Today's participant in this in going series of horror author interviews, is the writer Paul L. Bates.
Paul writes dark fiction, both short and long form. His work often crosses genre boundaries or ignores them altogether. Ever mindful of the surging wall of venal vacuity threatening to numb all our minds, crush all our spirits, his offerings, including the novels Imprint and Dreamer are available from independent presses of similar concern.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Yes, I could. And will. See below.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Es macht nichts. However “Dark Fiction” has a more credible ring if one fancies oneself a writer first and a follower of fashion not at all.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Ligotti, Lovecraft, Borges, Kafka…
What are you reading now?
Your questionnaire. Later this afternoon I have several books awaiting my attention. These include, The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castaneda, Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, Between Man and Beast by Monte Reel and Tao Teh Ching attributed to Lao Tzu. It is a mix of first reads and re-reads.
How would you describe your writing style?
Spontaneous composition; endless revisions; and a quest for inspiration.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I rarely spend more than a few hours writing at one sitting, sometimes repeatedly over the course of a single day, sometimes for weeks or months on end, sometimes not for months at a time. Writing can be a need, a source of income, a delusion or an obsession—but never a habit.
What’s your favourite food?
It varies. Almost anything in excess becomes tedious quickly. But Gulab Jamun ranks high on my long list of favourites.
What’s your favourite album?
That varies, as well. I have at least a thousand albums to which I still listen, and perhaps as many more gathering dust. My most recent acquisitions, appropriately enough, include “Land of a Thousand Trances” by A. Produce and “Seasons of Your Day” by Mazzy Star.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
That one must separate the need to write from the art of getting published; unless, of course, one is content to become a hack.
Fame and fortune, or respect?
Fortune makes all things possible in the silly world of men. Respect is the only demand of nature. Fame is illusory and fleeting, a source of dependency that attracts sycophants. Rarely, if ever, is it wise to chose any give either/or.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
That varies—what else? My novel Imprint brought me most of the three tantalizers you have itemized above, and it was a labour of love. On the other hand the short fiction, “St. Mollusks” which appears in the West Pigeon Press anthology, For When the Veil Drops was actually composed in a dream and transcribed shortly thereafter marking a major breakthrough in my writing process as well as my dealing with the death of my wife.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
The last “book” I wrote was a novella about an unusual police detective in a strange possible future under great pressure to solve a seeming impossible as well as ultra violent crime wave for which there was no real solution (because there was no real crime) and said non-solution will only serve to escalate the inevitable wave itself.
I am writing mostly short fiction at the moment—deep, dark, brooding, and occasionally humorous—a ménage de trois between personal history, social commentary and dreams. Please feel free to read “Uncle Frank’s Emporium of Oddities” due out the end of this month in Dying to Live from Diabolic Publications to see exactly what I mean.
Thank you for your efforts at promoting all of us struggling with our demons in this odd little world of dark fiction. Your kindness is appreciated.
Paul L. Bates
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