Author Interview – Clint Spivey

Short story author Clint Spivey talks about train travel and paranormal experiences in Japan and his story published in the new anthology
The Haunted Train: Creepy Tales from the Railways.

What are trains and railway stations like in Japan where you live?

Trains are cold, impersonal places where passengers who attempt a conversation are immediately suspect.  Railway stations are quiet, often with an atmosphere of loneliness, despite the crush of people in crowded Japan.

What’s the weirdest experience you’ve ever had in a train?

It was an oppressive, hot summer day in Japan. A group of young people entered the train, all wearing a yukata – that’s a lose-fitting, brightly decorated kimono, a cool and comfortable outfit to wear in such weather, traditionally paired with wooden sandals. Hearing the sound of many wooden sandals echo through the train car, and then seeing an entire group of people in these garments, I thought for a moment I had travelled back in time to an earlier era of Japan.”.

You come from the USA. What are trains there like?

In the US, freight trains are the most common. These trains are massive, hulking beasts many kilometers long. As the only true US religion is commerce, these ungainly things shake the ground as they pass.

Have you ever been to a haunted place? What was it like?

There is an old, Shinto shrine in the hills near my home that dates back to the early 1700’s. It was spared the wrath of US bombs during the war. Yet something far older dwells there. I don’t know if the spirits of the dead can go insane. But what lives there goes beyond creepy to carry true malevolence.

Have you ever had a paranormal experience?

Yes, I sense something paranormal that old Shinto shrine. I have been there many times late at night. Whatever is there does not care to be disturbed in the late hours. But it is also lonely beyond measure. The many red pennants with which the monks decorate the place slither and move in the windless dark when one approaches. I have seen this many times. Whatever haunts that place moves among the flags in the night. It’s curiosity, perhaps briefly, staying the its despair.

For your story in The Haunted Train, where did you get the inspiration

With so little space in which to build, often the Japanese build upwards. The same goes for their trains, only into the bedrock far underground. As brightly lit as the station described in my story, one cannot but feel the sense of being buried while descending the many dozens of meters below ground to the platform. The weight above is something that can be felt. The silence such depth brings is that of places not often visited by people. Thoughts of ghosts are not far when so deep beneath the earth.

What’s your favourite Horror book? What do you like about it?

Rose Madder by Stephen King. The intro is absolutely terrifying. And it involves nothing more than a stained bedsheet.

As a reader, what kind of short stories you enjoy most?

Collapse fiction. Stories set in a world coming unraveled due to our greed, pride, fear and hatred. The coming fall will be filled with ghosts. It is already filled with the haunted places of abandoned capital. Every empty mall. Rotting apartment building. They carry the ghosts of a world our children will scarcely recognize.

Who are your favourite short story authors, and why?

Megan Arkenberg, Albert Cowdrey, Robert Reed. It’s easy to write violent, gory stories to elicit fear. These authors frighten without resorting to gore.

ABOUT CLINT SPIVEY

Clint Spivey teaches English as a foreign language in Eastern Japan. In addition to tending a small garden of sweet potatoes, he recently learned which seaweed is edible and can be collected from the beach. His fiction has appeared in New Maps, Into the Ruins, and The Vintage Worlds Anthology One: Old Solar System.

Clint Spivey avatar

ABOUT THE BOOK THE HAUNTED TRAIN: CREEPY TALES FROM THE RAILWAYS

Come on board for a Gothic journey in a funicular railway in Victorian England, a freight train in the Carpathian mountains, a high tech sky train in Bangkok, an underground railway in Tokyo. Visit stations which lure with the promise of safe shelter but harbour unexpected dangers. Meet the people who work on the tracks – stationmasters, porters, signal-men – and those who travel – commuters, tourists, dead bodies, murderers and ghosts.

In this volume, editor Rayne Hall has collected twenty of the finest– and creepiest – railway tales. The book features the works of established writers, classic authors and fresh voices. Some stories are spooky, some downright scary, while others pose a puzzling mystery.

Are you prepared to come on board this train? Already, the steam engine is huffing in impatience. Listen to the chuff-chuff-chuff from the locomotive and tarattata-tarattata of the giant wheels. Press your face against the dust-streaked window, inhale the smells of coal smoke and old textiles, watch the landscape whoosh past as you leave the familiar behind and journey into the unknown.

But be careful: you can’t know the train’s real destination, nor your fellow travellers’ intentions. Once you’ve closed that door behind you and the wheels start rolling, you may not be able to get out.

The ebook is available for pre-order from Amazon at the special offer price of 99 cents until 31 January 2023. (After that date, the price will go up.) https://mybook.to/Train.

The paperback edition will be available soon.

Book Cover: The Haunted Train - Creepy Tales from the Railways

An apt date to post a scary story plug – happy Friday 13th of January, 2023. May the stories delight you.

14 thoughts on “Author Interview – Clint Spivey

  1. Social criticism combined with horror is a perfect mix for those who don’t read only for pleasure but also for learning. I should check some examples of collapse fiction, it sounds like my cup of tea.
    I could also read Clint’s answers all day. Great interview!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Clint Spivey’s wording even here in this interview feels chilling, just like the trains and railway stations he described. It’s not strange to me that crowded and fast-paced places could feel lonely and creepy, which might be what ‘collapse fiction’ is about, I believe.

    Liked by 1 person

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