Frank Oreto is a writer and editor of weird fiction living in the wilds of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I mostly write short stories and my work has appeared or is upcoming at The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Pseudopod, The Corpus Press anthology series In Darkness Delight, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
How did you get started writing speculative fiction (spec fic)?
I was always a storyteller. But didn’t start writing things down and trying to sell them until around 12 years ago. When my friend and fellow writer Douglas Gwilym said, “Hey man. You should write.”
What was your “hook book,” the book that first drew you to spec fic?
I remember a series of yellow cloth books. Each a collection of myths and folk tales. The Russian volume had Baba Yaga and her chicken legged house. The United States volume, had tales of Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. After that mundane stories had little appeal.
What specific genres and sub-genres do you enjoy writing and why?
I like things on the dark side, even when I’m being funny. Usually, my tales lean toward the supernatural and cosmic rather than the psychological. But in the end the stories tell me what to do. Sometimes babies get eaten, sometimes dentists take over the world. The mind is a weird instrument.
What is your favorite part about being a writer?
Creating something new in the world with just a keyboard and my weird imagination and then sharing it with people.
What is the hardest part about being a writer?
Sitting down consistently and putting the words on the paper whether you’re inspired or not. Something I’m still not great at.
What stories or authors influence your writing?
I’m a huge fan of Charles Beaumont whose fiction ran from horrific to zany but always strange.
Talk about your current spec fic novel or story and how you came up with the concept.
I try to write a Halloween themed story each year. (Not just a creepy tale but something that has an aspect of Halloween as a central theme) Right now I’m in the midst of a story where all the children disappeared after trick or treating. They come back each year on Halloween going door to door asking for treats only to disappear again when they’re through. How does the world deal with this? How does a parent?
What are tired tropes you wish you would read or write less?
I don’t believe any tropes are tired you can always breathe something new into them. I think they can limit things a bit. But working within limits can produce amazing things.
What tense and POV do you enjoy writing in?
I tend to go third person past tense. But some stories wont put up with that and I find myself in present tense.
What is your favorite internet resource for writing?
I constantly use The Submission Grinder. My all time most useful tool for organizing my submissions and finding places to send stories to.
Recommend a great spec fic book or movie that may have flown under the radar.
The Cook by Harry Kressing is a short creepy novel of food and Obsession I recommend to as many people as possible.
What’s the best way to find you online?
I can be found on Twitter @FrankOreto