Derek Muk Talks Pop Culture Fun

Well, summer vacation is over, and now it’s time to get back in the swing of things for fall! I’ve decided to ease into September with a few more writerly interviews. The original interview I posted–me answering four writerly questions–was part of a blog tour. I’ve decided to use this format and publish a few interviews with my blogger guests. So, first on the list is writer Derek Muk. I met Derek at the World Horror Convention in New Orleans a couple years back, and was immediately intrigued by his quirky, pop culture-referencing style. Derek’s short story, “The Haunted Goldmine,” was recently published in SPACE AND TIME magazine. You can learn more about Derek’s work at

Take it away, Derek!


1. What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing a series of short stories that feature recurring characters, a college professor and his young teaching assistant and their adventures in the paranormal and the unknown. They investigate ghosts, strange goings-on, urban legends, monsters, myths, and try to debunk these things as well.

2. How does your work differ from others in the genre?

I’ve been told that my writing is a bit cheesy, tongue-in-cheek, retro (a throwback because I make references to the 1970s, 1980s, etc.) innocent, and young adult-like (which it is). And I take all this as compliments because that’s essentially the effect that I’m trying to achieve with my writing. I’m a pop culture junkie and like writing stories that reflect things I like, whether they’re TV shows, music, and books I grew up with, or more contemporary things.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I write what I write because I think it’s fun to write about and because I’m paying homage to the pop culture I admire (TV shows, music, and books). For example, I love rock and roll and always try to make references to bands I like, songs I like, in the story. For me, certain songs evoke certain emotions, places, and eras in my life. Same goes with movies and TV shows: I’ll acknowledge and credit actors, actresses, and films I like.

4. How does your writing process work?

First, I try to find a topic or subject matter that I find interesting, do a little research on it, and then try to come up with a plot line in which I can frame around that topic. Some things are more challenging to write about than others. I find that story ideas can come from anywhere: from the news, current events, historical events, personal experiences, from your current job, friends, family, pop culture, etc. And sometimes I like writing about things that have a message, without sounding preachy, of course, and it doesn’t have to be serious (if it’s too serious then it usually won’t be fun to write about), but which can lend its way to a good story, with quirky, offbeat characters, and I’m utilizing the story and characters as a vessel to convey that message.