1. Your work is mostly in the Gothic Horror vein, but you do stray into Steampunk which qualifies as SF. So tell us about your work. Will you be doing more Steampunk in the future?
Thank you so much for featuring me on your site. Yes, I’m definitely drawn to writing darker tales and one of the things I love about Steampunk is the Gothic Victorian element. Not to mention the cool gadgets and strange and curious inventions of course.
I actually have a Steampunkesque novel that my agent is currently pitching to publishers, and I hope it will see the light of day in the near future. I started writing it in 2009 to flesh out the story of a character (Professor Thistlequick) I created while making silhouette ‘art’ for my wife’s Etsy shop London Particulars. The image somehow grew into a novel, which was then followed by two short stories, ‘The Ghosts of the Tattered Crow’, and ‘The Curious Incident at Gloamingspark Yard’.
So yes, there’s definitely more Streampunkesque things coming – watch the skies!
2. I read on your bio you grew up in a huge Victorian mansion, is this true? That must have been some nightmare fuel..?
Not quite a mansion. Perhaps I need to go and edit my bio 🙂
It was a large Victorian house that had been subdivided into apartments. We lived on the ground floor right above the spooky derelict basement (that they never managed to rent out in all the years we lived there). The building itself was creepy and not just from a kids perspective, it seemed to draw lots of odd people to it, many of which mentioned seeing some pretty eerie things. Ghosts, strange lights and the likes. Definite nightmare fuel that I didn’t like to think about too much when I was a kid 🙂
I’d say living in that house definitely influenced elements of my work. I’ll never forget the daring boyhood adventures with my friends, like the time we slid down the coal-hole and explored the basement to discover old abandoned toys covered in dust and mysterious slashes in the wallpaper on the walls.
3. Tell us about your latest book
Krampus and The Thief of Christmas is my latest novel, I published it late 2016, just in time for Christmas. I’ve loved all things Krampus for a long time, so it was great to finally get the chance to write a story about him. I think he’s a perfect character for a children’s book…in much the same way as the Jabberwocky or the Child Catcher was when I was a younger. Kids loved to be scared, or so I’m reliably informed.
The story is about a girl whose brother gets whisked off to the dark lands of Krampus; a place that borders the land of Christmas. The novel’s not quite as scary as The Book of Kindly Deaths, mostly because I didn’t want to give readers nightmares for Christmas. That would have been mean and might have qualified me for a visit from Krampus myself.
4. What do you enjoy reading? Where do you get your inspiration?
I love all sorts of books, but mostly skew toward the darker ends of the spectrum. I’m a huge fan of authors like Susanna Clarke, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll and The Brothers Grimm. Pretty much anything magical, dark and adventurous.
5. Tell us about your writing process
I’m a plotter, so I spend a fair amount of time outlining my books and day-dreaming before I start writing. My daily writing ritual consists of cat dodging, huge cups of tea, big headphones and video game soundtracks. I use the Pomodoro technique, which really helps in getting a daily word count down. In case your readers are interested and don’t know what that is, it’s essentially setting a timer for a block of time (25 minutes in my case) and doing nothing but writing until the alarm goes off. Then I take a five minute break to catch up on Twitter, and get back to work. Usually I’ll write my first draft in around four to six weeks and then I spend about eight weeks editing.
6. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m going over a book I wrote called The Horrors. It’s about three demons, and a boy who keeps a ‘Daily Doomsday Diary’; a notebook outlining each and every one of his grievances. Essentially it’s a Gothic take on Genies, wishes and revenge. The story has quite a lot of humor and whimsicality, but it’s definitely dark, I’d say a lot darker than the Krampus book.
My hope is to publish it in time for Halloween, which seems like the perfect time to release a book called The Horrors.