Steve Stred – The Nine Influences on My Writing

The Nine Influences on My Writing by Steve Stred HORROR FEATURE

it shaped my mind into understanding a story could go wherever it wanted and no matter how dark it descended, it could still create visceral emotional reactions. The creature Gmork was one of the first things I can remember truly giving me horrible nightmares.

Steve Stred

Steve Stred – The Nine Influences on My Writing

Hello, my name is Steve Stred. I’m a 2X Splatterpunk-Nominated author and avid reader, supporter, and reviewer of horror. On July 21st, 2023, I’ll be releasing my first non-fiction book, my memoir, ‘The Color of Melancholy: An Examination of Andrew Pyper’s Novels as Intersected Through My Life.’ The memoir follows me from my humble beginnings growing up in a very small town, my struggles with depression, my attempt at making the Winter Olympics, and arriving at where I am today. Jim kindly reached out to me to offer up his wonderful site, GNOH, to help me promote this release. Thank you so much, Jim and Ginger Nuts of Horror, for supporting this project!

When Jim messaged, we had a brief back and forth about what this piece might look like. When he suggested one that stuck – a look at the top influences for me across Movies, Books, TV shows and Music, I thought it was a great idea and very fitting!

So, without further wait, lets look at three pieces that influenced me across those mediums and transformed me into the writer I am today.


The Bear – based on James Oliver Curwood’s phenomenal 1916 novel, ‘The Grizzly King,’ ‘The Bear’ was released in 1988 and was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film focuses on a bear cub who befriends a huge, male grizzly who is being hunted by a hunting party. This movie – the animals, the setting, and the cinematography – has firmly remained in my mind ever since I first watched it all those years ago and is a frequent influence on me and all my work set in the wilderness.

Splice – this 2009 sci-fi/horror mashup disturbed me in all the best ways possible. We follow two genetic engineers who are involved in hybrid experiments and end up making a human-animal hybrid. It is a fascinating movie, both thematically and ethically, and a movie that has heavily influenced a few of my novellas as well as my novel ‘Mastodon.’

The Neverending Story – released in 1984, the film version of ‘The Neverending Story’ was a movie I frequently watched while growing up. I ended up reading the translated novel for the first time in the late 90’s and have read it numerous times since (and I prefer the novel), but when I discovered this, it was mind-blowing. Fantasy with horror elements, it shaped my mind into understanding a story could go wherever it wanted and no matter how dark it descended, it could still create visceral emotional reactions. The creature Gmork was one of the first things I can remember truly giving me horrible nightmares.

Honorable mentions: Legend, The Last Unicorn, Labyrinth, Alien, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Ritual, The VVitch, One Week, Hellraiser, Signs, Harry and the Hendersons.


The Hardy Boys – I graduated to reading the Hardy Boys novels around the same time I began reading Stephen King, when I was eight or nine. I loved how they worked together to solve a mystery and the authors (I didn’t know it was a group of different authors writing under a collective pseudonym for years) put them into many different and captivating scenarios. 

The Mist by Stephen King – this novella traumatized me when I first read it, not long before reading ‘The Long Walk,’ which has also remained with me for many years. This piece of fiction messed me up so much that I still have a lifelong fear of dense fog and when it moves in quickly, I have to battle hard to not have a panic attack.

The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper – my first Pyper novel and a novel that shaped my belief in my ability to write horror as a Canadian, this novel remains embedded in my mind and my heart. Equal parts grief and terror, the scene where Ullman ascends the stairs to confront what awaits him in Venice will haunt me until my very last days.

Honorable mentions: Pet Sematary by Stephen King, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, The Troop by Nick Cutter.


The X-Files – a show that focused on all the intriguing things I was interested in, The X-Files was a show that I’ve loved and rewatched a few times. I loved the long plot lines that weaved through entire seasons and how the series pushed ahead with the lore, government conspiracy-alien stuff and even with the newest seasons and movies, how we got to watch Mulder and Scully adapt over the years.

North of 60 – perhaps the first show I ever truly watched in the sense of making sure we were in front of the TV when it aired its thirty-minute episode during the week. This focused on the inner workings of a very small town in the middle of nowhere in northern Canada. We had police/Indigenous storylines, relationship drama, racial discussions, and frank discussions on economics and how those who live out there survived – or barely did. This show heavily influenced my 2023 novel, ‘Churn the Soil.’

The Raccoons – The Raccoons theme song has never once left my head since I first heard it as a kid. The adventures of Burt Raccoon and his family and friends in the Evergreen Forest has indelibly shaped my creative mind and has influenced everything I’ve written, but most specifically my novella ‘The Window in the Ground.’

Honorable Mentions: On the Road Again, Fringe, Warehouse 13.


White Zombie – Astro Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head – when Astro Creep came out, I was originally unable to track down the album, but when I finally did – hooooo, boy. This may be the album I’ve listened to most in my life. Every song is perfect and the atmosphere this group created is just phenomenally dark. 

Type O Negative – October Rust – an album I can say changed my life, and also saved my life. When I was very depressed, I turned to music a lot to pull me through my lows and this album was simply beautiful, haunting and the textures created in each song burrow into my brain and hold me tight. I often tell myself that I want to write stories the way Type O songs make me feel.

Collective Soul – Self Titled (Blue) – Ed Roland is a master song writer. He creates some amazing tunes, phenomenal melodies and consistently gets the listener into the palm of his hands with each song. This album has so many great tunes, though I loved the album before this, Hints and Allegations, this felt like a real album and there are so many songs on here that are classics. Collective Soul is a band that you immediately know once you hear the guitars.

Honorable mentions: Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Come Find Yourself, Six Feet Under – Haunted, At the Gates – Slaughter of the Soul.

So, there we go! 

Those are some of the various media pieces that shaped me and inspired and influenced me.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me and if you grab my memoir, I hope it moves you in some way to follow your passion and live a life with a smile on your face.


The Color of Melancholy: An Examination of Andrew Pyper’s Novels as Intersected Through My Life

It’s just a book, right?

To some, this is true.

But what if an author’s work has made a tangible difference in a reader’s life?

Steve Stred came from humble beginnings, born and raised in Burton, BC, Canada – population approx. 75. Through the years, he’s battled depression and the fight between his small-town boy fear of the larger world and his inner self desperately wanting more; to see more, do more, experience more. Over his life, Steve’s sought out challenges – being the first in his family to graduate from university. Pursuing weight-lifting, shotput and bobsled, all with the ultimate goal to make it to the Olympic Games.

But how does one pick themselves up when failure continuously rears its ugly head?

A chance purchase in 2014 changed everything and set in motion a relationship between the books of his favorite author and key moments within his own life.

Featuring a powerful foreword from Andrew Pyper, Steve Stred’s ‘The Color of Melancholy: An Examination of Andrew Pyper’s Novels as Intersected Through My Life,’ uses a mix of humor and seriousness to describe his upbringing, his challenges and how he fell back in love with writing, while also discussing how Andrew Pyper’s novels have woven their way into the fabric of his own history – and how a friendship was born.

Steve Stred is a 2X Splatterpunk-Nominated author of more than a dozen releases.

Andrew Pyper is an Arthur Ellis Award-Winning and Shirley Jackson-Nominated author who has been awarded The Grant Allen Award for his contributions to Canadian crime and mystery literature. He is the author of ten best selling novels and the smash hit ‘Oracle,’ an Audible audiobook release.

Steve Stred

Steve Stred

A Splatterpunk-Nominated Author, Steve Stred lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with his wife, son and their staffy, Cocoa. His work has been described as haunting, bleak and is frequently set in the woods near where he grew up. He’s been fortunate to appear in numerous anthologies with some truly amazing authors.

A proud co-founder of the LOHF Writer’s Grant, he is also an Active Member of the HWA.



Twitter: @stevestred

Instagram: @stevestred

Tik Tok: @stevestredauthor


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1 Response

  1. 24/07/2023

    […] Writer Steve Stred shares the influences on his writing with The Ginger Nuts of Horror […]

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