I’m a UK indie author and to date I’ve written two full-length novels and a book of short stories. My debut was The Jesus Man: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale of Horror and the second Nexilexicon. My latest work is a book of shorts titled: And a Dark Horse Dreamt of Nightmares. I’m currently 49, and started writing as I turned 46. I live in the Lake District in England, and walk its many mountains in my spare time.
Who is your biggest influence when it comes to horror?
It would have to be Lovecraft and Poe, but King is in the mix too.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest collection And A Dark Horse Dreamt of Nightmares?
In truth, writing shorts never appealed to me initially. I was always immersed in long-haul works, but having written two novels of 105K length, I was ready to try my hand at something which didn’t require such in-depth research and focus. Also, I wanted to experiment with writing styles and POV, and doing shorts allowed me to do just that. My aim was to put together a bunch of tales which were all different, yet had a dark vibe to each which would tie them together. I chose age-old themes and just put my spin on them. The title is a reference to me. i.e. the dark horse who dreams this stuff up.
The Sable Lane Catering Company is one of the most disturbing stories that I’ve ever read. How did that story come about? Did you have to rinse your soul after writing that story?
Ha! It’s funny you should say that, Curtis. That’s been pretty much everyone else’s response to it. It, like the others, merely came from an idea I had. I wanted to pen something about a serial killer, but stay away from themes which have been done before. I doubt what I’ve written is unique at all, but I feel it’s something which is quite unsettling. As far as ‘having to rinse my soul’, lol, it’s not a process I need to apply because the way I approach my writing is quite like method acting in a way. Before I write a word, I think long and hard about the characters in my stories. I try to put myself in their shoes to get their perspectives. I try to craft a certain tension to the narrative. Hopefully, that worked well in this regard.
What are you currently working on? When can we pre-order?
Having just finished Dark Horse and being involved in marketing it, I don’t have a current WIP. In fact, I’m waiting to see how it’s received because I’m not certain at this time whether to continue as an author or not. The only platform I have is Amazon (Audible too for the audio versions) and readers simply aren’t leaving enough reviews of my titles to give me a fighting chance of making an impression there. I have an idea for a full novel which I’m currently thinking through, and if I can’t grow a readership before it’s finished, then it’ll be my last attempt at gaining a following before I quit for good.
What are your three favorite horror books?
Dracula. I Am Legend. The Call of Cthulhu.
What are your thoughts on ‘triggers’ in horror?
I’m assuming you mean in movies? I say that because I can’t get my head around that working in literature. I guess a director has to use such tools otherwise the reactions they’re seeking won’t happen. I know it can lead to ‘fears by association’ as viewers can associate real-life events with what they view – classical conditioning. I don’t really know how a horror movie could work without them, in truth.
If you could time travel, when and where would you go? Why?
Ha! I’d go back to my teens and point myself in the ‘right’ direction! I’d just avoid the many mistakes I’ve made!
What subgenres would you like to write in?
Noir and/or Metaphysical have an attraction for me. I guess I’ll have to see how far I go in writing first though.
Given the current political climate, do you think it is easier or harder to write horror stories? Why?
Oh, definitely easier. I mean, there’s just much more paranoia around. Also, as society in general becomes further fragmented, it will only add fuel to the fire. Let’s face it, can we trust our world leaders? Absolutely not! The current President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Great Britain being wonderful examples of why trust is in free fall.