MD Lachlan is the pen name of writer and journalist Mark Barrowcliffe. Mark has written eight novels which have been translated into fifteen languages. He has written in genres as diverse as romantic comedy, magical realism, memoir and horror/fantasy. He also ghost writes for celebrities.
I was attracted to writing, rather than horror. I don’t write to a genre. In fact, when I sat down to write Wolfsangel I was intending to write a modern comedy. For some reason I started writing about a werewolf. It just happened.
What is your most notable work?
In the horror/fantasy field I suppose Wolfsangel. I’m hoping that will change and it will become Lord of Slaughter.
What are you working on now?
A historical fantasy novel for Gollancz. It has quite a few horror elements – demons feature heavily – but less so than the Wolfsangel series. I’m also planning a YA thing which has a horror feel to it – based in the countryside around where I live in Brighton.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
I loved Thomas Harris for Silence of the Lambs and hated him for Hannibal. It’s a bit of a cliché but Stephen King is very good. This is because he can write interesting, stylish and arresting sentences. A lot of genre writers can’t. I’m a huge Angela Carter fan, if you call her horror. And Brett Easton Ellis set a high water mark with American Psycho. Lovecraft was a big influence on me as a kid.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
Psychological chills. I don’t like gore at all – couldn’t read the bloody bits in American Psycho. However, my work is quite gory apparently. I don’t see it that way myself but the words ‘ghastly’, ‘gory’ and ‘blood-soaked’ often feature in reviews. This fits into my idea that you become a slightly different person when you write. That’s not a mystical thing, it’s just how you’re a different person with your grandmother to the one you are with your friends. It’s something we’re not even consciously in control of.
You’ll see a new sort of werewolf in an exciting story featuring wild Vikings, demented witches and what Joe Abercrombie called “some of the most sinister magic I have read”. A lot of the conventions surrounding werewolves are very modern. Even in Lon Chaney’s Wolfman, the werewolf doesn’t change with the full moon. In Norse myth – which is the basis for a lot of my work, lycanthropy is caused by a curse or by people enchanting themselves. Both sorts of werewolf are in my book. And there’s nothing to say a werewolf’s transformation should be instantaneous, for instance. My werewolf takes months to turn and his additional weight is put on in the same way any mammal adds weight – by eating things, in this case people. Easy when you’re an 800lb wolf, not so easy at the start of the transformation when you’re a 150lb man.
Recommend a book.
Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow – a free verse weredog story. Not sure it 100 percent works and it is infected with a sort of pithy, gritty feel that verges on cliché but I applaud the attempt. And it is pretty good.
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