Amazon best-selling author and winner of the Nosleep Best horror story award in March 2017 with An unmarked building in Colorado is using as much electricity as a small city. Tobias reputation for delivering jaw-dropping stories is unparalleled. Once a neuroscientist with plans towards medical school. Tobias found he learned more about why humans behave without understanding the intricacies of human nature from Dostoyevsky than any of his textbooks. He was inspired to write, and I think we are all the better for it.
Where are you from?
Los Angeles, and still there! You’d think I would have learned better by now.
Do you have a day job, if so what?
Writing is my whole life. Besides my book publishing, I take on free-lance script writing, ghostwriting, and editorial jobs to make sure I never have to leave the house.
What do you do to unwind?
Long hikes with my husky dogs, reading, playing piano and violin, and killing baddies in video games. People who read my stories often assume I must live an interesting life to inspire my ramblings, but they’re all completely fabricated.
Tell us a bit about your family?
I never would have been able to pursue writing as a career without the continual feedback and encouragement from my family. I just feel sorry for my poor mother who is absolutely terrified by horror, but still forces herself to read everything I write just to be supportive. Everyone in my life is absolutely convinced that I’m secretly depressed or a psychopath because of my stories, but somehow they seem to love me anyway.
You’re on death row, and you have your last meal. Starters, Main and Dessert. What are they?
Sushi, because it’s delicious. Steak, because it’s hearty. Colossal squid for dessert, because it’s super hard to find and that will buy me some more time.
Q1: What was the first piece you published and was it any good?
A: I don’t have the link because I’ve since deleted it out of shame. That should answer both questions. I only started writing horror this year, and previously I knew nothing about the genre (I never even watched horror movies). All my first stories were awful, but I stuck with it because I loved the process of generating new ideas. It took at least twenty stories before I started being proud of my work, and now that I’ve written a hundred I’m still continually trying to experiment and improve.
Q2: Are you afraid that the tragedy you pen on paper, will be incarnated as an event in the real world?
A: I’m not, and if it does, I won’t take responsibility for it. Despite writing about horrific things, I never try to glorify violence or evil. My hope is that my reverence for life and awe of the world around us will be transparent through the dark themes, encouraging readers to appreciate their own lives.
Q3: What is your scariest creation/creature/person?
A: The scariest for me (which probably isn’t the scariest for other people) must be the avatar from “When the Blood Rain Falls.” I tend to favor epic, world-shattering monsters over the garden variety creepy ones, so something that sounds like the herald of the apocalypse is my favorite.
Q4: Who or what most inspires your work?
A: A seed of inspiration can be found in anything, but I currently most idolize the style of Lovecraft. His descriptive prose is parallel to none, and one of my career goals is to take his flourish and learn to communicate it in a more digestible way.
Q5: What fruit would you have your character use to kill someone?
A: A banana seems like it has a lot of destructive potential. That could do some serious damage if it’s inserted in the right place.
Q6: Do you worry about your sanity when you craft your twisted stories? Scary yourself so much that it leaves you thinking “where did that come from?”
A: Not at all. I think horror writing is no different than any other genre in that it’s an intellectual puzzle that needs solving. I think the process of figuring out characters and plot and desired effect is similar across all genres.
Q7: How much of your work is influenced by your daily life?
A: I’ll keep a notebook when I’m reading and jot down ideas for stories, but that’s the only cross-over I’ve noticed.
Q8: What advice would you give a newbie horror writer?
A: Writing is a skill like anything else, so don’t get frustrated if it’s not perfect the first time. You wouldn’t expect to pick up a guitar and start playing your favorite songs. Keep practicing and you’ll improve.
Q9: What scares you personally?
A: My biggest fears have to do with an illusory conscious experience. When we think we’re in control and understand what’s happening, but a drug or a possession or some supernatural medium leaves us helpless prisoners in our own mind. I think we take our understanding of consciousness for granted, and our utter helplessness to control something which dominates our lives mean it has absolute power over us.
Q10: The perception of horror writes is that he/she is just a little bit weirder than everybody else. In your experience, do you find yourself — and other horror authors — to be stranger than the average person?
A: I think fiction writers are stranger than everyone else, but not horror-writers specifically. Anyone who spends their life making up lies to amuse themselves is a serious head case.