Ginger Nuts of Horror
Bryn Fortey appeared in various anthologies during the 1970s, including: New Writings in Horror & the Supernatural and New Writings in SF. He was also published in various Fontana anthologies edited by Mary Danby. Bryn’s beat-styled poetry magazine Outlaw was Best UK Small Press Magazine of 2004 in the Purple Patch Awards. In the same year he won the Undercurrent Aber Valley Short Story Competition with “The Dying Game”. In 2009 his “A Taxi Driver on Mars” was first in the Data Dump Awards for SF poetry in the UK.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Bryn Fortey. I was one of Johnny Mains ‘Lost Fontana Authors’, invited by him to attend the 2012 Fantasy Con to meet Mary Danby and to rise, spectre-like, from my 1970’s obscurity.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
All three are touched on in my writing but if I have to choose one it will be Weird Fiction.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Jack Kerouac, J.G. Ballard, Chuck Palahniuk, Raymond Carver, William Burroughs, Kurt Vonnegut, Christopher Priest, Paul Finch, Graham Joyce, Anna Taborska. I am woefully out of touch with the current scene but am trying to catch up.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
I recently picked up ‘Lovers Living, Lovers Dead’ by Richard Lortz for 10p in a charity shop. I had never heard of him before but was mightily impressed. A dark and surreal psychological horror of the sort I enjoy. Having read and enjoyed Brian Aldiss over the years I decided to seek out some of the titles I somehow missed, including ‘Report on Probability A’. I think Aldiss might have been trying to muscle in on the New Wave school being championed by Moorcock’s ‘New Worlds’. For me though, if that was his intention, he failed. It was one of the most boring books I have ever read. Maybe the fault is mine, but it all seemed rather pointless.
How would you describe your writing style?
Pick ‘n’ mix.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
My short story ‘Prison’ in the David Sutton edited ‘New Writings in Horror & the Supernatural 1’ was reviewed by Keith Walker ( of ‘Fanzine Fanatique’ fame) during which he said he would have considered it the product of a sick mind if he had not known me. My response was that one brief meeting at an SF Easter Con was insufficient for him to really know me at all.
What’s your favourite food?
Chips with everything. Anything cooked by my late wife. Pasta. It sometimes surprises me that I haven’t ended up one of those sad 60 stone people who cannot leave their beds.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
Shirley Bassey, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Leonard Cohen, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Tom Waits, Fats Navarro, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Free, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen, Precious Bryant. I could go on but maybe you get the picture.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Write for yourself. You can’t please everybody.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
The first sentence. Even the first word. Once started I can often get into the flow, but getting started can be hard.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
My best ‘evolving’ is yet to come.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Don’t listen to advice.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
The unnamed drummer in the short story ‘Playing From Memory’ because he can really play while I am only able to stroke a side drum with my brushes.
How about your least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
The unnamed drummer in the short story ‘Playing From Memory’ because he knows he is messing up his life, but seems unable to stop himself.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
Well fame and fortune have already passed me by so I’d better go for respect.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
The short story ‘Shrewhampton North-East’, which has appeared in print on four separate occasions.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
MERRY-GO-ROUND & Other Words. A collection of short stories and poems published by The Alchemy Press. ISBN 970-0-9573489-6-7.
Currently working on a few short story ideas while giving consideration to trying to accept the challenge of writing something longer.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?
How many noughts do you want on the cheque?
Bryn Fortey has been writing short stories and poems since the 1960s, from science fiction to horror and all points in between. His work appeared in seminal anthologies, such as The Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories and New Writings in Horror and the Supernatural. Forty plus years later The Alchemy Press presents Bryn's first collection, a comprehensive array of his best stories and poems. Stand out stories include the two "Shrewhampton" tales that bookend this collection. Merry-Go-Round includes an introduction by Johnny Mains.
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