Richard Laymon - Biography

America's best author of chills!

Find below biographical details on Richard Laymon.

"If you've missed Laymon, you've missed a treat." - Stephen King


Richard Laymon

photo by Tom Corey



Richard Laymon was born in Chicago in 1947. He grew up in California and has a BA in English Literature from Willamette University, Oregon, and an MA from Loyola University, Los Angeles. He has worked as a schoolteacher, a librarian and as a report writer for a law firm. He now works full time as a writer.

Apart from his novels, he has published more than sixty short stories in magazines such as Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock and Cavalier and in anthologies, including Modern Masters of Horror, The Second Black Lizard Anthology of Crime and Night Visions 7. His novel Flesh was names Best Horror Novel of 1988 by Science Fiction Chronicle and also shortlisted for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award, as was Funland.

Richard Laymon is the author of more than thirty acclaimed novels, including The Cellar, The Stake, Savage, Quake, Island and Body Rides.

Richard died on February 14, 2001.



Richard Laymon - The Man and his Works
by Randall Wiggins


When Richard Laymon passed away on Valentines Day 2001 he was just beginning to gain the respect and fame he deserved as a horror writer in the United States. Laymon, after writing over thirty novels, was barely known in his home country. His fame in the United Kingdom, Australia and parts of Europe however was well established.

It was with the publication of BITE, AMONG THE MISSING and ONE RAINY NIGHT by the newly jump started horror line at Leisure books that Laymon took off in the States. AMONG THE MISSING was the first paperback to go into a second printing here.

The honor of first hardcover to go to second printing was THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW, published by CD Publications. The book was originally released in a signed, limited edition of 1,000 copies. THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW also won the Stoker Award for best novel of 2000, which was accepted by his daughter, Kelly at the ceremony held during The World Horror Convention in Seattle, Washington earlier this summer.

Other books published by CD Publications in signed editions are; CUTS, COME OUT TONIGHT, ONCE UPON A HALLOWEEN, THE WILDS (1st in CD's novella series), THE CELLAR, BEAST HOUSE, and THE MIDNIGHT TOUR.

Richard Laymon edited one anthology; BAD NEWS, nominated for a Stoker Award for 2000, which was released by CD Publications as well.

Richard's most recent CD release is NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER. He did not get to sign this edition, it was released shortly after his passing.

Richard Laymon released several books under assumed names. One, THE LAWMEN, was a western novel in the "Making Of America" series released by Dell in 1983 under the name Lee Davis Willoughby. The book has become a true collector's item and regularly fetches high dollar in very fine or better condition.

Other aliases he used were Carl Laymon for his young adult novel, NIGHTMARE LAKE and YOUR SECRET ADMIRER, Carla Laymon was used for a contemporary romance titled A STRANGER'S ARMS released in 1984 by Blue Heron Press.

He also published several beginning reader books and other young adult novels under his own name, all of which are out of print and very collectable.

Another book of note by Richard Laymon is his auto-biography/how to book A WRITER'S TALE released by Deadline Press in the United States in 1998 with a print run of 500 signed and numbered copied and 26 signed and lettered copies. Deadline also published his first short story collection, A GOOD, SECRET PLACE in 1993 which was limited to a print run of 574 signed, numbered copies and 26 signed, lettered copies.

Laymon's UK publisher, Headline released most of his fiction there and all have gone on to many printings in their paperback form. The hardcover firsts are very scarce and becoming harder to find each year. Prices run from $65 to well over $100 American.

Collecting books by Richard Laymon can be a daunting task at times. The early US release paperbacks are hard to come by and when they do show up on Ebay, Half.com or other auction sites they bring high bids. The Leisure releases and THE STAKE, released by Zebra are easier to find in new condition but do not show up in the used or second hand market very often.

This information is based on my adventures in building a Richard Laymon collection. I live in Columbus, Georgia USA and if not for the Internet I would still be searching out many of Laymon's titles.

For the avid collector who knows his/her way around the Internet finding Richard Laymon books isn't as frustrating. Ebay regularly has anywhere from 30 to 80 listings for various books in paperback, hardback and limited edition by this author.

Half.com, an Ebay company, is a good source for finding titles as well. They tend to carry the Leisure titles and a few of CD's releases but little else.

ABE.com is a veritable marketplace full of possibilities if you have the time, and the money to shop with there. Many of the booksellers list the titles at higher prices but the books are normally better condition copies than you would find on Ebay or Half.com.

Reading and collecting the works of Richard Laymon is a worthwhile and enjoyable hobby and with the proper tools and knowledge it can also be a terrific adventure.

On a personal note, the first Richard Laymon book that I read was ONE RAINY NIGHT. Up to that point I had never read a book remotely like it. Never encountered a writer who exhibited so much glee in mass murder and destruction. It was with that book that I became a Laymon addict.

I found Richard Laymon thanks to Leisure's Horror Book Club. I discovered Simon Clark, Tom Piccirilli, and Barry Hoffman through the club as well. If you are a horror fan and like t save money you would do well to join. They release two books a month to you at the cost of $3.75 each with no shipping charges added and the first shipment is always free. This offer is currently valid in the USA only.

Richard made reading horror fun for me again. His books brought new life into the horror genre for me and will always be at the top of my list for best reading. I didn't get to meet Richard in person but we did speak through his message board at the Masters Of terror web site. I've become very close to him and his family over the last eight months and was very sad for his passing. I will treasure the memory of knowing his for the brief period that was available to me. His wife and daughter are still and will always be among my closest online friends.

Richard Laymon wasn't just a great horror writer. He was a great man who loved and respected his fans, always interested in their comments and feelings. He will be remembered for this as well as his incredible talent. God bless you, Richard. We miss you.



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