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.
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