TIH 549: Gemma Amor on The Folly, True Crime, and Spirituality and Creativity

In this podcast, Gemma Amor speaks about The Folly, true crime, spirituality and creativity, and much more.

About Gemma Amor

Gemma Amor is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of The Folly, Dear Laura, Full Immersion, White Pines, and many other books. She is also a podcaster, illustrator, and voice actor, and is based in Bristol, in the U.K.

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From the author of The Girl in the Video comes a darkly comic thriller with an edge-of-your-seat climax.

Denny just wants to be the world’s best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged abusive stepfather, Frank. Then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie half-sister who demands he uncovers the cause of her father’s death.

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[00:00:29] Michael David Wilson: Welcome to This Is Horror, A podcast for readers, writers, and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co-host, Bob Pastor, we chat with the world's best writers about writing life lessons, creativity, and much more. I. Now, before we get into today's conversation, let us have a quick advert break.

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[00:01:50] Denny just wants to be the world's best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy. When he starts hallucinating his estranged, abusive stepfather, Frank, then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie half sister, who demands he uncovers the cause of her father's death. Will Denny defeat his demons or be perpetually tortured for refusing to answer impossible questions?

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[00:02:26] Michael David Wilson: In this episode, this is horror. I will once again be chatting to Gemma and more for part two of our conversation.

[00:02:35] And in this conversation, in this episode in particular, we do get deep into the Folly, the latest book by Gemma. So with that said, let us jump straight to it. It is Jamara Moore on this is Horror.

[00:02:54] So we were talking before about how you recently released the Folly. So I wanna know the origin story of the Folly. So when did you first come up with the idea and how did it develop?

[00:03:13] Gemma Amor: Uh, well, it, it, it was a number of factors that sort of converged. Um, it, I spent a considerable amount of time down in Cornwall in the uk.

[00:03:22] Um, over the last couple of years. It sort of, I'd, I'd always loved that part of the country, but uh, during the pandemic we weren't allowed to kind of fly overseas, so I ended up exploring more of the UK as, as much as I was able to within the constraints of kind of lockdown and when it was lifted and when it wasn't.

[00:03:40] And, um. We ended up back in Cornwall and I've been there kind of, I try and go maybe two or three or four times a year. 'cause um, Bristol is very close. It's in the west country and Cornwall is the, is the kind of as far southwest as you can get really without kind of falling into the ocean. And um, again, I always, for anybody not based in the uk, it's a sort of.

[00:04:05] It's the, like the kicking leg of England, the bit that sort of sticks out and kicks off into a little foot. And it's, it's, uh, a beautiful part of countryside, which is mostly coastal. Uh, lots of kind of fishing towns and port towns and some beautiful, um, craggy cliffs and bright blue ocean. Um, but also inland.

[00:04:28] There are, um, monuments and cans and a lot of kind of very old archeology and some gorgeous kind of rolling hills. And it's just a, just a very beautiful part of the world that feels quite remote and quite different to the rest of the UK for a number of reasons. Um. It, it, it, it's not all idyllic. It has some significant issues with kind of overcrowding and tourism and properties and things like that.

[00:04:54] Um, but it's a very evocative part of the country that I, I had an interest in as well because Daphne de Moer is one of my kind of favorite influences and writers, and a lot of her work was set down there, like Rebecca, um, my cousin Rachel, um, a number of the short stories that she wrote, uh, like the birds and so on.

[00:05:15] So it was just a very appealing part of the world that I traveled a lot, and it just made sense to me that I would want to set a book there. Um, as I was exploring, I just began to get an idea of how about I use this sense of isolation and this remote and wild, beautiful kind of nature, but how to turn it in a kind of sinister way.

[00:05:40] Uh, but the book itself, I believe started with. I just had an image that came to mind. Uh, where I live in Bristol, there's a prison kind of not that far from me, right in the middle of the city center because of Victorian city planning. So it's not uncommon for prison to be next to like a school or a hospital or, you know, everything's just whack bang in the middle of the city.

[00:06:03] 'cause that's how they did things back then. So I walked by this prison a fair amount and you know, I just began to get this idea in my head of, uh, a woman waiting outside the prison doors for her father to be released. And then I decided to kind of run with that idea and what would that look like and what would their dynamic be and what had he done to end up in there in the first place.

[00:06:25] And what's the worst thing you could think of that you could be accused of? Um, and I was influenced by, you know, a number of true crime cases, um, where the. Perceived guilt of the, uh, convicted was in question. Um, I've been quite interested in mistrials and, um, exonerations after a kind of retrial. Um, I listened to a fair number of podcasts, investigative podcasts.

[00:06:55] I think that the most famous one was Serial, which everybody was into, you know, back in the day, and that that really ignited an interest in the court of public opinion and whether or not somebody is guilty. And this whole notion of guilty until proven innocent or, or vice versa. But what if you are proven innocent?

[00:07:17] But you still weren't. Um, and yeah, and it all just kind of came together in a really heady mix. I, I've also always been fascinated by architecture. I think anybody that's read six rooms would probably have gotten that impression. I spend quite a lot of time, because I live in England, we have a wealth of kind of architecture and history that's really accessible.

[00:07:37] Uh, places managed by the organization, the national Trust, which you can buy membership to, and you can just go into one of hundreds of kind of stately homes and mansions and houses across the uk. Same with English heritage. So we have a lot of history that's very accessible and a lot of architectural kind of uniqueness in this country, spanning very different periods of time.

[00:07:58] And I've always been really interested in this idea of architecture that had absolutely no purpose to it whatsoever, like purely decorative. Uh, architecture that was very vain in nature and, and Folly Towers are a really good representation of that for me. And, and again, for anyone that hasn't perhaps heard other interviews or doesn't know what a folly tower is, a folly in the sense of this novel and also the other meaning of the word applies to which is a very circular way of coming back to the different meanings of words.

[00:08:30] A folly Tower is a, a structure, the word folly comes from the French Foley. Um, and, uh, it is kind of. A, um, an endeavor that is, uh, I guess valueless in a way. Um, purely aesthetic. And a folly tower was something that people, rich people used to build back in the day. If they owned lots of land, if they had a stately home with, you know, acres and acres of land, and it was intended to enhance a natural landscape.

[00:09:02] So they often look like towers. Sometimes they can look like, uh, beehives, sometimes they can look like bridges. Um, but bridges that go don't go anywhere. Sometimes they can be waterfalls or grottos or it grottos are slightly different. But the basic concept is, is it's a completely useless structure that's only ornamental by nature.

[00:09:23] So it is an effort of folly. And I also really liked the interplay with the French Foley and the term Foley. Duh. Which it translates to the madness of two. That was very relevant to the main character of this book, uh, who is a lady called Morgan and her father Owen, who is exonerated of the murder of Morgan's mother.

[00:09:50] And once his name is cleared, he's released from prison. And then he kind of moved to this folly tower by the sea in Cornwall to start a new life. And the f duh kind of begins to sort of unravel and, uh, and to, to become evident. So there were lots of different factors all at once that just kind of came together in a beautiful, chaotic little stew, uh, which ended up being this book.

[00:10:15] And just when it fits, it fucking fits. And just for me, it just, it came out like lightning. Um, and I knew what I wanted and I knew exactly how it was all gonna work with each other. So yeah, that's, uh, not a very, not a very linear answer, but that kind of answers as best as I can.

[00:10:34] Michael David Wilson: And there's a lot of directions to go from there.

[00:10:38] And of course, I mean, another thing that you did that I, I don't think we mentioned is you actually set it kind of very post pandemic, like almost immediately after the pandemic. So then you've got the juxtaposition of Morgan having dealt with a, a, a kind of imprisonment in terms of the quarantine, but then her father has had a more literal imprisonment.

[00:11:09] Mm-Hmm. So I want to know kind of how that fit into the story for you. Mm,

[00:11:15] Gemma Amor: well, it's actually set during the pandemic, so it's, it's in lockdown and which, which was very useful in terms of enhancing the sense of isolation, particularly in Cornwall. So. The romantic postcard, picture postcard definition of Cornwall is it's very isolated and remote and beautiful and wild.

[00:11:34] But actually if you go there in the summer, it's full of everybody from all the cities around. It's absolutely rammed. Um, and it's kind of hard to find anywhere truly isolated. So one of the ways that I kind of wanted to work through that is by setting it during the pandemic. When here in the uk we were basically told to stay indoors for months on end, several times over.

[00:11:55] I think we had three lockdowns in the end, and it wasn't as strict as in, you know, other, other countries. I know China had a particularly rough time, but it was, it was rough enough. Um, it was very stultifying and very depressing and and quite scary. And, you know, you were allowed to go out once a day for your kind of government sanctioned walk, which is so fucking dystopian to say back.

[00:12:19] Um. You couldn't get a haircut, you couldn't go to the dentist. You could very rarely get a doctor's appointment. And only then if your leg was falling off, um, people were advised to stay away from hospitals because everybody was dying. Um, it was, you know, food was, was selling out in a number of places.

[00:12:39] And the early days, I very naively sent my, my son with my husband to the supermarket to do the grocery shop thinking it would be good for him to have an excuse to get out of the house. 'cause we were allowed to leave the house to go and get supplies. And he had to witness two grown men fighting in the aisle over toilet roll.

[00:12:56] And it was, it wasn't even a, a comedic fight. It was a violent, you know, exchange where I think we all realized then that society was having a bit of a wobble. Um, so I just, all of these factors and all these extra pressures and the, the general. Stress and on we of the pandemic. I just wanted it there as a kind of backdrop against which things could play out for the characters, because as you say, Owen has spent six years in prison, so he's kind of used to being isolated.

[00:13:29] Um, but Morgan is not, and she's struggling with the pandemic. And then her isolation almost continues with her father because they don't perhaps connect as readily as she wanted them to. So it's a very intense kind of, um, experience for both of them. And, and I wanted it to sort of feel a little bit like the movie, the Eggers movie, the Lighthouse in that sense, two people trapped, you know, when with very little access to the outside world or to other people.

[00:14:03] Um, but also I wanted to, for me, there is a moment where one of the characters gets sick with Covid and I. Wanted people to, I think, remember quite how deadly and dangerous Covid was as a disease, because I think we have sort of collectively tried to minimize that since, and I, I personally, my, my, I've said this on, in, in other interviews, I was very, very close to my grandmother, um, who helped to raise me.

[00:14:41] She was like a second mother to me, and I loved her unreservedly and unconditionally. And she was in a care home when she caught covid. And then she died very shortly after. So I experienced direct personal loss as a result of the pandemic and my grief. Didn't really have a home to go to because I wasn't able to see her in her last days.

[00:15:06] The funeral was a very strange lockdown sort of funeral, uh, where we weren't allowed to sing for fear of spreading germs. Um, it, it was all of, it was just quite traumatic for me, um, for a number of other reasons too, and I just don't think there are many books and movies and things dealing with that as much as I expected there to be.

[00:15:32] It's, it's quite shocking to me. Again, I've said this before, but it's quite shocking to me how quickly we've all sort of moved on or how keen we are to move on. And, and on the one hand I can understand it, you know, we are done with that now, but although we are not, it's covid is still very prevalent, but like mentally, everybody's like ready to kind of move on and, and like I said, you can't stay in the past, but at the same time.

[00:15:55] It was such a huge worldwide event. It was so significant. The fact that it isn't popping up in more novels and movies and, and things is just a bit baffling to me. Um, because it changed, it changed everything for me and my family. And I, I feel like it sort of rewired my brain chemistry a little bit. Um, living in that environment of fear for such a sort of protracted amount of time.

[00:16:20] So being a horror novel, I, I really wanted the pandemic to sort of play its part, um, as something that was horrific, which I, I, I strongly feel it was. Um, yeah, and, and I think there's something also about the idea of the tower standing against that. Backdrop, do you know what I mean? That the world out there is kind of falling apart a little bit.

[00:16:49] Everybody is sick, everybody is dying. There is a plague and there is the tower and it is resolute and it stands firm against the ocean and the elements and whatever may be going on around it, even if it is an item of folly, you know, even if it is a useless structure, still is, was a bit of a safe space for them.

[00:17:08] But then the safe space can also become your own prison. So yeah, there's a lot, there were lots of things at play there, but the pandemic was significant to me and I wanted to work through that in the book.

[00:17:19] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. And I, I feel awfully silly for saying, hang on, it was post pandemic. I think for a moment my, my brain got confused because there, there are certain scenes where there are other people and there's scenes where they're eating something and I was like, wait, this, this is.

[00:17:39] Covid is still prevalent, but we're, anyway,

[00:17:43] Gemma Amor: it was, it was because in the UK what happened is that everything to begin with was very tightly restricted. Mm-hmm. And then the government, in their infinite wisdom, introduced this scheme called Eat Out to help out, which was their way of kick-starting the economy again, which had nosedived.

[00:18:00] And what it meant was that we were allowed to go to restaurants to support the economy and to eat. What everybody knew at the time and what wasn't being said was that that was then directly responsible for a huge second wave of covid. Right. Which sweat through the country because we were all out when we shouldn't have been.

[00:18:15] Um, and so there are scenes in the book that are set during the kind of eat out to help out scheme Mm-Hmm. Where the characters go to a pub. Um, 'cause that was what we were told to do, you know, help the economy, everybody do their part. Uh, in hindsight it was the worst thing we could have possibly have done and we should have stayed in lockdown perhaps a little bit longer.

[00:18:34] But yeah, it's, it's, um, there are other characters, but, um, it, it, it is largely set sort of right in the thicket of the pandemic, but it doesn't really. Coming into play a huge amount, like I said, because, well, it does and it doesn't like it. It, the book itself is mostly about Morgan and her father Owen, and the dynamics between them and the Folly Tower and their little closed world of just the two of them until a kind of mysterious stranger comes along and interrupts their kind of status quo.

[00:19:08] So it's very small cast of characters. It's a single setting, which I'm really a big fan of in literature and in films and in clays and screenplays. It's that, it's that kind of, like I said, stage play kind of element, which I love is everything's there in front of you and you know exactly what you're gonna get for the next like, big chunk of time.

[00:19:30] Um, which is the opposite of kind of some of the other books I've written where the, the destinations are wild and wacky and there's, you know, time zones that go across years and decades. And this, I wanted to have a very small, tight, claustrophobic feel. So.

[00:19:46] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. And you said that you are surprised that the pandemic hasn't featured in more fiction and media.

[00:19:54] And I mean, I, I'd have to look this up, but I just wonder, is it, because it has happened too recently? I mean, were there war films that were made immediately after the first and second World War? Were there nine 11 films that happened immediately? I feel, I mean, my, my,

[00:20:17] Gemma Amor: hmm. I, I, I think that the kind of black and White War movies were being made very soon after the end of World War II from, I, I'd have to check on that, but, um, it always astonishes me how quickly.

[00:20:30] On the other hand as well, people can, I guess, exploit historic events for kind of their own reasons. I, I do remember seeing, I think there was a nine 11 movie that came up very close to the event, and I, I do remember eyebrow twitching at that. So maybe it's a case of perhaps people wanting to be more sensitive or, um, but there's like ways and means of doing things aren't there.

[00:20:55] Like I think it's perfectly acceptable to write about something close to the event as long as you are doing it for the right reasons, you know, rather than to kind of profit off of, off of something. It's more if you are kind of genuinely wanting to explore what happened and process it and. Tell stories that perhaps you think didn't get told.

[00:21:20] I think that's one thing, but making a Hollywood blockbuster perhaps fits into a slightly different category. I don't know. I don't know. Yeah, yeah, you're right though. I think, um, we are very close to the event, and maybe also it's taking people time to figure out how they feel about it as well. Like, I'm cognizant of that.

[00:21:38] It's just, I just felt like it was such a big thing and now it's like not, and that's, that's very surprising to me. Um,

[00:21:49] Michael David Wilson: but yeah. Yeah. I, I, I guess it's because it's simultaneously over and not over at all, so, Mm-Hmm. You know. Maybe we don't know what the ending is to the Covid story, which is perhaps a, a terrifying thing to say in and of itself.

[00:22:10] Gemma Amor: I think because it was such a divisive issue and it, and it really, it pushed people into very different camps on, you know, and I'm not here to, uh, I'm not really here to make judgment on whether what people believe or why it's not, that's not my business. Um, but it was very evident that it was a divisive event.

[00:22:30] And what's also evident is that the government here didn't really know what they were doing. And that's why we are now going through a series of inquiries, a covid in inquiry to kind of assess the government's handling or mishandling of events. And it is quite evident, I think, that the people in general were kind of lied to quite heinously in this country.

[00:22:51] Um, under the guise of either incompetence or people, you know, we've never been through a pandemic before, which is absolute rot. Um. It is just, I said this again in other, other interviews for me, it brought out both the best and the worst in people. It brought out some fantastic stories, some fantastic, uh, acts of like heroism and self-sacrifice and innovation and, uh, imagination and community.

[00:23:24] And then it brought out the absolute worst of people as well. It was selfishness and greed and opportunism. And just, I couldn't, I couldn't get a handle on what was happening around me at all. I found it very distressing. Maybe I was being too oversensitive. Um, but yeah. So

[00:23:44] Michael David Wilson: a movie that I would certainly recommend to you, which is set in the pandemic is the Harbinger.

[00:23:52] Okay. And that was made by Andy Mitten, who also did the witch in the

[00:23:57] Gemma Amor: window. Oh, cool. Oh, I've heard about that. Yeah. So, yeah. Okay. Yeah, and there's, um, there are other kind of plague themed novels. Um, is it Lucy Snyder's, monster, maid and Mother. That was a particularly icky, uh, sticky one about a plague that sort of dissolves people essentially.

[00:24:18] Um, there have been plague themed books and, and movies. Um, but yeah, I don't know. I, uh, I'm glad I wrote about it in the Folly. I'm not sure having said that, that I'd like to, to readdress it in other books. I shall mention it and reference it because it was a significant cultural event. But whether or not I will kind of use it as such a, I don't know, maybe I will, who knows?

[00:24:44] Who knows? I've got other stories that I want to tell as well, so.

[00:24:47] Michael David Wilson: And I mean, when you were thinking of settings, you know, you put it in Cornwall, as you say, it's kind of almost detached from the rest of the uk, but not just in terms of physical location, but I feel that there's almost a different mentality down there.

[00:25:10] It is a different way of living. Mm-Hmm. Now, I mean, you said that you spent quite a lot of time in Cornwall. Did you spend time in Cornwall during the pandemic?

[00:25:23] Gemma Amor: Well, yes, because it was one of the places we were allowed to go to. So there was a period where you were allowed to sort of go somewhere in the UK for, you know, a couple of weeks.

[00:25:33] Um, and it's, it's an easy drive from, from Bristol to Cornwall, so, yeah. Um. We went there a couple of times during the pandemic, and then I try and go in the Easter holidays and I try and go in sort of autumn time and there's large chunks of the coast that you can trek and hike on the, um, the southwest coast path, which I'm sort of trying to knock off little bit, like, little bit.

[00:25:55] That's a wonderful experience if you ever get down there. Just the, the scenery and the landscape is just wonderful and it, it feels a bit like time travel as well when you're on the coast path. It's, uh, it's not difficult to imagine pirate ships just off the shore or, um, you know, small fishing, fishing village life that hasn't really changed much in hundreds of years.

[00:26:15] So I like all of that. I like how evocative it's, it's, uh, it's, um. Yeah, it does feel like a slightly different world, and I think the weather system is quite, quite unique down there as well. Like there's a lot, it has its own sort of weird and wonderful little humid weather systems in these pockets. Pul Perro is one place which, um, some viewers might recognize as the setting for Ross Jeffrey's book.

[00:26:38] Uh, I forget the name of it, but he's, he's written a book there, but it has its own little microclimate and it's very humid and very damp and very, it's almost quite jungley, which is quite unusual given that it's on the coast as well. Um, so it's, it's just a very unique place and when you drive down there, you know, you'll see sort of palm trees and exotic plants that you don't find in the rest of the UK because they, they thrive and flourish down there where it's a bit warmer and a bit more, I don't know, perhaps a bit more continental, I'm not sure.

[00:27:10] But it's, it's, it's a wonderfully beautiful place with a lot of, lot of things going for it. Um. Although I will say that it is, it's an extremely busy spot in the summer. It's a very, very popular tourist destination. So, and they're probably sick to the back teeth of us all going down there on our holidays and the school holidays.

[00:27:30] Michael David Wilson: Yeah, well, I mean, I was certainly guilty of that in my childhood, so I'm very familiar with Pul Perro. 'cause I spent a lot of time in Lou, which is basically a few minutes away from

[00:27:43] Gemma Amor: Pul Perro. Right. So the Folly is a fictional building, obviously, but in my mind it's set very close. It's on the headland, very close to sort of Lou and Pul Pero and in that area, because that's, that's the remotest part basically.

[00:27:58] Um. And yeah. And it means you get all of that stormy weather and all of that unpredictability and that, that sense of kind of being quite remote and removed. Um, and I think the, the small, there's a little town which is, uh, the spelling of the, the place name is Mousehole and it's actually, it's pronounced, I believe, mazel, um, Mm-Hmm.

[00:28:19] But there's, that sort of pops up in the folly as well. And it's, again, it's one of these very, very old fishing villages with a harbor. Um, a tiny little beach pubs that have been the same, virtually untouched for four or 500 years. Tiny little winding narrow streets that you can't really drive up. Um, it's just a very different way of life, a very different pace.

[00:28:42] And you know, I do, I do very much like it. I spend a lot of time thinking about Cornwall. Some reason.

[00:28:50] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. Do you think it's somewhere you might want to relocate to?

[00:28:56] Gemma Amor: I just don't wanna be one of those people. I think that's the big problem is that everybody relocates there. So a lot of local people are finding it difficult to, to be able to afford housing because all these kind of city folk come down.

[00:29:08] And I think they've brought in a new policy in, in ST i's where, uh, you can't buy a second home. You know it, and it's to make it fairer for people who grew up there to actually be able to afford a house. Um, I'm sure every holiday town, whether it's here or in the US has the same problem. So I don't really wanna be one of those people, but at the same time, I do love it.

[00:29:30] So maybe I'll, uh, one day when I'm rich and famous, I can find a hotel and get in with the hotel manager and get a suite like, um, Barbara Cartland used to have the top floor suite at the Ritz, was it? Right. And I think she lived out her later years there on the top floor, sort of swayed in pink satin with all of her dogs writing novels and being waited on hand and thought I could go for that.

[00:29:51] Like if there's, if there's any Cornish hotel establishments that wish to adopt me as their resident author, so I could go down and soak and write books, then I'm, I'm well up for that.

[00:30:03] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. Well, as people would expect to have read other stories by you, there is, uh. Quite the twist that we find out about now.

[00:30:16] I, I can't obviously explicitly talk about it, but I wondered when you knew about that element of the story.

[00:30:27] Gemma Amor: I mean, I would say that's probably one of the things that I knew right front, because again, we are talking about guilt and perceived guilt, and I suppose if I was gonna be reductive about it, it's kind of a who done it, uh, but not, it's hard to talk about it without spoiling, spoiling the end.

[00:30:48] Um, but I, I had a very solid idea of where I wanted it to go right at the beginning. Um, which doesn't always happen, but it did for this one. And I think the whole point of that book was me exploring that concept of guilt and innocence and whether or not we can ever really truly know somebody and.

[00:31:09] Whether or not a motivation for doing something is a good enough one? Uh, there's, yeah. I knew where that was going right from the word, from the second I sat down and started writing.

[00:31:20] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. I think, I mean the, the issue of guilt and wrongful convictions as something that I think about a lot, and I mean e even with the, the kind of so-called court of public opinion, just an accusation can have the potential to ruin someone's life.

[00:31:48] And I mean, with, with the inevitability of there being at least occasional wrongful convictions, I wonder how public I. Accusations and pending legal cases should be because on one hand, we want to protect other would be victims. While at the same time we want to keep some presumption of innocence before proven guilty.

[00:32:20] Gemma Amor: I think it's very difficult as well in this day and age because of social media. So I often wonder how juries are chosen now with the context of you can look up anything about a case, the flick of like with your thumb within 30 seconds and, and it's got to inform your own thinking one way or on another.

[00:32:43] So I wonder really how truly, um, removed from that juries are when they're selected and when they're passing judgment on a case. Because I think it would be very difficult in this day and age to not be influenced, um. Unless you're somebody that kind of lives in a cave or doesn't have access to your phone or doesn't really do social media, which is quite a small chunk of society now, I think that even if it's subconsciously when there's a case that's quite a high profile case in the court, you're gonna have an opinion before you go in, before you listen to the evidence.

[00:33:17] You may or may not be swayed by evidence as it's presented or testimony or whatever, but it, in this particular case as well, sometimes in court cases, one of the things I've learned is whether evidence is admissible in relation to how a person's behaved before that particular crime that they're being tried for.

[00:33:40] So whether they're a repeat offender, ex except for example, um, there's also, there's so many different dynamics to the, the UK court system that I don't really understand, that I'm still learning about and how a case is tried and how somebody is convicted. But what I do know is I. In this day and age, it's very, very difficult to have a truly impartial jury, and I think that must lead to a miscarriage of justice in so many cases.

[00:34:06] Um, the, the upside is that science and technology and DNA and all of these things are now, we're able to use them as, as kind of diagnostic tools, I guess, in order to help assess somebody's culpability for something. But also that's in, not, not infallible. People make mistakes. E expert witnesses can often be inexpert or wrong or subject to influence or bribery.

[00:34:33] There's so much, there's so many things that go into whether or not somebody is proven guilty or otherwise that I just, it's, it's such a rich thing for me, for me, like with fiction, but just also in day-to-day life. When you hear about a particularly bad case, nobody will ever really know what happened except the two people that were there.

[00:34:56] And when it's a murder case or a murder trial, one of those people is dead. So it's, do you know what I mean? Like I find that fascinating, absolutely fascinating. And there are other cases where there are things like CCTV footage or audio or you know, those rare cases where somebody is caught on camera or, um, witnessed, but even witness test testimonies can be unreliable.

[00:35:18] So like I know that there are several novels and fiction and sci-fi, where you can sort of go into somebody's brain and retrieve, uh, there was the Tom Cruise movie wasn't there, where he's a detective and he can solve crimes by going into people's brains and experiencing it firsthand. And then he can determine whether or not somebody actually did something.

[00:35:38] But we're not there yet. So you have to use judgment and the makeup of a jury, the evidence at hand, other factors at the time, social pressures, all sorts of things can significantly impact. Like they did with the OJ Simpson case, whether or not somebody has found guilty of something that maybe you think they clearly have or haven't done.

[00:36:01] I know I have my own very strong opinions about several kind of famous high profile cases, but who am I? Like, you know, I don't have access to all the facts or all the evidence or all anything. So yeah, I just, I found that fascinating and I wanted to explore that in this book.

[00:36:16] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. And so it is got me thinking if you know, you are called for cury service now.

[00:36:25] You, as you say, with your phone, with the internet, you have access to a lot of additional material on pretty much every case that there is. So I'm wondering. What is in that situation, the morally right thing to do? Is it better to deliberately abstain from looking at anything online because you know that that could prejudice you or actually is the morally right thing to look at everything you can because you are literally dealing with someone's, you know, in, in, in the US their life.

[00:37:09] I mean, it is their life, even in the uk because they could effectively be put in prison for life. So is is the morally right thing to not look because you might be biased or is it to look because you need as much evidence, as much statements as you can and, and of course what is admitted to court is also biased.

[00:37:35] You know, if, if you. If you look at what's available online, there could be a recording that makes it look like, okay, this, this person is either guilty or not guilty. But for some technicality it wasn't legally admissible.

[00:37:54] Gemma Amor: I think there's lots of different parts to that, but I, I, I don't know. I mean, I'm not an expert, so you'd have to sort of clarify this with somebody who is an expert in the UK judicial system.

[00:38:03] But I have a feeling that if you are called to jury service, then you are told to not explore anything online, on social or on Google about that case. And I think it, it probably, if you're caught doing that, I suspect that you are taken off of the jury. Um, again, I, I need somebody that sort of knows this.

[00:38:22] To clarify, but I'm fairly sure that you are not allowed just as you're not allowed to talk about it with anybody, um, as to what's perceived admissible in court or not. That can be down to the individual judge, I believe. Um, what is classed as relevant evidence? Um, sometimes a judge may not admit something because they don't want it to unduly influence the jury, and I think they want it to be about the case at hand rather than a judgment on the character as a whole.

[00:38:48] There's lots of things that I don't really, all I'm, all I'm talking about is me as a, a lay person listening to podcasts and reading newspaper articles and watching documentaries, but I don't have an intimate knowledge of the legal system and the judiciary system. So it's, it's kind of hard for me to make a judgment on what's moral or not.

[00:39:08] I think if it were me, I would want to know as little as possible, and I would want to watch the evidence as it is presented to me and then make a judgment. Um. Because I think those are the only sanctioned things that you can work with in order to make a judgment that affects the rest of somebody's life.

[00:39:30] And not just the, the, the accused's life, but their family and, you know, the victim's family. And there's so much that comes into play. I, I find, and I shouldn't say this 'cause it's a little bit, uh, ghoulish, but I do find murder trials and investigations fascinating for what it says about us as a society, particularly when you look at legal systems that have been around for thousands of years in some, you know, from the Roman era in some, in some cases.

[00:40:00] Like they had a, a way of trying and, uh, we'll ignore the bit where they threw all the Christians to the lions. Like it, it, they still had like a method of judging somebody's innocence or otherwise in a kind of public court setting. Uh, which is astonishing to me. Um. So human beings have been trying to figure this shit out for a really, really long time.

[00:40:21] And I'm sure that there are better ways of doing it, but we have processes that have been put in place over kind of hundreds of hundreds of years. You know, it, it's, it's it, yeah. It's fascinating to me, right, that there's a reason that there are so many, like procedural crime dramas and courtroom dramas and detective shows and police dramas and all of that stuff is because I think we have a deep human need to figure out this shit.

[00:40:50] Um, what would we do? What would, you know? Yeah. I'm interested by that.

[00:40:56] Michael David Wilson: And if you think of all the cases that you looked into and the programs that you watched, are there any that stand out in being I. More influential or pivotal to the folly. And it, it doesn't necessarily have to be because there's anything story-wise that is a commonality, but it might just have been a case that you felt, wow, this, this really shows you how human psychology is at play.

[00:41:29] Gemma Amor: I mean, the not one particular case, no. I, I will admit to being a bit of a true crime junkie and, and devouring a lot of podcasts that deal with, uh, true crimes and investigations and court cases. And I think it's just, I'm influenced by kind of years of listening to these things play out. And when you've listened to one True Crime podcast, you've sort of listened to them all.

[00:41:58] And one of the things you pick up, the more you learn about these things is there are common factors across certain cases. Uh, there are injustices, there are mishandling of investigations, mistrials, miscommunications, uh, tragedies, triumphs. It's, it's, it's very fascinating to me. But I wouldn't say there's one particular case that I leaned on when it came to the folly.

[00:42:28] There are probably 10 or 11 cases where I, I, I found something interesting. It's difficult for me to, to want to link a novel that I've written for the purposes of kind of reading and, I guess, entertainment to somebody's real life situation where there are real life victims and families and relatives who are affected by this every day.

[00:42:50] I, I would, I, I don't think I'd be very comfortable saying, Hey, I wrote a novel inspired by this. Like, it, it would feel icky to me. Um, but there are definite themes. Taken from listening to multiple cases that I have wanted to explore in this book, and that's where it came from.

[00:43:08] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. And as someone who listens to a lot of True Crime podcasts, do you ever find that it takes a toll on your own health or you have to put barriers in place just to make sure that you are not kind of too, uh, I, I mean to say not too affected.

[00:43:29] It almost seems to be the wrong phrasing there. But I mean, to, to give you an example like that, there is a lot of true crime podcasts and audio books that I listened to, but there was one podcast, I'm not sure if it's still going now, called Sword and Scale, but they, they put in. Like at your kind of audio clips of crimes happening and phone calls and

[00:43:58] Gemma Amor: it, I know, I'm very aware of sword and scale.

[00:44:01] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:44:02] Michael David Wilson: I, I have a lot, I have a lot more that I could say about Mm-Hmm.

[00:44:07] Gemma Amor: Me too. Not go there.

[00:44:09] Michael David Wilson: No. No. But, but I mean that, that it, it seems absurd when it is real and there are real victims, but, but what I want to say is that was almost too real. It's like, you know, hear, hearing it, I didn't want to be Yeah.

[00:44:25] Part of that. It, it

[00:44:27] Gemma Amor: almost felt like it, it feels like you're intruding into space that you shouldn't be in. And I, and I, I, yes, I would say that having listened to a lot of those podcasts, now I'm a little bit more discerning about the ones where I feel things are sensitively handled. Um, yeah. Uh, without making judgements there, there's a, a British one.

[00:44:45] Um. I can't remember the name of, but they, they always do a very good job of, of victim advocacy and providing extra information, um, for people who may be affected by similar issues and for trying to be sort of fair and balanced. Um, it's called, they Walk Among Us. Um, that's a particularly good one. And, um, case file also, uh, is an Australian, um, true crime drama where I've, again, I've always felt like the, the host, the anonymous host has kind of respected and tried wherever possible to present a fair and balanced view of what's happened.

[00:45:20] But there are also some where you listen to what's happening and you are, you are aware that it's being repurposed as entertainment and I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that. Um. And there's, again, I can't really pass judgment on people who want to engage with that 'cause I understand why it's so interesting.

[00:45:39] But I think I just am always aware that there are real people in these situations and real people affected by these crimes. And, and it was, again, I've spoken about this before, but one of the main drives for me writing Dear a was how fed up I was getting with all the Ted Bundy films and like movies where we kind of glamorized serial killers and rapists.

[00:46:01] And I was like, well, why aren't we centering victims in these narratives? Like, aren't there stories worth telling? You know? And there are fantastic films that do that, like room with, uh, Bree Larsson, which is an astonishing movie. And the screenplay is written by the, the same lady who wrote the novel and the screenplay is a work of art.

[00:46:17] The novel is incredible, but the screenplay is also a work of art. And it's all about. The victim, you know, and how she copes when she's in room and how she copes after she's been released from room. And I, I feel like those are the stories for me that I, I want to hear, I want to hear the tales of survival.

[00:46:37] I want to hear the tales of how you live when you, you have been on the receiving end of violence or injustice. Um, I want to read stories about victims, but the good and the bad, you know? Um, because I, I feel like we perhaps center. Terrible behavior and evil people a little bit too much. Like we love it.

[00:47:05] We love that glamorous kind of Ted Bundy style. You know? And, and I, there were movies about him, but coming out where people were swooning over the actor online, and I'm like, you, you do know how many women he literally raped and murdered. Like, I don't, it was mind bog boggling to me. Um, but again, like human nature, like it, it's, people are who they are, right?

[00:47:29] It's, but I know for me personally, I, I try it if possible, to never, never go down a route which feels like it's exploiting somebody else's pain just for the sake of writing a novel. Mm-Hmm. Maybe when I first started out, I perhaps would've done that without thinking, um, just as I might have appropriated things that I didn't really understand, just 'cause I thought it was a cool story.

[00:47:57] I. But I think as I've grown on this journey and I've met many more authors and I've met so many people from different walks of life, and I've just learned a lot more about the world, I think I'm trying to be a lot more, I get a bit more responsible in my approach to writing books. I hope, I don't know, this probably makes me sound really pious, um, and up myself, but I'm just, I know what I'm comfortable with is I think is what I'm trying

[00:48:19] Michael David Wilson: to say.

[00:48:20] Yeah, and I think one thing with the folly as well is that there's a kind of literal real world interpretation as to what's happening, but there's also room for a supernatural interpretation. So I mean, having that ambiguity. Within this story and your fiction, is that something that is important to you?

[00:48:52] And I mean, what, what is your relationship with the supernatural?

[00:48:58] Gemma Amor: So I, I've, I have a bit of a, I guess, a thing for ambiguity in my books. Um, with this book in particular, I really wanted to leave it up to the reader's imagination as to what exactly happened. Um, I think that's more powerful than being spoonfed exactly what happened and why.

[00:49:18] Uh, and also because maybe I hadn't entirely made it up in my own head either. So I was, I like leaving things up to open to possibility. Um, I personally, again, enjoy books where everything isn't described down to the last nugget of information so that my imagination has room to play. Um, I like that in movies as well.

[00:49:39] I love ambiguity, um, because I think it, it is. More enriching for me to be able to imagine multiple different endings or versions or possibilities. Um, as far as the supernatural goes, in real life, I'm afraid I am extremely boring. And, um, I am not, uh, supernaturally inclined, shall we say. I don't, I don't tend to believe in ghosts in the traditional definition of hauntings.

[00:50:08] I don't, uh, I'm not a particularly religious person. I think I can be quite spiritual in the sense of I like spirituality and I like faith and I like belief in certain value systems. Um, but I am not of the opinion that there is a deity out there that I would worship. Uh, I, I'm, I guess, agnostic in that sense.

[00:50:32] Um, yeah, I'm quite dull really for a horror writer. I don't, I don't. I am fascinated by the supernatural, absolutely fascinated by what it says about human brains, um, because they're a sense, in a sense, they are stories that we tell each other and law and legend and ghost stories and all of that. It speaks to a massive need in human nature to, to explore that, the, the, the realm of the undefined.

[00:51:00] Um, and I'm very open to, interestingly, I'm kind of open to the idea of aliens because I, I do, um, not the kind of in the sense of little green men, but extra terrestrial life. It makes sense to me logically that we can't be the only people in such a vast amount of space, um, or the only living organisms, shall I say, in such a vast amount of unexplored territory.

[00:51:25] It makes much more sense to me that there are other beings and existence out there. Organic beings, but that's about as far as it goes in that sense. Like I, I don't, I don't think we're going to be facing a UFO invasion anytime soon. I don't, uh, I love all of that though. And I, one of the things I haven't done yet is write an alien novel, and maybe that's on my list of things to explore.

[00:51:47] Um, I've written stories. I've written a story called All That Glitters Is Not Gold, about a meteorite full of alien fungal spores that smashes into the earth and sort of changes everything, uh, that was adapted by the podcast, the hidden frequencies. And that's one of my favorite stories. Um, yeah, I supernaturally, I'm drawn to themes of possession, uh, what haunting means in terms of personal definitions, what you can be haunted by as a person.

[00:52:19] Um, I am fascinated by, um, mythologies and different cultural traditions and just. Creatures as well. I'm a big one for creatures, creature features. I love, I love writing monsters and creatures because again, I think what that does is it shows the extraordinary capabilities of the human brain to invent new shit.

[00:52:43] Right? If you look at the work of Guillerma del Toro, if you look at kind of all of the, the amazing artists out there, like Trevor Henderson who are making monsters every single day, uh, you wouldn't think that your brain could make so many different iterations of something scary, but I love that there is so much creativity around monsters and creatures and yeah.

[00:53:02] So that's, I'm very drawn to it, but I wouldn't say that I, I believe in the traditional sense, in supernatural things, but I, I love exploring them in my work.

[00:53:14] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. And I wonder, based off what you just said, when you say you are interested in spirituality, what does spirituality mean to

[00:53:26] Gemma Amor: you? Honestly, I think for me it's about, it's a very simple case of like, for me personally, spirituality is, is the creative side of life for me.

[00:53:39] So I feel like a sense of, I guess, spiritual like affinity to like writing novels and indulging that part of me and telling stories. And I don't, I'm trying to figure out what I mean when I say that. Like there's a process of kind of affirmations or manifestations that you can bring about in your own life by sitting down and consciously like working through the logical steps of how you get there.

[00:54:08] So I would like to be a novelist. Okay, so people talk about manifestation, right? Let's manifest. And, and that's amazing and brilliant. But essentially for me, what that means is sitting down, I would like to be a novelist. Okay, how do I get there? What is the series of steps I have to go through to get there?

[00:54:27] And that may sound very, uh, non-spiritual, but for me it's like kind of manifesting my own destiny in that sense is a very practical experience. But it's solely about creativity and the act of creating. And I just feel like this huge sense of communion with like myself and with other people when I'm writing books.

[00:54:48] And I think that is what I'm, that's my definition of a church for me. You know? Like that is my church, that is my religion, that is my spirituality. It's the words, it's letting the words come out. It's putting them in place on the page. It's making a book, it's sharing it with other people. Then it's moving on and writing the next one.

[00:55:05] And that's, that's fucking magic to me. Um, and there will never be anything more spiritual for me than that. I don't, that's the best way I can define it. It's, I guess it would be the same if you were a composer making music or a singer or um, an artist painting or you know, creators. If you're sculpting something, be two out of marble, whatever, you're kind of communing with your own sense of creativity and I think that's very spiritual.

[00:55:30] Well,

[00:55:31] Michael David Wilson: we are coming up to the time that we have together today, but I feel it would be remiss to not mention that you also have a Christmas themed book called, it Sees You When You Are Sleeping, so. What's your pitch for people interested in that

[00:55:53] Gemma Amor: one? I will caveat that it's a short story. So, um, it's not a book, it's just a short story, a standalone short story.

[00:56:00] So one of the things that I'm going to be doing over the next kind of year is boosting my sort of online Amazon catalog with short stories, um, that people can buy for like 99 cents or whatever, and it sees you when it's sleeping, is a festive Christmas horror story I wrote a couple of years ago. It's kind of an homage to predator.

[00:56:20] If predator was set at Christmas, um, it's a creature feature. It's quite gory, it's quite grim, and it's a quick short shot read that you can just download on Kindle. I did try and figure out a paperback version of it that wasn't really working. Uh, I didn't have the time or patience to format it, but the next one, um, I will try and release a short story every month.

[00:56:39] Um. It's difficult for me to self-publish novels or anything of any greater length at the moment because now I have, uh, traditional publishing contracts. There are, um, you, you, you don't really wanna breach the terms of your contracts, but at the same time, with a short story, I think I can still put out an effective tale for my readers and keep, keep drip feeding content out there, um, in a fun way that that means that I don't sort of interfere with any of the book promotion stuff that I have to do as well.

[00:57:09] So yeah, it's, it's 99 cents on Kindle. Apologies that there's no physical version of it available, but the next one there should be, and I'm gonna try and aim for January for another short story. But what it will be, I don't know, and also writing short stories is just a very good way of me like staying on my game and sharpening my, my writing tool skillset and just keeping the creativity flowing.

[00:57:32] I love short stories.

[00:57:34] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. And you know, you painted the cover for that one as well, so. Mm-Hmm. I mean, that there's a lot of effort to put into a short story release.

[00:57:45] Gemma Amor: Yeah, well I did that on Photoshop. It's, um, I love, I love the art side of thing isn't an effort for me. The art side is kind of how I wind down.

[00:57:53] So it's, it's, I make covers for other people. I may as well make my own.

[00:57:58] Michael David Wilson: Right. Yeah. Yeah. Do you have quite a big client list for the cover art and I mean, how, how does that logistically fit into all the kind of creative genre or more hats?

[00:58:15] Gemma Amor: Well, so I think I've got about five, four covers on the moment that I'm booked up for, because I work mostly with indies.

[00:58:25] Um. And indie budgets. Um, it means that there's a nice amount of work that just I can keep ticking over on a monthly basis. And it fits in very nicely. 'cause I, like I said before, I can do that on my lap. If I'm painting physical media, I can do it on my lap in front of the tv, um, in the evening when I'm winding down anyway.

[00:58:43] And I'm not working. So it's, it's drawing and it's painting and I find it very fun. Um, for the digital side of things, I'm getting quite good at sort of, uh, I'm, I'm speeding up. I've got, um, can't share. I've got a, a Wacom tablet that I, I plug in and a pen and I use it to draw and paint in Photoshop. Um, and I'm, I also really enjoy teaching myself new techniques and methods and, and skill sets.

[00:59:08] So I'm hoping to try and learn how to animate something in Photoshop as well. I'm sort of toying around with that. Um. It fits in nicely. And I find that the problem with my writing is that it used to be my hobby and now it's my career. So now I've turned my art into a career as well. Like I need a new hobby to help me wind down, but I can, I can paint.

[00:59:29] And that I find that very relaxing. So it actually all fits into my life very nicely. It's very complimentary, um, to be able to work on other author's books and hopefully also help that book to sell a little bit more by making something as eye-catching as possible, or to like bring to life the vision the author had in mind for their book as, as effectively as I can.

[00:59:51] Um, and I think it, it, it makes authors, uh, it, it, it sort of grounds them in the novel more as well. If it's still something that they're writing, they've got something, they've got a cover to refer to as kind of. A focal point to keep going back to which I've done myself in the past. I've, I made the cover for Dior before I'd finished writing it, and it just, it, it was something that I kept coming back to as a reference point for like, how do I want this to feel and sound and, you know, so I love, I love, I love working with indies and, and self-published authors.

[01:00:23] Um. Very, I feel very privileged and fortunate to be able to do so. And also it means that I can indulge in my love of kind of pulpy horror covers that you used to get in like the eighties and the nineties. Those very lurid, colorful, bright, brilliant covers. And I, I do feel a bit like cover art has gone a bit boring and homogenized lately, and it's all about fonts and type setting and it's, I liked the art, you know, the physical paintings, the gory, you know, paperbacks from hell style of cover.

[01:00:51] So I tried to sort of recreate that little bit in my own way.

[01:00:54] Michael David Wilson: All right. Well, I, I certainly think you're succeeding and I always look forward to, you know, seeing what new piece of art you have. So in, in many ways that can make the indie releases more exciting. 'cause I know it's gonna come with your

[01:01:10] Gemma Amor: cover art.

[01:01:11] I hope so. I really, I love, I love doing it and I hope that people feel the excitement that I feel when somebody trusts me with their book. Do you know, it's a big responsibility. You don't wanna fuck it up. And so when somebody trusts me with their book cover, it's, it's a really significant deal for me.

[01:01:29] Um, hopefully I haven't let anyone down yet, so.

[01:01:34] Michael David Wilson: All right, well, what are you working on at the moment and what is next for

[01:01:40] Gemma Amor: you? So I have just finished a novel, which has gone to my agent. Um, and the next part of that process will be finding a home for it. Um, so we shall see where that ends up. Uh, there'll be certain things that I have to do around that to, to make that happen, um, edits and so on and so forth.

[01:02:00] Um, I have also just finished the screenplay of Dear Laura, and I'm now keen to sort of crack on with another feature length screenplay and see where that, if that can find a home, uh, in some iteration. I would also like to make a short film myself, and I've got some tentative plans in place with a, a friend of mine to make a Northern Lights themed horror story film.

[01:02:24] Short, short fe short, short thing depending on if we can fundraise enough and, and the logistics of it. Um, in terms of. Announced and scheduled things. The next book that I have coming out next year is with the Wonderful Cemetery Gates Media. It is a collection of destination based horror stories based on my travels around the world.

[01:02:45] And it, it was called, uh, fear to Tread. But, um, we have decided on a different title, which is All Who Wander Are Lost, which is a bit of a riff on tolkiens All who wander are not lost. Um, and it is a collection of stories I feel quite strongly about and, you know, based in various different locations and destinations and it's just, it's, yeah, it's a bit of a, a, a labor of love.

[01:03:14] That one, I'm quite excited to bring that out and I think I'm gonna do a cover reveal sort of towards Christmas. Uh, the cover is by an amazing artist called Francesco Gianni, and it is. Banging and I'm really excited about it. Um, and then in 2025, so that's the only book I've got scheduled to come out next year.

[01:03:31] Uh, all Who Wander or Lost. And then for 2025, I've got the anthology for Titan called Roots of My Fears, which, um, I am, I have announced the TOC mostly for, and we have got incredible authors like, uh, nso Ono, I Jang, um, Gabino, I Gladius, Adam Neville, um, uh, Ramsey Campbell, hay Piper, um, Nadia Elfa, Usman t Mallick.

[01:03:56] There's just, there's just a long list of very cool authors that I'm very happy to work with. And then I've sort of said elsewhere that I will open that up to submissions as well for a short window of time so I don't die under the weight of submissions. Um, and I'm looking forward to wearing my editor hat and, and releasing that with Titan in 2025.

[01:04:15] So I think that's tentatively scheduled for September 25. Um. And then I have all sorts of other little things that I'm squirreling away on. Um, but my, my big project that I want to do for myself is I want to finish writing. I want to dedicate most of next year to writing a large epic, and I mean, a large epic kind of dark horror fantasy, historic novel, um, which I'm doing quite a lot of research for at the moment.

[01:04:46] And that's, that's one of those ideas that just won't leave me alone. So I thought, I need to follow the muse and do as she tells me.

[01:04:53] Michael David Wilson: Well, that is very intriguing and I look forward to reading it and talking about it when the time is right and talking about, talking about things that we need to talk about in the future.

[01:05:10] Roots of my fears. That is something that has been on my radar, but I deliberately didn't mention it this time. 'cause I thought, well, it's coming out in a few years. Mm-Hmm. I wanna save, you know, the, the full conversation for sure. For them. But yeah, I'm looking forward to like, how, how you went from kind of putting on the editorial hat and putting the TOC together and,

[01:05:39] Gemma Amor: Mm-Hmm.

[01:05:39] Well, I'll tell you when the book is closer to being released. Yeah. Because it, it might all still go wrong. Who knows? Well.

[01:05:47] Michael David Wilson: I hope not, but yeah, me too. We'll, we'll, we'll, we'll wait and see. Well, where can listeners connect with you?

[01:05:55] Gemma Amor: I, I say this is my kind of tried and tested line, but I am liberally splattered all over the internet.

[01:06:00] If you type in Gemma Amor, um, into Google, you will find me in a number of places. I am now on every single social media app going, which is why I look this tired. Uh, I'm still on Twitter for as long as it's there. I'm on Instagram, I'm on Blue Sky, I am on threads. I'm increasingly more prevalent on TikTok, which I'm quite enjoying.

[01:06:19] Um, I do have a Facebook page. I also have a private Discord, which is quite nice. There's only about 50 people in it, but it's a very chill, friendly little place. So if you want in on that, just shoot me a message and I'll give you a link. Um. I'm everywhere, which I would really like not to be, but that seems to be what you have to do these days as an author.

[01:06:38] Um, cover all your bases and yeah, stick my name in, see what comes up. See your, choose your social media platform of choice. And I'm there basically.

[01:06:48] Michael David Wilson: Yeah. So very fragmented time for social media. Hopefully the next time that we talk we'll have a better idea as to what, what the two platforms are to be on.

[01:07:03] But at the moment

[01:07:04] Gemma Amor: is, yeah. Yeah, I could do with going down to two. 'cause update, when I, when the folly came out, it took me about two hours from start to finish to cross post because I don't like to put the same announcement up on every single channel. 'cause if you follow me on all of them, you've gotta look at the same thing seven times over.

[01:07:22] So I like to try and vary it and also tailor it for the, the, the. Character limits and all the, you know, the different vagaries of each platform. So it took me two hours end to end to announce everything across all my platforms. Plus doing the TikTok video and the editing. I was tired, man. I was one, one day.

[01:07:40] If I'm ever rich and famous, apart from my hotel suite in which ever Cornish Hotel will have me, I'm gonna have a hi, a social media manager as well, ma. That would be the biggest, sweetest thing is just giving all my shit to somebody else to do and pay them to do it, because I don't wanna do it anymore.

[01:07:57] But there we go. Hey, ho, such is the nature of the game.

[01:08:00] Michael David Wilson: Yeah, it's a bit much, isn't it really two hours just to say Mm-Hmm. Buy my fucking book

[01:08:07] Gemma Amor: this out right now. In those two hours I could have written a chapter of another book. But yeah, it is just the nature of the beast, unfortunately. And I, I don't like to look the gift horse in the mouth.

[01:08:15] And I'm very lucky that I have a little bit of a social media following not vast numbers, but loyal readers who interact with me and spread the word. And so, you know, I feel like I owe them. Um, that time and that dedication.

[01:08:28] Michael David Wilson: All right. Well, do you have any final thoughts to leave the listeners with?

[01:08:34] Gemma Amor: Gosh, no, I don't think so.

[01:08:36] Only just it is, it's getting towards the end of the year. Um, you know, Christmas is almost upon us, so it's time to start thinking about 2024 and what that will look like and dreams and goals and hopes and aspirations. So I always feel quite hopeful this time of year in December, it's a different story when January hits and I'm like in the throes of winter depression, but I just, I hope everybody has an amazing Christmas break and a wonderfully happy New year.

[01:09:04] You, yourself included? Um, not you actually, no, I take that back. I hope you have a horrible time. Um, but yeah, I'm just, I feel very grateful to be doing what I'm doing and very fortunate to, to be able to carry on and do it next year.

[01:09:19] Michael David Wilson: Alright. Thank you again for chatting

[01:09:21] Gemma Amor: with me. Thank you for having me.

[01:09:27] Michael David Wilson: Thank you so much for listening to this This Horror podcast. If you want to get each and every episode ahead of the crowd and support the podcast, please head over to www.patreon.com/this is Horror and consider becoming our Patreon. Not only do you get early bird access to each and every episode, but you get to submit questions to the world's best writers.

[01:09:58] You can also listen to exclusive Patreon only podcasts, including Story Unboxed, the Horror podcast on a crafter writing in which we unbox and dissect short stories and movies. The patrons only q and a sessions with myself and Bob Ella, where we answer all of your questions, writing related and otherwise, and a video cast on camera, off record.

[01:10:27] And if that is not enough, you can also become a member of the Writer's Forum over on Discord. So head over to patreon.com/this is horror. Have a little look at what it is that we offer. Listen to the testimonials from others who are Patreons, and if it looks like a good fit for you, then I'd love to see you there.

[01:10:54] Now another way that you can support the podcast, absolutely free of charge is to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts to rate us on Spotify or to follow us on social media. We are this as horror on X, formerly known as Twitter, and we are. This is horror podcast on TikTok for video clips and little bites of motivational goodness and a splash of humor.

[01:11:24] You can also sign up for our newsletter@thisishorror.co.uk. And if you would like to read my fiction, you can check out books, including the Girl in the Video and House of Bad Memories. And if you want to read Bob Pastor Ella's fiction, do consider picking up a copy of Mojo Rising. You can also check out a collaborative novel they're watching.

[01:11:52] Well, okay, with that said, it is now time for a quick advert break, house

[01:11:57] Bob Pastorella: of Bad Memories. The debut novel from Michael David Wilson comes out on Friday the 13th this October via cemetery Gates Media. Denny just wants to be the world's best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged, abusive stepfather, Frank, then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie half sister, who demands he uncovers the cause of her father's death.

[01:12:21] Will Denny defeat his demons or be perpetually tortured for refusing to answer impossible questions? Clay McLeod Chapman says, house of bad memories hit so hard. You'll spit teeth out once you're done reading it. Pre-Order, house of Bad Memories by Michael David Wilson and paperback@cemeterygatesmedia.com or an ebook via Amazon From the host of This Is Horror Podcast.

[01:12:45] Comes a dark thriller of obsession, paranoia, and voyeurism. After relocating to a small coastal town, Brian discovers a hole that gazes into his neighbor's bedroom. Every night she dances and he peeps. Same song, same time, same wild and mesmerizing dance. But soon, Brian Suspects, he's not the only one watching.

[01:13:04] If she's not the only one being watched, they're watching is the Wickerman Meets Body Double With a Splash of Suspiria. They're watching by Michael David Wilson and Bob Pastorella is available from This is horror.co.uk, Amazon, and wherever good books are sold.

[01:13:22] Michael David Wilson: Well that about does it for another episode of This Is Horror Podcast.

[01:13:27] Next time we will be chatting to Stephen j Golds. He's a crime author based in Japan, based pretty near me actually, and he's a fantastic author. He reminds me of the likes of Jim Thompson, but with his own unique twist. So until next episode. Take care of yourselves. Be good to one another. Read horror, keep on writing, and have a great, great day.

[01:14:10] ​

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