since the beginning of time, and Seth gives a little payback.
Will Seth ever have children?
Not sure. Maybe he’ll have one he didn’t know about knock on his door one day
Is it hard to come up with new torture scenes?
Not at all. I can’t write them fast enough. And something I strive for is not to be repetitive. I’m sure one day I’ll run out of original ideas. Even with books four and five, which I have already outlined, the torture scenes are original.
Readers and reviewers point out that your stories are very flexible and act on imagination. How do you do it and are you not afraid that you will be received as a person glorifying violence?
I’ve always had the ability to see the sadistic side of human nature. I also have a creative imagination with a dark sense of humor. Combine these together with my dislike of violent criminals and you get The Angel of Vengeance, and the books that followed. Am I afraid to be received as a person that glorifies violence? No, but in some instances, I do glorify it, especially when it comes to people who prey on the innocent. Sometimes, violence is the only way to get their attention. I show respect for all people, but have no use for sorry human beings.
Do you model your style after somebody?
When I started writing, I wasn’t familiar with other extreme-horror authors, so I simply wrote what I enjoyed.
Can you tell us something about reception of your prose?
When I first released The Angel of Vengeance, I thought it would be hated. It’s been just the opposite. At the time, I didn’t know extreme-horror/ splatterpunk had such a huge following. I thought I was the only sicko. And now, I can’t write books fast enough to keep up with the demand.
Do you watch horror movies? If so, which ones do you like most?
Off the top of my head: Law Abiding Citizen, Would you Rather, Strangeland, I Spit on your Grave (2010), The Human Centipede, Hostel, Saw, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon, Jeepers Creepers, The Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Fright Night (1985), Child’s Play, Pumpkin Head, Day of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead and The Hills have Eyes.
What inspires you and gives you a kick?
Knowing there are people out there that appreciate my work and can relate to my way of thinking.
What are your favorite characters so far and why?
Of course, Seth Coker is my favorite. He gets to do the things I wish I could. As far as others, I try to give Seth a major character in each book. He works well with others. I think it adds to the humor.
Seth has very strong opinions on our justice system, morals and ethics. Do you share those views personally with Seth?
Yes. I am Seth, I just don’t do the illegal stuff he does. I’ve always had the ability to see the disturbing and sadistic sides of human nature more than the average person, and that is reflected in my books.
How long does it usually take you to complete a book?
Four to six months.
Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?
I create my own. Some I use real props that I make, then touch them up with Photoshop. Others I use Photoshop entirely. I enjoy designing my covers as much as I enjoy writing. In fact, after my first book, I created the covers before I wrote the books. And I have already created the covers for my next three books.
How do you market your books?
I really don’t do much marketing outside of Facebook, but fortunately, my writing style has brought me a lot of readers through word of mouth.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write about what you know and enjoy. And be original.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
Seth Coker is a vigilante with a dark sense of humor that comes up with the most unique and disturbing ways to punish the scum of society. Secretly, a lot of us wish we could do the stuff he does.
Where do your ideas come from?
I’ve always had a dark and creative imagination. Combine that with the enjoyment of writing about vigilante justice, and you get Seth Coker.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Not having the time to write as much as I would like.
If your books were made into a movie, whom would you cast?
These actors are based on the characters they played in certain movies. They’re based on their personality more so than appearance. Gerard Butler in Law Abiding Citizen for Seth Coker’s character. Giovanni Ribisi in Ted for Barry Moller. Paul Giamatti in American Splendor for Wyatt Carter. Terry Crew in White Chicks for Kenneth Evans. And Reese Witherspoon in Freeway for Missy.
What one person from history would you like to meet and why?
I’m going to change the question to three people from history I would like to meet. Jesus, because I have a ton of questions. Adolf Hitler, because I want to get inside his head to see what makes him tick. And Elvis Presley, because he’s the freakin’ King.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
Rid the world of violent criminals, including nuking countries that sponsor and harbor terrorist.
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
I can’t please everyone. What one person likes about my book(s), another doesn’t. It’s been a challenge in finding the perfect balance that pleases the majority.
What is one thing you hate about being a writer?
Having people getting upset from the graphic content of my books because they didn’t read the descriptions and warnings.
Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes?
My books don’t have traditional sex scenes, but they do contain extreme torture that involves sexual parts and acts. If I was writing traditional sex scenes, it wouldn’t bother me a bit.
What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?
I don’t have an issue with either one. If you create quality work, you will do well either way. For a newbie, self-publishing gets you recognized, and if your writing is original and good, publishers will come to you.
Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?
Absolutely. Indie writers have a bad stigma of putting out poor quality books. My advice is getting numerous proofreaders to help find mistakes. And even then, there will be some that slip by. Also, don’t release a book until you went over it several times to ensure the story flows smoothly.
What do your fans mean to you?
They’re the reason I love to write. It’s very satisfying knowing there are others that share my view point.
Tell us something unique about you
Almost all the technical things I write about I have experience in. I think that makes my books a little more realistic.
Published 2017-12-17.
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