The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Alan Baxter
Derek – I suppose we should start with how did you get into writing horror?
Alan – Honestly, I don’t know. I didn’t even realise I write horror until other people told me I did. I knew I wrote dark fiction, but it’s just an honest extrapolation of the story for me. So I guess I’ve always written horror!
Derek – Is there something that appeals to your nature in the horror genre, is it the monsters, the magic, or the mixture of adding martial arts to horror?
Alan – I love all those things about every kind of storytelling. I think the big appeal with horror and dark fiction is the honesty involved. You don’t shy away from reality in horror, you follow any course of action all the way through to the bitter end.
Derek – Alright, so when did you first get published and can you tell us a bit about that experience?
Alan – My first paid publication was a short story to the online magazine The Harrow, which sadly isn’t going any more. It was a token payment of $5, but I remember it well! It was a strong validation at the time that my writing was good enough for an editor to pay for and publish.
Derek – At this time how many stories do you have published and where can our readers find them?
Alan – I’ve had published 8 novels, 3 novellas and over 70 short stories thus far. The best of my short stories are collected in Crow Shine, which you can learn about here: https://www.alanbaxteronline.com/books/crow-shine/ All my other books are available everywhere. The best place to start is this page of my website: https://www.alanbaxteronline.com/books/ You’ll also find some free short stories to read online via my site at this page: https://www.alanbaxteronline.com/dark-shorts/
Derek – Where do you find your inspiration for your stories?
Alan – Everywhere. Live is rich and varied and I see inspiration from the smallest pile of dirt to the biggest achievements of humanity. Everything is story fodder.
Derek – When did you first know that you were going to be a writer?
Alan – I couldn’t say, because I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. I decided to take writing seriously for publication in my mid- to late-20s, so I guess I left that side of things a little late. I’ve been doing my best to catch up ever since!
Derek – As you continue on in your career is there a point where you can look back and say yeah that is the moment that I knew that I was going to make it?
Alan – Every achievement is a step along the way, but every time a big achievement happens, I just immediately look for the next one. Probably my biggest achievement so far is signing a three book deal with Harper Collins (Voyager) in Australia. But I don’t know that I would ever recognize having “made it”. Maybe when I finally hit the NYT Bestsellers list?
Derek – When did you first start writing?
Alan – As a kid in primary school. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t writing stories.
Derek – Can you tell our readers about your other title, International Master of Kung Fu?
Alan – I’ve been a martial artist forever, since I was a little kid. I’ve studied a bunch of styles, but for the last more than 20 years I’ve studied a style of kung fu called Choy Lee Fut, under the grandmaster of that style, Master Chen Yong Fa. I’ve worked my way up, becoming an instructor, and now I run my own school in my hometown and still train with Master Chen as often as I can. He qualified me as an international master in 2011. It’s a strange title to have, but I’m a disciple of Master Chen, so that means it’s my job to work alongside the other disciples and ensure that Master Chen’s family legacy, his style of Chen Family Choy Lee Fut, endures for many more generations. That’s my responsibility and my pleasure.
Derek – What has been your most favorite project to work on, so far?
Alan – Impossible to say, they’re all so different. I think my favourite is always whatever I’m working on right now!
Derek – How do you find time to balance your personal life, your martial arts, and writing?
Alan – You make time. You have to, because no one has time. My wife is my assistant instructor at our kung fu school and a master in her own right. She’s also an artist, so she has studio time while I take care of our son, then I write while she takes care of him, and we run the kung fu school together. We make it work through hard work and determination.
Derek – Alright so without giving to much away, what projects are you working on currently?
Alan – I’m currently writing a new horror novel set in a fictional American small town, that opens with two young girls missing and the townsfolk all out searching. But when the girls are found, something else also comes back with them. It’s creepy and heaps of fun!
Derek – Please tell our readers who are your favorite authors and why?
Alan – Probably my all-time favourite is Clive Barker. His ability to blend fantasy, horror and the supernatural is my biggest inspiration and probably most similar to the stuff I write. I’m also hugely influenced by Stephen King, Ursula Le Guin, Shirley Jackson, Alan Moore… There are so many!
Derek -Do your feel that your style is related to the authors that you read?
Alan – It’s certainly most related to some (like Barker and King mentioned above) but I read voraciously and widely, so I try to take inspiration from everywhere.
Derek – Do you use beta readers, can you tell us how that experience has been for you? Does it help?
Alan – I have a handful of good friends and we read for each other, and we’re brutally honest with each other. It’s something that’s grown over many years and works well for us.
Derek – Where can our readers follow you on your amazing journey?
Derek – So, a question I ask everyone, if you could be any animal, what animal would it be and why?
Ala – : A dragon. Because dragons are mighty and cool. Come on, who wouldn’t love to be a dragon?
Derek: Thank you so much for your time. It has been such a pleasure working thus far. I am excited to see what you come up with next. I am really looking forward to following you and your career path. I see great things in the future for you.
Thanks very much!