AN INTERVIEW WITH PAUL KANE
Hello folks today I am truly honoured to have Paul Kane over for a chat. Paul is gearing up for the launch of his new collection The Butterfly Man. I have been given the honour of a preview copy, and from what I have read, this is a pretty amazing collection. And One you should all get a copy off. So grab your self a snack and a drink, sit back enjoy
GNOH – Hi Paul, how are you doing?
I’mgood thanks, and thanks for asking me to stop by…
GNOH – Could you tell the readers a bit aboutyourself?
Whereto start? Okay, I’ve been a professional writer now for about fifteen years. I startedoff working in genre journalism, something I still keep my hand in today. Moreso in books than anywhere else; my latest non-fiction release is the interviewbook Voices in the Dark. I started toget short stories published in the small presses in 1998, and then my firstcollection came out in 2001: Alone (Inthe Dark) published by BJM Press. Since then I’ve had four more collectionspublished with another two due out soon – the limited edition Shadow Writer from Mansion House and The Butterfly Man and Other Stories fromPS – five novellas, the latest of which is PainCages from Books of the Dead (http://booksofthedead.blogspot.com/2011/08/paul-kanes-pain-cages-now-on-amazon.html), and five novels: Of Darkness and Light,The Gemini Factor and the bestsellingArrowhead trilogy, a post-apocalypticreworking of the Robin Hood legend published by Abaddon. I’ve also edited aboutthirteen or fourteen publications, the most recent being Hellbound Hearts – co-edited with my lovely wife Marie, a horrorauthor and editor in our own right – which consisted of stories inspired byClive Barker’s novella that spawned Hellraiser. Marie and I also have a Mammoth Book of Body Horror coming outnext year from Constable & Robinson/Running Press. I’m just starting to dipmy toe in the water writing scripts, and have had a couple of short moviesproduced based on my screenplays – The Opportunity and The Weeping Woman. That’sled to commissions to adapt a couple of bestselling authors’ novels into fulllength scripts. Anything more detailed you can find at my site www.shadow-writer.co.uk , which hasalso played host to a wealth of guest writers, from Stephen King, Neil Gaimanand James Herbert, to Charlaine Harris, Stephen Leather and recent Arthur C.Clarke award-recipient Lauren Beukes.
GNOH – Paul, we are both of the same age, childrenof the 1970’s and 1980’s. Why do you thinkpeople of our age have such an affinity for the fantastical?
I supposemainly because of the amount of material that was around back then, especiallyin the horror genre. I mean, there’s a lot today – quite possibly more becauseof the net – but back then it just seemed like everyone was handing round Kingand Herbert books in the playground, not to mention The Pan Books of Horror… I think also being exposed to shows like Dr Who, TheIncredible Hulk, The Hammer House of Horror as a kid meant that, myselfin particular, the die was cast pretty early on. Then, of course, there was allthe Video Nasty stuff of the 80s that made theforbidden tantalising, so there’s little wonder that people like us are so intothe genre and always have been.
GNOH – Do you have any overriding memories ofthe genre growing up? For myself it wasthe final Episode of Blake’s 7 and watching Hammer’s Draculafor the first time.
Apartfrom the ones mentioned above, my parents sat me down in front of the 70sversion of Invasion of the Body Snatcherswhen I was only about seven or eight. I can still remember the effect that hadon me to this day, seeing that dog with the homeless man’s face! I was alsopretty freaked out by the aliens’ eyes in the TV version of The Martian Chronicles. But I have a thing aboutfreaky eyes anyway. I also remember being equally enthralled and terrified bythe BBC adaptation of Wyndham’s The Day of theTriffids. Not so much the Triffids themselves, although to a kid theywere scary enough, but the terrifying title sequence with all those faces andthe drums. It still makes me shiver now. The more recent BBC version wasn’t apatch on that one in my opinion.
GNOH – Looking at the ‘about’ page of yourblog, it seems as though we had a pretty similar experience growing up. Practically all of your favourite authors youlist are the same as mine. Can youremember who was the first horror author you read. Mine was Herbert’s The Fog.
Ah,close! The same author, but with me it was TheRats, again probably because this was being handed round at school. Iremember the scene in that where the baby gets eaten; that was pretty shocking.I remember reading a lot of Lovecraft, Ramsey Campbell – essential reading forany budding horror author, surely – King, amongst others. But when Clive Barkercame along with his Books of Blood, Iwas completely blown away, as most people were. It was just the sheer amount ofdifferent things he was doing within those stories: the way one could be horrorcomedy, another cosmic horror. I still don’t think those collections have beentopped today, although Neil Gaiman’s Smokeand Mirrors comes close for me. This makes it sound like I was just readinghorror, which isn’t true. I read anything and everything in the SF and Fantasyfields as well ,so I’ve got a pretty good grounding in it all – yes, I was intomy Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer! Two of my favourite books ofall time are Frank Herbert’s Dune andTolkien’s The Hobbit, so I’ll beinterested to see what Jackson does with the latter.
GNOH – Do you think the genre has lost alittle of the magic, the innocence and sense of fun, or do you think I need totake off my rose tinted glasses?
Some ofthat must be age and nostalgia value, I’m sure. I see the same wonder andexcitement in my daughter’s eyes watching the new DrWho or Supernatural, or reading Kingfor the first time. I’ve noticed recently at conventions that a fresh crowd ofwriters are coming up, experiencing getting published for the first time, orgoing to their first BFS Open Nights or FantasyCons. It’s then that I have toremind myself I’m not a new kid on the block anymore, that it’s a good thirteenyears since my first short story was accepted and even longer since my firstprofessional piece of writing was published. Time just goes so fast, and itseems to speed up the older you get, which is worrying.
GNOH – Can you remember what first inspiredyou to put pen to paper?
I thinkit was just in me from the beginning to be honest. Even before I startedwriting, I used to make up stories with my toys, or draw cartoon strips – ofteninspired by the comics my dad would buy for me on trips out. Then I just‘graduated’ to writing stories, probably at school first I think as part of mylessons. Definitely by the time I got to secondary I was writing adventures forEnglish homework, because I was encouraged by a teacher called Mr Townsend –who has just recently retired, so I called in to see him and thank him beforehe left school. One of the books we read in class was Robert Swindells’excellent Brother in the Land, whichI told him had actually inspired me to write post-apocalyptic fiction later ondown the line. He was over the moon at that.
GNOH – Can you remember what was the first“proper” story you wrote? Do you stillhave it?
I don’tknow if you’d call it ‘proper’, but probably the first longer piece I wrote onmy mum’s battered old typewriter was a story laughingly entitled Night Beast, about this alien monsterthat crash-lands in a lake and terrorises two couples on holiday in a cabin. Oh,all the clichés are thrown in, don’t you worry about that! The funniest thingis that it’s set somewhere like the Peak District, but I have rangers who carryMagnums, stuff like that. All very Garth Marenghi. I do still have it,actually, and fish it out from time to time – I’d love to say so I can see howfar I’ve come, but it’s more so I can have a chuckle at how bad it reallyis.
GNOH – In a recent review of Butterfly Man, you were described ashaving a broad palette of writing styles. Is this something to do deliberately,or is it just something that comes naturally?
I wasdelighted to read that description, I think it sums things up pretty well, yes.It’s all connected with the range of the genre, going back to those stories Iread of Clive’s in my formative years. I’ve never forgotten just how much youcan stretch things or go against expectations within the genre, and that’sstood me in good stead, I reckon. A story like ‘Rag & Bone’ for instance,towards the end of the collection, is out and out shock horror, while somethinglike ‘Life-O-Matic’ is a way of looking at our world from a slightly surrealangle, of this family who live in a bizarre consumer world and don’t evenrealise it. ‘Windchimes’ is a very subtle psychological drama… until the end,but it also has a supernatural undercurrent. I think it’s a natural thing forme to try and do fresh and different stories each time, to write about thingsthat interest me, but at the same time it’s probably a conscious thing too, ifthat makes sense? Probably not…
GNOH – Do you have a favourite style?
Ofwriting? Like subtle as opposed to harder-edged? Not really, I just write inthe way the story and the idea dictate. If it’s a tale about bloodthirstymutants then it’s going to be gory. If it’s about the relationship between aboy and his pet monster, as in ‘A Chaos Demon is for Life’ – also from Butterfly – then it needs a softertouch. I enjoy doing it all, and switching from one to the other then backagain. Stops things from getting boring or stale.
GNOH – How do you go about writing, to youplot everything out?
I doneed to plot and plan to a certain degree, yes. But not to the point where Ihamper creativity. John Connolly was recently saying at an event that there’san author who’ll do an 80,000 word outline. John remarked: “That’s not anoutline. I’d put ‘the end’ on that and call it a novel!” That’s going overboardwith the planning, so I’m not that bad. At the same time I don’t like settingoff with something, especially a novel, not having some idea where it’s going or where it might end. Now, that mightchange as I start writing it, but I guess I need that safety net before I setoff on the journey. So I might scribble out a couple of lines per chapter ofhow I think the book will shape up, some notes about characters, that kind ofthing. One thing I don’t skimp on is my research; I like to get things right.To the point where I had a medical expert and military expert helping me withthe Hood books. I took tours round the cave system in Nottingham and thecastle, videoed locations and took photos, made notes on the history. I reallydoes pay off, and lends the stories that air of authenticity you don’t get ifsomeone is just making something up or guessing.
GNOH – How do you deal with rewrites, do youfinish the whole draft first, or do you rewrite and edit as you go along?
I plodon through and finish the whole thing, so I’ve got something to work with. ThenI go back in and edit, going through drafts of the books, cutting things,changing things. It’s the only way I can work.
GNOH – Roughly how many edits do you gothrough?
Depends.Sometimes it can be a couple, sometimes as many as five or six. It all hingeson whether the first draft is okay or not, and how much work needs doing on itto fix it. I’m lucky in that Marie is my first reader, so I’ve got another setof eyes that I trust wholeheartedly to tell me whether things work or not. Itmakes life a lot easier, I can tell you.
GNOH – I’ve always wondered, just how sick ofthe story is an author by the time you’ve finished the final draft?
Prettysick. And then you still have to go through it again a couple of times or morewhen the editor at the publishing house you’re working for has tackled it. Ifyou’re not careful you can start to lose sight of what the core of the storyis. At that point you need to step away from it for a couple of days and returnto it as if it wasn’t yours – unless you’re up against a deadline that is, inwhich case you really don’t have the luxury.
GNOH – Pick one, it has to be one, life isnot fair so you can’t have all three, fame, fortune, or
Which would you have as an author?
Oh,respect every time. I matters a lot to me
what people think of my work, which iswhy it’s nice to get feedback on it, whether it’s via email or when people chatto me at signings or conventions. When I guested at the first SFX Weekenderlast year, it was so nice to meet fans of the Arrowhead books. That’s not a fame thing, that’s just feeling goodbecause you’ve done what you set out to do and hopefully provided entertainmentfor these people; made sure they haven’t wasted their hard-earned cash. Alongsidethat, comes the respect of other writers in your field. If they pay you a compliment– especially if it’s someone you admire and respect yourself – there’s nofeeling like it in the world. When Clive said I was a ‘first-rate storyteller’,I couldn’t stop grinning for a month. Similarly, the Hood books were heavilyinspired by Richard Carpenter’s series Robin ofSherwood, which I watched growing up. When Richard told me he loved thebooks, it was like a big seal of approval for me.
GNOH – You have written a hell of a lot, doyou have a particular favourite?
That’sa tough one… Short story-wise, it has to be ‘The Butterfly Man’. It’s mycurrent favourite out of all the shorts I’ve done, because of the emotional heartit has. When I told Marie and Jen the story of that they were both on the vergeof tears so I knew I was on to something. Of the longer works, I think Of Darkness and Light, because it’s seton an estate very much like where I grew up. There’s a lot of me in the maincharacter of Lee, though I hasten to add not in his relationship with his mumand dad. That story’s quite a personal one for me, a love story of sorts, butalso mixing in dark fantasy and horror elements. I was very happy when it wasso well received in reviews. Of the non-fiction: The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy. A labour of love reflectingmy obsession… er, love of that mythology.
GNOH – REDis your take on the Red Riding Hood fairy tale. Why did you choose this fairy tale?
I’vereworked a few now, stripping them down to their basic elements and giving thema modern horror twist. ‘Who’s Been…?’ for example, is my horror take onGoldilocks. But with RED it justseemed like a no-brainer choice for horror. I could make the wolf ashape-shifter, adding an element of Who Goes There?/TheThing into the mix, turn the little girl into a young carer who has toventure out into the city to see one of the old people on her rounds… It justwrites itself. I had a lot of fun with that one, and it seems people didreading it too. One of my favourite reviews said simply ‘RED is a real BLOODY goodtime!’. It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
GNOH – There seems to be more Paul Kane shortstories than you can shake a stick at, what’s you muse?
Anythingand everything. I get ideas all the time and jot them down in a little hardbacknotebook. Hardback, so I can write in it anywhere at any time – there’s also a little pen inside. Things I read, thingsI hear or see, it’s all fair game… For instance ‘Cold Call’ from Butterfly was sparked by my parentsgetting those kinds of calls – when the phone rings and then when you answerthere’s no-one there. The call centres don’t give a toss because they’re tryingto reach as many people as they can, and some calls inevitable get dropped. Butthat can be really scary for older people. So I started to think about whatmight happen if the person the centre has rung decides to fight back. There’smore to it than that, but you get my drift. So stories can come out of thingsyou feel strongly about, whether that feeling is annoyance, or whether it’s thepower of a parent and child bond.
GNOH – A number of your short stories arelinked, how do decide which stories will link up? Does this happen before or during the writingof them?
I thinkthat depends on whether the idea has scope to be linked with other stories ornot, or might just be a one off. Something like ‘Cold Call’ as we’ve justmentioned is quite obviously a one shot deal because of the way it’s told and theway it ends. Something like my ‘Controllers’ tales which appeared in Alone (In the Dark) and Touching the Flame, and – to some extent– inform Pain Cages, have quite a lotof scope for multiple tales. Similarly, the humorous horror stories featuringmy paranormal investigator Dalton Quayle (a collection of which has recentlybeen released by Mundania Press http://www.mundania.com/book.php?title=The+Adventures+of+Dalton+Quayle) are designed to be series in nature, just like the Holmes tales originallywere. I seem to be doing a lot of sequels at the moment, some of which I neverintended, but looking back on the originals I can see threads I’ve left hangingthat just have to be picked up. I’ve just done a sequel to ‘Nightlife’, called‘Halflife’, which appears in Pain Cagesas well. That touches base with Neil the werewolf a little later on down theline – in the first story he’s only in his twenties and running with a pack,whereas here he’s approaching his forties and his friends have all scattered.That was interesting as it allowed me to comment on getting older and whetherthat’s just a state of mind or not. I’ve also just finished a sequel to myzombie story ‘Dead Time’, which was filmed by NBC/LionsGate as New Year’s Day. Now people know the twist, itallowed me to create another character who encounters Helen from the original,and explore more of what the zombie society might be like. There was plenty ofscope there, and in fact is even more if I decide to do a third or even fourthtale. The Arrowhead novel, of course,was also followed up by Broken Arrowand Arrowland, and it’s nicesometimes to explore several strands of stories within the same universe.There’s something comforting about catching up with familiar characters, whichis why I guess Hollywood is so obsessed with sequels and remakes.
GNOH – As well as your own short stories, youhave also edited a number of anthologies. What’s the difference between aneditor and a commissioning editor?
Youhave to put on a completely different hat when you’re editing than you wearwhen writing, although I subscribe to the school of thought that if you’re anauthor it actually helps when you’re dealing with other writers and theirstories for an anthology. You can offer suggestions in a way you’d appreciate yourselfif you had a story in an anthology. Because I’ve been editing my own work andother people’s for a good twelve years or more now, I’m quite confident aboutdoing this. I spent five years as Special Publications Editor of the BritishFantasy Society working with some of the top writers in the business, so thatgave me a great grounding in editing, which has helped enormously when workingon more recent mass market anthologies. I’m also lucky in that I teach onecreative writing class a week, so marking work from students helps when giving anthologyfeedback as well. I was both an editor and commissioning editor when I workedfor the BFS, so that’s my only real experience of doing both. When you edit abook, you contact contributors or ask for submissions, then put it togetherbasically. As commissioning editor,you ask another editor to do that job. You’re just hiring them to put togethera book, or they might actually approach you with the finished book, which youthen take a look at and perhaps buy. That happened a few times while I was atthe BFS.
GNOH – As an editor what advice would yougive to other writers when submitting their stories?
Alwaysread the guidelines thoroughly and actually give the editor what they’relooking for, rather than writing it and then trying to get it to fit ananthology theme. If the book’s about alien vampires, then chances are theywon’t want to see your story featuring a ghostly yeti – no matter how wellwritten it might be. It’ll be rejected before you’ve even got through the frontdoor. Of course, it’s a different story if it’s a loosely themed ‘horror’ or‘supernatural’ anthology… If it’s a magazine you’re subbing to, check outsome of the previous issues to get a feel for what kind of thing they like. Alsolisten to advice and feedback editors might give you in the spirit with whichit’s given, to make your story better. That doesn’t necessarily mean agreeingwith everything – if you can say why it works better your way, and back thatup, then great – just that it’s a mistake to ignore advice from people whomight be more experienced in this field than you are.
GNOH – You edited Hellbound Hearts, that must have been a dream come true?
It was,absolutely. That came about when I was talking on the phone to Clive and Iasked him why nobody had ever done a fiction anthology set within the mythologyof the Hellraiser or Hellbound Heart universe, like they’d done in the comics world inthe nineties – this was before the BOOM! studios comics came along. Clivedidn’t know, and said it was a great idea, so gave me his blessing to go offand come up with one. He also kindly said he would write the foreword and paintthe cover, which was a brand new Cenobite called Vestimenti. I enlisted thehelp of Marie as co-editor, and we were fortunate enough to gather together astellar line-up: Neil Gaiman & DaveMcKean, Kelley Armstrong,Christopher Golden & MikeMignola, Peter Atkins, Conrad Williams, SarahPinborough, Mick Garris, Tim Lebbon, Richard Christian Matheson, Nancy Holder,Simon Clark, Steve Niles, Sarah Langan, Nicholas Vince, Yvonne Navarro, MarkMorris, Barbie Wilde, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Nancy Kilpatrick, Gary A. Braunbeck& Lucy A. Snyder and Chaz Brenchley, plus an introduction by Stephen Jones, and afterword by Doug ‘Pinhead’ Bradley.It helped us to eventually get a publisher interested, and the rest ishistory.
GNOH – What would you say makes for a greatshort story?
A solid,original concept, well told. Interesting characters in a situation that gripsyou right from the get go. For anyone wanting to break into genre short storywriting, should check out the short work of Clive, Stephen King, Graham Joyce, GemmaFiles, Christopher Fowler… The list goes on and on. You should also pick upcopies of books like Stephen Jones’ MammothBook of Best New Horror – or, actually, any anthology Stephen putstogether. Similarly, Ellen Datlow’s BestHorror of the Year, or any of her other anthologies.
GNOH – You’ve written three novels in AbbadonBooks Afterblight Chronicles. What isthe appeal of this series?
Probablyfirst and foremost the post-apocalyptic setting, where 90% of the world’spopulation have died out from the A-B virus, and only those people withO-Negative blood have survived. It’s a setting created originally by Andy Bootand Simon Spurrier – especially in the latter’s novel The Culled – and is in the tradition of Matheson’s I Am Legend or Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids. I was actuallyquite chuffed that my books were compared in some reviews to the latter, inthat they had that British apocalyptic feel to them.
GNOH – Do these stories link in with theother books in the series?
In aloose sense, yes – there’s actually a timeline for the Afterblight series on myArrowhead site here http://arrowheadtrilogy.com/?page_id=143. Scott Andrews’ books dovetail with mine quite nicely, beginning with School’s Out, and have even allowed forsome crossovers between them. Scott and I met for the first time just before Arrowhead came out and struck up a friendship,which allowed us to work in characters from each other’s books. For example,Scott used Robert – my version of Robin – in Children’s Crusade and I also gave him some Rangers to use in thestory. Just makes the whole timeline more fun, really, and gives readerssomething extra when they come to the books.
GNOH – TheGemini Factor deals with a serial killer of twins. Do you subscribe to the mysterious link thattwins have, or do you think it’s a load of crock?
I knowfor a fact it’s based in truth, because Marie’s sons Joe and Peter are twins.She’s told me enough stories to know that they have a special connection.There’s also tons of research out there proving that bond, which I drew on whenresearching the novel. It’s what led to the main premise really, that one twinbrother could be leading the other to the killer from beyond the grave – thatthis link might continue even after death. Obviously I’ve fictionalised it,giving it a supernatural spin, but I firmly believe in that link, yes.
GNOH – In OfDarkness And Light, the protagonist is afraid of the dark, what are youafraid of?
Well,as I mentioned earlier, Lee Masterton – especially when we first meet him as akid – has a lot of me in him. I was really scared of the dark, just like him,when I was little. I’m still bothered by it now as an adult, but not on thesame level. Of Darkness and Light wasactually my way of dealing with those fears I think, which people willunderstand if they’ve read the story. Not everything is as ‘black and white’ aswe think… literally. Not much scares me genre-wise these days, I’m far too jadedand desensitised. Although, having said that, Michelle Paver’s supernaturalnovel Dark Matter was quitedisturbing… Other than that, it’s real life fears such as something happeningto a loved one, health issues, intruders in the house… the normal kind ofstuff that everyone’s frightened of.
GNOH – You are about to release your shortStory Collection Butterfly Man, atFantasyCon. How is the build-up to thisgoing.
Youmean the build up to the convention or the launch? The build up to FCon inBrighton – which I’m co-chairing with Marie – has been crazy; it’s been so muchwork because it’s on a much bigger scale than normal. More like a mini WorldFantasy Convention, really. We’ve got guests like Gwyneth Jones, Brian Aldiss,John Ajvide Lindqvist, Christopher Paolini, Joe Abercrombie and SarahPinborough as MC, book launches, panels, film screenings, masterclasses,readings… plus the banquet and handing out of the British Fantasy Awards. Tofind out more about it all visit http://www.fantasycon2011.org/.Preparations for the launch of ButterflyMan itself have been Pete and Nicky Crowther’s department, as they run PSpublishing, but I’m launching alongside Ramsey Campbell and Ian R MacLeod withtheir own titles, so I’m in very good company. That’ll be at 5pm on 1st October– the Saturday – where there will also be wine. I’m doing a reading on theSaturday morning, too, so if you’re coming along to the convention I hope to maybesee you at either or both of these. But if people want to pre-order Butterfly Man from the site, the links are here for both signed, by myself andChristopher Golden who did the introduction (http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/the-butterfly-man-signed-jhc-by-paul-kane-1015-p.asp)or unsigned copies (http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/the-butterfly-man-hc-by-paul-kane-1014-p.asp).
GNOH – Do you still get nervous at booklaunches?
You’dbe mad not to, I think. I worry about if the book I’m launching will sell, whetherpeople will like it, that kind of thing. That’s just how I am. I practisereadings and speeches quite a number of times before events like this just toget it right and make sure things run smoothly.
GNOH – What is the significance of the title?
Thetitle is named after one of the shorts in the book, the aforementioned ‘TheButterfly Man’. The story’s basically about the brevity of life, in essence.I’m not sure it’s horror as such, although you could argue that what happens tothe main character – someone who lives a whole life in a day and has been giventhe name, wrongly, of ‘Butterfly Man’ because of a common misconception thatbutterflies only live for twenty four hours – is extremely cruel. It’s also alove story, in the tradition of BenjaminButton. The characters just seemed to come alive for me in this one, to thepoint where I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read it out loud in front of anaudience because it’d be too upsetting for me.
GNOH – This is a through the ages collectionof your work, would you say this is the definitive collection?
I’m notsure you could class it as a ‘thought the ages’ collection, really, but thestories do cover the last few years of my career. But, when coupled with thelimited edition Shadow Writercollection (a 10th Anniversary reprint of my first two collections Alone (In the Dark) and Touching the Flame) from MHB, FunnyBones and Peripheral Visions both from Creative Guy Publishing, you have moreor less all of the shorts that I’ve done. So, while this isn’t a definitivecollection, Butterfly Man capturesthe mood and direction of my stories from the late noughties onwards I think.There are also five brand new stories out of the eighteen included, but at thesame time there is a special treat in the form of my first accepted short ‘TheCave of Lost Souls’ which has never been reprinted since it first appeared backin 1998.
GNOH – How did you choose which stories wentin it? And how hard was it to whittle itdown?
Thestories just represent everything I’ve done since Peripheral Visions came out back in 2008, or just before that.Starting with ‘Windchimes’ which first appeared in a Read By Dawn anthology, through ‘One for the Road’, which appearedin Darc Karnivale, ‘A Chaos Demon isfor Life’ and ‘Life-O-Matic’ published in Estronomiconmagazine, ‘Masques’ from Return ofthe Raven – a Poe themed anthology – ‘Cold Call’ from HorrorBound, ‘Nine Tenths’ from HorrorDrive-In, right up to stories like ‘Humbuggered’ from last year’s Festive Fears and ‘Speaking in Tongues’which featured in an issue of NecroticTissue, you have a snapshot of my work over the last three or four years.
GNOH – For those who haven’t read your work,would you say this is a good place to start?
Definitely,as I think there are some of my best stories in Butterfly Man. If you want to get a sense of how my short storywriting’s developed over time, then buy the others mentioned as well, though.If you like reading longer work, however, then a good place to begin is withnovellas like Pain Cages or RED, or novels like Of Darkness and Light, TheGemini Factor or the Arrowheadtrilogy.
GNOH – So what does the future hold for you?
OnceFCon is over, there are a few more Waterstone’s signings and events, one alongthe lines of Twisted Tales’ recent hugely successful Hellbound Heart evening (http://twistedtalesevents.blogspot.com/2011/08/photos-from-hellbound-hearts.html), plus we’re off to San Diego for the World Fantasy Convention this year (http://www.wfc2011.org/html/mainmenu.html). Marie and I are guests at the Thought Bubble comic convention in November inLeeds (http://thoughtbubblefestival.com/), which should be fun as it’s our first time. Writing-wise I’ve just completeda novel that’s a bit different for me and I’ve just sent that off to thepublisher to have a look at. I’m actually overdue starting my next one, sothat’ll be happening in the next few weeks. That’s part of a mythology whichhas already garnered filmic interest, which is exciting. I’m also adapting twobestselling authors’ novels into full length screenplays, a result of my shortscripts that got produced, TheOpportunity which screened at Cannes, and The Weeping Woman – directed by the award-winning Mark Steenslandand starring Fright Night’s Stephen Geoffreys. That one’s touringthe festival circuit at the moment, and has just screened at FantasiaInternational Film Festival. I have a novel due out next year which I can’treally talk about just yet, and Marie and I have just finished putting togetherThe Mammoth Book of Body Horror,which hits the shelves the middle of next year. I have a short story called ‘Disexistence’out in Midnight Street magazine atthe end of September, and shorts out before the end of the year in an anthologyabout Phobias and Morrigan Books’ Scenesfrom the Second Storey. I think that’s about it for now…
GNOH – Paul, I have had a blast doing thisinterview, I love chatting to authors who have the
same love and passion forthe genre as you clearly have. Good luckwith the book launch
Thanksfor the kind words, and for inviting me to be interviewed!