Today’s victim is Stephen Bacon. Stephen was born in Nottinghamshire in 1971, although he has spent most of his life within the confines of South Yorkshire. His parents bought him a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he was nine years old, and from then on he was lost to the written word. A library card soon followed, and he tries hard not to feel guilty about lying to the librarian when she asked him if his parents knew he was taking out horror books.
His latest collection Peel Back The Sky, is a fantastic collection, stay tuned for my review of it in a few weeks.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I live in the UK with my wife and two sons. My short stories have been published in various areas of the small press including Black Static, The Willows, Shadows & Tall Trees, and Crimewave, and in the anthologies Murmurations, Where the Heart Is, The Black Books of Horror, The Horror Library Vol 2, The First Book of Classical Horror Stories and the final three editions of Nemonymous. My debut collection, Peel Back the Sky, was published by Gray Friar Press in August 2012 with an introduction by Nicholas Royle. I have a novella called Lantern Rock due to be published by Pendragon Press in 2013, and I’m proud to say I’ll be in one of the chapbooks from Spectral Press called The Allure of Oblivion further down the line.
By day I work in the office of a finance company, balancing the mundane aspects of the job with an opportunity to unleash my mental creativity. My co-workers might think I have a thousand-yard stare but I’m merely imagining scenarios in which they die horrible deaths. Just fictionally, you understand.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I totally don’t mind. I’m not the slightest bit bothered by genre labels. All three descriptions fit equally as good. However I tend to think Weird Fiction suits my reading preferences a little better – it suggests something not quite straightforward, maybe fiction that’s edgier or less conventional. I don’t like to read something that doesn’t surprise or challenge me.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Without naming any of my fellow writers in this anthology I’d list Ramsey Campbell, Kazuo Ishiguru, Joel Lane, Robert Bloch, Nina Allen, Michael Marshall Smith, Ian McEwan, Stephen King, Nicholas Royle, Patricia Highsmith, Conrad Williams, etc. I could go on all day with this!
Can you tell us anything about your story in the anthology?
It’s a fairly traditional horror tale. It’s about darkness and dampness and alienation and grief. Some of my fiction is about the darkness within humanity, how we cope in extreme situations. There isn’t always a supernatural element present. The story in this book isn’t that kind of story.
What is the first thing that pops into your mind when someone says South African horror?
England’s performance at the 2010 World Cup!
Seriously though, probably Joe Mynhardt. I’ve been fortunate enough to appear in a couple of anthologies with him. He’s a fine writer and a great bloke, and I think his attitude to the work is spot on.
Why did you decide to submit a story to this anthology?
Because of Ross Warren and Joe Mynhardt’s involvement. There are many examples in the small press of how to do things badly. I had a feeling that Crystal Lake Publishing were aiming instead to do things correct, to ensure that the end product would be as good as it could be. Ross has edited a couple of anthologies in which I’ve appeared and, again, I like the way he works. His enthusiasm for the genre is superb. I think it’s important to try to support the small presses, certainly the ones that strive to aim high.
And other than yourself who would you like to see open and close the anthology?
It doesn’t bother me where I appear. It’s just important to me that I do appear somewhere within the book, alongside some of the best writers out there. I don’t care which story opens and closes the anthology. That’s probably more important to the editor and publisher.
Could you recommend one of your own stories to the readers?
This is a tricky one. Like an insane parent, I hate all my children equally. Gun to head I’d say either my story from the Murmurations anthology called Husks, or Cuckoo Spit that was published in Black Static, or None So Blind which appeared in Shadows & Tall Trees. These three tales seem to signpost the way I’d like my writing to progress.
The Dark is coming! Call your friends over. You don't want to go through this alone. You will be taken back into the past, down to the depths of the ocean and across the borderline between our world and the next. You will see snapshots from the lives of small children, old-time cockney gangsters and aimless stoners. You will journey into the darkest house on the darkest street, wander hospital basements and take a flight in the comfort of first class. You will meet Mr Stix. This tome includes stories by some of the best horror writers around: G. N. Braun, Carole Johnstone, Armand Rosamilia, Daniel I. Russell, Scott Nicholson, Gary McMahon, Joe Mynhardt, Kevin Lucia, Tracie McBride, Stephen Bacon, Benedict J. Jones, Blaze McRob, John Claude Smith, Tonia Brown, Mark West, Robert W. Walker, Jeremy C. Shipp, Jasper Bark, William Meikle and Ray Cluley. Are you scared of the dark? You will be.
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