By Dean Wyant
By the time I reached my teens I was an avid reader. My summers away from school were filled with books. At the age of thirteen I bought a copy of The Exorcist. It was my introduction to true horror. I was hooked. Throughout those formative teen years, I read horror. Oh, I read the required reading for school assignments and enjoyed them but they couldn’t compare to my horror stories. Zombies, vampires, werewolves, mummies, demons and ghosts were my friends. I loved them.
As an adult I became an obsessive collector, even collecting books I didn’t like. A dozen years or so ago my collection had grown to more than ten thousand books. I decided to bring it all to a temporary halt. I started selling off the books which I knew would be more appreciated by others. I kept my rarer and signed first editions. I started selling the others online and at a book store on South Broadway in Denver called the Denver Book Mall where I rented shelf space and worked weekends. The Denver Book Mall closed a couple of years later and I was invited to join a new similar store called the Broadway Book Mall just down the street. I’ve been a bookseller there ever since.
My collection is smaller now, only a couple of thousand books, but it does continue to grow. My books are mostly signed or inscribed to me. Most are written by authors who I am now fortunate enough to call friends. Some of my books are first editions penned by long gone authors I still enjoy reading. Since I also read genres other than horror, my collection reflects my tastes, but horror will always be my first love.
I took up writing at the early age of fifty. I’m a late bloomer. I always considered myself a reader more than a writer. A few years ago, an opportunity came along to start a publishing company, Hex Publishers with my good friend, Josh Viola. I become an acquisitions editor. Josh and I then co-authored a short story titled, Needles and we included it within Hex’s first anthology, Nightmares Unhinged. It was my first published work. Since then I have had short stories included in other publications in e-zines and anthologies.
I head up a local writer’s critique group, edit, write and have a full-time technology job. Who knew back in 1971 that picking up that copy of The Exorcist would lead me to all of this? Just lucky, I guess.