The Black Beacon Book of Horror will be released on Friday the 13th of October; the Kindle version is available for pre-order at just $1.99 instead of $3.99 and you can add the anthology to your Goodreads list today. To get you in the mood for a particularly spooky Halloween this year, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. The first Black Beacon Book of Horror is bound to give you the creeps!
Stephen King’s answer comes to mind: Why do you assume I have a choice? It’s not something I pursued intentionally; this is just how it turned out. When I was younger, I wrote more comedic things, or action stories that were all battle, all the time…but I always had a yen for the darkness, at least in fictional terms. When I wrote my first “adult” short stories at fourteen – tales that featured entirely made-up characters and didn’t blatantly reflect my inspirations – they were horror stories: “Dark Side” had a schoolgirl flipping over into a grim, shadowy parallel world populated with living shadows and heart-eating demons, and “Storm Drain” followed a teenager’s accidental descent into the titular structure to discover the corpses of two missing girls and a horrible answer to how both they and he got there. The die was cast…
I suppose there is. I worked day and night at the Royal Adelaide Show last year as a box office supervisor, and as I wandered around the showgrounds and took in the spectacle, I thought: there’s a story here. (This happens a lot.) I didn’t want to head in a spooky-carnival, haunted-ride direction, so what other angle could I take? It wasn’t long before Ruby appeared in my mind, back in the last place she ever wanted to be and struggling with horrific past trauma as everyone else blithely had fun around her, and the story spun out from there. I might as well point out that, unusually for me, “Ruby’s Syzygy” includes not one but two possible author cameos! The ticket seller in the first paragraph wasn’t explicitly intended to be me, but if you squint, he could well be – and one of the songs on the ghost train’s playlist is “Cemetery Girl”, a theremin-laced graveyard waltz from Champagne Tragedy, the first Blood Red Renaissance album, which was entirely written by me. That reference was a placeholder that I forgot to take out before submission, so there you go… a version of me exists in Ruby’s universe!
What books did you grow up reading?
Amongst other things: Little Golden Books, various comics, Doctor Who novelisations, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke; as I entered my teens, Dungeons & Dragons novels, Raymond E. Feist, Christopher Pike, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz; and from there, everything!
Do you have any writing rituals?
Would you share something about yourself that your readers don’t know yet?
We’ve already done this question in another interview, but hey, I’m so obscure I can answer this a dozen times over, so here goes: when I was fifteen, I was so clueless about my future (excepting the whole rock star/horror novelist thing) that when a guidance counsellor asked me what job I could see myself doing, I replied, “Police officer?” Holy shit, dude.
Where can we find you online?
Where you least expect me. You might Google my name, and then, by doing so, you’ve called to me. It doesn’t take an old whistle to bring me to you; just a thought will do. Does your shadow feel thicker, the hairs on the back of your neck more tense and alert? I could be behind you right now. Don’t look – it’s safer if you don’t look. Maybe I’ll get bored and go visit someone else. Maybe.