Greetings, my faithful minions. Hel is back yet again, and as a special treate [sic], Writer's Lounge is back yet again, after almost 2.5 years. And who better to herald the coming of a new era then one of our new authors, the man, the myth, the movie, L0CKED334 the Highlander, the author of haunting stories such as Ink and Vivid. Without further ado, let's get right into the interview!

Helel ben Shahaar: To start it off, why not tell us something about yourself?

L0CKED334: Well, I'm from one of those small towns in lower Alabama that only has one store at the corner of their only traffic light. A lot of people hear where I am from and think trailer park, beer cans, and big trucks. I actually live in a brick house, recently became sober, and own a Chevy Equinox. I like to classify myself as Southern, not redneck but I have my moments. I drive ten miles to a nearby city where I work for a plumbing and electrical service company. I have been there ten years and currently am the service manager. I spend my days telling guys older than me where to go and what to do. It has its perks. My wife is a stay-at-home mother to my two boys. The oldest is ten and the youngest is three. I spend the majority of my week working and spending time with my family. On weekends I am usually catching up with things I haven't done around the house, playing with my kids, writing, or playing video games. I currently am trying my hand at live streaming the games I play. It hasn't picked up yet but I'm hopeful. My wife is supportive of my hobbies and endeavors. It is a hectic life but I would not trade it for anything.

Hel: What led you to discovery that you like writing Creepypastas? Hell, what led you to discover this wiki in the first place?

L0CK: About four years ago I was scanning YouTube for interesting content and came across a narration video for the story The Russian Sleep Experiment. I had never heard of Creepypastas until that point. I was completely fascinated by the storytelling and sought out more. My search led me to CreepsMcPasta's narration of 1999 and No End House. By this point I was hooked. I found myself listening to narration videos every night for the next six months or so before taking the time to search for the stories behind those narrations. I found the wiki and about the same time. I alternated between each site, reading random stories. It was not until last year that I decided to brush off my old writing credentials and see if I had what it took to write one of these "creepypastas". The rest, as they say, is history.

Hel: Which horror author(s) (if any) would you cite as your inspiration(s) for writing?

L0CK: Don't get me wrong, I am familiar with some of the more common authors. Names like Dean Koontz Ann Rice, Clive Barker, and Stephen King are not foreign to me but I would not call them inspiration. I had never really been one to read horror until I found creepypasta. I had always been drawn more to post-apocalyptic literature prior to finding this place. My inspiration for my current work comes from the authors here on the wiki. There is some great talent here and I am constantly surprised by what is produced and shared on this wiki. I would name a few but this list is long and I am sure I would forget someone.

Hel: No list can be so long. Be a champ and lay it out for us!

L0CK: Hmm, here we go: Banned In CPDrBobSmith, EmpyrealInvective, HopelessNightOwl, HumboldtLycanthrope, K. Banning Kellum, Raidra, Shadowswimmer77, TheWizardOfTheWoods, and yourself of course.

Hel: Pleasantly surprised. Do you believe in paranormal? Have you had any paranormal encounters and/or experiences?

L0CK: I do believe there are things that occur in this life that cannot be explained by scientific means. I have experienced physical manipulation of objects by entities that cannot be seen. I have felt the presence of what I have come to believe as a spirit. I remember listening to my grandfather's voice on my grandmother's answering machine recording when he had been deceased for ten years. I dialed her back just to make sure I wasn't going crazy. The second time I called it was my father's voice instead. I have felt and seen things that most people would call coincidence but I have interpreted as omens. Usually my feelings are pretty close. Whether they be spiritual in nature or other-worldly, I know that these things exist.

Hel: Interesting... And would you say some of your stories were influenced by such events? And if so, which ones?

L0CK: Almost all of my stories are speckled with experiences from my life. Like how Vivid spawned from an actual nightmare I experienced and Goodnight actually happened to me as a kid, minus the scary reveal at the end. I have not used my paranormal experiences in a story yet. I am saving those for a rainy day.

Hel: Your latest story, Where the Birches Lean , became a minor hit on the wiki, and is now even a PotM. Anything you'd like to say about it?

L0CK: First, I would like to thank you for the story prompt again. It was a lot different than what I had ever written and I always enjoy a challenge. I felt good about it once it was finished but I had no idea it would be as well received as it has been. I am really flattered by the PoTM win. It was something I had worked toward since coming to the wiki. I wanted to say I could produce something just as memorable as the ones who had come before me. It really does confirm my choices in coming, attempting to write, and sharing my writing with everyone here. Every time I receive praise for something I have created it is surreal. I honestly do not feel my work is up to the same standard as some of the others here but I think that tends to be true of a lot of artists. We tend to criticize our work a little more harsh than others.

Hel: What would you say are your greatest fears? Do they help you in writing?

L0CK: Greatest fear? I use to say it was dying alone but recently I came to terms with the fact I am an alcoholic. I have been sober two months now and looking back has shown me that really my greatest fear would be myself. I know how much of a monster I can be and if you have never seen yourself through a lens like that then it would be hard to describe. I believe every dark part of my story has been a mirror of a dark aspect of myself. My story Ink is a direct excerpt from a journal entry I wrote when I was in my early twenties. If anything can give a window into my mind it would be that piece. I believe we all have the capability of being a monster and a good writer needs only to tap into that to create the perfect form of horror.

Hel: Which of your stories would you say is your favourite and why?

L0CK: I would have to say After the Fall is my favorite. It draws from my love of post-apocalyptic literature, which I had a hard time finding on the wiki. Then somewhere while writing it I became completely entangled in the story and the lives of the characters I was creating. I actually became emotionally connected to their experiences. The words came easy because it was already inside me. I was so invested in these people that when I went back to read it I even became a little choked up. It honestly would be something I would like to draw out into something far larger.

Hel: And maybe your least favourite?

L0CK: That would probably have to be Kelly Came Back. When the idea first hit me I thought it was intriguing but once I read the final product it seemed to fall flat. I don't think I made the best use of that idea and could always be something I revisit at a later time.

Hel: Question I made up 5 seconds ago: do you have a favourite angel?

L0CK: I would have to say Gabriel, the Guardian of Israel and the name my wife and I chose for our youngest son.

Hel: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

L0CK: The most important thing I would tell any aspiring writer is to stay true to yourself. What is it they say? Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Some people's insight can be helpful but in the end the work is yours. This wiki is a great resource for honing your skills and becoming better. I know my work has benefited greatly by the help of the people here. At the end of the day though, you have to be happy with what you have written. If you can't do that then what is the point? Keep your eyes open for inspiration, write for experience, and try to enjoy it in the process. Writing benefits me in more ways than any acclaim I may receive and I hope it does for all of you too.

Hel: Aaand, that about covers it. It was a pleasure doing this interview.