Today's Five Minutes With guest is David A. Riley.
In 1995, along with his wife, Linden, he edited and published a fantasy/SF magazine, Beyond.
His first professionally published story was in the 11th Pan Book of Horror in 1970. This was reprinted in 2012 in The Century's Best Horror Fiction edited by John Pelan for Cemetery Dance. He has had numerous stories published by Doubleday, DAW, Corgi, Sphere, Roc, Playboy Paperbacks, Robinsons, etc., and in magazines such as Aboriginal Science Fiction, Dark Discoveries, Fear, Fantasy Tales.
His first collection of stories (4 long stories and a novelette) was published by Hazardous Press in 2012, His Own Mad Demons.
A Lovecraftian novel, The Return, will be published by Blood Bound Books in the States in 2013.
A second collection of his stories, all of which were professionally published prior to 2000, The Lurkers in the Abyss & Other Tales of Terror, will be launched at the World Fantasy Convention in 2013.
He and his wife recently relaunched Parallel Universe Publications, which originally published beyond. The first book published was The Heaven Maker & Other Gruesome Tales by Craig Herbertson.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been writing stories on and off for over 40 years. My first professional sale was in 1970 to the now legendary Pan Books of Horror Stories. I was quite surprised when, years later, this story, The Lurkers in the Abyss, was chosen to be included by John Pelan for Cemetery Dance’s two-volume anthology, The Century’s Best Horror Fiction, alongside virtually every big name horror writer from the twentieth century. I’ve had stories published in the UK and overseas in a variety of anthologies and magazines and have completed several novels, one of which was published in 2007 by Renaissance E Books and another is being published in August by Blood Bound Books in the States.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Most of my stories are definitely horror, though I have written some Science Fiction and some fantasy too, including a novel, Goblin Mire.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Like most people this is a fantastically long list if I included all of them, and it’s one that varies from time to time. Within horror these would have to include H. P. Lovecraft, M. R. James, Ramsey Campbell, John Connolly, Reggie Oliver, Robert Bloch, Clark Ashton Smith. If I added Science Fiction, that would have to include Isaac Asimov and Ian Banks. I don’t read much fantasy these days but Tolkien would have to come high on that list, as would Robert E. Howard. I also love modern crime novels, the grittier the better.
What are you reading now?
The Adventures of Kyle McGerrt: Hunt for the Ghoulish Bartender by Charles Day, a YA novel I’m reading to review.
Which book do you wish you had written?
Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake. It’s an amazing book, and I love how intricately interwoven it all is and how incredibly realistic in its own odd way.
If you could use any other author’s creation in your own work, who or what would you use?
I already have: H. P. Lovecraft’s magnificently versatile Cthulhu Mythos. There is a supreme bleakness in this creation which makes any other seem cheery by comparison, especially the underlying threat that one day, “when the stars are right”, Mankind’s tenure as Earth’s masters will come to an abrupt and violent end when the Ancient Ones reclaim it.
Describe typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t really have a typical day. When an idea comes to me I just set about typing it up on the computer and can ignore whatever else is going on around me. My computer is in the same room as our television but I can easily block this out. I don’t deliberately aim to write a certain number of words per day nor, necessarily, any at all. I need to feel inspired by what I am writing and most stories that I start fall by the wayside because I lose interest in them. My assumption is that if I lose interest so would anyone reading it. This is probably why I have never attempted to become a full-time writer.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I recently wrote a story called Scrap which is about 10,000 words long and will be in an anthology published by Grey Matter Press sometime soon in Dark Visions 1. It’s about two brothers who move into a rundown council estate in my invented town of Edgebottom, where they try to make themselves a bit of money collecting scrap metal and make the mistake of choosing the wrong house to break into. I personally like the hopelessly dysfunctional family I have described in this story and the sympathy I have tried to create for the brothers.
Of my longer pieces, I am most proud of my horror novel, The Return, which is being published by Blood Bound Books in August.
What is the hardest lesson you have learned with regards to your writing?
That less is more. This sounds obvious, but it’s been a hard one to learn.
What do you like to do to relax?
Reading, of course, watching films, going to the theatre, and gardening, though the British weather has cramped that quite a bit for the last couple of years. I would also like to get back into drawing.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
The last book I worked on was Goblin Mire, which I withdrew from Renaissance E Books and have completely rewritten, cutting over 10k words in the process. I’m aiming to have it republished early next year with a brand new cover by Joe Young. I’m pleased and surprised with how the rewrite worked out.
I’m now writing a serial killer novel called Redundant Flesh.
DAVID'S BOOKS ON AMAZON