J.G Clay was born to write horror. He came into the world on the 31st October, 1973. To those of you who have no idea what that mean, 31st October is famously, (or infamously depending on your take on things), known as Halloween night, the night when thing go bump in the dark, the dead wander about a bit, children get lots of sweets, and Michael Myers come home to slaughter a load of promiscuous teens. To add more fun into the mix, it was also a full moon that night. Karma was definitely calling him to the horror path.
A keen sci-fi fan as a child, in the days when "Doctor Who" was most definitely uncool, and reading 'Judge Dredd' was seen as a bit odd. J.G discovered the dark delights of Stephen King, Clive Barker, James Herbert and Ramsay Campbell, writers who he still hero worships to this day. Throw liberal parents into the mix who allowed him to watch the horror greats of the Seventies and Eighties from the pioneers of brilliant cinematic horror such as John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Dario Argento and the brilliantly disturbed and slightly disgusting Lucio Fulci and you have a cocktail for either a psychopath, or an author who knows how to play in the Dark.
J.G takes his influences firmly by the throat, throws in a bit of the sci-fi that he loves, memories and themes of growing up in in the UK as the son of immigrants, pop culture references drawn from his four decades of existence, and churns this toxic brew up to produce a cinematic stylish horror that leaps from the page, grabs you by the face and injects you with chills, thrills and a few laughs along the way. Personality wise, J.G is a curious sort. He's a genial chap with a Scorpio edge. Imagine if you will the intellectual bent of Stephen King, crossed with the maverick edge of John Carpenter, then gently mix in the brash no nonsense confidence of Noel Gallagher, coupled with the humbleness of an ordinary working class British lad, and you have Clay.
This man has the ideas, the tools and the talent and he aims to be around for a long time yet. The Clay will not go away.
Away from the Dark Side and in his real form as Pardip Basra, Clay is a family man living in a small town in the heart of England. He is music mad, a halfway decent bass player and all round nice guy, although he can have stereotypical Scorpio moments. He is an avid fan of football and supports Birmingham City Football Club, as well as his local side, Kettering Town FC.
He is also a loving devotee of spicy food, nice beer, and ice cream. He dislikes politicians, bigots, fascists, religious lunatics, spiders, slugs and cucumbers.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Hello. This is the difficult. I’m Pardip Basra aka J.G Clay, the new wanna-be sheriff in Horrorburg. I’m a 40 year old with the sense of humour of a 12 year old, but ultra-serious about my writing. I’m a normal British guy with an overactive imagination and a passion for horror and sci-fi, basically.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Reading horror, watching films (not exclusively horror), playing the bass guitar. I’m music mad with a very eclectic taste in tunes and pretty strong views on what constitutes a good tune.
What’s your favourite food?
Curry without a doubt. I’m of Indian descent, so the hotter the better.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story? And Madness
The Sex Pistols, The Jam, New Order, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Nirvana, Iron Maiden, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Specials
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
This is a difficult one. They’re all great descriptive terms and my work could fit under any one of them. If I had a gun to my head, it’d have to be horror.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
This may seem like a stock answer, but it would have to be Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ramsay Campbell and the late great James Herbert. These are the authors whose work I’ve followed almost religiously since I was a youngster. They’re like the Elder Gods of Horror, unbeatable and scary, but minus the tentacles and weird powers
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
These two still induce a chill to this day. Novel wise, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. Everything about that book still impresses me. The characterisations, the town and its surroundings, the gradual build-up of menace leading to a finale that I personally think King has never quite topped. Perfect in every way, and to this day, that book has ensured that I never sleep facing a window.
On the film front, John Carpenter’s The Thing. To a goggle-eyed 10 year old, this film was mind blowing and unbelievably frightening. To the slightly more cynical and world-wise 40 year old, The Thing is a master-class in body horror, paranoia using an isolated setting to maximum effect. Often imitated (funnily enough), but never bettered.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
Hearing a bloody noise outside and going to investigate. How many teenagers have gone to their deaths in slashers because of that cliché?And all this, after being warned by the town drunk/fat-ass cop/weird ju-ju man about the series of deaths and/or the escaped lunatic.
If you die from that cliché, you deserve it.
Which fictional character would be you perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
Doctor Who - any one of the 12 Time Lords. Imagine that; a neighbour who could travel through Time and Space. Surely, there can be nothing cooler than that.
Nightmare neighbour? I’d have to say Michael Myers. Mr Unsociable, slightly grumpy and probably wouldn’t invite me to the pub with him because of his aloof arrogance.
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
It’s in a strange state at the moment. Film-wise, I think horror’s suffered the most because of the ‘remake syndrome’. There’s a few films that have pushed the envelope in terms of shocks, but no one has really done anything imaginative for a little while. It’s like there’s been a collective loss of bottle on the film front.
Literature-wise, the genre’s holding up quite well. There’s a lot of good writers still doing it out there, new and old. Written horror’s definitely keeping the flame alive.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
The last great book I read was The Phoenix Project by a new writer called D.M Cain. It’s a powerful dystopian nightmare set in a Britain in the near future where the Government has hit on a new way of keeping the masses entertained and the prison population down by making inmates fight each other. The matches are televised and the successful fighters become stars in their own right even though they’re prisoners. It’s a well-paced, well written debut with a good premise and a main character that you can root for.
The biggest disappointment for me would have to be John Skipp and Craig Spector’s The Light at the End. I always remember reading about it and hearing so many great things but never being able to get hold of a copy. I got it recently and it just didn’t grab me. There was something about it that just felt a bit flat. Having said that though, Animals by the same authors is a class read.
How would you describe your writing style?
Hmm, ok. Overtones of King, Undertones of Barker and a big thick strand of Clay holding it all together. Its character and situation driven horror that’s gory but not sickeningly so. The brutality is also there, but balanced with a sly dark humour mixed in with pop culture and a wee bit of social commentary.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
I’ve been told in one review that sometime my own personality intrudes a little into the stories I write. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, to be honest. What do you reckon?
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
That initial blank screen when I first sit down to write something new. IT’s perhaps one of the most terrifying things I face as a writer, and something that I have to work really hard to grind out. After that, it becomes easier.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Rape and child molestation. Taboo subjects and properly off limits. My aim is to scare, not shock and disgust in a nasty way. If other writers want to do it, that’s their business, but it’s definitely not for me.
If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?
Big Jim Rennie from Stephen King’s Under the Dome-skinned alive and dipped into a bath of salt. Why? Because the guy’s an utter douchebag.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characterisation. If the characters are flat and lifeless, the story doesn’t get finished, whether I’m writing it or reading it.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Names are very important. I think they should convey something about the character. Having said that I do normally choose names that sound good or interesting and worry about the meaning later.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’m still evolving like some weird author type science experiment. No, seriously, I’ve become a lot more confident and daring in the choice I make as a writer. I’m more inclined to take risks now.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A good imagination, an enormous vocabulary, a passion for reading, patience and the hide of rhinoceros.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Never give up. There’s been times that I’ve just felt like throwing my hands up, smashing my laptop to pieces and walking away from it all and go back to being in a every day job. In those moments, that’s the bit of advice that rears up in my subconscious and gets me back into it.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
So far, I’ve done the bulk of my marketing on my website, Twitter, Facebook, Tumlbr and Amazon. The marketing side is one hell of a steep learning curve and I’ve only just started to look at things like this interview, and the fantastic Ginger Nuts of Horror sit, but it’s an avenue that I’m going to explore in more detail. I’ve got one radio interview under my belt which was a lot of fun and I hope to do more.
I’m open to all suggestions marketing wise though, so if anyone’s got any tips, throw them my way.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
The unnamed character from the first story in ‘Tales of Blood and Sulphur’. The story is called ‘On The Beach’. He’s a character who I really enjoyed writing, and he’s got that flawed hero aspect to him that appeals to me.
How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
The lead character from ‘God Bless George A Romero’ in the same collection. He may be trying to survive, but he’s a bit of an objectionable border-line alcoholic. He’s got a lot of my own darker traits as well, so reading him feels like looking in a mirror, darkly.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
I wouldn’t mind all three, but fortune and respect will do.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
My next book ‘Caarnival of Monsters’. It’s a definite progression from ‘Tales..’ and it shows in the quality of the stories and the writing.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
Everything I wrote between the ages of 13 to 18
For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
Well there’s only one at the minute, so that’s a difficult one to answer. Ask me again in about a year’s time.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
‘Tales of Blood and Sulphur’ is a collection of seven twisted tales that takes you around the world on a dark and sometimes bitter journey. It puts ordinary everyday people in fantastical, horrific situations and lets them loose.
‘Caarnival of Monsters’, my next book is a kind of short story anthology, but the stories are more linked and there’s a back story that comes to the fore as the book progresses. It’s set in a shattered future, not too dissimilar to our own but a world you wouldn’t want to live in. That’s all I’ll say for the moment
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
Would you want to be the next ‘Doctor Who’?
My answer? HELL YES!!
Find out more about J.G. Clay by following the links below
‘This contains some good intriguing stories that will leave you wanting more.’
‘This book of short horror stories is both chilling and entertaining. Whether blood and guts, eerie and mysterious or downright psychologically horrifying, this guy can weave a truly mesmerising scene that leaves the reader desperate for more.’
‘Tales of blood and sulphur is a great collection of stories.’
What happens when ordinary everyday people come face to face with the slithering, gibbering things that exist in the periphery of our vision? What happens when the future, far from being bright, is a dystopian nightmare where an all-powerful Church reduces the ordinary man in the street to walking organ banks? When, in the midst of human barbarity, a force more powerful than any human stalks it’s equally powerful prey? What happens when the Gods themselves turn sour, bitter and unforgiving?
From the tropical idyll of a beach to the back streets of Mumbai and beyond, Tales of Blood and Sulphur grips by the arm with a skeletal grip and takes you to places where sanity is stretched to breaking point, where survival is not assured and where the monsters appear in our world in the blink of an eye.
The blood runs wet, the sulphur still burns, the Tales are ready to be unleashed!
The exciting debut from J.G Clay…Tales of Blood and Sulphur