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Writer and commercial driver Eric Miller collects scary stories for the trucking community

By on January 1, 2016

Even the safest and most experienced truck drivers get a bit of a scare sometimes. Out on the road a flat tire, stalled engine or oil leak will often cause a great deal of concern.

But what if your traveling companion suddenly transformed into a flesh-eating zombie and was eyeing you hungrily, eager for his next bite? That’s the kind of fright no tools can fix.

This starving cannibal is just one of the characters found in 18 Wheels of Horror, an anthology of trucking horror fiction with a dangerous squad of ghosts, monsters and creatures. Eric Miller, screenwriter and owner of independent book publisher Big Time Books, assembled a team of writers who have paid tribute to truck drivers in a purely fictional setting.

“I saw a real dearth of stories for and about drivers. What they do every day is incredible,” he says. “And I just love good storytelling. The sheer imagination from these writers is incredible.”

Semi true

Miller grew up listening to the trucking songs of C.W. McCall, Jerry Reed and Red Sovine, and his best friend’s father was a truck driver. Miller often accompanied the family when they drove out to Cincinnati to pick him up from his terminal. As the driver regaled everyone with stories from his long stretches on the highway, Miller would listen in awe.

“There’s a certain romance to the road — a mystery to it and a sense of freedom,” he says. “You’re out there all on your own and you have a great deal of responsibility.”

Miller went on to work in the film industry in a variety of transportation roles. He has served as a commercial driver and transportation coordinator for movies starring Kris Kristofferson, Burt Reynolds and Liam Neeson.

“All of those guys were kind and generous with their time,” he says. “Some of the memories and experiences I’ve had will last a lifetime. I just love what I do.”

Horror with heroes

The book brings his two careers together. Filled with disturbing twists and terrifying threats, these spine-chilling stories have enough suspense to spook even the bravest of souls.

“The stories do get brutal, and there will be blood,” Miller says. “But I didn’t want to have a dissection manual like an episode of CSI. Our stories are solely in the realm of fiction, meant to entertain the audience.”

Besides a feeling of mystery and terror, the stories in 18 Wheels of Horror show many of the qualities that these drivers must possess to do the job — strength, perseverance and courage.

“Our country would grind to a halt if it weren’t for the millions of men and women who drive trucks on a daily basis,” Miller says. “They spend time away from their families. It takes a certain mentality and mindset to be able to do it.”

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