Ginger Nuts of Horror
Is a writer from Nottingham, England- most of what he writes is dark, supernatural fiction, although not necessarily 'horror' in the blood and guts sense. His main influences are writers like Ramsey Campbell, Shirley Jackson, and Robert Aickman. He enjoys the unexplained, the psychological, and the ambiguous in his weird fiction. He thinks a lot of the best such fiction has been done in the short story form (although that's not to say he won't be trying a novel at some point...)
James Everington's latest collection, Falling Over, is published by Infinity Plus and is out now. Ten stories of unease, fear and the weird.
"Good writing gives off fumes, the sort that induce dark visions, and Everington’s elegant, sophisticated prose is a potent brew. Imbibe at your own risk." - Robert Dunbar, author of The Pines and Martyrs & Monsters.
He drinks Guinness, if anyone's offering.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I'm James Everington, I'm a writer from Nottingham in England, where I've lived all my life apart from three years in Oxford. I live with my wife and a black cat who is at this very moment pestering me for food.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Weird fiction, because in the literal sense it's the most accurate - my stories are weird. And I think you can be weird and creepy and atmospheric without necessarily writing 'horror'. Although most of what I write shelters under that umbrella too. I don't get too hung up on genre distinctions and categorisation, to be honest.
(I actual wanted to answer this question with Robert Aickman's term "strange stories" but I guess that would be cheating!)
Who are some of your favourite authors?
This is so hard to answer, but my 'holy trinity' of big name horror authors would be Robert Aickman, Shirley Jackson, and Ramsey Campbell. But there's also T.E.D. Klein, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Blackwood, Kafka...
Of the authors I've discovered in the last few years, the best horror stuff has been from S.P. Miskowski, Gary McMahon, Iain Rowan, Robert Dunbar, Adam Golaski, Simon Bestwick, Cate Gardner, Alan Ryker and a whole ton more.
And I've not even mentioned the non-horror authors but Samuel Beckett and DH Lawrence and Kate Atkinson and...
I'll shut up now. As you can tell, I'm real fun to sit next to at parties/on long train journeys.
What are you reading now?
Astoria by S.P. Miskowski, which is a novella featuring some of the same characters as her novel Knock Knock. I think she's an excellent writer and, possibly, this is her best work yet. Oh, and I'm also reading a book about Greek mythology.
Which book do you wish you had written?
I'm not sure wanting to have written another author's book is entirely healthy for a writer, but I will say that the first paragraph of The Haunting Of Hill House is as close to perfection as we can get in this world. I wish I'd written that, so that I wouldn't be consumed with envy every time I read it.
If you could use any other author’s creation in your own work, who or what would you use?
The house from Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves. If you've read it, you'll know why. If you haven't and you're a horror fan, you really need to evaluate your life choices up until this point.
Describe typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Well, there's no typical day writing unfortunately, because of work and life and all that jazz. It's a case of grabbing the time when I can. Not that I'm complaining; I think this true for most writers when they're starting out. If you want to write, you write, regardless of what life chucks at you.
When I start a story, I always write the first draft longhand on a notepad - I work a lot quicker that way. And I like the fact that, when I come to subsequent drafts on the word processor, it forces me to retype, to re-think, every word choice, every sentence. There's a good discipline in that.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I think the title story of my collection Falling Over contains some of my best writing, and when I finished writing it I felt like it achieved most of what I set out to achieve, which isn't always the case.
But what do I know; when the last book came out the story that I ummed and ahhed about including turned out to be most people's favourite.
What is the hardest lesson you have learned with regards to your writing?
That although I read a wide range of books, the range of what I can write is far smaller. I've got a whole folder full of failed attempts at modern literary novels, fantasy stuff, poems even. And it's all dire. Horror/weird fiction is what I can do - and fortunately I think the genre is broad and flexible enough to spend a lifetime exploring.
What do you like to do to relax?
Making curries. Eating curries. Drinking beer after making a too hot curry. And the usual stuff: watching films and plays, reading books, Playstation blah blah. Nothing very interesting, probably!
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My collection of short stories, Falling Over, came out from Infinity Plus a few weeks ago. The stories in it were all written separately, but as I was putting it together I noticed a lot of connections, which the title story seems to encapsulate to me: dopplegangers, unease about the future, guilt and doubt. There's a creepy hotel in one story, some damn creepy kids in another, and figures seen out of the corner of the eye that may or may not be there...
I'm currently working on a novella called Other People's Ghosts. It's my take on the poltergeist theme, and especially the idea that these 'noisy spirits' are in fact manifestations of peoples' inner turmoil and stress. I'm really enjoying writing it, because it's a great way to explore my characters' hope and dreams, but also to have some big scary set-pieces in it too.