A couple of years ago during an excruciating bout with the flu I discovered what people now refer to as “creepypasta.” To anyone older than 30 it may sound like some weird slang that us older folks just don’t get. However, for me a lover of horror from age 4 staying at my grandmother’s home in Tallmadge, Ohio, with a vast array of land to wander and dream. In my case it was nightmares after going to the drive-in movies with my grandmother who was an avid horror obsessed older woman.
She would tell my parents we were going to cook out, pick vegetables and maybe watch a movie on Cleveland’s own the “Big Chuck and Little John Show.” They were Cleveland’s local access version of Elvira. In reality, grandma had me sitting in the front seat of her Buick with pop corn as we watched Jason Voorhees chop up stupid teenage campers that always seemed to be in high heels running in the middle of the woods.
I was never afraid of those movies really. I didn’t care for them until years later when I watched a documentary on the infamous (and my all time favorite) The Exorcist. I learned what really made horror one of the most underappreciated genres, and the most creative in many ways. Horror is big business and it isn’t as easy as you may think to come up with new or creative ideas.
Which brings me back to “creepypasta” stories. You see it was about 2 or 3 weeks into January and I was planning my wedding and between the stress of the wedding and the constant coughing I had begun to read a ton on the internet. At some point of the rabbit hole I had descended upon, I came across Blumhouse and their website. Once a week they featured the Creepypasta of the week. The only thing I had ever known was that Slenderman had once began as a story on the internet much like cast of characters such as Jeff the Killer.
I looked forward to their featured Creepypasta of the week and later learned that there were video shorts such as “The Smiling Man.” At which time I found that there are people that narrate these stories on YouTube (maybe you have heard of it). This was perfect for someone like myself who had a lot of data entry at work and I could easily listen to stories much like I had as a child when I would put on my Alfred Hitchcock records and listen to tales of the macabre (records my granny had bought me and I think you may sense a pattern here.)
This brings me back to last March when I found a little channel called Don’tTurnAround and after quickly subscribing to that channel and then becoming to the point of near obsession I found another narrator by the name of CorpseHusband. Of course, it wasn’t long before the annoying algorithm in YouTube began popping up videos for a narrator called Dr. Creepen. I would admittedly skim past it to find more of the other videos I had grown to love when I finally decided to give this “Creeper Dr. Creepen” a chance. The first story I ever listened to of his narrations was one called “Return to Sender” (it is brilliant if you can stop reading this and go listen.) I was pleasantly surprised and was super glad I had decided to take a gamble and listen to his narrations. His voice is weapon if used in the correct way and it can induce fear or seduce depending on the words coming out of his mouth. He is the type of narrator that you want to read one of your stories. He is the Florence Welch of narrating and if I had not given him a chance I would not be writing about this author now. He is also a nice fellow I might add and puts up with us crazy writers with good spirits.(I still owe him a Bourbon)
There are things in life and people that come into it for a reason. I believe this is synchronicity at its most brilliant. We all go on these weird little journeys after we are born and sometimes, like bumper cars, we run into unlikely heroes. It can be something small like picking up a book you drop on a sidewalk because you are running late to school, it can be the guy who lets you cut in line at the grocery because you have less items that he does. It can be guys like, my husband, who is a coach and mentor to kids in the inner city. It can be as simple as a musician who wrote a song that gives you a feeling that maybe you aren’t alone in this world and suffering through a broken heart. Or in another case a narrator on YouTube narrating something you wrote to an audience of thousands and getting your story recognized to a whole new fanbase. Tiny thing that mean so much.
With that said I decided to delve deep into those ideas of who are these little REDDIT writers? They pour their hearts out under odd names and cringe every time they hit the “Send” button on a story for an audience that can upload your story and then instantly comment on it whether it is good or bad. It is instant and scary to those of us that just want to tell a good story. This is how the “Writers Interview Writers” series was born in my mind. The sense “we are people too” came to mind.
So that brings us to Boe Whiskey. She is a fierce fairy and if you get five minutes alone with her you can sense a slight vulnerability. It is what makes her such a powerful writer. As someone who often declares herself the anti-feminist, she is a true feminist in the sense she writes about characters and does not give a care in the world who she is writing if only it is for the love of a good story. She is loyal possibly to a fault and the girl you always wanted to be best friends with. She will kick ass for her friends and defend them like a knight and shining armor. She is what Florence & the Machine in their song “Rabbit Heart” would call “the lion-hearted girl.” She is the girl who loves sharing her stories of the best deals at Bath and Body Works. Tips on coolest hair colors and tattooing advice. She is the girl that doesn’t mind the wine induced emails when you are having a bad day in the writing world. I’m happy to call her a friend if even if it is long distance in the online world and we are in the same club, the world of Redditors.
I first discovered her when I read a story called “Shhh” about a girl in a mental institution that awakes to some strange things going on with her roommate. I loved the story and found myself thinking “this totally is something I would write if I had thought of it.” So, a kindred spirit and fan, was born and here I am to introduce the world to this fabulous young lady.
She was kind enough to be my experiment, for those that know me, not the Helltown Experiments kind.
FIRSTLY, THANK YOU FOR AGREEING TO THIS INTERVIEW. I’M HOPING THIS WILL BE A GREAT LITTLE WAY TO FEATURE UP AND COMING WRITERS, ESPEICIALLY THE ONE’S FOUND IN ONLINE COMMUNITIES LIKE REDDIT’S NOSLEEP.
I AM SURE SOME WILL WONDER SO I AM GOING TO ASK WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR ONLINE PEN NAME BOE WHISKEY?
First off, Boe is my actual nickname. My real name is Bobbye (pronounced the same as Bobbi), but I adopted the nickname Boe several years ago. The ‘Whiskey’ in my penname comes from a couple of different angles. Because the initial for my last name is ‘W’, the word ‘whiskey’ corresponds in the military alphabet. Also, when I’m writing, especially when I started writing and posting things online, alcohol helps. At the time I started out, the only alcohol we had on hand was whiskey, so I would make a glass of whiskey and coke and get to work. It kind of just seemed an obvious choice to use it for my name once I started thinking of what the hell to make my screen name on Reddit.
I THINK PEOPLE ARE OFTEN CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT MAKES A WRITER DECIDE TO BECOME A WRITER. DO YOU HAVE A BACKSTORY ON WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER OR TELL THE SORTS OF STORIES THAT YOU DO?
I think it really started when I was a toddler and learned to read. I was the kid that instead of toys, I wanted books and could spend hours upon hours in Borders, pining after books like they were crack, and I was a junkie. Naturally, this led to me thinking of my own tales. Writing has always been a passion of mine. I’ve been writing stories or attempting to write books for as long as I can remember. I stopped for a while, though, in my early adult life, due to personal reasons and circumstances. It’s no secret that what I do for work is a ‘dead-end job’ and I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life. Even in the years I spent not writing, I would have ideas for stories, just never do anything about it. In the past few years I’ve been sort of finding myself after a long and horrendous relationship where I lost who I was. I began listening to YouTube narrations almost two years ago and finally it clicked that I should start writing again. So, not only did I do that, but I also decided to let myself dream of being a writer, just as I had when I was younger. As for the subject matter, I think it all boils down to me being weird. Growing up, I was the weird girl of the group, never quite fitting it and having a strange penchant for things supernatural and creepy. My first story ideas were even centered around vampires, influenced by Anne Rice and NOT Stephanie Meyer, of course.
WHAT MAKES FOR AN INTERESTING CHARACTER IN YOUR PERSONAL OPINION AS AN UP AND COMING WRITER?
A character that isn’t perfect will almost always draw me in. I’ve never liked reading about someone who has no flaws and wins all the time. I want to feel like the character could actually be a real person and struggle with real thoughts and feelings. I want a character who can make mistakes and get jealous for no reason along with moments where they shine and feel on top of the world. I think this is such an important part of creating any story that you want to succeed. As much as humans love fairy tales and ideations, in order to truly connect to the reader and make them crave more, the character needs to be someone they can actually imagine in their life or identify with in some way.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY DRAWS YOU TO A PARTICULAR CHARACTER THAT YOU DECIDE TO WRITE ABOUT?
There’s no way to easily answer that question and I think anyone that doesn’t have to think much on that would be productive in only making simple characters without much diversity. Each character is different for me but each of them have some part of me. Whether it’s a sarcastic and sort of awkward approach to things that resonates with my own personality, such as Xander in Dead Man Running, or feeling a need to do the right thing and fight for her family, such as Cora in The Festival of Snow, they all have something of me in them. Admittedly, there are some characters that don’t contain part of my personality but instead appeal to my humor or something that would personally freak me out or even contain something from someone in my past, such as Maurice in Dead Man Running. Some of these stories help me work through some bitterness or pain that I’ve felt and gone through, which is a huge draw to a character for me, honestly. I want to write characters that I hate, based off of people that have caused me pain in the past. After all, the people we notice the most about in life are often the ones that we can’t stand.
YOUR STORY “DEAD MAN RUNNING” HAS HAD THE MOST ONLINE SUCCESS, THANKS TO ONLINE NARRATORS LIKE DR. CREEPEN VAN PASTA. DO YOU THINK THAT CAN HELP YOU AS A WRITER BY BRINGING THEM TO AN AUDIENCE THAT MIGHT NOT HAVE THE CHANCE TO COME IN CONTACT WITH THOSE STORIES OTHERWISE? Or DO YOU THINK THAT CAN HINDER THEM BECAUSE IF THE AUDIENCE IS IN LOVE WITH A STORY AS A NARATION AS OPPOSED TO READING IT, MUCH LIKE A MOVIE, DO YOU THINK IT HAS SOME SORT OF EXPECTATION AT THAT POINT? (SORRY LONG QUESTION)
I have to say that, for me at least, it’s helped me. Without Dr. Creepen, I don’t think anyone would have really noticed any of my writing. I’ve never done well on NoSleep and decided to take a chance for at least getting some sort of feeback by posting to Dr. Creepen’s Vault on Reddit. I was completely surprised when my first tale was met with such positive feedback and then even more surprised when Dead Man Running was a hit. It’s difficult to say for sure whether it has hindered me and my work at all because in my opinion, it’s helped immensely. Hearing my work brought to life by such an amazing narrator gave it something that I wasn’t able to. With many book-to-movie situations, it can hinder the story, sure, but sometimes it’s done well enough and has enough of an audience on both sides that they sort of complement each other, in my opinion. With the short stories online, I think that narrations definitely help reach an audience and give more people an idea or a tone of the tale itself that might end up helping a reader picture it more clearly when reading another installment or going back and reading one that has already been narrated. As for expectation specifically, I believe that if the story was narrated properly and successfully, it would only make the written version that much better to readers.
I HAVE TO AGREE WITH THE NARRATIONS BEING A HELP OVER THE HINDERING AS IT WAS THE CASE WITH MY OWN WRITING.
6.) I THINK MOST OF US, AS WRITERS, HAVE THEIR LIFE LONG FAVORITES THAT INFLUENCED US IN SOME WAY AS WE GREW INTO THE WRITERS WE ARE AND WHO WE WILL EVENTUALLY BECOME. THAT SAID, WHAT WRITERS ARE YOU MOST INFLUENCED BY SAY GROWING UP TO WHO YOU ARE INFLUENCED BY NOW? (NOT STEPHANIE MEYERS HAHA)
As a horror writer and lover, I have to of course include Stephen King. When I was younger, however, Anne Rice was my go-to author and the one that I wanted to most be like in terms of the type of stories I wanted to create. I have since branched out away from vampires, though. Along the way, there are books that have stuck with me for various reasons, including Wuthering Heights, My Sweet Audrina, Odd Thomas, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Harry Potter (of course!), and many more. It’s really hard to narrow it down to which authors and stories have mostly influenced me. Recently, though, I have been greatly influenced or impressed by certain stories or series that I’ve heard narrated, along with specific authors that are well-known in the online horror community. Some of the stories are Borrasca, The Hell Town Experiments, The Left Right Game, The Summer in Texas Series, The Tobit Series, Stolen Tongues, and many more.
7.) I KNOW WE HAVE CHATTED A BUNCH ABOUT MUSIC FROM THE SHORT TIME I HAVE GOTTEN TO KNOW YOU. WOULD YOU SAY THAT ANY MUSIC IN PARTICULAR HELPED INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING? IN PARTICULAR DEAD MAN RUNNING. I IMAGINE IT MUST HAVE THE MOST AMAZING SOUNDTRACK! I MEAN EVERYONE HAS THEIR MUSICAL VICE IN SOME CAPACITY RIGHT?
Oh, goodness. I can’t say that I’ve ever specifically picked out songs to match Dead Man Running but I’m sure if I took the time, I could come up with some awesome matches. I have to say, though, that Ghost Town is a strong source of creativity for me, whether something is sparked from their lyrics or the music is just helping my creativity flow. I also gather inspiration from various other artists and songs, but I would have to say that Ghost Town and their lyrics is the most prolific, I think.
8.) IN THE DAY AND AGE, WE LIVE IN, I MYSELF FOLLOW A LOT OF CONSERVATIVE AS WELL AS LIBERAL VIEWPOINTS ESPECIALLY AS THEY PERTAIN TO THE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD. DO YOU LET ALL THAT OUTSIDE NOISE MAKE YOU MORE SELF CONSCIOUS OF HOW YOU WRITE YOUR CHARACTERS? AS IN DO YOU TRY TO MAKE THE FEMALES A MORE FEMINIST TYPE OF GIRL OR DO YOU JUST WRITE WHAT YOU FEEL THE CHARACTER IS AND IGNORE THE PRESSURES TO APPEAL TO A CERTAIN AUDIENCE?
I try not to let my characters be influenced too much by anything going on in the real world, but I do try to be conscious of keeping them real and somewhat diverse. I don’t think I try to make females more on the feminist side because of politics or anything, but I admit that growing up with shows like Buffy and Charmed, strong women and girls are definitely something important to me. I think the most pressure of creating characters a certain way comes more form within for me. It’s difficult for me to create complex characters if it’s a character I don’t specifically like. This is a point of struggle for me and something I’m very much trying to work on. But overall, to answer the question, I more or less write what I feel and don’t try to adhere to specific ideals or a particular audience.
9.) I HAVE READ OR WATCHED BOOK REVIEWS ONLINE AND ONE THING I HAVE NOTICED IS THE PRESSURE TO WRITE MORE CULTURLY DIVERSE CHARACTERS FOR WRITERS. DO YOU FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO THE STORY TO PLACE RACE OR CULTURAL IDENTIFICATION TO A CHARACTER?
I think it really depends on the story that the characters are in. There are certain cultural aspects that need to be part of stories, but I don’t believe that all of them do. Like I said, it really boils down to the story itself and if it’s necessary to the story. Otherwise, I don’t try to write characters that would easily be culturally identified or stereotyped. One thing I constantly remember that deals with this is J. K. Rowling’s reaction to the Harry Potter play a few years ago where people were speaking out against it due to the actress playing Hermione being black instead of white. Rowling’s response was along the lines of stating that she never once said Hermione was white and she loved the idea of the difference. I love that and that’s something that I definitely keep in mind when creating characters.
10.) IN THE MODERN AGE WE HAVE THE CAPACITY OF WRITING SOMETHING AND PUTTING IT ONLINE, WHICH MAKES IT AUTOMATICALLY PUBLISHED. DO YOU FEEL THAT IS A GOOD THING?
Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s a bad thing, in my opinion. Without it, I wouldn’t have ever gotten any recognition or feedback on my stories. With that, though, I have come across the issue that the stories I publish online to be narrated or just read, I cannot have them published in a conventional sense unless they make it big enough that a company wants to touch it. I love the idea of instant feedback and being able to better read an audience by their comments or questions, but it also means that sometimes the work can get lost in the sea of stories. For starting out, I think it’s very much helped me, but I don’t want to be forgotten easily and stuck in the online-only options.
11.) WHAT FORMS OF ENTERTAINMENT (BESIDES MUSIC) INFLUENCE YOUR STORIES IF ANY AT ALL?
Movies, without a doubt. I love watching movies and TV shows. They help me not only think of ideas but consider going in different directions that haven’t been seen or won’t be expected by most.
12.) WHAT SORT OF AUDIENCE DO YOU HOPE YOUR STORIES CAN REACH?
I don’t have a specific set audience at this time, other than horror lovers. I’ve always wanted to write a hit young adult series but I’m not sure I will get around to that specifically. My main concern is just reaching as many people as possible and being remembered and one day hearing someone speak of my work with a passion and enthusiasm.
13.) HOW WOULD YOU SAY YOU PREPARE FOR A STORY THAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO WRITE?
I don’t have any set way of preparing, really. The novel idea that I’m currently working on is being planned out as completely as possible from outlining events to creating character profiles. There are some stories, though, such as Dead Man Running, that were sparked from a single small thought and had no planning whatsoever. With this type of story, I really just sit down and write whatever it is that my mind creates, a sort of free-write.
14.) WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE THAT IS THINKING OF EMBARKING ON A WRITING CAREER?
Read, write, absorb, write some more. I don’t think I’ve made it quite far enough to really give advice but from everything I’ve read and how I feel, these things are some of the most important. Read anything you can in the genre you want to write in. Write anything and as often as possible, whether it’s a short story, bits and pieces of a novel, random thoughts, anything, just write. Absorb all the information that you can from other authors: what works, what doesn’t seem to work, what feels to you like it’s been way overdone, what you would like to see more of, their writing style, what makes them good, and so on. Write some more, practice, just write. And of course, find an outlet where you can get feedback. Friends and family aren’t reliable for this, so don’t rely on just them. Everyone is busy and being close to you could keep them from being as honest as possible. Find strangers or other writers and ask for them to beta read your work or even see about getting something narrated on YouTube and read through the comments on the narration.
15.) WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF NOW THAT YOU HAVE EMBARKED ON YOUR DREAM OF BECOMING A WRITER?
If I could talk to my younger self, I would say, “Don’t stop. You’re going to want to. You’re going to give so much up for the wrong reasons but whatever you do, keep writing. It’s part of you and it’s the only thing that will help that hole in your heart and soul close. The rest will fall into place, just don’t lose the time that I did.”
OKAY BOE, BECAUSE I AM A PROFESSIONAL IDIOT THIS IS THE PART WHERE MY INTERVIEW SKILLS GET SILLY. LET’S PLAY WOULD YOU RATHER.
16.) WOULD YOU RATHER BE A VAMPIRE OR A ZOMBIE?
17.) WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE DINNER WITH A DOGMAN OR BIGFOOT?
18.) WOULD YOU RATHER DRINK WINE OUT OF A DIRTY SHOE OR A MEN’S PROTECTIVE SPORTS CUP?
Oh FML, shoe, I guess. I don’t think I could handle a ball sweat cocktail.
THAT MAKES TWO OF US =)
19.) WOULD YOU RATHER BE PRESIDENT OR DICTATOR?
How about queen instead?
20.) WOULD YOU RATHER GO STREAKING OR POSE FOR PLAYBOY?
THANKS FOR PLAYING!
SO NOW FAVORITE THINGS PORTION
21.) FAVORITE FOOD: SUSHI, TACOS, OR PIZZA?
22.) FAVORITE MOVIE?
I can’t pick just one! Some that I could watch over and over again, though, are Rise of the Guardians (it appeals to my inner child), Stay Alive, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Covenant, Beakfast at Tiffany’s, and I’m sure there are tons I’m forgetting.
23.) FAVORITE SONG?
“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure
24.) FAVORITE BOOK?
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Wuthering Heights, Merrick
25.) FAVORITE YOUTUBE NARRATOR?
Well, I started out with Mr. CreepyPasta but discovered Dr. Creepen in the past year and he instantly drew me in. I don’t think I could pick between those two, as they each have a special place in my heart.
THANK YOU for reading please comment below and let me know what you think of my new series.
If you are interested in reading more for BoeWhiskey follow her on Reddit here: https://www.reddit.com/user/boewhiskey/
Dr. Creepen Van Pasta: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcZ_-5180OBED8NBkZgkRmQ/featured
THANK YOU AGAIN BOE. IT HAS BEEN A PLEASURE!!!!!!