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:

http://www.davidschembri.net

‘Beneath the Ferny Tree’ is available here for purchase in both digital and print editions: https://books2read.com/u/b62N6Z

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

https://www.facebook.com/David-Schembri-AuthorArtist-1609960602405800/?ref=bookmarks

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Sinister Reads chats with Claire Fitzpatrick

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

Hiya. I’m Claire. I’m an author of speculative fiction and non-fiction. I won the 2017 Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism for ‘The Body Horror Book,’ which I produced, edited, and co-wrote. I work for the government, which means I obviously have no soul. I have a six-year-old daughter who is starting grade one this year, which is crazy!  I’m a submissions reader for Aurealis, and I run Oscillate Wildly Press, a small indie publisher. My collection ‘Metamorphosis’ is due to be published by IFWG Publishing sometime this year, which is just awesome. Um…what else, what else, what else? I have pet cacti. They don’t have names yet, but they’re pretty great pets. They don’t scream in my face or poke me when I’m sleeping like my daughter does. Sheesh. That kid. Gosh, she’s a handful. My latest story is ‘Metamorphosis,’ published in Midnight Echo 13 (title story of my collection). The story is set in the near-distant future where puberty, or growing up, is monitored as a form of population control. ‘Metamorphosis’ follows a theme I have used within a few of my stories – the fear of parental abandonment coupled with Peter Pan Syndrome. I write a lot about child/parent relationships, and I consider this story part four of my short stories ‘Madeline,’ (first published in ME 11), ‘Synthetic,’ (first published in Breach Issue 6, republished in Phantaxis Issue 7), and ‘Scarab’ (first published in Breach Issue 7), a quartet of sorts. This story leans more towards SF, though contains elements of body horror, which is what I generally write.

What inspired you to write this story?

When I was a teenager, I read the book series ‘The Shadow Children’ by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The idea of hiding people away, of pretending people don’t exist, always interested me. One day, out of the blue, I was on a bus and started thinking about the book series. But this time I started thinking not just about population control, but body control – the control of how a body develops, how it grows, how a child becomes an adult. So I just started writing, and ‘Metamorphosis’ is what I came up with. I liked the idea that puberty was more than just the usual changes that occur in the body, that it was something out of your control, literally – that if you didn’t go through puberty you became something else, something monstrous, something to be hidden away and examined. I also sprinkled ideas of ‘be careful what you wish for’ throughout the story. There are consequences for growing up too fast, which are very real in ‘Metamorphosis.’

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

Always be open with yourself, and truthful. A good story has parts of its author within it. Go beyond ‘write what you know’ and write who you are, what you’re afraid of, what concerns you, what excites you. Almost all of my stories are in some way autobiographical. Always add a little bit of you into the mix.

What does the horror genre mean to you?

Gosh. Horror is something that is flexible, malleable, and adjustable. It is something to be pulled apart and put back together. What scares people so often changes. The horror genre should not only scare you, but excite you, encourage you to ask questions. I think of it as the agnostic of the writing spectrum. Horror is akin to Solipsism – you can never be sure what else is out there, only what’s inside your own mind. And that’s the scary thing. Horror encourages exploration, internal investigations, and philosophical questions. Why are we scared? What makes humans scared? What makes a human? Horror is usually metaphorical, and taps into our inner most fears and desires as individuals and as a society. The scariest monsters in this word are the humans themselves. Hmm. I think I’m scared of myself.

Who is your favourite author and why?

See, my favourite book is ‘Black Foxes’ by Sonya Hartnett, but that’s not horror. Overall, I love Clive Barker. I think he’s incredibly creative. I love that is work, his imagination, is limitless. His universe is so immersive. His writing is not only bloody but supernatural, religious, erotic, romantic. He writes such beautiful and terrifying prose. Clive Barker encourages questions, encourages fantasies, and turns humanity inside out. And for me, that’s what it means to be human.

 

Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

Midnight Echo 13

 

Are you on social media? Please supply links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClaireJean1239

Twitter: @CJFitzpatrick91

Instagram: wetoo.arestardust

Website: www.clairefitzpatrick.net/

 

Sinister Reads chats with Alister Hodge about his new release – Plague War 3 Retaliation

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

I’m a horror author, and I also work as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner where I get to deal with the everyday traumas of real life. My latest book is PLAGUE WAR 3 RETALIATION, published through Severed Press. This novel concludes my trilogy that was preceded by PLAGUE WAR: OUTBREAK, and PLAGUE WAR 2: PANDEMIC. For fans of apocalyptic and military horror, the Plague War series is an action packed journey following a group of survivors through the downfall of Australian society, to an eventual military fightback against the zombie masses.

What inspired you to write this story?

After reading ‘World War Z’ by Max Brooks and a number of different Grimdark titles, I decided I wanted to write an apocalyptic story with real life grit on the pages, and a book that would explore the events through eyes of the civilian, health, army and police workforce confronted by the situation.

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

Some days it comes more easily than others, but if I stubbornly keep my arse parked in the chair, I’ll manage to get words down that will progress the story (even if I need to heavily edit them later).

What does the horror genre mean to you?

A chance to explore the best and absolute worst of which humans are capable.

Who is your favourite author and why?

This changes frequently. I recently completed Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law series and hugely enjoyed it.

Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

The Plague War series is available via the Severed Press website, or on Amazon as an ebook / KU / paperback.

Are you on social media? Please supply links

https://www.facebook.com/alister.hodge.3

https://twitter.com/AlHodge79

https://www.alisterhodge.com

 

Visit www.australasianhorror.wordpress.com

 

Sinister Reads chats to Alan Baxter about his exciting new book, Devouring Dark

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

I’m an author of horror, often in the supernatural thriller and dark urban fantasy arena, and my latest book, DEVOURING DARK, is an urban horror novel set in London. It involves organized crime and supernatural assassins crossing paths in the most dangerous ways.

What inspired you to write this story?

I won an Australian Shadows Award for my short story, “Shadows of the Lonely Dead”, and I knew there was more to explore in the subject matter of that yarn. This novel is essentially a sequel to that story.

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

Never quit! That’s applies to reading, learning, practicing, submitting, revising. You have ot work your arse off and never quit.

What does the horror genre mean to you?

Honesty.

Who is your favourite author and why?

Probably Clive Barker – he’s been a bigger influence on my own writing than anyone else. I love the way he combines horror, fantasy and the weird, and that’s something I do in my work as well.

Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

Wherever books are sold, all the online retailers, or order from your bookstore or library. If you want a signed copy, contact me through social media and we can make that happen. Anyone who buys a signed paperback from me will also get a limited edition enameled metal pin while stocks last. There will only ever be 500 of them!

Are you on social media? Please supply links

My website: https://www.alanbaxteronline.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlanBaxter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alanbaxterauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/warrior_scribe/

 

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

Sinister Reads chats to Pete Aldin

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

I write spec fic thrillers. My latest novel “Came Monsters” (a sequel to last year’s “Doomsday’s Child”) is available for preorder at a discounted price on Amazon/Kindle. Paperback to follow.

What inspired you to write this story?

Lol: probably Book One in the series. Also, I wondered what it would be like to set a zompoc novel three and half years after the outbreak when all the zombies are “dying off”.

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

When writing a scene, come in late and leave it early. We don’t need to see the detective get out of bed and drive to the crime scene: just have him arrive and get on with it. Then don’t hang around at the end with boring dialogue or details: cut to next scene.

What does the horror genre mean to you?

Tension and honest examinations of what it means to be human and to embrace life.

Who is your favourite author and why?

At the moment it’s David Morrell who wrote the original Rambo novel. More often he writes thrillers than horror, but there are no dull moments in Morrell’s writing.

Where can people read/purchase your story/novel?

Are you on social media?

petealdin.com or http://www.facebook.com/PeteAldinAuthor