What first attracted you to horror writing?
As I said to Stephen Jones the other week, I didn’t actually know I was a horror writer! I just went where the story went and, well, it went into some dark places and found some nasty, scary stuff with green slime attached. I read a lot of horror when I was in my teens – I started with science fiction, moved to horror and now I guess I jump back and forth between horror and dark fantasy. I also read a lot of crime as my brain-bubblegum for those times when I don’t want to think too hard – and I suppose crime is pretty much the raw material for a lot of horror anyway.
I think I like the effect of good horror, the idea of making the spine tingle and the hairs on the back of the neck stand up. I like the deep dark workings of the mind and am fascinated by the ways we frighten ourselves. I remember reading Clive Barker’s Weaveworld, where Immacolata sends The Rake out, and the description of him as being ‘filetted’ is just one that works on the reader’s mind to creep you out – genius!
That’s a hard question. I guess it’s probably the Sourdough collection because it was written as a whole, to go together in a kind of a mosaic form. The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales is also something I’m really proud of because it gathers together a lot of stories I’m very proud of and am very happy to see in one place.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a collection, Midnight and Moonshine, for Ticonderoga Publications, with my friend Lisa L Hannett, which is a series of interconnected stories. I’m also working on a two book series based on my short story ‘Brisneyland by Night’ that appeared in Twelfth Planet Press’ Sprawl anthology.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
Early Clive Barker – Cabal is one of my all-time favourites – and Kim Newman, Caitlín R Kiernan, and Elizabeth Hand. There were some elements of horror in Angela Carter’s The Company of Wolves, so I’ll include her. You can’t go past the classics like Dracula or Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw or Le Fanu’s Carmilla.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
Psychological – I think it’s more of a challenge to psych someone out than to just hack them to pieces with an axe. Now, if you can psych them out before you hack them to pieces with an axe, then you’re achieving something!
Why should people read your work?
Well, if you’re looking for something that has beauty amongst the darkness, and you like stories with the creepiness of fairy tale elements brought to the fore then I guess my work is for you!
Recommend a book.
Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners