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RLK! EXCLUSIVE interview with the Editor of The Spook, Anthony Sapienza:

October is fright month, so RLK! is thrilled to bring you this RLK! Exclusive interview with Anthony Sapienza, editor of the terrific online magazine, THE SPOOK. This is one of the classiest thrills-and-chills magazines we've ever seen and you should do yourself a favor and download the issues you've missed now! And, even better, it's free! Below we talk with Anthony about all things Spookish.

Richard Laymon Kills!: G'day Anthony, it's an honor to finally get the chance to interview you.

Anthony Sapienza, editor of The Spook: Thanks Steve, itıs an honor to be here.

RLK!: The Spook magazine went live on the Internet with the first edition in July this year. It was met with great reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations. How did it feel to be the editor of The Spook after uploading your first issue?

TS: Great. Iım still mowing my own lawn, taking out the trash and walking my own dogs, so the success hasn't gone to my head. But seriously, itıs quite a thrill that weıve had so many downloads strictly through word-of-mouth.

RLK!: And the praise has continued with the second and third issues. How are you feeling now?

TS: Responsible. The most important thing for me now is that each issue get better and better as time goes on. I have a lot of great ideas up my sleeve and the people behind The Spook are being great sports about helping me pull some of these things off.

RLK!: What sort of feedback have you been receiving?

TS: Iıve been getting some great feedback from all parts of the world and it's especially satisfying to hear from readers from places like Asia, Australia, England, Romania - but I also welcome any criticism as well...it will only help us make The Spook stronger.

RLK!: Okay, let's take a step back; tell us about the origins of the magazine. How long have you been working to get this baby out into the world?

TS: Well, lots of research and homework went into the project, but I would say it took about four months of experimenting before the actual first issue came out. The biggest consideration was the download size for those with dial-up service but as with television when it first came out, only a few people had a TV set and the market was a bit limited. As time went on, just about everyone had a TV and the possibilities became limitless. Same situation here. Once Internet technology allows everyone high speed access virtually everyone can download The Spook in less than a minute.

RLK!: You've got big name horror writers supporting you too. Poppy Z. Brite, Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell...the list is almost a who's who of horror. That's a great achievement. How did you net such big fish?

TS: Honesty and integrity--plus promise of a great layout. You should have seen the worms we used though.

RLK!: One of the great chasms between horror magazines and "mainstream" mags in the past has been horror's lack of "style". I have to think all the way back to the 80s and Twilight Zone Magazine for a magazine that published horror but was also funky and stylish in layout. Now, The Spook takes style to another level. Finally we have a magazine that sits up there with The New Yorker, Vogue and Vanity Fair! Was this a conscious decision on your behalf, or did it just happen that way?

TS: Absolutely. Those magazines have had a big influence on how I wanted The Spook to look, so itıs a great compliment to be compared to any of them let alone the lot.

RLK!: The Spook also serves up a variety of interesting articles as well. Between the stories there's cooking articles, movie and video articles, news and views and more. It's a very rounded four course meal for the hungry horror fiend. Is this balance a hard one to keep?

TS: Not at all. I believe that fans of the fiction have other interests as well and we are just trying to present that well-rounded balance. It helps to have the humor of guys like Frankie Frog Eyes and Vinny Vacarro, who are very much like The Sopranos with computers at their fingertips.

RLK!: Walk us through a normal day for you at work...

TS: I walk into the office around noon and holler "Blanche, Where the hell is my coffee!?" Then I remember that there is no Blanche and pour a cup myself. I spend the next five hours sorting out all New York business, and then grab a bite to eat. The next four hours is dedicated to new material and research followed by all my west coast phone calls (California is three hours behind us). Quite often I'll work the deadline weeks till 4 am at which time I can call guys like Ramsey Campbell in the U.K.--which is five hours ahead in the time zone. Then at around 6 am, I'll go home and try to sleep a while.

RLK!: What were you doing a year ago?

TS: Getting a lot more rest!

RLK!: Where do you see horror market going in the next 5 years and where do you see The Spook in the scheme of the market for that time period?

TS: Well, I canıt speak for the horror market itself, but what I hope to accomplish is to introduce the great writers of this genre to a wider range of readership and marketability.

RLK!: If you weren't editing The Spook, what job do you think you would be doing now?

TS: Making movies.

RLK!: If you found yourself shipwrecked on a desert isle (without the Skipper or Gilligan...or Mary-Anne, for that matter) which book and which film would you most like to have with you?

TS: If Mary-Anne or Ginger werenıt there, then I would probably want Basic Instinct with Sharon Stone but considering I may break the pause button anything by Martin Scorsese, Francis Copolla or Federico Fellini would suffice. As for a book? Thatıs a tough one. My current favorite is Jonathan Carrollıs The Wooden Sea. Itıs a masterpiece. Of course now none of my writers are going to talk to me ever again - gee thanks Steve.

RLK!: If you were to star in a remake of a b-grade horror flick, which would it be and who would you play??

TS: 1939's The Return Of Doctor X. I would play Bogart's role.

RLK!: Can you spill the beans on some of the surprises you have in store for future issues of The Spook?

TS: Well as you probably know, this October we are going to choose a person at random from our mailing list to win a trip to New York to interview a Bond Girl (Caroline Munro). We do have some big names in fiction lined up for upcoming issues, but I really canıt tell right now. However, I can let you in on a really cool deal. Flo and Eddie of The Turtles and Frank Zappaıs Mothers Of Invention will have their own thing coming up in the next couple of months. If you saw the film 200 Motels, youıll know what I mean when I tell you we are going to let these guys loose in their very own column. In fact Iıll be interviewing Howard Kaylan (Eddie) at about 3 am this evening about the time when Zappa and The Mothers were playing at The Fillmore East and John Lennon walks on stage and begins to jam with them - (read it in the this issue of The Spook.)

RLK!: Anthony, thanks for your time and good luck with future issues of The Spook.

TS: Thanks Steve. It was great to be in Australia! And as Crocodile Dundee might say: "That's not a magazine, mate - this here's a magazine."

You can download all issues of The Spook from The Spook website at www.thespook.com.
Remember, each issue is free!





SPOOK BACK ISSUES

Special
September 2001

Reflections on the events of September 11 by Arthur C. Clark and other friends of The Spook.

Issue No. 3
September 2001

John Humphreys. Fiction by Dennis Etchison, Damon Knight, John Shirley, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Plus a special New York Stories section

Issue No. 2
August 2001

Poppy Z. Brite. Fiction by Dominick Cancilla, Jack Ketchum, Joyce Carol Oates, Norman Partridge

Issue No. 1
July 2001

Linda Blair. Fiction by Poppy Z. Brite, Ramsey Campbell, Dominick Cancilla, Stephen Mark Rainey, Santino Zephanya. Also, A Look Behind the Curtain with Alex Shoumatoff





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