Ginger Nuts of Horror
To help promote the new charity anthology Sparks (which has become the most purchased book from the Ginger Nuts of Horror's Amazon Associate account) an electric themed anthology to raise money for Resources for Autism, Ginger Nuts of Horror is bringing you a series of interview with the authors involved in the anthology. Christopher Law takes the spotlight today.
Christopher Law is the author of Chaos Tales I and Chaos Tales II: Hell TV, plus a half-dozen or so anthology contributions. If you're not sure enough to buy, there are a bunch of free stories and blogs at https://evilscribbles.wordpress.com/
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I've not had a haircut since 2001 but still can't grow a beard. Shaving is an inconvenience I gladly endure for not being balding or greying at forty. I'm vegetarian, often prefer cats to people and have been known to get teary-eyed at roadkill. Basically, I'm a libtard snowflake.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I fly superhero wingsuits and am secretly the biggest vlogger you never heard of. Or, I read, visit my family and friends, drink more than I should and – this week – binge on Vikings. I'm still on Prime's thirty day freebie and when it's free you should make yourself sick.
Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
With regards to what I write, it is sword and sorcery fantasy. I don't really read fantasy these days, and when I do it tends to be my childhood favourites (Middle Earth, Pern and Midkemia, mostly). I also love a good dollop of classic sci-fi – I'm currently reading Asimov's Foundation Saga and thinking about an early K. Dick binge.
With regards to how I write – the whole process from three word scrap blu-tacked to the wall to something I believe in – the writers and communities I've met online, plus the support from my immediate circle of friends and betas, have made me take it sort-of seriously. My writing is better as a result, although I still mostly do it because when I was twelve I didn't want to stop making stories with my action figures. I was too old to be playing with toys, I knew that, and words were the only way to keep playing the game.
The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations. What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?
Horror should be brutal and heavy, like decent metal. A Horror story should take you somewhere vile and uncomfortable, and leave you glad to be back in your own world. If you return with an increased desire to make sure that your actual world never resembles the story you just escaped from – alive and all – then that's just gravy.
That said – and my often avowed love of torture-porn and nasty-just-to-be-nasty should be acknowledged here – I also think us Horror producers could sometime take a little more care with what we make (there is so much badly done work) and how we sell it to the world. I don't want kids reading a lot of what I write and read and there's no harm in advertising that.
A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?
Hard to answer without putting another hat on; impossible in a reasonably short answer. My other ambition – the one I thought would lead to a career in thinktanks or teaching – was to be a Historian (with the capital letter). That didn't work out.
Horror will either go into a long lull as our planet and species endures some quite horrific wars and calamities, after which there will be a period of melancholy and ghosts, or we will tell enough scary stories that people recoil and make their real lives better.
If it's the latter – my preferred option – Horror will become more refined, exquisite and brutal. Other people can decide its worth and purpose; I just want the blood, terror and monsters.
What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?
Films: The 1970's animated LOTR; Hellraiser; Alien/Aliens; Krull (everyone pretty much dies, I was five and laser guns); Heathers: Star Wars (and all the other Star Warsers, except the Ewok flicks)
Books: I'd be happier if this was a music category. The books I enjoy reading are not the ones I learn from. It's horribly arrogant to state but I've learned more from trying not to be like alien abduction phase Shaun Hutson than I'll ever get from trying to be like <insertfavouriteauthor>.
I'll never be as good as my idols, but I can, I hope, be a little better than the worst of my peers.
What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?
Oh, just the ones I'm friends with. And me.
How would you describe your writing style?
About the same as the worst of my peers. Maybe a little better.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
I'm long-winded and often too passive a narrator, but I have written at least one story that has made every reader squirm. I'm a Horror Hack – being told I wrote something that lingered is my catnip.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Dialogue. I prefer a rather old-fashioned way of writing, with most of my character's conversations given in summary, because writing direct speech is one of the few things harder than actually speaking to people.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
My hopes and dreams for the people I love. I write Horror; the happy shite is for my real life.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
An eternal pain in the arse. Some characters are decent enough to arrive with a name (although, when that name is Kitten Sweet, I'd have rather she didn't – with that name, at least). I'd be quite happy only ever using he, she and it, but it just doesn't work past a few thousand words.
Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?
My stories feel the same as they ever have, and I essentially approach it the same way – sit down and brain-fart in the hope of something good.
I have, however, learned to edit, plan, edit again and also embrace my shite-drafts – before every first-draft, there must be shite.
I wouldn't have done any of that without an awful lot of help, which is the biggest change in the way I write now to the way I did a decade ago. I used to hide everything I wrote; now I still hide most of it but the stuff I share is either liked or helped. I've been in a couple of group-writes – both in limbo – but the fun is worth it.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
It's a good job you're not crunching for a market research agency, or trying to sell crap. These are horribly open questions...
4)Cthulu's resonance in your soul
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
Don't stop. Edit. Spell-check. Don't stop.
Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?
Isn't this getting noticed? I don't know what more I can do, when confronted with this world of sand and my ostrich convictions.
To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favourite child, and who is your least favourite to write for and why?
Maria gets both of these for me. I wrote the first version of her story when I was nineteen and the last about a decade ago. It's ready to be published but it isn't supernatural or silly like everything else I write, and it is also really rather grim, so I'm sitting on it.
She's my favourite because she is so vital to write about, and my least because I know how the story goes.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
Not so far, unless you include Sockface and Leftie (sock pockets I created one evening when I was nine after being sent to my room for being devastatingly funny (didn't mean to make my sister cry, but – I can be a shit. I snuck down later and claimed my forfeited ice-cream).
For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?
Chaos Tales II: Hell TV
I love an epic tale. The only thing better than reading an epic is writing one, and feeling so, so certain you're outdoing them all. When you get the words right; the bit I'm working on.
This is the first proper look at my version of Hell but I've got the backstory. I have some friends advising me to self-publish the novels, but I'm not sure.
Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?
Hate breeds its own clarity.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last few print appearances have been in Burdizzo anthologies; my last solo effort was Chaos II. I'm not good at the business side of things and, well, minimum wage ain't great, so a lot of things have stalled just now.
I am, however, almost done with the final proof of Chaos III. There'll be a delay while I get the money for a cover, and discover all the errors after uploading to kdp, but I'm working on it.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
None. When I'm rich I'll pay people to filter out the shite so I only see the genius; in the meantime, I'll make do.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
The last great book was Asimov's Foundation. I've read it once before, sometime around 1986, and my new copy was a birthday present (with the next two books included!)
The last to disappoint me was The Scarlet Gospel.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer
Would you like an advance on that novel?
I dunno, what's in it for me? You said there'd be booze...