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Jonathan Oliver

Jon Oliver

What first attracted you to horror writing?

I’ve always been a fan of the genre and virtually all my short stories are in that genre. I’m attracted to weird and dark subject material, and horror lets you deal with fear in a way that you don’t see in more ‘realistic’ fiction. There is no limit to what you can do.

The Call of Kerberos by Jonathan OliverWhat is your most notable work?

Notable sounds very grand! I suppose it would be my first novel, Twilight of Kerberos: The Call of Kerberos, which is a mix of Lovecraftian horror and Leiber-inspired sword and sorcery. I’ve been a gamer for quite a few years now and this is my love song to pulp fantasy and adventure. There’s a lot of darkness in the book too; friends will straight away recognise the source of the flooding and baby anxieties that make up the subtext of the novel. Obviously all of that is externalised into a fantasy universe though. Mainly, however, I set out to write an exciting adventure packed full of sense-of-wonder moments.

What are you working on now?

The sequel, Wrath of Kerberos. After that I’ll be returning more solidly to horror. I want to get back into short story writing and I have a novel idea that’s been in my head for the best part of five years now, that really needs letting out onto the page. Wrath of Kerberos will be my last book for Abaddon. I’m going to be entirely on-spec for a while now.

Who do you admire in the horror world?

Ramsey Campbell, Charles L. Grant, Steve Rasnic Tem, Gary McMahon, Simon Bestwick, Nicholas Royle, Conrad Williams, Chaz Brenchley (so many people); also there’s some fantastic names now coming up through the small and independent presses. I absolutely adore the work of Paul Meloy; his short stories are always just astonishing.

Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?

Psychological chills. Gore only really works when it’s linked to the psychological anyway; as it is in the film Martyrs.

Why should people read your work?

Because it’s classic sword-and-sorcery with a horror twist.

Recommend a book.

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. Everybody, who hasn’t done so already, should go out immediately and buy Holdstock’s books. He was a brilliant brilliant writer and the world is a poorer place for his loss.


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