<![CDATA[Ginger Nuts of Horror - INTERVIEWS]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 09:18:47 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[SPLATTERPUNK: DAVID BENTON  IS  FIGHTING BACK]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 06:00:40 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/splatterpunk-david-benton-is-fighting-back
 
To celebrate the launch of the new charity anthology Splatterpunk: Fighting Back from Jack Bantry's Splatterpunk Zine Ginger Nuts of Horror brings you a series of interviews with some of the contributors to the anthology. Today Ginger Nuts of Horror is honoured to welcome David Benton  to the interview chair.   

David Benton is the bass player for internationally renowned heavy metal novelty act Beatallica, as well as performing in one of the Milwaukee area’s most sought after original music groups, Chief. Published fiction collaborations with W.D. Gagliani have appeared in The X-Files: Trust No One, SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror, SNAFU: Wolves at the Door, Dark Passions: Hot Blood 13, Zippered Flesh 2, Splatterpunk Zine, The Horror Zine, DeadLines, and others.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
 
Outside of my creative endeavors I work days as a janitor at a nursing home. In the past I’ve been employed as a bricklayer, a cheese maker, forklift operator, I’ve worked on a printing press, and those are just the day jobs that readily come to mind. I have two grown daughters who I’m very proud of. And I’m currently living with my mother who is being treated for lung cancer (so participating in the Fighting Back anthology really hits home)

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
 
I actually don’t spend nearly enough time writing. Writing is what I do when I’m not at my day job, maintaining the house, making music, or upholding my social obligations. I suffer from the consequences of serving too many masters. If I had the option I would spend more time writing.

What does Splatterpunk mean to you? What attracts you to writing in this genre?
 
Splatterpunk is a sub-genre that doesn’t flinch away from graphically depicting sex, violence, or often a combination of the two. I don’t think I’m specifically drawn to Splatterpunk so much as I’m drawn to horror fiction in a broader sense, and what draws me to it is its dark and imaginative nature. I guess I can’t explain exactly why. I grew up a huge fan of Universal, Toho, and Hammer monster movies, as well as Warren Magazines. From there I was drawn to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons which exposed me to a lot of fantasy and horror fiction, and I guess I just liked the darker fork in the road better. Basically, I like monsters.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?
 
I think the ease of self-publishing, POD, and electronic publishing will end any large scale movements in publishing, and instead we will be able to find new work (and a lot of it) branching in every direction. The age of the gatekeepers and tastemakers is over. In much the same way that home recording and streaming has changed the music industry, technology will continue to challenge the status quo. As a fan it will be a great time to find new works from a wide variety of voices representing every sub-genre and style. Unfortunately it will also make it more and more difficult to earn a living wage as an artist.
 
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
 
I’m a big fan of the Joe Konrath quote: “There’s a word for an author who doesn’t give up… published.” I think that, not just in writing but in life, giving up is the only way to ensure failure. As long as you stick to it and keep pushing forward you will improve.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of? Which book or story do you think is a good ‘jumping on’ point for new readers?
 
I’m proud of all of them for different reasons. I don’t think I can pick a favorite. I think the story W.D. Gagliani and I wrote for the Fighting Back anthology, Feast of Consequences, is a fine place to start. It’s actually a self-contained excerpt from a longer piece of fiction we’re slowly picking away at between other projects.

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
 
I recently finished my first novel and I’ll be self-publishing it soon, hopefully before the end of the year or early in 2018. It’s an apocalyptic tale of nature run amok entitled Fauna. Now I’m working on a longer piece of fiction about reincarnation.

SPLATTERPUNK: GEORGE DANIEL LEA  IS  FIGHTING BACK
SPLATTERPUNK’S NOT DEAD: FIGHTING BACK EXCLUSIVE  COVER REVEAL!
SPLATTERPUNK: BRACKEN MACLEOD IS  FIGHTING BACK

FILM GUTTER REVIEWS: COMBAT SHOCK (1984)
HORROR FICTION REVIEW: THOSE WHO FOLLOW BY  MICHELLE GARZA AND MELISSA LASON
HORROR NEWS: POLLY IS A CRACKER, WE WANT YOU TO SLEEP TIGHT, TOKYO GHOUL STALKS THE STREETS AND MICHAEL BRAY HAS GONE TO THE DARK PLACE

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<![CDATA[SPLATTERPUNK: GEORGE DANIEL LEA  IS  FIGHTING BACK]]>Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/splatterpunk-george-daniel-lea-is-fighting-back


To celebrate the launch of the new charity anthology Splatterpunk: Fighting Back from Jack Bantry's Splatterpunk Zine Ginger Nuts of Horror brings you a series of interviews with some of the contributors to the anthology. Today Ginger Nuts of Horror is honoured to welcome George Daniel Lea  to the interview chair.   

George Lea is an unfixed oddity that has a tendency to float around the UK Midlands (his precise location and plain of operation is somewhat difficult to determine beyond that, though certain institutions are working on various ways of defining his movements).

An isolated soul by nature, he tends to spend more time with books than with people, consumes stories in the manner a starving man might the scattered debris of an incongruously exploded pie factory, whilst also attempting to churn out his own species of mythological absurdity (it's cheaper than a therapist, less trouble than an exorcist and seems to have the effect of anchoring him in fixed form and state, at least for the moment).

Proclaims to spend most of his time "...feeling like some extra-dimensional alien on safari," which he very well might be (apprehension and autopsy will likely yield conclusive details).

Following the publication of his first short story collection, Strange Playgrounds, is currently working in collusion with the entity known as "Nick Hardy" on the project Born in Blood.


Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Maybe a little. It always feels like this part of the interview has a confessional quality to it.
 
I'm...a fairly isolated soul by nature and inclination; I work in a field that is incredibly social (care and social support for individuals with learning difficulties), thus I find that moments of silence and separation from humanity are rare.
 
Those moments are more precious to me than almost any commodity I can identify: I need that silence, that schism, in order to not only rejuvenate myself, but to process the daily maelstrom of information and experience and input that my work requires.
 
Those are the moments when the weirdness makes itself apparent; when the images and visions that swill around my skull almost every waking instant (and otherwise) insist on themselves and demand to be expressed.
 
If I didn't indulge them or found myself in a position where I could not, then I fancy that the next you'd know of me would be through some headline or TV news report, though in what capacity I wouldn't like to conjecture.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Beyond the standard “thinking about writing?;” I've inherited from my Mother a love of all things media, from written fiction to art, comic books to video games...and there's very little parameter or restriction in that, though I tend to favour the bizarre or the surreal, I try not to limit myself or my input based on nostalgia or traditional prejudice:
 
Recently, for example, I was introduced to the highly theatrical absurdity that is the Julie Andrews vehicle, “Victor Victoria;” about as far from the kind of material that I produce as it's possible to get, but I adored it, because it's beautiful and brilliant and farcical.
 
Video games are a principle passion, though it's rare these days that I get the time to indulge them to their full.
 
I'm also what would probably be described as an inveterate geek; I enjoy lots of insular hobbies such as science fiction war-gaming, fantasy and horror tabletop roleplay, boardgames, strategy games et al.
 
I've also recently found myself getting into all forms of podcasting, which I enjoy immensely.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?

Very, very difficult to predict: recent shifts have seen more or less the entire genre move to independent markets and flourish there, with numerous forms and sub-genres of horror available that mainstream markets struggled to find niches for (if they bothered at all).
 
The financial success of the recent adaptation of Stephen King's “IT,” the efflorescence of various forms of horror on the small screen, means that there might be another upheaval occurring in which the genre becomes popular and profitable again, but that remains to be seen:
 
With horror being so reflexive of cultural climate (at its most ideal), I can imagine there being something of an efflorescence in coming years, particularly in areas where it overlaps with other genres (for example, we've already seen the mass proliferation of dystopian horror/science fiction in response to certain political situations).
 
As to what forms it might take, who knows? Personally, I'd love to see the genre transcend itself a little and trespass into more surreal territory, but that's a matter of personal taste and inclination.

As a horror writer, do you consider any topic off limits? Is there a topic or subject you would never write about?
 
Off limits? No; not in and of itself. Any and all subjects, situations etc potentially have merit and are worth expressing or exploring, but I do feel they have to be earned, by which I mean: they must be treated with due attention, if a writer is going to tackle them.
 
For example, if one is going to approach subjects of emotional extremity and resonance such as abuse or neglect, abandonment or trauma, one doesn't necessarily need direct experience of such things (that's what imagination is for), but one should have enough respect for the subject matter and one's own writing to put in the necessary research and/or contemplation and to present those subjects/situations in such a manner that they maintain verisimilitude: there is nothing worse than a writer presenting experiences or situations in their work that they clearly haven't considered or have little understanding of, if only because it has the effect of diluting and potentially destroying the fiction.
 
There is also the danger of rendering atrocity banal through repetition or the manner in which we present it: in that regard, I'd say we who dare broach such subjects in our writing do have a degree of responsibility, if only to ensure that such things are treated with weight and significance, rather than blandishment.
 
Are there any subjects I wouldn't write about? Not for moral reasons, rather because they either don't interest me or I don't think I have anything to say about them. But there is nothing in and of itself I would consider forbidden: if anything, I'd say that my writing principally concerns itself with transgression and approaching those very subjects and concerns that culture at large denies or sublimates: I don't particularly see the point in art, fiction or any created thing that doesn't do that in some way, shape or form: we are so enjoined by the systems we are born into to look away, to deny, to take the easiest or proscribed road...art and fiction allow for alternatives; for questions to be asked where they traditionally haven't but sorely need to.
 
In that, a certain degree of courage is necessary in order to write well and truthfully; we need to be willing to approach what others will not or actively disavow; to explore subjects, situations and phenomena that culture at large might seek to suppress or “protect” us from. This means that many will react strongly to the situations and subjects we present; we may trigger association with their own experiences, traumas etc, but this is what art and fiction are for: without that resonance and arousal, it becomes meaningless; like chewing already-masticated gum or eating a meal synthetically shorn of flavour or nutrients: fiction should not seek to protect any of us. Quite the contrary; to be hurt, to be soiled, to be wounded by art and fiction, are worthwhile experiences; it allows us to explore those contexts in arenas of imagination, without significant harm or consequence occurring, and thereby to develop our own emotional and imaginative conditions.
 
What do you most enjoy about the short story format? What do you find challenging?

Elegance. Elegance and concision; short stories require a degree of consideration and refinement that novels or larger works simply do not; there isn't any space for redundancy or deviation in a short story: they must tell what they have to tell within the allotted framework and do it well, or fail.
 
That is the beauty and challenge of them: they must be concise and stylised in the manner of poetry, yet weighty and significant in the manner of a novel.
 
For my money, the very best short stories are those that make best use of implication and inference; that trust the reader to fill in the spaces between words and paragraphs with their own assumptions and projections.
 
The very best short story writers know how to utilise silence and empty space in the same manner as the best composers of music.

Other than the  horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
 

How long have you got?; Everything, everything ever; every experience, every iota of input, everything that has ever engaged or disturbed or inspired or distressed...all of it has had impact upon the state of my mind and imagination; all of it continues to, and will do so, I would presume, until consciousness itself flickers out (assuming it will).
 
But, in terms of specific media influences, I'm fairly broad in what  I consume and always have been: as a child and adolescent, various forms of dark fantasy were my principal loves, as were traditional mythologies and folktales (I could do a fairly decent take on Hesiod as a kid). From there, I diversified into more or less any and all kinds or forms of fiction you might care to name: I adore various forms of science fiction (cyberpunk maintaining a particular  fascination), murder mysteries, detective noir; certain forms and sub-genres of erotica and romance...there is very little I will reject out of hand; if it is passably well put together, I'll likely get something out of it.
 
Another MAJOR influence on the state of my imagination would be video games:
a format that I feel somewhat privileged to have witnessed the birth and evolution of, certainly in terms of home computing, from the cassette-driven crudity of the Sinclair Spectrums and Commodore C64s to their current state of “Virtual Reality,” almost total immersion.
 
As story telling devices, video games have developed their own traditions, mythologies, tropes and techniques, and are fascinating in that regard; they inform  new modes of storytelling even as they are themselves informed by more traditional ones. Some of the most engaging, distressing and influential stories I've ever experienced are through the medium of video games, which has, in turn, profoundly affected the state of my imagination and the nature of my own storytelling.
 
This is an example of what I'd call an impossible question, in that there are so many answers and none at all: it asks us to pretend objectivity regarding the states of our own imaginations, and therefore our own states of mind: mind and imagination being both the subjects under and instruments of scrutiny, the analysis itself therefore becoming paradoxical.
 
And also lots of fun to play around with.
 
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?


I can't say I've ever been given a great deal of good advice on writing, as so much of the self-proclaimed “advice” out there is presumptuous, subjective nonsense.
 
The very best examples I can think of are non-didactic, but exemplary; those that demonstrate rather than telling.
 
There is definitely a “nuts and bolts” workmanship to the crafting element that takes time, experience and failure to learn. Stephen King talks quite eloquently about it in his book “On Writing” (one of the ONLY books about writing itself worth reading): much of it is simply a matter of getting out of your own way, not allowing yourself to get away with excuses and putting pen to paper (quite literally, in my case, as I write all of my first drafts longhand). Even if what you produce is shit, you are refining the craft by doing; you are teaching yourself what works and what doesn't.
 
Beyond that, I tend to look to the work of writers I admire as example: how did or could anyone have produced anything as mythologically complex as, for example, Barker's Imajica or Weaveworld? How did Mervyn Peake conceive and render the gothic immensity of Gormenghast? How could William Gibson have conceived of Neuromancer in a time before the internet was even a popular concept, much less a reality?
 
For my money, the very best form of self-education for a writer is simply to experience what others have created; to look at what works for them as a reader and become somewhat surgical in their analyses: How does this work and why? What is it about this element of the work that resonates?
 
But advice? Very little sticks with me or resonates profoundly. The lessons of experience are as paramount in this area as they are in any art or craft; the only way to learn is to do it and fail and do it and fail and do it and fail ad nauseum until you get halfway good at it, and not to abandon the effort because the first five or ten or twenty or a hundred efforts don't work.
 
What piece of your own work are you most proud of? Which book or story do you think is a good ‘jumping on’ point for new readers?
 
I'm very proud of anything I've managed to finish and refine to a legible -let alone publishable- standard. I take a LONG time to refine my stories from the sprawling tangles of ideas and images they originally occur as, meaning that my output is not -and is likely never going to be- anything approaching what others manage.
 
That said, anything I DO put out there for consideration has usually been worked on and considered and refined to the utmost possible degree. I place a high value on the “craft” element of the exercise, as I am asking people to lend me their time and attention; to lend me territory in their minds and imaginations. That places an onus of responsibility on me to give them the very best I can; to treat them with as much respect as I demand as a reader; to not treat them as lesser or as merely consumers for my material.
 
My first short story collection, Strange Playgrounds, somewhat serves as a manifesto of what my writing is about: that is, to transgress beyond proscribed boundaries, upset certain enshrined or proscribed traditions and demonstrate that material ostensibly labelled as “horror” can treat its audience with enormous respect; that it can be smart and profound and beautiful and moving, rather than what general audiences seem to assume (i.e. that it is universally “low brow,” catering to prurience and indulging in cheap shocks etc).
 
I'd say that would be an excellent start, as it more or less sets out what comes after; what I intend as a writer, and will determine whether or not readers will have a taste for my work (NOTE: it most certainly isn't for everyone).

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

My last book was the aforementioned Strange Playgrounds. Recently, I've been involved in a MUCH vaster project in the form of Born in Blood; a joint project with the photographer Nick Hardy, involving the creation of six volumes of Nick's photographs and my short stories inspired by themes of madness, mental illness, distress, abuse etc.
 
The full short story collection will also be published separately next year by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, so that readers can get a grasp of the wider mythology before the full set of visual volumes are published.
 
All proceeds from the project will be going to mental health organisations, most notably the charity MIND.
 
It has proven to be an immense and immensely rewarding project, and has garnered some attention from some interesting sources, not to mention opened up a number of doors for Nick and myself.
 
If you like horror that is not wry or sardonic, but intends to genuinely unsettle, distress and disturb, then check it out.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer?

Question: Are you okay?
 
Answer: Probably not.

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<![CDATA[Splatterpunk: bracken macleod is  Fighting Back]]>Wed, 08 Nov 2017 06:46:06 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/splatterpunk-bracken-macleod-is-fighting-back
To celebrate the launch of the new charity anthology Splatterpunk: Fighting Back from Jack Bantry's Splatterpunk Zine Ginger Nuts of Horror brings you a series of interviews with some of the contributors to the anthology. Today Ginger Nuts of Horror is honoured to welcome Bracken Macleod to the interview chair.  
 
Bracken MacLeod has worked as a martial arts teacher, a university philosophy instructor, for a children's non-profit, and as a trial attorney. He is the author of the novels, Mountain Home, Stranded, and Come to Dust. His short fiction has appeared in several magazines and anthologies including LampLight, ThugLit, and Splatterpunk and has been collected in 13 Views of the Suicide Woods by ChiZine Publications. He lives outside of Boston with his wife and son, where he is at work on his next novel.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
 
A: I’m the author of a short story collection titled 13 Views of the Suicide Woods, and three novels. The first of those, Mountain Home, was just newly re-released in an author’s preferred edition by Haverhill House Press in October. I’ve done a lot of things before I came to be a writer, but whatever I gave up previously, I’m presently an insufferable bastard.

What does Splatterpunk mean to you? What attracts you to writing in this genre?

A: Splatterpunk to me started as a reaction to traditional quiet horror, the same way Punk music was a reaction and an answer to the love and peace music of the ‘60s. Given that the Splatterpunk subgenre is thirty years old now, I think it has evolved from a reaction into a heated conversation with quiet horror. But it’s still an inversion of the inherent conservatism of traditional horror where the status quo is what has to be restored in order for the protagonists to prevail. Splatterpunk (if it is truly to retain its punk credibility) has to be about how the horror of the world changes us and forces us to live differently (if we can live at all), instead of how do we get back to those quiet days before the shit hit the fan. If there isn’t something that its in an argument with, it’s not fucking punk! You don’t lace up your Dr. Martens to go on a garden tour. You put ‘em on to go kick shit down.

What do you most enjoy about the short story format? What do you find challenging?
 
A: What I enjoy about short story writing is the challenge of creating well-realized situations and characters in very little space. I think of myself primarily as a novelist, and when I’m writing novels, I have hundreds of pages to stretch out and let this person’s dilemma unfurl. A short piece forces me to think in an entirely different way about problems and solutions and about what makes a person interesting enough to want to know what happens to them. You have to use big knives for short story writing. This is no place for a leisurely dissection; you gotta hack at the meat to get to the bone in short time.

Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
 
A: Strictly limiting myself to written fiction, I’d say that the crime and literary genres (yes, “literary” is a genre with its own tropes and reader expectations) are my biggest influences as a writer along with horror. Books by Cormac McCarthy and James M. Cain taught me that the real heart of any story is always about people, not situations. Not monsters. Without real, well-fleshed out people facing terrible adversity, I don’t care about your monsters. And if the characters at the center of your story aren’t interesting enough for me to feel invested in either their success or failure, then I don’t give a shit about how many clever kills or unexpected twists an author can throw in.
 
What piece of your own work are you most proud of? Which book or story do you think is a good ‘jumping on’ point for new readers?

A: That’s hard. I’m proud of everything I’ve done for different reasons. I think Mountain Home is my best expression of the idea that the villain is the hero of her own tale, while Stranded captures everything I ever wanted to do with a paranoid supernatural thriller. But I’d have to say that Come to Dust is probably my favorite thing I’ve written so far. It’s the book I had to get closest to in order to get it out. I went deep into some really dark places to make that book have the kind of feeling I was going for.
 
For a new reader, I suppose it depends on what they’re looking for. Mountain Home is an all chiller, no filler siege novel. Come to Dust is a meditation on family and death in the context of dead children coming back to life (not zombies). And Stranded is my sci-fi horror love letter to stories like John Carpenter’s The Thing and Jacob’s Ladder.  Pick your poison!

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

I discussed my last book in the answer above, but what I’m working on now is a home invasion thriller about a couple who buy a house with stolen money from a man who isn’t ready to give it up. His secrets and theirs collide in a way that could cost all of them everything. It’s about all those little expenses that aren’t part of the asking price, and can sink the deal if you aren’t prepared for them. The book is tentatively titled Closing Costs. This one’s a “secular horror” thriller more like Mountain Home than either Stranded or Come to Dust

check out bracken's books on amazon 

purchase a copy of splatterpunk fighting back here 

SPLATTERPUNK’S NOT DEAD: FIGHTING BACK EXCLUSIVE  COVER REVEAL!

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<![CDATA[A SPARK OF GENIUS: EM DEHANEY]]>Mon, 06 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/a-spark-of-genius-em-dehaney
 
Em Dehaney is a mother of two, a writer of fantasy and a drinker of tea. Born in Gravesend, England, her writing is inspired by the dark and decadent history of her home town. She is made of tea, cake, blood and magic. By night she is The Black Nun, editor and whip-cracker at Burdizzo Books. By day you can always find her at http://www.emdehaney.com/ or lurking about on Facebook posting pictures of witches. https://www.facebook.com/emdehaney/
Her poem ‘Here We Come A-Wassailing’ features in the Burdizzo Books 12Days Christmas anthology and will soon be released as an illustrated novelette.  Her short story ‘The Mermaid’s Purse’ can be found in the Fossil Lake anthology Sharkasaurus. All available on her Amazon page.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

You know that opening scene in the film Goodfellas? “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster”? Well, substitute ‘gangster’ for ‘writer’, and substitute a kid running away from an exploding car with a kid sitting in the corner scribbling in a notebook, and you’re there.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Spending money I don’t have on kitsch print dresses, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and making mix-cds (not playlists, I like kicking it old school).

Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?

I read and write all sorts. My first novel is urban historical fantasy, I have a YA novel in the planning, I write poetry, horror, sci-fi, whatever takes my fancy. I think genre shouldn’t be a boundary, you should just write what you love. I love to read fantasy, historical fiction, horror, so called “literary fiction”, whatever that means. I also love factual books and true crime. I always have about three or four books on the go at any one time.  At the moment I’m reading a book about Hurricane Katrina, a historical fiction about The Great Fire of London, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman and Something Wicked This Way Comes by the genius that is Ray Bradbury. I am also a huge music lover and am a sucker for a rock biography.

The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations.  What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?

It is ironic that the horror community is, for the most part, the kindest, most generous, friendly and funniest bunch of lovelies you could hope to meet, and yet somehow ‘horror writer’ brings these negative connotations. Some people seem unable to separate the art from the artist. You write books about murdering people, therefore you must want to murder people. Horror books and films aren’t for everyone but that’s fine. I can’t stand chick-lit or rom-coms.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?

Post-apocalyptic horror is where it’s at for me. Natural disasters, man-made disasters, war, famine, potential nuclear destruction. I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road this summer. I read it in one sitting, and it is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. Not badged as a ‘horror’ novel, but horror nonetheless.

We have two post-apocalyptic tales in our latest anthology Sparks: ‘I’m Your Electric Man’ by Dani Brown and ‘Final Charge’ by Peter Germany. I’ve just written ‘A Story of Monsters, a post-apocalypse campfire tale and am currently working on a zombie story set in post-Katrina New Orleans.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?

It always has to be Stephen King, for so many reasons. His books had a massive impact on me as a youngster, Carrie and Misery in particular. The originality in both form and content. And he introduced me to Bradbury and Lovecraft. Ok, so he has written a couple of stinkers in his time, but even his worst is better than most writers could dream of being. He gets classed  as ‘just’ a horror writer, when really he writes epics of the modern condition, the failed American dream, hopes and fears for the future, dreams of the past and the loss of innocence. They just sometimes happen to have vampires or ghosts or possessed cars in them. His ‘On Writing’ should be mandatory for anyone even thinking of picking up a pen.

Another massive influence on my writing is the early Poppy Z. Brite novels. I remember getting New Orleans vampire tale Lost Souls when I was about 12 and devouring it in a day. The descriptions are so rich and colourful they almost hurt your eyes. You can taste the chartreuse, inhale the clove cigarette smoke. Brite’s follow up novel Drawing Blood just blew me away. It’s the story of a computer hacker falling in love with the only surviving son of a comic book artist who murdered his family then himself. It is a Deep South hallucinogenic horror, with plenty of sex and tech thrown in (all very dated now I’m sure, I haven’t read it in an while). The use of drugs as a portal to other worlds is something I have used in my own fiction.

What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?

My partner in crime at Burdizzo Books Matthew Cash has got a new book coming out soon called Fur, which is awesome (and I’m not just saying that). Jonathan Butcher is another one to watch. There was a real buzz around his recent release What Good Girls Do, a real thought provoking book, if hard to read at times. Burdizzo are working with him on a future release and it is hugely exciting.

How would you describe your writing style?

I tend to bring humour into a lot of my writing, as I’m generally a bit of a piss-taker. I’m quite proud to say that top fantasy publishing house Gollancz rejected my novel because it was too funny and there isn’t ‘a market for funny fantasy books’. I’m sure Terry Pratchett disagree, were he still around.

Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

I have dealt with a lot of rejections of my debut novel, from various publishers and agents, and the funny thing is, they were all positive. I’ve yet to be totally slated. I’m sure my time will come. You can’t consider yourself a success unless someone really hates what you do.
 
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

Finding time. I am a mum of two with a job and a house to keep running. I’ve heard some writers who say “You make time. You don’t do the housework, you don’t watch TV, you don’t do anything else, you just write.” Those people don’t have a two year old. I manage to cram the writing in when I can, but I very rarely get a quiet hour or two now to really get into the zone, like I did when my son had just been born. I wrote my first novel, about 80’000 words, in 8 months while on maternity leave. I have been writing my second novel for about a year and I’m barely past 25k.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?

I personally am not a fan of extreme sexual violence in my books, but that’s not to criticize those who do write about this kind of thing.

It all depends on the context and how it is written. There are lots of subjects that are considered taboo, but we still need to confront them through fiction. The difference is if these things are written about as titillation or to drive the story and the themes of the book forward. Extreme misogyny, violence, homophobia, rape, child abuse or racism purely for the sake of being shocking is not for me.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

I have various methods of choosing names for my characters. Sometimes they come to me, fully formed characters with their names. Other times it is as result of historic research. And other than that, I just like to collect unusual names that I come across in my life (I deal with a lot of different names from all around the world in my day job as a background screening analyst).

Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years? 

I’ve found editing for Burdizzo has made me much more aware of my own writing. I think critiquing others, either through editing or through critiquing sites like Scribophile is a great way to learn. That and reading a lot in a wide range of genre. And writing a lot. There is no substitute for practice.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?         

An imagination. Other than that, it doesn’t really matter. Pencil? Fountain pen? Scrivener? The blood of your enemies? Who cares as long as you write.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?

Two pieces of advice, both from successful published authors. The first was “You are not an aspiring writer. If you write, you are writer.”
The second was, when I said my writing was never good enough and how I would read books and feel I could never write anything as good as that. “When you read a novel, it is the end of a very long process that starts with a shitty first draft just like yours, so don’t give up.” Never give up has become my writing motto.

Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?

I use social media to promote myself and my work, mainly Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. I also blog, I record podcasts and I answer questions for Gingernuts of Horror! For all the criticism that social media gets, I have made the best connections, both personal and professional, through it. It is the new way to network, when we can’t get out to all the conventions and book fairs, it keeps you a part of the community. I have made links with artists who are now working with us at Burdizzo, other writers, put those writers in touch with screenwriters and actresses, and I have made some lifelong friends.

To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favourite child, and who is your least favourite to write for and why?

My favourite child is literally a child: Mikey from my Sharkasurus story ‘The Mermaid’s Purse’. He is a kid who is abused and neglected by his horrible mother, but takes his bloody revenge with the help of his pet shark. I have an emotional attachment to him and I would like pick his story up again, later on in life.
 
My least favourite characters always end up getting killed off in horrible ways (head smashed in with a bass guitar, dick pulled off and insides eaten by harpies, shredded by a shark) so I still enjoy writing them.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

My first ever publication was my Christmas poem ‘Here We Come A-Wassailing’. I’m proud because it was my first piece in print and a stranger liked it enough to put it in their book (because that was what Matthew Cash at Burdizzo Books was back then). I’m double proud of it now as we have enlisted the services of Polish artist Krzysztof Wronksi and are turning it into an illustrated mini-graphic novel type thing.

And are there any that you would like to forget about?

A lot of terrible poetry I wrote whilst at University!

For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?

Well, I’ve only written one book so far, which has yet to be published.

Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?

This, from the current novel I am working on, The Lady of The Dead.
 
‘The Lady of The Dead comes for you. First, she will eat the stars.’
Ethel yanked Tommy’s arm, pulling him in close enough to feel her breath on his face. It smelled of rotten flowers. A voice came from deep within her, harsh and mocking. It was both infinite and intimate, a legion of voices in unison whispering in his ear.
‘Then she will eat your heart.’

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

My first novel, The Golden Virginian, is a tale of tea and cake, weed and water, magic and murder, full of riverside town history mixed in with urban fantasy. I am currently working on the sequel, The Lady of The Dead. It features the real life 1661 murder of a Transylvanian prince, Mexican folklore and Romany gypsies.
 
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?

‘What’s that noise?’
‘Why don’t you go and investigate on your own?’
‘Ok, you stay here and get murdered. I’ll go off and get murdered.’

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

I really wanted to like Kraken by China Mieville. I mean, what’s not to like right? Giant squid gods, paranormal Police departments, a parallel supernatural London, talking tattoos, It’s right up my street. Yet, for some reason I failed to finish it. I’m more disappointed with myself than the book.
I’ve already mentioned The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I really enjoyed Paul Kane’s Sherlock Holmes and The Servants of Hell. I also loved M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All The Gifts.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer?

‘Hi, I’m from – insert name of famous publishing house here – please can we give you a million pound book deal, within which you will retain full creative control over your creations?’
Me: ‘Where do I sign?’
Yes, I am very proud of being a indie and producing our own books outside of the traditional publishing world, but I would still love the validation and the exposure that comes with a book deal. I know it isn’t always a fairy tale ending, but deep down we all secretly want to be able to make a (good) living out of our writing.
purchase a copy of sparks from amazon
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<![CDATA[A SPARK OF GENIUS: PIPPA BAILEY]]>Thu, 02 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/a-spark-of-genius-pippa-bailey

Pippa Bailey lives in rural Shropshire, England. Principally a horror writer, independent reviewer, and YouTube personality. Her supernatural, and sci-fi stories have featured in several anthologies, and zines. Her debut novel LUX is due for release summer 2018.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m what is commonly referred to as a RAF brat. Having grown up bouncing around military bases before finally settling in Shropshire, I’ve always had a bit of a disjointed life. I feel very much like a nomad without a real home. I think that need to belong has greatly influenced my characters.
I do have a day job, which I enjoy very much. But I suppose that come with the territory of writing horror. I work for a Magistrates criminal court as an usher. I spend my day in black robes working with legal advisers, lawyers, and criminals. It can be exciting, but it can also be incredibly harrowing. Every day I see people on the worst day of their lives.

I’m a bit of a gym bunny, you’ll find me there most week days. It helps me work through the necessary evils of my day job. Clears my mind.

I was a writer from a young age, with achievement awards (which I still have) for short horror stories at primary school. I started writing again as an adult after an accident a few years ago left me unable to walk for 3 months. I couldn’t return to work, so I needed something to fill my time. Boom. I started writing.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing I’m probably reading. I have a relatively large collection of indie horror comics and graphic novels, slowly collected over the last few years. They tend to keep me entertained, when I’m not delving into larger works of fiction.
I will admit I am addicted to watching “Lets Play”.  When I’m winding down at the end of the night you’ll find me on YouTube watching Game Grumps, (loud idiots playing games, being sarcastic and voice acting.) I love it.

Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?

I think other than the horror genre, locations have been a large influence on my writing. I have been lucky enough to grow up in an area steeped in history. I have spent the last 20 years in a tiny village in Shropshire, called Albrighton. Its full title being, Albrighton, Home of the English Rose.

It’s mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1066, and is potentially far older than that. The village sporadically ends up in the news. In January a 700-year-old templar cave was discovered under a field at the far end of the village boundaries. We also have the world famous “David Austen Roses” rose garden, which I visit several times a year.

Large sections of this strange little village have made their way into my literary world under the guise of Alnwick.

The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations.  What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?
 
I think that horror is one of the most versatile genres to work within. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it the same way. When talking to non-horror readers about my writing there is an automatic assumption that horror equals disgusting, or bad. Yes, I will admit, with horror you’re more likely to come across the extremes of human nature, and, or of the supernatural world. But that doesn’t have to equate shock value. With the recent release of the film IT (2017). I feel that it has done a great service to those of us working in the horror industry, by making the genre more accessible to those who wouldn’t traditionally approach it. Small changes like this in the minds of the general-public is turning the tide on the assumption that horror equals bad.


A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?
 
The world today is a scary place. It can be said that it has always been a scary place, but now due to social media we see more of the dark side that was once hidden away. People seem more able, certainly in the literary community to approach these topics with an openness you don’t see in the media. In the last few years there seems to have been a resurgence in the horror genre. With TV shows like Stranger Things, and American Horror Story. I can see a new audience enjoying the thrill of what we have to offer, and I hope in the future this continues.


What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?

The first thing that springs to mind when looking at my influences would be the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It had a huge impact on my teenage years. When you’re leaving childhood, still vulnerable and starting to question your place in the world. Then BLAM. This powerhouse of a woman appears, kicking arse, and lusting after some dark and brooding man. It helped me never shy away from making my female characters strong, funny and open to love, no matter how many times it has destroyed them. Clive Barker’s Cabal, had an earlier influence on me. Having spent years staring at the cover of the book on my dad’s shelf he let me read it. I was completely blown away. This was my first introduction to anything of a sexual nature. And the innate darkness of people. I loved it. It sent me on my own dark path. It taught me that you shouldn’t mince your words. If you’re going to write a powerful scene. Do it, and do it well.

What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?

I am currently enjoying reading works from Mark Cassell and Lydian Faust, who both had releases this year. Mark with Hell Cat of the Holt and In the Company of False Gods. Lydian with Forest Underground. Both authors are spectacular world builders and the ambience they create is second to none. I can’t rate them highly enough. I see them both winning awards in the future.

How would you describe your writing style?

I lean towards supernatural horror, and with that I tend to find a familiar pattern within my stories. A punchy start, slow build, and an incredibly destructive scene, the pinnacle of action for the character. I don’t like to use gratuitous gore, I tend to punctuate with pockets of nastiness, give the reader a taste of how bad it could get. Let their mind fill in the blanks.


Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

As my work has mostly been in anthologies it doesn’t always get picked up on individually. Though I do have a review from my first ever story Scarred. Reading that someone felt that passionately about my words nearly left me in tears. I felt proud of myself for the first time. It was a really great feeling that I hope I repeat.

What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

I will openly admit I have dyslexia. I struggle with grammar and sentence structure. You probably won’t see that in my work because I have such fantastic support when it comes to editing. I have been very lucky to have become a Padawan of sorts to a far superior author. I have a huge collection of books on writing I was advised to get, and I’m slowly working my way through those. I can see myself steadily improving, but it is hard work. Editing takes me a very long time, because I’m constantly questioning myself, not on the content of the story, but on my ability to write.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?

I don’t think there is. I choose to write supernatural horror because that’s what I like to read. I’m comfortable writing about any taboos as I’ve learned from my day job to distance myself from things. Genre wise, I’m not interested in writing non-fiction, nor am I about history, or romance.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

I do tend to take my time over a character’s name, sometimes a character feels a certain way, or I want their name to meet something. I do the same with place names. I sometimes sneak in detail from my own world. Such as using the same number of letters in a name, as the real person the character is based upon. Or in my novel there is a school called Austin Albrights. Which is an amalgamation of David Austin Roses and Albrighton.

Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?

I’m still a newbie, so I am on my journey of discovery and learning. I’ve had a lot of support, and have been lucky enough to be mentored by a fantastic author. I’ve started studying my weak point, grammar and sentence structure. I’m taking my time to better my skills. I recommend picking up books from Rayne Hall, her work is invaluable when improving your skills.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?    

Note pads, pencils, and flash cards. I was given a box of writers’ tools as a birthday gift. I think I have used everything in the box multiple times. It’s one of the most generous, thoughtful gifts I’ve ever been given. I highly recommend you go and make your own.
 
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?

Study writing, study your own work. Study the intricacies of what makes your work shine, find it in others and take notes. Keep notepads everywhere.

Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?

I was networking long before I was writing. I used to run an independent review company, and I have done PA and admin for several comic books, artists and authors.
Marketing and getting your work noticed is a lot about thinking outside the box, and making the right connections. Also creating a brand, an image is very important.
Knowing the right people, gets your work in the right places.

To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favourite child, and who is your least favourite to write for and why?

My favourite is Finn, he’s one of the main characters in my novel series. I love his quirks, his awkward nature and how he unabashedly makes a fool of himself.

“Oops. Here,” he said, helping her take a bite, “of course, when I tell this story it’s going to be the other way around.”
“Hmm?” Alex muttered.
“Oh, I’ll be the one being hand fed by someone gorgeous,” said Finn grinning, “while tied up.”
 
– Least would be the woman in my first story, scarred. I have a lot of contempt for her and who she is. But I wrote her that way, and I don’t think I’d write someone like her again.

And are there any that you would like to forget about?

No none of my characters deserve to be forgotten, but several could be improved.

For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?

As I have only short stories available to the public currently I’d recommend my story from sparks when it is released, as I feel my skill level has improved greatly between this story and some of my earlier works.

Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?

Yes, but it’s a little racy.
The room darkened as she massaged him, shrouding him in a shadow he couldn’t fully comprehend. She made quick work of extracting the first few moans from his parched lips. Hands falling silently from the keyboard, twitching at his sides. He had lost this game of pleasure again, his slick cock aching in her grip. She knew how to bring him to the point of no return, waiting for the carnality of his relief.
– From a flash fiction story called Behind you.
 
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

I’m currently editing a couple stories for 2 anthologies this year. I am also still working on my labor of love, a novel called Lux, which is part 1 of a 6-part series. And I have a novella in the works. Based in the same world as the novel, but takes place 5 years prior.

If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?

I don’t enjoy the notion of a damsel in destress. I’m also not a big fan of zombies.

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

Last book I read was Forest Underground by Lydian Faust. It’s fantastic. The last book that disappointed me was a book I was asked to review. I won’t name names, but it took me 4 hours to read 25 pages. I had to contact the publisher and ask if they had looked at the book themselves, as it had some major issues.
 
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer

I’ll leave people guessing, and yes.
Click to purchase a copy of Sparks From Amazon
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<![CDATA[GINGER NUTS GETS GETS RAVENOUS: AN INTERVIEW WITH AMY LUKAVICS]]>Wed, 01 Nov 2017 08:06:43 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/ginger-nuts-gets-gets-ravenous-an-interview-with-amy-lukavicsBy Tony Jones 
Today we have the great pleasure of interviewing the Queen of American YA horror Amy Lukavics, who since her debut novel in 2015 has become one of the leading lights on the YA horror scene.  Amy now has three outstanding horror novels under her belt, “Daughters Unto Devils” (2015), “The Woman in the Walls” (2016) and the very recently published “Ravenous” (2017).

Although all three novels are unique experiences, Amy excels in creating strong believable teenage female characters, brooding horror in familiar family settings with freaky supernatural riffs, a combination which is perfect for captivating teenage readers.

Ginger Nuts of Horror has been a fan of Amy for a while and our reviews of her two previous novels can be found behind the links below. When we reviewed her debut novel we wrote “there is a new kid on the block in the world of YA horror.” How right we were…

Daughters unto Devils:
Woman in the Walls:

I have been involved professionally with YA literature for over two decades and have a lifelong interest in horror, and in all those years I can think of very few YA authors who have written three such vividly strong YA horror novels in succession to begin their career. This is one of the reasons I am very surprised Amy has been overlooked thus far for the YA section of the prestigious Bram Stoker Award which is presented annually by the Horror Writer’s Association? I have read virtually all short-listed books over the last few years, and sure there are some good books featured, but I see the omission of Amy as a major oversight from the HWA. Let’s hope they do not make the same mistake again and “The Ravenous” gets the nomination a novel of its quality richly deserves.

Onto the interview.

GNoH: Family, or family/parental issues, are an interconnecting theme in all three of your novels. What’s your fascination with what goes on behind the curtains?

Amy: I've always been intrigued by stories that delve into family relationships; between siblings, between parents, between grandparents. I just think those dynamics are well worth exploring in fiction, and my characters always become more complex and interesting when I tap into the emotions they have surrounding their family members. 

GNoH: Although all three novels are obviously for teens, they are only a small step away from fully fledged adult horror fiction, is this something we can expect from you in the future?

Amy: I absolutely plan on breaking into the adult market eventually! I'm working on my first adult horror now and I'm very excited to see what becomes of it.

GNoH: Apart from the obvious big sellers in the teen market, which YA horror writers do you read/recommend? The obscurer the better, we know it all…

Amy: I'm really into Kaitlin Ward, Cat Winters, Emily Carroll, and Dawn Kurtagich. All for different reasons, but every one of them has successfully creeped me out and/or just filled me with pure horror delight. I was also blown away recently by “My Best Friend's Exorcism” by Grady Hendrix, it was just insanely good.

GNoH: What did you read as a teenager and which authors currently have had the greatest influence on you, horror or otherwise?

Amy: As a teen I read whatever I could get from the school library--Laurie Halse Anderson, Jeffrey Eugenides, Sylvia Plath, RL Stine. I read plenty of Stephen King too, of course, and also never really lost my childhood obsession with the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” books.
As far as influences go, currently I find myself the most inspired by Shirley Jackson, Jennifer McMahon, Paul Tremblay, Joe Hill, Megan Abbott, Stephanie Kuehn, and Gillian Flynn.

GNoH: There are a distinct lack of men/boys/boyfriends in all three of your novels, why do you write such female driven fiction? This is not a criticism! Only an observation…

Amy: It's not necessarily something I've done on purpose, but at the same time I've always written the books that I would want to read myself. And it just so happens that most of my favourite stories, horror or not, are centred around women. I especially love a good female villain!

GNoH: I think you reveal the inspiration to your latest novel “The Ravenous” through a sequence in the book itself when the sisters are watching TV. Tell us what attracted you to The Blood Benders story?

Amy: I'd had an idea about a sister book similar to “The Virgin Suicides” simmering in my head for months, but there was some big piece missing that keep the idea from feeling whole, so I never pursued it. Then one random day, my husband sent me a link with the message “thought you'd be interested in this.” It was an article all about The Bloody Benders, a serial killer family from the early 1870's. The story was absolutely horrifying, and the 'killer family' element promptly transformed my simmering sisters story into “The Ravenous”.

GNoH: Your debut novel “Daughters unto Devils” is set in the prairie lands of old America. You could probably count the number of YA supernatural stories set in this period on one hand. What attracted you to it?

Amy:Daughters unto Devils” was my first attempt at a horror novel, which I'd been wanting to do for years but had not yet been confident enough to try. But after I wrote a few contemporary novels that never sold, I figured I might as well write what would give me the most joy. I knew I wanted it to be a historical horror, and was going through potential settings in my head before I came across the thought, “What if Little House on the Prairie had been a possession horror?” And it was like a light switch going off...I had to do it!

GNoH: Your protagonists thus far have all been damaged but very engaging teenage girls. Is there much of yourself in these characters? You really put these girls through the wringer! There might even be a career as a ‘straight’ YA writer waiting for you?

Amy: While none of my characters are directly inspired by myself, I can certainly relate to some of the feelings they've experienced—the pressure they put on themselves for whatever reason, or the constant worrying they endure (I'm most certainly a worrier!) As far as the damaged element goes, well...who isn't damaged in one way or the other? Ha-ha!          
 
GNoH: Although for the most part your novels only have sporadic moments of bone crunching violence, I’m thinking of the hammer and eyeball scene in “The Ravenous” do you feel you’re holding the blood back a bit for your youthful audience or has your editor reigned you in?

Amy: No, never, and I get asked this question quite a bit. I'm extremely fortunate to have an editor who totally gets my stories and has never once commented that I needed to pull back on violence or gore, which was a delightful surprise. Some people insist that YA horror needs to be less gory than adult as well as have a happy ending, both things of which I disagree with.

GNoH: If you had a 100% guarantee one of your novels was to be filmed which would it be? Who would star in it?

Amy: Oh man, that's a hard question. I feel like “The Women in the Walls” could make for a really eerie and atmospheric movie, but there's also so much potential cast-wise when it comes to “The Ravenous”. I always thought it'd be awesome to have Taylor Swift to play the 'bad' sister, Juliet, and to have Shannon Purser (Barb from Stranger Things!) play Mona.

GNoH: When I read “The Women in the Walls” one of the things I really liked about it was the vagueness of where and when it was set. I’m also pretty sure there was no social media and I don’t think either of the girls either mentioned boyfriends… It is all very ‘unteenlike’ but helped create a tremendous atmosphere of isolation. Was this deliberate? What were the influences behind this ghost story?

Amy: It was deliberate. One of the most important things about the setting for “The Women in the Walls” was that it was isolated. This meant keeping the cast small and doing what I could to deny them instant access to the outside world, so I left social media out of it. As far as influences go, I was really inspired by the trailer (the movie itself had not yet come out) for “Crimson Peak”. I wanted to capture that dark, eerie, Gothic vibe in my own story!         
         
GNoH: Getting back to your latest novel “The Ravenous” which features five sisters…  I had already thought of “The Virgin Suicides” by Jeffrey Eugenides before the sisters started watching the film. I take it this was both deliberate and that you’re a fan?

Amy: Yep, I was very inspired by “The Virgin Suicides” for “The Ravenous”. I first discovered the book in high school and ended up loving it so much that I went back to highlight all of my favourite passages like a total geek. I am also a big fan of the Sofia Coppola movie adaptation, and the soundtrack as well.

GNoH: The Ravenous” is seen through the eyes of one of the middle sisters Mona, who was both a sympathetic and sad character, I’m particularly thinking of her telephone friend, which had a fantastic reveal. Why were you so tough on her? Perhaps it’s tough being the middle sibling…

Amy: Ha! See, I don't really view it as me being tough on my characters, because they aren't pre-existing beings that I inflict horror upon on a whim. Usually when I come up with a character, I already have a pretty good idea of what will happen to them ultimately, even before the more personal details about their struggles come to me, so their experiences are pretty built in from the get-go. Mona was fun to write because of how many conflicting feelings she had on everything from her living situation to her sisters to her mother. And being the middle sibling absolutely had an influence on her character, the poor dear.

GNoH: What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Amy: It wasn't really advice, but I was really inspired by Paul Tremblay when I was fortunate enough to do a panel with him at San Diego ComicCon in 2016. He was just such a genuinely nice guy who was so encouraging when I mentioned that I wanted to break into the adult market one day. It really meant a lot to me to see someone represent the horror community in such a positive and welcoming way, and it made me want to work hard and write the best books that I possibly can.


GNoH: Can you tell us about your future projects?
Amy: My next book, out fall of 2018, is called “Nightingale” and is a psychological horror that takes place in an asylum in the 1950's. I am so, so excited for it!

GNoH: Amy Lukavics, the Queen of YA American Horror, It has been an absolute pleasure having you on The Ginger Nuts of Horror and we wish you all the best for “The Ravenous” and future projects.
Tony Jones

DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS BY AMY LUKAVICS 
YOUNG BLOOD THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS BY AMY LUKAVICS 
 THE RAVENOUS BY AMY LUKAVICS

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<![CDATA[the magnetic kid, jedi summers and Spungunion: an interview with john boden]]>Tue, 31 Oct 2017 11:33:16 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/the-magnetic-kid-jedi-summers-and-spungunion-an-interview-with-john-bodenBy Kit Power 
 
Fresh from recent critical successes with novellas Jedi Summer and Detritus In Love (co-written with Bram Stoker award winning author Mercedes Murdock Yardley), we thought it was high time we got caught up with author (and Gingernuts contributor) John Boden to find out more about his recent output, writing process, and upcoming projects.
 
 
Gingernuts of Horror: We’ll get to the new and upcoming releases, but I’d like to catch up w ith you first about Jedi Summer, if that’s cool. Because that was my novella of last year, and the wider critical response seems to have been very good. How have you found the release?
 
John Boden: I'm thrilled that it's done well and people like it. It's no secret that I was a bit worried about it initially. I wrote it as a present for my little brother. I hadn't originally sought to publish it. It was sent to a publisher who held interest and then it sat idle for a year before I sent it to Eric at Post Mortem.  He liked it and took it and I still worried. This thing is not a traditional story, has very little action or linear narrative and runs mainly on the cool breeze of emotional nostalgia. All that said, it's been quite humbling to see it so well-liked and hearing so many people say that it really brought them back to their childhoods-good and bad.
 
GNoH: I also have to ask - I know it was largely autobiographical - how did it feel putting so much of yourself out there in that way?
 
JB:  It felt both freeing and bit like I was being an asshole. I mean, we tend to feel that everything that we experience is solely ours and while it is, it also isn't. I worried that I put too much out there.  Most of my family are pretty private people, a lot of friends too. There are also people and events that really happened that I very barely camouflaged.  Since no one has punched me in the face or harassed my family, I guess I worried for nothing.
 
GNoH: Do you find a similar thing with your fiction? I’ve found people almost never recognize themselves in a book, even when it feels blatant to me as a writer…
 
JB: I'm not sure, I really don't have all that much out there yet. I make no secret that I often staff my work with friends. nearly every character being based in some way on a friend or family member.  Hell, often times I don't even change names.
 
GNoH: How was the process of writing Jedi? Did you find yourself struggling to remember parts, or did it flow very naturally? And how did you decide what to tell and what to leave out?
 
JB:  It was originally written as a short story, called "The Magnetic Kid", this flash piece ended up as a chapter in Jedi Summer, but once I started going and the memories started flowing it went really smoothly. There were things I left out and there were many liberties taken with those I didn't. It's like that Adam Sandler movie, The Wedding Singer.  That movie was set in 1985 or 86, but they crammed a million references to all manner of 80's shit in there.  I did the same sort of thing.  I like having people try to guess what was true and what was not. I could put other things in there. Maybe one day I will expand it or collect some more material in another thing. It only recently struck me that my story, "Possessed By A Broken Window" [which appeared in Lamplight Magazine, Volume III- Issue III-- is actually a "Johnny & Roscoe" story.  So I could probably do it.  Speaking of that story, Jacob Haddon and Apokrupha Press are plotting to bring a "radio treatment" of "Possessed By A Broken Window" to the masses sometime in the future.
 
GNoH: A Jedi sequel would be amazing! Or would it be a prequel? The Phantom Summer? :D
 
JB: I'm not sure if it would be a sequel or prequel. Possibly just an expansion with further recollections and such. I'll wait a while and see what happens. I can say that Jedi Summer is being translated for a German edition at the moment. that's a pretty nifty thing to have happen. 
 
GNoH: Your writing has a lyrical quality - poetic, yet grounded and unpretentious. Where do you think that voice comes from? Who do you think of as your prime influences?
 
JB: I can't say where the style came from, I mean a lot of places.  I began writing in school, after being inspired by Stephen King, Bradbury and Louis L'Amour. I started writing and wrote pretty pathetic Stephen King fan fiction or terrible pulp stories. King was one of the first writers that I read, you know "adult-type" material. And I loved it. I will still claim his importance. No one writes characters like he does. I always loved his simpler work (his middle years stuff is pretty bloated and hard-to-take at times), but those first dozen or so novels I recall vividly, and I've not read them in decades.  So yeah, I stopped writing after graduating and didn't actively start again until Shock Totem started, almost 20 years later.  Now, during that time, I read a lot. Discovering and devouring anything from Joe Lansdale or Robert McCammon, while also taking in William Burroughs, James Havoc and Th. Metzger.  I also owe as much influence to music as anything - it was always playing - my parents, though split, both loved music and I got a steady diet of classic hard rock, early metal, folk and country music. I always paid close attention to lyrics and used to read album liner notes like most kids read Highlights. I almost think that stuff -- all of that stuff--sort of got stuck in my "creative craw" and waited for me to decide to write again because when I came back to it, I found myself writing in a simple and clear voice but with an (I've been told) unique sense of description. It's just how I write.
 
GNoH: The songwriting influence is very interesting to me. Who do you think of as master storytellers in terms of lyricists? And what about that form of storytelling appeals to you?
 
JB:  Alice Cooper always told great stories, I'm well aware that a lot of those songs were co-written by others or by outside writers, but I loved them. Rolling Stones have some great songs...any song can be a story if you listen right.  I grew up loving old story song country--"Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town," "Psycho," "Phantom 309."  So many...The Drive-By Truckers and a band called I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House are both fantastic at gritty and seedy everyday dark dramas.  I can't put a finger on what exactly appeals to me other than I tend to like concise. I like to eat fast and not have to chew much.

GNoH: moving on to Detritus In Love , can you recall how that project came about?
 
JB: Way back, when Mercedes Yardley worked with me at Shock Totem, I had written a flash piece called "The Thief, She Cried." I asked her to read it as we always sent each other our stuff to scope. She liked it and I told her I was thinking of expanding it somehow.  I asked if she wanted to do it with me and she said of course.  We decided outright on no strict timeline or hard deadlines. We'd write when we could, as much as we could. So three years and some change later, we had a very dark almost fablesque tale of a strange boy, his ghost pals and a dark enemy approaching. It's title was originally "Loving The Girl With X's For Eyes" but Laird Barron put out a book around the same time and we decided to change it, so Detritus In Love it became.  One of the best comments we get is that people can't distinguish our voices--it reads seamless.  We're pretty proud of it and have talked a tiny bit about possibly going back one day.
 
GNoH: I’d agree with that, it really did feel like one voice. What did you enjoy about the collaborative process? What did it teach you about your own writing?
 
JB: I really enjoyed the lack of anchor. I liked that it almost felt like, remember being a kid when you wrote to a pen pal or a friend (like wrote a letter, stamped it and chucked it in the post) and you'd wait but then forget or become distracted by life and then it a response would arrive and it was like a magical interruption to the daily hum-drummery?  It was like that. I'd write a bit and send it off and a week or three would float by before she sent back something or vice versa.  I think it taught me how to pick up cues, intended or otherwise as we went with no clear plot plan or outline, just wrote our way out of it. 
 
GNoH: I’d also like to touch on your recent Double Barrel Horror release - two very dark tales. ‘There Will Be Angels’ is both horrifying and heartbreaking - can you recall now what sparked the central premise of this story?
 
JB:  That one came from  the old Shock Totem Saturday night flash challenge. I believe the picture was a black and white still of girls on a wall. It was surreal and creepy and this is what I wrote during the given hour. It's strange and sad.
 
GNoH: It seems like that flash fiction challenge spawned a lot of interesting work! Do you have any other stories that came from that challenge? Is it ongoing, and if not are there any plans to revive it?
 
JB:  The monthly story challenge saw a lot of good new writers (many who have gone on to much acclaim) as winners. The bi-weekly flash contest saw a lot of stories go on as well.  I can't remember but I think my story "Down By The Ocean" (Splatterpunk #5) started as one of these. The challenge is no more I think.  It was held on the ST forum and I had turned over moderating privileges to others long ago.
 
GNoH: As for ‘Marlene The Magnificent’ - wow! Do you have any ‘red lines’ - areas you won’t write about in fiction - or do you think any subject is fair game?
 
JB:  Heh.  I don't usually write sex, graphic or otherwise in my stuff. Not that I'm a prude, I just don't get there in the way I tell my tales. Marlene was different. A co-worker once remarked that she'd had to have her children via c-section because "her vagina wasn't magic," and so the rest of that work day I found myself thinking about what it might be like were a woman to have a magic vagina...and of course, that went to a weird place and this is what happened. It's probably the closest to bizarro that I've gotten outside of some micro-flash I have.  It's not at all like most of what I've done.  As for any subject being fair game, why not? I mean if it happens for real we can talk about it--write about it, right?  Shit isn't going to go away if we pretend it doesn't happen. That line of reasoning has been a time-tested failure.
 
GNoH: I’ve enjoyed your short fiction work a great deal - Night Games in Blight Digest springs to mind as a brilliant slice of dark nasty - are there any plans for a short fiction collection at some point?
 
JB: One day maybe.  I'd definitely need to write more stories. Most of what I have that hasn't been published is flash fiction.  So I guess the short answer is yes, at some point.
 
GNoH: And I understand we’ve got another novella release coming up soon. What can you tell us about Spungunion?
 
JB: Spungunion is coming out 31st October  I am extremely proud of it and the folks who've read it in beta stages or to possibly give me a blurb for it have all dug it.  Spungunion is set in the early 80's and revolves around a trucker named Deke. His wife was murdered and he's spent the last year allowing his grief and anger devour him. He is finally offered a little help by his boss who puts him in touch with another trucker named Tiny. Tiny holds a special job description which allows him to call some very...um...otherworldy contacts out for favors.  As Deke meets with bizarre beings and begins to assemble perceived clues as to the killer of his wife, he finds that most of the time what we seek to find and what we are really looking for are rarely the same.  I wrote this from a very personal place concerning grief and its weight but also as a tribute to Joe R. Lansdale. He's been a huge influence and I have always enjoyed his wild characters and uniquely strange settings.
 
GNoH: As one of those lucky beta readers, I’d say that for me one of the huge strengths of this story is how it plays in the liminal spaces between reality and dark fantasy. How do you approach works with a more supernatural element to them? Do you find writing that kind of story affects your style or process?
 
JB: Honestly, I don't really think much about it. I just write what I write and however it goes, it goes.  That's probably a shitty answer but it's the truth.  Sometimes, most times, it begins around a scene or a character and then spreads from there. I just start and stop and see what it looks like when I decide it's time to stop for real. I'm a very undisciplined writer. I don't have a routine or set schedule. I've been trying harder to adopt one of those but my day job schedule is kind of terrible and I've found that if I try and force creativity when I'm brain tired or just plain old tired, the outcome is less than favorable.
 
GNoH: Thanks so much for your time, man. In closing, what do you have in the pipeline after Spungunion drops? What do the rest of 2017 and beyond hold for John Boden?
 
JB: I'm somewhere past the midpoint on a quietly odd western called Walk The Darkness Down.  I have the second "not-really-for-children" children's book written and am working with artist Chris Enterline on the illustrations. This one is about a haunted house.  Chris is amazing. He and I have recently started a series of one panel things called "Quick & Dirty" which is a single panel drawing that pairs with a micro-flash story of mine.  Those will be fun.  I have several other collaborative projects looming. None I really want to call out yet as it's way too early.  There's a German edition of Jedi Summer coming soon from Phrenetic Press.  I think it'll be titled Sommerland.  A couple of stories in forthcoming anthos. And you're most welcome. thank you for asking me to babble.
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Spungunion: (pronounced: Spun-Gun-Yun) noun; 1.) a dish made from rotting road kill, usually a skunk or a opossum. The more fragrant or maggoty, the better. 2.) Something that's been on the road for a long and unfortunate time...
This is the story of Deke Larch, a widowed trucker who has lost everything and is struggling to find his place in a world and the person who took it from him. That journey puts him in touch with strange characters and bizarre places. Deke had always felt like he operated on the fringe of society, but he really had no idea...his journey will teach him that monsters are interpretive and sometimes what we think we want is not what we seek at all.
Spungunion is a story about grief and loss, about lonely roads and lost souls, about failure to let go and falling when you finally do. It's about livin' and dyin' and how sometimes the difference between is very slight.
“This trucker’s tale of bloody revenge and harrowing self-illumination takes place in the deepest, strangest veins of the Twilight Zone’s midnight highways. Boden rolls his supernatural mystery down the blacktop surface of the road to Hell, and you’re gonna love the journey into the fire.” – Philip Fracassi, author of Behold the Void, Fragile Dreams and Altar.

                                               PURCHASE  A COPY FROM DYNATOX MINISTRIES 

CLICK TO PUIRCHASE JOHN'S BOOKS FROM AMAZON
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<![CDATA[A SPARK OF GENIUS: DANI BROWN]]>Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/a-spark-of-genius-dani-brown
Suitably labelled “The Queen of Filth”, extremist author Dani Brown’s style of dark and twisted writing and deeply disturbing stories has amassed a worrying sized cult following featuring horrifying tales such as “My Lovely Wife”, “Toenails” and the hugely popular “Night of the Penguins”. Merging eroticism with horror, torture and other areas that most authors wouldn’t dare, each of Dani’s titles will crawl under your skin, burrow inside you, and make you question why you are coming back for more.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

There isn’t much to say about me. I always thought I was boring. I play with my cats and help my son with his homework. But I can also write really sick stuff, which I guess people find fascinating.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing I enjoy knitting and sometimes downing pints of gin at parties (or doing something equally as stupid). I enjoy drawing. - I’ve been trying to recover my drawing skills.

Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
Other than horror there’s been a few different influences. I’m one of those writers that constantly has music on, even when writing. That plays a role. I’ve been trying to be a bit more open about how dreadful my music tastes truly are over at facebook.com/danibrownbooks. In terms of reading, sci-fi has played a role. I used to read a lot of it, mainly because my father made me. My son loves going through my old sci-fi books and finding something he likes (it isn’t hoarding if its books). The vast amount of fantasy I read plays a part too.

The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations.  What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?
 
I don’t often come out of my bubble so I’m typically sheltered from the negative associations with horror. When I did come out of my bubble briefly to try the tinder thing, I wouldn’t tell most of my matches what exactly it was that I wrote. Unfortunately, being guarded seemed to drive off the best looking of the lot of them! I do find as a woman writer, I’m treated with a lot of negativity and disbelief to begin with, even without saying what I write. I get a bit jealous when I see men talking about their self-doubts during the writing process as I don’t feel like I can do that. If I did, I would be verbally jumped upon and told it is time to grow up and get a real job.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?
 
In terms of horror and the way the world is going, I’m curious to see Trump’s personality traits appear in horror, but subtly so it isn’t obviously him. That’s a few years away though, I think, when he isn’t so fresh.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?

There’s so many I can’t name. My early favourites were The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Reading something young, it kind of sticks. Anything by Stephen King. There was a Lovecraft influence in my writing long before I read any myself because of Stephen King. And The Story of the Eye (which I didn’t read until my third year of university). Still one of my favourite books, it isn’t just relevant when writing sexy things, but played a major role in creating characters such as the husband in “My Lovely Wife”.

What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?

Dav Crabes. “Trafficking and Sexual December”. You really need to experience it for yourself.

How would you describe your writing style
I wouldn’t really know how to describe my writing style. Sometimes what I write is good and I surprise myself. Other times it is dreadful. I write in different tenses from different points of view, not typically in the same piece but I have been told off by editors for it. I tend to be rather descriptive, which is purely down to reading Lord of the Rings more than once.

Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

I like it when I make people feel sick or cry. It means my job was well done. If someone draws my attention to a review, I will sometimes take a screen shot and post it on my website. I simply don’t have the time to go looking for them myself.
My attention has been drawn to positive reviews of my nice things too. I like those reviews but it only seems to apply to short stories.

What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

I get really frustrated if I have the images in my head for a story but cannot put it in words when I sit down to write it. Working on more than one thing at once helps this.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?

I wouldn’t rule out any subject. I’m not fond of writing about dead children or animals, but I do it. I’m working on something now with a dead child.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

With the exception of Xanthe and the characters in “Ketamine Addicted Pandas” (to be published), I randomly select names, typically from a book of baby names, or the huge name dictionary sitting on my shelf. Xanthe was special because I needed a name starting with X. I named her after the story was written. With Cody, Corey and Casey (Ketamine Addicted Pandas), I did select their names based on those names being popular when I was growing up. But for the most part, it is random selection. I’m not going to waste time thinking of a name. Sometimes the meaning of the name will shape the character and one time it shaped the title of a book (Middle Age Rae of Fucking Sunshine).
 
Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years? 

I write a lot more than I used to. I no longer obsess over brutal scenes and have become pretty desensitized towards what is extreme and what isn’t. For the most part, my confidence has grown, although it still suffers from being knocked back. I’m also willing to put things down on paper no matter how bad the writing is, knowing I can go and fix it during edits.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?       
  
A vast music library and something to play it on that gets you away from the computer. A pack of pens and a stack of blank notebooks. And post it notes. Those are very important for jotting random notes and fragments on.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?

I’ve received a lot of advice over the years but I think the best is, just write. Write it down, no matter how bad the words sound together. And employ a good editor.

Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?

I’ve recently hosted my first ever launch party. It was a real life one. That was fun and I sold a few books. What I’ve been doing lately is being a lot more open with what I’m listening to or watching. People seem to enjoy how that impacts my writing. It isn’t any good posting endless links and nothing else. There are links on my facebook page and on my website. I will repost stuff on occasion and when something is first published, I’ll post it a few times. That seems to be enough. People can find it. They want to know me. Sometimes I’ll post a selfie or a picture of a record I bought. Every now and again, I’ll talk about what I’m writing at that time.

To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favourite child, and who is your least  favourite to write for and why?

I have a character called Seth who is my favourite child. I celebrate his birthday every year. The piece hasn’t been finished yet – I’ve been writing it for ten years!. All the characters I’ve created after him have a little piece of Seth inside. I look forward to getting back to him once my to-do list is complete.

And are there any that you would like to forget about?

I would most like to forget about Rae. Readers like her. I don’t. She started off alright but then people and their eyebrows or bizarre sexual fantasies decided to attach themselves to me and they were difficult to get rid of.  Seriously, while trying to write Rae, I received countless facebook messages from a woman with a child in the same class as mine about her eyebrows. I offered her tweezers! What more could I have done? And while that was going on, I was given increasingly graphic descriptions of what some people would like to do to me. Totally not cool. All this stuff in my personal life changed the character. I don’t like being reminded of it. I have another character who is similar. I’ll finish that story off once “Seth” is done and in the stages of being published.

For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?

I think Night of the Penguins would be the best place to start. It covers the extreme. It covers weird. It covers horror. There’s some graphic sexual content. It really has a bit of everything.

Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?

The first paragraph of Night of the Penguins
Carla spent the breakfast hour gathering snails in her garden. Even if she dreamt the entire thing, Spores deserved to have snails chucked at him.

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

My last book to be published was “Broccoli”. It was also my first attempt at self-publishing, a long-time dream of mine. Written in second person, present tense. It starts when you wake up. It contains something to offend everyone. It made a reviewer vomit. There isn’t much I can say about it. You are delirious, or aren’t you?

I have some short stories due to be published soon. There’s stories in “Sparks” (to read the stories that were too extreme for Burdizzo, and the rejection letters from The Reverend Burdizzo and The Black Nun, visit my website danibrownqueenoffilth.weebly.com). There are stories in “Vs X” and “Strange Behaviors”. There’s probably a few more due to be released over the upcoming 12 months. I also have a Dual Depravity with David Owain Hughes coming soon from JEA. The first of the “Stef and Tucker” series should be released eventually (it’s a series that started off as slash-fiction about my boyfriend and a band he really likes – just to weird him out!).

In terms of what I’m working on, this time around on my to-do list, there’s mainly novels and novellas. There’s “Sparky the Spunky Robot”. I’m a bit fed up of people loving my nice pleasant short stories but only ever buying my extreme and disgusting books so I’ve combined the two with a cute robot powered by cum. There’s another containing lethal chupacabra spunk. Spunk seems to be a bit of a theme, but the next one has the Mer-people of Europa. And there’s a body horror somewhere in there, cum-free.
 
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?

I’m not really sure what cliché I would erase. It would be nice to change people’s opinion of horror writers and writers in general.

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

Mayan Blue by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason sticks out the most as a great book I’ve recently read (I’m a bit behind). Anything with Mayan in the title is going to appeal to me. At the time I bought a copy, I was just finishing up Night of the Penguin which had a scene based on Aztec ritual (written many years ago), which made it appeal even more (Aztec and Mayan have similar themes). One day, I’ll have the time to re-read it. I haven’t taken a chance on a book in a long time. I don’t get much time for reading, so I tend to go with books that seem as if I’d like them.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer
 
Interviewer: Would you like me to buy you burritos and give you free bottles of gin and absinthe plus any mixers you desire?
 
Me: Why, yes, that would be nice. 
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This is a public service announcement on behalf of Burdizzo Books.
Ghosts in the machine? Killer currents? Demonic disturbances?
Then you need Sparks!

Keep your family safe from bulbs and batteries that go bump in the night by reading Sparks. 15 electrifying tales of horror, sci-fi, bizarro and fantasy. Visit post-apocalyptic nightmare worlds, listen to recordings of the dead, feel the friction of electric lady love and be struck by lightning from the past.
Plug in, turn on, tune in and get buzzed.
Sparks – it’s alive!​






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A secret cult operates at the zoo Carla works at. They pay doesn't keep food in her cupboards. All her clothes are second hand. There isn't enough money to cope with management, preferred employees and customers. Starving before her wages land in her pay packet, Carla walks up the hill to steal some food from the zoo. She isn't alone. Induction night for the cult happens at the same place. They need sacrifices to the old Gods to maintain power. Carla knew management were too stupid to keep power on their own. She didn't realize the help was supernatural. She hides, looking for morsels to ear. Management know someone is there. Left with no choice, and nothing to eat, Carla must overthrow the cult. It isn't a simple case of one bad employer, but many. For underpaid, under-appreciated employees everywhere, Carla stands up aided by a new God.

RELATED POSTS 
CHILDHOOD FEARS: THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL BY DANI BROWN 
HORROR NEWS: BURDIZZO BOOKS UNLEASHES SPARKS A CHARITY ANTHOLOGY
A SPARK OF GENIUS: AN INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW CASH
A SPARK OF GENIUS: CHRISTOPHER LAW
A SPARK OF GENIUS: AN INTERVIEW WITH ASH HARTWEL
A SPARK OF GENIUS: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK CASSELL

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<![CDATA[A Spark of Genius: An interview with MAtthew Cash]]>Wed, 25 Oct 2017 07:30:04 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/a-spark-of-genius-an-interview-with-matthew-cash
Sparks is the new charity anthology from Burdizzo books and to help support and spread word of it Ginger Nuts of Horror has been running a series on interviews and articles with the contributing authors today The man behind the book, Matty-Bob, or to use his Sunday name Matthew Cash takes the spotlight in today's "A Spark of genius" 

Matthew Cash has been a avid reader since however old he was when he learnt to read. He still remembers standing alongside the teacher's desk in his first ever primary school class and reading sentences out and learning to pause when he came to a dot. He has been releasing stuff for over two years, through numerous publishers and his own label Burdizzo Books.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

I'm Matty-Bob, I'm a father of two, a full time carer, and I love to read.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Read. Haha. Entertainment wise I am spread between three favourite pastimes, reading, listening to music and watching the occasional film. I'm a fan of walking and getting out socialising but unfortunately it's not something I can do as regularly as I want to.
I love spending time with my family, days out with the kids (when they're not being unruly) and thinking about writing.

Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?

Earthbound science fiction, the likes of H. G. Wells and John Wyndham. I like the weirdness of Haruki Murakami and Neil Gaiman.

The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations.  What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?

Being a fan means it obviously conjures up excitement, floor to ceiling walls covered in VHS tapes in the video rental shops of my youth, boldly stepping around the back of the children's section and into the darker horror one. Going into bookshops and heading straight for that section.
 
I don't think we can break past the assumptions that the term ‘horror’ brings. It's a genre that's been about for a long time and it has many different guises. Where scares are concerned there's not really a lot that beats stuff happening in the world everyday. I think the sub-genres need to be clearly labelled as it is a broad spectrum. Horror can be so many different things, and I think people need to see it's not just about monsters, slashers and murderous possessed dolls.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?

I think it will stray away from the usual tropes and focus on real life horrors as in my experience they are the most effective.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?

James Herbert's Fog, Shrine and Moon.
Stephen King's It, The Stand, and Pet Semetary.
Stephen Laws’ Ghost Train and The Frighteners.
The original Amityville Horror film, the Halloween franchise, The Wicker Man and all the old Hammer Horror films.

What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?

Jonathan Butcher. Em Dehaney. G. H. Finn. Pippa Bailey. And anyone else in our anthologies.

How would you describe your writing style?

I wouldn't.

Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

Not as such but I always try and get something constructive from the reviews that are left. I'm eager to learn and always wanting to better myself.

What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

Finding the bloody time to do it.
 
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?

Not really. I go with what ever subject is talking to me. If a subject is taboo to me then I will either avoid writing it or write at a level I'm comfortable with.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

They've never been too much of a priority for me, mostly I use the first names that pop into my head, unless it's something daft.
 
Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years? 

I have listened to my peers. A long time ago Graeme Reynolds told me that writing was like a muscle and it needs regular exercise. It's true, to be a writer means you have to write as frequently as you can, about whatever you can. I've learnt to not worry about word counts, to write the story that needs to be written.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?     
    
Notebooks or similar apps on your phone. You never know when you're going to get sudden inspiration, or even ten minutes to jot something down. I've lost count of the amount of times I've whipped my phone out whilst waiting for the kids to finish school because I've had an idea, or phrase that needs recording.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?

As above, Graeme ‘High Moor’ Reynolds. Writing is like a muscle, use it or lose it.

Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?

By knuckling down and trying to produce the best stuff I can, and surrounding myself with people who I can trust to tell me if something isn't working.

To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favourite child, and who is your least  favourite to write for and why?

My favourite has to be Diddy Dave Diamond, my scandalous celebrity comedian gone Jigsaw on people. The endless cheesy jokes and his fearlessness.

And are there any that you would like to forget about?

No, they all have their places.

For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?

Pinprick - as I'm not just about the offensive and gore. I like good writing, and good storylines. I would rather have a book full of weirdness with one or two horribly graphic scenes than one chock-a-block with blood and guts.

Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?
 
“The blackbirds swirled in the sky like a ebony hurricane, blotting out the bright sun.
John turned to his parents who too were raising their arms in herald to the coming of their God.” ‘Morning Has Broken’- The Reverend Burdizzo’s Hymn Book

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

My last solo release was Krackerjack2. I'm still working on finishing the first draft of my next novel FUR, I've started what might become a children's story, and I have the second part of a collaboration with Jonathan Butcher to continue.
 
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?

Where people split up for various reasons.

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

Tip Of The Iceberg by Ash Hartwell. And as for disappointment Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronvitch.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer

This one, and the question would be the answer. 
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This is a public service announcement on behalf of Burdizzo Books.
Ghosts in the machine? Killer currents? Demonic disturbances?
Then you need Sparks!

Keep your family safe from bulbs and batteries that go bump in the night by reading Sparks. 15 electrifying tales of horror, sci-fi, bizarro and fantasy. Visit post-apocalyptic nightmare worlds, listen to recordings of the dead, feel the friction of electric lady love and be struck by lightning from the past.
Plug in, turn on, tune in and get buzzed.
Sparks – it’s alive!​

Picture
Five people wake up in a warehouse, bound to chairs.
Before each of them, tacked to the wall are their witness testimonies.
They each played a part in labelling one of Britain's most loved family entertainers a paedophile and sex offender.
Clearly revenge is the reason they have been brought here, but the man they accused is supposed to be dead.
Opportunity knocks and Diddy Dave Diamond has one last game show to host and it's a knock out. 



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<![CDATA[A SPARK OF GENIUS: CHRISTOPHER LAW]]>Sun, 22 Oct 2017 23:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/a-spark-of-genius-christopher-law
To help promote the new charity anthology Sparks (which has become the most purchased book from the Ginger Nuts of Horror's Amazon Associate account) an electric themed anthology to raise money for Resources for Autism, Ginger Nuts of Horror is bringing you a series of interview with the authors involved in the anthology. Christopher Law takes the spotlight today. 

Christopher Law is the author of Chaos Tales I and Chaos Tales II: Hell TV, plus a half-dozen or so anthology contributions. If you're not sure enough to buy, there are a bunch of free stories and blogs at https://evilscribbles.wordpress.com/

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?


I've not had a haircut since 2001 but still can't grow a beard. Shaving is an inconvenience I gladly endure for not being balding or greying at forty. I'm vegetarian, often prefer cats to people and have been known to get teary-eyed at roadkill. Basically, I'm a libtard snowflake.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?


I fly superhero wingsuits and am secretly the biggest vlogger you never heard of. Or, I read, visit my family and friends, drink more than I should and – this week – binge on Vikings. I'm still on Prime's thirty day freebie and when it's free you should make yourself sick.

Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?

With regards to what I write, it is sword and sorcery fantasy. I don't really read fantasy these days, and when I do it tends to be my childhood favourites (Middle Earth, Pern and Midkemia, mostly). I also love a good dollop of classic sci-fi – I'm currently reading Asimov's Foundation Saga and thinking about an early K. Dick binge.

With regards to how I write – the whole process from three word scrap blu-tacked to the wall to something I believe in – the writers and communities I've met online, plus the support from my immediate circle of friends and betas, have made me take it sort-of seriously. My writing is better as a result, although I still mostly do it because when I was twelve I didn't want to stop making stories with my action figures. I was too old to be playing with toys, I knew that, and words were the only way to keep playing the game.


The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations.  What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?

Horror should be brutal and heavy, like decent metal. A Horror story should take you somewhere vile and uncomfortable, and leave you glad to be back in your own world. If you return with an increased desire to make sure that your actual world never resembles the story you just escaped from – alive and all – then that's just gravy.

That said – and my often avowed love of torture-porn and nasty-just-to-be-nasty should be acknowledged here – I also think us Horror producers could sometime take a little more care with what we make (there is so much badly done work) and how we sell it to the world. I don't want kids reading a lot of what I write and read and there's no harm in advertising that.

A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?


Hard to answer without putting another hat on; impossible in a reasonably short answer. My other ambition – the one I thought would lead to a career in thinktanks or teaching – was to be a Historian (with the capital letter). That didn't work out.

Horror will either go into a long lull as our planet and species endures some quite horrific wars and calamities, after which there will be a period of melancholy and ghosts, or we will tell enough scary stories that people recoil and make their real lives better.

If it's the latter – my preferred option – Horror will become more refined, exquisite and brutal. Other people can decide its worth and purpose; I just want the blood, terror and monsters.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?

Films: The 1970's animated LOTR; Hellraiser; Alien/Aliens; Krull (everyone pretty much dies, I was five and laser guns); Heathers: Star Wars (and all the other Star Warsers, except the Ewok flicks)

Books: I'd be happier if this was a music category. The books I enjoy reading are not the ones I learn from. It's horribly arrogant to state but I've learned more from trying not to be like alien abduction phase Shaun Hutson than I'll ever get from trying to be like <insertfavouriteauthor>.

I'll never be as good as my idols, but I can, I hope, be a little better than the worst of my peers.

What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?


Oh, just the ones I'm friends with. And me.

How would you describe your writing style?


About the same as the worst of my peers. Maybe a little better.


Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?

I'm long-winded and often too passive a narrator, but I have written at least one story that has made every reader squirm. I'm a Horror Hack – being told I wrote something that lingered is my catnip.


What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?

Dialogue. I prefer a rather old-fashioned way of writing, with most of my character's conversations given in summary, because writing direct speech is one of the few things harder than actually speaking to people.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?

My hopes and dreams for the people I love. I write Horror; the happy shite is for my real life.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?


An eternal pain in the arse. Some characters are decent enough to arrive with a name (although, when that name is Kitten Sweet, I'd have rather she didn't – with that name, at least). I'd be quite happy only ever using he, she and it, but it just doesn't work past a few thousand words.

Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years? 

My stories feel the same as they ever have, and I essentially approach it the same way – sit down and brain-fart in the hope of something good.

I have, however, learned to edit, plan, edit again and also embrace my shite-drafts – before every first-draft, there must be shite.

I wouldn't have done any of that without an awful lot of help, which is the biggest change in the way I write now to the way I did a decade ago. I used to hide everything I wrote; now I still hide most of it but the stuff I share is either liked or helped. I've been in a couple of group-writes – both in limbo – but the fun is worth it. 

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?         

It's a good job you're not crunching for a market research agency, or trying to sell crap. These are horribly open questions...

1) Sentience
2) Language
3) Alcohol/Caffeine/Nicotine/Other
4)Cthulu's resonance in your soul


What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?

Don't stop. Edit. Spell-check. Don't stop.


Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?

Isn't this getting noticed? I don't know what more I can do, when confronted with this world of sand and my ostrich convictions.

To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favourite child, and who is your least  favourite to write for and why?


Maria gets both of these for me. I wrote the first version of her story when I was nineteen and the last about a decade ago. It's ready to be published but it isn't supernatural or silly like everything else I write, and it is also really rather grim, so I'm sitting on it.

She's my favourite because she is so vital to write about, and my least because I know how the story goes.

And are there any that you would like to forget about?


Not so far, unless you include Sockface and Leftie (sock pockets I created one evening when I was nine after being sent to my room for being devastatingly funny (didn't mean to make my sister cry, but – I can be a shit. I snuck down later and claimed my forfeited ice-cream).


For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?


Chaos Tales II: Hell TV

I love an epic tale. The only thing better than reading an epic is writing one, and feeling so, so certain you're outdoing them all. When you get the words right; the bit I'm working on.

This is the first proper look at my version of Hell but I've got the backstory. I have some friends advising me to self-publish the novels, but I'm not sure.

Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?

Hate breeds its own clarity.


Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?

My last few print appearances have been in Burdizzo anthologies; my last solo effort was Chaos II. I'm not good at the business side of things and, well, minimum wage ain't great, so a lot of things have stalled just now.

I am, however, almost done with the final proof of Chaos III. There'll be a delay while I get the money for a cover, and discover all the errors after uploading to kdp, but I'm working on it.



If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?

None. When I'm rich I'll pay people to filter out the shite so I only see the genius; in the meantime, I'll make do.


What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?


The last great book was Asimov's Foundation. I've read it once before, sometime around 1986, and my new copy was a birthday present (with the next two books included!)

The last to disappoint me was The Scarlet Gospel.



What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer

Would you like an advance on that novel?

I dunno, what's in it for me? You said there'd be booze...
Picture
This is a public service announcement on behalf of Burdizzo Books.
Ghosts in the machine? Killer currents? Demonic disturbances?
Then you need Sparks!

Keep your family safe from bulbs and batteries that go bump in the night by reading Sparks. 15 electrifying tales of horror, sci-fi, bizarro and fantasy. Visit post-apocalyptic nightmare worlds, listen to recordings of the dead, feel the friction of electric lady love and be struck by lightning from the past.
Plug in, turn on, tune in and get buzzed.
Sparks – it’s alive!​


Picture
Ever wondered what happens when mathematics gets really out of control? Or if murderous teens had the self-control and foresight to plan as well as they thought they could? Maybe you've been sure that, somewhere out there, your perfect double is trying to ruin your life, or that there really are ghosts in the ruins and they mean you harm. What if your surgeons don't wish you well, or the OAP upstairs is after your soul? These questions and more are answered in this collection of chillers and shockers by Christopher Law, the new kid on the blood-splattered block.

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