Interview: Martin Roberts : 13 Ghosts of Christmas

Today is the turn of Martin Roberts , nominated for a BBC Award at the 17th Birmingham International Film and Television Festival in 2001, ‘Paint’ (director/editor) was followed by the zero budget documentary Assembly of Rogues and anthology of the same name from Rainfall Books (Co-edited with John B. Ford), which attempted to document the British Horror scene in the year 2000. An essay on Peter Jackson’s Brain Dead (Dead Alive) appeared in Cinema Macabre from PS Publishing, edited by Mark Morris.

Can you tell us little bit about yourself?

I’ve always loved a good mystery, and started reading Conan Doyle around the age of 7 the adventures of Holmes & Watson leading to James Herbert, Graham Masterton and Stephen King – like many of my peers via the odd anthology e.g. Pan etc. I returned to education in my late twenties and gained a degree in Film, Television and Radio adapting Tim Lebbon’s White for my screenplay, whilst my graduate movie ‘Paint’ was nominated for a BBC Award. I followed this with a no budget documentary Assembly of Rogues, which I also co-edited as an anthology showcasing the UK horror scene around the turn of the millennium. This led to my involvement with the British Fantasy Society, where I have been an active committee member for the last ten years or so.

Why did you decide to submit a story to this anthology?

Due to a number of reasons I was unable to break into film and so I decided to try my hand at prose – a piece of paper and a pencil being far cheaper. I love a good spook story and adore the old BBC tradition of adapting these tales for Christmas. As a fledgling writer this anthology became the Holy Grail for my first traditionally published story. I never expected to make the final cut and was at a loss for words upon receiving the e-mail from Simon.

Can you tell us what to expect from your story?

Hopefully, the unexpected…

What was the best and the worst Christmas present you ever received?

I know it sounds incredibly cheesy, but my appearance in The 13 Ghosts ranks very highly on the scale…the lowest would probably be the blow up lips bath pillow (sorry Mum).

Who or what would you least like to be haunted by at Christmas?

My dumb answer would be the Easter Bunny or the Manitou of Cheap & Nasty Whiskey. My serious answer would be the spirit that could force all individual thought to wither, and the power to suppress creativity in people, transforming them (me) in to bland sheep.

Can you tell us about any future projects?

I have a couple of stories out there seeking new homes. My goal at the moment is to focus on the writing and scribble down these random ideas my brain throws at me, occasionally they lead to a story that may be fit to print. Many thanks for taking the time out to ask these questions Jim and to promote horror in general – the genre needs you.

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