Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Monday, 30 November 2015

The Lowdown with... Joseph D'Lacey

Joseph D’Lacey writes Horror, SF & Fantasy, often with environmental themes, and is best known for his unsettling novel, Meat.
Other books to-date include Garbage Man, Snake Eyes, The Kill Crew, The Failing Flesh, Blood Fugue, Black Feathers, The Book of the Crowman and Splinters – a collection of short stories. He won the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer in 2009.
He also writes children’s stories with his daughter.

  1.       Tell us three things about yourself.

I'm acutely shy and uncomfortable in social situations. In the 90s I was a British and European gold medallist in Tai Chi sword forms. I started writing fiction when I was 30.

   2.       What was the first thing you had published?

The first story I ever wrote was called 'Getaway Car.' It was about a terminally ill woman who buys a second hand car for a final road trip, only to discover the previous owner was an angel. I sold it on its first submission.

   3.       Which piece of writing are you proudest of?

It has to be MEAT because, although it was my sixth novel, it was the first one I sold. If I hadn't found a publisher for it, I might not be writing now. The book won me a BFS award and Stephen King, who has been a writing hero of mine since my teens, loved it.

   4.       …and which makes you cringe?

My erotic novel A Willing Pupil, published under the name Jacqueline Griffin. It doesn't make me cringe but it's the novel I wrote with the least angst and, therefore, the least attention to detail. For a while, Jacqueline had a profile on Library Thing. It must have been convincing because she started to get attention from a male reader who said, amongst many other things, "Thank you for being who you are." She mentioned in reply that, for 'professional reasons' she sometimes used pseudonyms. The admirer disappeared like Roadrunner. Jacqueline decided it was a good idea to delete her profile at that point and concentrate on 'real' life...

   5.       What’s a normal writing day like?

I don't have them any more. I used to be disciplined to the point of martyrdom and I really suffered at the desk. Since having a family, I'm more relaxed; I fit writing in around whatever else I'm doing. Sometimes, as a treat or to make some headway, I'll take a quiet weekend away on my own and write all day.

   6.       Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?

For a quick taste, my short story collection Splinters. For a big fix, Black Feathers and The Book of the Crowman.

   7.       What are you working on now?

I've just finished a post-diluvian fantasy set in the Far East. It has a very young hero and is significantly different from my other books. I would love to tell you more about it but I'm superstitious when it comes to talking about work before it finds a home.  Perhaps, if things go well, though...

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Lowdown with... Ren Warom

Ren Warom is a writer of the strange, dark and bizarre, not known for an ability to fit into boxes of any description. She's repped by the fabulous Jennifer Udden of Donald Maass Literary Agency and has two cyberweird novels forthcoming in the UK and the US with Titan Books - ESCAPOLOGY in 2016 and VIROLOGY in 2017. She Tweets here, waffles on Facebook here, and YouTubes over there.

1. Tell us three things about yourself.
I think the movie Tremors is perfect and I’ve seen it in excess of 100 times; I’ve also inducted my spawn into this obsession – sorry not sorry.
I left school at 15 with no GSCE’s but went on to hold a first class degree in writing and English.
I have never broken a bone, despite riding from the age of 6 and generally being a clumsy idiot.

2. What was the first thing you had published?

I had stories published in a few anthologies but the first story I was paid for appears in This Is How It Ends, the second Machine Of Deathbook, published by Grand Central Press. My story is called In Sleep.

3. Which piece of writing are you most proud of?

In terms of persistence and dedication I am most proud of the serial fiction I wrote for four years because I feel that was a hell of a thing to commit to and I did it every two weeks for all that time (it’s on my blog). A specific piece of writing though? Perhaps The Lonely Dark, my psychological horror SF novella published by Fox Spirit Books. It’s deeply personal, dealing with some of the feelings surrounding the loss of my sister and my struggle with mental illness and it was incredibly difficult to write in places. I’m proud that I wrote it and very proud that I was brave enough to put it out there in the world. There’s a lot more of me in that novella than in anything else I’ve ever written.

4. ...And which makes you cringe?

Oh Hades! So much. SO MUCH. I have written a terrible amount of unbearable dross.  Thankfully none of that will see the light of day. As for things I have had published – well, you can always see things you’d change in old work but I see no point in feeling embarrassed by it. At one point that was the best you could do and it’s great to look back and see a clear arc of improvement.

5. What’s a normal writing day like?

A challenge. I’m a single mum of three kids all in their pre-teens and teens on a writing deadline whilst starting her own business and running a YouTube channel. This is a house of drama and noise and chaos and whilst I love it, I often find it hard to steal quiet moments. I try and write when the kids are at school and college but I have to do everything else I need to do in that time too, so it can get a little crazy. Typically if I can get bum in seat or anywhere with my laptop and a internet connection (it’s a chromebook) I try and write until I have to move – that can be anything from ten minutes to three hours. You make the most of any chance you get basically.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’d never read you before pick up first?

They could read The Lonely Dark, or my story Unravel in the BFS nominated anthology Tales of Eve. Or they can wait until next year and pick up my debut novel Escapology, which is a cyberweird and more indicative of what I usually write given ten minutes at a laptop or computer and some inspiration. :)

7. What are you working on now?
At the moment I’m working on edits for Escapology, then I’ll probably have to start working on Virology, but I’m also tinkering with a cyberweird novella dealing with cloning and thieves and awesome women called Peonies and planning another couple of novellas. One a grotesque, hallucinogenic, Burroughsian tale of personal metamorphosis and horror set in 1960s New York, the other an SF serial killer thriller slice of weird.

Thanks for having me!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Blog Tour: Week One!

The Hell's Ditch Blog Tour is well and truly underway! The first two posts are now live.

Over at This Is Horror, there's Between the Cold War and the Third:

All life on earth seemed caught in the crossfire between two increasingly brutal and ruthless regimes, run by cruel, sickly old men. Is it any wonder so many writers depicted a world on the point of falling apart, where monsters lurked in every shadow?

At Ray Cluley's blog, Probably Monsters, there's an interview:

Reminders of what’s been lost – the people, the whole way of life – are everywhere, all around you. You literally cannot get away from it, there are a hundred things, every day, to trigger a flashback of some kind.  

At Keith Brooke's Infinity Plus, you can now read an exclusive extract from the novel:

And the worst thing, the worst, worst thing, is the absence of sound. When those faces lift and gape wider to howl their prayers and agony to the uncaring, dying sky, she sees chests and shoulders heave as they try to scream. But there’s nothing.

And at James Bennett's blog, you can read about how it came to be written - and published! - in The Long Black Road Out Of Hell. 

I had this image: a city, in the future, rundown and broken. In the middle of it was a tower, gleaming and futuristic; from it, a brutal dictator ruled, with an army of uniformed thugs.

I'll keep this updated as the week goes on.

The full itinerary is here.

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Lowdown with... Mark Allan Gunnells

Mark Allan Gunnells loves to tell stories. He has since he was a kid, penning one-page tales that were Twilight Zone knockoffs. He likes to think he has gotten a little better since then. He has been lucky enough to work with some wonderful publishers. He loves reader feedback, and above all he loves telling stories. He lives in Greer, SC, with his fiance Craig A. Metcalf.

1. Tell us three things about yourself.
I have a phobia of large bodies of water and cannot swim. I am engaged to be married. I'm a total Scully about the supernatural, though with an open mind to the possibilities.

2. What was the first thing you had published?

The first thing of mine I ever saw in print was probably a poem called "Football Nights" that I wrote in Junior High. It was published in the local Paper, the Gaffney Ledger. Didn't see any money from it, but it was a thrill seeing myself in print.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
That's like asking a parent which child is their favorite. I'll say my sentimental favorite is a story called "Jam." It was one of the first things I wrote after a dark time where I had stopped writing and it helped me gain my confidence back. It just flowed and turned out exactly how I wanted it, and ended up being the first piece of fiction I ever sold for money.

4. …and which makes you cringe?
In my early days of selling stories, I had a story called "The Lost Gentlemen" appear in an anthology, and while I don't think it's a terrible story, it isn't a great story and several reviews singled it out as the worst in the antho. Ouch!

5. What’s a normal writing day like?
I'm very lucky in that I get to write at work. I'm a security guard, and throughout the day I have little pockets of downtime. I never know when or how long they'll last, but I've trained myself to write in those spaces. It's one of the greatest perks of my day job. I don't pressure myself with word count or page numbers, I just aim to do some writing every day and not beat myself up if it's not as much as the day before.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
Hmm, as a reader I like to start out with a new writer by trying a short story collection if they have one. It's a great sampler to give you a good idea of what the writer has to offer. I have several of those out. I'd recommend Tales from the Midnight Shift, Ghosts in the Attic, or Welcome to the Graveyard. [You can check out Mark's Amazon author page here, and browse his wares at greater length.]

7. What are you working on now?
I'm collaborating on a novella (now in the short novel category maybe) called "Where the Dead Go to Die" with the great Aaron Dries, while also continuing to write short stories. When the collaboration is done, I'll return to a solo novel I started called 432 Abercorn.