Archive for September, 2018

Author interview with Deborah Sheldon

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2018 by ahwasinisterreads

Tell us a bit about yourself and your latest story.

My name is Deborah Sheldon and I live in Melbourne. My professional credits span 32 years and include TV scripts, feature articles, award-winning medical writing and non-fiction books. These days, I write short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum. My latest releases include the bio-horror novella Thylacines (Severed Press) and the dark fantasy and horror collection Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories (IFWG Australia), which won the Australian Shadows “Best Collected Work 2017”. My website has a full list of credits: https://deborahsheldon.wordpress.com/

In September, IFWG Australia published my noir-horror novel Contrition. The back-cover blurb reads:

In her late teens, Meredith Berg-Olsen had all the makings of a runway model. Now in her late forties, after everything she had been through – including horrors that John could only guess at – she looked bloodless instead of pale, skeletal instead of slender, more dead than alive…
John Penrose has two secrets. One is the flatmate he keeps hidden from the world: his high-school sweetheart, Meredith. His other secret is the reason he feels compelled to look after her.
Contrition is a horror story with noir undertones and an atmosphere of mounting dread.

What inspired you to write this story?

A few years ago, I met a strange couple. He was mild-mannered and stoic. She was hostile and aggressive. They lived together but were not related, and were not involved (romantically or sexually) in any kind of way. In short, no ties. He went to work and paid all their bills, while she stayed home and did nothing but hate his guts with an absolute passion. Why did they stay together? What the hell was going on?

This couple got under my skin. I couldn’t fathom the dynamic of their bizarre relationship, so I kept dreaming up scenarios to explain it, each one more outrageous than the last. Contrition grew from one of those scenarios.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
That it’s a lifelong devotion. There’s always another technique to try, another writing medium, a different way to extend yourself. The craft of writing contains infinite possibilities.

What does the horror genre mean to you?
Freedom. You can broach any topic and explore any taboo. Yes, horror is considered “genre fiction” but unlike other genres such as romance, there are no strict conventions or parameters, which means you are free to push yourself as far as you’d like (or dare) to go. Horror has so many subgenres that it offers a virtually limitless supply of fresh challenges.

Who is your favourite author and why?
Oh, you can’t make me choose just one, I won’t allow it! In no particular order: Annie Proulx, Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury, Daphne du Maurier, James M. Cain, Pete Dexter, Fay Weldon, Stephen King, and that’s just for starters… A few of my favourite spec-fic/horror novels are The Handmaid’s Tale, The Haunting of Hill House, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Shining, Flowers for Algernon, Rebecca and The Man Who Fell to Earth.
An author will automatically become one of my favourites if he/she can move me. If they scare the crap out of me or make me cry, I’ll buy everything they’ve ever written.

Where can people purchase your novel?
Right now, Contrition is available as an ebook and in paperback from Amazon. In time, it will go through distribution channels and end up in bookshops and libraries too.

Are you on social media? Please supply links.
Please friend me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3312459.Deborah_Sheldon

I’m not on Facebook personally, but IFWG Australia runs a page on my behalf:
https://www.facebook.com/Deborah-Sheldon-936388749723500/

Contrition cover Sheldon.jpgDeborah Sheldon pic.jpg

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An interview with Geneve Flynn

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2018 by ahwasinisterreads

Sinister Reads – New release questionnaire

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest story?

I’m a freelance editor with a focus on speculative fiction. I’ve had short horror stories published in Australia and internationally and I have a soft spot for b-grade action movies.

‘The Pontianak’s Doll’ is a short horror story based on a Malaysian vampiric ghost legend. It features in the Gothic Fantasy anthology, Lost Souls, brought out by Flame Tree Publishing in September.

What inspired you to write this story?

I wanted to explore horror from an Asian perspective. Most of the horror I’d read up until that point had been based on western mythology and ideas. I wanted to see if I could write something based on an Asian myth and scare myself.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?

Protect your confidence. This is advice from my AHWA mentor from last year, Deborah Sheldon. The most important thing for an author to have is confidence – confidence in their story and confidence in their ability to begin and ultimately finish their work. Without confidence, you’ll run into all sorts of problems.

What does the horror genre mean to you?

I went from reading Trixie Belden mysteries and the Sweet Valley High books straight to Stephen King’s It. I remember always being dissatisfied with the children’s fiction that was around at the time and when I cracked open the pages of King’s horror opus, I immediately felt at home. Horror will always be the key to growing up for me – seeing and facing the terrors of the adult world and having a way to get my head around them. Horror is about honesty.

Who is your favourite author and why?

This changes depending on what I’m reading. As an editor, I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction books for professional development and I recently read, Violence: A Writer’s Guide by Rory Miller. It was an eye-opening read and I actually laughed out loud at a couple of things in the book. I’m currently reading Alison Goodman’s Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club and it’s such a lot of fun.

Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

The Lost Souls anthology is available through Flame Tree Publishing’s website: https://www.flametreepublishing.com/Lost-Souls-Short-Stories.html
Flame Tree Publishing have also brought out several other fabulous anthologies in their collection, such as Lovecraft Short Stories, Pirates and Ghosts Short Stories and Murder Mayhem Short Stories.
The anthology is also available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lost+souls+anthology
Are you on social media? Please supply links

This is my website: http://www.geneveflynn.com.au
This is my author Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/geneveflynn

Sinister Reads Profile: Claire Fitzpatrick

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2018 by ahwasinisterreads

 

 

Dear Member,

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest story?

 

I’m Claire Fitzpatrick, award-winning author, poet, and occasional music journalist. I’m a public servant, so obviously my short stories are going to be horrific. I live in Brisbane in a chaotic house with five other people and a pug. Of these people, one is my almost 6-year-old daughter. She has ASD and is a bit of a savant with regards to reading. Life is currently a bit hectic for me, so I haven’t had a lot of time to write, but I do what I can.

 

My latest story published is ‘Dragonfly’ in Phuket Tattoo, an anthology from Zombie Pirate Publishing. It’s about Will, who seeks out the mysterious Vietnamese Dragonfly club in the hopes of finding his lost friend, John. He soon finds himself at the Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park and face to face with the dark magic of the Ruc people. It’d consider it a thriller adventure story, as Will meets many different people as he travels from one side of Vietnam to another in search of John. It took me a few weeks to write, but I’m happy with the way it turned out.

 

What inspired you to write this story?

 

The Ruc people are real people who live in the forests and mountains of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang national park. It is said they possess dark magic, as they perform ‘witchcraft rituals’ and use ‘charms’ to avoid beasts and expel demons. I’ve done a bit of travelling throughout Asia and have always been interested in different cultures. I suppose it was just about writing a story about travel and culture with a dark twist. I’m glad there was a submissions callout for such a story!

 

What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?

 

Write about what you know, and don’t hold anything back. Writing can often feel like pulling teeth, but usually the most painful things to write turn into eloquent prose. Writing can be cathartic, rebellious, and passionate. For me, it’s a process of removing unwanted thoughts in my head and turning them into words. Of course, I write when I am happy, but I find my best work comes when I’m feeling slightly morose. That’s not to say you should only write when you’re having a bad day! I suppose the most important lesson I would try to teach someone is to write during emotional periods in your life – write when something good has happened, something bad, something fun, something surprising, etc. Use your emotions to fuel your imagination. A lot of my stories stem from my feelings towards my daughter, my feelings regarding my Epilepsy and BPD, and especially my feelings after I’ve had a seizure or a dissociative episode. Just write when you’re feeling an incredibly overwhelming emotion.

 

What does the horror genre mean to you?

 

The horror genre is an intrinsic part of who I am. It allows me to explore my thoughts and emotions in a productive and supportive way. I spend a lot of time observing people. I spend a lot of time sitting on buses and trains staring out the window. For me, I mostly write body horror within the horror genre.

 

Body horror is often a metaphor for real life transformations. The inevitable process of ageing as a form of body horror. If we live long enough, we all become monsters. Our hair falls out, our skin changes, and we become a burden and sometimes even a threat to those who love us. Body horror is also a metaphor for the failings of our body. Neurological diseases such as Epilepsy affect injuries of the mind. The condition of being flesh and blood elicits fear. The condition of being flesh and blood, of madness, of wounded flesh, reminds us just how human, how fallible we are. We often fear our own body, how it controls us, and how we relate to it.

 

Horror is a way to understand who we are as humans, what frightens us, and why it’s good to be scared. Freud tells us the love of horror comes from repressed feelings, Jung tells us it’s our primordial unconscious that enjoys watching people getting chopped up in a woodchopper. Rabelais and Bakhtin tell us we take pleasure in exploring the grotesque and carnivalesque celebration of the circle of life. For people who enjoy horror books and movies, their adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine levels tend to go totally crazy, as the fight-or-flight response is triggered by the imagined fear. Our brains need this for healthy functioning. Certainly, adrenaline is good for you. Most people associate adrenaline with fear and stressful situations—which occur in horror movies and books! —however, this is simply our bodies way to bring your physiological and psychological systems back to normal, keeping everything in check, but in an entirely safe space. So, I suppose the horror genre, for me, means a combination of catharsis and a way to explore fear in a healthy environment.

 

Who is your favourite author and why?

 

Sonya Hartnett! Interestingly, she’s not primarily a horror writer, yet she writes quite dark and disturbing stories about human relationships, especially within families. However, my favourite horror writer is Clive Barker. Clive Barker introduced me to body horror. He was the one author who has similar ideas to mine. As soon as my friend lent me his copy of Weaveworld I was hooked!

 

Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

 

You can find ‘Dragonfly’ within ‘Phuket Tattoo: Crazy Tales Of Faraway Places’ on Amazon.

 

Are you on social media? Please supply links

 

I don’t have a Facebook author page, but you can find me at my personal Facebook page, my Twitter, or my Instagram page.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2018 by ahwasinisterreads

Dear Member,

If you have had a short story, novella or novel released in the last two months or an upcoming release let us know about it! Answer the questions below and we’ll publish your interview at http://www.sinisterreads.wordpress.com and share it on our social media networks. *Please only one submission per release (and remember, you must be a member to submit). To become a member, please contact us – australasianhorror@gmail.com

Sinister Reads – New release questionnaire

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest story?

What inspired you to write this story?

What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?

What does the horror genre mean to you?

Who is your favourite author and why?

Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

Are you on social media? Please supply links

Send this document as an attachment to australasianhorror@gmail.com and we’ll get the interview online as soon as possible.

Thanks for being a part of the AHWA!

Visit http://www.australasianhorror.wordpress.com

New release interview with Lee Murray on Into the Sounds

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2018 by ahwasinisterreads

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest story?

My name is Lee Murray. An AHWA member for the past five years, I’ve been writing for ten, with eight novels, nine edited works, and numerous short stories published, and a further three novels currently in press. My work is almost entirely speculative, and most of it tends to dark fiction and horror. My also cooking tends towards horror. I live with my family in the sunny Bay of Plenty where my office overlooks a cow paddock.

INTO THE SOUNDS is the second adventure in my Taine McKenna speculative thriller series, the sequel to award-winning INTO THE MIST (also a 2016 Shadows finalist), this time set in New Zealand’s southern fiords.

Here is the blurb:
On leave, and out of his head with boredom, NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna joins biologist Jules Asher on a Conservation Department deer culling expedition to New Zealand’s southernmost national park, where soaring peaks give way to valleys gouged from clay and rock, and icy rivers bleed into watery canyons too deep to fathom. Despite covering an area the size of the Serengeti, only eighteen people live in the isolated region, so it’s a surprise when the hunters stumble on the nation’s Tūrehu tribe, becoming some of only a handful to ever encounter the elusive ghost people. But a band of mercenaries saw them first, and, hell-bent on exploiting the tribes’ survivors, they’re prepared to kill anyone who gets in their way. As a soldier, McKenna is duty-bound to protect all New Zealanders, but after centuries of persecution will the Tūrehu allow him to help them? Besides, there is something else lurking in the sounds, and it has its own agenda. When the waters clear, will anyone be allowed to leave?

What inspired you to write this story?

Its publisher: the success of Into the Mist prompted the publisher to request a sequel. I hadn’t envisaged writing one, so it meant teasing a long story arc from the story threads
already existed. I tried to keep the same key elements that readers had enjoyed about the first book: an atmospheric New Zealand setting, fast-paced action, mythology, science, and a predatory primordial monster. However, it is certainly not the same story, with a bunch of new characters, plenty of dark moments, and some unexpected twists. A stand-alone, readers shouldn’t feel they have to read the first book in order to enjoy Into the Sounds, although I hope they will.

“Taine McKenna’s latest foray leads him again into the forests of New Zealand, this time accompanying a small group of conservationists evaluating the status of endangered species. But what they find goes far beyond any of their expectations and leads them to violent conflicts and a blood-thirsty band of plunderers set to exploit the new find. And something else. Something huge and voracious and virtually unbeatable. Murray does a beautiful job in combining New Zealand landscapes with strong characters, both native and otherwise. Her writing is, as always, clear and direct, especially in her handling of Maori terms readers might not be familiar with. I highly recommend this book to those interested in action, military adventure, conservation and its inherent dangers, and, perhaps most of all, tales of cryptozoology.” — World Horror Master, Michael Collings

What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?

If at all possible, grow a carapace.

What does the horror genre mean to you?

Horror isn’t really a genre, is it? Horror is something that transcends genre. It is anything that engenders feelings of unease, dread, disgust, or terror in a reader. Everyone feels fear at some time in their lives. It’s universal. And since people’s fears are both wide-ranging and unique, the scope of horror is just as diverse. For me, as a storyteller, there is nothing more exciting.

Who is your favourite author and why?

I can’t possibly answer this. I have too many to count. My favourite author is often the person I am currently, so right now that would be Christa Carmen, Something Borrowed, Something Bloodsoaked, Matt Bett, Shadows Beneath the Waves, and David Versace’s Mnemo’s Memory and Other Fantastic Stories. However, I will tell you that my favourite childhood horror was Pinocchio with its chilling warning to children about disobedience ‒ at the risk of having your skin sliced off and then stretched to make a drum.

Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

INTO THE MIST and INTO THE SOUNDS can be purchased in print and ebook formats from Severed Press and online venues. Into the Mist is available on audible. Australasian Horror Writers members who would like to receive a digital ARC of either title for honest review should contact leekiwi at gmail dot com

Are you on social media? Please supply links

@leemurraywriter
https://www.facebook.com/lee.murray.393
Www.leemurray.info

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Sinister Reads: New Release Interview with Tom G. Wolf on “Lost Tunnels”

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2018 by ahwasinisterreads

Thanks for joining us Tom. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest story?

I’m Tom G. Wolf – journalist, and more recently, self-published author. I’m based in Sydney, where I live with my wife and cat.

I’ve wanted to write fiction ever since I was a little kid, but like so many other aspiring writers, I ended up getting caught up in a whole bunch of dead-end jobs to pay the bills. Still, when I hit my mid-20s and I decided I actually had to sit down and do some writing, rather than just pining away about it. I retrained, and these days I work as a journalist and copywriter, with the odd bit of freelancing on the side. Most recently, I’ve had some of my work appear over at We Are the Mutants.

In June 2018, I released my Lost Tunnels – my debut horror novella. It’s definitely not high art, but if you enjoy Lovecraftian horror and grindhouse cinema, you’ll probably find something to enjoy within its pages!

What inspired you to write this story?

There were a lot of different influences that went into Lost Tunnels, but I’ll keep it to just three for sake of brevity!

I grew up on the scenic Central Coast of NSW, and there’s plenty of strange local folklore surrounding the place. There are quite a lot of UFO sightings, there’s allegedly some ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and overall there’s a lot of interest in New Age ideas around the place. It’s a real haven for the unusual, and a lot of that filtered through in creating Fort Bay, the setting of the book.

H.P. Lovecraft was a big influence, too. After Stephen King, he was one of my main gateways to horror, just as he is for many readers. I wanted to transport some of his tropes to my own hometown experience, but without the racism or irrational fear of “outsiders” that pervades so much of his work.

Last but not least, there was some heavy inspiration from grindhouse horror. I’ve been a horror fan since my teen years, but I really got into its stranger and grosser side during my sharehouse days, 10 or so years ago. Ultimately, I intended Lost Tunnels as a bit of a love letter to the horror genre as a whole – unapologetic genre fiction, with lots of swearing, occultism and graphic violence.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?

I can’t overstate the importance of discipline and practice. I know some people are very caught up in the romance of “waiting for the muse” and being a “creative”, but they’re often much more keen on talking about writing, rather than actually doing any writing. Sitting yourself down and forcing yourself to work, whether or not you feel like it, is an incredibly useful skill.

Additionally, get yourself a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing and Donald Maas’ Writing the Breakout Novel. Two of the best books I’ve ever read about writing.

What does the horror genre mean to you?

Horror always intrigued me from a very young age. I was a special effects obsessive as a kid, and naturally that pushes you towards horror – a ton of effects get pioneered in horror cinema, which eventually filters to more mainstream fare. Dad also showed me the original version of The Mummy when I was probably 9 or 10, and a couple of years later Mum showed me The Wicker Man.

It didn’t really bloom into full-fledged fandom until some years later, though. Like many fellow authors, I grew up to an awkward teenager, interested in all manner of “dark” things. Gravitating towards horror and heavy metal was only a matter of time, really.

Lots of late nights watching cult films on SBS and trashy paperbacks followed; it felt like home straight away, which was very important at that age. Many people go through a horror phase when they’re younger, but I realised pretty quickly I had a love for it that was likely to last a lifetime.

Who is your favourite author and why?

It’s a terrible cliché to say this, but I’d be hard-pressed to pick just one. Gun to my head though, I’d say that Clive Barker is my favourite horror author at the moment.

Where can people read/purchase your novel?

Currently Lost Tunnels is available as an eBook on Kindle. I like the idea of doing a paperback in future, but ideally it would be part of an omnibus with some other material too.

 Are you on social media? Please supply links

You can find me in a few different places online.

Twitter – @lupinebookclub

Facebook – www.facebook.com/lupinebookclub

Blog – www.lupinebookclub.blogspot.com