LitReactor Interview with Nicole Cushing

Christopher Shultz of recently conducted a wonderful interview with Nicole Cushing, author of The Sadist Bible and Stoker Nominee for her novel, Mr. Suicide. Here is a sample of her interview.

Without giving too much away, the final scenes in The Sadist’s Bible reminded me of a way more fucked up version of Midian, the monster realm in Clive Barker’s Nightbreed. Was Barker an influence on your work at all, either with The Sadist’s Bible or otherwise?

My work has often been likened to Barker’s, but I don’t think that’s a result of his direct influence on me so much as the coincidence that our brains are probably wired in a similar fashion.

Ever since I was six years old, I’ve experienced strange, half-hallucinatory daydreams and vivid, immersive nightmares. Many (if not most) of these have been surreal and related to metaphysical subjects. When I write, I often draw on these visions (for lack of a better word). Hence my similarity to Barker.

I still have these experiences from time to time.The final scenes of The Sadist’s Bible were inspired by a daydream that suddenly came to me while I sat on a rooftop in New Orleans a few years ago. (I should probably add, for the benefit of your readers, that no alcohol or drugs have ever been involved in these visions.They just arise spontaneously, maybe two or three times a year, during periods of rest.) Over the course of the revision process I added additional material beyond that initial vision in New Orleans. But the vision kicked things off.

I don’t believe any of these visions are legitimate encounters with the supernatural. They’re just extremely vivid journeys into the imagination, sprouting from the fertilizer of a hyper-religious upbringing. I even hesitate to call them “visions”, because that makes me sound like I’m completely out of touch with reality. But that’s the best word I can think of to describe them. (Especially the ones that happen when I’m awake.)

Now, having said all that, I have enjoyed Barker’s stuff. I’m particularly fond of the original Hellraiser film, the novella The Hellbound Heart, his short story “The Forbidden”, and his play The History of the Devil. But I’ve never read any of his full-length novels. I hope to remedy that in the near future.

The way that Barker has influenced me the most, actually, is in how he carries himself as an author and artist. He’s comes across as a fascinating man. I love going onto YouTube and watching interviews he’s given over the years. He strikes me as someone with one foot on Earth and another planted firmly in the Realm of Dreams. That’s how I see him. I’ve never really considered it before, but I guess I’m a little like that, too. Neither Barker nor I would make very good middle managers.

Read the rest of this awesome interview with Nicole at

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