You started writing at a young age. What were those early stories like?
One of the first stories I remember writing was about a young girl moving to a new school and finding her classmates reluctant to accept her as one of their own because she was different. As much as I'd like to say that my earliest work was teeming with social commentary, it was actually pretty nonsensical. I think her name was Safari and she had a magic watch; either way, it was all child-friendly until the likes of R.L. Stine and Louise Cooper corrupted my mind. I read Say Cheese And Die! and pretty much everything I wrote from then on was horror.
Tell us more about the origins of The Bastard Drunk, a character with an undeniably strong voice. He emerged from one of your short stories?
The Bastard's voice came from a short story I wrote during my final year at university, when I was actually supposed to be writing my dissertation. I was working on a submission for an anthology that was looking for homages to the kind of films you'd see in Grindhouse theaters. I was already a fan of the Tarantino/Rodriguez double-feature, and the next thing I knew I was writing my own B movie, with all the sex and violence that were characteristic of the genre. Grindhouse is an American term, so the narrator was American. It was my first real attempt at writing in a voice different to my own, and I wanted to explore it further.
Gina is a major power in Kramusville, and a real shock to read. Would you tell us a little more about her?
Gina has always been aware of her 'special abilities'; her memory stretches back to when she was still in the womb, and she claims to have used her powers for only good, to ensure that her mother felt no pain. Her parents did not believe her, nor did they accept that she had a gift, and for this their relationship suffered. School was Gina's escape - her classmates were in awe of her. She felt in control of them, and as she grew, so did her desire for command over children. They gave her solace. When her parents announced they were expecting a second child, Gina wasn't so kind with her powers...
Did any of the story inspirations come from real life? The tales are pretty horrifying, but so are people sometimes.
The tales weren't inspired by any specific real life events; at least, not from my own personal experiences. 'Clean Up On Aisle Gore' was the first tale I started to write, and at the time, all I wanted to do was place my narrator into a mundane setting and have something extraordinary occur. I tend to write horror that preys on the fear of the horrible things that could occur in everyday life, but with Tales Of The Bastard Drunk I wanted to incorporate the paranormal to broaden the scope and have a bit more fun with it.
Who are your current favorite authors? What do you enjoy about them?
Stephen King will always be a firm favourite for obvious reasons, and I've been reading classic Raymond Carver quite a bit recently. I like to think that I'm versatile when it comes to reading, and believe it or not I prefer books that make me laugh. I really like Danny Wallace, and Yes Man is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. Comedy is a welcome escape from my own writing; when I finished writing The Bastard's tales, the first book I picked up was Ron Burgundy's autobiography.
What are you working on next?
I recently finished a short novella called The Recherché, which is set in an alternate, dystopian reality where blood is currency. Among my current projects is The Cure, which is a short fantasy story set largely in the imagination of a young girl, who is confined to her bed due to illness, as she searches for her remedy. There is another novella in progress with a working title of Kentucky Fried Christian, and there's always the possibility of more tales from The Bastard in the future...