Combining horror and comedy in such a way that neither overpowers the other is a delicate operation, but it’s something author Jeff Strand has demonstrated time and again he is a master of doing with surgical precision.
Of course, it helps that the man is seriously demented. Really, how else can you describe someone who has written books with titles such as Socially Awkward Moments with an Aspiring Lunatic, Casket for Sale (Only Used Once), How to Rescue a Dead Princess, and Werewolf Porno (yes, you read that right)?
Well, actually you can also describe him as extremely talented (he’s a two time Bram Stoker Award nominee – he keeps losing to some dude named Stephen King) and criminally unknown to mainstream audiences. Which is why I’ve chosen to give thanks that I am in the know about Strand’s work and to spread the word about his writing by making this Jeff Strand Week here on Musings of an All Purpose Monkey.
Jeff didn’t always want to be a writer. Initially he wanted to be a cartoonist, and spent the early part of his youth “drawing Spider-Man comics, violating copyright law left and right without a smidgen of guilt.” Eventually, however, the realization that he couldn’t actually draw very well settled in and he turned his attention to writing.
Jeff’s first story, featuring the adventures of Falstaff the Fearless, was published while he was in fifth grade, and adults undoubtedly found young Jeff’s homage to Shakespeare quite impressive. Unbeknownst to them, however, the character was not inspired by the Bard but rather Jeff’s Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook. He eventually found his own creative voice, and upon graduating from Bowling Green State University with a degree in creative writing started in earnest on his quest to break into the ranks of published authors.
Though it’s not always been an easy road (I highly encourage you to check out Jeff’s full bio. It is a work of art in itself and one of the funniest things you’ll ever read.), Jeff is now the author of over a dozen published novels. Along the way he married Lynne Hansen (author of dark fiction for teens) who, fortunately for him, shares Jeff’s love of all things horror. Felines Pandora and Mayhem graciously allow the Strands to share a home with them in Tampa, Florida.
As I’ve been a fan of Jeff’s work for quite some time, there are already several reviews of his work here on the site: Dweller (The surprisingly touching story of a boy and his homicidal monster.), the Bram Stoker nominated Pressure (What would you do if your best friend turned out to be a sociopathic killer?), The Severed Nose (Wherein the main character is the subject of the worst case of mistaken identity in history.), Draculas (In which Strand and his co-authors say to hell with sexy and bring nasty back to the legend of Dracula.), and Benjamin’s Parasite (The demented story of a man and, well, his parasite. Duh.).
In addition to those, I will also be doing full reviews of Jeff’s novels Kutter (A twisted story of a man and his dog.) and The Sinister Mr. Corpse (Proof that anyone – even the undead – can become a celebrity in America.), as well as mini reviews of Out of Whack, Elrod McBugle on the Loose, and the Andrew Mayhem series.
If this is your first introduction to Jeff’s writing hopefully you’ll see something here this week that will convince you to give him a try. If you’re already on board the Strand bandwagon you know how much fun his books are, so please help spread the gospel of Strand by leaving comments, retweeting, and sharing on Facebook the posts featured here during Jeff Strand Week.
Oh, the gummi bears reference in the post title? Dude is seriously addicted to the things. But they’ve got to be Haribo brand, and preferably a little stale. Yep, stale. Hey, I told you he was demented.
Coming Tomorrow: Mini-reviews of Out of Whack, Elrod McBugle on the Loose, and the Andrew Mayhem series.