Deep Water: Interview with Chad Lutzke

Welcome back for this week’s author interview. Today, I’m thrilled to spotlight Chad Lutzke. Chad is the author of numerous books including The Pale White, The Same Deep Water as You, Stirring the Sheets, and Out Behind the Barn with co-author John Boden.

Recently, Chad and I discussed the inspiration behind his recent novellas as well as his process as a writer and his future plans.

A couple icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?

I didn’t really start taking writing seriously as something I’d like to make a career of until 2014. At the time, my favorite writers were the usual suspects: King, Koontz, McCammon, Barker, and Poe, but since then I’ve had a far greater appreciation for Ketchum and Lansdale.

Congratulations on the recent release of The Pale White! What was the inspiration behind the book?

Thank you. I wish I had something cool to give you, but the truth is I don’t really remember. Sometimes ideas just pop into my head. That was one of them.

I absolutely adore the cover for The Pale White. It’s so evocative and tells such a story on its own. Who is the artist, and how did the cover develop?

Thank you. Zach McCain did that cover. He also did Out Behind the Barn, The Same Deep Water as You and Halo of Flies. It was just something I envisioned. I drew a sketch of it and sent it to Zach along with very detailed instructions on how I want the girls to look, the house, the stained glass and even the hues. Zach is great at giving me exactly what I ask for.

Earlier this year, you also released The Same Deep Water as You. What was the inspiration and process behind this book? How did it differ from your process with The Pale White?

The Same Deep Water as You is about 98% nonfiction. It was my life in the year ’89/’90. I took the liberty of adding a few things, but for the most part its autobiographical and an experiment for me to write…my idea of dark romance that was basically just for me. Fortunately, people seem to connect with it. Because nearly all of it’s true, it came out very fast. I wrote it in 10 days in a notebook by hand. The Pale White took much longer. It was something I kept putting on the back burner.

Your work often falls in the novella category. What is it that draws you to this length of stories? Also, how is your approach different or similar when working on short stories versus longer fiction?

I like a small cast of characters in isolated incidents. I’m not into long, drawn-out characterization, going on for pages with character backgrounds, and I’m also not big on description. Mix those dislikes with my love for lean prose and you get a shorter book. Often times the short stories I write are nothing more than me starting with an intriguing opening sentence. Something that hooks me enough to keep writing, with the need to know where it’s going. Eventually things come together and the pieces fit. It sounds messier than it is. While I still pants all of my books, I usually have more of an idea on where it’s headed before I start one.

If forced to choose, which is your favorite part of the writing process: developing characters, establishing setting, or crafting dialogue?

Probably developing characters, particularly if I have no idea where things are headed. I love that spontaneity. It keeps me interested. Once I get a better idea of the character, I fill in the blanks later, but the most fun is getting there.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m finishing up a crime noir book called The Neon Owl and slowly writing another book with John Boden. I’m also writing a book with Boden and Bob Ford, which is in the early developmental stages. I have another project I’m doing with another author, but it’s too early to spill the beans on that one yet.

Huge thanks to Chad Lutzke for being part of this week’s author interview series! Find him online at his website!

Happy reading!

Autumnal Fiction: Submission Roundup for November 2019

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! There are plenty of wonderful writing opportunities out there this month, so get those stories of yours polished up and sent out into the world!

First, a disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; I’m merely spreading the word. Please direct your questions to their respective editors. And now onward with this month’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Podcastle
Payment: .08/word for original fiction; $100/flat for reprints over 1,500 words; $20/flat for reprints under 1,500 words
Length: up to 6,000 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2019
What They Want: Open to original and reprint fantasy stories of all subgenres. 
Find the details here.

Enchanted Conversation
Payment: $10/flat
Length: 700 to 2,000 words (1,200 words are ideal)
Deadline: November 20th, 2019
What They Want: Enchanted Magazine is seeking fairy tales, folktales, and myths that can either be retellings of established stories or featuring original characters. This issue’s theme is Winter.
Find the details here.

Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy Short Stories
Payment: .08/word for original fiction; .06/word for reprints
Length: 2,000 to 4,000 words
Deadline: December 1st, 2019
What They Want: Flame Tree is seeking short stories for their popular Gothic Fantasy anthology series. The current themes are Bodies in the Library, which will include crime and mystery stories, and Footsteps in the Dark, which will feature horror and suspense fiction.
Find the details here.

The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror
Payment: .04/word
Length: 4,000 to 8,000 words
Deadline: January 7th, 2020
What They Want: The follow-up to the highly successful The Fiends in the Furrows, the editors are seeking folk horror stories from around the world.
Find the details here.

The New Gothic Review
Payment: $15/flat
Length: 2,000 to 7,500 words
Deadline: January 15th, 2020
What They Want: Original short stories that deal with the unknown, the dark, and the atmospheric. Eerie horror, weird fiction, fairy tales, and light science fiction are all welcome so long as the stories have Gothic elements.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

My Upcoming Readings in the Pittsburgh Area

Happy October! This month has already been flying by, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of spooky fun left before Halloween! And if you’re looking for thrills and chills of the literary variety, I’m super thrilled to be doing two creepy horror events in the Pittsburgh region this month!

First up, I’ll be part of the Horror/Sci-Fi Panel this Saturday, October 19th at the Barnes and Noble in Monroeville. The panel starts at 7pm, and features authors Rick Claypool, Brandon Getz, C.M. Chakrabarti, and Jamie Lackey, along with yours truly. All the details are available on the Facebook event page here.

Then on Tuesday, October 29th, I’ll be joining Ronald J. Murray and Nelson W. Pyles at the Monongahela Area Library for Haunted Books, Wicked Words. I’ve never done a reading at a library before, and honestly, you can’t get a better literary setting than that, so I’m very excited to be heading out for this one. The event starts at 5:30pm, and you can find those full details right here!

I’m so ecstatic and honored to be part of both of these events. It will be a lot of fun seeing everyone there, so if you’re around the Pittsburgh area, head on out and hang out with us horror writers. I promise we’re not as scary as we look!

Happy reading!

Table of Contents Reveal for NOX PAREIDOLIA from Nightscape Press!

So this week ushered in the big table of contents reveal for NOX PAREIDOLIA, the highly anticipated anthology from Nightscape Press, and to say that I’m thrilled about it is a massive understatement!

*cue banners and streamers and screams of joy*

Slated for an October 31st release, this is sure to be one of the very coolest anthologies of the year, and I’m completely elated that I get to be part of it! My story, “When the Nightingale Devours the Stars,” is all about birds, small towns, death cults, and outsiders fighting for their place in the world. It’s a story I’m so proud of, and I am positively overjoyed that it found such a wonderful home.

So without further adieu, let’s see that gorgeous TOC, shall we?

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR NOX PAREIDOLIA
“Watch Me Burn With the Light of Ghosts” by Paul Jessup
“Immolation” by Kristi DeMeester
“Her Eyes Are Winter” by Christopher Ropes
“8X10” by Duane Pesice and Don Webb
“Bag and Baggage” by Greg Sisco
“The Dredger” by Matt Thompson
“Hello” by Michael Wehunt
“Gardening Activities for Couples” by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
“Lies I Told Myself” by Lynne Jamneck
“The Unkindness” by Dino Parenti
“Merge Now” by Kurt Fawver
“when we were trespassers” by doungjai gam
“Rum Punch is Going Down” by Daniel Braum
“Unmoored” by Sean M. Thompson
“Just Beyond the Shore” by Elizabeth Beechwood
“The Schoolmaster” by David Peak
“The Past You Have, The Future You Deserve” by K.H. Vaughan
“Herr Sheintod” by LC von Hessen
“The Room Above” by Brian Evenson
“Sincerely Eden” by Amelia Gorman
“Wild Dogs” by Carrie Laben
“The Moody Rooms of Agatha Tate” by Wendy Nikel
“Salmon Run” by Andrew Kozma
“The Little Drawer of Chaos” by Annie Neugebauer
“When the Nightingale Devours the Stars” by Gwendolyn Kiste
“Far From Home” by Dan Coxon
“Birds” by Zin E. Rocklyn
“Strident Caller” by Laird Barron
“The Taste of Rot” by Steve Toase
“Venom” by S.P. Miskowski
“In the Vastness of the Sovereign Sky” by S.L. Edwards

As you can see from that list, this is a massive horror anthology, clocking in at over 300 pages. And look at all those names! From major award winners to fantastic up-and-comers, these are truly some of the very best short fiction authors of horror and the weird today, and I’m so very happy to be included among them.

As if these wonderfully weird words weren’t enough, every story in the book has an illustration to accompany it, and as always, the artwork from Luke Spooner is out-of-this-world beautiful. My lovely, creepy birds are featured above, but you can see all the art for NOX on social media by heading over here or here. And, you know, you could also go ahead and buy this supremely cool anthology and enjoy the art and the words for many weird years to come! It’s already available for pre-order on the Nightscape Press site as well as on Amazon.

As per the usual, you can expect lots more celebration of this anthology from my social media and blog in the weeks to come. Because really, what’s better than a horror anthology making its fearsome debut in the world on Samhain?

Happy reading, and happy spooky Halloween season!

Spooky Stories: Submission Roundup for October 2019

Welcome back for October’s Submission Roundup! Lots of great opportunities this month, so start polishing up those stories now!

As always, a word from the keeper of the blog: I am not a representative for any of these markets; I’m merely spreading the word. That means if you have any questions, please direct them to their respective editor.

Now onward with this month’s submission calls!

Submission Roundup

Electric Spec
Payment: $20/flat
Length: 250 to 7,000 words
Deadline: October 15th, 2019
What They Want: Open to a wide range of speculative short fiction.
Find the details here.

Dark Divinations
Payment: $10/flat
Length: 2,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2019
What They Want: Editor Naching T. Kassa is seeking horror stories about divination set in the Victorian age.
Find the details here.

Arsenika
Payment: $60/flat for fiction; $30/flat for poetry
Length: up to 1,000 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2019
What They Want: Open to speculative fiction and poetry, including horror.
Find the details here.

Movies, Monsters, and Mayhem
Payment: .06/word
Length: up to 6,000 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2019
What They Want: Open to short stories that feature a monster in a movie setting.
Find the details here.

Pulp Horror Phobias Volume 2
Payment: .04/word
Length: 4,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2019
What They Want: Lycan Valley Press is seeking pulp/noir stories that deal with phobias.
Find the details here.

The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror
Payment: .04/word
Length: 4,000 to 8,000 words
Deadline: Opens November 1st, 2019 for submissions
What They Want: The follow-up to the highly successful The Fiends in the Furrows, the editors are seeking folk horror stories from around the world.
Find the details here.

Happy reading and submitting!

Poetry of the Night: Interview with Cina Pelayo

Welcome back for this week’s author interview! Today I’m thrilled to spotlight Cina Pelayo. Cina’s an accomplished and award-winning poet and fiction author with numerous books including Poems of My Night, Santa Muerte, Loteria, and The Missing.

Over the summer, Cina and I discussed her inspiration as an author, her gorgeous covers by Abigail Larson, and her future writing plans.

A couple icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?

I started writing in high school, but non-fiction. My undergraduate degree is in journalism and I worked as a freelance journalist for about 10 years before moving on to fiction writing. I started writing fiction while pursuing an MFA. I have always loved horror. I watched my first horror movie at 5 and was pretty obsessed with all things horror to the point that my mother consulted with her priest about my obsession with horror movies, books, magazines and fascination with the occult. She wound up throwing away my Ouija board, but I put my foot down on horror movies and books and she left me alone from there thinking it was a phase. I guess it wasn’t a phase?

What draws you to horror? Do you remember your first experience with the genre, and do you have a favorite film or book that serves as your horror go-to?

I live in inner city Chicago – not the suburbs where most people live who say they live in Chicago. I’ve seen it all. Gangs. Guns. Drugs. My elementary school friend is serving life for murder. A classmate from high school was paralyzed days before graduation. I’ve covered stories as a journalist where I’ve showed up to the scene and the body is still there on the ground for all to see. Those things don’t leave you. They become a part of you. That together with my mother’s wild religious superstitions (We once had a quasi-exorcism in our house) have stayed with me. My mother has also had her fair share of exposure to horrific crimes that she has shared with me. A neighbor girl from her town was abducted and raped and killed and her dismembered body was discarded in her parent’s trash can. My mother also recalls people’s fears of witches and the occult from her town and she’s shared these stories with me. My father has shared stories of strange occurrences from his town as well.

I wish I could say that fiction has been my sole inspiration, but it’s really been non-fiction that has influenced my fascination with the horror genre. Why do people do horrible things to one another? What is their motivation?

In terms of my first exposure to the horror fiction genre it’s seeing A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was about 5-years-old while my brother was baby sitting me. Freddy is forever my first and favorite. In terms of a horror book that is my go-to, it’s The Exorcist. When I think of all of the horror novels that I wish I could write it would be that one.

You’ve written both fiction and poetry. Is your approach to writing the same or different depending on the medium? Is there one you prefer over the other?

Different. With fiction I am much more organized and structured, and sometimes it’s a really grueling experience with editing and rearranging scenes and understanding the logic and motivation behind what is going on. I think of it mathematically sometimes, if this plus this then it equals this, and then I wind up overthinking what is going on, how I am saying it and even where it’s located in the story. Sometimes that overthinking stunts me, I freeze, and I just stall writing.

With poetry, it’s much looser and I feel more at peace with what I am doing. It feels closest to painting for me when I write poetry. Yes, there is some editing and rearranging of things like with fiction, but I really enjoy writing poetry. It’s musical. It’s beautiful, and it’s much more personal for me.

You recently were a judge for the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume 6 alongside Christa Carmen and editor Stephanie M. Wytovich. What was that experience like, and do you foresee more editing work in your future?

Stephanie and Christa are two of the most wonderful horror writers working in our genre today. Both of them are incredibly smart and talented and just very pleasant to be around and talk to. I enjoy their work tremendously and I just enjoy them as overall people. It was a joy to be able to work on this project and I still can’t believe I was able to do that.

I’m not really an editor. I am in awe of those who edit. I’ve been trying to revive my indie press (Burial Day) for some time and that’s probably the most editing I will allow myself to do so that I can focus on creating.

Your books all have such beautiful covers! What can you share about the process of working with your cover artists?

Thank you but I can’t take credit for that. That is really the work of Abigail Larson. She’s a genius and I have been working with Abigail for about 10 years now. She is extremely busy (which is fantastic) and so I am lucky when she has availability. I usually send her a few ideas… all notes and not visuals because I really want her to come at it through her lens. She’s brilliant and always creates something perfect for my work.

Out of your published work, do you have a personal favorite?

Poems of My Night is the most personal. Santa Muerte is my first published work so that will always be a special piece for me. Loteria was my thesis, so it’s special because of that. I have really enjoyed my short stories lately. I have one coming out soon for a Puerto Rico charity anthology edited by Angel Luis Colon from Down and Out Books – Pa Que Tu Lo Sepas, and that is my favorite short story I have written in some time. I also really like the short story I wrote for She’s Lost Control.

What projects are you currently working on?

I feel like I have been editing this novel for two years… and that’s because I have. I’m trying to wrap up a detective-horror novel right now. After that, I’m likely going back to my YA horror roots but I’m not completely certain yet.

Tremendous thanks to Cina Pelayo for being part of this week’s author interview series. Find her online at Twitter and her website!

Happy reading!

My Schedule for Saugatuck StoryFest 2019

In just one week, we’ll be hitting the road and heading out to the awesome Saugatuck StoryFest in Westport, Connecticut! It’s my last convention for the year, and I’m incredibly excited for it! So in case you’ll be there, here’s my official schedule of panels and signings during the event. (Plus, check out this super cool graphic that StoryFest created for me! EEEE!)

Scary Stories Presented by the Horror Writers Association on Saturday, September 28th at 12pm
Moderated by HWA president John Palisano, I’ll be joining panelists Paul Tremblay, Stephen Graham Jones, Mallory O’Meara, Grady Hendrix, and J.W. Ocker on The Forum Stage. We’ll be talking all about the current state of the horror genre as well as its future. And as if all of this isn’t cool enough, this panel serves as the “opening act” for R.L. Stine who will be giving his keynote address right afterward. For real, how cool is that?! *writer swoon*

Book Signing on Saturday, September 28th at 2:30pm
If you want a chance to talk a bit or to pick up a copy of The Rust Maidens, Pretty Marys All in a Row, or And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, I’ll be signing books in the afternoon. This signing event will also include all the great panelists and moderator from the previous panel plus the absolutely delightful and talented Christa Carmen. So head on out to meet us all and get your books signed!

The Storyteller in the World on Saturday, September 28th at 3:30pm
My second panel of the weekend explores the worlds that writers create and how we have personal connections to those worlds. Moderated by Meryl Moss, I’ll be with fellow panelists Marah Hardt, L.L. McKinney, Christa Carmen, Tope Folarin, and Courtney Maum. Also, in case you miss my first signing, the panelists and I will be doing a signing right after this panel too!

There are so many other great events all weekend, so you can find the full schedule for StoryFest right over here. Needless to say, I’m looking so forward to seeing everyone in Connecticut next week! Definitely say hello if you see me!

Happy reading, and happy StoryFest!

Autumn Tales: Submission Roundup for September 2019

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! Lots of great writing opportunities in September, so if you’ve got a story seeking a home, then one of these markets might be a great place to send it! As always, a disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; I’m only spreading the word. Please direct your questions to their respective editors.

And now onward with this month’s Submission Roundup!

Submission RoundupLatinx Screams
Payment: .05/word
Length: up to 5,000 words (though up to 3,500 words preferred)
Deadline: September 25th, 2019
What They Want: The fantastic V. Castro and Brian Lindenmuth are seeking horror stories from Latinx and AfroLatinx authors about protagonists facing and fighting overwhelming fears.
Find the details here.

Augur Magazine
Payment: .11/word (CAD) for short fiction; $110/flat for flash fiction; $60/flat for poetry
Length: up to 5,000 for fiction; up to 5 pages for poetry
Deadline: September 30th, 2019
What They Want: Open to speculative fiction, especially fabulism, magic realism, and slipstream.
Find the details here

Dim Shores
Payment: $200 to $400
Length: at least 6,000 words
Deadline: September 30th, 2019
What They Want: Open to unsettling, weird speculative fiction that will be produced as part of Dim Shores’ chapbook series.
Find the details here

Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series
Payment: 50/50 royalty split
Length: 25,000 to 50,000 words
Deadline: September 30th, 2019
What They Want: Editor Eddie Generous is seeking novellas that focus on the wonderfully creepy spirit of the 1970s and 1980s horror video craze era.
Find the details here

Movies, Monsters, and Mayhem
Payment: .06/word
Length: up to 6,000 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2019
What They Want: Open to short stories that feature a monster in a movie setting.
Find the details here

Pulp Horror Phobias Volume 2
Payment: .04/word
Length: 4,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2019
What They Want: Lycan Valley Press is seeking pulp/noir stories that deal with phobias.
Find the details here

Happy reading!

My Schedule for NecronomiCon Providence

NecronomiCon Providence is only a few days away, so it’s about time I post my schedule for the event! Now originally, I didn’t think that I would be on any panels, since I waited until the last minute to decide to attend. But thanks to those involved in programming, the stars have aligned in my favor, and I get to be an official part of programming throughout the weekend.

So without further horror adieu, here’s my schedule for NecronomiCon!

The Weird on a Black and White Screen: Classic Weird Television on Friday, August 23rd at 6pm
My very first panel of the weekend will be moderated by the awesome Nicholas Kaufmann, and I will be joining panelists Pete Rawlik, Alan Tromp, and Joe Zannella as we discuss classic weird television shows. As an incredibly huge fan of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Kolchak the Night Stalker, I could seriously not be more stoked for this. It’s not nearly often enough that I get a chance to talk about how much I love horror television, so it will be so much fun to be part of this panel! This one takes place on the third floor of the Omni in the Washington-Newport Room.

Through a Forest, Darkly: Sylvan Dread on Saturday, August 24th at 9am
This panel is all about the weird and creepy aspects of forests, and as someone who lives surrounded by gorgeously haunted woods, this topic is quite near and dear to my strange little heart. Moderated by Bracken MacLeod, I get to join panelists Larissa Glasser, Richard Gavin, Paul Tremblay, and Jordan Smith in the Capital Ballroom on the 2nd floor of the Graduate (the hotel formerly known as the Biltmore, for those keeping track at home).

State of the Weird: The Outer Dark Podcast Live! on Saturday, August 24th at 12pm
The always fabulous Anya Martin and Scott Nicolay do such truly wonderful work with The Outer Dark and for the weird fiction community overall, and I’m so pleased and honored to join Victoria Dalpe, teri.zin, and John Langan as we discuss weird fiction with Scott for this live Outer Dark event. Come and hang out with us during the lunch hour on the 17th floor in L’Apogee at the Graduate!

Beyond panels, some other incredibly wonderful news: Behold the Undead of Dracula, the new anthology from Muzzleland Press, is making its debut at the convention. You can check out that book in the dealers room where the first 100 people who purchase the anthology will also get a free copy of the book’s soundtrack! That’s right: it has its own soundtrack! *swoons*

On Saturday evening, I’ll be attending the Nightfire Release Party for the forthcoming audio anthology from Tor’s new horror imprint. The anthology’s official details are still under wraps at the moment, but let’s just say that I’m very, very excited for it. That event starts at 6pm on the 3rd floor Terrace at the Graduate, and there will be s’mores and an open bar and readings from Molly Tanzer and Paul Tremblay, so it’s sure to be a great time!

So that’s my schedule for this week. You can find the full programming list for the entire event here. As always, if you spot me around the convention, definitely say hello! It will be great to see everyone from the social media universe in person! We have corporeal forms! Hooray!

Happy reading, and happy NecronomiCon!

Angels and Regret: Interview with Simon Bestwick

Welcome back for this week’s author interview! Today I’m pleased to spotlight author Simon Bestwick. Simon is the author of Wolf’s Hill, Breakwater, and Angels of the Silences, along with many short stories that have appeared in venues including Black Static, The Devil and the Deep, and Best Horror of the Year.

Recently, Simon and I discussed his new collection, And Cannot Come Again: Tales of Childhood, Regret, and Innocence Lost, as well as his inspiration as an author and his writing plans for the future.

A couple icebreakers to start: when did you decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?

Simon BestwickI honestly can’t remember how it started – I’ve been making up stories, or trying to, since I was very young. When I was at school I would turn any essay I was given into an excuse to write a story, usually horror or SF. I attempted my first novel at 14. (It was terrible.) In my late teens I decided to be an actor but retained an interest in writing, trying my hand at screen and stage plays. But it wasn’t until I left university and got stuck in a soul-destroying day job that I really buckled down and got writing fiction again in earnest. I didn’t need money or a movie camera or a cast of others to write a story. And by then I felt that if I wanted to call myself a writer, I had to actually write. So if I made a decision at any point, it was then.

I struggled to write anything I remotely liked through the back half of 1996, and then, on Boxing Day, I wrote my first proper short story, ‘Once’. After that I wrote a story a week, firing them off to the small press magazines that were everywhere at the time. And that was the start.

Oh God, there are so many favourite authors, and my list is ever-changing. Joolz Denby is one favourite – she’s an extraordinary poet and novelist (her novel Billie Morgan is utterly devastating). Another is Ramsey Campbell, who’s still producing consistently excellent fiction fifty years after he started. Joseph Roth is one I’ve recently discovered – The Radetzky March, Confession Of A Murderer, The Legend Of The Holy Drinker. Ray Bradbury for the extraordinary lyricism of his writing. Many individual books have stayed with me – Trevanian’s The Summer of Katya, Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army, Simon Louvish’s The Therapy Of Avram Blok. There are a lot of newer and emerging authors whose work I love too – Priya Sharma, Laura Mauro, Steve Hargadon, Helen Marshall. I also love the work of Cate Gardner, although she never likes me saying so in public because I’m married to her! Come back tomorrow and I’ll give you another list.

What can you tell us about your new collection, And Cannot Come Again?

It’s out now in ebook, paperback and hardback from ChiZine Publications. The subtitle is ‘Tales of Childhood, Regret and Innocence Lost’ – those were the themes the half-dozen stories I most wanted to include seemed to share, so I pulled the rest of the collection together around that.

It’s a bit of a retrospective, because there are stories in there from my first three full-length collections, along with previously uncollected tales and an unpublished novella that gives the book its title. I’m very proud of it – I think it’s a strong and varied selection from the stuff I’ve done. It also has an introduction from Ramsey Campbell, which is definitely one off the bucket list.

What draws you as a reader and a writer to horror and weird fiction? Do you remember your first experience with horror and/or weird fiction? Do you have a favorite book or film in those genres?

Horror and SF were always blurred together for me when I was little, probably due to growing up with TV programmes like Tom Baker-era Dr Who and Blake’s 7. Terrance Dicks’ Dr Who novelisations were some of the first books I read that weren’t specifically for children. Thanks to the local library, I also discovered huge numbers of horror anthologies and collections. Helen Hoke edited a series of alliteravely-titled anthologies (Demonic, Dangerous and Deadly was one) filled with great quality horror fiction: there were stories by Joseph Payne Brennan, John Collier, Fritz Leiber, Stanley Ellin, Robert Graves and many, many others. The Gruesome Book (edited by Ramsey Campbell – that name pops up again!) caught me with the title. Mary Danby’s Fontana Books Of Horror (the fourteenth volume, which is very hard to find, has a story called The Boorees by Dorothy K. Haynes that scared the hell out of me and is still superb.) Barbara Ireson edited anthologies like Creepy Creatures and Fearfully Frightening which included works by Joan Aiken, Theodore Sturgeon, Patricia Highsmith and so many more.

But one of the biggest formative works for me was a thick tome that belonged to my grandfather, called A Century Of Thrillers. It was my first introduction to the works of Edgar Allan Poe, among other things. ‘The Masque Of The Red Death’ terrified the hell out of me, and I loved it.

As you can tell, I first encountered horror literature in the form of short fiction, which is often where it’s at its best. I went through a period of deciding genre fiction, especially horror, was trash (probably after reading far too many trashy ‘80s horror novels!) but was lured back into it by Nicholas Royle’s Darklands anthologies, which demonstrated brilliantly that you could use horror fiction to write about anything at all.

As for TV and film… I’ve already mentioned the influence of Dr Who and other 1970s and ‘80s TV programmes. There was a huge amount of excellent work done in that period (along with a lot of pulp – maybe that luxuriance, and the freedom to experiment that kind of popularity brings, is why it was such a fertile time) which has had a huge influence on my generation. You can see it particularly in the films of Matthew Holness (A Gun For George, The Snipist) and particularly in last year’s brilliant and unnerving Possum.

There were the BBC’s Ghost Stories For Christmas, The Nightmare Man, the old Hammer films I’d be able to watch on a black and white portable TV if I could stay awake late enough. I saw John Carpenter’s The Thing and John Landis’ An American Werewolf In London when I was about eleven or twelve, and was alternately terrified and awed. (In the case of American Werewolf, I also laughed out loud on many occasions. And then there was Jenny Agutter. Possibly one of my first crushes there…)

In terms of what’s out there now, the wealth of new material – good new material – is possibly as rich as what was around in my boyhood. Films that have impressed me lately include Willow Creek, Grave Encounters. The Perfection, Hereditary, Get Out, the aforementioned Possum, and many others. Books? Any of Reggie Oliver’s story collections, or Lynda E. Rucker’s. Laura Mauro’s Sing Your Sadness Deep; Priya Sharma’s All The Fabulous Beasts. Gateways To Abomination by Matthew M. Bartlett. Any of the late Joel Lane’s story collections. I suppose I shouldn’t say that I’m looking forward to reading yours too, Gwendolyn, but I am!

In addition to your own writing, you also run an interview series on your blog. What inspired you to become an interviewer, and what, if anything, have you learned about the craft of writing from talking to other authors?

Partly curiosity about how other people work, partly because it was an excuse to chat to authors I like and admire, and partly out of a kind of enlightened self-interest. If you have a blog or website, you obviously want people to visit, but if all you ever do is talk about yourself and your achievements, no-one’s going to be interested. Making it as much about other people as you can is the best way to make your blog/site as interesting a place to visit as possible.

The interview I’m proudest of isn’t on my blog, however: back in 2012 I interviewed Joolz Denby about her work for This Is Horror. She still rates it as one of the best-researched and most interesting ones she’s done.

As to what I’ve learned – that virtually every writer of any worth has long periods of thinking they’re rubbish, and that everyone has different working methods. It’s about finding what works for you, putting in the hours, and not giving up.

You’ve written both short and long fiction. Do you have a preferred length as a writer? Also, how does your approach change (or stay the same) depending on the word count of the story?

It does change. With short fiction, it’s easier to dive in with only the vaguest idea of what you’re doing (with a single opening image or line or a situation or incident in mind) and winging it from there. For longer work, I usually need to sketch out some sort of outline, however vague. I have done a couple of novels where I outlined in incredibly fine detail before getting started, but generally, I prefer to keep it light, maybe outlining individual chapters as I get to them.

Up until about 2008, I was mainly a writer of short fiction, although I racked up a number of unpublished (unpublishable?) novels. Then I wrote Tide Of Souls for Abaddon Books, and my focus has tended to be on longer work ever since. I find it harder to write short fiction now; the advantage of longer work is that you can just sink into that world and write another 1,000 or however many words each day. That works on novellas too; I’ve written two this year which I think are as good as anything I’ve done.

I think on the whole I do prefer the longer work now, but I’d like to write more short stories, even so. As I said, when it comes to horror, that’s often where the strangest, best and most exciting work gets done. Novellas make a nice midway-point between the two.

You’ve been writing for a number of years now. What’s a piece of advice you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?

Write what you love, tell the stories you want to tell, don’t get bogged down in concerns about whether it’ll sell or not. Also: write every day. Draft, redraft, get it as good as you can, then send it out and keep sending it out when it gets rejected. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but always try and learn from them.

What projects are you currently working on?

I try to keep a few things on the go at any one time – so I’m currently rewriting a gigantic epic novel for my agent, while also typing up another novel I basically composed on a dictaphone last year (five minutes of recorded stuff at a time), and working (slowly) on my first screenplay. Meanwhile I’m working on a novella in longhand during my breaks at work. Once the epic’s been completed, I’ll be trying to start a new novel.

Where can we find you online?

I have a blog, which I really need to use more often! Resuming those author interviews would be a good start…

I’m on Facebook, and have a page there too, and I tweet as @GevaudanShoal. There’s an Instagram page also, though I haven’t put that to use yet.

Finally, there’s a Patreon page, where I’m serialising a comedy/SF/horror/thriller novel called The Mancunian Candidate, plus posting stories and an occasional serial.

Tremendous thanks to Simon Bestwick for being part of this week’s author interview series!

Happy reading!