Horrorstor author shares insights into writing life at Cedar Falls Public Library

“I can tell you one similarity between everyone in this room; none of us wish to get murdered,” Said Grady Hendrix during his author’s presentation at the Cedar Falls Public Library’s Community Center at 7 p.m. on Oct. 14.

Hendrix is a published author who has written a number of titles, which are mainly within the genres of horror and murder-mystery. Some of the novels include Horrorstor, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires, Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History Of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction and the novel he presented at the author presentation, The Final Girl Support Group, which was recently released and is receiving a Netflix TV series adaptation.

The author mainly covered the history of murder-mystery and horror media, while humorously depicting the steps on how not to get murdered. Many spectators of the presentation were highly entertained, with many bursts of laughter radiating from the crowd, but Hendrix’s details about his career were also immensely interesting.

Hendrix described the start of his writing career as “part-accident, part-destiny.” He said, “Before writing novels, I was a journalist for 10 years. I wrote for The New York Post, Variety, Village Voices, Film Comment and Site And Sound, but I also wrote for TV listings. Anything to make a check.”

Hendrix said, “My first novel was horror, since it clicked with people at the time.” Horrorstor was published in 2014, but it’s not the first writing he had done. “I’ve written five novels and co-authored five novels, but before my first novel, I wrote five full books, which never, and will never get published. I also wrote 12 screenplays before one actually got recognized.”

As a writer, Hendrix maintains a set work day. “I get to set my own hours, no office. I’m awake, 8 a.m. to 6-7 p.m. working 3,000 to 4,000 words per day.” He also said, “It’s fun to make a living off things I’m obsessed with.”

Yet, during the COVID-19 pandemic, changes occurred to Hendrix’s writing routine. “During COVID, I could keep writing, but it was still stressful. The hardest thing was to keep focus and keep up my writing stamina from time to time.” Like Blake Powell, another author, said, “Writing is like a muscle.” You have to keep using that muscle to keep it strong and durable. Hendrix’s stamina ideology is like the muscle analogy. In order to be a good writer, writers must maintain their writing stamina.

Hendrix’s main advice to novice writers of any genre is to find purpose. “You have to figure out why you are writing because there are many reasons to write.” He said, “You could have one story you want to tell or many. You could have emotions you want to express or none at all, or you could just be writing for a check.”

So, aspiring author or not, everyone can take advice and humor from Hendrix, author and history buff of horrific, murderous media.

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