Paul Flewitt lives in Sheffield, UK with his partner and their two children. He is a writer of horror and dark fiction, described in a similar vein to Clive Barker, Stephen King and Dean Koontz. He writes under the CHBB/Vamptasy imprint.
Paul is the author of "Smoke" a flash fiction which appeared in OzHorrorCon's Book of Tribes anthology, "Paradise Park" from JEA's All That Remains anthology and the Thirteen Horror vol 3 anthology. His debut stand alone novella "Poor Jeffrey" is available through CHBB'Vamptasy press. He continues to work on further pieces...
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I think horror is the broadest term and probably fits well with the dark regions that we explore as writers. Personally, I don’t like pigeonholes and sub-genres of sub-genres, so I’ll go with plain old horror… even though I describe my style as “dark fantasy”.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
There are many; Clive Barker, Stephen King, Richard Laymon, George Orwell, J.R.R Tolkien, James Herbert, Graham Masterton, Tom Sharpe, Enid Blyton, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, DH Laurence, Alex Laybourne…and the list continues on and on
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
That’s a tough one; and I mean REALLY tough. Imajica and The Books of the Art have to be up there on the novel front; they are some of the best stories I’ve ever read by anyone. Movies? I’m not really big into films, they always seem to look better in my head, but Nightbreed, The Stand and IT are three of my favourites… and the first two Hellraisers, of course. (Sorry, I seem to have taken liberties with this question, but it was a tough one!)
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
The blonde girl who always falls down in the woods. That bitch always irritates the hell outta me. Why is she always blonde? Why does she run? Why the hell doesn’t she just look where she’s going!
Which fictional character would be your perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
Gandalf could be handy on Bonfire Night, I suppose; I’ll go for him on those grounds. Nightmare would probably be the girl from Poltergeist… can you imagine the repair costs?
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
I think, in many respects my answer depends on where people shop for their horror fix. In the larger markets I don’t think it’s too great, the same authors have been holding the market for the last thirty years and it feels a bit stagnant on the surface. In the smaller markets and indies there are a multitude of great writers who are all doing different things, exploring concepts that have been touched on but never fully explored. I could name, probably ten or twenty authors that could make it really big in the mainstream markets, have books made from their work etc…unfortunately only a small number of people see them, relatively speaking.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Musings of a Hideous Mind 3; by Alex Laybourne was a cracking read by an up and coming author; he’s really got something and improves with each new release. Definitely a name I’d urge everyone to check out. Disappointment was A Handmaid’s Tale; by Margaret Atwood. I’d seen the movie and really enjoyed it, but the book didn’t measure up. The lady could’ve gone much further with the idea she had.
How would you describe your writing style?
Good, classic horror. I’m not reinventing the wheel, but I take a look at familiar themes from perspectives that I haven’t seen done before. Really, I’m still learning my craft and finding my books; but I’ve been compared with a bunch of writers that I respect in a positive way…that is very satisfying for a relative new-comer to the market.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
Andy Deen, from UkHorrorScene.com wrote an amazing piece on my debut, Poor Jeffrey. I’d had a bit of a kerfuffle and PJ had been released once, then withdrawn from the market. When I was re-releasing it, Andy read it and reviewed. I was feeling a bit unsure of how the release would turn out; then I read Andy’s review when it went live and it just…well, let me just say that tears were shed hahaha
What’s your favourite food?
Sausage and Mash with Baked Beans or a traditional Sunday roast. I’m a bit of a traditionalist at heart, I suppose.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
Oooh… lots of classic rock and metal bands, a slew of prog rock bands and probably a bit of classical… Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Zeppelin, Pantera, Metallica, Franz Liszt, Mozart, Procul Harem, The Kinks, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Hector Berlioz, Moody Blues…just to name a few and give you a flavour.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Don’t overthink it, just let it flow. I’m an awful analyser and my own worst critic, so I have been known to throw out entire manuscripts for the sake of a bad chapter or two. That’s something that having awesome beta readers and editors have definitely helped with.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
The middle section of everything I write is difficult; to keep the story going and not have the reader lose interest before the ending. It’s a matter of story construction and being meticulous to detail. It takes so long for med to write because I have to know that it’s the best story that it can be. Creative punctuation is also something that I find difficult, there are things that I want to do but they would break every rule that there is… I hate rules!
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’m getting braver about my subject matter. I’m getting bolder in the things that I will write about. I was never a prude, but there were certain places that I wouldn’t go because I didn’t feel that I could be visceral enough to really shock. What I have found since releasing my first few works is that people also appreciate subtlety and nuance…so I think that’s where I’ve evolved most, in embracing the shadows rather than the full dark.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A pen and paper, a computer (simply for submissions, no one accepts a handwritten manuscript) and a trusted ear to rant in.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
“Submit it so that I can say I told you so…” from my beta/editor team of Patti and Cecilia. If I hadn’t pushed then I would never have been published. There has, of course, been other advice about writing so much each day and reading…but you never know if you don’t submit something.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
Cal Denver was awesome to write. I won’t spoil it or people who haven’t read PJ yet, but he has a light and shade about him. Essentially he is just pure evil, but there are many facets to him. My partner read a piece with him in it and she shuddered…mission accomplished.
How about your least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
There was a Fed called Tim Neeson; he was a bit one-dimensional… a bit of a Grey Guy… I made him much more interesting in the sequel.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
Respect… I’m not a greedy guy, if I make enough to pay the bills and continue to write then I’m a happy man; but respect is something you earn through hard work and it’s a measure of the man you are. That’s a much greater legacy than anything material.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I should say Poor Jeffrey, but it’s got to be “Smoke” from the Book of the Tribes anthology. It was in tribute to Clive Barker’s Cabal and created for OzHorrorCon’s screening of the Cabal Cut of Nightbreed. I knew that it would be a fun, exclusive thing to be part of and I knew it would be super-hard to be included in… I was lucky enough to have been accepted. It was the first acceptance I’d received and was from an organisation I have a huge amount of respect for… in tribute to one of my favourite authors… what’s not to be proud of?
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
Yes, but they’re not released. I can write really well, but I’m also conscious that I can write really badly too. It goes back to my comment about self-criticism…I won’t allow myself to release something that isn’t as good as it can be. It’s disrespectful to the reader, to the press and the other authors that write for that press and it’s disrespectful to anything that I might have released before.
For those who haven’t read any of you books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
So far, I have only one book available. I’ve written a number of short stories for anthologies and I’m working on new full length works as we speak, but Poor Jeffrey is a great introduction for the things I have to come.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last book was my debut, Poor Jeffrey. It’s a twisted zombie-tale that literally has a bit of everything in it. Three friends come together in grief to resurrect their great friend, Jeffrey…the problem is that their plans work and he does come back…as a zombie. Enter Cal Denver, a deranged serial killer who has an appetite for raw flesh. What ensues is a race to find the real killer before too many are killed and before the whole small town in which they live goes crazy!
I have to say; I’ve been reading some amazing reviews for this, it’s just so humbling to hear how much people have appreciated it.
My next work is called; Architecture, and is the sequel to Poor Jeffrey. I can’t say too much about it as it will leave spoilers for those who haven’t read PJ yet. Architecture will be much darker, much more uncomfortable than its predecessor. It takes place 5 years on from the events described in Poor Jeffrey and we see how the characters have progressed while getting to the bigger story… I described Poor Jeffrey as a good introduction to my work; Architecture will give a clearer view of the kind of writer that I am.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?
You know, I really don’t have any preconceived notion of what a person might ask, so I haven’t really thought of anything I’d WANT to be asked… wouldn’t that be conceited anyway? hahaha
Sometimes magic works...
Grief drives people to extreme behaviour, and when Poor Jeffrey Kinsey is killed, his friends go to some extreme lengths to bring him back…
But Jeffrey’s death isn’t the only thing going on in town...
Several girls have disappeared, only to be found half eaten by an unidentifiable creature later... it’s enough to drive a town insane.
For Tommy, Jade and Chloe the next few weeks will make them or break them… and a story begins…
Poor Jeffrey; he never wanted death to be this way…
PURCHASE POOR JEFFREY FROM THE LINKS BELOW
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