Please welcome Guy Adams back to the blog! He’s here to talk about his new short story “Roller” from the new Scaremongrel serial anthology. What is Scaremongrel, you ask? Read more about Scaremongrel below and The Pigeonhole, then read Guy’s interview. The gorgeous banner art is by Estelle Morris.
About Scaremongrel and The Pigeonhole:
Scaremongrel is coming and with it comes horror! We have scoured the globe to find the creepiest new prose imaginable, from a gaggle of horror veterans Guy Adams, Tim Lebbon and A.K. Benedict, along with offerings from prize-winning literary writers such as Will Ashon and Michael Blake.
These ten, terrifying tales will have you crawling the walls for a light switch; you’ll be calling Dominos just to hear a human voice on the end of the line. Either that, or you’ll come face-to-face with the horrible millennial you’ve become. Whatever deeps this collection uncovers, they are dark and bleak and sure to blow your mind.
The Pigeonhole is a bit of something new to publishing – Fun Books. We serialise all works of any genre direct to your phone, tablet and desktop. Each book comes bursting with mixed-media extras, real-time conversations with either your author, or fellow readers, and buckets of live events.
Now on to the interview!
Will you tell us a little about your story “Roller” and what inspired it?
“Roller” is about a bad man who does a bad thing and suffers the consequences. Killing angels will never end well.
I wanted to write about someone I didn’t like, a man whose attitudes towards other people I find repellent. Short stories are always good opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone, I couldn’t have spent the length of a novel with Roller’s leading man, it would have made me too miserable, but 10,000 words is just a horrid night out in lousy company, we can always manage those once in a while and they can be quite instructive.
What are your thoughts on the serial format of Scaremongrel?
I’ve always loved the serial format; it feels very natural to me. Lovely with short stories of course but fun with long form too – an unfolding narrative, a journey.
My first paid work as an author was writing an open-ended digital serial (which is now mercifully forgotten and never ends up on my CV but was great fun and a great way of learning to improve as a writer).
You’re a multi-genre author, but what do you enjoy most about writing in the horror genre?
I have worked in lots of genres (usually in the same novel!) but horror’s always there. Horror is the constant. I just can’t help stepping into the dark, however bright and jolly the street I’ m walking down, the lure of the shadowy alley is hard to resist. Big chunks of The Clown Service novels (probably my chirpiest work) still stray there.
Horror gets to the heart of us. It’s subversive, it has teeth, and stories always work best when they have sharp teeth. Horror can also be beautiful of course, transcendent. In life I’m a rationalist, but in fiction it seems natural to dream of bigger, to push towards unknown, awe-filled worlds. Horror is the promise of more than this, the looming, unknowable world of possibility that lies just to one side of our own.
What do you look for in a good scary story?
Oh, scary stories can offer so many different things. From the nightmares of Ramsey Campbell, dislocated, dream-state worldviews that play on our desire for a recognisable, logical world (by refusing to give us one) to the charming dust and warmth of M.R. James, horror that thrives next to crackling winter fires.
It’s easier to say what I don’t look for really. Horror should be brave and fresh, it has such a long and noble history that nothing fails more than the dull or overly familiar. Horror doesn’t need tedious explanation either, horror can leave mysteries intact.
What’s something that truly terrifies you?
Oh, people always. Bigotry, stupidity, closed minds. Outside of that, the loss of those we love. My partner had some serious cranial surgery a couple of years ago and that brush against the mortality of others was deeply affecting. I’m happy to die, no fear there, it’s others I can’t bear to go.
What’s next for you?
I’m writing lots of audio scripts at the moment for a lovely company called Big Finish and I’m enjoying that immensely. I also have a big comic project lined up for next year. I seem to be taking a break from novels which, after writing eight in the last three years, feels sensible, sometimes you have to step back.
The lovely people at Rebellion are handling two projects for me, both very dear. Goldtiger, the creator-owned comics project I did with Jimmy Broxton comes out from them next March. The story of a newspaper strip from the sixties that never was. It reproduces the strip alongside extensive background material, two stories that entwine and become one.
Alongside that we’re working on a digital series of interlinked novellas (long form serial storytelling again, see? I love it!) That’s called The Change and I think it’s the best prose work I’ve ever done, mad, unfiltered and full of joy and horror in equal measure.