Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Blogs

Thanks to Book Blogs for the Support on Where the Dead Fear to Tread

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Passage to Now

Thanks to Alan Chin for mentioning Where the Dead Fear to Tread at his blog, A Passage to Now

Sunday, November 27, 2011

M.R. Interviews...J.F. Lewis

Please Welcome J.F. Lewis to Cutis Anserina

Eric in the Void City series is an incredibly unique character, was he a conscience creation or did he emerge to you through his actions?
I'm not sure. I've described Eric as "all the things I'd never say and all the venom I'll never spew". But that's kind of a misleading statement, because Eric's opinions are often not mine, even if we do have the same taste in music and the same favorite movie.

Eric was created partially out of a desire to write about a vampire who would not be the typical (or typical at the time) angst ridden vampire hero who really didn't have all that much to be depressed about. There had been a fairly long line of tormented vampires who were super cool, utterly gorgeous, perfectly graceful and polite, yet constantly acted as if not being able to go outside during the day and having to drink a little blood every night was the end of the world.  It annoyed me.  A lot.   With Eric, I wanted to show vampirism as truly unpleasant, but have him still not be all that tortured by it. 

Does the Void City series have a final endpoint you are working toward, or are you taking it book by book, section by section?
There is an endcap storyline for Eric that I have in mind, but it kind of revolves around several other characters I'd like to write books about first. There are other storylines I might want to explore in the Void City universe; Eric may be in them, but he wouldn't be the focus like he has been in the books thus far.

You are often listed as an author of Urban Fantasy but you give off a bit of a horror vibe to me.  How do you view these two genres?

Urban Fantasy crosses a lot of genre lines. I straddle the fence between horror and dark comedy, but romance and mystery aspects pop up from time to time. Some of my favorite urban fantasy books might have been horror novels if the central protagonist hadn't possessed supernatural abilities. Does that make sense? (It Does)
What literary character left a strong mark on you?  How so?

My ideal protagonist is Corwin from Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber. He cuts a fine line between a hero and an anti-hero, and his first-person commentary on those around him can be cuttingly funny. His sarcastic wit is something I love. Growing up, I was also a huge fan of Moorcock's Elric and Robert E. Howard's Conan.  That probably comes through in my action scenes; at least I hope it does.  (Love Howard, and it does)

You have a bit of anti-Twilight material on your website with your “Just say no to sparkly vampires,”  promos.  Care to elaborate on this at all?

Heh. I have nothing against Twilight, but I was lurking in a forum and saw where someone described STAKED as "Exactly like Twilight, except with real vampires" and it amused me.  Then a few years later, while I was doodling on my iPad I drew Wolfy and thought he looked cute, so I made a silly little ad out of that image and people seemed to find it amusing.  Strange things happen when I doodle on my iPad.

What author most influenced you as a writer how?

That would be Zelazny again. Until I read the Amber series, I hated first person narratives.  After Amber, I understood that it was the narrators I hated, not the style. To make first person POV work, it has to be fun to be in that character's head. You have have to love hanging out with them and hearing what they have to say. It helps if your POV character is a bit of a prick.  The exception to that is Michael Stackpole's Dark Glory War. That book rocks, and the main character is a really nice guy.

Any new information coming down the pipeline you would like to share?

BURNED comes out January 2012...  Eric actually has a plan and is being proactive. Plus there is also tons more Greta POV which should please folks who have been following the series. New readers could just jump in with book four, though you certainly miss some things if you do that.

Also, the first story arc in GEARLESS: An Untold Web Comic is almost finished over at gearless.untoldthegame.com . It's an all ages comics I've been writing as a media tie-in for the Untold card-based role playing game. It starts out a little silly, but fans of my darker stuff should find that things start to get really interesting by page twelve or so. D3rr0 is not quite what he appears to be and neither is BlackOps. 
Thank You,
J.F. Lewis for taking the time,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Gritty Little Thriller...M.R reviews X

 X Review            

Holly Rowe’s (Viva Bianca) last night as a prostitute hits a slight road bump and she hires Shay Ryan(Hanna Mangan Lawrence) to fill in for the missing girl.  Shay is a teenage runaway and this is her second night as a prostitute.  The simple job goes horribly wrong.

X is a success on many levels.  One is an expert use of contrast.  Holly is a seasoned prostitute Shay is just beginning.  The contrast of police and criminals is also used very effectively.  The cast is great, particularly the two female leads. 
The greatest strength of X is its darkness.  Viva Bianca is an incredibly attractive lead, but his is not a sexy movie, it is sinister and disturbing.  The early sequences of Shay’s first few tricks are awkward and cringe worthy. 
Though the world is against Holly and Shay it is vital to note, they are never portrayed as victims, they are survivors in a harsh reality.  One standout scene involves a pimp smacking Holly, before she proceeds to thoroughly beat the shit out of him. 
Director Writer Jon Hewitt keeps an incredible intensity through the bulk of the film’s running time.  

In the end;
The tightly paced script and direction by Jon Hewitt create a criminally under seen crime flick.  The cast is terrific and the plot hits all the right notes.  If you are looking for a crime film that does not glamorous sex and violence this is the film for you.  John Hewitt finds small human moments within the darkness and chase sequences creating a emotional resonance for his characters.    

Friday, November 25, 2011

Buy One book get a second Half Off

Black Friday Sale at Untreed Reads, Buy one book and get a second 50% off.  Click below

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The last Werewolf

Jake is a suicidal werewolf, and may be the last of his species.  Despite the pleas of his only friend , Harley he has resigned himself to allowing the hunters to kill him at the next full moon.  But complications arise is his wait for oblivion.

“Then, because I knew she knew  me, and because I could kill everything in her before killing her, and because that was the trick that led to the peace that passeth understanding, and because the only way was to begin with the worst thing, I let it come down.  The flesh of her thigh opened with a spray of warm blood….”

Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf harkens back to the style of early Anne Rice.  The prose is rich, descriptive and fluid.  Yet in a departure from novels such as Interview with the Vampire a great deal occurs in the novel’s mere 293 pages.  The plot rockets forward in a manner more akin to an excellent B movie thriller.  Conspiracies, kidnappings and double crosses abound.  Duncan’s terrific writing feels above such simple trappings, and this is the novel’s strength.  This is elegant B- horror, complete with all the sex and violence one would expect.  The character of Jake is fully realized and demonstrates the strength of Duncan’s story and writing.  Jake is wholly unlikable and he is narrating the story.  Despite his snide comments and self serving actions the reader follows him willingly.  Make no mistake, Jake is not an anti-hero, or hero in any way.  Jake is a fully realized protagonist in a great story.  The end is fulfilling and marks a logical end to the story.  The only glaring weakness to the novel is a continuous stream of observations that the events are not playing out in a way typical to horror novels or movies.  I am unsure if this is meant to be a meta-gag or merely ironic.

In the End;
This is a great book for a person incapable of stopping their mind, but in the mood for a simple thriller.  The firs person narrative adds an extra dimension to the proceedings. Duncan leaves no gaping plot holes, and does not resort to simplifying his ideas.  

M.R. interviews..........J.F. Gonzalez

Please welcome J.F. Gonzalez 

When writing Clickers with Mark Williams did you realize you would
write two sequels with Brian Keene? How did this all come to

No, of course not. I didn't know Brian then. Mark and I wrote Clickers between 1993 and 1996 and I didn't meet Brian until the 2000 World Horror Convention in Denver, when Clickers has already been out for seven months as an ebook and had just been released as a trade paperback (the first paperback release was launched at that convention). We had no intention on this book to become a series. It wasn't until 2005 when the book had attained somewhat of an underground cult status that I thought I would like to take a stab at a sequel. By then, Mark had passed away rather unexpectedly and I didn't want to do a sequel by myself out of respect for him. I needed a collaborator that I could mesh creatively with, the way Mark and I did, and Brian was the perfect choice. They never met, but the two of them had quite a lot in common, primarily a love for classic horror films and fiction, comic books, and heavy metal. Not only that, Brian had a love and appreciation for the kind of low budget cheesy kind of horror fiction Mark and I were paying homage to in Clickers - that was important.

What are some of the advantages to co-authoring a novel?

When it works, collaborations are wonderful. Having the extra set of eyes, of course, is a benefit, but when you have somebody as absorbed in the story as you are, it just gives you that added boost to the creative process. When you find a collaborator you can click with on every level of the story - narrative flow, plot, prose, structure, theme - it's quite a magical process.

Do you find it easier to write Supernatural Horror such as
Shapeshifter, and The Beloved or less fantastical works such as

Not really. The same amount of effort goes into writing each.

Of the characters you have created, which draws the strongest personal
connection for you? How so?

Hard to say, really. I remember when I was writing The Beloved; I channeled some personal angst and frustration into Elizabeth Weaver's character. I was going through the same thing she was at the time - somebody with a full-time job and a part-time job as a writer who was also trying to balance family life and the responsibilities of raising a child. Tim Gaines from Back From the Dead also drew a personal connection for me due to his love of horror novels. I was just like him as a kid.

What literary character had the most indelible impact on you? In what way?

That's even tougher. I can't really say. There's so many of them, for different reasons.
What was the first truly scary book you remember reading?

Again, hard to say about books (novels), but I can tell you what the first truly scary horror short story was I read. "Sweets to the Sweet" by Robert Bloch. I read it when I was ten years old, in an anthology of horror stories my mother gave me. Even then I was drawn to the scary stuff, and most of my reading up until that time was comic books and juveniles (Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators). Reading that Bloch story opened Pandora's Box for me. I haven't been the same ever since.
Do you have any projects coming down the pipeline you would like share with us?

Clickers vs. Zombies by Brian Keene and myself has just been turned in to Bloodletting Press for a 2012 release. I'm working on a short novel called The Killers with Wrath James White for Sinister Grin Press that we're both very excited about. I'm in the final stages of finishing a novella for Delirium Books called "Sins of the Father". Aside from that, there's a few screenplay projects and a novel I want to get back to, and the ambitious reprinting of my backlist in new digital and trade paperback formats. There will be some short stories down the pike too. I hardly write short stories these days, and for the first time in years I've started writing them again, mostly on spec, just for the love of doing it. 

Old NES Favorites

Anyone Remember this old game?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Drey's Library

Our editor Jay Hartman was just interviewed for Drey's Library's, click below

M.R. Interviews.............................................Scott M Baker

Tell us about Rotter World?

Rotter World is my first zombie novel.  It’s being published by Permuted Press, and should be released early in 2012.  It takes place in the months after vampires released the Zombie Virus against mankind, hoping to eliminate humans.  Instead, the vampires badly miscalculated, and the rotters preyed on the flesh of the undead as well as the living.  In order to survive, a small band of humans and vampires entered an uneasy truce and managed to sit out the apocalypse from an isolated location on the coast of southern Maine.  The survivors established a relatively comfortable existence until Dr. Robert Compton, a government scientist, arrives at camp claiming to have discovered a vaccine for the Zombie Virus.  The catch: it’s located in his underground laboratory at Site R in southern Pennsylvania, hundreds of miles deep inside rotter territory.  The trek across a rotter-ravaged countryside forces the group to confront external dangers (and internal demons) that none of them could have imagined.  Yet what awaits them at Site R is far more threatening.

What separates The Vampire Hunters trilogy from the plethora of vampire novels coming out now?

Two things make my vampires stand out.  First, mine hark back to the classic monsters of Universal and Hammer Studios as portrayed by Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee.  The vampires in my trilogy are pure evil.  They don’t date teenage girls or spend a life regretting the sins they committed.  I vision vampires as embracing their lack of inhibitions and reveling in their inhumanity, so that’s how I portray them.  They enjoy tormenting their prey and satiating their desires, whether it’s for sex or blood, with an indiscriminate savagery.  My vampires never suffer pangs of conscience. 

Second, unlike many books or movies where the vampires are portrayed as two dimensional characters, I give mine personalities and explain the motivations that drive them.  Walker, Chiang Shih’s consigliore, willingly became a vampire to get revenge on his master.  Melinda, who is twelve-years-old, was turned by a vampire with a penchant for child molestation, and now hunts other children and pedophiles.  There are back stories for each of my vampires and reasons why they behave the way they do, which I detail throughout the trilogy.  My goal is to make the vampires central characters to the books just as much as the hunters, and to be the villains you love to hate.

What are the advantages to crafting a trilogy as opposed to a single novel?

You get to tell your story in much greater depth.  I never intended The Vampire Hunters to be a trilogy.  By the time I completed the first book, I found myself wanting to further explore the vampire mythos I had created because there were back stories about Chiang Shih and the Vampyrnomicon that begged to be told.  So I came up with the concept of the hunters finding themselves at the center of a war between humans and vampires for dominion over the world, developed a few new characters and subplots, and wrote the second and third books. 

What is the process you use when crafting your tales?

I start the writing process by spending a couple of weeks plotting out the novel and developing my characters, jotting down each scene on 3x5 cards which I then organize into a storyline.  The cards are effective not only because I can take notes for each scene (dialogue, descriptions, research notes etc.), but it also gives me the opportunity to reorder scenes without having to redo the outline.  Once I have a basic plot outlined, I begin drafting the novel.  I try to write for at least an hour every day.  (My favorite location is on my back deck with a cigar and a glass of iced coffee because outside there are no distractions.)  I forge ahead and get my thoughts onto paper, and worry about the wordsmithing later.  Unless I get a great idea that would substantively improve a scene, I never go back and edit until the first draft of the manuscript is complete because it disrupts the flow.  I do all my revising after the first draft is completed.

What is your favorite character that you created?  Do you love or hate him/her?

Jack, the alcoholic mall Santa from my short story “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly.”  He’s a down-on-his-luck Iraq war vet who finds himself at ground zero of a zombie apocalypse when the sickly reindeer at the mall’s Santa’s Village display drop dead and come back as the living dead.  Rather than run for exit, Jack grabs the only weapons he has at his disposal (including a metal candy cane) and wades into the fray.  When I wrote the story, I pictured Bruce Campbell playing Jack if Hollywood ever turned it into a movie.  (M.R.'s note as a HUGE Campbell fan this sounds fucking awesome)

Which do you find scarier zombies, or vampires?

Zombies are scarier.  Vampires are too much like us to be truly frightening.  They can think and rationalize and communicate, which gives them some semblance of humanity.  In traditional literature, vampires travel singly or in small groups, and that makes them manageable as an enemy.  Are they dangerous?  Yes.  Are they scary?  No.  (Except for the vampires from 30 Days of Night, who were scary as hell.)

Zombies, however, are driven by nothing more than an instinctual desire to feed.  They don’t retain any of their emotions or remnants if their humanity.  Unlike vampires, zombies usually travel in hordes.  A zombie apocalypse is like an uncontrollable force of nature, a living dead tsunami consuming everything in its path. 

What is the difference in your process between writing short stories and a novel or saga?

The writing process is pretty much the same, except that with short stories the time spent on research and plotting is much less.  Sometimes it’s a challenge to set up a scene and develop a character in a few pages, but when I get it right, the end result is worth it. 

What are your future writing aspirations?

I just finished a short story (“Recognition”) that is told from the point of view of a recently-reanimated zombie, which I am currently trying to place, and am putting the final touches on Yeitso, a novel about something evil terrorizing the desert around Los Alamos, New Mexico, which is my homage to the 1950s monster movies I loved as a kid.  I’m doing the research for a series of young adult novels I hope to begin writing early next year.  The setting of this series is a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world where the boundaries between earth and Hell have broken down, allowing the two realms to merge.   In addition to those, I also have sitting on the mental back burner an idea for a novel about a group of OSS officers trying to stop the Nazis from concluding a pact with Satan in the closing days of World War II as well as a short story about the Confederates using zombies in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.

What writer most influenced you as an author?  How? 

There are two.  The first is Graham Masterton.  My mother bought me The Manitou as a Christmas gift when I was about ten.  It was the first modern horror novel I ever read.  An ancient Native American medicine man being reborn on the back of a young woman to destroy the white man; a male nurse turned inside out during its emergence; blood-lusting creatures summoned from hell; an elevator full of slaughtered policemen.  The novel made quite an impression on me, and after that I was hooked on the genre.  Graham is still one of my favorite authors.
The second influence is Joss Whedon.  I’m a huge fan of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and I always loved the way Joss could take the most intense scenes and intersperse them with humorous elements, and still make them work.  I try to work that same type of light-hearted relief into The Vampire Hunters trilogy. 

What is the most influential literary character to you personally?  Why?

Van Helsing as played by Peter Cushing.  I don’t know what it was about that character that appealed to me.  Maybe because Van Helsing was the first monster hunter in modern horror.  Or maybe the way Cushing played him with that quiet intensity and cold rationality.  In either case, I loved that character as a kid, both in the book and in the movies.  So it was only natural that when I was looking for my own theme to write about, I would focus in on vampire hunters.

If you could take the reins of writing for any existing franchise, which would you choose and why?

Famous Monsters of Filmland.  That was my favorite magazine growing up as a Monster Kid, and was one of the most formative influences for where I am today.  I was psyched when they reissued the magazine last year, and was even more ecstatic when they gave The Vampire Hunters a fantastic review.  To be able to be involved in that publication would be awesome.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

40% off Where the Dead Fear to Tread

At Untreed Reads we're giving away 40% off one title coupons to all people who newly friend us on Facebook. If you send someone our way, be sure they mention your name so that you get one for referring them! This promo goes through November 30th!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

M.R. Interviews........................ Gregory Lamberson

At times you score an interview way beyond your pay grade, please welcome Gregory Lamberson 

Jake Hellman is a perfectly flawed, well meaning protagonist, where did he emerge from?

That’s a good question, because I was till in my twenties when I wrote the screenplay that became the first novel.  I love nourish, hardboiled characters, and some of my favorite storytelling was on cop drama TV shows – WISEGUY, CRIME STORY, HOMICIDE.  When I created the script, Jake was sort of my idea of what a hardboiled detective should be, which is to say he was formed by archetypes – and clichés.  But more than a decade later, when I wrote the novel, I’d experienced quite a bit in NYC and was able to infuse a lot of my life into the character.  Specific incidents – the shootout in the liquor store and the miraculous escape from death in the subway tunnel – are based on incidents that actually happened to me.  The whole book was also influenced by 9/11, because I lived in NYC when that all went down.

 Did you know Jake was series bound when writing Personal Demons?

Yes.  When I wrote the first script, I envisioned a trilogy of movies.  When I wrote the first novel, I envisioned a series of six books.  Each book sets up something to come, and when certain things go down in the sixth book, I hope readers will be searching for clue I planted throughout the series.  I love all of my creative children, but I have a special place in my heart for Jake, and I’m most proud of his adventures.

Does The Jake Hellman Files have a point you are working toward, or do you hope to keep Jake’s adventures alive forever?

I would like him to keep on trucking.  I know how this first set of six novels goes.  On the chance that Medallion wants me to continue beyond that, I’m already formulating a second set of six.  At one point, I had a closing trilogy mapped out that involved Jake’s death – his real death – but I’ve re-jiggered those ideas into something more dramatic.  If everything comes together, these 12 books will form one big ORIGIN for Jake Helman!

Was the combination of supernatural and science based horror difficult to balance when writing Personal Demons?

Not really.  The science fiction angle really came about in the script.  I reached page 28 and realized I hadn’t found a first act point yet, so on the spot I made up the subplot about the genetic engineering.  It was totally a kitchen sink approach.   When I wrote the novel, I was careful to integrate those concepts more thoroughly into the narrative, which resulted in one of the book’s central themes: scientific extremism vs. religious extremism, in a world threatened by terrorism.

In The Frenzy Way I thoroughly enjoyed the detective elements, was it difficult constructing a mystery where the reader knew it was werewolves?

The Frenzy Way was also based on a screenplay I wrote in the late 1980s. Both The Greenwich Village Monster, as it was called then, and The Forever Man, which is what Personal Demons was called, were 95 page scripts that required a lot of research and development to become the novels they are.  The werewolf script was very much “The Night Stalker meets Hill Street Blues”  - but I always thought my central concept, that these are wolves who become humans instead of the other way around – was strong enough to carry the day.  But what happened with that one was that I spent years researching the Spanish Inquisition, Native American mythology, and worldwide werewolf legends.  I was never worried about keeping the mystery alive, I was worried about being able to pack in as much of my research as I could.

What can we expect from the upcoming Frenzy War?

First, the book comes out in June 2012, and it has an unbelievable cover.  This makes me happy.  The first book was a police procedural.  This one is more like an espionage tale, or a story about rival terrorist cells.  The Torquemadan werewolf slayers introduced in The Frenzy Way  come to NYC on a mission that turns very bloody; we meet a lot more werewolves this time, and their society splits into factions; and there’s a joint NYPD/FBI task force trying to keep all of this a secret from the public.  So there’s a lot of cloak and dagger going on.  It’s by far my goriest book, because I found I just had so much fun hacking off heads and limbs.

On the spines of your novels the genre is listed as horror.  Despite the immense popularity of vampire and zombie fiction now why do you think so few book retailers have a horror section?

Sales, of course.  Fantasy is in, SF is in, and horror seems to be in… one month of the year, unless your name is King or Koontz.  I honestly don’t know or understand a lot about this business.  Whenever I get together with Adam Mock from Medallion, I listen to everything he has to say, because he really seems to have a handle on where this industry is heading.  I can’t say I like it all, but it’s good to know.

Do you have any projects coming up the pipeline you would like to share? 

As an author, 2012 is going to my biggest year: I have three books coming out.  First up is a zombie novella called Carnage Road  from Creeping Hemlock Press/Print Is Dead.  It will be out in April, and I’m really encouraged by my publisher’s reaction to it.  Next is The Frenzy War in June, and it’s so different from the first book while being so dependent on it – a real sequel – that I’m anxious to see how readers react to it.  And October sees the publication of Tortured Spirits, the fourth Jake Helman novel, which is my biggest novel yet.  I’m really pleased with the course the Helman books have taken, and I think this may be the best one.  I should also mention that I’m currently writing a top secret project for Medallion that is the most challenging venture I’ve ever attempted, and I include my film work in that.    It’s really going to raise eyebrows when it’s announced.

M.R. interviews..........James Everington

Tell us about your novella The Shelter?
The Shelter is a horror story, about a group of boys in the 1980s, trying to find and break into an abandoned WW2 air raid shelter. I doubt it will spoil it for anyone if I say that things don't go too well when they do.
It's based partially on real-life events, and it's one of the first stories I ever wrote, over fifteen years ago. Recently I dug out the manuscript  - it was dreadful obviously, all clichés and stilted language. But I found I quite liked the plot, so I decided to rewrite it from scratch, and try and combine some of that youthful enthusiasm with the better grasp of craft and language I (hopefully!) have now...

When writing Feed the Enemy did you have any concerns of accessibility for readers?  Would you agree truly reflective stories regarding terrorism can be difficult to market?
Well when I wrote it I wasn't thinking about market or commerciality at all; I was completely unpublished and clueless at the time. Nevertheless I wouldn't change it; the only concession I think an author should make to commerciality at the point of writing is to write the best story you can. Something original and true to yourself will sell better than a pale imitation of someone else.
More specifically, I don't think Feed The Enemy is actually about terrorism; at least not in the action and heroic bomb disposal squad sense. Rather it's about the psychological effects that constant distortion of the terrorist threat by certain sections of the press and government might have on someone. 
Wow, it sounds even less commercial when I describe it that way!

The Other Room is a collection of your short stories.  Is there a common thread between them?
There's no common thread in terms of narrative; I hope that all the stories have the same feeling and tone - I enjoy the unexplained, the psychological, and the ambiguous in my weird fiction, and that is the kind of story I try and write. 

How do you personally separate the horror genre from weird fiction?
I guess the horror genre is a broad church, encompassing gore and entrails, the traditional ghost story, and... weird fiction. Which I guess I classify as those horror stories where the horror isn't just a monster or knife-lunatic running amok, but that horrible creeping feeling that something is wrong with reality or perception itself. Lovecraft's messed up geometry; the ambiguity of whether the ghost even exists in Turn Of The Screw; the total strangeness of Ligotti's tales.

What is the process you use when crafting your tales?
I'm not sure to be honest - "process" is a pretty strong word for the stumbling, haphazard way I get a story down on paper. I always write my first drafts with a pen rather than on a word processor - it's less distracting that way, and I write way quicker than I type. Then I'll typically leave it a few months, and then do a second draft, again by hand. Then wait another few months, and then type it up and make final changes.
Because I mainly write short stories I have a kind of production line of stories in first, second, and third drafts that I'm working on simultaneously.

What are your future writing aspirations?
Artistically, I just want to write the best I can. Commercially, I have no driving ambition to become the next big thing; I think my writing is likely to be more of a niche/cult thing. What I hope for is to build up a core audience who like what I do, and are enthusiastically waiting for the next story or whatever. People who think like I do when there’s a new book from an author I love – “Wow, there’s a new James Everington out!”. It would be pretty great to know even just a few people felt like that.

What author do you feel most influenced you?  How?
It would have to be Ramsey Campbell - I bought a second-hand collection of his short fiction at an impressionable age, called Dark Feasts. It made quite an impression - both that a so called 'genre author' could have a prose style equal to anyone's, and that short stories were such a natural fit for the horror genre. Those two realisations are probably what made me the writer I am, for good or for bad,

What is the most influential literary character to you personally?  Why?
Well, for a fancy dress party I once dressed as Billy Casper with his kestrel from A Kestral For A Knave. And I do like his stoicism and working class pride in that book; I have a picture from the film Kes (which was based on the book) in the room where I write.
It was a quite last minute costume, so it basically consisted of a washing up glove tied on my wrist with a shoelace, with a cardboard kestrel I coloured with felt-tips. I couldn't get my coat off over the top of it so I spent half the party sweating.

If you could take the reins of writing for any existing franchise, which would you choose and why?
Honestly, from an artistic point of view, none at all. I don't think it's particularly healthy from a creative point of view to obsess about another writer's work, and I'm not a massive fan of the current commercial trend that seems to want every book to be part of a series.
If I have to pick one, I'll say Dan Brown's books. I'd "take the reins" by simply not writing anymore of 'em.