Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Next Big Thing

This project was the brainchild of the excellent Mark Morris. I was brought into the loop by the equally grand Rio Youers. It's a nice round-robin of questions after which each participant tags five other writers who will be taking part in the project. My quintet lurk below my responses, which may be read now...

1. What is the working title of your next book?

Being the snail-paced, obsessive, one-word-at-a-time author that I am, I'm going to bend the rules here and talk about my collection At Fear's Altar, which was just released in October courtesy of Hippocampus Press. Were I to give the working title of my next book it would be something like Point-form Scribbles in a Spiral-bound Notebook, which is all very Samuel Beckett-sounding but ultimately not that interesting to anyone but me.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The individual stories were born of the same holistic process as my other books. They are the products of equal-parts waking life observations, dream/nightmare imagery, unusual words I like to employ, and esoteric concepts that I feel lend themselves to dramatic presentation.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Supernatural Horror is probably the most convenient handle for these stories, like everything else I've written. Though "weird tales" works equally fine. I prefer to call my work "nightmarish."  Not because I dislike the word "Horror" (I actually love the word), but rather because I'm always striving to capture and convey those feverishly uncanny qualities that make our nightmares so disorienting and frightening.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Ugh. I wouldn't. I'd leave the filmmaking to the filmmakers. I'd be tickled to see one of my stories adapted for the screen, large or small, but I don't want anything to do with the process. In a perfect world my participation with any movie rendition would consist of me depositing a hefty pay cheque and then some time later walking up the road to my local theatre to watch the movie like anybody else.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ostensibly these are stories whose characters are stretched to the horizon of experience, where their individual lives are pushed over into the uncanny forces that thrum deep within, beneath, and beyond them. These are stories that show that the blood-freezing, skin-creeping, eye-widening experience of Horror is often synonymous with what is often called "transcendence," "a mystical experience", "god", what have you, hence the book's title.

Wait, that was two sentences, wasn't it. Math was never my strong suit.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

At Fear's Altar was published by Hippocampus Press, the New York-based publisher of many excellent weird books.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Approximately eighteen months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The back cover places the book in the lineage of Poe, Machen, Blackwood, and Ligotti, which is some very august company. I'll humbly go with it.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

S.T. Joshi was certainly a major inspiration. As a longtime admirer of his critical writings, it was an honour to work with him in the writer/editor paradigm. For years I was nervous at the thought of even having my work reviewed by S.T. because his grasp of the supernatural tale is so sure and his standards are notoriously high. Having him not only like what I do, but openly support it remains a marvelously surreal experience.

Clive Barker and Algernon Blackwood were also inspirations for the book.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

One of the stories has the much-maligned word "eldritch" in the title. Odder still, said story has nothing whatever to do with Lovecraft.

And now, the next five authors: Helen Marshall, Orrin Grey, Daniel Mills, Don Webb, and Jayaprakash Satyamurthy.