Luke Walker has been writing horror and fantasy fiction for most of his life. Mirror Of The Nameless, a novella from Dark Fuse, is now available while his first two novels, The Red Girl and 'Set, are published by Musa. A number of his short stories have been published online and in print (including 'Bear' in James Ward Kirk's collection 'Serial Killers Tres Tria', and 'Faces Made Of Glue' in 'Peripheral Distortions' from Death Throes Anthologies. He is currently at work on a new horror novel.
Luke is thirty-six and lives in England with his wife, two cats and not enough zombie films.
HORROR AUTHOR INTERVIEW LUKE WALKER
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a horror writer who dabbles in a bit of fantasy on occasion. I’m 36 and been writing for as long as I can remember. My first book, The Red Girl, was published in 2012. That was a horror. I had a fantasy called ’Set (and yes, there is a reason for the apostrophe) published about a year later, and a horror novella called Mirror Of The Nameless published September last year. I’ve also had some short stories published and spend the time when I’m not writing with my wife or watching bad horror films.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Horror. I call it what it is. The other two sound to me a bit like labelling it for people who don’t like horror. There are differences between all three, but my stuff is horror.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Argh! Too many to chose from. Stephen King, Gary McMahon, Neil Gaiman, Sarah Pinborough, Edgar Allen Poe, Tim Lebbon, Clive Barker, Alison Littlewood, Gary Fry, Pat Barker and Joseph D’Lacey to name a few.
Which fictional character would be you perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
Dracula would be great. He sleeps all day and buggers off at night. A win all round. Shelob would be a terrible neighbour. My wife hates spiders.
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
Talent wise, it’s fine. There are a lot of great authors out there who might not be big names, but they’re writing some superb books. I’m not sure if agents and publishers are willing to go for horror fiction as much as they are with other genres which is a shame. It’s got a loyal following who are hungry for new books and new authors. But then, publishing is a business. If a genre doesn’t make as much money as it used to, the big boys aren’t going to take risks they can’t afford to which means less people know about a book that has the potential to really take off.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Sarah Pinborough’s The Language of Dying is one of the best books she’s written. It wasn’t what I expected so the whole book was a nice surprise. She’s done some great stuff – especially The Dog Faced Gods trilogy – and her latest is well worth checking out. I also really enjoyed Joseph D’Lacey’s Meat. One of the best British horrors of the last ten years. As for being disappointed, I’m struggling to think of one. I work in a library so I’ve got a pretty good idea what’s coming in and what I’ll like. Saying that, I read The Da Vinci Code a few years back and couldn’t believe it was published. It was laughably bad.
How would you describe your writing style?
I’m not sure. It seems to veer between pretty stripped down, bare bones to stuff that’s looser. He’s a far, far better writer than I am, but I see the odd similarity between my fiction and Tim Lebbon’s. Either way, I don’t start a new book thinking about my style or how I write. I just focus on the story and characters who are telling the tale. If I thought about anything else, I’d probably just freeze up.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
Luckily, I haven’t had any really bad reviews. Definitely some that were less than complimentary but not terrible. I got one a few months back for my novella Mirror Of The Nameless in which the reviewer said it was one of the best books he’d read that year. For him, I was up there with Anne Rice and Stephen King which was pretty sweet. One for The Red Girl described it as ‘heart breaking and haunting’ which was fine with me.
What’s your favourite food?
I like a good curry. Not so hot and spicy that all you can taste is your tongue burning and melting into a pile of goo, but with a bit of kick and flavour to it.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
Seeing as I’ve been listening to them since I was 15, then the rock group Therapy? and Nine Inch Nails.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Two. Firstly, the story is the boss. If I try to force a story in one direction and it’s the wrong way, it all goes wrong. If I listen to the story and let it stay in charge, it usually works out. Second, as I said above, publishing is a business. It exists to make money. It doesn’t care how long you’ve spent crafting your book. If your book sucks, then it won’t be published. Writing is an artform, but publishing is definitely a business.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Getting started is usually a pain. Trying to work out the most interesting place to begin is a bit like trying to work out the best door to go through when you’ve got no idea what’s on the other side. Probably why I rewrite my openings several times. I also often outline a plot and realise I’ve walked into a load of big plotholes that need to be fixed before I can start. The best part is they’re really obvious plotholes – or would be if I took a step back before and thought about my idea before outlining.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’m much more focused now than I used to be. With outlining, I want A to happen and B to follow it in a way that makes sense before I get to C. In my early days, it was a lot more of making it up as I went along which resulted in some really awful books. I’m also less interested now in a theme than I used to be which I’m happy about. If a theme comes along, then great, but I’m more interested in telling a story and entertaining people.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
It wasn’t aimed directly at me, but I did read this on a writers’ forum from a friend who writes romance and erotica. ‘Shut the fuck up and write.’
I’ve come across a lot of people who are more interested in talking about writing rather than doing the hard work of actually writing. They’re not writers. Talking is not writing. Sometimes, you just need to shut the fuck up and write.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
For Mirror of the Nameless, I’ve got a lot of time for a supporting character. Derek is the landlord of the pub my main character, Dave, works in. Dave’s on a mission to find his missing daughter while three Lovecraftian gods terrorise his world. Everyone in this world is out for themselves, but Derek offers Dave his help without a second thought. He’s a good bloke. And based on my dad.
How about your least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
The leader of a group of religious killers. I can’t say too much without giving massive spoilers. All I can say is he combines a couple of my least favourite traits: bullying and religious self-righteousness.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
Can I have all three? If not, then I’ll take the money and run. Hopefully with a bit of respect thrown in. Being famous doesn’t appeal at all. Never has. Thankfully, writers aren’t seen in the same way as actors or singers or any of the pointless gits we make famous for no clear reason.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
For published work, Mirror is my best. The Red Girl, being my first, will always be special to me. For unpublished stuff, the last couple I’ve written have been decent. I just need to find them a home.
And are there any pieces that you would like to forget about?
My first two books are beyond crap. Third and fourth are okay. I’ve written another nine since and each one gets a little better. Those early ones will never see the light of day. Horrible books.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last one involves a small group of strangers who are kidnapped from all over Britain to be taken to a man in a compound in the far north of Scotland. They have nothing in common and no idea why this man wants them. Once they get there, they realise they’re in much more danger than simply being kidnapped and held ransom. The man holding them might not be human and the one connection between them could get them all killed.
I’m currently outlining a book set a short time after a global disaster wipes out billions of people. In a small town, the leader of a hundred people talks to the dead and arranges a yearly ceremony to keep the dead at rest. This year, the ceremony is going to change. Over the course of one night, the town will have to face up itself and its sins. After that, I’m planning a novella which I think might end up along the lines of Jacob’s Ladder meets Die Hard.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?
Would you like a publishing deal, Mr Walker?
For more information on Luke follow the links below
In a world controlled by three monstrous gods ready to destroy everything at any point they choose, Dave Anderson knows the only way he can survive is to do the same as everybody else – keep his head down, question nothing and hope he doesn't end up sacrificed to the gods. That's his plan until he discovers his teenage daughter is risking her life in an attempt to rid the world of its rulers.
Terrified of losing his daughter, Dave joins her boyfriend in a frantic search while trying to avoid the authorities eager to offer him to their dark lords. The men must fight their way through a country governed by fear towards a derelict manor where a weapon for change and hope awaits. Here, a long-dead writer has left clues pointing to an object that might free the world of its terrible masters...or lead to something far worse…
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