Sinister Reads chats to David Schembri

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

I’ve been submitting stories since 2006 and was influenced by my judgment role in the Australian Shadows. During that period I was exposed to some excellent work and to the format of the ‘short story’. Over the years I’ve been published in several anthologies and magazines, both in print and online.

This new book in my second horror collection of short stories, showcasing previously published work and some new pieces also.

What differs most about ‘Beneath the Ferny Tree’ compared to ‘Unearthly Fables’ (2014), is that it has longer works and also features a genre poetry section.


What inspired you to write this story?

This collection was inspired by a conversation I had with the publisher. They were discussing their open submission call and invited me to submit a proposal early in 2018. After hearing that they were interested in a new collection, I leapt into work on compiling the stories and artwork samples. I was very excited to submit my work to them as they had reviewed my first book highly a couple of years ago.


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

Writing is a waiting game.

Plain and simple.

Release or submit your project when you are ready and have gone through the blood, sweat and tears.  If you’ve missed an opening market for your story? Then find another or hold onto the work until another market opens up. Then, when it’s published, you can pride yourself on a job well done.

Things come to those who not only work hard, but are patient.


What does the horror genre mean to you?

It might sound strange, but the horror genre means ‘fun’ to me. Am I sounding weird? Good.

When ever I pick up a horror publication or movie, I rub my hands to together. It’s like buying a ticket to a super crazy, out of this world, roller coaster that others tell you to avoid because it’s too scary. Horror is fun, when it’s done right of course.

I buy the ticket and take the ride. J


Who is your favourite author and why?

Oh, this question again! There are so many!

Clive Barker.

He wasn’t the first horror author I read. In fact, I was reading a lot of other greats for years before finally picking up the Books of Blood. When I dove into Barker’s earlier horror works, it wasn’t the horror, creatures or worlds he created that hooked me, it was the humanity behind his characters. The way one can follow the protagonists and even empathize with Barker’s villans, is what I found so unique, making me go back to Barker again and again.


Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

Some free samples of my earlier work can be found on my website:

‘Beneath the Ferny Tree’ is available here for purchase in both digital and print editions:

Most retailers have the book on sale now, so please have a look.

Dymocks Book stores in both Rundle Mall (Adelaide) and Knox City (Melbourne), will be stocking the book shortly. Look out on my Facebook and website for announcements when it hit their shelves.

You can read a sample of the book here:

Book excerpt: Beneath the Ferny Tree, by David Schembri


Are you on social media? Please supply links

Come on down to my Facebook page anytime. I do my best to post regularly so ‘like’ if you wish. J