Down Under Horror Interview
Updated: Mar 24, 2022
Welcome to the Chair of Chaos on the west coast of Australia. Please make yourself comfortable - yeah not quite that comfortable.
Yeap it is an absolute scorcher today.
Here's some sunscreen. You'd better slap that on.
Well I appreciate you taking time for this. It is a bit like a bandaid, short brief sting but nothing memorable.
Alrighty lets go.
From what part of this sunburnt country do you hail? And what is your modus operandi with the blood-soaked pen?
I live about 2 hours south of Sydney on the coast among dairy paddocks.
The stuff I write is usually weird horror, often cosmic, frequently mixed up with crime and mystery and heavy doses of the supernatural.
If there was one thing you could change, improve about your writing or writing process, what would it be? More coffee and less cake are not acceptable answers.
More coffee is always welcome. Honestly, if I could change anything it would be time. I would like more time to write and I’d like to have to wait less to hear back about things. A writing career is mostly trying to carve out enough time to write all the stories while waiting interminable periods of time to hear back from publishers and so on. It’s just how the business works, but it’s hard.
You have a choice of five people to invite to a barbie. Any five in life or beyond? Ok, make that four because it is a given you will invite yours truly. Four friends plus me to your barbie. Who are they, and why?
Clive Barker because he’s the biggest influence on my writing. Batman, because he’s Batman. Xena Warrior Princess because I want to see her pick a fight with Batman and kick his arse. Chewbacca, because I reckon he’d be fun at parties.
From the isolation of endless horizons to the fascinating deadly creatures that crawl, slither and swim upon this land of sand and fire, what is your greatest Aussie horror?
This current government. But in terms of native Australian horrors, I’ve largely grown used to the dangers of this place. Except sharks. Fuck sharks, they’re terrifying. I rarely go out of my depth in the ocean and never stay in there long.
Where did you discover your love for all things that go bump in the night, or splat on the walls?
No idea I’ve just always been drawn to the darkness. I find it more honest.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Australia and life on this island/continent?
That Aussies are laid back larrikins. Australians are some of the most uptight people going and this country has more rules and licences and stuff like that than anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s still a great country and a wonderful place to live, but we’re kidding ourselves when we pretend it’s all easy living and howyagoin’.
Other than this ground breaking interview, what are you currently working on?
Actually a few things. I’m building up for the launch of THE FALL, which is the sequel novella collection to last year’s THE GULP. I’m writing a new thing which doesn’t have a fixed title yet, but is a small town weird horror/coming of age yarn. And I’m working on edits for a thing that hasn’t been announced yet, but hopefully will be soon!
Where is one place in Australia where you haven’t been, but would love to go?
Kakadu. I’ve seen a lot of this country, and I’ve been to the Northern Territory and seen a lot of the top end, but I never made it to Kakadu and I’d love to spend some time there. And one day I want to ride a motorcycle across the Nullarbor.
Who are your favourite Aussie authors?
My gods, there are so many! Here’s a few: Kaaron Warren, Paul Haines, Joanne Anderton, Aaron Dries, J. Ashley-Smith, Angela Slatter, Lisa L Hannett, Robert Hood, Kirstyn McDermott, Matthew Davis… I could keep going, but that’s a good start, right?
Do you keep your writing strictly Aussie in style or spelling or do you find yourself acquiescing to the tastes of the Northern hemisphere?
A little of both. Mostly I try to tell genuinely Aussie stories – things like THE GULP and THE ROO are deliberately and unashamedly Australian. But some short stories are set in different places and some novels too. DEVOURING DARK is a London crime/supernatural novel. The thing I’m editing at the moment is a small town folk horror thing that isn’t really set anywhere specific, but it is small town America rather than small town Australia – although only a handful of passing references make that distinction and it could easily be small-town Aus if you decided to read it that way.