Ginger Nuts of Horror
Suitably labelled “The Queen of Filth”, extremist author Dani Brown’s style of dark and twisted writing and deeply disturbing stories has amassed a worrying sized cult following featuring horrifying tales such as “My Lovely Wife”, “Toenails” and the hugely popular “Night of the Penguins”. Merging eroticism with horror, torture and other areas that most authors wouldn’t dare, each of Dani’s titles will crawl under your skin, burrow inside you, and make you question why you are coming back for more.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
There isn’t much to say about me. I always thought I was boring. I play with my cats and help my son with his homework. But I can also write really sick stuff, which I guess people find fascinating.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I’m not writing I enjoy knitting and sometimes downing pints of gin at parties (or doing something equally as stupid). I enjoy drawing. - I’ve been trying to recover my drawing skills.
Other than the horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
Other than horror there’s been a few different influences. I’m one of those writers that constantly has music on, even when writing. That plays a role. I’ve been trying to be a bit more open about how dreadful my music tastes truly are over at facebook.com/danibrownbooks. In terms of reading, sci-fi has played a role. I used to read a lot of it, mainly because my father made me. My son loves going through my old sci-fi books and finding something he likes (it isn’t hoarding if its books). The vast amount of fantasy I read plays a part too.
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?
I don’t often come out of my bubble so I’m typically sheltered from the negative associations with horror. When I did come out of my bubble briefly to try the tinder thing, I wouldn’t tell most of my matches what exactly it was that I wrote. Unfortunately, being guarded seemed to drive off the best looking of the lot of them! I do find as a woman writer, I’m treated with a lot of negativity and disbelief to begin with, even without saying what I write. I get a bit jealous when I see men talking about their self-doubts during the writing process as I don’t feel like I can do that. If I did, I would be verbally jumped upon and told it is time to grow up and get a real job.
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?
In terms of horror and the way the world is going, I’m curious to see Trump’s personality traits appear in horror, but subtly so it isn’t obviously him. That’s a few years away though, I think, when he isn’t so fresh.
What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?
There’s so many I can’t name. My early favourites were The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Reading something young, it kind of sticks. Anything by Stephen King. There was a Lovecraft influence in my writing long before I read any myself because of Stephen King. And The Story of the Eye (which I didn’t read until my third year of university). Still one of my favourite books, it isn’t just relevant when writing sexy things, but played a major role in creating characters such as the husband in “My Lovely Wife”.
What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice off?
Dav Crabes. “Trafficking and Sexual December”. You really need to experience it for yourself.
How would you describe your writing style
I wouldn’t really know how to describe my writing style. Sometimes what I write is good and I surprise myself. Other times it is dreadful. I write in different tenses from different points of view, not typically in the same piece but I have been told off by editors for it. I tend to be rather descriptive, which is purely down to reading Lord of the Rings more than once.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
I like it when I make people feel sick or cry. It means my job was well done. If someone draws my attention to a review, I will sometimes take a screen shot and post it on my website. I simply don’t have the time to go looking for them myself.
My attention has been drawn to positive reviews of my nice things too. I like those reviews but it only seems to apply to short stories.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
I get really frustrated if I have the images in my head for a story but cannot put it in words when I sit down to write it. Working on more than one thing at once helps this.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
I wouldn’t rule out any subject. I’m not fond of writing about dead children or animals, but I do it. I’m working on something now with a dead child.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
With the exception of Xanthe and the characters in “Ketamine Addicted Pandas” (to be published), I randomly select names, typically from a book of baby names, or the huge name dictionary sitting on my shelf. Xanthe was special because I needed a name starting with X. I named her after the story was written. With Cody, Corey and Casey (Ketamine Addicted Pandas), I did select their names based on those names being popular when I was growing up. But for the most part, it is random selection. I’m not going to waste time thinking of a name. Sometimes the meaning of the name will shape the character and one time it shaped the title of a book (Middle Age Rae of Fucking Sunshine).
Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years?
I write a lot more than I used to. I no longer obsess over brutal scenes and have become pretty desensitized towards what is extreme and what isn’t. For the most part, my confidence has grown, although it still suffers from being knocked back. I’m also willing to put things down on paper no matter how bad the writing is, knowing I can go and fix it during edits.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A vast music library and something to play it on that gets you away from the computer. A pack of pens and a stack of blank notebooks. And post it notes. Those are very important for jotting random notes and fragments on.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
I’ve received a lot of advice over the years but I think the best is, just write. Write it down, no matter how bad the words sound together. And employ a good editor.
Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?
I’ve recently hosted my first ever launch party. It was a real life one. That was fun and I sold a few books. What I’ve been doing lately is being a lot more open with what I’m listening to or watching. People seem to enjoy how that impacts my writing. It isn’t any good posting endless links and nothing else. There are links on my facebook page and on my website. I will repost stuff on occasion and when something is first published, I’ll post it a few times. That seems to be enough. People can find it. They want to know me. Sometimes I’ll post a selfie or a picture of a record I bought. Every now and again, I’ll talk about what I’m writing at that time.
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?
I have a character called Seth who is my favourite child. I celebrate his birthday every year. The piece hasn’t been finished yet – I’ve been writing it for ten years!. All the characters I’ve created after him have a little piece of Seth inside. I look forward to getting back to him once my to-do list is complete.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
I would most like to forget about Rae. Readers like her. I don’t. She started off alright but then people and their eyebrows or bizarre sexual fantasies decided to attach themselves to me and they were difficult to get rid of. Seriously, while trying to write Rae, I received countless facebook messages from a woman with a child in the same class as mine about her eyebrows. I offered her tweezers! What more could I have done? And while that was going on, I was given increasingly graphic descriptions of what some people would like to do to me. Totally not cool. All this stuff in my personal life changed the character. I don’t like being reminded of it. I have another character who is similar. I’ll finish that story off once “Seth” is done and in the stages of being published.
For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?
I think Night of the Penguins would be the best place to start. It covers the extreme. It covers weird. It covers horror. There’s some graphic sexual content. It really has a bit of everything.
Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?
The first paragraph of Night of the Penguins
Carla spent the breakfast hour gathering snails in her garden. Even if she dreamt the entire thing, Spores deserved to have snails chucked at him.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last book to be published was “Broccoli”. It was also my first attempt at self-publishing, a long-time dream of mine. Written in second person, present tense. It starts when you wake up. It contains something to offend everyone. It made a reviewer vomit. There isn’t much I can say about it. You are delirious, or aren’t you?
I have some short stories due to be published soon. There’s stories in “Sparks” (to read the stories that were too extreme for Burdizzo, and the rejection letters from The Reverend Burdizzo and The Black Nun, visit my website danibrownqueenoffilth.weebly.com). There are stories in “Vs X” and “Strange Behaviors”. There’s probably a few more due to be released over the upcoming 12 months. I also have a Dual Depravity with David Owain Hughes coming soon from JEA. The first of the “Stef and Tucker” series should be released eventually (it’s a series that started off as slash-fiction about my boyfriend and a band he really likes – just to weird him out!).
In terms of what I’m working on, this time around on my to-do list, there’s mainly novels and novellas. There’s “Sparky the Spunky Robot”. I’m a bit fed up of people loving my nice pleasant short stories but only ever buying my extreme and disgusting books so I’ve combined the two with a cute robot powered by cum. There’s another containing lethal chupacabra spunk. Spunk seems to be a bit of a theme, but the next one has the Mer-people of Europa. And there’s a body horror somewhere in there, cum-free.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
I’m not really sure what cliché I would erase. It would be nice to change people’s opinion of horror writers and writers in general.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
Mayan Blue by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason sticks out the most as a great book I’ve recently read (I’m a bit behind). Anything with Mayan in the title is going to appeal to me. At the time I bought a copy, I was just finishing up Night of the Penguin which had a scene based on Aztec ritual (written many years ago), which made it appeal even more (Aztec and Mayan have similar themes). One day, I’ll have the time to re-read it. I haven’t taken a chance on a book in a long time. I don’t get much time for reading, so I tend to go with books that seem as if I’d like them.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer
Interviewer: Would you like me to buy you burritos and give you free bottles of gin and absinthe plus any mixers you desire?
Me: Why, yes, that would be nice.