Craig Wallwork lives in West Yorkshire, England. He is the twice Pushcart nominated writer of the books, Quintessence of Dust, The Sound of Loneliness and Gory Hole. His short stories have featured in many anthologies and magazines both in the UK and US. He is also the fiction editor for Menacing Hedge Journal.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself:
I was born in Hope hospital, England in 1972. The name of the hospital was fair evaluation of the expected mortality rate in my hometown. As a child I was convinced I could bring back the dead after reviving my pet goldfish just by holding it in my hand and whispering “you will live” repeatedly. This delusion was further bolstered after I revived a fly that had inadvertently fallen into my pint of lager one summer when I was 23. Just recently my daughter’s goldfish died, so I tested this gift once more and found the goldfish unresponsive to my Lazarus-powers. I now have to revaluate my future in the travelling healing business.
What is your all-time favourite horror film?
I have a soft spot for the original Dawn of the Dead. When I was 12 I had a house party and we all watched it. One of my friends was very scared, which he kept hidden until my mother ran screaming into the room with a pair of nylon tights covering her face. The smell of human faeces took a few hours to dissipate, but we all agreed it was an excellent improvisation from my mother. I’m also fond of Severance, Dog Soldiers, and The Exorcist, but the latter I don’t really class as horror. It’s more a very accurate reflection of a single parent family having to deal with an unruly teenager.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
People walking backwards. There is a tendency for women in particular to walk backwards away from a noise, only to then bump into the axe-wielding maniac or crazy disfigured loon. Personally, I don’t know many people who walk backwards. Except maybe Michael Jackson.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Bald New World by Peter Teiryas Liu, which offers a future where one day everyone in the world wakes up bald. Being follically challenged myself I felt it was something I could identify with. I like books I can identify with physically, which is why I was very disappointed with The Big Penis Book.
How would you describe your writing style?
Describing my eye colour, or shoe size is much easier than describing my writing style. Though it’s very personal to me, I find I can never see it as well as others do. I have been labelled magical realism with a literary bent. Or underbelly, perverse, weird, absurd, erotica, strange, creepy, bizzaro with heart. The reason I have so many is because I tend to jump from different genres. I am the whore of the genre world, willing to open my pages to anyone interested. I love you long time.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author, and what is it?
I’ve tackled subjects as diverse and controversial as bestiality, extreme vaginal dilation, lesbian zombies, and a whole story centred on an anus. There are not many subjects I shy away from. However, anything to do with the abuse of children I will never touch. Not that it matters, but being a father I find the subject of paedophilia or child abuse too emotive a subject to even contemplate. I know the some of the themes I write about are controversial, if you were to read any of them you’ll see that I have dealt with the subjects sensitively, and tried to weigh each down with a moral anchor. But I don’t believe I could be so objective, nor carry the burden of anything to do with children being hurt.
What do you think makes a good story?
Interesting and well crafted characters. If you don’t give a shit about the character, you’ll never walk every page of their journey.
How important are names to you in your books?
Names can make a book sometimes. Give a boring name to your protagonist or antagonist and you’ll find they remain as mute as a dead fish (I know, I’ve had my experience of many). But create an interesting name and suddenly it’s hard to stop them from talking. I don’t think this is an original concept, and I maybe paraphrasing from a more famous author, but nonetheless, I agree wholeheartedly. In my new book, GORY HOLE, there is one story called “Sicko” where I named all the characters after fictional horror stars from movies. Norman (Bates), Myers (Michael), Chuck (Chucky), Fred (Freddie Kruger) and Gumby (Jame Gumb). That helped inspire the theme and overall direction of the story.
Fame, fortune or respect?
If I’m being brutally honest, it would be fortune. You can never go into writing thinking you’ll make money, because there is a very strong chance you never will. But at some point, in every writer’s career, they’ll measure the hours spent writing against the money made from published work. That’s a very dark day in every writer’s life because you realise that if this was a real job, the hourly rate wouldn’t buy you a chocolate bar. It wouldn’t even buy you a single peanut in said chocolate bar. So as a career choice, it’s a very poor one. However, most of us do it because we have to. It’s a necessity to help purge the demons within. To not write is more detrimental than all the hours spent earning no money. But the dream for every writer is ALWAYS to earn money from what they do, and those that say differently are lying.
Can you tell us about your last book, and what you’re working on next?
The last book is GORY HOLE: A Horror Triple Bill published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, which features the short stories “Revenge of the Zombie Pussy Eaters”, “Human Tenderloin”, and “Sicko”. Imagine if the lovechild of George A Romero and Sam Raimi wrote a collection of stories without censoring their imagination, then you’re getting close to Gory Hole. That said, the stories are not all guts and garters. Each deals with some important issues that the reader can explore, or chose to ignore in favour of the blood, blood and more blood. The current book I’m writing is completely different. It’s a YA novel about a teenager with mental health issues who is writing letters to his first love, even though he’s not met her yet. It’s more mainstream, sweet, and dare I say, a romantic novel than anything I’ve ever done. I think most people will be expecting the moment the boy has a breakdown and begins hacking his friends to death before turning the axe on himself. That doesn’t happen by the way. Least it’s not yet.
Craig Wallwork’s Gory Hole: a Horror Triple Bill is now available in paperback and ebook formats. It is a 48 page, full colored illustrated chapbook of delicious grindhouse fiction. It’s a triple feature of gory heaven, featuring the following stories:
“Revenge of the Zombie Pussy Eaters”
The front cover was designed by the talented George Cotronis:
ADVANCED PRAISE FOR GORY HOLE*
HORROR NEWS.NET REVIEW
“Like a grindhouse version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Wallwork’s fiction is smart, innovative, and a hell of a lot of fun.” --Carlton Mellick III
“There’s a place where intelligence and weirdness meet, and Wallwork’s prose is comfortably nestled there, feeding off both with the keenness of a crazed tapeworm. Sharp, nasty, and bizarre, GORY HOLE is a perfect treat for those who like their fiction unique and with heaping sides of humor and gore.” --Gabino Iglesias
“When your laughter turns to tears, saline to bloody rivulets, you have found GORY HOLE by Craig Wallwork. A master storyteller, this trio of black comedy is lyrical prose dipped in deviant lust dusted with violent retribution—for the horror fan in us all.” –Richard Thomas
And the three interior illustrations were painted by Luke Spooner: