Category: Interviews

Horror Tree presents … An Interview with Christopher Stanley

England author Christopher Stanley is a masterful writer of horror flash fiction. His latest book, The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales, is an exceptional collection of stories exploring the darkness of humanity. Released on June 1 by The Arcanist Press, The Lamppost Huggers received rave reviews from other talented authors in the genre.

Despite the whimsical title, The Lamppost Huggers is a skin-crawling exercise in creeping dread, with a pitch-perfect denouement you won’t see coming,” wrote Kealan Patrick Burke, the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Kin and Sour Candy.”

Stephanie Ellis, author of Bottled, agreed.

“Christopher Stanley captures the darkness of the soul and refuses to let it go,” Ellis wrote. “Atmospheric and chilling, this is a true master class in the art of flash.”

The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales features 26 bite-size tales of dread and horror. I had to ask: Why did “The Lamppost Huggers” receive top billing?

I can’t remember when I first started thinking about putting out a collection, but I do remember that ‘The Lamppost Huggers’ wasn’t going to be the title story,” Stanley said in an exclusive interview with The Horror Tree. “Originally, I favoured ‘And the World Roared Back,’ and I still think that would be a good representation of the table of contents. ‘The Lamppost Huggers’ took the top billing purely because of the response the story received when it was first published. Something about it really seemed to capture readers’ imaginations. It’s also quite an unusual title. Kealan Patrick Burke described it as ‘whimsical’ and I think he’s right – it doesn’t seem dangerous, just unsettling. And I like that.”

Stanley cites American author Don DeLillo as a likely influence on his work.

“Some of my favourite stories in the collection present two different perspectives — a wide-angle view of the world and a close-up of the central characters. I find this works well because it conveys the enormity of the threat and the vulnerability of those trying to survive. It’s not something I’ve done consciously, but I suspect it’s the result of having read many of Don DeLillo’s novels, including White Noise, Underworld, and Mao II. DeLillo’s ability to step back from his characters and show us the world they live in is frequently breath-taking.”

Stanley embraced flash fiction for practical reasons.

“Flash fiction has been good to me in many, many ways,” Stanley said. “After the twins were born, my window of opportunity to write shrunk down to maybe half an hour a day – not enough for longer form stories but perfect for flash. I can write a rough draft in half an hour and have it edited by the end of the week. Flash fiction was a way for me to keep writing amidst the chaos. I’ve made lots of friends through flash fiction, and we’re spoiled for flash fiction events in Bristol, which has been home to the UK National Flash Fiction Day celebrations and the amazing UK Flash Fiction Festival. My hope is there’s a growing appreciation for the power and potential of flash fiction, and that it will continue to grow in popularity.”

Stanley said the horror genre fits his style.

“I’ve been a fan of the horror genre for more years than I’d care to admit, but I’ve never found it easy to write and I’m in awe of people who do it well,” Stanley said. “I have a preference for stories set in a familiar world with recognisable characters, and I like writing stories where anything might happen — where there’s a real sense of urgency and danger. For these reasons, horror is the perfect genre for me.”

The opener in The Lamppost Huggers and Other Wretched Tales is titled “Norfolk.” It’s a particularly dark yet brutally honest tale from the father’s perspective. The father blames the birth of his son for an aborted writing career. These two sentences stuck with me: “In my dreams, the spirits of the dead crawl from the water to steal Eddie away, their fleshless fingers prising him from my grasp. I’m glad they’re taking him but I’m compelled to ask why.”

I asked Stanley, who’s a father of three boys, if it’s difficult to write such dark confessions of the soul, even though it’s a fictional character’s soul?

“After my eldest was born, I found it impossible to write stories that didn’t feature children,” Stanley said. “That’s how much my life changed. And it was definitely for the better.  The funny thing about ‘Norfolk’ is that so much of that story is true. Not the ending (thankfully), and obviously not the unsavoury relationship between the father and the son. But after the twins were born, my eldest and I used to drive up to Norfolk the night before to get the bungalow ready for the rest of the family, and I used to love it. He was just about old enough to sit in the front with me and he was really great company. Maybe not so much when he clawed my face in the middle of the night, but it was really dark and he couldn’t see what he was doing.”

In April 2019, Demain Publishing released Stanley’s debut standalone novelette The Forest is Hungry for its series Short Sharp Shocks! It’s another creepy tale, this time about a father trying to save his sick daughter.

“I was so happy when Demain Publishing agreed to publish my horror novelette, The Forest is Hungry,” Stanley said. “It was my first standalone publication and also the longest story I’d published. As someone whose success has been almost exclusively in the world of flash fiction, the response to Forest has been enormously encouraging. I’d recommend Short Sharp Shocks! to anyone looking for chills and thrills that can be consumed in one sitting. They’re a lot of fun, and I’m proud to be a part of the series.”

In addition to flash fiction, Stanley also writes music.

“I’d just started work on my third album when we entered lockdown,” Stanley said. “It’s a thrilling hobby – so much collaboration and energy. I recorded my first album, Americana, almost by accident after I was made redundant around eight years ago. I’d only planned to record one song, but I was blown away by all the wonderful local musicians who were happy to join me in the studio and we just kept going. My second album, Canyonlands, was more polished, mostly because I used the same band and studio throughout. It’s too soon to say how my new album, The Gathering Days, will turn out, but I’m very excited about the songs we’ve already recorded and can’t wait to get back in the studio.”

Speaking of the lockdown, Stanley said he misses his commute to work.

“I do believe I’ve been one of the lucky ones throughout the lockdown,” Stanley said. “My wife and I still have our jobs (for now), and our three kids are (mostly) terrific. Not that it’s been easy. Juggling my job with home-schooling, while my wife works at the hospital, has been exhausting. My study — where I write — has become my office and, sometimes, my bolt hole. It doesn’t feel the same anymore and I haven’t figured out how to fix it yet. I think the thing that’s surprised me the most is how much I’ve missed my daily commute – an hour, twice a day, when I’m alone with my thoughts, was something I’d taken for granted.”

The Horror Tree is a resource for authors, so I asked Stanley if he had a writing tip.

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“If you want to be a better writer, join a writers’ group,” Stanley said. “Find readers who will give you honest feedback, even if they wouldn’t normally read or write something in your chosen genre. Treasure that feedback. Learn from it. I’ve been amazed at how many people have been prepared to give up their time to help me become a better writer. I’d be nowhere without it.”

What’s next for Stanley? We could see the flash fiction master write a full-fledged novel … maybe.

“I feel clichéd saying it, but I’ve just started writing a novel,” Stanley said. “I really have. And I’m going to do my best to finish it before the Doomsday clock ticks around to midnight and we all succumb to whichever of the four horsemen arrives first. But I’m not promising anything. Recently, I’ve also had a mini-collection accepted by Demain Publishing. That’s all I can say about this one at the moment, except that there’ll be announcement in due course and I’m very excited about it.”

LINK:

https://christopherstanleyauthor.com/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08747237B/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forest-Hungry-Short-Sharp-Shocks/dp/B084WKLT9X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1590087070&sr=1-1

The Horror Tree Presents: An Interview with Diane Turnshek

Interview with Diane Turnshek, Co-Editor of  Triangulation: Extinction

Published by Parsec Ink.

By Angelique Fawns

 

Triangulation: Extinction is a speculative fiction anthology due to be released at the end of July. How does our world changes every time we lose a species? Fantasy, science-fiction and horror authors craft tales of imposing threats, remarkable creatures, and the heroes who fight for them.

 

Parsec Ink produces an annual anthology that wrestles with some profound themes. Last year’s issue Triangulation: Dark Skies explored light pollution. 


Diane Turnshek is no stranger to the world of writing and science fiction and is co-editing this year’s edition with Isaac N. Payne.  She credits him with the idea of exploiting extinction in this year’s anthology. We talked a bit about Diane’s background in science and the challenges of publishing in today’s environment. 

 

Angelique: Tell us about your background and day job. 

 

Diane: I wanted to be an astronomer ever since I was seven. It’s amazing that I actually achieved that goal. I’m a faculty member in the Physics Department at Carnegie Mellon University. I have a couple dozen research papers published, mostly about cool temperature stars. But observational astronomy is not something one can easily do with four children, so I stayed home raising them for decades  — and wrote science fiction. 

 

Angelique: What kind of writing do you do yourself?

 

Diane: My first penned story sold to Analog Magazine of Science Fiction and Fact in 1999. The next stories that sold to that market showed me what kind of writer I am. I’ve tried many things, but at the core, I write scientifically accurate short stories. 

 

Angelique: Do you believe in alien life?

 

Diane: Almost all astronomers believe in alien life, but out there, not here on Earth. Space is vast. Hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy and hundreds of billions of galaxies? It’s presumptuous to think we’re the only life that’s ever arisen in billions of years. It’s also, simultaneously, ego-centric to think that Earth is a tourist attraction for aliens. If a flying saucer landed in Times Square tomorrow and alien-looking creatures stepped out, it is overwhelmingly more likely to be a hoax, perpetrated by humans, than any cosmic voyagers. Intelligent species have probably evolved millions of years offset in time from our eager-to-communicate species. We may someday find them, waiting patiently to be discovered in the gravitational fields of black holes where time runs slower. 

 

Angelique: What was the inspiration behind Parsec Ink?

 

Diane: I founded Parsec Ink’s Triangulation anthology series in 2003. At the time, I was a new writer with a few pro sales and a swelled head. Barely on the first rung of the ladder to success, I thought I could help other local writers by giving them turns at playing editor. Once you read hundreds of submissions, you see quite clearly what not to do in your own writing. The anthology also provided another paying market for new talent. This summer, we’ll publish our 17th anthology in the series, which includes ten different editors along the way.  

 

Angelique: How has your publishing business evolved?

 

Diane: I took the anthology editing position back last year. I changed the format to be about world-scale issues that needed to have more light shed on them — stories as creative visions to entertain and educate the public. Triangulation: Dark Skies, in 2019, was about light pollution, the unnecessary, unwanted artificial light at night that robs our view of the stars and adversely affects plants and animals, including humans. Triangulation: Extinction, for 2020, is about anthropogenic species extinction. Studies now show that if we continue on this course, climate disruption will send 7.9% of all species on Earth into extinction in the near future. Think up twelve animal types. Now pick one to willingly throw into the dustbin! We receive hundreds of submissions a year, but thousands of writers read our guidelines. That in itself educates a lot of people to a specific problem in the world. Hopefully, book sales will make even more people think. 

 

Angelique: How does your publishing company turn a profit, if it does?

 

Diane: Parsec Ink is a branch of Parsec, Inc, a non-profit, charitable, literary, 501c3 organization. Parsec has been around for over 35 years and is well-established as the premier speculative fiction organization in Western Pennsylvania. The other branches are the monthly meeting group, summer conference (http://parsec-sff.org/confluence/), an author lecture series I started at CMU (http://parsec-sff.org/blog/category/lectures/) and a workshop I started in 2002 (Alpha, the SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers https://alphawritersworkshop.org/). Each branch has their own funding structure and supports the others, for instance, the current editorial staff of Triangulation (20 people) is mostly made up of my former Alpha students. Because of this educational component of the Triangulation anthology, we have received a grant from SFWA. Last year, we also received a grant from Metro21 at CMU whose mission statement is making life better for people who live in cities using technology. Metro21 funders felt the educational value of an anthology that deals with light pollution was worthy of their contribution. We also sell the books at a price that’s set to cover other costs. The editorial staff is all volunteer, but we pay the authors and artists. What helps is our large fan base, going back many years. 


Angelique: What sort of stories and/or writing are you typically looking for?

 

Diane: It was interesting to see each person’s individual likes and dislikes fall out of the comments section on the Submittable site. Some swoon over prose that borders on purple. Some go for action-packed stories. I like stories that are scientifically accurate and closely tied to the theme. A couple of us are partial to stories with cute animals and babies. I won’t include stories with rape or suicide. Isaac insists on consistent, logical plotting. Everyone loves stories with proactive characters, a strong voice and hard choices. I like subtlety in stories where the reader is dragged in because they have little idea of what’s happening at first — an absorbing mystery to be solved. Most of the editorial staff members hold creativity above all else. I hope readers will see that we listened to everyone on staff and have all sorts of stories in the mix. 

 

Angelique: What is really exciting you in the publishing field currently?

 

Diane: Young voices. Their idealized worlds carry none of the societal baggage the rest of us may unwittingly bring to the page. I wish somewhere there was a list of stories and books in the speculative fiction field written by young people. (I’m not talking about YA, not books written for young adults but by young adults.) Magazine editors know some authors are too young to sign contracts on their own and have to get their parents to sign. Example: Osahon Ize-lyamu https://africanstreetliterature.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/interview-with-nigerian-speculative-fiction-writer-osahon-ize-iyamu/

 

Angelique: How is the current pandemic affecting you and your company?

 

Diane: I’ve heard of pizza and beer parties where submissions are read on paper, then thrown into the fire if someone doesn’t like them, but that’s never been us. We had an in-person editorial staff meeting on March 14th. That was the last time many of us met with anyone outside our own families. That meeting was just to boost our connectivity, since everything is done online anyway. Our group members are mostly spread around the world in different time zones.

 

Angelique: What are your plans for your press in the future?

 

Diane: I’ve been so focused on getting this edition out the door in July that I haven’t really thought about it. We’ll probably be needing a new editor to step forward and pick a theme. The team is waiting for someone with extra time in their schedule, dedication and inspiration . . . know anyone? 

An Interview with Beautiful, Frightening, Silent author Jennifer A. Gordon

Recently, Horror Tree contributor Jason Ivey conducted an interview with the multi-talented artist/author/ballroom dancer Jennifer Anne Gordon, whose debut novel is the paranormal drama/thriller Beautiful, Frightening, Silent.

HORROR TREE: Would you mind telling our readers more about yourself?

JENNIFER A. GORDON: My name is Jennifer Gordon, my “day job” is that I am a professional ballroom dancer, performer, and instructor. Before Covid-19 I was teaching and performing full time. My fiancé (and dance partner) and I live in New Hampshire. I am a big traveler and adore taking photos of abandoned places and haunted locations. I’ve got a little dog named Lord Tubby, and a giant cat named Fat Jimmy. For years I made my living as a mixed media artist and painter as well.

HT: Beautiful, Frightening, Silent is a dark, yet poetic tale that deals with loss, guilt, and closure. Without being too personal, what inspired you to tell this particular story?

JAG: This story has been poking around in my head for about 15 years or so. It started as the simple story of what happens if someone gets away with murder yet in turn spends their life haunted by that ghost. That is still a part of this story, of course, but I found as I was writing the book my main character Adam (who was always supposed to be a supporting character) took over. His story of grief and loss became the driving force behind the story.

I have dealt with grief and loss in my life, and I understood him as a character, that profound ache. Also, for many years I was involved in an abusive relationship. During that relationship I was a stepmother. This was something that very much tied me to the person I was involved with. I was trapped or at least I felt trapped. When I did eventually get free, due to legal reasons (orders of protection etc.) I was and have been unable to ever see the girl who was my stepdaughter ever again, and I never will. So, there was also that sudden loss of a child. Though it was not a death, there was still a grief that was associated with that. I explored some of those emotions with Adam’s loss of his son, and with the toxic relationship of my “ghost” and Anthony.

 

HT: Would you visit a place like Dagger Island if it existed? Who would you like to see/speak to if given a chance to interact with again?

JAG: I would definitely visit a Dagger Island, though I wonder if it would be too much for me emotionally. I am an empath and the energy of places can sometimes be very overwhelming. During my travels I have been to abandoned psychiatric hospitals, old prisons, an executioners home, and there have been times that the energy was too much for me, and I was overwhelmed.

I imagine that Dagger Island (though fictitious) would have that effect on me. That being said, I would love to see my father again, so I would attempt a visit there, but I may not be able to spend the night.

HT: Would you consider it a fair comparison to liken Beautiful, Frightening, Silent to Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery? If so, how do you feel they are similar and how are they different?

JAG: What is strange, is that I adore Pet Cemetery and it was the first “major” book of my life that I read, but I never really thought of Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent being a similar book…yet of course it is.

At the heart of each of these stories is the heart ache of grief and trauma, so in that way they are similar. There are also parallels between the relationship of Louis and Jud (in Pet Cemetery) and Adam and Anthony (Beautiful, Frightening), as I think there is a longing with both Louis and Adam in their hearts to not just be a father, but to also be a son.

Anthony, though (In Beautiful, Frightening) is a sociopath, so any connection between my characters is ephemeral at best, and deeply manipulative at worst.

HT: Both Anthony, the island’s sole living resident and caretaker, along with Fiona, the wraith and former bride of Anthony’s are dark, yet very nuanced characters. Which of these was the most difficult to get in the mindset of? Which of these two do you consider more antagonistic?

JAG: When I started writing this book I thought of Anthony solely being the “big bad” but the more the story developed I realized that Fiona, my ghost may have been a victim during her life, but there is now much more going on inside of her. She is not the same person she was when she was murdered 60 years before. Since that moment she has lived one long very endless day. As she says herself at one point “she is not alive, but she is not really dead.

I began to think of her [Fiona] like milk that was left out too long, at some point it goes bad.

She was the harder of the two to write, on an emotional level, as she kept changing. I would have my brain wrapped around her and then she would shift. The way light and shadows can change a room throughout a day. I found her fascinating and tricky. She was an enigma even to me at times and I loved her for that.

Anthony was hard to write because I did not want him to become a caricature of a villain. There was a fine line I had to walk between who he was, and who he is now, which is a frail 82-year-old man. I didn’t want him to be likable, but I did want people to feel a range of emotions for him.

HT: Adam is a character drowning in self-loathing and an inability to forgive himself. What do you feel is the best approach for dealing with this type of grief for those out there suffering similar guilt?

JAG: I think getting help, joining a support group, seeing a therapist…any of those things. The grief Adam feels is due to insurmountable loss. It is not something that anyone can “get over”. It changes a person on every level. Adam as a character does not have the emotional strength to survive this on his own. This is due in large part to his upbringing and his addiction. So really, if Adam was a real person (in my heart he is, and he breaks my heart) he needed and deserved help long before the accident that kills his family.

HT: Beautiful, Frightening, Silent is actually your second book that you have published with Breaking Rules Publishing. Would you mind telling us about your experience/partnership with this publisher, as well as your other book Victoriana?

JAG: So Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent is my first published novel, and Victoriana is a collection of my mixed media artwork that I created several years ago. So that book is more of a coffee table book of art. Though, it does contain a lot of the same themes that I am inspired by. Images that ache with hidden stories and desires half met, characters stuck in a moment of time…

Breaking Rules Publishing is a small publishing house, that emphasizes community-based relationships between its authors, which is lovely. I have made some wonderful friends with the other writers that are published there. We have built a strong support system for each other. I have not heard of many publishers that stress this as much.

Breaking Rules also puts out several monthly magazines as well as anthologies. I have been honored to be asked to contribute a monthly column and short story for their Horror Magazine. The first issue I am published in is the July issue and it contains the first part of a serialized short story called Simulacrum. (think  American Psycho x Rules of Attraction).

As an artist I have also been able to do some cover design work with Breaking Rules as well, which has been fun.

HT:  What kind of advice would you offer to aspiring writers out there? What can you share from your own personal experience that might also prove useful to them?

JAG: I would say first and foremost before you become a writer, you should become a reader. Read everything, read outside your genre, don’t just pick up books you know you will like, try to read books you think you will hate. Read poetry, essays, articles, everything.

Then I would say, when you have a handful of authors you know you love, find out about them, see what makes them tick. I find this part to just be fascinating. I am a big fan of “knowing” the artist, not just the art.

Then I would say, write…just write. If you think it’s too weird, who cares, write. If you think “no one will want to read this” …just write, and if you think “I’ve never read anything like what I am writing” then WRITE!!!!!

HT: I noticed in the acknowledgments section that you offered thanks to your beta readers. Would you mind explaining the kind of service that beta readers offer for those of us who are unfamiliar? What do you consider are the top qualities/expectations in a great beta reader?

JAG: So, beta readers are the amazing group of people who read your work AS you are writing it, or before it’s published. These ARE NOT editors, these are the people you trust to tell you when something is not working, or if parts of the book need to be fleshed out, or if they want more (or less) of a character. They are your cheerleaders and your sounding board.

For Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent, I knew I was dealing with a lot of mental health issues and possibly very triggering things. I made sure when I was getting Beta Readers that I had people reading that had a background in psychotherapy, and social work, I had people in recovery, I had a trauma counselor…I wanted to give all the things in my book the respect they deserved. These people held me accountable for that. I also made sure to have a few people that loved Gothic Fiction, and people that hated it. Men, women, LGBTQ+, and straight, and all ages.

The qualities I look for in a beta reader are dependability, I need them to read the book, and I want honesty and trust. For me, at the end of the day my beta readers need to know they are holding a piece of my heart and soul in their hands, and be kind, but also be truthful.

HT:  Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can tell us about? How can fans learn more about you and your work?

JAG: I have my second novel that will be released on August 20th, 2020 (It’s also my birthday!). The book is called “From Daylight to Madness” and it is a Victorian Based Gothic Horror Novel. It is part one of a two-part story. It deals (in this half) primarily with how women who may have mental illness were treated in the 1870’s. Think “The Yellow Wallpaper x The Shining”.

It’s also very loosely tied to Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent, as it explores how the island became haunted. You don’t have to read both books to understand what is going on, but there will be some Easter Eggs and symbolism that readers of both books will see.

I am also about to start hosting a new podcast (with my two fabulous co-hosts Allison Martine, and Trisha Ridinger McKee). The show is called Vox Vomitus (Translation: Word Vomit) and we will be talking with best selling authors, not necessarily about what went right during their process, but all the things that have gone wrong. We will also be chatting with people about their favorite “bad books” and so much more.

The show premieres July 1st on the Authors on the Air Global Network!

HT: Thank you Ms. Gordon for your time, we appreciate it and wish you the best of success! If you would like to learn more about this multi-talented artist/author you can do so by checking out the link to her website below.  And if you would like to purchase a copy of her debut novel, Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent you can find the link for that below as well.

More Links:

Author’s Website

http://www.JenniferAnneGordon.com

Amazon link to Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent

https://tinyurl.com/y8qq2xnb

Talking to the Trickster — An interview with the editors of Trickster’s Treats, a Things in the Well publication

Things in the Well is an Australian indie press, managed by Steve Dillon, which is known for producing charity anthologies and single-author collections. Steve has published almost 30 books under this imprint, many receiving award-nominations, with stories award-nominated and award-winning in their own rights. Recent nominations/awards include the Bram Stoker Awards®, Shirley Jackson Awards, Australasian Shadows Awards and Aurealis Awards. 

Things in the Well often publishes experienced and emerging authors side by side, and has worked with some of the most well-known horror writers in the world, including Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker

Louise Zedda-Sampson and Geneve Flynn talk to the editors—past and present—about Steve’s longest running annual publication, Tricksters Treats.

* Trickster’s Treats is about to open for submissions for its fourth issue. Can you tell us a bit about how the Trickster came to life and what inspired the Trickster themes?

Steve: Four years ago, I had this crazy idea to do a fun Halloween-themed magazine: flash fiction, open to all. I randomly chose several Halloween tropes as themes for the first issue, then a year later I decided to use visual themes (photographs, illustrations, and so on.) For issue #3, which was edited by Marie O’Regan and Lee Murray, the theme was the Seven Deadly Sins. Issue #4 will be edited by Louise Zedda-Sampson and Geneve Flynn, and the theme was chosen by the editors. Burial is such a great theme. It conjures many story ideas and serves as a great prompt. As for The Trickster as a persona, the character emerged from my computer screen while I was messing around with 3D sculpting tools (I love to doodle, and 3D clay is a great form of relaxation) and so he appeared on the first two issues as a character, but we dropped him for issue #3, I’m not really sure why… Maybe he’s sulking in a corner, or maybe he’ll return with his trickster friends one day… 

In the Trickster’s third incarnation, Steve Dillon handed the reins to Lee Murray and Marie O’Regan. Trickster’s Treats #3: The Seven Deadly Sins was nominated for best-edited work for the Australasian Shadows Awards. We ask Lee and Marie a few questions about the experience. 

* Each sin had a separate submission reader. What was it like working with seven separate submission readers?

Lee: In a word? Glorious. As in previous years, funds raised by Things in the Well’s annual Halloween issue, Trickster’s Treats #3, was dedicated to a good cause, in this case charity: water, and that aspect attracted a lot of entries, as did the involvement of world-class editor Marie O’Regan, the evocative Greg Chapman cover art used to advertise the submission call, and the fun seven sins theme. So having seven subeditors, all of them experienced with dark fiction texts (although not necessarily with sinning!), not only helped us to narrow down a large number of ‘blind’ submissions, but it gave us confidence that the stories appearing on our final table of contents were varied, relevant, and of a high quality. Of course, the contributors might not agree since that extra layer meant each story was read by no less than four people: a subeditor, Marie, myself, and finally by the series editor, all of us clamouring to have a say. I recall writing a disclaimer apologising to authors if their work had more edits than they were used to receiving. Happily, our contributors accepted our editing suggestions with good grace despite the slight editorial ‘overkill’! 

Our talented subeditors included Tracie McBride, Noel Osualdini, William Marchese, Kev Harrison, Samson Stormcrow Hayes, Rebecca Fraser and Steve Dillon.

Marie: As Lee says, it was a lot of fun—it was my first experience of editing an anthology with someone other than my husband, Paul Kane, or on my own. Lee’s a joy to work with, highly professional, and as she says, the anthology was for a good cause and attracted some excellent entries. The subeditors’ hard work took a lot of the weight off as the initial reading was done by them and we came on board with the shortlist. The authors had to deal with a lot of rounds of edits, but hopefully we weren’t too heavy-handed.

* Did you have a favourite sin to work with? Why?

Lee: I really couldn’t say I have a favourite sin; I love them all. (Whoops. People are going to take this the wrong way, aren’t they?). The great thing about Trickster’s Treats #3 was the variety of interpretations within each of the seven themes and the wonderfully twisted surprises that writers offered us. I recommend buying the print book with its large magazine format; mine has been on the office coffee table ever since the book’s release, making it ideal for a sinful little escape from work. 

Marie: I agree with Lee here; I don’t really have a favourite sin—it’s always good to have a large variety to choose from, and we definitely did here.

* Is there anything else you’d like to add about the experience?

Lee: One of the wonderful things about these annual Things in the Well charity projects is the community building element, bringing together dark fiction writers from all over the world. I was able to liaise with all of the writers, many of whom I knew of but had never communicated with before. It was such a pleasure to chat with them online and get to know them better. Finally, it was an absolute delight to work with Marie O’Regan, who is simply one of the best editors in the business. I’m grateful for the skills, professionalism, and diplomacy that Marie brought to the project. Definitely a highlight.

I see this year’s submission call for Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming Buried or Not! is in support of the Indigenous Literary Foundation, another great cause that I know writers will want to get behind. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. 

Marie: Lee’s nailed it here; it was great to work with so many authors from various places— and Lee was a pleasure to work with; she’s very kind about my editing, and I’m very grateful for that, but would like to add that Lee’s an excellent editor and has a very sure touch when working. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming, Buried or Not! will be open for submissions in July. As the editors, we thought we’d share how we came up with the theme and what we think the Trickster wants for this edition. 

Louise: When I spoke to Steve about editing Trickster’s Treats #4, one word came to mind for theme: Buried! I originally pictured things going to the grave or rising from it, but in this current environment with coronavirus, it felt a bit too real and just didn’t fit. When Steve did the mock-up cover and added the tagline of ‘Coming, Buried or Not!’, it opened things up. Geneve also brought burial rituals, secrets and ceremonies to the discussion which made the theme more flexible, something we all felt would be more to the Trickster’s taste. 

Geneve: This anthology and others like it gives writers something to work towards. There’s so much uncertainty with the pandemic and current events that it can be difficult to look to the future. But if we can keep creating and planning, it’s a great way to shake loose some of the anxiety and inertia that we’ve all been under. I think the Trickster’s looking forward to the stories that folks come up with and seeing how they interpret our theme. 

Louise and Geneve: There’s so much going on in the world right now and it’s challenging each of us in different ways. We wanted to create something that would do some good. In our callout, we welcome diverse writers and diverse stories, and we hope we’ll have more submissions from writers in marginalised groups. 

We chose to support the Indigenous Literacy Foundation because we wanted to contribute to something that could continue to grow after the coronavirus has passed. We want to do what all Things in the Well’s charity anthologies do—deliver some financial aid and a small ray of hope. 

Submissions

Submissions open 15 July and close 31 July AEST. Tricksters Treats #4: Coming, Buried or Not! will be edited by Louise Zedda-Sampson and Geneve Flynn. For this call, we’re looking for things that have been buried, should be buried, could be buried or need to be buried. Undead or barely living? Sure! Buried treasure or buried secret? We want to see it. Whatever it is, dig it up or tamp it down. An element of your story must include the ‘buried’ theme. Scare us with frights, blights, wights, or anything that bites. It is, after all, for Halloween.

You can find the submission requirements at https://thingsinthewell.wordpress.com/open-submissions/

 

Louise Zedda-Sampson

Louise Zedda-Sampson

Louise Zedda-Sampson is a freelance writer, researcher and editor from Melbourne, Australia. Her fiction appears in anthologies and her non-fiction and research in journals and magazines. She edits for publishers and individual authors, working with writers of many genres and at all levels of experience. Louise manages Novel Solutions, her editing business. You can find Louise at www.novelsolutions.com.au

Geneve Flynn

Geneve Flynn

Geneve Flynn is a freelance editor from Australia who specialises in speculative fiction. She has been a judge for a key Australian horror award and a submissions reader for a leading Australian speculative fiction magazine. Her horror short stories have been published in various markets, including Flame Tree Publishing, TANSTAAFL Press, and the Tales to Terrify podcast. She loves tales that unsettle, all things writerly, and B-grade action movies. Check out her website at www.geneveflynn.com.au.

The Horror Tree Presents… an Interview with Zach Friday and Nate Vice

Ruschelle: Welcome to your Horror Tree Interview. This is my first tag team-INTERVIEW…well except for my brief stint in jalapeno jelly wrestling. But that’s not important so let’s get this party started, shall we? You both teamed up to edit the anthology, Ghost Stories for Starless Nights. How did that come about?

Zach & Nate: We’re both pretty involved with the company and working to release the finished product. Ghost Stories for Starless Nights was already set to be a bigger project so we felt it would be best to tackle it together. 

 

Ruschelle: What can you tell us about the publishing company DBND? Is it run by the Illuminati? Please say it’s so.

Zach & Nate: All we can say is [REDACTED]

 

Ruschelle: How many authors submitted to this particular anthology? 

Zach & Nate: We had about 175 authors submit for Ghost Stories.

 

Ruschelle: What was your story selection process and how long did it take?

Zach & Nate: The selection process is always really fun. We try to keep up with stories as they come in, but it’s easy to fall behind. We like to read the stories separately and then meet up to bounce stories off of each other and see if we agree on them. For the most part, we’re working through the selection process from the first story hitting our inbox to about a week before contracts are sent out. 

 

Ruschelle: I’m sure all the ones you chose were favorites, hence they made it into the anthology. But which ones really resonated with you as horror writers and readers?

Zach: Of the stories selected, Unwritten Songs by Tim Jeffreys is the one that really stuck with me. I found myself thinking about weeks after I’d read it, it has a unique and interesting take on ghosts and what they want from the other side. 

Nate: The Ink of Inspiration by Jeremy Megargee is one that still sticks with me, without spoiling anything, what the character goes thorough hits home for me in a lot of ways…except for the ending of course. Text Messages from the Problem Solver by Justin Zimmerman is another one because it deals with one of my biggest fears when it comes to death. 

 

Ruschelle: As editors, what is the toughest part about working with writers? What would you love to tell authors who might be considered for publication?

Zach & Nate: The toughest part is not being able to publish stories we love and want to because they don’t necessarily fit what we’re aiming for on a project. One of the most important things to us as editors is to not come in and drastically change a work. If we feel it needs major changes to be included in an anthology, we’ll usually pass. We don’t want to be the editors that dismantle a piece with a red pen just to end up with something the author isn’t in love with. 

What would we love to tell authors? Submit and keep submitting, get your work out there as much as possible. Every story has a home, you just have to find it. 

 

Ruschelle: You are longtime friends, sorry your secret is out. Did you find this an easy, natural project to work on together, or did it make you relive moments as kids when you wanted to throw down behind the school dumpster? 

Zach & Nate: Haha no, we work together well. We’ve known each other for the majority of our lives, so for the most part we do a decent job respecting our differing opinions. 

 

Ruschelle: Have either of you had any actual cryptozoological or supernatural experience?

Zach & Nate: We’ve both had our fair share of strange experiences. One we shared together in middle school led to us hiding in a creek bed from something chasing us through the forest. 

 

Ruschelle: Fun question- If you could meet any cryptid or famous spook, which one would it be and why?

Zach: Shadow people. Someone needs to stop those bastards. It can be me.   

Nate: Oh, Bigfoot easily. I’ve been obsessed with the subject since I first saw the Patterson-Gimlin film as a young child.  

 

Ruschelle: From the little bit of creeping I was able to do, Zach appears to be an author. And a, ‘humor/horror’ author to boot. Yes! A writer after my own little black heart. What makes a good, solid story frightful yet funny?

Zach Friday

Zach: I think horror and humor fit together very well. Humor is a way that people deal with stressful, frightening, and horrific situations, so it feels natural for humor to seep through in dialogue and situations while keeping the tone and backbone of the story dark and horrific. I think that’s the main thing that lets a humorous horror story work well. I’m also a fan of juvenile humor worked into clichéd horror tropes.

 

Ruschelle: Which horror authors do you gravitate towards when reading for your own enjoyment? 

Zach: Lately, I’ve worked my way through Grady Hendrix’s books and I really wish there were more. I’m also always on the lookout for any new horror authors from small presses. 

Nate: Well, my dad is an English teacher, so I’ve always had Edgar Allen Poe works surrounding me. Stephen King isn’t so bad himself. 

 

Ruschelle: NATE, I was reading somewhere on the not so dark web that when you were a kid, you met Pennywise in a storm drain out in the middle of the woods. Maybe it wasn’t Pennywise. The not so dark web doesn’t always get the facts straight. Care to give The Horror Tree the exclusive?

Nate: Haha! I can’t say I’ve ever run into Pennywise himself, but when I was a child, I woke up to a family member watching the original IT tv miniseries. The first thing I saw was Pennywise sucking a child through a sewer drain… so that didn’t help my love for clowns for sure. Also, I’ve never been able to bring myself to read that particular King novel. 

 

Ruschelle: Has your creativity been inspired by books, movies or television? Fair warning, there may be a wrong answer. Lol

Zach: I guess I would have to say all three. I think it’s impossible to not be inspired by other mediums (I hope that’s not the wrong answer). I think it’s important to be in the know with what’s popular, to know what others are doing so that your creativity can go its own way or follow suit with a unique spin.  

Nate: I would have to agree with Zach. All three of those mediums have provided inspiration. I would even throw in horror video games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. They capture the horror imagination well. 

 

Ruschelle: Alien invasion, chupacabra invasion or insect invasion? They all sound like a good time, I know, but you can only pick one to live through. Which one and why? I took a break from inquiring about zombie invasions. You’re welcome. 

Zach: Alien. No telling what they’ll be and that’s exciting. Unless they’re giants and they just squish us all immediately. Or millennia ahead of us and smite us. But that’s the fun of the gamble.   

Nate: Chupacabra. Only because it increases the chances of Bigfoot being real haha.

 

Ruschelle: What projects are you both working on that your newfound fans should look out for? 

Zach & Nate: We have some exciting things with DBND that will come out over the next year. We’ll be reworking our pay for authors, novel and collection submissions will be opening, and we have a few things under wraps that we can’t quite mention yet. We also have open submissions for some new anthologies that will be coming out this year and more on the way, including Halloween Horror: Volume II. And we’re very excited about that! 

 

Ruschelle: Zach- where can your newfound fans find and connect with you?

Zach: Twitter @ZachAFriday and email are usually the best ways to reach me and see what I’ve been up to. 

 

Ruschelle: Nate- where can your newfound fans find and connect with you? 

Nate: Email. Or Facebook. 

 

Ruschelle: Thank you both for chatting with me here at The Horror Tree! It’s been a pleasure. 

Zach & Nate: Thank you for the great questions, this has been a lot of fun! 

 

 

Interview with Juliana Rew, Publisher and Editor of Third Flatiron Publishing

As we all strive to find inspiration and cope during this unprecedented world pandemic, Third Flatiron is releasing an anthology we can all appreciate. 

 

Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses takes tales from twenty authors about their visions of a brighter future. A mixture of fantasy and science-fiction, these stories explore how life might change with increasing use of social media, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, space exploration, and medical advances. 

 

Third Flatiron Publishing opened its doors in 2012 and has dual headquarters in Boulder, Colorado and Ayr, Scotland. I had the opportunity to connect with the Publisher and Editor Juliana Rew when she accepted one of my short stories for Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses -available for pre-order now on Smashwords and for purchase June 1.

 

Juliana Rew is no stranger to exploring the world of science with a background working for the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Geological of America as a former science and technical writer. We explore the world of publishing in these tough times and what is exciting her in the future.

 

AF: What was your inspiration for this anthology?

 

JR: Although the idea pre-dates the current coronavirus pandemic, we felt it was time for a positive-themed anthology. Luckily, our authors rose to the occasion. It’s currently available for pre-order on Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1023097, and readers can set their own price (even free!).

 

AF: How is the present Pandemic affecting the production of Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses?

 

JR: It has slowed down our production process a bit, but nothing serious. We’ll probably only do three “issues” this year instead of our usual four.

 

AF: What do you do as a day job?

 

JR: I am a retired technical editor and software engineer, and have been publishing quarterly SFFH anthologies since 2012.

 

AF: Can you tell me more about your background and how you got interested in Speculative Fiction?

 

JR: I was formally trained as a staff editor at the Geological Society of America, which is where I learned the art of bookmaking. So, when electronic publishing became popular, it was easy for me to dive in. I also worked as a programmer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, so I heard about global warming, straight from the horses’ mouths. I’ve always loved science fiction, and I wanted to “give back” by publishing SF by other authors as well as trying my hand at writing fiction.

 

AF: What kind of writing do you do yourself and where have you been published?

 

JR: I’ve been published in around 20 short story anthologies, as well as in a YA SF novella series (Dragon Stead). More recently, I’ve published a historical fantasy set in 1880s Colorado Territory (“Mountain Ma’am”), and two high-concept space opera novels in the “Unwinding” series. My latest one comes out in August, entitled, “Extremophile: Violet Rain.” More info’s at my author page: www.julianarew.com

 

AF: How do you find time to write/do your own publishing?

 

JR: I belong to a local writers’ critique group, which helps keep me on track with my own writing. And of course, it’s always fun to see what other writers are doing when we open up Third Flatiron anthologies for submissions on various themes.

 

AF: Is there any profit margin in publishing anthologies?

 

JR: Heck, no. Why would you even ask that? I do try to market via social media, like Twitter, Facebook, and the website at www.thirdflatiron.com. We mostly publish on Amazon, although the upcoming book will be published on Smashwords, so that we can give it away for free. It’ll be our little way of thanking our readers and helping people on a tight budget these days.

 

AF: What sort of stories and/or writing are you looking for?

 

JR: I have a small cadre of First Readers in Colorado, who help out with the submissions and proofreading. We each have our personal tastes (I like Pratchett-style humor and dislike zombies), but in general I would characterize our books as offering fresh speculative takes. Mild horror is fine, but nothing too graphic (think PG-13).

 

AF: What is really exciting you in the speculative fiction field currently?

 

JR: I’m encouraged to see more women rising to the top of the science fiction/fantasy field, especially Nnedi Okorafor, Aliette de Bodard, Jo Walton, and Ada Palmer, to name a few. In my personal reading, I’ve been dipping into old classic horror/dark fantasy tales, such as by M. R. James, Manley Wade Wellman, and Lord Dunsany. They show there’s more than one way to deal with your surroundings.

 

AF: What are your plans for your press in the future?

 

JR: Since our press is partly a family enterprise, we hope to keep publishing by sharing the work with our “Scotland contingent.” My daughter does the artwork, while her husband does the audio engineering for our podcasts.

The Horror Tree presents an interview with Tim Meyer

New Jersey horror author Tim Meyer is a self-professed “coffee connoisseur” and “beer enthusiast” who likes his coffee like he likes his beer.

“Coffee, black,” Meyer said. “Not a grain of sugar, not a drop of milk. The bitterer the better. That also applies to my beers. I’m a huge IPA fan, so pretty much any IPA with a high IBU will do. Really digging this tangerine IPA that New Belgium recently put out. New England IPAs are also my go-to.”

Meyer’s tastes are more eclectic when the topic is writing. He “prefers to blur genres and let the story fall where it may.” With his latest book Dead Daughters, the story falls into the thriller category.

Released April 16 by Poltergeist Press, Dead Daughters is about the Lowery family, who are living the American dream in New Jersey. However, a blank envelope in the mail upends their ideal life.

Early reviews for the book are positive. Horror author Hunter Shea wrote in a Goodreads review: “By far, Tim Meyer’s best book to date.”

Meyer isn’t one to judge his own work, but he did spend more time writing Dead Daughters than any of his previously published books. His other titles include Kill Hill Carnage, The Switch House, Sharkwater Beach, and In the House of Mirrors.

“I think it’s easy for an author to say ‘my newest book is my best book.’ And for many reasons, the biggest being that writers are constantly getting better and honing their craft each time out,” Meyer said. “So, naturally, the newest is always going to be the ‘best’ thing they’ve written. (more…)

The Horror Tree Presents an Interview with Tim Lebbon

Tim Lebbon

Ruschelle: The Horror Tree is thrilled to have you perched here on one of its twisted branches. This imagery is the perfect backdrop for your new novel Eden in which a new world is created from the old. Can we hear a little about to how Eden came to fruition?

 

Tim: It came about from something I love, and something that frightens me––I love endurance sports such as trail running and triathlons, and the looming climate crisis frightens me. I’m a big lover of nature, too, so combining these three aspects into an action adventure story was a little bit of ‘writing what I know’. The story always came first, but confronting my fears over the environment made it a tougher, more personal novel to write.

 

Eden Cover

Ruschelle: Eden is described as a “horror eco-thriller.” With global warming, and the Novel Coronavirus how real does Eden feel?

 

Tim: I like that tag, my publisher came up with that. As I say above, the increasing concern over global warming was a big inspiration for writing this novel. As for Covid-19, a pandemic was bound to happen in our lifetimes, so many scientists have been sounding warnings.  

 

Ruschelle: Knowing what you do now with the Coronavirus going global, how would you twist Eden if you were writing it NOW…or wouldn’t you?

 

Tim: I’m not sure I would, the story is pretty contained within Eden itself, which as readers will find is almost apart from our world, whatever its problems. Maybe I’d drop hints about a pandemic outside Eden, but it wouldn’t really affect the story I tell.

 

Ruschelle: You have had two of your stories produced into film, The Silence and Pay the Ghost. That’s an author’s dream. How did words you scrawled on paper become film?

 

Tim: Every single journey from page to screen is different. I’ve had a dozen options or more, and each of them has moved along different development paths before fading away. These two just happened to find their way through! 

 

Pay The Ghost started with an independent producer from New York. He commissioned a script and tried to get it made, but it all went quiet. Then a couple of years later he teamed up with bigger producers, and through various routes I didn’t know much about, Nicolas Cage came on board and the film was made.

 

The Silence happened very differently, with producers, writers, and film company all coming together over a very short period. It was a dream process from start to finish, and one of the highlights of my career.  

 

Ruschelle: When adapting your book to film, most authors would be a bit nervous of the movie not being true to their original vision, and worse- Hollywood not developing your work into a good, solid film. Did you have your own doubts when they gave your books the Hollywood treatment?

 

Tim: There are always doubts, but I’m also comfortable with the fact that it’s always going to be something different from my novel or story. And even if I’m not happy with the result, my story always remains in book form. Saying that, I’ve been pleased with both films, especially The Silence, which I thought was a terrific adaptation of my novel. And having it air on Netflix meant that a mind-boggling number of people actually got to watch it.   

 

Ruschelle: Did you assist in any of the script development or was it purely their interpretation?

 

Tim: I had some involvement with The Silence. That adaptation was a pleasure from beginning to end, and I’m still friends with the director, producers, writers, and film company now. I wasn’t officially part of the creative team, but I did see script pages and offer input, and helped talk through a few problems as and when they arose. 

 

Ruschelle: Is there a story you’ve written that begs to be made into a film but you don’t feel will transfer into celluloid?

 

Tim: I’d love to see Coldbrook made into a really big budget TV series, I think it would be fantastic. 

 

Ruschelle: Okay, I promise not to tell anyone, but were you happy with the choice of actors who portrayed your characters? Were there any that you would have preferred to see in the role instead? Again…this is just between you and me….and a few  hundred Horror Tree readers?

 

Tim: Yes, I was really happy. Nicolas Cage is sometimes divisive, but I think he did a great job in Pay The Ghost. And the cast of The Silence was just wonderful, and I honestly couldn’t have wished for better actors. I mean … Stanley Tucci! Kiernan Shipka! Incredible. Oh, and I was in it too, of course, although I didn’t get an award nominations (Best Bloodied Corpse)

 

Ruschelle: You were a corpse in the movie?  You lucky bugger. Now I need to rewatch it. 

         From your Facebook page and website, you have a love of running? You imagine yourself being chased by some creature, don’t you? Lol. Do story plots pop into your head while running or are you simply in “the zone?”

 

Tim: Ninety percent of the time the exercise I undertake serves to blow away the cobwebs and clear my head ready for work. Sometimes — just occasionally — an idea occurs to me, and I have to duck into cover on top of a mountain and dictate some notes into my phone. A writer is always working really, but mostly my exercising is a form of therapy in that it allows me to focus, lets my mind wander at random, and sometimes that’s sorely needed. I’ve never been one of those writers who can sit still for eight hours crunching out words. Even if I’m not exercising, I’m rarely at my desk for more than half an hour before getting up to walk around, make coffee, eat cake. 

 

 

Ruschelle: Question-Of all the monsters out there…which one or ones do you believe have what it takes to crush it in a triathlon?

Tim: Maybe my favourite monster of all time, the xenomorph (Alien). We’ve seen from Alien 3 that it’s able to swim, it runs quickly, and … well, I’ve never seen one on a bike (yet), but with those long, strong limbs I’d imagine its power output through the pedals would be significant! Also, if it got close to the finish and someone was ahead of it, it would just eat their face off. 

 

Ruschelle: The Alien! The finish line never looked better- or bloodier. Lol. What do you think is tougher, writing a novel or running in a triathlon? My opinion is both-but I’m lazy…in writing and moving. I’m part sloth.

 

Tim: Very different things … although curiously, there are similarities. A novel takes me maybe 6 months from beginning to end. And for an Ironman I’ll train 6 months or more before the actual race. And to break it down even more … an Ironman swim (2.4 miles) is like the first act of a novel, you’re putting in the groundwork, settling in for a long haul, planning and plotting ahead. You’re glad to finish the swim (the first few chapters) because it gets you onto the 112 mile bike, which is the real meat of the race. You’ll have some doubts halfway through (the dreaded ‘middle of the book this is shit’ moment), but then you’re into the marathon, and the long road to the end of the book. I’d like to say I make a sprint finish in both, but truth is by the time I get to the end I’m a gibbering knackered mess, and all I want is a plate of chips and a beer. When I reach the end of an Ironman, too 🙂  So yes, that’s a long answer to come to the conclusion –– they’re both really really hard.

 

Ruschelle: You have written novelizations of many popular films, 30 Days of Night, Alien, Hellboy and the ultimate, Star Wars! Tell us about how you weave your tellings into the beloved worlds of such iconic franchizes.

 

Tim: Each of these projects is different, with various rules and restrictions about what I can and can’t do (“You can’t destroy that planet, we need it for a future comic”). I enjoy tie-in projects, and I try to make them mine as much as I can. So especially with the original projects as opposed to the novelisations, I treat them as much as one of my original novels as I can with planning, plotting etc. Sometimes the characters are already in place for me (such as with my forthcoming Firefly novel), sometimes I get to create them as well (my Star Wars novel). From a pure business perspective, I’m a working writer and these books are a different strand to my novel writing, and they get my name in front of people who’ve never heard of me before. But I also take on these jobs because they’re fun, and I’ve never written for a franchise that doesn’t excite me. 

 

Ruschelle: What do you feel, is the best piece you’ve ever written?

 

Tim: That’s a really tough question! I could be glib and say, ‘The book I’m working on now’. (Actually I do think it’s turning out to be one of my best, but I can’t talk about it just yet). But I can throw a few out there. The Silence, Fallen, The Reach of Children, White, The Map of Moments (with Chris Golden), Echo City, Relics. And honestly, Eden is definitely one of my best novels. I can’t wait to see it on the shelves (or in current situation, on virtual shelves). Reaction has been fantastic so far, both from reviewers, and peers.   

 

Ruschelle: There are many writers that can work on several books at once, and there are others that focus on one story from beginning to completion before they begin another. Which category do you fall into? 

 

Tim: I’m always working on several projects at once. Different things excite me, and I love progressing several projects all at the same time (although some slow down or even fall by the wayside). My main projects at the moment are a new novel and a TV series pitch with a friend in the US, but other projects at various stages of completion include another spec TV pilot and proposal, notes on a feature script, a novella with a great artist friend, another collaborative novella that’s just been started, skirting about another TV project with another friend… I like to keep busy. 

 

Ruschelle: Was there a specific book or story you read that made you think- yeah, I can do this?

 

Tim: Not that I remember. I was a prolific reader when I was a kid and teen, reading a book each day. So I guess I can influenced by loads of stuff. I did read The Rats by James Herbert when I was about 10 years old (my mother gave it to me to read), so that was definitely my bridge between children’s books and adult novels. But I was writing stories even before then.  

 

Ruschelle: You are delving into the role of becoming a musician, kudos! No one is ever never too old to learn something new. What is your ‘guitar goal?’ To play out, for yourself? Rhythm or leads? I ask this question to all beginners. 

 

Tim: No idea! I just fancied trying something new, and I’ve always wanted to learn guitar. Turning 50 made me keener than ever to start, and encouragement from family and guitar-playing friends helps. I’m really not very good yet, and I’m learning from the ground up. But with Covid-19 restrictions, I’ve got the time.

 

Ruschelle: Do you write to music? Does each scene you pen have its own soundtrack?

 

Tim: It depends on what I’m writing, and what mood I’m in. At the moment with my wife, son and daughter all home and working in different parts of our house, I do tend to have music on the try and isolate myself from external hustle and bustle. It’s usually music I know really well so that lyrics tend not to interrupt, or sometimes classical or movie soundtracks. There’s no hard and fast rule.

 

Ruschelle: Thank you so much for chatting with us here at the Horror Tree and making new fans! We’re excited for Eden to invade our brain space. So could you let your newfound fans learn how discover your projects and follow you on the www?

 

Tim: Thanks so much! It’s been fun, and I hope everyone enjoys Eden. I have a website at www.timlebbon.net, and I’m on Twitter (@timlebbon) and Facebook. I also run a newsletter, there’s a signup form on the front page of my website.

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