Shadows at the Door – Author Interview With M. Regan

m regan


Hello, folks. Thank you for joining me for another author interview. Today I am joined by Shadows at the Door author M. Regan.

When did you first fall in love with the horror genre?

I think it was more of a “gradual descent” than a “fall.” I actually hated horror as a child! But as I got older and began to prefer stories with more substance— with meat and bones, shall we say— I realized that my favorite parts in fantasies and romances were when things took a turn for the morbid. It took a while for me to understand that “horror” could mean more than gratuitous gore and jump scares, but after I had that epiphany, I became far more intrigued by the genre.

Which subgenre/s of horror would you say your work falls into?

I would say my writing is more along the lines of “dark fiction.” I have a weakness for the gothic, the paranormal, and the supernatural, and have a hard time saying “no” to Faustian contracts.

What is it about the horror genre that appeals to you as a reader and as a writer?

In high school, a friend of mine lent me a copy of Jhonen Vasquez’s cult classic, “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.” It was a surprisingly deep read, but one of the things I remember most vividly about the comic was its forward. In it, the argument was made that everyone has a little monster inside of them, one that survives on our most depraved thoughts and our strangest fantasies. That little monster is an important part of who we are, and it needs to Continue reading


Shadows at the Door – Author Interview With Mark Cassell


Mark Cassell

Today I have joining me author of The Shadow Fabric, Mark Cassell.

When did you first fall in love with the horror genre?

First up, I want to say thank you for having me here.

Glad to have you join us!

My love for horror? Apart from sneaky glimpses of horror movies as a child, I guess the pivotal moment must’ve been when my dad suggested I read James Herbert’s Magic Cottage. I was about thirteen years old and this novel snatched me into a world that kicked my imagination into overdrive.

Which subgenre/s of horror would you say your work falls into?

Dark fantasy and supernatural. I’m not one for a gorefest, and my horror leans towards psychological creeps rather than pathological freaks.

What is it about the horror genre that appeals to you as a reader and as a writer?

For me it’s the unknown, the unnatural, the supernatural. I’ve always wondered what exists on the Other Side, and I guess both my work and my reading choices reflect that curiosity.

What are some of your favourite horror stories?

Some? I’ve read too many fantastic stories to list. One which has for years remained at the top of that unwritten list is Brian Lumley’s “The Thief Immortal”. It tells the life story of a man named Klaus August Scharme who has the unusual gift of stealing the years from Continue reading

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Shadows at the Door -Author Interview with Pete Alex Harris

Next up in the interview seat is author Pete Alex Harris.

When did you first fall in love with the horror genre?

Gradually, I would say. My first love was definitely SF, and I can’t quite identify the point where my tastes broadened to include stories that were more obviously horror. Possibly some of the darker stuff by Harlan Ellison nudged me in that direction. But before even that I was a big H. G. Wells fan, and some of his stories could easily take the horror label, The Island of Doctor Moreau, for example.

Which subgenre(s) of horror would you say your work falls into?

I’d say dark fantasy, for the most part, but I do love a bit of unabashed Gothic pastiche.

What is it about the horror genre that appeals to you as a reader and as a writer?

What is it about a story that makes it horror at all? I think it’s the nature and scope of the threat the characters face, and the stakes. You can’t write a bland horror, about a minor inconvenience or social faux pas. There has to be something very unpleasant in play, even if only hinted at. Horror is enjoyable the way vivid colours or spicy Continue reading

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Shadows at the Door – Author Interview With Helen Grant

Helen Grant

I’m very excited to have joining me today the award winning and critically acclaimed author Helen Grant!

Helen has been good enough to take time out to answer a few questions and tell us her thoughts on the upcoming Shadows at the Door anthology.

When did you first fall in love with the horror genre?

When I was a child. My father is a great fan of the ghost stories of M.R.James and could sometimes be induced to retell them to amuse us on long car journeys. I think he probably has some of those tales pretty much off by heart. I recall Wailing Well being a particular favourite of ours. If you hear that stuff when you are still in primary school, there’s no going back really.

Which subgenre/s of horror would you say your work falls into?

I’m not sure I can really say. It’s easier to say which subgenre it doesn’t fall into, which would be splatterpunk. I prefer creepy/weird over extremely gory. As well as short ghostly fiction, I write novels probably best described as thrillers with a hint of the supernatural. Sometimes very gory things do happen in those, but they are described in an indirect way, eg I might focus on the gleam of a knife as it descends, rather than what happens when it lands.

What is it about the horror genre that appeals to you as a reader and as a writer?

Hmmm, the excitement I suppose! When I’m reading, I like to feel involved, thrilled, scared. I like my flesh to creep a bit. When I’m writing, I think I’m dealing with my own fears. Since childhood, I’ve had a particular fear of death by fire, so quite a few people in my books end up burning to death. Or falling from a height – I’m scared of that, too.

What are some of your favourite horror stories?

I’m assuming “horror” extends to include subtle Victorian ghosts so I’d have to say the ghost stories of M.R.James. I also love The Inner Room by Robert Aickman and Thurnley Abbey by Percival Landon. Among my modern favourites are the stories in John Connolly’s collection Nocturnes. I also love the novels of John Ajvide Lindqvist.

The Glass Demon by Helen Grant

The Glass Demon
Helen Grant

Do you remember being scared by a particular story growing up?

When I was a kid, I thought M.R.James’ Wailing Well was pretty scary. The humour passed over my head when I was a child so I was also rather shocked at the school’s cavalier attitude to the deaths of their pupils!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

At primary school. English composition was my absolutely favourite thing. I experimented with all sorts of genres back then – animal stories, sci fi, even romance (I’d like to forget about that last one though – shudder).

Are there any writers who have particularly influenced you?

M.R.James. I don’t try to write like he does (well, who can?) but his story The Treasure of Abbot Thomas inspired my second novel The Glass Demon, which is about a set of lost stained glass windows created by the same (real life) master craftsman who made the Steinfeld glass featured in MRJ’s story. There are a few Jamesian touches hidden in the text for other fans of his stories to find. I’ve also mentioned him in the acknowledgements.

I’ve said I don’t try to write like MRJ but there’s one exception. I did a completion for his unfinished story The Game of Bear, and for that I had to do my very best to continue the tale in his style. The story won a competition run by the M.R.James Ghosts and Scholars Newsletter. It appears in my collection The Sea Change and Other Stories.

Urban Legends by Helen Grant

Urban Legends
Helen Grant

Tell us a bit about your previous writing work.

I’ve written six novels, starting with The Vanishing of Katharina Linden (2009) which I’m very proud to say was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. My latest novel is Urban Legends (2015), the final book in a trilogy of thrillers about urban explorers menaced by a brutal serial killer. I’d describe my work as crossover; nominally it’s Young Adult but judging by the audiences at the book events I’ve done, most of my readers are grown-ups!

Obviously I also write short ghostly fiction. One of the fun things I’ve done was to be Writer in Residence at the Library of Innerpeffray for Hallowe’en 2013. It’s an antiquarian library overlooking a graveyard (yes, I know – wonderful!) and I spent the day in there creating a set of three interwoven ghost stories, which I read aloud that same evening by candlelight. The stories are set in and around the Library and are inspired by the book collection. Copies are available from the Library’s online shop, with all proceeds going to support the Library.

How do you feel about being part of the Shadows at the Door Anthology?

I’m very pleased about it! Initiatives like this are the lifeblood of ghost stories. Ghost stories are hard to sell to large commercial publishers so small presses and projects like this one are champions of the genre. I’m also enjoying the contact with the other writers. I can’t wait to see the finished anthology and read all the other stories!

Are you working on anything else at the moment?

Yes, I’m working on a new novel. I can’t say too much about it because even the working title is a massive spoiler, but like my other novels, it has a lot of Gothic elements, mystery and deaths. My previous books were set in Germany and Flanders because we were living in those places when I started writing them, but we moved to Scotland in 2011 and my current work in progress is set here in Perthshire.

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Shadows at the Door – Author Interview With Christopher Long


Christopher Long

In the Shadows at the Door interview hot-seat today we have horror author Christopher Long.

When did your first fall in love with the horror genre?

It didn’t happen quickly for me. I think it was more of a slow seduction. For a long time I was aware of it but I wouldn’t say I chased after it. A lot of my friends were obsessed with trying to see the latest instalment of every popular 80s horror franchise going but it didn’t really appeal to me. I guess it took discovering some of the more interesting forms of horror for it to really capture my imagination. Roald Dahl’s The Witches certainly started something when I was a kid, along with a lot of the folktales the Henson company used when they created The Storyteller. Frankenstein as well. There was something really haunting about that story to me, from the first time I came across it. I remember not being convinced the monster was truly a monster at all. To me, the scientist was the one you really had to be scared of. But, even then, you could understand his motivations. That was a lightbulb moment. Also it was intriguing to see all the various versions of that story that has come to pass. The recycling of a monster made out of recycled parts. I like the symmetry of that.

The one that really got me, though, was Kubrick’s version of The Shining. That really got me thinking seriously about horror. It made me start to see the sort of stories you could tell through the lens of the supernatural trespassing into the lives of ordinary people. It helped me to understand that you can truly study a character once they’re trapped within Continue reading