Loving horror doesn’t mean you’re disturbed

I love to watch, read, write and illustrate everything horror-related – so that must make me mentally disturbed right?

According to this ridiculous article yes, I must be.

Right now, my front yard is all decked out for Halloween. I live in Australia, probably the only country where Halloween isn’t widely celebrated (there is a revolution happening, however, people). When my family and I put out our display every year, I’m sure there are a few neighbours who wonder whether we’re all serial killers.

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I love Halloween and horror the same way other people like to watch romance movies or sport. It’s my thing. I am a creative person, so Halloween and horror are my creative outlets. My wife and kids get involved too, but we don’t sit around while we’re doing it teaching them black magic, despite what you might think.

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Also, I’ll be clear, I don’t let my kids watch horror movies. The creepiest movies they’ve seen are films like The Addams Family, or Beetlejuice and Gremlins. I’m not out to terrify them. My wife doesn’t read horror and I have friends who don’t read horror, but do I judge them? No.

So why does this person at Glamour Magazine feel the need to judge people who appreciate horror as an art form?

Why? Probably because they needed a clickbaity article that week.

Ironically, the article author’s response to horror films is exactly what we writers and film-makers strive for. So the best I can do to rebuff her claims is to sit back and laugh and point at her, because what I really enjoy the most about watching horror films is watching people who don’t like watching horror squirm in their seats.

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Write whatever the hell you want

Maybe I’ve limited myself to only writing horror?

But honestly, I’ll write whatever the hell I want.

My most recent novel Hollow House was a twist on the haunted house tale, but the story was also about how we are a society of apathy; how we really couldn’t care less about our neighbours.

The novel I’m writing now is a sequel to The Noctuary, but instead of just a continuation with more of the same monsters, the work is slowly turning into a much deeper mythology which goes right back to the beginnings of civilisation to find out where the darkness inside of all of us comes from.

When I go to any author events fledgling authors approach me and talk about how they want to write a sci-fi novel or a dark fantasy novel. It usually takes me a few prompts to get them to tell me what the story is about and why they want to write it.  That’s what writing is all about for me – the meaning of the story. I’ve written about this sort of thing before, but I don’t want to go over that again. What I want to talk about (in a very round-about way) is self-doubt.

I think self-doubt comes to writers because at the outset we feel we have to slot our stories into genres and sub-genres. First and foremost, the story should be the central focus and nothing else. Screw all that genre stuff, or premature editing. Just write the story that first comes into your head. Seek the meaning of the story within yourself and the rest will flow from there.

Years ago I contemplated writing crime, and I penned a few short stories in the crime/mystery genre, but my tales seemed way too dark and exploratory for it. I realised I was boxing myself into a “genre”. I shrugged off the labels and let my ideas and concepts lead me to what I wanted to write. I wanted to tell stories, and those stories just happened to be dark and neatly slotted into the “horror genre”.

I like to explore dark themes. The human race is inherently flawed and you only need to turn on the news on any given night of the week to see what we’re capable of. Not all of my stories have a happy ending or even a clear ending. You might not even find a hero within the pages of my books, nevertheless, they’re the stories I wanted to tell.

And if you’re reading this and doubting yourself, shrug it off and write whatever the hell YOU want to write.

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The Last Night of October – re-released

Hot on the heels of the release of my first novella, Torment, I’m very excited to announce word that Cemetery Dance Publications in the US just re-released the digital edition of my Halloween themed novella, The Last Night of October.

This novella was first released in 2013 in e-book and paperback, and I’m glad to see it in the very capable hands of CD.

Lynne Hansen has provided killer new artwork for the cover and captured the feel of the read perfectly. I’m humbled to hear that this novella is on the yearly Halloween reading lists of several reviewers.

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Whether you’ve read the story before or are looking for a creepy Halloween read, I hope you’ll give this new edition a whirl.

Thanks to Norman Prentiss and CD for bringing this tale back for Halloween.

(Incidentally if you want even more Halloween tales from me, you can pre-order this bad boy as well).

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Torment re-released!

After five years my very first novella, “Torment” is back in print!

This new edition, published by the fine folks at Lycan Valley Press in Canada, contains five black and white internal illustrations by yours truly, and will be available in paperback, hardcover and digital formats.

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The illustrations will only be available in the print formats, so if you would like to have some of my art to compliment the story, I encourage you to get it in print. Really, don’t we all prefer print books?😛

As Torment was my first novella-length publication, (first published in 2011 by the now defunct Damnation Books), I really wanted to make the re-release special and I’d like to thank Jo-Anne Russell and LVP for allowing me to create some art for it. There’s a sample in the below promo ad:

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The trade paperback has just been released. You can grab a copy HERE. Hardcover and digital formats will follow soon.

 

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Snapshot of Aussie SpecFic writers!

Australian Speculative Fiction is alive and well!

For the past couple of weeks, the Australian SpecFic Snapshot Project has been on a mission – to profile as many speculative fiction authors as they can and get them seen by readers across the world.

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A small group of volunteers (including myself) have tracked down authors from all around the country to pick their brains on what it means to be a speculative fiction author, and of course, ask the important questions about their next spellbinding story. The project first appeared way back in 2005, and it’s great to see it still going.

I had the privilege of interviewing several authors – Matthew Tait, Daniel I. Russell, Aaron Sterns, Brett McBean, and Zena Shapter, and also provide a memorial post on Rocky Wood. I was also interviewed by Matthew Summers. But there are so many more incredible authors out there.

To read all the interviews (so far) head over to the website: www.austsfsnapshot.wordpress.com

Congrats to everyone who volunteered their time to make this all happen. We authors need all the support we can get!

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2016 Snapshot: Greg Chapman

I’ve been snapped up by the fine folks at the Australian Specfic Spotlight Project!

Australian SF Snapshot Project

Interview by Matthew Summers.

greg-chapmanGreg Chapman is a horror author and artist from Australia. After joining the Australian Horror Writers Association in 2009, Greg  was selected for its mentor program under the tutelage of author Brett McBean. Since then he’s had more than a dozen short stories published in magazines and anthologies in Australia, the US and the United Kingdom. Greg is the author of four novellas, Torment, The Noctuary (Damnation Books, 2011), Vaudeville (2012) and The Last Night of October (Bad Moon Books, 2013). His debut collection, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares, was published by Black Beacon Books in September, 2014. He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written by Bram Stoker Award® winning authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton was published by McFarland & Company in 2012. Witch Hunts won the Superior Achievement…

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Guest Post: Hollow House by Greg Chapman

Thanks to AJ Spedding for letting me hijack her blog to talk about the morally ambiguous characters in my novel, Hollow House

Author, editor, caffeine-addict, wannabe ninja

Today, good friend and fellow scribe, Greg Chapman, is here to talk about his debut novel Hollow House, and the characters that call Willow Street home. I was lucky enough to get an advance read of the story, and Greg’s nailed the use of grey characters (my favourite kind). Add an abandoned house with a checkered history, nosy neighbours, and an up-and-coming serial killer… well, you’ve got quite the cauldron of chaos.

*hands over mic* You’re up, Greg!

There’s a saying that goes something like, “For evil to thrive, good men need do nothing.”

Which begs the question: if evil were to appear in the form of a creepy old house, in a normal everyday street in today’s era, how many of the people living there do you think would care? And how many would have the courage to take on that evil?

This, is in essence, the crux…

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