The Story of Wile E. Young as compiled from hearsay, folklore, and myth.
The day was August 6th, 1990 when I came into this world. According to local witnesses, the doctor’s might have dropped me. It would explain a good many things.
I was an extraordinarily imaginative child and was lucky that my family… encouraged? tolerated?... dealt with my increasing love of fantasy worlds and fiction in general. I read all the traditional things that a young literature-loving child of the 90’s loved: Boxcar Kids, Hardy Boys, Hank the Cow Dog, etc. and it was at this early stage of public school life that I discovered two things that would continue to inspire me to this day— the double G’s: Godzilla and Goosebumps.
I also enjoyed sports and games, don’t get me wrong, and as a child I was enrolled in everything that my father could think to enroll me in: little league baseball, soccer, basketball, etc. But while I liked it well enough, I wasn’t as passionate about it as I was with the fictional worlds I was so enraptured with.
I fell in love with the concept of monsters and the people that fought them and I voraciously devoured every Goosebumps book I could possibly find in my school library. This helped introduce me to the horror genre, but it was my father allowing me to watch Universal Studios’ 1941 version of The Wolfman that really solidified everything and guaranteed that I would forever wander and partake in the worlds of fantasy and terror.
Out of all the monsters, however, Godzilla was my personal hero. By the time I was six, I had watched every Godzilla movie that was available to watch. I was even Godzilla for Halloween (my favorite holiday) in 2nd grade.
Also during my young and formative years, I delved into the more classical fantasy. Things such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings lined my shelves. Classical literature, books about myths from around the world, history; my young mind continued to read and watch everything that I could possibly lay my hands on.
Throughout this, my love of writing grew. I wrote various little stories in the margins of my notebooks when I wasn’t paying attention in math class (a trend that would continue for the rest of my school days), until sophomore year of high school when I started actively writing stories. My tastes in authors had evolved at this point (Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Jim Butcher among others). I began writing short urban fantasies that I pray will never see the light of day, but were good practice for someone who was just beginning the journey that is writing.
In high school, I was recommended a group of stories by an author I had never heard of— one H.P. Lovecraft. It revolutionized my world. I began delving into the history of the Horror genre like never before, discovering such wonders as William Hope Hodgson, Arthur Machen, August Derleth, Ramsey Campbell, Ambrose Bierce, Robert W. Chambers. I quelled my need for fantasy with Robert Howard and George R.R. Martin. Cinema-wise, I was discovering Alfred Hitchcock, Wes Craven, and John Carpenter.
At this point I still didn’t want to be a professional writer; I wanted to go into politics and this was just a fun outlet for creative energies. But that love of writing continued to get stronger and stronger.
Then it happened… I was in Books- A- Million perusing the shelves and I picked up a book by an author I had never heard of before. It was Brian Keene’s The Rising. I read it and it was like I had achieved enlightenment. The thought came to me, “Screw politics, I want to be a writer.”
I read every single one of Brian Keene’s books within six months. From there I branched out and started reading everything modern horror could provide: Jack Ketchum, J.F. Gonzalez, Richard Laymon, Tim Lebbon, Tom Piccirilli, Bentley Little, Mary San Giovanni, Joe R. Landsdale, Wrath James White, Edward Lee, Darren Shan. So many authors, so many people that I looked up too. I’m a firm believer in God, but these people became a modern pantheon of legendary figures.
So finally I began to write. I wrote a novel during college called The University: Wyrding Ways. I also wrote short stories, all of them met with no success. I did not give up, however. Quitting wasn’t in my nature and I have a weird mix of stubbornness, determination, and confidence that borders on delusion. Times were hard, spiritually and emotionally, as life continued to move forward and I met with no success.
It was during this dip that I published two short stories within a short time of each other and I realized the truth— I can do this… it was just going to require patience.
So here I am, two years from those two short stories, working in aviation and throwing myself into my creed and passion. I chose the name Wile E. Young to write by because that’s how I view chasing my dream—like a roadrunner, and I, the coyote, who chases no matter how many times he gets beaten, bruised, and exploded.
I’m still chasing the Roadrunner and I will catch it.
-Wile E. Young