Author and Scriptwriter

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

Friday 7 April 2017

The Lowdown with... Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy is a writer and musician. He also runs a halfway home for injured or ill feral cats and dogs as well as abandoned domestic pets. He lives in Bangalore, India. His chapbook, A VOLUME OF SLEEP, will be release by Dunhams Manor Press later this year.

1. Tell us three things about yourself. 
I’m a left-hander. When I first learned to play guitar I used to play a right-handed guitar upside down, without the strings changed.
My paternal grandfather and my father were both voracious readers. Although we never talked about him, interestingly each of us read Algernon Blackwood at some point, so I have editions of some of Blackwood’s works from the 1940s, the 1970s and more recently. Is this the curse of the Satyamurthys?
My father ran a bookshop in the ‘80s. This helped me read a lot of great stuff, including issues of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run and that remarkable all-text issue of Howard The Duck.

2. What was the first thing you had published? 
Fiction? A very, very short piece called ‘stone rider’ for an issue of ‘Bust Down The Door And Eat All The Chickens’, a bizzaro magazine, even though my story wasn’t bizzaro.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of? 
There is a story in my second chapbook for Dunhams Manor Press, out later this year, called ‘a place in the sun’ that I think is my best thing yet.

4. …and which makes you cringe? 
Nothing, yet. Ask me again when I’m really old.

5. What’s a normal writing day like? 
I usually get most of my writing done in half hour bursts between the hours of 7 AM and 4 PM.
That’s when I am writing at all. I don’t write everyday, only when I have a story idea that seems worth pursuing. If a story isn’t shaping up after three days of work I usually put it aside. At my best, I’ve written a 6000-word story in a single day in two or three sittings. I love it when that happens. I find that the less I have to struggle the better the story comes out. If I’m still rolling a rock uphill after 2000 words, it’s not going to work out. At least not in this particular form.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first? 
I think the easiest way to check my way out is online - look for the story The Ouroboros Apocrypha on the Lovecraft eZine website. But ideally, try and get a copy of my first chapbook, Weird Tales Of A Bangalorean, because that will give you a deeper dive into my fiction.

7. What are you working on now?
Trying to get my mojo working again. It’s been 4 months since I last completed a story and longer since I wrote something I really liked.

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Things of the Week 5th April 2017: Interview by Louisa Rhodes, New The Feast Of All Souls review, The Adventure of the Orkney Shark

Photo by Vicky Morris.
A few things to announce this week...

First up, there's this really cool interview done last month, after my half of the Hive Writer's Day Workshop with the brilliant K.T. Davies. Louisa Rhodes, one of Hive's young writers, fed me questions about horror, writing and spaghetti, typed up my rambling responses and made them look reasonably intelligent. So here's the result. Louisa did a fantastic job, and was a pleasure to talk to.

The Feast Of All Souls has a new review, over at RisingShadow, in which Seregil of Rhiminee describes it as "one of the best horror novels I've read in recent years... entertaining, thrilling... ambitious and well-written. Excellent British horror fiction!"

Many thanks to RisingShadow, and to Seregil!

And finally... Simon Clark's anthology Sherlock Holmes's School For Detection is out now.

It's 1890. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson return to Baker Street after a night pursuing a vicious criminal. Inspector Lestrade is waiting for Holmes with a proposition of national importance.
Lestrade tells Holmes that a school of detection has been formed to train a new breed of modern investigators that will serve in Great Britain and the Empire. Most students will become police officers. Some, however, will become bodyguards and spies. Holmes begins instructing his decidedly curious assortment of students from home and abroad. He does so with his customary gusto and inventiveness.
Scotland Yard, in the main, allocates crimes to solve and Holmes mentors his students. Occasionally, he shadows them in disguise in order to assess or even directly test their abilities with creative scenarios he devises. Certain crimes investigated by the students might appear trivial, such as the re-positioning of an ornament atop a garden wall, yet it will transpire an assassin has moved the ornament to create good sightlines in order to commit murder with a sniper's rifle.
Other mysteries are considered outside the domain of the police. For example, the inexplicable disappearance of a stone gargoyle, which is linked to an ancient family curse. Or a man suffering from amnesia who discovers that not only has he acquired a secret life but also gained an implacable enemy, too. Holmes, with the ever- trustworthy Doctor Watson in his wake, is kept busy with his students' cases, ranging from minor to serious, sometimes rectifying their mistakes and saving them from a variety of disasters.
These eleven wonderful new adventures and intrigues include tales such as 'The Gargoyles of Killfellen House', 'Sherlock Holmes and the Four Kings of Sweden' and 'The Case of the Cannibal Club'.

The anthology also features my story The Adventure Of The Orkney Shark. Other contributors include Cate Garder, Paul Finch, Alison Littlewood, Carole Johnstone... and many, many more.

The Adventure of the Orkney Shark is set in 1927. Lieutenant-Commander Noel Atherstone, recalled from retirement in Australia for the Imperial Airship Scheme, is given a top-secret mission: to assist Sherlock Holmes in investigating the mysterious disappearance of ships in the North Sea. Fishermen blame the gigantic and voracious Orkney Shark - but as Atherstone, Holmes and Holmes' reluctantly-acquired pupil Mr Blacksmith search the seas in airship R.36, they discover a threat far deadlier than any sea monster...

There,” said Blacksmith, pointing from an open starboard window.
Where?” Holmes and I ran to his side, peering out – but we had already passed over the spot.
Reduce speed,” I told Church. “Mr Potter, bring us around. Mr Hunt, maintain altitude.”
Slowly the airship turned. It wasn’t a quick process; R.36 was six hundred and seventy-five feet long from nose to tail, and almost eighty wide. But in the end, she cruised back the way she had come, at a more sedate pace.
What did you see, and where?” demanded Holmes. Blacksmith pointed to an area of swirling water between two flat, tabular skerries.
There,” he said. “It does not move.”
I see nothing,” said Holmes.
Nor I,” I said. “Just rock, weed, barnacles…”
Barnacles, yes. There are none elsewhere on these shoals.”
He was right, now I considered: for whatever reason, the tiny shellfish didn’t appear on any visible part of the rocks and skerries. They lay only in this one area, in a long wide cluster. As we drew closer, I saw its outline was distorted by the water’s churning, but there was something about the shape – a regularity, a symmetry.
The barnacles had not grown here; they had grown somewhere – or on something – else. Something that had spent a great deal of time in other parts of the sea, more conducive to their survival.
Blacksmith was right: I saw it now. A great mass, encrusted in barnacles and weed, in the shape of a huge fish – a long teardrop body, but with fins, almost like wings, jutting out from its sides, and another, a thin sharp triangle, rising from its back. But it was larger than any fish – four hundred feet, if it was an inch...

You can buy the anthology here.