Today I’m happy to turn my blog over to Catherine Cavendish. Her new novella, Dark Avenging Angel debuts tomorrow from Samhain Publishing, and I, for one, am looking forward to reading it. After all… demons are involved! But… I’ll let her tell you about it:
My latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – is, as its title suggests, concerned with revenge. In this case, revenge of the most demonic kind. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for…” Jane learns the truth of this in graphic ways.
Avenging angels and demons abound in the traditions and folklore of people all over the world. One such character is La Sayona.
Her story comes to us from Venezuela where, it is said, a beautiful woman called Melissa was happily married to her loving husband, with whom she had a baby son. One day, she was bathing naked in the river when a man from the village saw her. From that day onwards, he always followed her when she went to the river. One day, Melissa caught him watching her, challenged him and told him to stop stalking her. The man protested his innocence and said he had only come to warn her that her husband had betrayed her. Her faithless spouse was, he said, sleeping with another woman. Not just any woman either. According to the stranger, Melissa’s husband was sleeping with her own mother.
Enraged, Melissa returned home to find her husband sleeping peacefully with their baby in his arms. But Melissa’s rage burned hot and rendered her blind to any thought that her husband might be innocent. She burned down the house, killing both her husband and her son. Villagers could hear their screams but could do nothing to save them as the fire had taken too firm a hold.
Melissa then marched over to her mother’s house and found her sitting on the patio. Melissa charged at her, wielding a machete. She stabbed her mother in the stomach and, as the woman lay bleeding, she cursed her daughter. She told Melissa she would be forced to walk the earth forever, killing any cheating husbands.
It is said that today La Sayona (which translates as ‘the executioner’) can be seen as a beautiful young woman in a long white gown who strolls up and down the highway, luring men. To trick them, she often dons the disguise of one of their loved ones. Only when she has them in her grasp does she reveal her true self, with her rotting skull, horrible teeth and decayed flesh. She then mangles their bodies, or even eats them. In another version, she will entice them to have sex with her before revealing her true, disgusting self and eating their body parts – with special attention being given to the genital area.
Some of the men survive the encounter with La Sayona, with all their parts intact – but infected. The ghost carries a range of nasty diseases, all of which result in a clear signal to the wives of these men that their husbands have had an encounter with La Sayona and have, therefore, been unfaithful.
Now, to give you a taste of Dark Avenging Angel, here’s the blurb:
Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.
Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.
When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.
And here’s a brief extract:
Something had woken me from a deep sleep troubled by my recurring nightmare in which I was in a wood, being chased by some unimaginable horror. I never saw its face, assuming it even had one. But I knew if I didn’t find sanctuary, it would kill me. I had just made it into the strange little house that always appeared in the clearing, when my eyes opened and I gasped at the white, smiling face looking down at me.
That night, my angel seemed different somehow.
Oh, she looked the same. Same black cloak, but this time it shimmered and I wanted to touch it. I was sure it would feel soft as velvet under my fingers.
She put her finger to her lips and stroked my hair. Her touch was like a gentle breeze in summertime. My eyes wanted to close, but I forced them to stay open.
I knew I mustn’t speak out loud, but I could still whisper. “I wish I knew your name. Who are you? Please will you tell me?”
She continued to smile. Her lips moved, but the answering voice I heard was again in my head.
Do not be afraid, child. It is not yet time, but soon you will have the power to avenge yourself on those who have done you harm. Look for me in the shadows and I will be there, taking account.
I understood nothing of what she said. But, from somewhere, a calm I had never felt before emerged and wrapped itself around me.
I blinked in the darkness as she faded from sight.
Then I closed my eyes and slept. I never had that nightmare again after that night. But what if I’d known what was ahead for me?
Some things are better off left in the dark.
You can find Dark Avenging Angel here:
About the Author:
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Cat is now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows. Her novels, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine are also published by Samhain. Her latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – will be followed by her next novel – The Devil’s Serenade – in April 2016
You can connect with Cat here:
Today, fellow horror author M.R. Gott and I have “traded blogs.” You can see my post for the day about Eurotrash Horror Movies at M.R.Gott’s blog, but before you do that… read on:
Why do you write Horror?
This is a typical question that most horror authors are asked. What type of person would sit around thinking of and creating horrific sequences meant to elicit fear from their reader? It is a fair question.
The allure is simple. It is not a desire to create sequences of nauseating violence, it is because without the threat of failure or risk there can be no sense of triumph. It is only in the true sense of danger that our protagonists can succeed. Victories in a horror novel are not taken for granted, in this they are more valuable.
In a Horror setting the reader or viewer knows that the protagonist or hero is not certain to survive. Sure in Die Hard the odds are against McClane, and yeah Segal faced down an army in Under Siege, but was there any doubt that they would survive?
In a Horror story anything can happen to anyone at any time, and if the protagonists are well drawn the reader will truly root for them because their triumph and even survival are not guaranteed.
From an early age I was drawn to these stories, even before I even understood the ‘horror’ label. In a long ago time, Halloween was the easiest season to seek out these stories. Horror films were on TV nearly every night. I remember setting the VCR in the living room to record these intense features I knew my parents would not want me to watch and finding time later to view them. Two that stick out vividly were IT and the original Nightmare on Elm Street. IT was a TV movie and Nightmare on Elm Street was censored for TV, but as a lad in elementary school these were intense features.
But why expose yourself to such frightening gut churning ordeals? The answer is simple, even a viewer or reader can triumph when experiencing one of these stories. If Freddy scares you, stare him down until you have overcome him. This is why Horror franchises lose their bite. By Freddy’s Dead you know what’s coming even though you have never seen it. But when re-watching the original you are remembering how it made you feel, and experiencing a frightening form of nostalgia.
As a child I was an avid reader and quickly worked through what was in the children’s section of my local library. During the month of October the Horror books would be pulled from the adult fiction racks and displayed prominently. The cover art alone on some of these books could inspire a thousand lurid dreams.
When I found a an old copy of In The Flesh by Clive Barker I immediately recognized the image, and didn’t realize I had since read another edition. I purchased the copy anyway solely for the cover art. I had read a number of King’s books as well as the bulk of Crichton’s work by the time I was 11 or 12. I sought out King’s Novel IT at my local library, because damnit the movie was a two parter and I missed the second half when I recorded the first. I knew I would never get the book out of the library and into my house while keeping my parents ignorant of my actions. (damn thing was long and the hardcover was larger than a couple of bricks) I was also very aware that my parents would (rightly) not see this as appropriate reading material or an 11 year old. The exact consequence of failing to covertly sneak/checkout the book from the Library and into my house was irrelevant. It would not have been pleasant. Rather than tragically attempt to re-enact Steve McQueen’s Great Escape, I power read the second half over the course of a few weeks. Smaller paperbacks were easier, but not immune to my parents need to act responsibly. I remember clearly my Dad taking away Interview with the Vampire and Silence of the Lambs from me before I was 13. I tried to argue Silence of the Lambs was fine, but he tricked me by asking me to describe the last scene I read. I told him Clarice had just found a rotting severed tongue in an old storage cellar. That was my mistake, he opened to my bookmark, skimmed it briefly and that book went back to the library. After reading these books later in life it was clear he made the correct paternal call. Michael Crichton hid his terror in the guise of Science Fiction, making his novels more palatable to my Dad.
Jurassic Park was one of the first truly intense novels I remember reading, and then prompting re-reading. By the time the film was released theatrically I had read the novel at least twice fully though, and the second half a few more times. I clearly remember my Dad taking me to see the film shortly after it was released. On the car ride to the theatre he tried to prepare me for what was going to be an intense film, and while we were there some kids my age left nearly in tears, somehow though I didn’t find it that scary. (Aside from the opening when the dude is dragged into the Raptor cage) The book was better, a startling lesson for an 11-year-old kid. There was a sense of accomplishment as we left the theatre together. I had faced something that was intended to frighten and my steely nerves were victorious.
Horror allows us to confront our fears in a safe environment. Halloween is a reminder of this. Ghouls greet us in the windows of stores and we all watch in anticipation as a little kid walks cautiously toward the animatronic cackling witch. They may have jumped and ran the first time, but damn it they will not let that stand. They will conquer the witch, and with it feel a sense of triumph. On the car ride home they will beam up to their parents regaling them with the tale and explaining that they are no longer scared, and their parent will face the fact that their child is growing up.
Horror and Halloween help us to confront the darkness in the world that surrounds us. It is a season when it is culturally acceptable to peer into the shadows outside our house, and within us. And as we cast a light into these dark recesses we learn. Perhaps there was nothing to fear, and we can take this lesson and grow. Perhaps there was a creature there and we now know what it is and can confront it. And perhaps what’s there will overwhelm us and tear us apart and we will never be what we used to be. But hey this is horror and as I said earlier, not everyone survives. Then again, maybe we shouldn’t have been who we were and it is in this destruction we will truly become who we are.
But what do I know, I just write scary stories,
M.R. Gott, the author of the novel WHERE THE DEAD FEAR TO TREAD which was called ” frantic, horrific, brutal, and without doubt the darkest thing I have read in years. Maybe in my life, by She Never Slept and “one of the most disturbing and atmospheric things I’ve read in a long while,” by Dana Fredsti author of Plague Town. Aside from writing, M.R. enjoys strong coffee, dark beer, red wine, and fading light.
The June Horror releases from Samhain Publishing this month are my novel NightWhere and Jonathan Janz’s House of Skin. So to celebrate our newfound status as the June standard-bearers of horror, Jonathan and I decided to trade blogs today. You’ll find a post from me over at Jonathan’s place. And here’s his entry (and one of the first guest blogs I’ve ever hosted):
MY FIVE BEST HORROR NOVELS
FEATURING A FEARSOME SUPERNATURAL WOMAN
It’s an honor to be on John Everson’s blog. I’ve been a visitor of his site for a good while now, and I’ve been enjoying his fiction even longer. And before we go any further, let’s get one thing out of the way…
I’m going to share with you a list of my top five favorite “ferocious supernatural female” books in horror fiction, and one of the novels I’ve decided to omit is Mr. Everson’s outstanding SIREN. My reasoning was that I read it after I’d written HOUSE OF SKIN (on sale now!), and it therefore had no influence on my novel. Which is another unifying theme in this list—every book in some way helped shape my second novel.
Now…the books that are on the list (below the cover of my new novel HOUSE OF SKIN):
You’ll find my comments on these novels short, but that’s because I’ll be counting them down on my blog later in the summer and will save my unabridged windage for then. For now, however…the list:
5. H. Rider Haggard’s SHE
Honey Ryder after a good toweling off
Who knew Ursula Andress played Ayesha back in the sixties? Okay, so maybe some of you knew that, but I sure didn’t, and if you think I got on Netflix and began to search for this film the moment I learned of it, you might be right.
This book isn’t as old as the Old Testament and its Lillith (who, by the way, plays a crucial role in my third novel THE DARKEST LULLABY, due out from Samhain in early 2013), but it’s still one of the grandaddies—er, grandmammies of the sub genre. H. Rider Haggard wrote this tale well enough that it’s still in print 125 years later. Like some of the writers of his day, Haggard’s narrative style can distance the reader from the story a bit too much (I prefer my authors to stay out of the way), but that doesn’t alter the book’s status as a seminal depiction of an awesome and fearsome female entity that both attracts and terrifies the men who encounter it.
For any horror fan, SHE is required reading.
4. Richard Matheson’s EARTHBOUND
The lovely…and awful Marianna
This isn’t Matheson’s best, nor is it even in his top five. But that’s the problem with a writer as great as Matheson—people forget that on a bad day he’s still far, far better than most writers will ever aspire to be. And EARTHBOUND is a good sight better than many horror books that folks consider paragons of the genre.
But enough about how under appreciated Mr. Matheson is. I appreciate the heck out of this creepily erotic masterpiece. The woman in it (Marianna) will haunt you as surely as she haunts David Cooper, Matheson’s troubled protagonist. Read this one and let it linger in your mind. It’ll take hold. I promise.
3. Jack Ketchum’s SHE WAKES
Glorious, Greek, and Ghastly
I’ve spoken about Ketchum a hundred times over the past several months, so anyone familiar with me won’t be surprised by his inclusion on this list. Like EARTHBOUND and Matheson’s body of work, SHE WAKES is widely considered a minor entry into the Ketchum canon. That’s more a comment on Ketchum’s incredible bibliography (when you’ve written stuff like THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and OFF SEASON, people tend to raise their expectations for your work) than it is on the novel’s quality. Also problematic for some readers is the supernatural nature of this yarn, which marks a bit of a departure for Jack Ketchum, who usually dabbles in real-life horrors.
But I love SHE WAKES. And the primary reason for my love, as you might have guessed, is his fearsome goddess. She’s a perfect manifestation of female power unleashed, as well as a sinister foil to the vivid Greek setting Ketchum draws. If you forget your other experiences with Ketchum’s novels and take this one on its own merits, I think you’ll find the experience very rewarding.
And deeply unsettling.
2. John Farris’s ALL HEADS TURN WHEN THE HUNT GOES BY
Of all the covers you could have chosen for this blog post…
This one has just been re-released (by Crossroad Press, I believe), and contemporary readers who’ve never taken the plunge into Farris’s nightmarish world are in for a treat. The novel, which sports one of the best titles in horror history, is bookended by a pair of scenes of such raw, nightmarish ferocity that they’d make the novel memorable all by themselves.
But the reason this book clocks in at number two on my list is that everything in between the aforementioned scenes is awesome too.
Farris is a muscular writer. He has a stunning command of the language, as well as a phenomenal grasp of form. Basically, there’s nothing he doesn’t do well, and for my money, this is probably his best book.*
(*Of course, I haven’t read SON OF THE ENDLESS NIGHT yet, and I’m told that one is a towering example of great storytelling. But until I do, ALL HEADS TURN WHEN THE HUNT GOES BY will remain my favorite book by one of my favorite authors.)
Oh, and the woman at the novel’s center is a beast.
1. Peter Straub’s GHOST STORY
This is my favorite horror novel ever, so is it any surprise that Eva Galli/Alma Mobley/Anna Mostyn is my favorite ferocious femme on this list? There was a movie made from this novel, and despite the brilliant source material and the all-star cast (particularly Fred Astaire, who deserved better), the film doesn’t really work.
But Straub’s novel…man, does it work and work and work and work!
The woman at the dark heart of this novel represents every terrible secret every man has ever harbored. She is the WRONGED WOMAN, and her wrath is boundless. No matter how kind a man tries to be, chances are that at some point he will do or say something to a woman that he will come to regret. This means that the dread invoked by Eva/Alma/Anna is well-nigh universal and absolutely inescapable. When she appears in Straub’s masterpiece, she induces gooseflesh and shudders. But even when she’s not on the page, she still lingers with the reader. Peering over his shoulder, whispering to him of forgotten deeds, reminding him that he isn’t really safe after all.
Shameless and unrelated plug for my debut novel
The primal fear Eva/Alma/Anna evokes in the reader is the true reason behind this novel’s resonance. It is awful and it is true and it will give you nightmares, no matter how jaded you are. For my money, GHOST STORY is the best horror novel ever written, and by extension, the inexorable female presence that drives this narrative is one of the finest creations in all of fiction.
Thank you so much, John, for having me on your blog. I’m proud to be published alongside you and hope everyone discovers what a great writer you are. And, of course, I hope they read HOUSE OF SKIN too. There’s an evil woman in my book who’s hungry to meet all of you. She’s seductive and unspeakably cruel. Pick up my novel and give Annabel the opportunity to seduce you too.
ast week, one of my favorite authors, Jeffrey Thomas, interviewed me for his blog (you can read my responses to his interview here if you’re so inclined). It occurred to me while answering his questions that, having read a lot of Jeff’s work over the years — and even publishing some of it (in Dark Arts Books’ anthology Waiting For October) — I had a few questions of my own to throw right back at him!
Jeff has been publishing dark fiction for more than 20 years, and is probably best known for his Punktown series of novels and short story collections. He’s been published in the venerable Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror anthologies, and his work has been translated in German, Russian and Greek. He’s also the author of one of my favorite novels of the past decade, Letters from Hades. Here are his answers to the questions I threw at him:
1) Jeff, does it worry you that when someone types in www.jeffreythomas.com they arrive at an obituary for a scholarly bookseller? You’re still on this side of the Inferno, right?
JET: As far as I know, though one of these days I could have one of those Carnival of Souls moments and realize I was actually killed in a plane crash coming home from my recent vacation to Vietnam, and that I’m not sitting home because I’m laid off and unemployed – I’m dead! But it’s OK I’m dead so long as Massachusetts keeps the checks coming. But yeah, I wish I could have gotten that URL. My friend Nick Curtis, who runs my web site/blog for me, was able to get me www.JeffreyEthomas.com instead, my middle initial being E. (The reason I sign my artwork JET.) JeffreyEThomas.com is not ideal, since not everyone’s going to think to put the E in there, but…maybe if that other poor guy is dead, we’ll get his URL one of these days.
2) I’m proud to say I own signed copy #8 of your first hardcover short fiction collection, Terror Incognita, which came out shortly before my own first collection with Delirium Books. Terror Incognita includes two of my favorite short pieces of yours, “John Sadness” and “Disfigured.” How did you go from publishing in a variety of small press magazines and via your own press to getting your first hardcover book deal… and what did that first book mean to you?
JET: Oh, I was over the moon about Terror Incognita – it was the long, long-awaited realization of my dreams, dreams going back to my youth. I dedicated the book to my late father, who passed away shortly before the book came out (in 2000). He was a locally published poet, so he was very proud that my brother Scott and I had been getting stories published in the indie press. It was also very rewarding that after years of submitting book proposals to publishers, and being turned down, Delirium Books came to me with the idea of doing a book. Ahem! That fact alone represented just how diligently I’d worked to make some kind of name for myself in the small press, since the late 80s. It was when I knew I had paid my dues. Anyway, I’m glad you like the collection, John, and “John Sadness” is one of my favorites of my own stories, too. It was inspired by my feelings upon having been told for the first time that my son Colin is autistic.
3) We “grew up” in the genre at roughly the same time. I saw your name in a lot of the same magazines I was publishing (or trying to publish) in during the ’90s. How do you feel about the landscape of magazines and short fiction now, compared to when you were first starting out? I have my own nostalgic view of the ’90s zine scene, but I wonder how you feel things have changed and whether it’s for good or ill.
JET: Yeah, John – recently when I interviewed you for my blog, and reviewed your own history, I saw a lot of parallels between us. Appearances in small press zines, then on to Delirium Books, starting our own indie press imprints, eventually breaking into mass market, all around the same time. The zine scene seems a lot different now, but then I’m not really sure what zines might be out there – I don’t follow that like I once did, so avidly.
It seems to me that because of the cost of conventional printing, zines have been largely replaced by web zines and books produced by POD (print-on-demand) technology. It’s not a bad thing – POD has helped many small publishers bring out mighty fine-looking books, much nicer than my own little 90s zine The End, which I pasted up by hand on a light table! – but it’s a different feeling, and I do miss those days. I was so excited back then just to get a story into some little saddle-stabled booklet with photocopied pages. More excited than I am sometimes, now, to get a story in some slick-looking anthology!
I found out only a day or two ago that Janet Fox, who published The Scavenger’s Newsletter, had passed away, and that was very sad news. Scav was an invaluable resource to me back in those days, and I remember it and Janet fondly. I have to credit her a lot, in terms of whatever success I achieved in the small press – and hence, beyond. Yeah, it all comes back to me now. I remember the days when Cemetery Dance was a dot matrix publication. And I still couldn’t get published in it! But a few years ago they wrote and asked me if I could give them a story. Ahh…again, the fruits of one’s labor!
4) I was sad to hear about Janet too — I still have a box of Scavenger’s Newsletters that I simply can’t part with. They totally represent that era for me.
While your early short work explored a wide range of conceits, over the past decade it seems that you’ve focused more and more on developing your Punktown world, both in short fiction and novels. What was the inspiration for Punktown, and what draws you to write in “that world” so often?
JET: Back as early as 1980 I consciously set out to create a future world – not so much a prediction of the future, though, as a kind of Otherwhere – where I could mix genres and satirize or comment on society and the human condition. It being the time of punk rock, I called it Punktown. My early Punktown stories, mostly handwritten novels, just filled up my desk drawers, though, until I started selling Punktown short stories to the small press in the 80s and 90s. Finally in 2000, The Ministry of Whimsy Press put out the collection Punktown and the reception was very kind indeed. That inspired me to write more Punktown stories – but mostly, it’s just such a fun place to write about. I can do anything there.
You want to do horror? You want to do detective fiction? Want to throw in a mutant, a robot, some Lovecraftian stuff?
It’s a place that supports all kinds of plot-lines. I feel more comfortable there because I can make the rules. Today I started to work on a new story in which I wanted the protagonist to be a pharmacist. But then I wondered how young could a pharmacist be? What would the person have to study to be a pharmacist, how long would it take, and so on. All these banal things you’d have to research. Not that I dislike research, but I get insecure about getting even the smallest thing wrong. I’m kind of a wallflower type of guy, I have to say. The real world and I have a wary sense of each other. Punktown…that’s my home.
5) Punktown moved from a collection of short connected fiction (Punktown) to a novel (Monstrocity) to another collection (Shades of Grey) to two mass market novels Deadstock and Blue War. What is the next entry in the Punktown world?
JET: Well, first off I’ve also had the novels Everybody Scream! and Health Agent come out, too, and these were in fact two of the handwritten trunk stories I wrote in the 80s. I type with one finger and I’m fast, but retyping is too tedious, so I had these novels typed up for me (one by the publisher, one by my sister-in-law) and both were published by Raw Dog Screaming Press. I’m as proud of them, overall, as I am my more recent Punktown work. There’s also been a third collection of Punktown short stories, the recent Voices From Punktown from Dark Regions Press. I’ve pitched several ideas for a third Jeremy Stake novel (Stake is the private eye protagonist of both Deadstock and Blue War), and I’m crossing my fingers that one of them will get the green light so I can keep Punktown out there in the mass market.
6) Your Letters From Hades is one of my favorite novels of the past decade and stands next to Edward Lee’s Infernal novels as a wonderfully inventive look at hell. How did that novel come about, and what offshoots has it engendered?
JET: I’m pleased you like it that much; it’s been rewarding to hear that it’s a favorite with a bunch of people. I have to credit David G. Barnett of Necro Publications with its creation. Dave loved a short story of mine called “Coffee Break,” and asked if I could set an entire novel based on a vision of Hell like that. How could I turn down such a challenge? I’ve since written a number of short stories set in the Hell of Letters From Hades, these being collected in my book Voices From Hades from Dark Regions. I also wrote a loose sequel to Letters From Hades, Beautiful Hell, which along with a novella from Carlton Mellick III became the book Ugly Heaven/Beautiful Hell, from Delirium.
In the very near future, Dark Regions will be bringing out my novel The Fall of Hades, again a loose sequel to Letters From Hades and Beautiful Hell, which takes place two thousand years in the future after the destruction of the Earth – and of Hades, too. It’s a bizarre mix of horror, science fiction, fantasy and the kitchen sink (yes, there’s even a chapter called The Kitchen Sink), that I believe is one of the very best things I’ve written. I hope it gets the attention I so humbly believe it deserves. And by the way, one needn’t have read Letters From Hades or Beautiful Hell to enjoy The Fall of Hades; like all my Punktown stories are meant to do, as well, it stands on its own.
7) Your brother Scott is a noted dark fiction writer in his own right and you’ve collaborated with him on several projects. How is it that you both ended up working in the dark fiction arena, and what drove you to collaborate rather than duke it out competitively (as brothers so often do!)?
JET: Oh, we’ve been more competitive than collaborative – our collaborations have been relatively few, these being a single short story, the book Punktown: Shades of Grey (we each wrote half the stories in that collection), and the paired individual novellas that comprise the yet-to-be-published The Sea of Flesh and Ash – but it’s been a friendly and encouraging kind of competition that has actually forced us to both evolve and hone our creative efforts. We grew up in a family that loved to read and was very artistic, but what drove Scott and I to the dark side I couldn’t say. I plug Scott any chance I get, because his stuff is awesome. I urge people to look up his collections The Garden of Ghosts, Over the Darkening Fields and Midnight in New England. His specialty is Victorian-type supernatural stories, set in England or New England.
8) I remember seeing the logo for Necropolitan Press in magazines back when I first started publishing short fiction. I loved the name, the logo, and the fact that someone could have their own small horror press. In that way, I’m sure it helped me to found my own Dark Arts Books imprint more than a decade later (and where I was psyched to be able to publish new Jeffrey Thomas fiction in our second release, Waiting for October!). How did Necropolitan come about, and why did you decide to revive it recently after several years of hiatus?
JET: It was so fun being published in those zines we’ve already discussed that it seemed natural I’d want to create my own, especially where I already worked in a printing company as a paste-up artist. Just another outlet for my creative urges. I started with four issues of The End magazine, then went on to publish chapbooks by such brilliant writers as Jeff VanderMeer and W. H. Pugmire. But it started to consume too much of my writing time – and too much money! – putting the projects together, reading for them and getting them out there, so I had to stop. It was Nick Curtis, an admirer of my work, who inspired me to revive Necropolitan Press, this time with him as my partner. It’s Nick who does all the real work now – I pretty much just picked our first project, Paul (The Little Sleep) Tremblay’s disturbing novella, The Harlequin and the Train. We don’t have a second project planned yet, but we’ll see what the future holds. Our site is: www.necropolitan-press.com.
JET: I was an artist before I started to write, really, and so my two interests developed simultaneously, though my love of writing came to greatly overpower my love of creating art. (I’m a decent artist, but my hands can’t keep up with the visions in my mind.) I’ve done a bunch of zine illustrations, and covers for some of my own chapbooks and books, like the original edition of my collection Aaaiiieee!!! and the cover of Health Agent. My cover for my collection Thirteen Specimens is a photo, though, of various weird items I had around the house.
10) Writers are inspired by a lot of things, and often by other writers/artists/musicians. Who are some of the creative inspirations that drive you to dream?
JET: Too many to name, but stand-outs would be writers as diverse as H. P. Lovecraft, Thomas Hardy, Yukio Mishima, Clive Barker, Chuck Palahniuk and Martin Cruz Smith…artists like H. R. Giger (who supplied cover and interior art for the German hardcover edition of Punktown – talk about a wildest dream come true!)…musicians like Elvis Costello and Nick Cave. Even video games, like the Silent Hills and the Zeldas, and favorite movies like Taxi Driver, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Fight Club, The Exorcist, The Godfather, Planet of the Apes (original!!), and on and on. Such creative works might not directly inspire, but they keep you excited about the creative process in general.
11) What are you working on now and/or, what should we be looking for from Jeffrey Thomas in 2010? I’ve still got a couple open spots on my bookcase!
JET: I definitely want to push my previously mentioned novel The Fall of Hades, due out in hardcover in the next month or so. Dark Regions will also be bringing out another collection of mine, called Nocturnal Emissions, which consists of reprints and new material – such as a story called “Waltered States” which, with his blessing, stars pop singer Walter Egan (Magnet and Steel) as its protagonist, as he comes into conflict with a weird singing duo from another dimension. Aside from that and some other projects further back in the pipeline, I just got the go ahead from a cool small press publisher I’ve worked with before for a brand new novel. But I don’t want to discuss it more, until contracts are inked and I get a better handle on what the damn thing is going to be about! In theory, being unemployed should give me more time in which to write…though it hasn’t seemed that way yet!