1. Tell me more about your story “I’m Taking You With Me”?
Without going into too much detail, it shows what someone is forced to do for a loved one. About a year ago, Nella (my friend in Toronto who the story’s dedicated to) told me a story of a suicide from her younger years in the apartment block she lived in. The impact of the jumper was so severe that it tore his fingers off. So I then ruminate on what kind of corner must you be herded into that you’d see such a destructive demise as your only course of action? So yeah, that’s how “I’m Taking You With Me” came about.
2. Who has been your biggest influence as a writer?
Hmmm. Not sure there’s been any one, but I can cite a few for various reasons. Probably the biggest was Michael Crichton, simply for the level of research and rationale that’s gone into his work: Jurassic Park, Prey, Timeline, etc. For stories that intrigue and engage you, there’s a lot of attention to detail in there with the action – and they move at a good pace.
3. How did taking part in the National Novel Writing Month Challenge affect you as an author?
The whole NaNoWriMo experience taught me a few things. It taught me the pros of outlining. For me, that doesn’t mean that your outline is so detailed that you paint yourself into a corner when writing at speed, but you want just enough outline to keep you on course. It’s taught me the importance of getting your draft down. That means no distraction, no second-guessing – just WRITE AND FINISH. Save the typos, continuity and other niggles for Round 2.
4. Do you outline prior to writing your story, or do you work out the plot as you write?
Absolutely! Even for short stories, I outline. Doesn’t matter how long/short the story is – I want to get a handle on the flow and the nuances. I don’t just want to write something, I want to craft something.
5. Do you strictly write short fiction or have you dabbled with novel writing as well?
Oh, no! I’ll write everything from flash fiction to full-blown novels. My first formal forays into writing were novels. The only reason why I knocked out so many shorts is because it’s a faster turnaround to write a short, edit a short, submit a short, and get a short published. You get your work out there faster. It gets addictive though – and then I’m on some “just one more” business…! But no, the short fiction was more to get my work out there to an audience and start to elevate my online/global presence. I’m fiending to get back to longer fiction though, so that should be from December 2015.
6. Is there an overall theme to your writing?
I’d say if there was one overall theme, it’s the exploration of fear. I think it’s often portrayed in popular culture as a human sensibility – but that doesn’t mean that the monsters don’t have something to fear, too. Nor does it mean that monsters live to terrorise us. To some monsters, a human may be food and nothing more. But the human won’t necessarily see it that way.
7. What type of scenes do you most enjoy writing?
Pretty much all of them! The ones where the stage is set and on closer inspection, something is off-kilter. The scenes where the reader is ahead of the curve but the character isn’t. Or where the character is and the reader isn’t. The bloodshed. The terror and dread. Sex scenes. Arguments. Hell, they’re all tools to craft and work with. It’s all pretty cool.
8. What made you start writing?
I guess it was fanfic first; a couple of stories based on characters from Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld. I’d watched some of the forum members attempt NaNoWriMo over a couple of years, and I tried to soak up the knowledge: the buddying, the outlining, the word counters and such. So a couple of years later in 2009, I had my first (and only, to date) crack at the challenge and knocked out 52,000 words in 29 days, beating the challenge by a decent margin. That’s when I thought, “Yeah, you might have something here.” So yeah, I’ve been running with it ever since.
9. What made you want to start writing horror?
I guess it was two-fold. One, for all the horror and dark fiction big brother introduced me to as a kid. Not necessarily gory stuff, but the atmospheric and eerie works. The stuff that is now more likely to be called “creepy.” The likes of The Omen, Salem’s Lot, Poltergeist. Deadly Friend. Phantasm – for the eerie nature of The Tall Man alone (and that haunting theme: man, I fell in love with that). Those are the kind of films that, for me, draw you in with how the scene is set, the direction, the photography. I try and bring a cinematic view to my work.
Plus, I wanted to bring something to stories that I’d not seen before. Doesn’t matter whether I create a new kind of monster or try horror in a different setting. It could be anything and anywhere: from a chilly windswept hillside to sunset on a Cali beach. I’m writing the kind of stuff I’d want to see.
10. If you could pick one other author to collaborate with on a novel or story, living or dead, who would it be?
I’m honestly not sure. I’ve never given it any real serious thought, but then, there are a whole host of horror/dark fiction authors out there. A whole host of flavours. Wouldn’t surprise me if there’s at least one where we could craft some new dark fable together. I’m open to ways to elevate my craft and keep my game tight.