Q: Today, I’m joined by horror author and podcaster Pete Altieri! If you can, I’d love it if you can share a little bit about yourself and what types of stories you enjoy writing, as well as which genres you write in?
A: Thank you for doing this interview with me. I live in Central Illinois, I’m married, and have two adult children and two grandchildren. I’ve been writing since I was in 4th grade, so that was a few years ago. Ha. I like to write horror and suspense and have written mostly short stories, but I’ve also written three novels. Only one of the novels has been published, The Dreadful Lives of Enoch Strange. I’ve published three short story collections in the Creation of Chaos series. For one of my podcasts I write about true crime and some dark comedy in the form of a script each week.
Q: Can you share a bit about the Deeper Than Dead series and how it is progressing?
A: Deeper Than Dead started as a short story by the same name that appeared in my Creation of Chaos II collection. I really liked the idea and the artist, Brian Uziel, who does most of my book covers was very interested to do something more with it. So I came up with the idea to create a 10-part story and have Brian do a full color illustration for each of the parts. The short story that started it all is the first part, sort of like a pilot, called “99 Steps”. The basic premise is a man who finds himself in a subterranean prison as a punishment for terrible things he did while he was alive. His job while in the prison is to guard a door that the prior occupant told him was the door that leads to Hell and that, under no circumstances, is he allowed to open it. I’m currently working on the third part now. Brian and I hope to have this one done by the end of 2021 or very early 2022. I plan to publish under my own Blunt Force Press as a physical book as well as an audiobook.
Q: You’re currently working with artist Brian Uziel of Chewdog Design to collaborate on the series. How has that experience been like?
A: Biran and I have worked together on many projects and have a great chemistry. He did two album covers for my band, Low Twelve, back when i was still doing that. When I started publishing books after the band was done, Brian was the obvious choice. He likes my writing, which of course helps. I usually give him some basic direction and let him read some of the material so he can get his brain in lock step with mine. He’s got a lot of experience and the fact we like many of the same things is a huge plus.
Q: You’ve released your work in written and audio formats; what have the audio releases taught you about your work?
A: Well, as I do this interview with you I just got the final approval that my audiobook for Creation of Chaos III was accepted by Audible. It was one hell of an experience! I did the voice recording, editing, and producing all myself. Brian did the cover art from modifications to the physical book cover. It turned out really good but it was difficult to get it done with a busy schedule. I also had a computer issue that caused me to have to record the stories twice. I had a friend and fellow voice actor, Brad Tucker, do two of the stories and I did the other 11. One of the stories, The 666 Express, was one I wrote where my other hosts in Murder Metal Mayhem were characters, and we each read our own parts. I also used music from a great Australian metal band, In Malice’s Wake, and lots of sound effects to create a dark mood. I offered it as a bonus on the audiobook, so listeners could hear Brad do it by himself, and another of what I like to call the “crazy version”. Since I have a background as a musician as well as a writer, sometimes the two worlds collide like that.
Q: Has being a podcaster (and I’ll get to that in a moment) had any change on your fiction writing?
A: It really has. Since one podcast is about true crime, I’ve found myself incorporating elements of true crime stories into my works of fiction. It’s been done many times with horror stories like Psycho (based on Ed Gein), The Exorcist (based on a real exorcism), and many others. I wanted to try something new on my latest, Creation of Chaos III, and take a classic Poe story, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, and twist it up to make it my own, while paying homage to my favorite horror author. I used the real life story of Charles Albright, the Texas Eyeball Killer, into the story. We had recently done a podcast about Albright and I couldn’t resist putting elements of him into the main character of the story.
Q: Where were you born (and/or are you from), and how has that affected your writing?
A: I was born in the Bronx in New York but moved from there when I was six years old. I grew up on the west side of Connecticut. I’ve used elements of those places in my writing quite a bit over the years. There was an urban legend in Danbury, CT called the Jesus Tree, and I wrote a short story by that name in Creation of Chaos I, where I created my own back story on the legend. I also took a creepy old house in New Fairfield, CT, known as October House, and did the same thing in Creation of Chaos II, coming up with my own back story on the house. They always say to write what you know, so it makes sense to use locations you’re familiar with.
Q: You run the Murder Metal Mayhem podcast, which focuses on true crime and heavy metal. What can you share about the experience, and how do you feel those two genres go hand in hand?
A: I(t’s been a lot of fun in the three years we’ve been doing the show. It’s a weekly podcast, so the schedule is relentless to keep up with the research and writing of the 9 or 10-page script each week. There are four of us, one is in CT and the rest of us are in a studio I had built in my garage. True crime/serial killers go perfectly with heavy metal – the subject matter is typically dark and disturbing. Those are two subjects each of us enjoy and so it made sense for us to do a podcast like that. It’s been very successful with 3-4,000 listeners each week. We sometimes interview true crime authors or forensic psychologists on the show, as well as some of our favorite heavy metal musicians. Anyone interested can find it on any podcast platform you want to listen on. Warning, it’s not a family friendly show.
Q: You also run a horror-themed one called the Voice Of Dread Podcast. What can you share about it?
A: I started that one earlier this year. It focuses on my writing as well as horror. I usually have guest co-hosts with me on that one. It’s fun and it’s a bi-weekly show. The numbers aren’t nearly what Murder Metal Mayhem does, but it’s new and growing. It’s also available on most podcast platforms.
Q: How have you structured your days to not only write but run multiple podcasts as well?
A: It’s not easy. I also have a day job and work about 40 hours a week doing that. Sometimes even I wonder how I do it all and still have time to relax with my wife and enjoy some peace and quiet. I don’t have a specific regimen on how I do it. Thankfully, I’m very creative and have the ability to sit down when the mood strikes and crank it out. I have a close friend, Chris Kovacs, who is my beta reader and checks out my writing for me when the ideas are new and rough. My wife, Jenny, is my editor and she cleans up the grammar and that sort of thing. So, it’s a team effort when it comes to getting it done.
Q: What are your favorite author resources online, from websites to tools?
A: Well, now I know about The Write Start, so I’ll be checking out what you’re doing. I do like Writer’s Digest and have used it for many years when I have a question about something or need work in certain areas. I wish I had more time to use those resources, but I don’t. The Horror Tree has been fantastic for me to keep up with writing contests and anthologies looking for authors. So, that’s another one that, as of late, has been awesome.
Finally, if there is anything else you would love to share with our readers, please do so here!
Well, thanks again for doing this interview with me. It was fun. I am working on a website and it’s not 100% done, so for now people can go to facebook.com/AltieriPete and stay up on what I’m doing. The books are on Amazon, but if you order from me, you get a free signed 11 x 17 poster and bookmark. You can do that at CreationofChaos.com or email me at pete at murdermetalmayhem.com for more information.