Horror Bookworm Spotlights Daemon Manx

Daemon Manx sat down with the Horror Bookworm for a 5 question one on worm interview. Enjoy this powerful discussion…
HB: Your collection of short stories, Manx-iety, has an upcoming release date of April 27th. What made you choose to center a number of your past and present experiences around these sixteen tales of the unusual?

DM: As with most of the stories I write, they are all based, whether loosely or entirely, on real life events. The places I write about, the characters, the plots, have either happened to me in part or come to me in dreams or nightmares. Rarely do I write a story that originates from the thin air of my imagination, although most are run through that filter during their inception.

The stories in Manx-iety were largely written while I was in prison. In fact, all these tales came out while I was dealing with some type of trauma or another. Whether it was the early days of recovery, being locked in a six by eight prison cell for nearly a decade or trying to return to civilization during a pandemic. That was the canvas for these stories; it only occurred to me later that they were my story. There are several in this book that are clearly memoirs, and I chose to include them because they were defining moments in my life. In fact, most people won’t realize exactly how many of these stories are memoirs until they get to the author’s notes in the back. Don’t cheat … cheaters never, well, you get the picture.

Whether it is the title story, Manx-iety or Ronald Reagan and the Oh Jesus Chord, or even The Overbrook, the stories of my past are just as wild and crazy as the fiction I create, maybe more so. Although my past is dark, I am proud of the journey and the path I have forged. This book is the culmination of that journey and the stories that happened along the way; it is the story of my struggle and the story of my recreation. Manx-iety represents both the darkest period of my life and the metamorphosis it inspired.
HB: You have openly shared the path from the “unpleasant aspect of life” to a successful career in writing and publishing. It’s truly an amazingly inspirational story to tell. Can you please speak to this journey you have made?

DM: The real journey started the day I got locked up. I had been doing everything wrong, I was as addicted to heroin as anyone has ever been. It turned me into someone I was not, and I lost everything in the process. The isolation and loneliness that hit me was profound.

In a cold cell, in solitary confinement on Christmas eve, I made the decision to turn my life around … and I was determined to do what ever it took to walk out of prison a new man.

While incarcerated I gravitated to everything spiritual; I attended church, I meditated, I went to Buddhist services. I also dove headfirst into groups like AA and NA, and I even got a sponsor to visit me and help me work the steps. Most of that took place in the county jail, then once I was sent to state prison, I met some truly inspired individuals. One the men who I became friends with was named Marco. Well, my new friend introduced me to some inspirational ideas and activities that helped me stay on the right track in the system; he also helped me get into a college program. That program helped me move onto Rutgers University after leaving the system where I studied Journalism and Creative Writing.

I had a master plan during my years in the system. I spent my time reading and learning and perfecting my craft. Once I got out, I planned to edit all my handwritten stories and start submitting to magazines. And that’s what I did, from there I planned to shop around and try to get signed to an indie label, which I also accomplished. I never intended to open a publishing company, but after an unfortunate experience with my first novella, I figured I would give it a go, rather than throw darts and hope for the best. I knew I could trust myself as a publisher and thought I might be able to help a few others along the way. So, I opened Last Waltz Publishing, I found a handful of like-minded authors and here we are. So far, my choices have been solid, and I have always kept true to my beliefs and my master plan.

Visit Last Waltz Publishing…
HB: Your books definitely take on an eerie vibe of the unknown. Have you or do you ever research these subject materials by urban exploration or maybe graveyard visits? What is a specific personal incident that still haunts you to this day?

DM: I have done quite a bit of Urbex in my day. I started doing this when I was just a wee lad, and had little fear of the things, we really need to be afraid of in this world. Like falling from a water tower and breaking your neck, for example.

There is a story in Manx-iety called The Overbrook. This was a real place, it is a true story, and that place was a very bad place to go. Imagine the asylums in Nightmare on Elm Street. The Overbrook had been abandoned for decades, there were gurneys in the hallways, the windows were busted, doors broken, graffiti was everywhere, and the place was on top of a mountain. Also, it was haunted … and I don’t scare easily. My friends and I used to go there all the time, until something happened. I have never seen a ghost or experienced anything like it before, nor have I since. But after that night, I am not so sure what I believe, and I am not so quick to dismiss possibilities. If you wanted to find out what happened, it’s written in Manx-iety. I also suggest you Google the Overbrook or Essex County Asylum in Verona N.J. The pictures do my memory justice.

I have visited abandoned safari parks as well, which is the subject of another story in an upcoming anthology. Also, I visit the graveyard every morning. That’s where I walk Charlie, my dog. Graveyards have always called to me. They are quite placess, I love to read the headstones, and check the dates. It gives me a little meditation time along with the exercise, and Charlie loves to zigzag in and around the graves. Also, it’s a great place to film TikTok videos.

As much as I would like to talk about something specifically haunting in the spectral sense, my biggest demons and the thoughts that torture me the most are the memories of addiction. It was a living hell; and I consider myself fortunate that I can’t forget those nightmares. That certainly reminds me that I never want to go back there. Everything about that time was impossible. Being an addict takes everything you have. It is a struggle to maintain that way of life, and I have never heard of anyone who has done it successfully. My clearest memories are being sick every day. It took all my will and strength to get through the day, to the point where I finally passed out at night. Sleep was unrestful; I would wake up more tired than had I not slept at all. And ultimately, it took from me what mattered the most, my family, my health, my emotions, and my freedom. I lost about 15 years in total due to addiction and incarceration, and that loss still haunts me to this day.

Visit The Overbrook Asylum…
HB: An accomplished award nominated author, publisher of numerous books and an overall swell guy. What would you contribute your success to?

DM: I learned a few things during the course of my prison sentence that really stuck. These simple rules got me through my time without incident and earned me the respect of some very serious individuals. For any success and for who I am as a person, I owe it to these simple rules:
1. Honesty is not the best policy; it is the only policy.
2. Always be thorough; if you say you are going to do something … do it. Be true to your word and if you don’t agree with something, speak up.
3. Don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong. The ability to say I’m sorry is not a sign of weakness, it is a show of strength. Stay humble … that’s it.

Visit Daemon Manx’s Amazon Page…

Visit Daemon Manx’s Godless Page…
HB: Daemon Manx! Is there anyone living or dead (movie star, author, musician, public figure etc…) if they were to walk into the room you would totally lose your shit, who would it be?

DM: That’s an easy one. My mom. I lost my mother while I was still incarcerated and never got the chance to spend her last days and moments with her. There were years that were lost between us due to the mistakes I made that landed me in the prison system. Although she knew I was on the right track and had turned my life around, there were so many things I had planned to do for her, which I never got to. I wish I could have even just one day to spend with her, even a few hours to say I am sorry, and I love you. I know she is still with me and sees the things I have done to be a better man, still, I wish I got the chance to show her in person.

Visit Daemon Manx online…

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