Scary Stories for a Good Cause: Clifford Brooks on John Wilson

By L.S. Johnson (

When not writing about ghosts and improbable Siamese twins, Clifford Brooks is a devoted cat daddy. On any given Sunday, you can find him walking one of his cats through the Bay Area’s many parks.


Tell us a little about your story, “John Wilson.” 

John Wilson came about by accident. The un-named narrator was a character in a novella I was working on. She only had a couple of lines, but I figured I needed to know more about her, so I wrote a character background. When I was done, I realized that what I’d basically done was write a short story about her.


The style of “John Wilson” is unusual—some might call it poetic, or experimental. What inspired the focus on voice?

It wasn’t a conscious decision … it just came out like that. Ironically, the novella that spawned it has yet to be sold.


What is your relationship to California?

I grew up a small-town Midwest boy. I thought that’s who I was until I left the Midwest for California. And then, on a trip to Manhattan, it sealed the deal. I’d been mistaken. Horribly so. California is such a big place that there really isn’t just one California. San Francisco and Union City are worlds apart. More like galaxies apart.


As writers, we constantly use our imaginations, sometimes in terrifying ways. But can you imagine a hopeful future for California? What might that future look like?

 Because this is the technology center of the world, I see California, and especially the Bay Area, morphing into something totally unrecognizable in the next 20 to 30 years. Robot companions? Check. Self-driving clean vehicles? Check check. Empty office parks and traffic-free highways as employees work in virtual offices from the comfort of their beds? Hell yes.


Where can readers find more of your work?

I’m not nearly as prolific as I’d like to be, but one can find more on what I’m all about from the safety of my website:


Anything you’d like to add that we haven’t asked?

Just that I’m an extroverted introvert. I know, it’s trendy for writers to call themselves introverts, but I’m an extreme case. Really. That being said, in small to smallish groups, I can be very extroverted. It’s a total response to my discomfort … the more uncomfortable I become, the harder it is to shut me up.


"[A] brilliant collection of truly creepy tales by horror's hottest voices! Dark, funny, heartbreaking, and bizarre. Highly recommended!"
-Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars and Glimpse

Scary Stories for a Good Cause. From Bram Stoker Award-nominated editor of the cult magazine Morbid Curiosity comes Tales for the Camp Fire, a new charity anthology of short stories to help support wildfire relief efforts. Through these pages roam werewolves, serial killers, a handful of ghosts, plenty of zombies, Cthulhu cultists, mad scientists, and a pair of conjoined twins.