Horror can be experienced in a variety of ways. Whether you love reading the stories or watching movies or TV shows there are more than a few ways to get scared. One of the best ways to experience new pieces of horror is the podcast. There are plenty of horror podcasts to choose from but one has stood the test of time and that is Tales to Terrify. Recently I had a chance to catch up with this podcast and we talked about what was going on at this podcast.
TR: Please introduce yourself.
DS: I’m Drew Sebesteny, host and owner of Tales to Terrify Podcast. I’ve been working with the podcast for a little over four years now, but only became the owner at the start of May. I started out as a narrator, then editor and took over hosting back in November 2018.
By day I’m Creative Director at a major ad agency, but what I love about working on the podcast is being able to apply my creative skills to make something people actually want to listen to.
TR: Can you tell us a brief history about Tales to Terrify?
DS: Tales to Terrify started back in early 2012, when Tony C. Smith joined forces with horror writer Lawrence Santoro to create the first spin-off from his successful StarShipSofa podcast. It became the second member of what would eventually become the District of Wonders network.
When Larry died in the summer of 2014, it was a pretty huge blow to everyone at the podcast. I was still just a listener by then, but after two years of his voice in my ears, I remember feeling like I had lost a friend. Stephen Kilpatrick picked up the reins, eventually putting his own spin on the podcast, with more of a focus on the fiction. Stephen remained the voice of the podcast until November 2018, when he decided to step away to focus on school. That’s when I stepped in as host.
Then, in May 2019, Tony decided it was time to sell the podcast. And after four years of increasing personal investment in the podcast, I decided I had to take the plunge.
TR: Tell us a bit about Lawrence Santoro and what he was to this podcast.
DS: Larry was the founding host and really the heart of the podcast in its formative years. His love of the genre and connection to the horror community instantly gave the podcast a sense of credibility I don’t think it would have achieved so quickly otherwise. While I’ve put my own spin on the podcast since taking over hosting, even after all of these years I still feel it’s a legacy I have to live up to every week.
TR: What writers have been featured on Tales to Terrify?
DS: We’ve had some fairly notable names over the years. And some that were published on the podcast before they went on to broader success. Stephen King is probably the biggest name we’ve ever featured work from. But some other notable authors we’ve published include Jonathan Maberry, John Everson, George Saunders, Joe R. Lansdale, Tim Waggoner and Gene Wolfe. We’ve also featured public domain works by most of the classics like Lovecraft, Poe, James and Blackwood.
TR: Recently this podcast has undergone a unique shift. Can you tell us more about what happened?
DS: As of May, I’m now the proud owner of Tales to Terrify. That means we’re entirely on our own, flying free of the District of Wonders network (and its safety net). We’ve had a bit of a shift in staff, too, but between editor Seth Williams and myself, we’re more committed than ever to making Tales to Terrify the best it can be. It’s been an adventure already, getting everything transferred and updated, and there’s more exciting changes to come!
Where can people listen to this podcast?
DS: Tales to Terrify is available on all major podcast apps, as well as directly through our website (ad-free episodes are available to our Patrons).
TR: How can listeners support this podcast?
DS: The best thing listeners can do to support us is to donate on Patreon. These funds go towards the costs of producing the podcast each week, and the more support we have, the better the quality of what we’ll be able to produce. Ratings and reviews help immensely, too. And even just sharing your love for our show on social media. Every little bit helps!
TR: What are some of the plans for the future of Tales to Terrify?
DS: My goal is to continually increase the production quality and pull in better and better stories, writers and narrators. From an ownership perspective, I’d also love to be in a position where we had the monetary support from our audience to pay our staff and narrators. I can’t believe the generosity they’ve all had throughout the life of the podcast, and I’d kill to be able to give back in dollars even a fraction of the blood, sweat and tears they’ve poured into this.
Shorter term, we’ve just launched a new website, which has been amazing. And we’re looking at revamping some of the other audio elements around the podcast to better represent who we are. Another goal, for me, is to start commissioning artwork to accompany the episodes (which I hope to start looking into fairly soon). This is just the start for the podcast. I’m excited to really define who we are as a brand and start carving out an even stronger niche in the podcast arena!
TR: If you could adapt one story for this podcast what would it be and why?
DS: I’d love to have the chance to adapt some of Roald Dahl’s short horror stories. Few people realize that there was a lot more to his writing than children’s books. He’s actually got a pretty amazing body of short horror stories that I discovered years ago after finding a copy of Skin and Other Stories at a used bookstore.
TR: Do you have a favorite episode of this podcast?
DS: That’s like asking a parent to pick their favourite child (although in this case, admittedly a lot of mine are step-children). If I had to pick one that really stuck with me over the years, it’s episode 39 and Tim Waggoner’s Do No Harm. A really interesting take on the zombie genre than I enjoyed.
TR: Where would you like to see Tales to Terrify in five years?
DS: I feel pretty confident that Tales to Terrify will look (or sound) quite different five years from now, just as it’s very different from what it was five years ago. I really believe Tales to Terrify has the potential to become one of the top fiction podcasts of any genre, not just horror.
TR: Do you have anything else to add?
DS: I feel like I’ve got some huge shoes to fill, but also there’s a ton of potential for growth in the podcast. I’d love to have the opportunity to collaborate more with other podcasts in the horror community. Been a huge fan of NoSleep, Drabblecast and Lore for a long time. Would be amazing to make some terrifying magic together!
And there you have it! If you want to experience this great podcast head over to www.talestoterrify.com and get ready to listen to unique takes on horror.