Award-winning author and graduate of Northwestern University, ROBERT W. WALKER created his highly acclaimed INSTINCT and EDGE SERIES between 1982 and 2005. Rob since then has penned his award-winning historical series featuring Inspector Alastair Ransom with CITY FOR RANSOM (2006), SHADOWS IN THE WHITE CITY (2007), and CITY OF THE ABSENT (2008), and most recently placed Ransom on board the Titanic in a hyrid historical/science fiction epic entitled Titanic 2012 – Curse of RMS Titanic.
The original Ransom trilogy straddles the Chicago World’s Fair circa 1893, and has had enthusiastic reviews from Chicago historians and the Chicago Tribune, which likened “the witticism to Mark Twain, the social consciousness to Dickens, and the ghoulish atmosphere to Poe!”
Rob has since published DEAD ON, a PI’s tale of revenge as a reason to live—a noir set in modern day Atlanta, followed more recently by Bismarck 2013, an historical horror title, The Edge of Instinct, the 12th Instinct Series, and a short story collection entitled Party of Eight – the one that got away.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Chicago as a misplaced Mississipian, so have always been aware of the famous Chicago tradition of writing – sparse and journalistic and unapologetic – and the Southern tradition in the U.S. represented by William Faulkner of Oxford, Mississippi which is a free-flowing, near serpentine and flowery style. Meshing the two and learning from the long, long list of authors I have admired and read has eventually created my unique style. I am a professor of English and have always taught to support the ‘habit’ – that of having to write!
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I think there is room for all three terms and paranormal and occult and ‘burnt offerings’. Am I dodging the question? Yes and no. In today’s eBook publishing, to market well, you want to call your horror all three so as to be found on search engines everywhere! HA!
Who are some of your favourite authors?
The list is endless; there are so many I love. Martin Cruz Smith to Dean R. Koontz, much of Stephen King, recently Steve Saville, Joe Konrath, Ken Bruen, Pat Mullan, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, all of the classics from Hawthorne, Doyle, Dickens, Dumas to Mark Twain, and of course the bard himself, Shakespeare. I love Jack London and John Steinbeck. In a word the great storytellers.
Can you tell us anything about your story in the anthology?
It is an original written specifically for the anthology, and I had great fun writing it as I love a challenge. When others ask if you can fashion a story to an anthology theme, well now that is a challenge to rise to and can be fun…which it was! Besides I love doing horror as a respite from crime novels.
What is the first thing that pops into your mind when someone says South African horror?
Horror spans the globe, and I should not be surprised that the only genre of fiction named for an emotion –horror—should be growing in South Africa. But I did do a double-take as there is a Crystal Lake, Illinois…so when I got the invite, safe to say I was surprised.
Why did you decide to submit a story to this anthology?
I was invited in, and I do dark stories; it was a no-brainer as they say.
And other than yourself who would you like to see open and close the anthology?
Mark Twain if only. I hesitate to answer this. Authors should not be in competition to that degree.
Could you recommend one of your own stories to the readers?
I have most recently published eight short stories in a collection called Thriller Party of 8 – the one that got away or my latest Instinct title #12 – The Edge of Instinct, a novel.
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.