David A Sutton interviewed

David Sutton

How long have you been writing and how did you get started?

Although I’ve never earned a living professionally as a writer, I have been a writer for around 47 years. Phew. I began writing poetry and satirical pieces, the latter for a small press alternative magazine called Outside which I edited with two friends. I printed the ’zine on an old, hand-cranked Rex Rotary duplicating machine. It lasted two issues, as it was difficult to sell on the streets of Birmingham in 1966! And as a genre editor I’ve been at it almost as long – I began my fiction review fanzine Shadow in 1968.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing, and does it come in useful for your stories?

When I’m not writing I’m usually rambling – not always in the inebriated sort of way! I’m a member of Birmingham Ramblers and we have a pretty busy programme of walks, so I tend to go on as many of them as I can, as well as occasionally lead walks for the group. I’m also on the committee, dealing with publications and publicity. The walking segues into the tasting of beer too, so along with CAMRA friends and others, there are often other walks which take in interesting pieces of industrial archaeology in between a few real ale pubs – or maybe that should be the other way around! I’m not sure if my walking experiences are useful for my stories. They tend not to be set in the English countryside. As for characters, well I think some traits may come from the walking fraternity, though I don’t consciously adapt them for my fiction.

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Adrian Cole interviewed

The Alchemy Press’s Adrian Cole is a born and bred Devonian, living on the North Devon coast with his wife, Jude. Adrian’s first works began to appear in magazines in the mid-1970s. Most were centred around his eternal warrior, The Voidal. In recent years he has taken up the role of Nick Nightmare, a gumshoe PI, in the style of Philip Marlow, but who battles against Dagon, Cthulhu and all their evil minions! Fiction very much in the pulp tradition and told with great style and humour.

The Nick Nightmare stories have been collected in Nick Nightmare Investigatespublished by The Alchemy Press.

You can read the interview on the Jan Edwards website. It’s worth it!



Allen Ashley interviewed

Allen Ashley

“Somme-Nambula” by Allen Ashley appears in Kneeling in the Silver Light. Here, Allen answers a few questions.

The Great War started a hundred years ago. What is the link between your story in Silver Light and that war?

My story is mostly set in the First World War trenches and, particularly, in No Man’s Land. I studiously researched the story – more on that later.

What concerns did you have when it came to writing your story, how you planned to cover the subject matter? Were you worried that the anthology might have become too much like a regular “horror” book?

My concern was to have a believable underpinning layer of the horror of combat and thus ground the story in historical realism. It’s the First World War, millions died and suffered horribly and there’s no escaping or disguising that fact. However, one must also make an imaginative leap – and I believe that my story does that – otherwise one is simply regurgitating Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, et al.

As for the anthology becoming too much of a regular horror book, that’s really the editor’s and the publisher’s concern in this instance, not a worry for an individual contributing author. I have been to a few events this year marking the commemoration of the outbreak of World War One and, simply and selfishly, it was my wish and intention to place my story in this Great War themed anthology as my own statement regarding the conflict.

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David Jon Fuller interviewed

David Jon Fuller

” The Wolves of Vimy” features in Kneeling in the Silver Light. Here, the author, David Jon Fuller, writes about his story.

The Great War started a hundred years ago. What is the link between your story in Silver Light and that war?

My story is set during the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917. That was the first time all divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together as single force. It’s a battle that has taken on more significance for Canada as a nation, which prior to the First World War had no major standing army, because it represented a victory for the country as a whole, than it did strategically for the Allies in the war.

It was still an example of a new approach to trench warfare, though, with the combination of extensive preliminary bombardment and a coordinated rolling barrage — and as it turned out, at Vimy the German forces could not make use of their new doctrine of “defence in depth.” Both contributed to the battle’s outcome.

The question of when the final assault on the German lines would begin is central to the short story I wrote.

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Paul Woodward interviewed

paul woodward

Paul Woodward’s story  “A Very Strange Tunnelling Company” appears in the pages of Kneeling in the Silver Light, edited by Dean M Drinkel.

The Great War started a hundred years ago. What is the link between your story in Silver Light and that war?

I saw a documentary on the TV about the tunnellers who laid mines underneath the enemy trenches. And I then thought it would be an unusual angle for a story. I went on to read a couple of books about the tunnelling war to get the right spelling and background detail. Hence “A Very Strange Tunnelling Company”.

What concerns did you have when it came to writing your story, how you planned to cover the subject matter? Were you worried that the anthology might have become too much like a regular “horror” book?

Initially I thought there was enough, indeed too much real horror in the war itself. And actually I still think that. To counter balance this I wanted to write something that could not conceivably be real. I also wanted to lighten the tone with a gender confusion sub-plot which is one of the oldest jokes around. There was never much chance of me contributing a “regular” horror story.

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Mike Chinn interviewed

mike chinn

Besides editing for The Alchemy Press, Mike Chinn has penned a story for Kneeling in the Silver Light:

The Great War started a hundred years ago; what is the link between your story in Silver Light and that war?

“Where the Long White Roadway Lies” is very much set during the Great War, although I was careful not to say exactly when. I didn’t want to tie it down to any familiar battles or arenas of that particular conflict – though it’s clearly somewhere among the trenches and desolation of Belgium and northern France. I wanted a sense of timelessness that fitted the mood of the story.

What concerns did you have when it came to writing your story, how you planned to cover the subject matter? Were you worried that the anthology might have become too much like a regular “horror” book?

My main concern, believe it or not, was that I didn’t stray too far into Oh What a Lovely War territory. The point of view character occasionally slips into snatches of song contemporary for the period (the story title is a line from “Roses of Picardy”), but I hope I managed to use them in a different way to the play/film. And I certainly didn’t want to reheat anything like the old jingoistic Noble Tommy vs Evil Hun tosh that we’ve all been guilty of reading at some point in our lives.

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Ralph Sevush interviewed

Ralph Sevush

So there I was, in yet one more brawl at Muldoon’s Bar-n-Grill. And while the joker swingin’ the bike chain was trying to indenture my skull, Joey was still over by the bar, chattin’ it up with some pickled geezer, yammering on and on about quantum mechanics.

Ralph Sevush, author of “Emmett, Joey and the Beelz” in Pulp Heroes 3, submits to gentle questioning on his life and influences.

Writing is a notoriously solitary business. What keeps you at it? The fame that constantly eludes you? Getting a lie in mornings? The rubber?

I didn’t know I had a choice.

What was it that inspired “Emmett, Joey and the Beelz”?

The Frayn play Copenhagen, the Chabon book Kavalier & Clay, my college infatuation with Nietzsche, my lifelong contempt for religion, and a long sleepless night after eating some bad clams.

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Andrew Coulthard interviewed

andrew coulthard

Andrew Coulthard’s story “Paradise Walk” appears in The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic 2.

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I’ve always been interested in stories and the fantastic, both as a reader and creator. I wrote lots of tales as a kid and teenager. I also wrote and illustrated a dramatized “magazine” for the fantasy wargames club my mates and I ran in our teens. After that, however, I laboured on and off over the years with one over-ambitious epic manuscript after another until I finally gave up. Then a few years ago I began writing again, only this time I focused on short fiction.

I enjoy writing all sorts of things – fantasy, sci-fi, slipstream/weird fiction, absurdist/surrealistic tales, horror and more. Whatever piques my interest or gives me energy for the moment to be honest.

What is at the root of your Urban Mythic story?

My short story ideas often coalesce out of disparate elements that are floating about in my head/life at the time of writing. I recall that I’d been reflecting on some current social concerns: immigration, political populism and urban crime. At the same time my son reminded me that I’d promised to watch Leone’s Good the Bad and the Ugly with him. So we sat down one Friday night to see the DVD together and being the lame has-been I am, I fell asleep before the end. He saw it right through of course and loved it. Somewhat miffed with myself for missing the climactic gun fight I looked up a rather brilliant version of Morricone’s Ecstacy of Gold on Youtube. Later, while out walking with the music on my earphones, the pieces of the story began to come together.

I live in Sweden, so figures from Swedish and Scandinavian folklore are close to hand for me. The appeal of Urban Mythic settings is that they give you a chance to blur the distinctions between mythical and real, while highlighting both through the contrast of gritty realism and the fantastic. This story is one of standing up for yourself or those dear to you, even when fortune has dealt you a bad hand and you know you’ll probably never really be one of the real winners. It’s also about choosing solidarity over divisiveness and the contrasting values that drive our actions.

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Gary Budgen interviewed

gary budgen 02

A week in New Prague City. On Monday a man robbed a bank using a jet pack to escape. Tuesday a woman’s necklace was stolen by someone dressed as a rat. I hate masked crazies for personal reasons, so on Wednesday it was a relief to get something – if not routine – at least by a perp we were used to. Although Kid Kafka hadn’t pulled one of these for a while.

Gary Budgen’s contribution to Pulp Heroes 3 is masked adventurer story “Kid Kafka and Doctor Pulp.” Under torture, he agreed to answer the most probing and intimate questions.

Writing is a notoriously solitary business. What keeps you at it? The fame that constantly eludes you? Getting a lie in mornings? The rubber?

It’s more of a compulsion than a choice for me. Something I just couldn’t choose not to do. Oh and the fame that constantly eludes me.

What was it that inspired “Kid Kafka and Doctor Pulp”?

The covers of old Black Mask magazines, Maxwell Grant’s The Shadow and, of course, Kafka. Kafka is always there somewhere.

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Rima Devereaux interviewed


Rima Devereaux’s ‘The Secret of Blackwater Island’ features in Kneeling in the Silver Light

What is the link between your story and the Great War?

My story is set at the time of the Great War and halfway through there’s a flashback to an earlier event in the same war. The wartime backdrop is essential to the story, since the central character is on a wartime government mission to a remote part of England.

What concerns did you have while writing, and how did you plan to cover the subject matter? Were you worried the book would turn into a horror anthology?

I actually based my tale on a true story about a government inspection of a remote island and an earlier landing of a German Zeppelin on the same island during the First World War. My characters and locations are all fictional, however. Of course the fantasy/horror core of the story is invented too. I was a little worried it would be too obvious a genre twist but hoped that the unusual backdrop (which, as I said, I gleaned from a real event) would give the story a boost.

What’s the usual genre for your stories? Did your Silver Light story create difficulties because of its war genre?

I usually write classic fantasy based on mythology, whether set in our world or invented worlds. The Silver Light story was definitely darker than my usual stuff and also represented a foray into a different kind of fantasy. The war genre didn’t create difficulties – I did a fair amount of research about daily life during the First World War and the story flowed from that, as well as from the inspiration to have someone stuck somewhere remote for supernatural reasons.

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