<![CDATA[Ginger Nuts of Horror - INTERVIEWS]]>Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:15:06 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[​NEOREACTION: A BASILISK: AN INTERVIEW PART 2]]>Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/neoreaction-a-basilisk-an-interview-part-2by Kit Power 
 
In June of 2016, blogger Phil Sandifer completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund what he called the ‘conspiracy ‘zine’ edition of his essay-become-book, Neoreaction: A Basilisk. Kit Power read it, and reviewed it for Gingernuts of Horror here.
 
In the 18 months since, the relevance of a book that seeks to interrogate and dismantle the philosophical and intellectual underpinnings of neoreaction and that alt-right has, to put it mildly, not faded. And so, for the first time, Dr. Sandifer has put out a general release copy of the book for sale in ebook and paperback formats, containing a revised version of the additional essay, plus an additional six pieces that includes coverage of Gamergate, the Austrian School of Economics, and the 45th president of the United States.
 
In the second part (click here to read part one) of our interview with him we talk collaborative working, GamerGate, TERFs, and Phil’s 2018 plans…
 
Gingernuts of Horror: Moving on to the other essays in this book, one of the things that occured to me about your piece on GamerGate was how much that movement, in retrospect, feels like a dry run for the Alt-Right element of the Trump campaign (and indeed, it contains some of the same key players). When did you write this essay? And were you concerned at all about blowback taking this subject on?
 
Phil Sandifer: I wrote the start of this essay and “Theses on a President” during the writing of the main essay, so probably about a year after the trashfire was well and truly lit. I’d already weathered the storm of getting into a feud with Vox Day at that point, so I had a pretty good idea of the worst case, though I hadn’t and haven’t been SWATted or anything. But to be honest, the alt-right had mostly taken to leaving me alone by 2016. I mean, I was a cis white male, so nowhere near their favorite flavor of punching bag, and every time Vox started a fight with me I turned it into a publicity boost, which managed to get him mad enough at me that he switched to completely ignoring me. So I felt like I was in a pretty safe position to take the topic on, and indeed felt something of an obligation to do so given that.
 
GNoH: ‘Theses on a President’ may actually contain the most concise detailed biography of Trump I’ve yet read. How much research did it take to pull that together?
 
PS: Why thank you. That’s strange to hear about a piece in which I suggest that Trump Tower was a black mass in which the President sacrificed his name for power, but oddly not out of keeping with what I was going for. And yes, as you suggest, it was pretty research-heavy, although it never got to, like, “actually reading a book” hard. (Well. I read a chunk of The Art of the Deal. But that’s hardly a book.) I mean, Trump was pretty well documented before he ran for President, and finding accounts of various periods of his past wasn’t really hard in the blizzard of stories. Often the hardest thing was tracking down something I remembered reading from months ago but hadn’t bookmarked, just because there’s so much stuff out there on him that if you slightly misremember a quote you’re up a creek finding it again. Honestly, though, the only part I actually minded was sitting through the first episode of The Apprentice, which was genuinely agonizing. On the whole, though, the piece broke down into individual chunks pretty easily. (It’s numbered sections of a couple paragraphs each, so that’s kind of literally true.) I could focus on getting a couple sources about Atlantic City, or a couple sources about the Grand Hyatt and work on teasing out the narrative I needed within the details of each given event.
 
GNoH: Based on that (relatively) recent viewing of The Apprentice, what do you make of the recent firing/resignation of Omarosa from Trump’s administration? Is there any chance it (or anything else, really) damages him?
 
PS: Oh god. It’s still hard to take Omarosa entirely seriously, I think because she’s fundamentally just an epiphenomenon of Trump. I’d be pretty surprised if her departure damages him. It seems very much like a sideshow act within the entire shit circus.
 
Though I think yes, lots of stuff really damages him. He’s got an approval rating of something like 36%. Republicans are doing terribly in special elections - they just lost Alabama for fuck’s sake. And yes, the astonishing badness of Roy Moore was a lot of that, but it also fits into a general tendency of Republicans to get clobbered or have elections be way, way closer than they should be over the last year. So yeah, I think he’s subject to the same political gravity as any staggeringly unpopular politician with next to no significant accomplishments. I think the Democrats are likely to do very well in 2018; I’d be surprised if they don’t take the House and unsurprised if they take the Senate. And I think he’s in for a very, very tough reelection campaign in 2020 unless the Democrats completely shit the bed in candidate selection, which, to be fair, they’re really good at. Assuming he makes it to 2020, because frankly it’s easy to see the GOP acquiescing to an impeachment in 2019 in a desperate attempt to salvage things. Nobody is untouchable, and asinine clowns are more touchable than most, even if they are often the best at making it look otherwise.
 
GNoH: Another one of the new essays for this edition of the book is a collaboration with Jack Graham. Can you talk about the collaboration process? What did you most enjoy about it, and what was the most significant challenge?
 
PS: In some ways I’d rather hear Jack’s answer to this than mine. From my perspective, Jack really took the lead on that piece. Collaboration is never as simple as “who wrote what bits” because in practice you go back and forth over each other’s sentences so that every bit is truly coauthored, but probably around 80% of the essay is stuff Jack wrote the first draft of. I knew why I wanted to tackle the Austrian School, which is that their economic system is based on the complete rejection of all empiricism and mathematical models in favor of reasoning entirely from first principles. I talk in the main essay about that approach and how it’s fundamentally a lie because what it presents is never actually the train of thought the writer used to get to those ideas, and so the Austrians, who are a major influence on Mencius Moldbug (and Vox Day for that matter) were an obvious corollary to it. The problem was that I know fuck all about economics, and so I brought in Jack, who I knew would also bring his deep knowledge of Marxism, which was another thread I’d set up in the main essay when I suggested that Marx offered better answers to almost all of Moldbug’s questions but never really paid off.
 
So I wrote a version of what became the first two pages or so in order to set an initial direction, then Jack wrote a first stab at the main body and sent that to me as a mixture of developed sections and half-formed notes. I went over it and worked out a vague structure, then wrote the lead-in to a conclusion (the close-reading of Rothbard’s argument that opens the section called “Demiurge!”) before leaving some appallingly useless note like “right, Jack, now explain the connection between Marxism and empathy” and sending it back to him. He, instead of having me killed, worked out a full draft. I partially redid the ending to better tie in to the rest of the book and did a general edit to match the style. But that’s mostly a lot of minor stuff that’s only of interest to real style geeks. Jack is really fond of ellipses, for instance, whereas I don’t use them very much, so I redid a bunch of jokes to get their comic pauses in different ways.
 
The most enjoyable part, as a result, was when I got to sit down and read a 20,000 word Jack Graham essay. I love Jack’s work and love the problem-solving involved in editing someone else’s work, and so just diving in and getting to really simultaneously deeply immerse myself in a Jack Graham piece and muck around with it was immensely gratifying. The biggest challenge was probably that Jack is a fucking monster who puts two spaces after a period.
 
GNoH: I have to admit, as a layperson, I was surprised at the vacuum at the heart of the Austrian School in terms of the rejection of empiricism (though it explains a lot). Were you aware just how closely this subject would dovetail with the similar vacuum at the heart of GamerGate, or Trump? It feels almost like rejection of empiricism is the ‘original sin’ of so many of these movements...
 
PS: Hm. I think the rejection of empiricism is close to the original sin - certainly it’s related - but for me, at least, it’s really the rejection of empathy that’s the original sin. In every case, there’s a terrifying failure to acknowledge the existence or importance of other people’s lived experience. That’s consistently, I think, the thing that pushes them into outright and deep-seated evil. But I think the rejection of empiricism is a part of that. When you operate from a standpoint of supposedly pure, “from first principles” reasoning - and again, that’s always a rhetorical device instead of an honest account of one’s thought - one of the things that happens is that you lose any sort of obligation to look at the consequences your arguments have for actual people. But I think the causality runs in the other direction: the reason the Austrians reject empiricism is that it would require them to acknowledge the obscene amounts of suffering their worldview causes, and they don’t want to do that.
 
That said, it obviously does dovetail with the rest of the book. What really unites the seven essays - since two of them aren’t really on the alt-right - is that they’re looking at ideas that are in very fundamental ways mad. And to be clear, I’m not using that word in terms of mental illness. I think mental illness is generally a really bad way to look at these subjects. (As one very astute assessment of describing Trump in terms of mental illness put it, the mentally ill cause suffering for themselves; Trump causes suffering for other people.) I mean it in much more of a Lovecraftian sense, in which they encounter some unfathomable and horrific piece of knowledge that shatters their minds. That’s the whole idea of the basilisk, really - the thing you wish you didn’t know. The Austrian School’s rejection of empiricism seemed at first glance like exactly that - an argument so utterly bizarre (one might even say Weird) as to clearly be pathological. And I suspected that pathology would probably be rooted in Marx, or at least figured that Jack would sell that case brilliantly, which he did. 
 
GNoH: David Icke feels on the surface to be a somewhat softer target than the other people and movements you cover in this book. What drew you to his particular brand of conspiracy theory, and what, if anything, did you learn from researching his work?
 
PS: He absolutely is a soft target, but in a weird way he’s the person I’m most fond of in the book. (Well, almost; I have a strange respect for Mary Daly, who comes up in the TERFs essay.) He’s just such an utterly ridiculous figure, spinning these preposterously unconvincing theories with apparently total conviction. He’s certainly not harmless; he’s viciously anti-semitic in ways that are legitimately destructive. But there’s a fundamental charm to the sheer barminess of his ideas. And in a book that is, as I said, about philosophies that are afflicted by madness, I thought an essay about someone who exists at a sort of odd angle from the book’s main subjects would be a good occasion to look at that madness in a context that’s, if not untainted by awful politics, at least less tainted. So he ends up being the sort of good example.
 
Where he let me down, really, was in just not being all that good. Like, when I actually dug into his books, they weren’t what you’d call satisfyingly mad. I was hoping for something much more Robert Anton Wilson, and instead I got this sort of sad paranoia of a man convinced he’s had some sort of crucial insight into the world but who’s just obviously failing to get anywhere with it. There’s a tendency in some of his late works - because his style does actually evolve over the twenty years or so he’s been writing - to talk with a sort of wearied crankiness, as though he’s just terribly annoyed how much of his valuable time he’s had to spend exposing the conspiracy of lizard people that run the world. So I end up giving, I think, some constructive criticism on how best to approach the subject of lizard people that I hope he’ll take on board. (And, you know, it gave me the opportunity to work a bit of Alan Moore into the book, which it really felt like it needed.)
 
GNoH: It seems to me that in ‘Notes on TERFs’ the rejection of empathy you identified earlier with the Austrians is front and centre, especially in the case of Brennan. Why do you think the ‘T’ in LGBT has so often been used as a bargaining chip in the way you describe in the essay? And assuming we don’t all get wiped out by rising sea levels, what do you think is the next civil rights barrier to be challenged?
 
PS: Brennan’s cruelty is jaw-dropping, but for me the really staggering lack of empathy (which is of course distinct from cruelty) in that essay is Janice Raymond, who gets so wrapped up in her conspiracy theory about the medical industry inventing transness to attack women that she seems to not even register the possibility that individual trans people might be sincere in their identification, instead treating them all as if they’re consciously in on the plan. It’s a position that’s self-evidently ridiculous if you actually say it out loud, and so the fact that Raymond doesn’t notice it about her argument speaks volumes about where her priorities lie.
 
Regarding the why of the history, I am in some ways reluctant to speculate. I’m very proud of that essay—there are ways in which it’s my favorite thing in the book. But as you can no doubt imagine it was also an essay I wanted to be very careful with, because it’s easy to argue that a guy named “Phil Sandifer” is the wrong person to be writing it. Ultimately I thought I had a take on it that was both valuable and not something another writer would ever think to do, but I had a number of trans women looking over my shoulder as I worked on that piece and making sure I didn’t fuck up. (I admit I was surprised when they unanimously declined to tell me calling it “My Vagina is Haunted” was a bad idea.) But while I’m comfortable making the empirically verifiable claim that there were specific people like Jim Fouratt and Elizabeth Birch who worked to undermine trans rights in favor of other initials, I think speculating about their motives moves beyond what I should be doing with the topic. Were I to make an initial hypothesis to test via research, I’d probably start by looking at the historical circumstances that put gender identity as part of an acronym that was otherwise about sexual orientation. But again, that’s what my starting point in researching the question would be, not an answer.
 
As for the next civil rights barrier, it’s tough to tell in the midst of a hard reactionary turn. Right now a lot of the most urgent fires seem to be protecting and extending existing civil rights victories: the aggressive reopening of conversations about sexual assault and harassment, for instance, or the Black Lives Matter movement, which are both parts of civil rights struggles that were already nominally “won.” So seeing through that into new possibilities feels cloudy at the moment. Disability rights activists are doing some really interesting work, though, and I’d probably put my money there.
 
GNoH: That’s a good point about preserving and maintaining existing struggles - I’d add voting rights to your list, given how close the Alabama vote was, how crucial the black vote was, and how intense the Republican voter suppression efforts have been over the last decade…
 
PS: Which is closely related to the civil rights struggles being reopened by Black Lives Matter, yeah. Though of course, even disability rights are something we’ve already fought over - the Americans With Disabilities act was nearly thirty years ago. Indeed, for the most part the orderly progression of civil rights victories is the exception as opposed to the rule. The progression from gay to trans rights was, I think, the product of some very specific historical circumstances—two movements that were explicitly allied on very deep levels, but where one group was being actively subordinated to the other. Progress is usually much messier than that.
 
GNoH: In ‘Zero to Zero’ you highlight again how so many of the key players in these movements clearly represent a living rebuke to the philosophy they espouse. Do you think Thiel is aware of the utter hypocrisy of his position, where he lectures about ‘0 to 1’ innovation being the most valuable, yet basically all his money comes from ‘1 to n’ development?
 
PS: The list of things Peter Thiel is not good at is very long, but self-awareness is clearly near the top. So no, I’m sure he’s as blissfully unaware of his hypocrisy as he is of the harm he causes. Though I think the particular nature of this hypocrisy makes it easy for him, because the underlying idea is kind of bullshit. This isn’t really something I got into with the essay, because I was more interested in showing how he fails on his own terms, but the basic idea of zero to one innovation is rubbish. There’s a bit early on in his book that I pick on him for, where he lists Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergei Brin, and says that the next person like them isn’t going to get rich creating the operating system, social network, or search engine. Which, of course, none of those people did either. But if you actually go back through the history of computing, the question “who did” turns out to be extremely hard and to hinge on exactly how you define the object in question. And that gets at a real truth about innovation, which is that it’s almost always incremental. We learn statements like “Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1878” in school, but it’s not really true - Ebenezer Kinnersley came up with the basic technology all the way back in 1761, and there are tons of refinements in the intervening century before Edison came along and cracked the problem of making tons of money off the idea. The question of who invented a thing is almost always extremely complex, and very rarely leads back to a guy anyone has heard of. And so I think it’s easy, when you’ve got as wooly a division as Thiel’s “0 to 1” vs “1 to n” to convince yourself that all sorts of stuff is zero to one when it isn’t.
 
GNoH: Looking over the subjects of these essays, would you say that lack of self awareness, alongside a lack of empathy, is a defining characteristic of them? I often find myself wondering if, at some level, they know what they’re peddling doesn’t add up - or if there’s some psychological grey area between lack of self awareness and plausible deniability that they live in...
 
PS: There is a consistent lack of self-awareness, yeah. Though self-awareness and madness are an inherently odd mixture, since the former often prevents the latter. I mean, there certainly are outright hucksters in the world who profess beliefs they don’t actually hold in order to part suckers from their money. But I suspect they gravitate towards more mainstream beliefs—it’s probably more common among Christian fundamentalists than it is among lizard conspiracists. I suspect everyone I deal with at any length, with the partial exception of Nick Land, is sincere in their beliefs and either oblivious to their madness or capable of rationalizing it away. But the rejection of empathy is probably a part of that. It’s decidedly inconvenient to have a really good understanding of how other people look at you when you’re stark-raving mad, because doing so would oblige you to reconsider things.
 
But I want to stress that I don’t think self-awareness, sincerity, and madness are a “pick any two” situation. You absolutely can be all three, which is more or less what I advocate at the end of “Lizard People, Dear Reader.” I think there’s a lot to be said for willful and puckish approach that takes advantage of madness’s ability to access truths that are difficult to discover through conventional means, and that takes these insights seriously, but that remains aware of its eccentricity and keeps track of its relationship with mundane reality. I mean, I think that’s basically the definition of mysticism, which is always something that’s been central to my work. So yes, a lot of the book is spent looking at stuff that is both mad and sincere, but that lacks the self-awareness necessary for mysticism, and trying both to understand what actually goes wrong there and to demonstrate the value of mysticism in comparison. So basically a standard issue Eruditorum Press book, trying to seduce the kids into witchcraft and communism.
 
GNoH: Accepting this book is a work (and study) of horror philosophy, stepping outside of that, do you see any hope for the future? And if so, in what form?
 
PS: You have to be careful with the definition of hope and the timeframe of the future, but yes. The big caveat that I have a lot of trouble getting around is the high probability of a human dieback. Climatological catastrophe that renders sustaining the current human population impossible looks increasingly inevitable. So that puts a damper on things, obviously. And it feels crass to assert some sort of bright side to billions of people dying because of preventable human folly.
 
All of which said, I find hope in two sources. The first is that, at 35, most of the timelines for when things get bad have us all dying around the time I’m going to die anyway. So there’s a disconnect between the future in a planetary/species sense, which looks pretty bad, and in a personal sense, which looks more or less fine. But that’s not so much hope as privilege. In terms of the planetary/species scale, I think there’s a reasonable chance that humanity won’t go extinct. We seem a fairly adaptable species, and it seems to me more likely than not that some of us stagger through the catastrophe. So where I find hope is mostly in the fact that something is going to emerge from this, and I don’t have too much trouble sketching out scenarios that end up fairly utopian for those future generations of humanity. If humanity reverts to being a fairly localized species with population centers across the world but large swaths of planet we mostly leave alone, and if technological knowledge mostly survives the crash then it’s easy to imagine a lot of new post-capitalist forms of civilization that I think have some real potential.
 
GNoH: Out of Moldbug, Land, and Yudkowsky, who do you think would win in a no-holds-barred knife fight, and why?
 
PS: I’m gonna go with Land. Those decades of doing staggeringly large quantities of drugs surely left him with some basic street skills, and he’s clearly the one who would go dirty first.
 
GNoH: Lastly, what does 2018 hold for Phil Sandifer and Eruditorum Press?
 
PS: I’m spectacularly burnt out on the alt-right at this point, and really craving a sort of neoclassical turn where I go back to basics and do the stuff I made my bones on for a bit. So my plan for 2018 is to focus on TARDIS Eruditorum, where I’ll get the long-delayed Sylvester McCoy book together and blog through the Capaldi era, along with The Last War in Albion, where I’ll wrap up Watchmen and hopefully move on to what will be Volume 3 of that project, which will finally involve spending a nice long chunk of time with Grant Morrison as the main character. I’m feeling much more in a crowd-pleasing mood than an “oblique and challenging stuff that gets zero comment” mood at the moment, and I’m really excited to lean into that. I’m sure by the time I get through Capaldi I’ll be chomping at the bit to write something totally alienating and incomprehensible, but right now I’m really feeling the “let’s do a tour where we play all the hits” instinct instead of the “and now for a twenty minute guitar solo inspired by experimental jazz” instinct.
Picture
A software engineer sets out to design a new political ideology, and ends up concluding that the Stewart Dynasty should be reinstated. A cult receives disturbing messages from the future, where the artificial intelligence they worship is displeased with them. A philosopher suffers a mental breakdown and retreats to China, where he finds the terrifying abyss at the heart of modern liberalism.

Are these omens of the end times, or just nerds getting up to stupid hijinks? Por que no los dos!

Neoreaction a Basilisk is a savage journey into the black heart of our present eschaton. We're all going to die, and probably horribly. But at least we can laugh at how completely ridiculous it is to be killed by a bunch of frog-worshiping manchildren.

Featuring essays on:
* Tentacled computer gods at the end of the universe
* Deranged internet trolls who believe women playing video games will end western civilization
* The black mass in which the President of the United States sacrificed his name
* Fringe economists who believe it's immoral for the government to prevent an asteroid from hitting the Earth
* The cabal of lizard people who run the world
* How to become a monster that haunts the future
* Why infusing the blood of teenagers for eternal youth is bad and stupid

FILM GUTTER REVIEW: MASKS (2011)
MATT SHAW HAS GOT A MONSTER...

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<![CDATA[FIVE MINUTES WITH DENISE BOSSARTE]]>Mon, 15 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/five-minutes-with-denise-bossarte
Denise Bossarte is an author, poet and photographer whose passion is sharing the worlds of her mind and camera. Her daytime job in IT helps to keep the household running.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

I live with my husband and ginormous Pixiebob cat in Texas. My current bill paying career is in IT as a data analyst. Usually there is some kind of story for Grace’s Paranorm world brewing in the back of my mind until it is ready to be written!
 
What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I am an avid reader, poet, yogini, and meditator. I spend my time away from writing in reading, walking, biking, and doing photography. I try to spend as much time outdoors with my camera as possible.
 

Other than the  horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
 
I am a huge fan of Paranormal and Dark Urban fiction. There are so many worlds that have been developed from pretty standard building blocks. I was inspired to try to find a brand-new way of bringing those elements together in fresh relationships.
 
Epic Fantasy has always inspired me with the sheer scope of the story telling. The number of characters and subplots that are carried through in epic fiction challenged me to find a way to step up my game on the quality of characters and their relationships to each other.

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 has to market the quality of the stories and the writing rather than just the elements that people associate with the genre. Horror isn’t just about slashers and serial killers, etc. as people think from the movies they are offered. It’s about how people/characters respond to incredible situations – are they consumed by them or rise above them? Horror drags us down to the dark depths of our beings and forces us to face those primordial fears all humans have hidden in their souls. We need that catharsis, but we need to publicize/market more broadly that it is done well with great characters and memorable stories.

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?

IMHO, America is in the midst of a horror story politically and socially. There is plenty of fodder for stories, there. Enough said.

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

I was heavily influenced by the sci-fi movies of the 70’s and 80’s. There were lots of “firsts” in that time period and some wonderful stories. Let’s not forget Stephen King movies of the 80s. One powerhouse after another.
 
I think Stephen King and Peter Straub's “The Talisman” is still one of my all-time favorite books. I try to re-read as often as I can. To me it was a powerful story pulling in elements of fairy tales and horror. I tried to share it with my mom once and she had to stop reading it because “things were coming out of the walls.” I had to laugh because that was one of the reasons I loved it!
 
And Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Forget the movie, it was awful. The series was fantastic.

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

I am enjoying Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ “Natural series.” I was drawn to the series out of curiosity on how another author would craft a story with serial killers. I have been plowing through her books because her writing and storytelling are so good.

How would you describe your writing style?

My writing style pulls you into the book so you feel like you are living the story rather than reading it. Being a photographer, I am a very visual person. I want the reader to feel that they are experiencing the story in 3D and not just observing it as words on a page.


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

This is my first novel, so I am just getting back reviews from ARCs.
 
So far two comments have caught my attention.
 
(1) I laughed out loud at this one: “…And can I express my joy that the main character is not caught up in some codependent love triangle?
 
(2) The main character’s brother is around 11 years old. I don’t have kids, or even much experience with kids, so I was worried whether I would be able to pull off writing such a character. A reviewer put my fears to rest.
“…My favorite part of the book was anything that had to do with Danny. She did a great job with Danny. His actions seemed appropriate for his age, which I think is hard for some authors to get right.
 
Good thing to, because I just finished up a short story from Danny’s POV!

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

Showing and not telling.  And sometimes getting the dialog to flow.

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

Well, that’s an interesting question.
Glamorous has already covered a lot of button pushing topics, so I have already jumped into the deep end of the pool.
I think I would say that I would not write gratuitous violence or over-the-top gruesomeness in my stories just for the shock value. The violence should always serve a purpose and have a reason that moves the story forward rather than simply be there for shock and awe. And in my stories, Grace will always fight to stop the violence.

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

For me it’s a mix.
Grace Bishop just sounded cool. Kind of went that way for most of the other names as well.
For the Paranorms and Witches, they immigrated from Italy (unpublished backstory), so I wanted all their names to be Italian.
DL has the most meaningful name. DL stands for Dharma Lion, which is his Buddhist refuge name (reference his tattoos in the story.)


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

I used to play around with poetry and short stories. Then I got interested in telling a story that was a bit bigger than I was ready to tackle.
 
Glamorous was originally going to be a short story. But it really didn’t work well in that format, or at least I suck at writing short stories.
 
Then I tried a Novella. I kept trying for something shorter than a full-length novel because I didn’t believe I had the skills to do a novel.
 
Finally, my novelist friend convinced me to read “Save the Cat!” by Blake Snyder, get a storyboard put together, and just start writing.
 
I could see my skills improve as the story evolved. And my development editors helped take my story telling to the next level.
 
I know I have a way to go in my skill level, but at least I feel my current stories are solid entertainment for the readers.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?        
 
Buy Scrivener.
Read “Save the Cat!” by Blake Snyder.

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

Get out of your own way. Don’t try to get it down on paper perfect the first time. Just get it written and go back and perfect it later. That approach really works for me. And I still literally have to remind myself to “just write” as I sit down at the computer to turn off that perfectionist voice in my head.

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

>I am hosting a Goodreads paperback giveaway and hope to grab an ebook giveaway once they are available.
>I spent a great deal of time finding reviewers on Amazon that I felt would connect to my book and reached out to them personally to ask for their reviews.
>I am planning on doing several promos over the launch weekend for this first book as well.
>I am doing a Kindle Fire giveaway and am leveraging what small social media footprint I have to get the word out. 

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?

Grace is probably my favorite, followed closely by Danny.
Grace because she is essentially a much a braver and more confident version of my younger self.
Danny because he gets to be a smartass, and have fun driving Grace crazy and doing unexpected things.

My least favorite is the head of the Witch Family, Viora. I don’t like her at all, but she is very important for the overall arc of the series.

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

I am most proud of the multiple interwoven subplots and scenes in the book that all come together in the end. And very proud of that surprise that no one sees coming – not even my editor.

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

So far, thank goodness, no.

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

Since there is only the one novel, I pick Glamorous!

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

“None of this would be a problem if you were clever enough to keep your extracurricular activities a secret.”

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

I have just finished writing two short stories set in Grace’s Paranorm world: RETURN and BEGINNINGS. They tell Danny’s and Grace’s story before the events in Glamorous and right after the accident that kills Danny. Both will be released in February.
 
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?

Clowns. I despise scary clowns. I read IT and couldn’t sleep without a light in the room for weeks.

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

“The Luster of Lost Things” was wonderful. Shh, I have an addiction to middle school and YA novels.
 
Brandon Sanderson’s “Oathbringer” was a disappointment because I was ready for him to wrap up the story. He’s one of my favorite authors and an unbelievable story teller across multiple worlds. But this one was ready for a wrap up and we didn’t get it.

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

No one’s ever asked me who is the inspiration for the villain. Answer, my grandfather.
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A serial killer preys on homeless girls. Only her powers can stop him.

Grace is a survivor.

Haunted by the memories of the car accident that killed her brother and brought her police career to an end, she's determined to bring wrongdoers to justice as a PI.

Little do her clients know that the accident gave her more than nightmares; it gave her paranormal abilities she can't explain.

When she agrees to help a friend solve a mystery involving missing homeless girls, Grace is drawn into a secret world of Paranorms and The Family that rules them. It's a supernatural haven for potential friends and deadly evil, and this discovery alters her reality forever.

With the killer still at large, Grace must use her powers to put an end to his murder spree, even if she ends up being the one in the cross-hairs.

Glamorous is the first book in a series of urban fantasy and paranormal thrillers. If you enjoy intriguing mystery, new and distinctive paranormal worlds, and a riveting plot, then you'll love this new series starter.

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<![CDATA[​NEOREACTION: A BASILISK: AN INTERVIEW PART 1]]>Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/neoreaction-a-basilisk-an-interview-part-1By Kit Power 
 
In June of 2016, blogger Phil Sandifer completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund what he called the ‘conspiracy ‘zine’ edition of his essay-become-book, Neoreaction: A Basilisk. Kit Power read it, and reviewed it for Gingernuts of Horror here.
 
In the 18 months since, the relevance of a book that seeks to interrogate and dismantle the philosophical and intellectual underpinnings of neoreaction and that alt-right has, to put it mildly, not faded. And so, for the first time, Dr. Sandifer has put out a general release copty of the book for sale, containing a revised version of the additional essay, plus an additional six pieces that includes coverage of Gamergate, the Austrian School of Economics, and the 45th president of the united states.
 
In part one of our interview with him we talk inspiration, process, and horror philosophy in the age of Trump.
 
Gingernuts of Horror: Thanks for agreeing to chat to us. I guess it’s worth starting by talking about the roots of this book - the initial essay came in part out of a previous piece you’d written on Vox Day and the Rabid Puppies, and the Hugo hijacking, is that correct?
 
Phil Sandifer: Yeah, Vox was my first stab at writing about the alt-right, in a piece called “Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons.” I was doing some extra essays to flesh that piece out into a full-blown essay collection, and a couple of ideas from those joined together and became the start of Neoreaction a Basilisk. That said, I tried pretty hard to distinguish the two projects - I made a point of not mentioning Vox in the main essay. But “The Blind All-Seeing Eye of Gamergate” opens by saying that I’m picking up where I left off before jumping into a Vox Day quote, so that owns up to the sequel quality a little more.
 
GNoH: You’ve described this book as your best writing to date - can you talk a bit about the process for writing an book like this? For the main essay, how much of the shape did you have before you started researching? How much did you research before you started writing? Or was the whole process more fluid than that?
 
PS: I’m not sure I ever entirely “had” the shape of it, really. I’ve joked that this is a book I accidentally wrote, and part of that was a sense of the structure revealing itself as it went. I thought I was writing an essay when I started, and then by the time I had the basic explanations of Yudkowsky, Moldbug, and Land in place it was already several thousand words long and I still didn’t have an obvious path to the actual insight I meant the piece to provide. And so at that point I realized I had a book, at least. But I really approached it step by step - I was writing in Scrivener, and I had a list of empty documents within it with titles gesturing towards things I wanted to talk about. I kept them in a sort of order, but usually it wasn’t until midway through one section that I’d realize for sure where I wanted to go next, and I tended to research each section when I got to it. I wasn’t 100% sure how I’d end it until I got there, and though my eventual selection of “with a distressingly typical Phil Blake riff” was always one of the possibilities, it didn’t emerge to the forefront until I sat down and went “OK, time to write the ending, so what is it going to be?”
 
GNoH: Did that ‘research as you go’ approach ever impact on earlier sections, or cause any structural problems?
 
PS: Nothing too bad. There was one spot - when I dealt with Moldbug’s account of how to build a parasitic memeplex - where I had to throw out my first effort and try again because it just wasn’t getting me where I needed to be, but it’s notable that was also the one time I tried writing the book outside of the normal conditions of working late at night on my laptop in a candlelit bedroom. But I also knew a lot of the big picture stuff already. Some of my arguments - especially the stuff about Turing - are things that’ve been sitting around in my brain waiting to get used for almost fifteen years. It’d occasionally get a bit wooly - the Paradise Lost sections were hard because I’d managed to get a PhD in English without ever actually reading Paradise Lost, and it’s both very much not the sort of thing I usually deal with and something countless really intelligent critics have already covered. It also wasn’t really a section I’d planned on - I was looking at a bit of Moldbug where he made a really stupid reading of a Samuel Johnson quip about how the Devil was the first Whig, and I thought “hang on, Johnson’s obviously talking about Milton there” (and sure enough, upon consulting the relevant passage in The Life of Johnson he was). And this was still pretty early in the essay - it’s just past a third of the way through - and so I was still in the phase where I was building out what the essay was capable of doing, and I thought a swerve into close-reading Paradise Lost would be satisfyingly unexpected.
 
But to be honest, if you’re good at research it’s usually a process of confirming hunches instead of going in blind. And while there’s loads in life I’m completely shit at, I’ve been doing this long enough to be pretty good at research. That doesn’t mean you don’t find things that surprise you, but if you’re doing it right they’re usually unexpected connections that enrich your argument instead of inconvenient truths that require you to rework it. (For instance, I was about a quarter of the way into the essay when I discovered that Nick Land had included a pastiche of Roko’s Basilisk in his novella Phyl-Undhu.) You work out the big picture, often with secondary sources, and only move on to primary sources once you have a good idea of what you’re going to find there. I almost always use the “research as I go” method because it means I can keep fewer details in your head at any given moment and makes it easier not to lose the forest for the trees when you’re making a really deep dive into minutiae. You have to do a lot of research projects before you can get it to work, but it’s really the only way to do a big, sprawling project that acts like it’s meandering aimlessly even as it works through a preposterously intricate structure. And that basically describes everything I write, so.
 
GNoH: One facet that is often present in your Eruditorum Press work on Doctor Who is the approach of redemptive readings. Was Neoreaction… in part a reaction against that, or an attempt to stretch yourself as a writer in a different way?
 
PS: Well, the idea of redemptive readings was that if you have a choice between interpreting something as flawed and problematic or interpreting it in a way that gives you tools for positive engagement, it’s generally more helpful to go for the latter. Problematic things are a dime a dozen, after all, whereas ways forward are a lot more precious. But there are loads of instances in TARDIS Eruditorum where I went “yeah, this is just irredeemable crap.” I mean, heck, I took aim at a few beloved classics that probably could have been redeemed because for all my talk about redemptive readings, sometimes the overall arc of the project needed a critique or a dead sacred cow somewhere.
 
All of this is a long way of saying that I don’t think there’s a redemptive reading to be had of most of the alt-right. That was just never on the table. They’re fucking evil, and I have no interest in suggesting otherwise. There are a bunch of ways in which Neoreaction a Basilisk is me stretching myself, but its utter contempt for the alt-right isn’t one of them. If anything, I think being angry and furious is generally easier to write than “actually, Paradise Towers is a neglected classic.” (Though it obviously is.)
 
GNoH: So in what ways has Neoreaction stretched you as a writer? What did you find the single biggest challenge writing the piece, and what’s the most valuable lesson you learned from the process as a writer?
 
PS: A lot of the challenge and stretching came in getting the structure to work. It was very much a book where I learned to write it as I went, the structure came down to trusting that the method I was developing was going to work. That’s not an entirely new sensation - The Last War in Albion has a lot of “trust the methodology” to it as well, and every project I do has at least a bit of it. But Neoreaction a Basilisk ended up being extremely intricate, and I’d never really approached something like that without a plan; certainly not over 55,000 words.
 
More specifically, one of the odd things about the book is that it makes its argument by implication. One of the big ideas within it is the idea of the intellectual basilisk - a monstrous realization at the end of a train of thought that the thinker doesn’t want to see. And so I had to be aware of my own basilisks. Which meant in practice leaving parts of my argument unsaid, and figuring out ways to constantly ostentatiously gesture towards what’s unsaid and make it conspicuous without actually saying it. And on top of that, I didn’t want the book to feel like a formalist puzzle to “solve.” I don’t want readers to be able to go “oh, the answer is X” and move on. I wanted what was unsaid to feel like a haunting presence that the reader knows is there but can never quite capture. All while reading, on a moment-to-moment basis, like a righteous forum post in which I’m completely owning some idiot in an entertainingly condescending way. That was… I don’t want to say hard per se, because this was actually a really easy book to write in terms of just sitting down and doing it, but I had to learn how to do it, and for that matter learn that was what I was doing in the first place.
 
GNoH: I know readers of this site will be interested in the way your book engages with Ligotti’s work. Can you talk a bit about how you discovered him, and how much of an impact he had on you and the essay?
 
PS: I encountered him how I think a lot of people did, which was when Nick Pizzolatto raided Conspiracy Against the Human Race in True Detective. But he immediately filled a gap in my intellectual worldview by occupying the nihilist position with such unflinching style. And obviously there’s a long history of nihilist and anti-natalist thought that I could have gone and read, but Ligotti, by dint of coming at it from a horror perspective, gets what it seems to me nihilism really requires, which is a commitment to its aesthetics. Because nihilism isn’t necessarily a position that needs to be argued with philosophical rigor - it’s one that needs to be argued in a way that captures the feel of cursing your own existence. And Ligotti does that while still providing the veneer of rigor needed to function as philosophy, which is terribly delightful.
 
In terms of Neoreaction a Basilisk, he was one of the two places it started. The initial idea the whole essay sprung out of was the realization that a long standing argument I’ve made about the Turing Test, namely that it’s not about language but about empathy, works as an answer to the central horror Ligotti identifies with his deliciously chilling “we’re not from here.” I flailed around with that for a while and then read about Nick Land and realized that he was the obvious ground on which to stage my imagined Turing/Ligotti dustup. Which got out of control quickly, obviously, and became a different thing, but the basic interplay of Ligotti’s radical sense of alienation and Turing’s radical sense of empathy is still very central to the book.
 
GNoH: At what point in the process did you realise Yudkowsky and Moldbug were also going to have to feature prominently in the essay?
 
PS: Almost immediately, because they seemed to me obviously necessary to explain Land. I mean, there’s no way to talk about “The Dark Enlightenment” without talking about Moldbug, because “The Dark Enlightenment” is about Moldbug. And Land is really interested in the idea of the singularity, which immediately sent me to Yudkowsky, because I think in practice a lot of our cultural rhetoric about the singularity comes from Yudkowsky. (To our detriment.) As I said, the basic explanations of who they all are were the first part of the book I wrote (though it all needed a complete redo when I finished the first draft because I hadn’t known what I was doing yet), and by the time I finished that section (and the attendant research) it was clear I’d been right, and that the three of them shared a bunch of connections and formed a coherent territory I could stalk.
 
GNoH: Can you talk a bit about how it felt having produced this book, watching 2016 unroll towards the Trump victory. Did you feel like you’d in some sense predicted what was going on? Caught whiff of some political undercurrents that had passed others by?
 
PS: I finished the main essay just as Trump was securing the Republican nomination, and at that point it was feeling like I’d caught a grim sort of wave. The rest of the year became a sort of horrifying confirmation of how large the wave was, peaking in a nice suicidal despair on election night. I have trouble calling it a prediction given that a week before the election I published the first version of “Theses on a President,” which confidently anticipated a Clinton victory, though. Inasmuch as I was ahead of the curve, though,  I think mostly I got…lucky? One of the things the alt-right emerged out of was a sort of perverted backwater of geek culture, and as a politically minded geek blogger with an interest in cranks and weirdos I was in a position to see and start writing about them while they were still confined to the small pond.
 
GNoH: I remember feeling sure that Trump was likely to bury reactionary politics in general for maybe a generation with his comical overreach (I am that kind of naive). What did you think was going to happen after the seemingly inevitable Clinton victory? And what do you think now, a year into Trump?
 
PS: I thought Clinton was going to cause less immediate-term suffering than Trump, but would still be on the whole bad. I think her brand of centrist liberalism is almost entirely discredited, in the sense that nobody actually believes it has solutions to the problems currently facing the world, really no matter what you might think those problems are. (And I think you can say that fairly about the entire electoral left - Sanders and Corbyn are clearly preferable to anyone we’ve elected in my lifetime, but “contemporary capitalism with better health care and affordable housing” is still clearly insufficient.) And so I think she’d have likely been a one term President beaten by a right-wing extremist of some sort or another because that’s all the Republican Party is currently capable of serving up, and that we’d find ourselves on a relatively similar track in four years’ time.
 
That said, there are a lot of things that are uniquely bad about Trump that wouldn’t be factors with Cruz or Pence, for instance. So it’s a bit of a trade-off - on the one hand, we get the inevitable reactionary turn out of our system faster, on the other we get one that’s, if not much worse, at least appreciably worse than we otherwise would have. Ultimately, though, I don’t think either outcome would have made a significant difference in the looming ecological catastrophe, and so I think the difference is purely in terms of the quality of life for people waiting for the inevitable massive human dieback. Which isn’t nothing, obviously, but it obviously forecloses some pretty important questions.
 
END OF PART ONE
 
BIO:  Phil Sandifer is a writer and druid who lives in Ithaca, New York. He is the author of TARDIS Eruditorum, a sprawling history of Doctor Who, and The Last War in Albion, an even more sprawling history of British comic books. He blogs at http://eruditorumpress.com
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A software engineer sets out to design a new political ideology, and ends up concluding that the Stewart Dynasty should be reinstated. A cult receives disturbing messages from the future, where the artificial intelligence they worship is displeased with them. A philosopher suffers a mental breakdown and retreats to China, where he finds the terrifying abyss at the heart of modern liberalism.

Are these omens of the end times, or just nerds getting up to stupid hijinks? Por que no los dos!

Neoreaction a Basilisk is a savage journey into the black heart of our present eschaton. We're all going to die, and probably horribly. But at least we can laugh at how completely ridiculous it is to be killed by a bunch of frog-worshiping manchildren.

Featuring essays on:
* Tentacled computer gods at the end of the universe
* Deranged internet trolls who believe women playing video games will end western civilization
* The black mass in which the President of the United States sacrificed his name
* Fringe economists who believe it's immoral for the government to prevent an asteroid from hitting the Earth
* The cabal of lizard people who run the world
* How to become a monster that haunts the future
* Why infusing the blood of teenagers for eternal youth is bad and stupid

FICTION REVIEW: JIMBO YOJIMBO BY DAVID W. BARBEE
SURVIVAL HORROR RETROSPECTIVE:  ADOLESCENCE TOMB RAIDER

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<![CDATA[FIVE MINUTES WITH Kelly Charron AND HER CHILDHOOD FEARS]]>Wed, 03 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/five-minutes-with-kelly-charron-and-her-childhood-fears

 
Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. Kelly has a degree in English Literature as well as a Social Work degree. She has worked as a hairstylist, youth outreach worker and education assistant. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
 
I love all things creepy, terrifying and dark. My first loves are thrillers, horror and urban fantasy (but I make exceptions of course, especially with my obsession with all things Harry Potter, though they definitely have some darkness in them). I hate exercise but occasionally force myself to hike or walk. I’m a TV addict and have weened myself down from a solid six hours a day to a respectable two. I love reading and creating whether it be writing, crafting, painting and still doing hair on the side.


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

I watch all the TV, spend time with my husband and needy cat, Moo, and read. I scroll through Facebook and Twitter (I have yet to get Instagram because I barely take pictures). I also enjoy napping. My perfect day would be: wake up, scroll social media, eat, watch Supernatural, The Walking Dead and some true crime TV, then I’d read followed by a long nap.
 
Wake up and repeat. Bliss.

Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
 
Urban fantasy and paranormal. I love ghosts, witches and parallel dimensions. I love anything psychological and dissecting human motivation. I always explore what makes people do the things they do, especially delving into how well people really know each other and themselves. I think some people are in denial about the kind of people they are, often shining an enhanced light on themselves to cope because facing our flaws can be difficult. I love characters that don’t shy away from their weaknesses and find a way to turn them into strengths.  
 
I’ve also been inspired by mystery and suspense genre (all forms from books to film and TV) and love the way these, often complex, stories are woven into a rich thrilling, drama.


Can you tell us about your childhood fears

I find this question quite interesting because I was a very neurotic and needy child. My poor parents! I had a very active imagination and turned normal, everyday occurrences into an ordeal. By the age of eight, I was sure I had cancer (I had watched a news clip of a boy with leukemia. Widespread bruising was a reported symptom and for weeks I’d show my parents every mark on body as proof of how ill I was). Next was the dreaded swallowing of the tongue. Yes, you heard that right. Again, I overheard someone somewhere say (mind you this was over twenty-five years ago) that you had to be careful with people who had epilepsy because they could “swallow their tongue” during a seizure. Well, I do not and never did have epilepsy or seizures, but hell if I didn’t sit, heart pounding in anticipation, with my tongue in between my teeth for three days straight because, damn it, my tongue was not going to go down my throat.

Not all my fears were bodily. I worried pretty regularly about death. Mine, other peoples. I worried about getting lost or being kidnapped, strangers taking me or my sister away from our parents, drowning (which incidentally almost happened to me once), and natural disasters. I know what you’re thinking, but I assure you, I really was a fun and carefree kid. During the day anyway. Most of my anxieties manifested at night. I’d be tough as nails when the sun was still out but come night fall, I’d be balled up under a blanket terrified of whatever boogey man was surely on his way. I loved to be scared and so I’d watch movies that I had no business watching and then would freak out in the few hours before bed.

I remember one evening, I think I was eight or nine, my mom and dad had friends over. I got out of bed and hovered outside the living room—as I often did. I suppose I always enjoyed observing human interaction (or I was a little snoop). My mom always knew I was lurking and called me in. She read my face in two seconds flat, in the powerful, all-knowing way only mothers can, and asked me what was wrong. I was stoic for about five or six minutes and then the dam broke. See, I’d watched a Nightmare on Elm Street earlier that day and was certain that Freddy Krueger was about to climb up the side of my house to get me in my second-floor bedroom. He’d stick the blades attached to his gloves in the mortar between the bricks and crawl up the side as easily as if he was Spiderman. I was over my fear of him a few days later, but some creepy images stayed with me much longer.

Namely, the character Regan MacNeil, who I still can’t look at when I’m flipping through the channels and see that The Exorcist is on. It absolutely scared the crap out of me. Still does. But this phobia isn’t all my doing. Okay, so I watched it of my own volition when I was somewhere between ten and eleven. It was disturbing (even for adults at the time of its release) so what child wouldn’t be traumatized? However… I grew up Catholic and had a very, very religious grandmother. I knew I shouldn’t be watching it, but there I was (possibly with my older sister, though I can’t recall for sure) glued to the TV in fixated horror. I was so captivated by the story and the special effects that I couldn’t turn it off. I don’t even think I watched any of it through my fingers despite being beside myself frightened. I was so greatly disturbed by it, that I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. Finally, I saw my grandmother for a visit. What better person to put my mind at ease that her? She would reassure me that Jesus loved me and this wasn’t factual and could never happen in real life! I would feel better in no time!


It went something like this:

Me: “I watched a movie about a little girl who was possessed by the devil and now I’m so scared that it’s going to happen to me. Can it really happen?” (Any minute, loving words or reassurance).

Grandma: “Anyone can become possessed by Satan.”
Me: *eyes wide + mouth open*

Grandma: “You won’t be though, so don’t worry. Only people who think about Satan can allow him in. When you think of him, you give him power and then he can take over.”

Me: Internal screaming sounded something like… She said don’t think about Satan and now that’s all I can do. I can’t get him out of my mind. He’d going to possess me. OH MY GOD!!!!!!

Needless to say, the phobia of being possessed by a demon had begun and while I’ve refused to watch The Exorcist over the last twenty odd years, I have watched other similar movies, though not many. I’ve mostly come out unscathed—until The Conjuring. That one was a close second. Any time these lovely film folks place the “BASED ON TRUE EVENTS” tag on it, I’m terrified and all in, spending days researching every morsel of information from the real events. I suppose I love to be scared or else I wouldn’t do this to myself.

One thing I have noticed is that it takes a lot to frighten me now. My theory on this is because I began exposing myself to thrillers and horror at a young age, I’m somewhat desensitized to a lot of it at this point. Plus, it’s getting more difficult to be truly surprised and it makes my day when I am. I still love every minute. I still jump and get nervous, but I don’t freak out—except for The Exorcist and The Conjuring (which I also REFUSE to watch a second time). I can watch everything else alone at midnight and fall asleep like a baby.

My childhood fears and penchant for anxiety and obsessive worry have definitely shaped how I write. I am a very positive person, though my mind has a tendency to always goes to the worst-case scenario. Always has. Husband is late and not answering his phone. He must have had a horrible accident and is trapped on the side of the road. Small creaking noise when I’m drifting off to sleep. Ghost (completely logical) or crazy serial killer about to break into my bedroom. Front door was left unlocked for a few hours. There’s got to be someone hiding in one of the closets waiting for the perfect time to strike. My imagination is always churning. What to do except become a writer.

Books were a huge influence on me as well, especially the scary ones (obviously). I can still remember reading The Shining by Stephen King in tenth grade. I was completely creeped out but couldn’t put it down. King sucked me right into the middle of this isolated hotel with Jack and the whole family. I literally held my breath reading, I was so tense. When it was over, I knew I wanted to do it all again.

I hope to evoke similar emotions and experiences with my books. The experiences of being scared as a child, and having fun with that fear, helped shape my love of the dark and creepy. I believe that’s why I write thrillers and horror. I just want to help create the same safe sense of dread that I had growing up. Maybe one day some will tell me that one of my books scared the hell out of them when they were young. That would make my day.

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The daughter of a local police detective, 15-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects. 

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price. 


DEVIL KICKERS BY DANIEL MARC CHANT AND VINCENT HUNT
HORROR FILM REVIEW: ​THE RIZEN (2017)

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<![CDATA[FIVE MINUTES WITH THE ORGAN DONOR MATTHEW WARNER]]>Wed, 20 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/five-minutes-with-the-organ-donor-matthew-warner


Matthew Warner is a writer in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. His most recent works include The Organ Donor: 15th Anniversary Edition from Bloodshot Books and Dominoes in Time, reprinting nearly 20 years of horror and science fiction stories.  He lives with his wife, the artist Deena Warner, and sons, Owen and Thomas. More info at matthewwarner.com.


Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
 
Like most writers, I have other jobs and things I’m passionate about, the most important of which is my family. My sons are too smart for their own good and probably always will be, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. To support them, Deena and I work as web designers for the publishing industry and public safety. I also spend a significant amount of time learning and teaching Brazilian jiujitsu.


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

If I could train jiujitsu and boxing every day, I would.  My martial arts school is a great social, physical, and mental outlet.  Jiujitsu especially never gets old because there are hundreds of techniques to learn.


Other than the  horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
 
Sadly, a major emotional driver in my writing for the past twenty years has been my parents’ divorce.  I’m not sure I’ll ever fully get over it.  Becoming a father has also been a significant force of change.  The thesis of Dominoes in Time is that the best fiction should dramatize the events in a character’s life that changed him the most -- those dominoes that fell over to affect all subsequent events.  The divorce and my babies certainly are among mine.



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 too often goes for cheap thrills --the boobs and blood approach -- when it should just aspire to good storytelling.  Horror’s tropes are only tools to reach the goal; they are not the goal themselves.


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?


This is a good time for horror, because society has a lot of anxieties it needs to work out.  Horror is -- or should be -- not just about entertainment but about exposing people to their unconscious fears and teaching coping skills.  Because of recent events, I feel there will be some emphasis on socio-political horrors and megalomaniacal antagonists.


How would you describe your writing style?
 
Spare, with an emphasis on close-third and first-person points of view, often with a Twlilight Zone-ish twist.


What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
 
Coming up with worthy ideas.  I’d rather build a house than dream one up from scratch.


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


Probably not, but there are definitely some topics that make me more squeamish than others.  Children in peril really get to me now that I’m a father.
 

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


Dominoes in Time does a good job of stating my writing philosophy, and it gives an overview of the types of stories I like to write.  The Organ Donor has always been well received.  I feel I’d make a good impression on you with either one.
 

Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
 
The Organ Donor: 15th Anniversary Edition is the author’s preferred edition of my first novel.  It contains nearly 7,000 words of new material in the form of an afterword that describes my true-life encounter with China’s illegal organ trade.  I’m currently recording an audio adaptation of a trunk novel, The Dagger of God, just for fun.  More on that in early 2018.
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They knew it was wrong to purchase a kidney off the Chinese black market. But what the Taylor brothers didn’t realize was that its unwilling donor was an executed prisoner—and an immortal being from Chinese mythology. Pursuing them to Washington, DC, this ancient king will stop at nothing to recover what was once his.

This special 15th anniversary edition of Matthew Warner's acclaimed first horror novel includes nearly 7,000 words of new material, including the author's riveting account of his true-life encounter with China's illegal organ trade.

                                                                 “A classic of modern horror literature.”
                                                                   — E.C. “Feo Amante” McMullen, Jr.

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<![CDATA[GINGER NUTS OF HORROR PLAYS CHAPPIE KNOCKIE IN AUCHTERMUCHTY: AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JOHN KNOCK]]>Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/ginger-nuts-of-horror-plays-chappie-knockie-in-auchtermuchty-an-interview-with-author-john-knock

John Knock has spent the last 20 years masquerading as a teacher, husband and father but all the time a horror has been growing inside him, one with a distinctive Scottish accent.
If you are ready for a Caledonian tour of our darker locations, locals you would die to meet and scenery that could very well take your breath away, think of him as your slightly manic driver. 

Ready? You've arrived, left the genteel surroundings of auld reekie and we're aff! Here's hoping the brakes are fixed eh?
First stop, the historic Kingdom of Fife!

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?


I’m just starting out on actually publishing but I’ve spent all my life with stories: from study, to job, through different mediums I’ve been working on stories and with people. 
 
I’m married with kids and like most fathers am really busy. I live in rural Scotland just now but I’ve lived in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, not to mention London, Sheffield and even Northern Ireland.  I used to be a real gypsy before the kids came along.

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


I’m working and I have a family and an old house all of which takes up loads of my time when I’m not writing.  I find myself reading or watching films. I like cooking but I really need to find time to get better at it. I love walking.  It’s the best for working things through.  I seem to enjoy a lot of solitary activities just now as they give me time to think. I’m getting into podcasts in a big way now. 


Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
 
I’ve got to say Christopher Brookmyre of course.  Chris really got that in your face style of writers like Carl Hiassen (who I also got into) and gave it a really Scottish flavour, like a Billy Connolly stand up or Irvine Welsh’s The Acid House is something I really go back to again and again.  I know, everyone loves Trainspotting but The Acid House is a work of genius, you can always go back to it. Really dark humour, like a kick in the balls that also makes you think about existence.  Get it and read it today.
 
Before I got into all of these, it was the late genius of Iain Banks.  I was luckily enough to start with Complicity, which is a truly unique book, opening in the second person. If you haven’t read him, go and do so now.  Start with something like Espedair Street if you want a good laugh and work through them.  Ross, who does my covers, loves his Sci-fi.  Banks really pushed what you can do with a novel without losing narrative. 
 
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 is a very subversive genre.  I once heard it described as science fiction in a contemporary world.  If you read Peter Straub’s novella Pork Pie Hat, you’d think where’s the horror for ninety percent of the novel but the atmosphere is really compelling.  King is always moving towards fantasy but then reins it back to our world. He’s great on the inhumanity of man and the trials of friendship. 
 
I’m mixing up investigation, horror and comedy.  I remember watching Sam Rami’s Evil Dead 2 (not the remake) at a packed cinema and the audience rollercoastering from laughter to screams. 
 
I’m not really fond of the romantic teen vampire genre but I’m not the audience for that.  Yet  Suzy McKee Charnas’s The Vampire Tapestry and Richard Matheson’s I am Legend are brilliant interrogations of the creature.  It’s a question of actually having something to say through the horror.  In both cases, the debate like Shelley’s Frankenstein is about whether man or the creature is worse.
 
I’d hope that publishers will stop chasing trends and look for authors who have a really original idea and who mix it up.
 
 
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?
 
Big Ideas have a great youtube video about Zombies and technology.  I reckon that the zombie survival movie is coming to an end and maybe we will see some move towards separation mutation, something like tribal difference.  Maybe generational horror, where the kids have mutated into a hive mind and the adults are trying to avoid their wrath, like that old Twilight Zone episode with the kid that terrorizes his own family.
 
The humanity out of control of The Purge is still very compelling.  We have two of the most powerful countries in the world run by egomaniacs, who are more interested in power than what to do with it.  Cult of personality or political horror maybe, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Each version has been a barometer of its time.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?
 
I think I’ve mentioned a lot of Scots authors, so I’d like to start with Brookmyre’s One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night.  The mix of high-octane action and school days reminiscing was very influential in finding the John Knock style.  It was when Chris really got into his stride and found his voice. 
 
Ian Rankin was an influence on the background plot. Let it Bleed is a really well paced thriller about corruption and I saw DS Jimmy Melville as a take on Rebus. He has the same disrespect for authority and self-interest but without any drive to solve the case.
 
The most influential film in terms of plot is the Oliver Reed 1961 Curse of the Werewolf.  I saw the first twenty minutes over twenty years ago and it stayed with me as it gave a different reason for the werewolf origin.
 
I would also mention Out of Sight, 1998 with Clooney and Lopez.  Great chemistry, snappy Elmore Leonard plot, fantastic dialogue, really sexy.
 

How would you describe your writing style?


That’s really hard.  Pacey, that’s for sure, I want to get on with the story but I know I have to set the scene, so that’s why I like using a prologue as a teaser.  My new novel has the same device.   I have a real feel for character. I keep making them and jumping into their heads to keep up the pace and let them talk or rant, to the reader.  I like giving just enough and let the reader work.  Someone, I think it was Leonard, said treat the reader or maybe it was viewer, like they are smarter than you think they are.  The best work comes of a real respect for the reader, to let them put it together.

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

One of my test readers told me she laughed out loud when reading it.  I’m happiest with that.  I really hope I get a good review that I can learn from to strengthen my style.
 

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


Avoiding telling the reader the plot.  I had to re-write one chapter again and again to avoid a bond villain style explanation.  In doing so, I really opened up a character.   The words on the page, where the hardest for me to begin with, so I looked around a few articles and learnt how to avoid poor sentence structure. 


Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
 
I don’t want to write something that doesn’t feel real.  I like to believe in the world I’m creating, especially when the supernatural comes into it.  You need to believe in the characters, so I’m not going to write people who just wouldn’t exist in the real world.  Having said that I don’t really want to gross the reader out or make him or her stop reading because it is too disturbing because that would work against the comedy element.


How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
 
A bit of both.  I like putting some hidden jokes in some character names or Scottish references but they always have a life of their own, even characters that don’t outlive a chapter.  I think names are important.  I used to struggle with them but now they come thick and fast,


Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?
 
I can’t really answer this except to say I have found my voice. I just need to get on a do the donkeywork.  Ask me again in five years.


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

Just enough research for the place, the feel of the place.  Knowing a few key things about an actual place before you make it fictional.  Keep listening, watching and reading.  Paying attention to detail both when collecting material and when writing.  Voice notes are good on your smart phone or notebook or anything to keep an idea when it comes to you.
 

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

Lee Child talks about the importance of the first paragraph, then the first page, then the first chapter.  The job of the writer to grab the reader.  I think that’s something I always want to do.

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

Social media is a great tool for the writer. I’ve tried to approach the launch of this book on twitter and Facebook and other platforms.  I am actively looking for my readers.  I want them to devour this book and be hungry for the next one.  I see it like trailers for a movie.
 

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 can’t answer this.  I like them all, even the ones I enjoy killing.  I want the readers to enjoy them and decide whom they like.  I love jumping between them. 


What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
 
Too early to say but I’m still fond of the prologue for Wolfman that I wrote a long time ago.

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


I could mention early attempts at fantasy but they got strangled at birth.

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


That’s easy, The Wolfman of Auchtermuchty as it started everything.

Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?
 
That’s really difficult.  There’s a line here and there that I’m really proud of but often they only make sense when you get the second meaning. So, I’d thought about a short passage that hopefully gets the flavour of the book. Spoiler alert!
 
He was still cursing and stamping when he heard the growl from the pines behind him. In anger, he turned and called on it. ‘Come on then ye shitty wee-’
 
Hamish stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the beast loping towards him. Fifty years of hate dissolved into a little boy pushed up against the gate of fear.  His paralysis broken by the warm liquid trickling into his sock. He turned and lunged for the shovel as a hillock of fur, teeth and claws sprung, catching him at chest height, splitting his side.

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


The Wolfman of Auchtermuchty is a dark comedy set in Fife.  Craig Miller, tabloid journalist returns to his hometown trying to create a piece about wolf sightings. He’s thrown into events concerning his old friends and dark secrets from their past.  Meantime DS Jimmy Melville has found a finger that points to a dodgy solicitor and his missing planning officer wife. When the body parts start mounting up it’s more a case of what dunnit than who dunnit.
 
Next up is set in Glasgow and features some senior citizens and some actual coffin dodgers.
 
 
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
 
Clichés need to be played with.  Imagine the stalker in the house and the frightened babysitter.  Now imagine the stalker gets cooked by the babysitter and eaten by the kids.  I hope that doesn’t make me sound to sick?



What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
 
I’m reading Michael Connelly just now, having watched the Amazon adaptions of his books avidly.  I like his style. He’s a real wordsmith, really evokes the temperature of the place, so I hope it doesn’t disappoint in terms of story.  A lot of fantasy disappoints.  Here’s the opportunity to really create a totally imaginary world and yet they are often so formulaic.  If anyone can recommend a fantasy book that doesn’t have an evil lord in the east or a bunch of mixed races on a quest, please do.
 
 The greatest book I ever read was probably Lanark by Alasdair Gray. He really understood how to play with the words on the page like a visual artist, which he is.

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


I’m not a big fan of fantasy but I like how his books comment on our world and our hang-ups, so I would love to be asked to write a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett’s estate.
 
Yes of course!
Social Media Links :
 
Facebook: JohnKnockAuthor
Twitter:    @JohnKnockAuthor
Website  - 
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20 years ago, Craig Miller escaped suspicion and rumour in the kingdom after his mother's disappearance. Now an out of favour tabloid journalist, he returns to restart his career with a sexed-up piece about wolf sightings. What he didn't reckon on were old friends with dark secrets and a conspiracy that he might well have helped to start.

When DS Jimmy Melville finds a finger near the sleepy town of Auchtermuchty, it points him to a missing planning officer and her shifty solicitor husband. When more body parts start turning up on the eve of a royal visit the brass start to panic. Can he make sense of it all while holding off his officious young DC and avoid his IBS flaring up?

Dr Susannah Martin should be sorting out myth and reality but the distractions of a mysterious, albeit handsome student are about to lead her astray. She needs to keep her head on her shoulders, literally, when Craig Miller turns up on her doorstep with tale of a werewolf...

JIM "GINGER NUTS" MCLEOD'S PICKS OF 2017
​KING ON SCREEN 5: THE MIST (BLACK AND WHITE)
HORROR FICTION REVIEW: DAUGHTERS OF APOSTASY DAMIAN MURPHY

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<![CDATA[Ginger Nuts of Horror chats with actor and director oliver park]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 04:51:49 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/ginger-nuts-of-horror-chats-with-actor-and-director-oliver-park

Oliver Park is an award-winning British actor from Bath, England. Oliver started on stage at Bath's Theatre Royal and went on to achieve lead roles in numerous short and feature films including the multi-award winning 'Shank'. As a result of this performance, the production team behind the film, Bonne Idee Productions, wrote parts especially for Oliver in their two follow-up productions - "Release" and "Buffering", both of which went on to secure US and UK distribution on DVD, as well as critical acclaim from festivals around the world. 

More recently Oliver has had lead roles in a number of films including Neil Oseman’s ‘Stop/Eject’ (shortlisted for BAFTA 2015), Simon Pearce's 'Watch Over Me' (Winner of 'Best Action Short' (New York 2014) and 'Platinum Remi' for best drama (Houston 2015)), Jack Searle’s ‘Fratton’, Darren Flaxstone’s ‘Dark Vision’ and Devon Avery's Action/Drama 'Synced'. Oliver is also the writer, director of the horror film 'Vicious' due for release 2016 and upcoming horror 'Still'. Alongside his acting career, Oliver was also awarded a degree in Architecture (BSc). 
Hello Oliver, could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself? 
 
I’ve been writing scary stories since I was old enough to pick up a pen and always had a deep passion and fascination for horror. I am lucky in that I have very vivid dreams almost every night. Many of my ideas are lifted almost beat for beat from my nightmares – instead of turning over and trying to forget them, I write them down. By the time I studied Architecture at University, I'd written various short novels, ideas and feature scripts. Then, any down-time that I had whilst doing my studies, I would write. I would often bug my housemates to read my scripts.
 
Having been an actor for the last fifteen years, I always knew I wanted to move into making films but I was in no rush. There was a lull in my schedule in 2015 so I decided to make the short version of the feature script I had written for Vicious. I loved it so much that I knew it was going to be the first of many.
 
 
Other than the horror genre, what else has been a significant influence on your career?
 
Ray Harryhausen! I loved his films when growing up. I am just a huge lover of film and grew up watching things like The Goonies, Escape to Witch Mountain and the ‘Carry On’ collection. Oliver Twist (1968) scared me a lot when I was young… Maybe that was the first ‘scary’ film I ever saw.
 
 
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 spend a lot of my time trying to explain what ‘horror’ means to me when meeting new people. Horror is not about blood/gore/violence/monsters in my head. I use the question ‘are you afraid for the character or for yourself as an audience member?’ Horror is not an easy thing to get right and a real depth is needed to truly get under someone’s skin. Horror audiences are among the smartest film watchers out there and they know what to expect – so having to raise your game to try and outsmart them is not easy!
 
As far as breaking past assumptions of horror, I think genre just needs to be seen as what it is – genre simply means the style or category of the film, so why people jump to conclusions about what the subject matter will be is a shame. I don’t think we need to break past assumptions though as it will evolve on its own and I look forward to seeing where horror goes in the future.
 
 
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 don’t make a point of shaping my stories around current climates. There are enough real life horror stories today that people don’t need to be reminded of them in my films. I write what scares me most and what I would want to watch as an audience member. I am sure subconsciously, current trends and climates play a part in my mind but I don’t consciously focus on them.
 
 
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
 
Haha – none whatsoever! I love clichés as the more of them that exist, the more I can use to subvert the audience expectations! Nothing is off the table if done right.
 
 
You have a fascination with real-life ghost stories and urban legends, where did this come from? 
 
The unknown is what scares us the most and I love stories, so urban legends and ‘based on true events’ stories are always going to be the ones that intrigue me the most. We like to identify with the characters in the stories we’re told so what better way than to suggest that the story is or was real. Whether I believe in ghosts or not doesn’t matter. It may have come from my dreams somehow but that would be for a psychotherapist to work out. I’m usually too busy trying to keep up with them to wonder where they came from!
 
 
What's your favourite urban legend? 
 
I honestly don’t have a favourite as there are so many great ones and new ones written all the time. I’ve a few that I’ve written myself so hopefully there’ll be some on screen in the not too distant future…  The ones from my childhood that spring to mind are ‘The Licked Hand’, ‘The Dripping Tap’ and ‘The Hook on the Car’ and I am a huge fan of Clive Barker’s ‘Candyman’ too.
 
 
Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for an emerging director to achieve, how have you approached this?
 
Nowadays with all the countless films that are being made, short, feature, series, experimental, narrative, fact, fiction – you have to ask yourself ‘why am I making this one?’ and ‘how can I be the diamond that shines through the rest?’. I said to everyone on the set of Vicious that I didn’t want to make it unless it was going to be the best short horror in the world – not in the literal sense, but in the sense that I wanted to make sure that the film had whatever traits a film needed to have in order to have the chance of attaining that.
 
 
What have been the primary influences on you as an actor and as a director?  As an actor and a director, how does having a foot in both camps help you as an actor and a director? 
 
I am always striving to do all I can to help make the best film possible so as an actor I will give myself completely to the character and the team, and I would say the same when it comes to directing. I will ask myself what is needed of me on the day and shoot for that. It certainly helps to understand different points of view when working as a team so the more you know about what it’s like to be doing a different role, the better equipped one will be to handle their own role in that group.
 
 
 
And what's the one thing that annoys you that directors do, from the actor's viewpoint, and the one thing that directors do that annoys you as an actor? 
 
I touched on it before but it would be cutting corners or working at half-sail. You’re only making this film once, so give it all you have or why bother. Whether I am acting or directing I will always support others and if anyone needs help I will be there for them. If you really don’t want to be there on set, don’t be.
 
 
The world of film and TV is in turmoil at the moment with all these allegations hitting the headlines, how do you keep yourself safe from these going ons?
 
I think it’s disgusting that any person would abuse another for any reason.
 
 
Do you have any advice for actors just starting out? 
 
Some actors look to others (directors, producers, casting directors, agents, writers, etc) for work and in that scenario, it’s not up to you whether or not you work. The best piece of advice I can give is to create your own work with others and as you work, invite others to see it. The catch 22 of ‘you can’t get a good part without an agent but you can’t get an agent without a good part’ is a difficult one to get around but if you create your own work (which is a great benefit of the times in which we live), then you are already ahead. Work with others, challenge each other and always learn.
 
 
Your first short film has gained some awards from the horror film circuits, how do you go about getting your films shown at these festivals? 
 
There are many sites that help submit to festivals now so I used those. They’re all online and easy to find and use.
 
 
VICIOUS is a rather compelling horror short, simple in concept yet very effective in execution, what do you think is the key to the success of the film? 
 
Thank you. I had no idea Vicious would be so well received. I just wanted to make the best film I could and to test some of the ideas that I had for it. I can remember being in the sound design stage and getting very excited when the final moments worked so well. From that point I was just excited to see how others felt. I hoped that everyone liked it but I understand that we all have different tastes. I’m still so happy that people liked it and I hope people like my next projects too.
 
 
As someone who knows nothing about the filmmaking process, I was fascinated by the opening shot, how does a director working on such a limited shot get that smooth continuous shot when going over a bed? 
 
I worked with some amazing people to get that shot. It was shot on a MOVI rig and the operator Karim Clarke had his work cut out as not only did he start inside a bedroom, he had to navigate out onto the landing, down three stairs then up two stairs, then through my bedroom (the lead bedroom was actually my room as I was living there at the time) and then on to my bed, then off the other side, to the window. He had to raise and lower the camera to keep it the same height in going up and down stairs and stepping on and off the bed.  He was incredible and did it about seven times in order to get it perfect. It’s the shot of our lead walking up the stairs that was the REALLY difficult one to achieve – that one took us about twenty takes to get right! It’s down to the awesomeness of the team that I was able to get the shots that I saw when writing the film. I can’t wait to work with them again. I also worked with the same MOVI team on my second short film ‘Still’.
 
 
What is the most significant restraint on a director working on films with those sort of budgets, and where do you think it is most important to spend the money on?
 
Vicious was about being trapped. She as a character was trapped in her grief and the tight, tall house she lived in so it was about showing that of and really immersing the audience in her world. We needed to find the right way of lighting and shooting it, which mean we needed to spend money on the right kit. For me, it’s all about quality so I pushed for the best quality in every area I could. I insist on paying people as those I work with are gifted professionals in their fields and I wanted their focus and their complete time as long as they were with me. I didn’t want them stressing about other jobs or having to work in between. I saved up a lot of money to afford to do it which ran out very quickly - and it never occurred to me that I would be making another so soon after! ‘Still’ was done for almost half the price.
 
 
How did you cast the film?  Did you have any preconceptions about the type of actor you were looking for? 
 
I had a very specific look in mind for Vicious but each project is different. I don’t always cast the same – it is project dependent. I put various casting calls out on some casting sites and on social media. I got hundreds of replies but few had the right look or level of experience which I expected having been a first time director. So I sifted through over eight thousand headshots on some casting sites to find people with the eyes I was after that also had good qualifications. I then narrowed the list I had found and those who matched what I was after from the casting calls I did. I was left with fifteen. I contacted them all and managed to get ten to audition. I wanted someone who could really portray being afraid and have the confidence to let go and be in the moment. There were various subtleties I wanted and Rachael played the part beautifully. I’ve since been in contact with several of the others as they were all great in their auditions and I will hopefully work with them all in the future.
 
 
Would you have changed the style of the film if you had gone with a male lead actor? 
 
My original plan was to be the lead but as I develop the story and characters, it was clear that the lead I was writing was a young woman and not a young man. I let the characters dictate what the film and story end up being.
 
 
Your latest film is about to be unleashed, what can you tell us about STILL, without giving too much away? 
 
You’re home along one night and there is a knock at your door… You answer and there is no one there… But someone has left a note… You lift it up and it reads: ‘you left the back door unlocked’. That is the beginning of ‘Still’. It’s shorter, darker and hopefully even scarier than ‘Vicious’.
 
 
What lessons from Vicious, did you implement on STILL?
 
I adore Vicious so my one task was to try and make something scarier! I like beautiful cinema so I pushed for even darker, even more mesmerizing cinematography with an even darker story. I knew that everyone that liked ‘Vicious’ would just want the same but different – another ‘Vicious’ so I decided to twist the knife - Still isn’t based on the supernatural. It’s based on fact. I know that ‘Still’ won’t be to everyone’s taste and that many won’t find it scary, but that’s fine – I’ll have to find out how to scare those who were unaffected with the next one I do instead.
 
 
The Home invasion/ your house is not the castle you once thought it was has always been an effective horror trope. Why do you think these films are so compelling?
 
It gives us a great way to relate in that we can imagine ourselves in our own homes going through the same things. Fear gives me the chance to take the things that you take for granted away from you and leave you cold and afraid. The closer you are to something and the safer it makes you feel, the more afraid you’ll be when it’s taken away.
 
 
The trailer features a distraught woman being terrorised by a constant knocking at the door?  Who would you least like to have knock at the door? 
 
Haha – in a film sense, probably Jason Voorhees, Leatherface or any of the villains from ‘The Strangers’. That’s the interesting thing about fear – the fact that the ones we should really fear are the one that would patiently knock on your door and wait… Creeps with ulterior motives! At least we can all sleep soundly knowing that Sadako from Ringu isn’t the type to knock… Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing though!
 
 
When is STILL out and how can we see it? 
 
I am in the process of planning a release date for ‘Still’ with Eli Roth’s ‘Crypt TV’ channel so watch this space. It’s going to get a great release and it’ll be soon – within the next month or so! If you give my facebook page ‘Oliver Park Horror’ a ‘like’ you’ll get told exactly when and where you can see it very soon.
 
What's next for you? 
 
More horror! I am in the process of working on various scripts and projects with several production companies and I am hopefully moving forward with a feature film next so I can use some of the terrifying set-pieces I am desperate to try.  I’ve recently returned from Los Angeles in the U.S. so there are a few things in the works – again – watch this space.

COMIC REVIEW:  APOLLO UNBOUND BY CHRIS KELSO 
GINGER NUTS OF HORROR'S NEWS BLAST 13 DEC 2017
FILM REVIEW: THE UNSEEN (2017)

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<![CDATA[ENTER THE CROW GARDEN: AN AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH ALISON LITTLEWOOD]]>Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/enter-the-crow-garden-an-author-interview-with-alison-littlewoodInterview by Jonathan Thornton 
Alison Littlewood was raised in Penistone, South Yorkshire, and went on to attend the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (now Northumbria University). Originally she planned to study graphic design, but "missed the words too much" and switched to a joint English and History degree. She followed a career in marketing before developing her love of writing fiction. 

She now lives in a house of creaking doors and crooked walls in South Yorkshire, with her partner Fergus. She loves exploring the hills and dales with her two hugely enthusiastic Dalmatians and has a penchant for books on folklore and weird history, Earl Grey tea and semicolons. 

Alison’s short stories have been picked for Best British Horror, The Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror anthologies, as well as The Best British Fantasy and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime. They have been gathered together in her collections Quieter Paths and in Five Feathered Tales, a collaboration with award-winning illustrator Daniele Serra. She won the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for Short Fiction. 

Her website is at www.alisonlittlewood.co.uk.
Your latest novel, The Crow Garden (2017), is out now in hardback from Jo Fletcher. Would you be able to tell us a bit about it?
 
The Crow Garden is a tale set in Victorian times, and it's about a mad doctor who becomes obsessed with one of his patients. Mrs Harleston's husband has accused her of hysteria and she's accusing him of something much worse and saying that he's trying to put her out of the way to save himself from being accused. It’s set soon after the mania for mesmerism went across the country, so the doctor has her mesmerised and it unleashes dark forces – she begins to find a way out of a situation where she's completely out of control of her life.


The Crow Garden explores the horrific real life history of the treatment of the mentally ill. Was this a difficult subject to write about?

It was, but I expected it to be harrowing when I went into it, and that question of who's in control of people's lives really fascinated me and drew me into it. As a woman Mrs Harleston is very much in a paternalistic society, she goes from living under her husband's roof to an asylum that dictates where she lives, what she does and what she wears. I began with an image of a woman who starts to regain the upper hand - so that fascinated me.
 
The history of care of mental patients and the treatments used was quite disturbing as well, although we have an image of Victorians locking their wives away in asylums, and actually there were steps taken throughout the century to make that more difficult. So Mrs Harleston had to be examined by two physicians before being certified insane, but since she’s claiming to have an ability to speak to the dead, she does give them grounds for accusing her. At the same time the book is looking at the spiritualism movement that swept across the country and asking, who's mad here? Is there an empirical line that you cross where you become mad, or is it a question of how many people you have on your side and how many people are buying into this?

And that gothic tradition rooted in the madwoman in the attic from Jane Eyre (1847)....

Yes indeed, that whole wonderful tradition of Victorian literature was very much in my mind as well. And I was reading into the history of the interest in the occult and the ‘marvellous’ as they would have called it, the Victorian spirit of inquiry. The fact that somebody like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the rational detective and was very much into scientific progress, could also believe that science might one day prove the existence of fairies . . . it’s absolutely fascinating.


The Crow Garden, The Hidden People (2016) and Cottingley (2017) explore what happens when our modern rational perspectives come into contact with these beliefs from the past, whether they be the existence of fairies or discredited medical theories. Was this something that interested you?

It was, and the fact that things like that could be seen as a part of science. Arthur Conan Doyle was very interested in spiritualism, and saw it as putting religion to a scientific test. So for him it was all part of a rational approach, whereas for us sitting on the other side of a century it seems absolutely crazy. I found it interesting that there was this sense of possibilities . . . and it wasn’t that long after the development of microscopes and the discovery that if people examined a drop of water they could suddenly see all these tiny ‘animalcules’, as they called them, living inside it. So there were tiny beings there that they’d never suspected existed – it was kind of a similar idea that they might be able to discover fairies in the air.

What is it about fairy mythology that makes it so fascinating to us in the modern age?
 
I think the longevity of them is because they're so evasive, and have been seen in different ways to suit different centuries. The Victorians liked to picture them as animal spirits, the flower fairies and so on, all very sweet and lovely. People were moving to the cities as part of the industrial revolution, and feeling as if they'd lost a golden age of the countryside. Fairies always seem to be part of a nostalgic vision of something that's being lost. But they have a darker side – going back further still there's a tradition of trickster fairies, where encounters with them might be perilous as well as beautiful, and the idea of changelings where they stole people away and replaced them with a doppelganger. That’s just so creepy . . .

Which of course forms the central mystery of The Hidden People, has she been replaced, is everybody mad, or is there some kind of manipulation going on behind the scenes?

That's it . . . once you start to suspect somebody, anything they do that’s out of character or any words you can seize upon can be taken as proof that they're not the person you think they are. The idea of living under the same roof as somebody but not being sure of them, and who they are, that unknowability, is deliciously creepy.


Both novels use folklore and mythology to explore the constrictions around women's agency in the time they're set. What makes horror and the fantastical a powerful tool for exploring these issues?


Well I think it goes back to history, and the use of stories or concepts of something like witchcraft as ways for someone who’s powerless in the world to gain some control. As a writer I used them as a way of evading patriarchal structures by using something that's outside the regular norms of society.


How challenging was capturing the two distinct tones of the dialect of the townsfolk and the Victorian tone of Albie Mirral's voice in The Hidden People?

I guess it was a challenge, but I really enjoyed the use of language in that book. I immersed myself in research but also in Victorian fiction to help create Albie’s voice – he speaks in a Victorian-esque way. The Yorkshire folk speak in an accent which, being from Yorkshire, I encounter quite a lot! I often meet people when I'm out walking my dogs who speak like that. I couldn't have set it somewhere else I don't think. It's based around a court case that happened in Ireland but I couldn't have carried it off with Irish accents – it had to be somewhere that was close to home, where I knew the voices. I did research some historical Yorkshire words because it's set in the past as well as in the countryside, so there were various challenges around the language, but interesting ones.


Both The Crow Garden and The Hidden People make great use of their Victorian settings. How much work goes into getting the historical details right?

An awful lot, but fortunately I became quite obsessed with it! The difficulty when I started out was that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So I could be writing something about daily life that I assumed was right and actually things could have been done completely differently. So I read very widely – things about domestic life, about life in the city, rural Victorian life, Victorian farming, all sorts of things. Then there was the folkloric side, which I love reading about anyway . . . so I've got quite a book collection after all this!


What was the thing you found while researching that surprised you the most?

There were all sorts of interesting things. One that always sticks in my mind is about Victorian churchyards and funerals – churchyards could be actually very overcrowded and gravediggers could be chopping through half a body to make room for the next. There might be paupers' bodies stacked on one side, waiting till they had enough that it was worth digging the pit to bury them in. And so generally, women did not go to funerals in Victorian times, as is often shown in Victorian TV and film – Queen Victoria apparently didn't go to Prince Albert's funeral.


Both Albie and Nathaniel are unreliable narrators, whose perspective prevents them seeing things the reader can...

I loved playing with that, and it's very much deliberate. The stories are seen through the male character’s eyes because they had the agency and ability to go and start investigating and changing things around them, but at the same time they’re flawed characters. So the women are also viewed through that filter, but it's interesting when the reader can start to make their own judgements about who's in control of the situation, and are things really as they seem. I like to read books where the reader has to do some of the work and draw their own conclusions and really enjoyed that aspect of it.
 
Path Of Needles (2013) explores the connection between fairy tales and the darker side of human nature. Where does this connection come from?

Yes it combines crime with fairy tales – probably quite strange bedfellows! The thing is I was always obsessed with fairy tales as a child, but I find some of them more shocking to read as an adult. The Red Shoes for example, where a girl is punished incredibly harshly for thinking of her shoes while she's in church – forced to dance to the point of exhaustion, until she's begging someone to chop off her feet – it’s a tad harsh! Kind of a horror story for kids . . . but it didn't bother me when I was a child. And I started thinking, what if some of these things actually happened in the real world? What would be the result of that? And of course, quite often, the police would get called in . . . so I started with a girl’s body dumped in the wood, posed as she might have been in a fairy tale death. There are slightly strange things going on in the book too, as if fairy tales are coming out of the woods and pulling people into a magical world.
 
Do horror and crime fiction fulfil a similar role to fairy tales in our culture?

Possibly! For me, my writing certainly comes back to fairy tales. I love those stories where there's a little bit of magic somewhere in the world, so I guess the presence of the supernatural in horror – in a darker, more twisted way, it’s a reflection of that.
 
Your writing has a strong sense of place. Is establishing a vivid atmosphere and environment important for making the horrific or fantastic elements effective?

That's certainly something that interested me in Path of Needles, because it was very much about what if the fantastical was actually happening now. So I used settings that were around me at the time – I basically turned all the pretty areas south of Wakefield into body dump sites, sorry about that! And A Cold Season (2012) very much grew out of the landscape, because I was crossing the Pennines every day at the time and I was immersed in that place, so it very much became part of the book.
 
The Unquiet House (2014) plays with the haunted house genre. Was this something you always wanted to write?

Not especially – it was a book that seemed to take form organically. We were house-hunting at the time, and going into different properties and stumbling across some quite odd things. In one place I opened a door and found a cupboard with just an old suit hanging in it, which worked its way into the book. And we stopped off at a graveyard in Tong, near Bradford, where there are benches inscribed with biblical verse. One of them was "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" – What a thing to put on a bench! –and that worked its way into the book too. I thought it would be incidental at first but it grew into part of the plot. So the book was a process of discovery, one with various threads that were down to my subconscious to pull together!

Your first novel, A Cold Season, deals with Satanic cults in a small village. What was the inspiration behind this?

Well I was working in Saddleworth at the time, so the environment was very much part of it. I started writing it one winter when I was struggling to get home over the hills, so that was where a ‘cold season’ came in. That combined with thinking about what exactly would it take to make someone sell their soul, exchanging something eternal for something worldly. I didn’t envisage where it would all lead!

So that was a bit of a surprise, just how much it took off?

Oh absolutely. At that time I was drafting novels and treating them as learning exercises, trying to write a better one each time. It wasn't until A Cold Season, which I think it was my seventh, that I thought I’d polish this one up and maybe send it out somewhere. I never imagined it would get a mainstream book deal and then get into the Richard and Judy Book Club. It was wonderful but completely surreal, and still feels like it happened to somebody else!


And it's the only one you've written a sequel to so far...

Yes it is. And I was asked for the sequel, but the reason it came out three books later was because I didn't just want to write one for the sake of it. I wanted to give it some thought and make sure I had something that would make another book. So it is a sequel and gives an ending for those characters, but it’s also quite different.

Was that a very different experience from creating everything out of whole cloth the first time?

Yes it was, although there are new characters in it as well, and new places and things, so it had its own new beginnings!


You also write short stories. Do you always know what length a story will be when you start it?


Yes pretty much, because a short story is such a concise thing I tend to have quite a crystallised image of what it's going to be before I start. I've never really had that thing where one's grown longer and longer and longer until it’s something else. There are concepts I've used in short stories that fed into novels – Path of Needles, for example, but I tend to know what kind of size it's going to be.


Your short story 'The Dogs Home' won the Shirley Jackson Award. What was that like?

Fabulous! Because it was an American award it was especially nice to get a look-in, and really unexpected that it went on to win. The downside was that I couldn't get over to the awards ceremony. That would have been really nice, but yes, it was fantastic.

And they are very different markets it feels, sometimes...

Yes quite – there is quite a lot of overlap, obviously, and I do work with American editors as well which is one of the great things about the short story market. It does take you to different places and give you different experiences.


You wrote Five Feathered Tales with illustrator Daniele Serra.  Was that conceived as a collaboration from the beginning?

It was, very much so. I met Dani in 2010 at Fantasycon – one of the lovely things that can result from conventions! He'd illustrated an anthology I was in so I met him at the signing. We stayed in touch since and he emailed me a couple of times and said, "Ali, how are we going to work together?" So we had an idea to do a mini collection with his illustrations, and the concept bounced around for a while and evolved into Five Feathered Tales. It was absolutely lovely to see him producing such beautiful illustrations around my work.


You've also written Acapulcalypse Now (2015), set in Stephen Jones's Zombie Apocalypse world. What was it like writing in a collaborative universe?

It was great actually. I mentioned it to Jo Fletcher, my regular novel publisher, and she said, "Oh, it'll be great, it'll be like a writing holiday." And that's exactly what it was. The concept of zombies overrunning a Mexican hotel was great fun – I'd been thinking for a while that I'd like to set a novel overseas. And Steve was great as well, he gave me a brief but also plenty of space to be creative within it, and he was really great to work with. So it was a lot of fun.


What's next for Alison Littlewood?

I'm working on another novel around fairies and folklore and changelings, but it's partly historical and partly stepping back into the contemporary world. So it's a little bit different again, though with some familiar themes. And it’s really rather dark!

Thank you Alison Littlewood for speaking with us!

MONSTERS AND NUNS HAVE FUN WITH TIME LOOPS, IN HOSPITALS, CREEKS AND THE WOODS
MISHOJO NO HARAWATA (ENTRAILS OF A VIRGIN) (1986)

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<![CDATA[SPLATTERPUNK: RICH HAWKINS IS FIGHTING BACK]]>Wed, 06 Dec 2017 04:41:22 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/splatterpunk-rich-hawkins-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 Rich Hawkins  to the interview chair.   

Rich Hawkins hails from the depths of Somerset, England, where a childhood of science fiction and horror films set him on the path to writing his own stories. He credits his love of horror and all things weird to his first viewing of John Carpenter’s THE THING back in the early Nineties. His debut novel THE LAST PLAGUE was nominated for a British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel in 2015.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
 
I’m a horror writer with a love of Cheddar cheese, beer, crisps and pizza. My favourite film is John Carpenter’s THE THING. I like to mostly write apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic horror. I’m a stay-at-home dad and house husband.


What do you like to do when you're not writing?
 
I like to read, exercise, watch films and TV. But mostly I like to spend time with my family.

What does Splatterpunk mean to you? What attracts you to writing in this genre?
 
To me, it means gore and vivid horror without limits, and that itself attracts me to it. There are so many possibilities with the subgenre, and it’s a lot of fun.

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 can see even more apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic stories being written, which is not surprising considering where we’re heading these days. Whether it’s nukes, viral pandemics, climate change or natural disasters, it’s always at the backs of people’s mind. The human race is never far away from complete annihilation.
 

As a horror writer, do you consider any topic off limits? Is there a topic or subject you would never write about?

Not really. But I think a lot of it depends on how it’s written.
 
What do you most enjoy about the short story format? What do you find challenging?
 
I like the challenge of writing a plot – a mostly coherent one – within the confines of short story. Helps sharpen the writing skills. It’s both the thing I most enjoy and the most challenging.


Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
 
Sci-fi action films, like ‘Aliens’,Predator’ and ‘The Terminator’ have been a massive influence on my writing. I love those films, and they’re a big part of why I write in the first place. They’re an inspiration, even now.
 
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
 
I can’t remember who said it, but someone told me to write what I want to write and not chase trends or markets. Write what you care about. It’s advice that’s worked pretty well for me.

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 would say either ‘Black Star, Black Sun’ or ‘King Carrion’, as they’re both novellas, and can be read relatively quickly. They’re also two of the favourite books that I’ve written, and sum up what my writing is about! I’m most proud of my debut novel ‘The Last Plague’; it’ll always have a special place in my blackened heart.

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

My cosmic horror novella ‘Maniac Gods’ will be released very soon by the Sinister Horror Company. It’s a story about a man searching for his wife and daughter, who went missing along with the rest of their village. It involves alien gods, monsters and hellish dimensions.

I’m currently working on a novella called ‘Rising from Black Water’. It’s part of a two-novella collaboration with my writer friend William Holloway. It features Cthulhu and mutant squid, so I’m enjoying writing it.
 
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer?

Would you like this megabucks publishing contract, Mr. Hawkins?
 
And, yes.

HORROR FICTION REVIEW: BORN IN BLOOD BY NICK HARDY AND GEORGE LEA
HORROR FILM REVIEW: ​THE ICE CREAM TRUCK,  YOU SCREAM, I DIDN’T
TITAN COMICS TO PUBLISH BLOODBORNE COMICS – BASED ON THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED VIDEOGAME SERIES!

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<![CDATA[DARE YOU ENTER THE GHOST CLUB: AN INTERVIEW WITH WILLIE MEIKLE]]>Tue, 05 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/interviews/dare-you-enter-the-ghost-club-an-interview-with-willie-meikle
Ginger Nuts of Horror is honored to have fellow Scot Willie Meikle feature for a special interview to mark the launch of his new collection The Ghost Club.  Willie has been one of my favourite authors for more years than either of us probably care to remember .  I came across his novel Island Life in the now sadly gone Waterstones in the east end of Edinburgh.  A classic love letter to the Lovecraft Mythos, that contained all the elements that makes Willie's writing so engaging.  

Willie also holds a place dear in my heart, for it was Willie who first gave me the idea of setting up Ginger Nuts of Horror, whilst I was recovering from a nasty bone graft / wrist fusion.  So here we are almost ten years later, and I could never have imagined running a website that has become so popular and successful.  For that I will always be forever grateful to Willie.  So please read on and please share this interview and purchase a copy of Willies book from the universal Amazon link at the end of the interview. 
Hello Willie, it's been 12 years since you sold your first appearance in a professional publication.  Looking back on the day you had a mass signing at Blackwells in Edinburgh where you stood side by side with Charlie Stross, Ken MacLeod and Hal Duncan, do you think you have made it? 
 
Hello again, Jim. Nice to be back here. You're right, that day was a pivotal point, and made me think I could do better than hang about in the small press as I had been doing. Since then, in one way I have made it, in that I've since sold eighty professional short stories to great markets, and I've been supporting Sue and I on the writing since 2008. I've also got a lovely shelf of limited edition hardcovers of my work that make me very happy.
 
But in my own mind I haven't quite made it on the novel front, not yet anyway. Sure, I've had books with some of the biggest of the genre publishers, and some of them sell relatively well. But others vanish without a trace, and the big breakout book eludes me, the one that would get me a mass market deal into all the shops and get talked about by everyone. I'm not sure I have one of those in me, but I'll keep trying.
 
I thought I'd hit on something unique to me that might do it in the Sigils and Totems idea. Although it had me excited and BROKEN SIGIL in particular got great reviews, neither of the other novellas, or the SONGS OF DREAMING GODS novel have, as yet, caught the readers' attention the way I'd wanted. I've got one more novel and another novella coming using the idea and although I have many more ideas ready to go for the mythos, I'm not sure I'll write them, unless interest picks up.
 
 
It was at that signing that you thought to yourself "that you could do this", how important do you think this attitude is to a writer?  And what other attributes do you think are key to a writer's success?
 
I was very cozy placing short stories in the small press to tell the truth, and had sort of resigned myself to the fact that I was destined to stay there, as I hadn't found a voice for my stories that would move them on to the next level. The "I can do this" thought definitely helped me push through that barrier. My story in the Nova Scotia anthology was looser than my usual work, more Scottish too, and that led me to write more stories where I just let it flow and let myself believe I was doing the right thing.
 
So I think, to answer your question, it's more a case of trusting yourself to do it and getting the words out of your head and into the work. It was only when I stopped thinking too much and started doing that my output, and my quality I think, improved dramatically.
 
Boiled down? Words are good. Lots of words are very good.
 
 
Over the past 12 years, you have sold your work to some of the biggest names in genre presses, however, sadly this year has seen many of these presses, unfortunately, close their doors.  What impact did this year have on your writing?
 
It certainly knocked me back, both in confidence and in the bankbook. I had been loving, in particular, the quality hardbacks from Dark Renaissance, and the combination of lovely hardcovers and good ebook sales from DarkFuse, so when both of them folded, (and DarkFuse went owing me back royalties) I was a bit lost for a wee while.
 
I considered, as I'm fast approaching sixty, throwing it all in for an early retirement. But I found I don't particularly want to do that, so I set about rehoming the lost babies and luckily have found new homes for them at Gryphonwood Press, Lovecraft Ezine, and Crossroad Press, all of which are small presses I trust to do the right thing by their writers. The sorting out process has meant that this year has had a lot of the admin / business end bollocks in it, which is a pain.
 
Coupled with Sue being very ill and almost dying in the early summer, my head's not been in the game as much as it has been in the past. But I've managed to get some work done that should see fruition next year.
 
I'm still really going to miss the limited edition hardcovers though.
 
 
Looking forward what impact do you think these closures will have on the genre, in particular, how do you think we regain confidence in the genre once more? 
 
The DarkFuse one has had the biggest impact I've seen, as it wasn't well handled and left a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths, and bad blood across a swathe of social media. But I think the confidence is still there, with people like Journalstone still holding the fort, and the new wave of self publishers doing well for themselves.
 
These things come and go in waves over the years and I'm sure we'll be back on the up soon enough. One thing that worries me is the power Amazon now have over nascent careers, in that, as the big boy in the market, they can take all your hard work away and stop any momentum you have dead in its tracks by simply switching off your listings. I think that's going to make a lot of people reconsider their use of Amazon as their sole point of sale, and that's going to have repercussions in the days to come. I'll certainly be keeping an eye on that.
 
As for regaining confidence, that's a step at a time job. We need to write good books, and get them into people's hands.
 
Same as it ever was.
 
 
This year has also seen you and a fair few other writers who are held in high regard come under attack for writing what certain factions feel are less worthy texts. Why do you think that even now in this so-called enlightened age some people feel the need to shoot others down for just being successful?
 
Because they're bawbags.
 
That's the short answer, and the only one I really give any time to. As Brian Keene said, I'm not writing for them. Another answer is that they're crap at research and usually haven't read the work of the writer they're castigating.
 
There's also the fact that some people have been up on pedestals for a long time and have just noticed they're not king of the dung heap any more, and I think it makes them fling shite for attention. Then there's the folks who see their dung-heap former king flinging shite and decide they need to join in. There's plenty of them around too, and they are also bawbags.
 
Another answer, sadly in my view, is that a lot of people just don't get pulp fiction and think it's beneath them. That's their problem, not mine.
 

During your time as a writer, the horror genre has changed, fractured and diversified to a point where most big name publishers don't know how to market it unless it has lovesick vampires or some other such teen-friendly protagonist, how do you as a writer navigate this new horror playing field? 
 
That's been a problem for years now. Some writers get over it by focussing tightly on a chosen subset of the genre and making a name there, whether it be in the weird, paranormal romance, bizzarro or splatterpunk. Me, I go for the scattergun approach.
 
I write out of the horror genre quite a bit these days, and have been making strategic alliances with fantasy writers in things like the Veil Knights cooperative. I have been writing science fiction short stories to sell to the likes of Nature Futures and to a children's market in China that nobody has heard about but who pay better than anyone else I've ever published with.
 
On the horror side, my own particular brand of a mixture of nostalgia and pulp is a tough sell in the most part. It's not helped by the fact that people know me for different things. Some, like Joshi for example, only know I write Carnacki pastiches, others know me only from the Sherlock Holmes stuff, others only from DarkFuse, or Dark Regions, or the Lovecraftian anthologies, or from Derek Adams, and some only know me as 'the pulp monster guy'.
 
It makes marketing myself a bit of a nightmare at times, and I'm sure it has scared off more than a few potential leads over the years.
 
 
You have previously said that one of the things you dislike about being a writer is the isolation, with that in mind why did you move to Newfoundland? 
 
 
We came over on holiday in 2005 and loved it. When my job in Edinburgh went tits-up in 2007, it was just when I was starting to get some serious pro-level story sales, and we knew we could get a house dirt cheap over here. So we sold up in Scotland, whacked some money in the bank, bought a house on the shore here, and I tried writing full time.
 
It's been working so far in that we haven't starved. And as you know, I'm a country lad at heart, and have always had a hankering for the sea. I've spent 20 of the last 25 years near the water, and it's where I want to be.
 
Plus there's the weather, which is spectacular in its variety, as is the wildlife. I've been close enough to touch moose, beaver, sperm whale, humpbacks, dolphins and orca, and bald eagles circle overhead most days. We even had two visiting polar bears last winter.
 
The people are very friendly, mostly of Irish descent around here, and it's lovely and quiet, which suits me just fine.
 
 
In this always switched on and hooked in era, do you ever feel truly isolated? 
 
That's been the good thing. My Facebook buddies, and that means you too, make sure that I'm never far away from a fine mixture of news and nonsense and gives me a small sense of being part of the wider community.
 
I do get jealous when I see all of you at various cons having a good time. But looking out the window at our view usually sorts that out fast.
 
 
As a Scotsman living away from the motherland, what do you miss the most? 
 
Family, mostly. My mum and dad are both in their eighties, and my sisters both have families of their own that are growing and multiplying without me seeing them. I need a decent book deal to come along and make me rich enough to afford our airfares back for a holiday soon.
 
Apart from that, I miss real ale – there's not a handpump within 100 miles of me. And I miss bridies. And old stone buildings as it's all timber houses over here. So, a lovely peppery Forfar Bridie, and a pint or three of Harvieston's Bitter and Twisted with my auld ma and faither in St Andrews would suit me just fine about now.
 
 
Scotland has always had a history of great storytelling, particularly with regards to stories filled with high adventure and derring do.  What is it about the Scottish psyche that brings this out? 
 
Some of it is the countryside, the history and weather. All those lonely hillsides, stone circles, ancient buildings and fog are ripe for stories to be creeping about in.
 
Then there's all the fighting. A country that's seemingly been at war with either somebody else or with itself for most of its existence can't help but be filled with stories of love and loss, heroism and betrayal.
 
The fact that we've always been England's scruffy wee brother, and have been slightly resentful of the fact for centuries adds another layer – the wee chip on the shoulder and the need to prove yourself is always a good place from which to start an adventure.
 
Added to that that we're a melting pot of Lowlander's, Highlanders, Islanders, Scandanavians, Picts, Irish, Dutch, English, Indians, Pakistanis and Chinese and everybody else who has made their way to the greatest wee country in the world, all with their own stories to tell and to make.
 
And when it's raining and dreich, what better than to sit by a fire with a stiff drink and tell some stories?
 
 
You can see a lot of influences on your writing but the ones, for me that are the most evident Doyle, Maclean, Barrie, Stevenson and Scott.  Having grown up in an era where the likes of king and Campbell didn't feature in your formative years as a reader, what impact do you think these writers had on your writing style? 
 
As you say, my formative years were pre-King. I didn't start writing until '92 but my reading habits were voracious from the late '60s onwards. And yes, Doyle, MacLean and Stevenson in particular were all huge parts of that, Scotsmen who made their way in life as storytellers, and all in rip-roaring adventures.
 
Doyle and Stevenson of course dabbled in the horror and supernatural genre. MacLean didn't but reading something like The Satan Bug, I think you can see that he'd have made a damn fine pulpy horror writer in different circumstances.
 
All three of them have a way with character and action that speaks to me, probably that Scottish psyche thing again, and all three have followed me all the way from that early reading fifty years ago, and out into my own writing.
 
 
You have written in many different sub-genres and styles, but you always seem the most comfortable with the historical weird fiction/occult detective genre. From your excellent Holmes versus the supernatural to you deeply entertaining Carnacki stories and your own brilliant Midnight Eyes files series of novels, what is it about this type of story that endears you to it? 
 
There's a couple of things that draw me to it. I discovered I like writing serial characters for one, and the occult detective genre is a perfect home for recurring characters that you can hang story hooks on and see how they react to different situations.
 
Carnacki in particular speaks to me as he's got his wee drinking and smoking club of mates that come around and listen to his stories. Sitting around a fire drinking and telling stories with old pals is pretty much my idea of a good time, so writing Carnacki just reinforces that for me. Plus, as an ex-smoker, it lets me vicariously indulge in old habits.
 
Again, my writing in this genre is a form of nostalgia for me, taking me back to the roots of my reading as a lad as I mentioned earlier, and the club story for Holmes and Carnacki. For Derek Adams, it's a different nostalgia, one for my student days in Glasgow, on the grounds of the old University, tramping the bars of Partick and Byres Road and walking the slightly seedy 70s streets of the old city. Derek lets me indulge the fantasy that I never grew up and moved on, so maybe there's a bit of J M Barrie influence there rather than the others.
 
 
And what is the one thing that really annoys you about these type of stories?
 
For one thing, you know there's never any ultimate fatal peril coming for either Carnacki or the Dynamic Duo in the Holmes' stories. I'll admit they're prone to coziness and predictability, and Holmes' general arseiness often annoys me even when I'm writing it, but for a lot of people that's the charm of them.
 
And with Derek I'm trying to subvert that a bit with his sarcasm and humor. Cozy and predictable are two words not usually associated with Glasgow.
 
Have we seen the last of Derek Adams and his Midnight Eye Files?
 
Not at all. I had the Deal or No Deal novella last year, and there's a new one coming soon in an anthology OCCULT DETECTIVE QUARTERLY PRESENTS. I've also recently finished a "Derek meets the Mi-Go" story that'll be looking for a home.
 
In the "file of things to make and do" there's a wee list of about half a dozen novel ideas for Derek that I hope to get time to get round to before I'm done. It would go faster if somebody gave me a big sack of cash, but I'm not holding my breath.
 
He was sleeping for a while, but it looks like he's awake again. Like me, he's getting older now, and needs more kip between his drinking sessions.
 
You have recently released INFESTATION, Russian Spy boats sweary Scottish heroes and things scuttling about eating everything in their path, this seems to be the most Meikleistic book of your career. Drawing on such greats as Alister Maclean, Saturday matinee movies and the landscape of where you live, what was the inspiration behind this story? 
 
 
You've mentioned a lot of it already. Severed Press approached me and asked if I was interested in writing a pulp monster book, and it was at exactly the right time for me to jump in to something escapist and fast moving that would keep me busy but not overwhelmed.
 
As a big-bug novel, its antecedents are obviously 50s B-movies, Guy N Smith novels and, as it's in the Arctic, and with a British Special Forces team, the Alistair MacLean influence is up front and center. Plus, it's got giant, giant isopods, and I love those wee beasties.
 
As I said, I wanted to do something fast – my better selling books have always been the ones that came out hot, like The Invasion, Crustaceans, The Valley, and The Hole. This one came out in a rush in less than a month, and it reads like a big silly monster movie on paper, which is what I wanted it to read like.
 
I love it, and I hope my readers do too.
 
 
While some might infer that your stories are pure adventure stories much of your work has A message between the lines, does INFESTATION have a message like the one in THE CREEPING KELP?
 
As we've both got Biological Sciences degrees, you know that the conservation stuff creeps in here and there in my work. There a wee bit about the perils of drilling in the Arctic, which is something that I think is going to be a story in a few years time, and I've got a few things to say about friendship in there too but…
 
Nah. It's just sweary Scottish soldiers shooting the fuck out of really big bugs.
 
 
Next month sees the launch of your latest collection THE GHOST CLUB, can you tell us about this book? 
 
It's a simple premise.
 
In Victorian London, a select group of writers, led by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and Henry James held an informal dining club, the price of entry to which was the telling of a story by each invited guest.
 
These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the day. In here you'll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard, Wilde and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.
 
Finding the right voice for each different story was a challenge in itself. There were times when I really thought that my pride was telling me I could do it, but that it was going to bite me in the arse if I thought I was going to get away with it.
 
It's probably the most ambitious thing I've attempted, ever, and I might have overreached myself a tad, but the blurbs and feedback I've got from writers I admire like Simon Clark, Nancy Kilpatrick, Stephen Laws and Scott Nicholson suggest I've got something right :-)
 
It's out on 9th December,  in ebook and paperback from Crystal Lake Publishing.
 
Your stories always seem to be best suited to reading next to a roaring fire with a glass or two of good spirit, what would be your ideal pairing of spirit for The Ghost Club? 
 
It has to be a single malt, and something not too fiery. I really love Talisker, but that's a bit too in your face for a long bout of either talking or listening. So something smooth and lingering. Highland Park is a contender for a good all-rounder, or The Glenlivet.
 
But I'd probably go for an Ardbeg. I have fond memories of walking the road in the pishing rain to the distillery on Islay many years ago, and it's smoky and peaty and just right for Ghost Club stories too.
 
 
The book is being published by Crystal Lake Publishing, what does a publisher like Crystal Lake bring to the table? 
 
Crystal Lake are small, but they're going places, as evidenced by their recent run of top-notch anthologies with some of the biggest names in the business getting on board. They're putting out good quality books with good quality work in them, and getting a name for themselves as a small press that's doing things right.
 
They also did a fine job with my SAMURAI and Other Stories collection of reprints a few years back, so I trust them to do the right thing by me.
 
Ben Baldwin's doing the artwork for the cover again, which is always a plus, and Joe seems to have a head for the business side of things, both in admin and promotion, that's going to stand him in good stead through his publishing career.
 
 
The Book is being supported by a Facebook Book launch on Dec 6th, 2017, what can the attendees expect from the launch? 
 
There's a blog, podcasts, reviews and interviews tour that's up to over twenty stops, where I'll be talking about THE STONE TAPE, Scottish supernatural fiction, the influence of London on my work, my five favorite ghost stories and much more.
 
I'll also be doing live readings from the stories on the Facebook Page, so there will probably be beer and silly voices and maybe even some singing. We're working on arranging some competitions and giveaways of signed books and stuff too. It's coming together nicely.
 
Join us here à https://www.facebook.com/events/1980022735543624/
 
 
Have you done one of these before, and if so what are the key elements to make them successful? 
 
This is my first, so I'll answer this question once it's finished. J
 
I'm interested to see if it has a significant effect on early sales of the book, but I think I'm going to enjoy it anyway, being a bit of a performer at heart.
 
You have never been known to sit on your laurels, so what next for Willie Meikle?
 
I mentioned earlier about forging alliances with fantasy writers – this has taken me into the writing of a big historic fantasy trilogy along with a name writer. We're two books in and I'll be working on the third this winter, then we'll be setting about finding the right publisher for it. I haven't tried anything like it since the Watchers trilogy more than fifteen years ago, and my writing has moved on a tad since then. It's been great fun so far.
 
We've also got the VEIL KNIGHTS fantasy series to finish off, and although my novel in the series has already been published, as a collective we've got the big finish to coordinate and advertise coming up.
 
There's that, and another book for Severed Press with the Scottish soldiers and another menace to face.
 
I've got three new novels ( and a big batch of the DarkFuse reprints) coming from Crossroad Press, which includes THE BOATHOUSE, another in my Sigils and Totems works, RAMSKULL, a new Scottish Hammer horror tribute about satanism and bloody mayhem on a Hebridean island, and DEEP INTO THE GREEN, a Newfoundland based dark fantasy about miners delving where they shouldn't.
 
One thing I'm quite excited about is a novella appearance in I AM THE ABYSS, a huge anthology from Dark Regions, mainly because I'm sharing page space with some great writers, and I get a double page color artwork from the great Les Edwards. I spoke earlier about feeling as if I'd made it? This helps.
 
I've also had a whisper of interest about a new Victorian ghost story collection. Don't know if I have time for it, but you know me…
 
I'll be 60 in January. I always thought I'd either be dead or slowed right down by now, but I’m still here, and it seems I still have stories to tell.
 
Thanks very much for having me on.
 
Willie
Willie Meikle The Ghost Clun Interview Confessions of a reviewer Picture
Writers never really die; their stories live on, to be found again, to be told again, to scare again.

In Victorian London, a select group of writers, led by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and Henry James held an informal dining club, the price of entry to which was the telling of a story by each invited guest.

These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the day. In here you'll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.

GINGER NUTS OF HORROR'S 2017 GUIDE TO BUYING YOUNG ADULT FICTION
HORROR FICTION REVIEW: TV DINNERS FROM HELL BY AMBER FALLON

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