Ginger Nuts of Horror
Ian was born in the north of England, where he worked for three decades as an operational firefighter with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue. He has spent the past twenty years in the village of Fairburn, near Selby, where he devotes his time to writing horror, urban fantasy and paranormal mysteries featuring the York-based "white witch" Iona Kyle.
His interests include travel, walking the North York Moors and Dales, natural history, real ale, and ridding the world of all known evils.
He also feels decidedly peculiar speaking in the third person and may have to do this in the future using a sinister ventriloquist's doll.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I started writing as a hobby around fifteen years ago and then made several attempts at publication. I eventually found a London agent and almost had a horror novel published before the recession bit and all their forthcoming titles were cancelled.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
British history, natural history and foreign travel – I’ve backpacked around central America and Asia. I also walk in the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.
What’s your favourite food?
Probably Indian food, but I’m pretty much vegetarian and eat a lot of fish and seafood.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
Let’s keep it jolly - Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.
Tell us a dirty little secret?
Like Clinton, I’ve smoked it, but I didn’t inhale, apart from the times when I did inhale.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Yes, I know he’s very popular right now, but whatever you do, don’t vote for that twat Tony Blair.”
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
Last Thursday. I rang Ghostbusters.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
No surprises. Stephen King, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, along with the classics like Poe and Lovecraft.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Strangely, both were included in the same volume. The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke and its sequel by Gregory Benford. Don’t bother with the sequel.
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
For purely personal reasons, Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out and The Wicker Man. Yes, Wheatley has many flaws, but I’m prepared to take the flack.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would it be?
The yowling cat that suddenly leaps out from the silence to shock the audience, followed by the sigh of relief, followed by the REAL scare immediately afterwards. That and the ubiquitous line: “Hey, there’s no mobile signal here”.
Which fictional character would be you perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
Lady Chatterley would make a pretty good neighbour. Jesus, although not exactly a nightmare, wouldn’t be much fun and would probably disapprove of the nocturnal activity with M’lady on the other side. Some might say Jesus isn’t fictional, but each to their own.
If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?
Both characters from Fifty Shades of Grey. They’d be horrifically crushed to death beneath all the books that the women of this world felt they had to buy, thus paying for all those forests that were cut down and pulped.
And if you had free range what fictional character would you like to write for?
It sounds boring, what with the wealth of literary vampires at the moment, but Dracula. I’d bring the Count into the modern world whilst hopefully retaining the Gothic feel.
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
There are some superb horror novels out there, but in my humble opinion, a few too many zombies and sexy vampires.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing horror fiction right now?
The same problem facing all fiction, with publishers terrified to take on any work that isn’t a certain hit by a known author or a “celebrity” like Jordan.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
I’m afraid I’m still awaiting reviews.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
So far, hastily touching wood, real difficulties haven’t arisen.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Rape. It’s far too serious for my fiction and, as a man, I don’t feel qualified to truly represent female emotions in this subject.
What do you think makes a good story?
A fresh feel and good twists that aren’t shoe-horned in simply for the sake of it.
How important are names to you in your books?
Very important. They can’t be too banal, like John Smith (sorry, to any John Smiths) but neither can they be obviously fictional like Anastasia Steele. Excuse me while I quickly rinse my mouth with bleach…
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A laptop, an imagination and filter coffee.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
It’s a cliché, I know, but keep reading, keep writing and keep writing.
What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?
Why write horror? Why not write real books?
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I’m still finding my feet in this respect, but chatting with the right people on the net via Facebook and literary sites.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
It has to be the central character Iona Kyle, however in the first novel, Dark Equinox, the fake psychic Phil Tarot is an equal favourite. He changes his surname to Tarot in order to drum up more business and I’ve based him on several genuine ‘psychics’ I know. Through him I get to explain cold reading techniques and the other tricks of their trade.
How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
To be honest, I don’t have a least favourite. I have to love them all a little, even the villains, in order to write them.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
The ending of Dark Equinox, the first in the ongoing Iona Kyle series.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
The first thing I ever wrote back in the late nineties – The Devil Rides Again, a spoof on Wheatley’s Devil Rides Out, that, surprisingly, was loved by one publisher.
For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
Dark Equinox, which sets the scene and the tone for the rest of the series, although all are stand-alone stories and can be read in any order.
What are you working on right now?
Therion Rising, another tale of magick and the occult, with someone decapitating known criminals around Bristol and using the severed heads for an unspeakable project. It begins with Aleister Crowley on Sicily, and moves to present day York and Bristol before returning to the Abbey of Thelema near Cefalu.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
“Will you please accept this ridiculously large cheque for a movie based on one of our books?”
After much soul-searching, my answer would probably be: “Yes.”
Psychic visions of absolute evil.
The moon is full and the people of Edinburgh are scared. They have good reason—a maniac is killing women and carving pentagram symbols into their bodies.
Fake clairvoyant, Philip Tarot sees one of the victims being dumped and faces a choice. Reporting the incident makes him a mundane eyewitness, anonymous and quickly forgotten, but passing the information as psychic visions will take Phil down a different path to fame. Life changes overnight with the latter option. The killer is caught and the media love their new celebrity, but the limelight brings unwelcome attention from genuine psychic, Iona Kyle.
More disturbingly, Phil is approached by the Sorority, a powerful occult circle presided over by Jessica Crowley, granddaughter of the magician Aleister Crowley. The murders, Iona realizes, were the start of something much bigger—and something unbelievably evil.
Book One of the Iona Kyle Series