What first attracted you to horror writing?
I’ve always been a huge fan of horror, particularly the classic horror films from the 40’s, as well as Hammer Horror films. In many ways, most of what I have done in my life — from music and computer games, all the way to my books — somehow always seems to have some sort of a classic horror tie-in. So, for me it was only natural to pick a classic horror setting as the basis for my writing. For a moment there was sort of a struggle to perhaps write high fantasy instead, but I was a bit tired of the elves and dwarves at the time — maybe still a lingering effect of years of The Lord of the Rings exposure from the movies. Therefore I settled upon a Victorian Era horror setting which was ripe with ideas from the beginning. I mean, nothing says horror more than the fog-shrouded streets of London…
The Jason Dark series is the largest project I’ve been putting out. So far, the series consists of ten different supernatural mysteries, each surrounding a resourceful and fearless ghost hunter in Victorian England. It is a fun playground and I enjoy working in the Jason Dark universe as each of the adventures allows me to tell an exciting story with a familiar cast of main characters, while being entirely unrestricted when it comes to picking themes and plots. As a result, each Jason Dark adventure is an exciting thrill ride, with one story covering vampires, another one zombies or demons, the next one ghosts, another one a witch and her spells, while the next story is about opening the gates of hell.
What are you working on now?
I am currently writing a modern day – currently untitled – thriller. As much as I enjoy writing the Jason Dark mysteries and though I love the horror genre, I do have a lot of ideas also for projects and stories in other genres. A thriller has been long on my to-do list, so after finishing the tenth Jason Dark story, Curse of Kali, I decided it was time to finally give it a shot.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
I am a huge fan of classic horror and the icons it created, such as Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price and Christopher Lee, along with the icons behind the camera, such as James Whale, Roger Corman, and Terence Fisher, to name just a few.
But there are so many more — Coppola’s Dracula and Gary Oldman’s portrayal of him was just staggering in my opinion, and the zombie movies of George A. Romero and Lucio Fulci are simply untouchable. John Carpenter will always have a special place in my heart. The Fog is still one of the most hauntingly beautiful and eerie films in my mind.
Interestingly enough, while I watch a decent amount of horror, I do not read a lot of horror. Here and there, yes, but when it comes to reading I seem to prefer other genres such as thrillers and historical fiction over horror reads.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
While I am not adverse to splatter and gore, I’m usually someone who prefers horror on a more psychological level. I am a firm believer that the images conjured up by our imagination are so much more powerful and horrifying than stuff we can write. However, gore does have its place when used properly, and when the story demands it I will write gore. It is not, however, the first tool I will pull out of my bag of tricks when I try to create horror. My first tool of choice will always be atmosphere and the suggestion of horrors.
Why should people read your work?
My Jason Dark stories have been written out of a passion and I believe that passion shows in the stories. They are designed to be action packed mysteries that are like a thrill ride in that the action never really stops. I keep them deliberately short. While that means the stories won’t have a lot of backstory, it allows me to really grab readers by the collar and drag them along for the ride. But even those readers looking for backstory will find it in the series as a whole, as they can see how the world and characters evolve and as small bits of background information are filled in bit by bit in every story.
I think it is important to point out that people do not have to read these books in sequence. Each one is a complete story on its own and the concept is to allow people to pick and choose the stories that appeal to them the most. If you want to read a mad scientist story, grab Dr. Prometheus, if you love undead Templars, Ghosts Templar would have to be your first pick, and if you love dark, Lovecraftian stories, Terrorlord should be your preference.
Recommend a book.
A book, I feel every fan of supernatural mysteries should read is Mark Frost’s The List of Seven. It is a riveting read, full of surprises and a very cool mystery to boot, spiced with a cast of familiar characters drawn from history and literature. It is the book in my collection that I have re-read the most. I seem to turn to it at least once a year.