Blurring The Line: Tim Lebbon

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available. (And yes, I have a story in it, so I’ll be interviewing myself too!)

Today, it’s:

Tim Lebbon

IMG_6366TIM LEBBON is a New York Times-bestselling writer from South Wales. He’s had over thirty novels published to date, as well as hundreds of novellas and short stories. His latest novel is the thriller The Hunt, and other recent releases include The Silence and Alien: Out of the Shadows. He has won four British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, and a Scribe Award, and has been a finalist for World Fantasy, International Horror Guild and Shirley Jackson Awards. Future books include The Rage War (an Alien/Predator trilogy), and the Relics trilogy from Titan.

The movie of his story Pay the Ghost, starring Nicolas Cage, is out now, and other projects in development include Playtime (an original script with Stephen Volk), My Haunted House with Gravy Media, The Hunt, Exorcising Angels (based on a novella with Simon Clark), and a TV Series proposal of The Silence.

Find out more about Tim at his website www.timlebbon.net

1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your story in Blurring The Line?

I’ve always wanted to write a story about spooky clowns moving in next door. And that’s it. Sometimes a story’s inspiration is something deep, a driving need to explore a certain event or feeling. For me it was just the clowns. Scary buggers.

new hunt2. What does horror mean to you?

Real horror hits the head and heart, not the gut. Stuff that sets out purely to disgust or sicken isn’t really horror, although gore and nastiness can have a place in a good horror story or movie – The Thing is one of the best horror stories ever made, I think, because the bloody body horror serves to increase the intense sense of isolation and claustrophobia. The ultimate horror for me as a father is family in peril, and that’s what I write about a lot of the time, to a greater or lesser degree.

3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?

“The Whimper of Whipped Dogs” by Harlan Ellison. Shocked and upset me the first time I read it, and it still does now.

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Truly painful and disturbing to read, and the movie was also excellent.

5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…

Ghosts. I’ve seen no evidence, though I have an open mind. I think if they can be said to exist, ghosts are probably products of the mind – aspects we haven’t been able to pin down scientifically yet – rather than revenants of the dead.

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Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young
Tom Piccirilli
Lisa Morton

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Blurring The Line: Lisa Morton

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available. (And yes, I have a story in it, so I’ll be interviewing myself too!)

Today, it’s:

Lisa Morton

ghostsfullcoverLisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, award-winning prose writer, and Halloween expert whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening”. Her most recent releases include Ghosts: A Haunted History and the short story collection Cemetery Dance Select: Lisa Morton. She currently serves as President of the Horror Writers Association, and can be found online at http://www.lisamorton.com .

1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your story in Blurring The Line?

I work in a used bookstore (the Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood, California) and some time ago we acquired a remarkably strange volume: a nineteenth-century home-made scrapbook called SWEET DEATH. The owner, whoever s/he was, had pasted hundreds of newspaper clippings into the pages of an old math textbook; the clippings ran the gamut from ghost stories to true crime tales to just oddball bits. I was really knocked out by a story that fell into the latter category, about two teenage girls who tried to escape their abusive families by dressing as men and fleeing on the train. The story was horrifying and melancholy and strange all at once, and I had to write about it.

2. What does horror mean to you?

Any work of art in which the primary intent is to horrify or disturb. My personal favorites are those works that you find yourself still thinking about days later, maybe with a little mental shiver.

3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?

Anything by Dennis Etchison. He’s the world’s most under-recognized horror author. There are stories by him I’m still thinking about thirty years after first reading them. It’s just criminal that he’s not much recognized outside of a small circle of horror readers.

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

Bram Stoker’s DRACULA. It’s the great grand-daddy of all modern horror novels, and it’s still a damned fine read.

5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…

Ghosts. Having just finished writing a big nonfiction history of them, I’m still not convinced that we’re haunted by spirits of the dead, but it would be downright silly to deny that SOMETHING’s going on. I tend to think the answer might be neurological – that certain people are wired to take stimuli, like ultralow frequency sound waves, and convert that into hallucinations of humanoid figures. Or it could be something completely different…

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Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young
Tom Piccirilli

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Blurring The Line: Tom Piccirilli

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available. (And yes, I have a story in it, so I’ll be interviewing myself too!)

The first story in the book is by the late, great:

Tom Piccirilli

Sadly, Tom died recently after a long struggle against cancer. I sent the interview questions to his wife, Michelle, and asked her if there was any way she could think of to include him. (Tom is a fantastic writer and you really should read anything by him you can find.) Here’s what Michelle sent back to me:

I wish I could help you by answering all these questions as Tom would have but in spite of the fact that I knew him better than anyone else, I don’t have specific responses to most of the questions. I can tell you that Tom never gave a serious answer when asked about inspiration so I guarantee that he would have responded with sarcasm.

As far as a book/collection or writer he would have said that everyone should read, number one would have been Harlan Ellison. He admired him tremendously and a month before Tom died, Harlan sent him a hand written note praising Tom’s writing and saying that Tom’s novel THE LAST KIND WORDS, which he had just finished reading, would make a wonderful addition to his library. I framed that letter for Tom and it now hangs in his office. He was so incredibly proud to receive recognition from a writer he admired that much. And I am so happy he received it in time to treasure it. Tom could rave about Harlan’s incredible talent for hours. I’d never read Harlan’s work until I met Tom. He insisted that I go buy a copy of DEATHBIRD STORIES right away. So he turned me into a huge fan of Harlan’s work too. We own every book Harlan has written (a few doubles from before we lived together) and they are all signed. We spent time with him at two World Horror Cons. Tom got on with him very well and loved to hear his personal tales about life in the writer’s trenches.

[So read Harlan’s stuff too! – Alan]

Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young

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Blurring The Line – Marty Young, editor

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available. (And yes, I have a story in it, so I’ll be interviewing myself too!)

But first off, I have the same interview (with a slightly different first question) from the editor himself. So without further ado, introducing:

Marty Young

MartyYoungMarty Young is a Bram Stoker-nominated and Australian Shadows Award-winning writer and editor, and sometimes ghost hunter. He was the founding President of the Australian Horror Writers Association from 2005-2010, and one of the creative minds behind the internationally acclaimed Midnight Echo magazine, for which he also served as Executive Editor until mid-2013.

Marty’s first novel, 809 Jacob Street, was published in 2013 by Black Beacon Books, and won the Australian Shadows Award for Best Horror Novel. His novel was also given an Honorable Mention in Shelf Unbound’s Page Turner competition. His short horror fiction has been nominated for both the Australian Shadows and Ditmar awards, reprinted in Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror (‘the best of 2008’), and repeatedly included in year’s best recommended reading lists. Marty’s essays on horror literature have been published in journals and university textbooks in Australia and India, and he was also co-editor of the award winning Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears, a landmark anthology showcasing the best Australian horror stories from 1836 to the present.

When not writing, he spends his time in the deep dark jungles of Papua New Guinea as a palynologist, whatever the heck that is.

1. What was your guiding framework for selecting stories for BtL? Did you have any methodology in mind?

I wanted to be taken somewhere uncomfortably real. Now I know the idea of all horror stories is to do that, to make you believe or to at least give you believable characters in an unreal situation, but there were some tales I rejected because they were just too far out there for what I had in mind (for example, set on another planet, or with humans integrated with monsters in society). I wanted the events in the story to seem like they could have come from a newspaper, but then I also wanted strange and surreal things to happen so it was a fine line to walk. Our world remains a mystery, despite all we know about it, and I wanted the stories to reflect that.

I also wanted these stories offset against non-fiction material. Some people might not get why non-fiction is included, or find this jarring, but it was an attempt at trying something a little different to what is standard practice. For me, it’s one thing to suspend belief for a story’s sake because you know, deep down, that what you’re reading isn’t real, no matter how realistic it might be. That’s the whole fun of horror fiction, right? It’s a safe scare. But it’s something else altogether to read details of actual real events or technological breakthrough that defy belief or cause you to question the world. So as per the title, I thought it would also be fun to take this a step further and blur the two, so some of the short stories are based on real events, while some of the non-fiction is made up. It’s up to the reader to work out which is which.

2. What does horror mean to you?

Horror to me is an emotional reaction to a horrifying event or situation. It’s something personal, hence why one person will call a book horror while someone else won’t. The genre is a nebulous beast, with horror being found in all kinds of books. We’ve come out of the ghetto and infiltrated the world; people read horror now without even realizing it, and then still claim it’s not a genre they like. In some ways, I think calling horror a genre isn’t accurate anymore. Maybe there’s a core element of horror that’s still there and easily classified as such, but there are certainly no boundaries anymore.

3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?

Phew, tough question, but one that comes to mind is ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by WW Jacobs. The ending is just so perfect and terrifying. Another that I love for is surreal creepiness is ‘The Wendigo’ by Algernon Blackwood. Or for something a little different but still just as horrifying, ‘I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream’ by Harlan Ellison. Absolutely brilliant.

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

Mine! No? Okay then, I’m going to go for Clive Barker’s Weaveworld for it’s poetic language, the staggering scope of its imagination, and the horror contained within. It’s one of my all time favourite novels. Beyond that, any of Stephen King’s books (especially his earlier ones). Not very original of me picking King and Barker, but I grew up with those two and they have had a heavy hand in shaping my writing.

5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…

I believe in monsters – except for me monsters are just animals we’re yet is formally discover and classify. I believe we will soon enough create AI (and then find ourselves in trouble). I believe in aliens, and I believe in the power of the mind.

I’m not sure I believe in alternative dimensions, even if they have been proven mathematically. I’m also not sure I believe in ghosts, hence why one of my hobbies is ghost hunting. I’m a scientist so of course I need proper indisputable evidence to prove their existence before I’m happy to believe. Do other supernatural entities exist? Fairies and demons and vampires and werewolves, etc.? I don’t know but I hope that they do.

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And Then… Big book of awesome on its way

So this is quite exciting. I’ve been sitting on this one for ages and it’s finally being officially announced.

Clan Destine Press are crowd funding a giant anthology of cross-genre buddy-adventure sff stories by the likes of Jack Dann, Narrelle Harris, Jason Nahrung, Dan Rabarts, Tor Roxburgh, Amanda Pillar, Mary Borsellino, Jason Franks… and many more excellent writers of genre fiction. And me. I have a historical fantasy story in there that includes kung fu, Chinese spirit magic, the Australian gold rush and all kinds of heroic fun. Sounds great, right?

It’s going to be huge. Check it out here:

http://clandestinepress.com.au/content/and-then-great-big-book-awesome

There’s an indiegogo campaign to get involved too, from as simple as a couple of bucks in support, to paying now to pre-order the book, right up to some very sweet rewards, including critiques of your fight scenes by me and loads of other stuff. Check out all that goodness here:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/and-then-the-great-big-book-of-awesome–2#/

The fact that this commissioned anthology grew from one into two books, just because all the contributors turned in such great, and long, stories, is pretty exciting. My own yarn ran right up to the word limit and even tumbled over just a fraction. It’s a different story to anything I’ve written before and I’m really pleased with it. I can’t wait for it to get out there into the world.

Watch this space for more details, or just go and sling a few bucks at the indiegogo campaign and you’ll get regular updates.

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