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An Interview with Shane Staley

Published September 15, 2015 by MommaCat

ShaneStaley

Shane Staley is the managing publisher of DarkFuse. He is considered by many as one of the most influential editors and publishers of the modern era horror scene. He was the founder and editor-in-chief of the legendary specialty press Delirium Books (1999-2012). Staley started his publishing career in 1995 with a ‘zine called The Darklands Project. Since then, he has published more than 300 books in his career and has been a part of launching some of the most important writing careers in the horror genre.

Shane took time from his busy schedule to do a rare interview. This is a peek into the mind of one of the most prolific contributors to dark fiction in the world.

To connect with Shane, please follow him on Twitter (@TheShaneStaley).

You were originally an author, how did you get into publishing?

I think it came mostly from an overwhelming disinterest in the current publishing companies of the time. Each were publishing the same established talents to make a buck, but few were taking on newer and oftentimes more talented authors. So I wanted to change that. At the time I was getting published in the same magazines as some very talented young authors, but the book publishers weren’t picking up their longer works, so I started my own publishing company to get their work out on the market.

As both a publisher and a writer, do you find it difficult to switch hats if you want to sit down and write a story?

Actually, I find it almost impossible to switch gears without having distance between the business and the art. You use two totally different sides of your brain handling the business and creating the art of fiction. I always told myself I’d publish till I was 40, then get back to writing full time, but that hasn’t exactly happened.

Would you talk about the upcoming DarkFuse lineup? What authors do we have to look forward to?

DarkFuse will be streamlining offerings a little over the coming year and focusing on bigger (novel) releases. Our core roster will be returning with new books, including Willie Meikle, Greg F. Gifune, Jon Bassoff and Tim Curran, to name a few.

How did DarkFuse Magazine come to life? Would you tell us about some of the ideas you have in store for us?

DF Mag has always been a for-the-love-of-it project. Somewhere to be able to showcase shorter works which we can’t really do in book format or digital due to the already ridiculous low prices of novels and novellas on the market.

We’ll be experimenting with more serial works and original fiction, as well as some behind-the-scenes non-fiction that ties in with our book line.

I especially love the Tiny Terrors portion of the magazine. Would you expand a bit on that? Can tweets from past weeks be voted on again?

Well, I love Twitter. Love the concept and I use it personally as a creative tool for my own writing, so I challenged authors to scare me (and DarkFuse’s readership) in the defined character count Twitter allows, which is no small feat. Terror packed into small doses is an art in itself and it’s really fun to read what other authors come up with.

Each session we’ll present all the new Tiny Terrors that are submitted by using the hashtag #DFTinyTerrors and tagging DarkFuse’s Twitter account (@darkfuse) to our book club members to vote on which one was the best. Only the past session of tweets can be voted on.

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

I think H. P. Lovecraft was the first author that influenced me and close to the last. I mimicked his stories and prose for years till I found my own voice and style of writing and then I really kept from reading a lot of fiction in the genre because I wanted to distance myself from being subconsciously influenced by others’ writings and styles.

Who is Patrick Kill? Can his books be found anywhere outside the DarkFuse Publishing site?

Patrick Kill is a byline that should never be read by someone seeking good taste in fiction. He writes of a world that has no moral concept and has been banned from exiting the DarkFuse Magazine archives for fear the world will collapse if his work goes viral.

What are the next three books you’re planning to read for fun?

They will more than likely be tennis coaching books and tennis autobiographies. Outside of my publishing career, I’m about as driven to be the best tennis coach I can be, so I spend a lot of time going over video and reading within the sport.

If you could claim one DarkFuse/Delirium book as your own—think fame not fortune— what would it be?

It’d have to be The Bleeding Season by Greg F. Gifune. It’s a modern classic, timeless and something that will be as relevant decades from now as it was the day it was first published.

How do you want the world to remember you?

I’m not sure the world has a memory. If it does, and I’m to be remembered, it will be of no real concern, use, or meaning to me. Which is fair, as I will not be able to remember the world.

If that’s too artsy-fartsy of an answer for you, how about this…

Instead of the awards I’ve won, the impact I’ve made in publishing, I’d rather just be remembered by those who personally knew me as the good person I truly am: the friend, the father, husband, coach, etc. as well as for my sometimes strange sense of imaginative humor I’ve carried with me throughout my life.

Too sappy?

Well, too bad! That’s all I got. Now go read a book!

AN INTERVIEW WITH LUKE WALKER

Published September 1, 2015 by MommaCat

LukeWalker

  • Most authors have had many jobs to pay the bills in their quest to become successful. What are some of the the jobs that you have held?

I’ve been in the same job for almost twelve years – working in the stock department of a library. Before that, I’ve worked in a record shop (anyone remember those?), the office of a furniture magazine and as an orderly in a hospital. That job had the bonus of involving carrying severed legs in biowaste bags down to the morgue. And I can tell you, a severed leg is much heavier than you’d expect. When I was younger, I worked in an off-licence (or liquor store) if you prefer which mainly involved shouting at kids who weren’t old enough to drink and abusing my staff discount.

  • Would you talk about your upcoming books and their production schedule?

I’ve got a couple of books out on submission and I’m hoping to hear good news soon. My first published book (released in early 2012 as The Red Girl) has been unavailable for over a year, but I’ve recently signed a contract with a UK publisher called Caffeine Nights to re-publish it at some point next year. It might have a new title although it’s too early to say for definite. I’m very happy this one is being published again especially as it’ll be in print rather than the original ebook only release. At the moment, I’m working on a chapbook which I’m hoping to sell to a publisher I’m a big fan of. Early days, but I’m hopeful.

  • How important are character names and how do you come up with them?

They’re important in that they have to fit the character and make sense (for example, it’s doubtful a woman in her sixties would be called Beyonce or to find a fifteen year old boy named Peregrine), but I don’t stress over them. I’ll mix up the first names and surnames of people I know if need be. The characters are just A, B, C and so on until they have names.

  • Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

First up, Stephen King. Without question. Then James Herbert for a sense of Britishness I often aim for; Clive Barker, Tim Lebbon, Gary McMahon, Alison Littlewood, Sarah Pinborough, Susan Hill…loads. I’m discovering more superb writers by the week.

  • If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be

and why?

One of my cats. Just to have a chilled out day, sitting on the sofa before someone feeds me.

  • What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

Not for the first time, I’m working my way through Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Got the final three to go. After that, possibly Sarah Pinborough’s The Death House; The Whisperers by John Connolly, and the fourth Skullduggery Pleasant book from Derek Landy.

  • What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, HP Lovecraft, Gillian Anderson and my wife.

  • If you could claim one book as your own – think fame not fortune – what would it be?

Easy. It by Stephen King. That book nails everything good about horror as well as everything good when it comes to being a kid and friendship.

  • How do you want the world to remember you?

I’m not fussed if the world remembers me. If it does, then as that guy who wrote those books they liked. As long as my loved ones remember me, it’s all good.

Luke Walker has been writing horror and fantasy fiction for most of his life. His novella Mirror Of The Nameless is published by DarkFuse. His collection of horror fiction, Die Laughing, was published in 2015. Several of his short stories have been published online and in print. His next novel will be published by Caffeine Nights in 2016.
Luke welcomes comments at his blog which can be read at
 www.lukewalkerwriter.com His Twitter page is @lukewalkerbooks.

He is thirty-seven and lives in England with his wife and two cats. He’s now had enough of writing about himself in the third person and is going for a lay down.

While Luke rests, you can read my review of DIE LAUGHING!

DIE LAUGHING BY LUKE WALKER

Published September 1, 2015 by MommaCat

DIE LAUGHING is a themed collection of short stories by an author that I discovered through the Darkfuse book club, Luke Walker.  That theme is death.  I know what you were thinking – creepy clown on the cover, laughing in the title; author must be another Jeff Strand, right?  Nope.  The stories are all about death and dying and they kick butt!

This anthology contains 18 stories.  I found them riveting.  His prose was descriptive and he had no shortage of ideas.  I felt as a collection it ranked up there with the best.   Why?  The stories were about everything from angry gods to everyday people.   Awesome book.  You’ll want it!

Buy DIE LAUGHING at Amazon.com

DieLaughing

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