Well, it’s pretty generally known in the States that I got into writing because of Lovecraft. He’s taken a lot of blame for a lot of things that he’s not really responsible for. But I did send my first fan letter to him because I read about his previous stories in the letter column of Weird Tales. There was nowhere to get them. They weren’t reprinted; they weren’t available. So I wrote to him and asked whether he knew where I could find some of this stuff and he offered to let me borrow all of his published work. And then at about the fourth letter on he suggested I try my own hand at writing — he’d be glad to read it and comment on it. And he also gave me a list of correspondents that formed what would later become known as the ‘Lovecraft Circle’. The result of that I got in touch with August Derleth, who lived out at Sauk City about 125 miles from where I was, and Clark Ashton Smith, Eddie Hoffman Price, and J. Vernon Shea, who was not a professional writer, but certainly one of the most avid fans and one of the most knowledgeable. And this increased my area of operations considerably, and some of the people I remained in correspondence with for many, many years to come. It was a very rewarding experience.

Bear in mind I’m talking about times when I was 16, 17, 18 years old, and it was quite a thrill to associate with such people even through correspondence, or know people like Weinbaum and Farley and work with them in the Fictioneers group, where we didn’t read stories or anything but helped each other with plot problems. That was very, very interesting.

Robert Bloch
Fandom Panel: Cinecon 20th April 1981