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An Interview with David Tocher, Author of Letters from a Dead World

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2023

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Your new book Letters from a Dead World - in a few words, what is it about?


Letters from a Dead World is my collection of six horror and dark fantasy stories. In one of them, as a zombie apocalypse unfolds, you'll find a telepathic teenager communicating mind-to-mind with the living dead. Another delves into the life of a man deep in sorrow, plagued by horrifying visions from his recently departed wife. There's even a story about a phony psychic who gets a major reality check from the spirits he once pretended to channel. And there's more where that came from.


I hope my stories take readers on an emotional journey, blurring the lines between the mysteries of life and death.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Letters from a Dead World?


Lovecraft's cosmic horrors, Poe's haunting atmospheres, and the enchantment of Grimm's tales served as my guiding stars. In Rebecca Raven, you'll glimpse shades of Little Red Riding Hood, but with my own modern spin. Feather Canyon is my personal take on Poe's haunting Annabel Lee, and Confidence Man carries a Dickensian influence with a dash of Lovecraft. In knitting these tales together, I aimed to tip my hat to these brilliant authors. And, if my efforts were successful, then readers will have fresh, contemporary stories to enjoy. So come on in, pull up a chair. I’m so thrilled to share them with you.


Were all of the individual stories specifically written for Letters from a Dead World, or did the anthology come merely as an afterthought?


These stories had quite the journey. They all started off in small press anthologies, and I thought that's where they'd stay. But to my surprise, folks from all around the world started reaching out online, saying how much they enjoyed the stories and asking where to find more. So, when all the rights finally reverted back to me, I thought, "Why not bring them all together in one book?" It just felt like the right thing to do, a little gift for all those wonderful readers out there who showed me their love.


Do talk about Letters from a Dead World's approach to horror?


Letters from a Dead World is my way of showing some love for classic horror. I'm inviting readers to dive back into those timeless tales that paved the way for today's spooky stories. As a writer, I'm not just spinning yarns, I'm all about linking the old and the new. I hope longtime horror fans will get a kick out of spotting nods to the classics in my tales, and newcomers might just find a cool path to explore the roots of this awesome genre.


Edgar Allan Poe once mused, “the death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” Poe's sentiment informs my work. While some of my tales deal with the melancholic theme of a man grieving the loss of his special lady (Feather Canyon, Rebecca Raven), I've also flipped the script in stories like Chelsea Mourning, where a woman is grieving the loss of the man she loves. However, Letters from a Dead World isn't confined to the literal meaning of Poe's words. The "beautiful woman" transcends mere physicality and can serve as a metaphor of whatever we value and love. For example, in Chelsea Mourning, Chelsea is a victim of child abuse, and she is mourning the loss of her innocence and her ability to trust. Also, this sentiment shines through in the titular story, where a young boy grapples with the overwhelming loss of his parents at the onset of an apocalypse.


You say that you have added a "uniquely Canadian flavor" to your stories - care to elaborate on that?


Well, I've got a real soft spot for my home province, British Columbia. I'm in love with its mountains, forests, and lakes. They're just breathtaking. And let's not forget the coastline. Also, the rich First Nation's history here—that's something special. And the people, they're pretty amazing too. I've always wanted to showcase my love for this province in my stories. Even though British Columbia is a province of Canada, in a way, I think of BC almost as its own little nation. So, you can expect that most of my future stories will be set right here, in this incredible place. But I might throw in a tale or two from another province just to keep things fresh and interesting.


What can you tell us about the actual writing process when working on Letters from a Dead World?


Taking my cue from the filmmaking world, I write out a treatment before writing my manuscript. A treatment is usually a 20 to 30-page summary for my story, all happening in present tense. For short stories, my treatments will be about 5 or 6 pages long. It's where the organized chaos lives – that spontaneous, gut-feel kind of writing that some authors might call the “pantser” route.


Curious about what a pro's treatment looks like? Do yourself a favor: pull up a chair with Kubrick's treatment of The Shining or Cameron's scriptment of Strange Days. They're both masterclasses in a few pages:


The Shining treatment -

Strange Days scriptment -


When I've got something that feels close to right, I pass it to my trusty beta-readers and my editor. They've got a knack for spotting the stuff that doesn't gel. Armed with their feedback, I reshape, rework, and finesse the treatment until the story's machinery purrs. Then, with most of the creative heavy lifting behind me, I begin drafting out the actual manuscript. The magic of the treatment? In a concise 30 pages or less, you can gauge the strength of your story, rather than discovering major problems after writing two or three hundred pages.


The $64-question of course, where can Letters from a Dead World be obtained from?


Letters from a Dead World is available through several distributors: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble (US only), Google Books, Kobo, and Scribd. Here is a universal link page:


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Letters from a Dead World?


The audience reception is positive. On Amazon and on Goodreads, readers have been generous with their kind reviews and 4 to 5 star ratings. As far as critical reception goes, award-winning author Nancy Kilpatrick wrote my book’s introduction, and she had very glowing things to say about my writing, which I’m grateful to her for.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Stay tuned for Stephen King – Dollar Baby: The Sequel by Anthony Northrup, brought to you by Bear Manor Media. It contains my perspective piece, He is the Doorway: Stephen King’s Fiction as a Gateway to Classic Literature. Also, keep an eye out for the anthology About That Snowy Evening, curated by Stephen Spignesi, Andy Rausch, and Keith Lansdale. You'll find my short tale, Shadow in the Gully, nestled among works from renowned authors such as Bev Vincent, Robin Furth, Billy Chizmar, and George Beahm.


How did you get into writing in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I’ve been writing ever since I was a child. Books and language seemed to just call out to me my entire life. I’ve had some formal training in college and university, which proved invaluable. The best decision I made as a writer was to study World Literature and English Literature.


What can you tell us about your writings prior to Letters from a Dead World?


Most of the stories in this collection started out in small-press anthologies, except for Ekphrasis, which is new. I've got a soft spot for how they first came out, but as I grew as a writer, I couldn't resist giving each of them a little makeover. Take Confidence Man for instance. If you stack its first version from the anthology Dark Light (edited by Carl Hose) next to the one in Letters from a Dead World, you'll see it's still the same story at its core. But now, it has some extra layers, smoother writing, and a few new characters to enrich the narrative.


From what I know, you've also occasionally dabbled into film production - and since this is a movie site first and foremost, you just have to talk about your filmwork for a bit!


I've had the honour of being credited as an associate producer in a handful of independent films, mostly within the horror genre. It's been quite the thrilling journey, though my contributions have been modest. While I deeply admire the enthusiasm of the countless talented filmmakers out there, I tend to stick to projects initiated by people I know personally. 


Right now, I'm really looking forward to Justin Romine's upcoming film It Came Out of the Sky, which is set to start shooting in October of 2023 [Justin R. Romine interview - click here]. I had the chance to read his screenplay, and it's absolutely fantastic! I've been friends with Justin for a few years now. We're bonded by our love for baseball, Bob Dylan, Stephen King, and our shared passion for cinema.


Another project worth mentioning is Dawn Fields' The Edge of Her Mind, an anthology of short films by and about women, released in 2022. It's a beautiful exploration of women's stories, with a compassionate focus on mental health. Plus, it features the legendary Lance Henriksen (you might remember him from Aliens and Near Dark). The anthology spans various genres, so there's something in it for everyone.


How would you describe yourself as a writer?


I see myself as a competent, hardworking writer. I love my craft and I work at it. Smokers smoke and writers fill up pages with words.


Writers who inspire you, and some of your favourite books?


In the classics corner, I'm all about Beowulf, especially Seamus Heaney's awesome translation. Then there's Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy (with a soft spot for Mark Musa's translation). Edgar Allan Poe's short stories and poems also have a special spot on my bookshelf. Shifting to more recent reads, I'm a big fan of Stephen King's The Stand and Rose Madder. Then there’s H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Richard Matheson's I Am Legend.Oh, and don't forget Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. These authors and their creations have been delightful companions throughout the years.


And (again) since this is a movie site first, your favourite movies?


First off, there's Jaws – a classic that's as close to a perfect movie as it gets! And then, who can forget Psycho? Almost flawless. Same goes for The Birds. Now, when we talk about the world of Dario Argento, Suspiria, Phenomena and The Stendhal Syndrome are my personal top picks. And let's not forget the master of Italian horror, Lucio Fulci [Lucio Fulci bio - click here], whose Aenigma, Zombie and City of the Living Dead are absolute favourites of mine. And when I'm in the mood for some good ol' Westerns, The Magnificent Seven, the original High Noon and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance are the ones that really hit the spot. These movies are like old friends, always there to bring a smile to my face.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


The entertainment industry is already tough, so I believe in maintaining a positive outlook on the creative efforts of others. When I stumble upon a film that doesn't quite hit the bullseye, I tend to give it an “E for effort” and wish the filmmaker well. But let's talk about that one exception, shall we? The Twilight saga. It's a bit like that dish you politely decline seconds of at a dinner party, isn't it?


Your book's website, social media, whatever else?


Letters from a Dead World:

Author page:

My Twitter profile:



Feeling lucky ?
Want to search for books by
David Tocher
yourself ?

The links below
will take you
just there !!!

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Speaking of movies, there's a new film that caught my attention recently — Juliet Landau's A Place Among the Dead. If her name sounds familiar, it's because she portrayed Drusilla in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She skillfully uses the vampire motif to shed light on narcissistic abuse, offering her viewers a path toward healing. It's a unique twist on the genre, and I believe many will find it both engaging and enlightening.


Thanks for the interview!


And thank you!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.


There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry


directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke


now streaming at


Amazon UK





Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from