My friend Uwe posted on Facebook the link to this old interview with writer Robert Bloch, who died in 1994. Bloch, as everyone knows, wrote the novel Psycho, on which the film by that name made by Alfred Hitchcock is based. But he wrote so much more.
Bloch's oeuvre crosses many genres and appears in print, on film and TV. Like most readers, I first encountered him through Psycho, the terrifying movie, then the novel. I began reading and viewing his other works and being a vampire fan, somewhere in the early 1980s I was delighted to stumble upon "The Cloak", a modern vampire story (first published in the 1939 issue of the pulp mag Unknown), which I was happy to add to my burgeoning collection of vampire books.
I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting him not long before his death when we were both at a convention in London, Ontario (Canada) in the early 1990s. Only the two of us showed up for the panel we were to be on with 3 others. Naturally, the audience in the packed room directed their questions exclusively to Robert Bloch. But this gentleman and true scholar always turned to me first and asked, "Nancy, what do you think?" At that time, I was a young writer with only short stories published, and a novel in the pipeline. I was so touched by his graciousness, courtesy and inclusiveness towards me, and a warm spot remains in my heart for this extraordinary writer and kind human being.
He gave the budding wordsmiths in the audience the best advice ever: (paraphrased). Read. Read everything. Don't just limit yourself to the type of fiction you like to read or write, or even just to fiction. To write, you need to read everything.