Welcome to a new series of short interviews at The Black Abyss. The Inquisition aims to capture a snapshot of those writing in the horror genre. I will be featuring everyone from new writers to well established names. I hope you enjoy this series and check back regularly for new candidates for The Inquisition.
Willie is a Scottish genre writer who has embraced the ebook revolution. His sci-fi/horror crossover novel The Invasion reached No.2 in the Kindle Sci-fi charts and No.4 in the Kindle horror charts. You can read more about Willie here.
1 – Which book has been most influential in your career?
That’s a hard one. Hjortsberg’s FALLING ANGEL is the one that got me writing the Midnight Eye books so that’s a biggie. But I think if I had to choose it would be Poul Anderson’s THE BROKEN SWORD, for its dark fantasy influences. A lot of that book has seeped into my style, and has directly influenced The Watchers series, Berserker and the Augustus Seton stories
2 – Which writer has most influenced your style?
Another hard one, with many candidates, from Robert E Howard to Michael Moorcock, Raymond Chandler to Ed McBain. But if you twist my arm I’ll go for David Gemmell for his fast paced adventure stories. And if anyone is listening — I’d love to have a chance at writing a Jerusalem Man novel.
3 – What’s the future for the horror genre?
I have seen the future of the horror genre and it is Gary McMahon. Remember I said that – I think he’s going to be huge.
Apart from that, I think it’s a genre in flux. Hollywood gore merchants and torture-porn have given horror per se a bad name, and it’ll take a while for the genre to sort out how, if ever, it can get back to a recognisable brand that the general public wont automatically shy away from.
4 – Which book do you wish you had written?
William Hjortsberg’s FALLING ANGEL – for me it’s a perfect blend of noir detective and supernatural. I keep going back to it and I must have read it ten times now. That’s what I’m striving for with THE MIDNIGHT EYE. I haven’t got it right yet, but I’m having fun along the way.
5 – What writing equipment could you not live without?
I would say the laptop, but I found out during a series of power cuts last year that I could write pretty successfully with pen and paper by candlelight. So I’ll go with the driver – the memories in my brain.
6 – Do you plan in detail before starting a new piece of writing?
No. I usually have an image or a scene in mind, and like a movie starting to roll, it gets going as I write. Sometimes on a novel I might stop and plot an outline for some of the way ahead, but generally I fly where the muse takes me.
7 – Ebooks or Paper Books?
Paper for me, I’m a traditionalist. But to me, ebooks are just another way to get a story in front of a reader. I’ve got work in print, audio, e-book and film and I’m sure when the time comes that stories can get beamed straight into reader’s minds I’ll have work ready to go there too.
There’s been a fair bit of doom and gloom in the genre about the death of Borders etc. We live in a technological society these days. Things change fast and there’s no denying that the industry as a whole is changing. Those that don’t adapt, won’t survive, it’s that simple. Those that embrace digital wholeheartedly will prosper I believe.
I’d hope that the small press embraces digital. I’d hate to see the small press becoming purely a limited edition niche market though. I have fond memories of saddle-stapled pamphlets and photocopied covers. To me that’s what the small press is for… amateurs and enthusiasts finding a way to express themselves. And there will always be a place for that. It just might not be in print.
8 – Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I –hate- labels.
9 – Who should I read next?
If you’ve never caught Steve Savile, I heartily recommend him. I’ve been catching up with his work recently, and it’s obvious we are kindred spirits.
The other person I’ve recently discovered has a completely different style, but Reggie Oliver is producing some absolutely brilliant ghost stories and is well worth seeking out.
10 – What was your last book and what is your next book?
Just out is the 3rd Midnight Eye novel: THE SKIN GAME, where Glasgow PI Derek Adams takes on a werewolf cult. It’s out in both print and ebook at all the usual online stores
Next up is something I’m pretty excited about. One of my earliest forays on my own into a second-hand bookstore, sometime around 1968 I guess, resulted in me finding an ACE double, a book you read both ways up, one short novel each way. The 1st one I got had John Brunner one way and Samuel Delaney the other — my first introduction to two writers who are still among my favourites. Over my teenage years the ACE double series introduced me to many other writers, people like Jack Vance, H Beam Piper, Fritz Lieber and a youngster who went by Dean R Koontz. I have a lot of reading to thank them for. That’s one of the reasons it gives me great delight to see two of my novels appear in the same format.
Generation Next Publications have announced the launch of a new print imprint, FLIPIT. FLIPIT books will each contain two novels printed in the Flip Book format made popular in those ACE DOUBLES of yesteryear. And the first FLIPIT book will contain my novels The Invasion and The Valley. ( Both novels are digital best-sellers and have graced the top 2 on the best-sellers list in their respective categories on the Amazon kindle charts ).
It’ll be out in late March 2011.