Ginger Nuts of Horror
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m the sort of person who’d rather be alone with the contents of his own imagination than in a room full of people.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I prefer the term Weird Fiction. In my mind ‘horror’ is a very broad term, but most people have very narrow ideas about it. I get so tired of hearing people say: “This isn’t horror! It isn’t scary!” Now I’m a Weird Fiction writer. I absolutely hate the term Dark Fiction. If you look at someone like Ray Bradbury, what was he? A horror writer? Sci-fi? One of his stories is about a man who meets Picasso on a beach. What’s ‘horror’ about that? I think he just wrote whatever popped into his head, regardless of genre, and that’s what I want to do. But people get so obsessed with how you ‘fit’.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Tove Jansson, Mervyn Peake, Iris Murdoch, Alice Munro, Ray Bradbury. Mainly women for some weird reason.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading a lot of short stories because I have two very young children and I haven’t been able to finish a novel in about two years. Jeffrey Ford, Alice Munro, Joe R Lansdale, Ray Bradbury – all great short fiction writers.
How would you describe your writing style?
Descriptive, vivid prose, but very pared down. I started out wanting to write like Mervyn Peake and Angela Carter – very descriptive, kind-of flowery prose – but then I realised I hadn’t the talent for it and now anything that doesn’t need to be there goes.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
It’s a case of writing whenever I can fit it in. I plan days in my head so I can grab a couple of hours writing. That’s the only way to do it if you have other commitments. It doesn’t always work out, but I’ve found now that I can write more or less anywhere. Before I had to sit down at my desk and ‘get in the zone.’ Now ‘the zone’ is wherever I can find it.
What’s your favourite food?
The Spanish do a great bean casserole.
What’s your favourite album?
I’ve been listening to ‘Appetite For Destruction’ by Guns’ n’ Roses since I was 14 and it never gets old. That, or ‘And She Closed Her Eyes’ by Stina Nordenstam just to show I have a sensitive side.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Rejection makes you a better writer. At first you think: “How dare they reject my work of genius that I poured my heart and soul into!” Then, after a while, you think: “What’s wrong with this piece and how can I fix it?” You have to learn to take the blows, but also trust in your own judgement. That’s a difficult balance. Editors aren’t always right.
Fame and fortune, or respect?
Right now I’ll take fame and fortune.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
A story called ‘Three Winters’. It’s the story that I always wanted to write, almost to the point where I don’t need to write anything else ever again. Job done.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
It was a collection of short stories called ‘The Lucky Penny and other stories’ which I somehow managed to write whilst my oldest daughter was still a baby. The next book will be another collection called ‘From Elsewhere’. I’m also making hesitant plans for longer works.
Tim Jeffreys is originally from Manchester, UK. He started producing short stories whilst enrolled on a Graphic Arts & Design course at Leeds Metropolitan University in the late 1990s. Encouraged by his tutor, he set aside thoughts of becoming an illustrator (or perhaps an animated film-maker, he wasn't sure at this point) and decided he wanted to write. The growing number of supporters for his writing, if not his bank balance, assure him that he made the right decision. His short fiction has since appeared both on-line in ezines, aswell as in print anthologies and magazines.
In his work he incorporates elements of horror, fantasy, absurdist humour, science-fiction and anything else he wants to toss into the pot to create his own brand of weird fiction. Visit him online at www.timjeffreyswriter.webs.com.