The B&N Podcast: Joe Hill on the Stories that Drive Him

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper.

We’re just a few days away from Halloween, and there isn’t a person in the book selling world who doesn’t have a special place in their heart for a holiday that’s all about letting the monstrous run free for an evening. Maybe it’s because there’s so many great works of fiction — from the mildly eerie to the downright terrifying — that fit with the occasion; or maybe it’s just because there’s something mysterious and magical and ultimately a little spooky about the power of a great story.

So our guest today is the writer Joe Hill, who knows all about the power of a great story, and the extra power of a scary one. In his new collection Full Throttle he’s given us a armful of them to savor. Two of these stories were written in collaboration with his father, Stephen King, but the full range of invention here shows that the author of bestsellers like NOS4A2, The Fireman, and Heart Shaped Box works from a spell book of his own devising. From a tale that fuses big-game hunting with a classic work of fantasy to a story draws us into a diabolic circus via the means of an all too familiar social media app, the stories of Full Throttle offer pleasures heartfelt and horrifying in equal measure. Hill prefaces Full Throttle with a marvelous introduction that stands as a great story of its own, a story of Hill’s experience growing up as a writer in an extraordinary family, and with an extraordinary literary force as a father and mentor. When he joined us in the studio, we talked about his journey as a writer, and the obsessions behind these fantastic dark tales.

If you liked our podcast interview with Joe Hill, check out our just-concluded podcast limited series tracing the shadowy worlds of Stephen King:  King of the Dark.

 


In this masterful collection of short fiction, Joe Hill dissects timeless human struggles in thirteen relentless tales of supernatural suspense, including “In The Tall Grass,” one of two stories co-written with Stephen King, basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix.

A little door that opens to a world of fairy tale wonders becomes the blood-drenched stomping ground for a gang of hunters in “Faun.” A grief-stricken librarian climbs behind the wheel of an antique Bookmobile to deliver fresh reads to the dead in “Late Returns.” In “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain,” soon to be an episode on Shudder TV’s Creepshow, two young friends stumble on the corpse of a plesiosaur at the water’s edge, a discovery that forces them to confront the inescapable truth of their own mortality . . . and other horrors that lurk in the water’s shivery depths. And tension shimmers in the sweltering heat of the Nevada desert as a faceless trucker finds himself caught in a sinister dance with a tribe of motorcycle outlaws in “Throttle,” co-written with Stephen King.

Replete with shocking chillers, including two previously unpublished stories written expressly for this volume (“Mums” and “Late Returns”) and another appearing in print for the first time (“Dark Carousel”), Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. Hypnotic and disquieting, it mines our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears, and demonstrates this exceptional talent at his very best.

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