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Jonathan Oliver – Autumn 2011 Pt III

The Wrath of Kerberos by Jonathan OliverWelcome to our final in the three-part interview with Jonathan Oliver. Catch up on Part One with Jonathan Oliver and Part Two of the Jonathan Oliver interview.

What are you currently working on as an author?

JO: I’ve just finished my second novel for The Twilight Of Keberos series, The Wrath of Kerberos, which will initially be released as en e-book by Abaddon in January 2012. It’s been great fun working on this shared-world series that I helped to create. A lot of Call of Kerberos and Wrath of Kerbeos comes from my love of gaming and playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Since completing these novels I’ve hard a short story published in Pandemonium: Tales of the Apocalypse, I have a forthcoming story in the British Fantasy Publication Dark Horizons and I’m currently working on strange SF tale called ‘Baby #17’. So I’m mainly tinkering with shorter pieces while I’m planning the next novel project which will be set in the world of heavy metal.

What was the initial attraction to weird and dark fiction?

JO: I first started reading dark fiction because people at school were passing around James Herbert novels and things that you weren’t supposed to read. When I was twelve I stayed up and read The Rats in one sitting because I was glued to the page. From James Herbert I moved on to Stephen King.

When I was fourteen I discovered Waking Nightmares by Ramsey Campbell in our local library. That was the moment I realised that horror was literature. Ramsey opened up the possibilities of the genre to me. I wrote a fan letter to him telling him how much I enjoyed The Count of Eleven and asked him what I should read next. He said to read as widely as possible in every genre. It’s simple but great advice. Ramsey was the writer who made me want to be a writer, and I think he has had that effect on a lot of people.

I grew up watching Doctor Who and other weird television programmes. When I was a kid, kid’s television was strange and dark. One Christmas, The Box of Delights was showing and it scared the absolute fuck out of me! I re-watched it recently, and it’s nowhere near as sinister as I remember it. But stuff affects you differently when you’re a kid. I remember thinking that Ivor the Engine was really bleak and both Bagpuss and The Moomins used to scare me. It’s all my Mum’s fault for reading me Alice in Wonderland as a child. Also, my Mum’s a psychiatrist and Dad’s an Anglican priest, so I come from a world that’s very much to do with the spiritual and psychological.

The Call of Kerberos by Jonathan OliverHow important is it to put your own character and experiences into your work?

JO: People say write what you know, but I say write what you love. I grew up in a mining town in Sutton-in-Ashfield but I don’t have a burning desire to write abut the Tory party, the 80s and mining community.

But yes, you certainly put yourself into your witing. The big threat in The Call of Kerberos is a cosmological flood that’s going to destroy reality. Two years before I started writing that novel we were flooded.

Rather than write what you’d know I’d sat write what you feel and believe.

Do you think horror novels should have a moral message?

JO: I don’t think horror’s function is to tell us how to behave or live, or give us a moral code. Rather, horror give us a perspective on life that’s strange and unique.


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