My friend-in-horror Matthew Tait will have a new book out on April 27 – Davey Ribbon.
I’ve read it and it blew me away. It reminded me a lot of Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot with its focus on people of a small town trying to understand supernatural occurrences.
I provided a book cover blurb and designed a poster to help promote the book:
Here’s an interview recently conducted with Matt.
There is no denying your writing has been heavily influenced by the dark fiction legends: Stephen King and Clive Barker. Are there any other authors you secretly read, admire, covet, or emulate in your stories?
Before discovering those minds of which you speak, I was certainly an ardent follower of the prolific tales so pertinent to childhood: books such as the Hardy Boys novelizations and early Tolkien. Did the DNA of these tales bleed into my life later on? I can unquestionably see snippets at times. Jules Verne was a big one when I was a kid. Also novels such as Treasure Island, Gulliver’s Travels, and The Last of the Mohicans. As far as writers who are a subtle guilty pleasure? I will admit to reading a few of Wilbur Smith’s in my time … also Jack Higgins (who penned The Eagle Has Landed), and John Irving (The Hotel New Hampshire and The World According to Garp). I mention these because they all fall afield to what we commonly call dark fiction.
Though my storytelling penchant has always been simpatico with writers like Barker, I need to give a shout out here to the science fiction authors who continue inspire on a daily basis: in particular Kevin J Anderson – a writer whose work ethic, imagination, and professionalism are giant tools for motivation.
You’ve listed some great novels from big names! How old were you when you wrote your first story? Have you always been a storyteller?
The first ‘adult’ story I tried to compose was after reading King’s The Dark Half in grade eight. It was called The Farmer and was about – you guessed it – a serial killer farmer in Ohio who dispatches people with a pitchfork. With that one, I wasn’t very successful. But has the impetus always been there? You bet. In primary school, I looked forward to English classes with an unalloyed fondness and mathematics for the most part was detested. Distinctly I recall reading a fantasy short out loud to the whole class when I was still learning basic grammar. On that day, I was accused by another student of plagiarism or ‘copying it’ from an adult book. At the time it was the greatest compliment a kid could receive.
We are curious how you flesh out your storylines and put pen to paper. What is your ideal atmosphere to get the creativity flowing, so to speak?
My apartment is a special kind of nucleus. Here there are very limited distractions, and with orchestral film soundtracks in the background, it’s very easy to slip into a writing trance … or what many call ‘creative sleep.’ Good incense can sometimes induce the right ambiance, as can dark hazelnut coffee.
Though I’ve always been a ‘write in a dark basement’ kind of guy, I hope to one day gravitate toward vocal dictating – an art that requires some serious practice. Traversing the trails of mountainous terrain while composing would be the ultimate office space.
Kevin J Anderson is definitely showing in your desire for the ultimate office space of vocal dictating on a mountainside. You are a man of many writing facets; each book you’ve published is different. Is there a particular style or genre that you favor above all the rest?
Over time, I guess my predilections for style have evolved. Whereas narrative simplicity used to be a kind of benchmark (syntax reminiscent of Richard Laymon), the future has seen me embrace a more elegant species of sentence structure – which is just another personal proclivity. Words can be magic – chosen and arranged with care, they are like spells. And without trying to sound pretentious, I will say that a bristling vocabulary will lend itself to the best enchantments.
As for genre? Stories of the fantastique. Those tales that are vessels for change, feeding upon their own spiraling inventions.
Regardless of your Australian nationality, most of your stories are based in the United States, especially the east coast. What influences your choice of U.S. settings?
It’s the geography and landscape I’ve always had an affinity with, and after travelling there in 2013, I came to realize my fascination wasn’t just pilfered from a steady stream of television culture growing up; no, there was more to it – and my attraction was justified. The choice of setting will always be those places where possibilities always present themselves: the country road, the small town … and environments where the social climate is like a powder keg ready to implode.
Dark Meridian is the first book of the Meridian Series. When do you anticipate the next book to be published? What should readers expect from Meridian/Adam Lavas? Any juicy details you can spoil us with?
I hope to see the next book, OLEARIA, published somewhere in 2015. Provided the muse keeps his word quota, of course.
With the sequel, readers can expect not only a very different book, but a very different character. Though shades of Adam remain, he has for the most part been aborted – and Meridian is an exceedingly dissimilar creature: one who is viewing his world through eyes that have only just been opened. In some respects, he is like an infant in this regard; in others, a being who is slowly remembering his past encompassing thousands of years. But he won’t be alone in the journey, of course. His companions will be there to help him: Laura, Seth, and Daniel … creatures every bit as protean as their leader.
The title should tell everybody all they need to know about what lies in store: this is a book set almost entirely in another world, and the realm of earth has (for now) been diluted to the shadows. New territories, new characters – and all of them packaged around different themes and tones I’ve been waiting to explore since adolescence.
Davey Ribbon is hitting the marketplace at the end of this month. Can you tell us your personal story behind Davey Ribbon?
Back in early 2006, my younger brother Tom was really hitting his stride creatively as an illustrator (he is now an accomplished tattoo artist and the cover designer for Davey Ribbon). During a brainstorming session at my house at this time, he conceived a character through images … and we both felt this mysterious representation deserved his own story – if not outright mythology. Initially, I abandoned the concept for a while … but Davey Ribbon never entirely left my consciousness. Many belated years later, I finally sat down and wrote the story. The end result? Hopefully a macabre fairy tale that reflects those long ago discussions.
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Davey Ribbon, available on April 27, 2014. Follow the release on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1407351216198170/