Welcome to Cat After Dark, Alan! It’s so nice to meet you. I’m glad that you were able to take time out of your busy schedule to talk to us.
It’s a pleasure, thanks for having me.
When did you start telling stories? When did you seriously consider trying to make your living at writing?
I’ve always told stories, since I was little. As long as I can remember I made up imaginary worlds and inhabited them. I told a lot of lies as a kid, but it was really just me testing out the idea of stories! I decided to take writing seriously in my late 20s. I wish I’d started sooner, to be honest, but I had a big shake up in my life at about 27 or 28 and one of the things that came out of that was the decision to take writing seriously and actively pursue publication.
Who are some of the authors that influenced your writing? After reading the incredible MANIFEST RECALL, I’m guessing Tom Piccirilli would be one of them.
That’s a huge compliment that MANIFEST RECALL makes you think of Tom Piccirilli! I absolutely love his work and it’s tragic he died so young. To be compared to him is an honour and he’s definitely an influence. Probably the biggest influence on me is Clive Barker. Otherwise, there are so many people I could cite. Off the top of my head there’s Stephen King, Ursula K Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Shirley Jackson, H P Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack Ketchum, William Gibson, Roald Dahl, China Mieville… I could go on and on!
What are you working on now? What does your publishing schedule look like for the future?
Well, right now I’m between projects and in the planning stages for a couple of things. I’m toying with ideas for a follow-up to MANIFEST RECALL. It seems people are keen for more Eli Carver! I’m also slowly getting together an outline for a new dark fantasy trilogy. In the meantime, I’ve got a new novel coming out in November from Grey Matter Press (same publisher as MANIFEST RECALL). That novel is called DEVOURING DARK and it’s a kind of London crime meets supernatural vigilante horror mashup. It’s a bit of a Lock, Stock, and Two Supernatural Assassins. I’m quite excited for that release. And I’ve just sent a new finished manuscript to my agent, which is a kind of supernatural thriller, a bit like Stephen King meets Jack Ketchum. So I’m staying pretty busy!
What are some of the things you enjoy doing when you’re not working? And how would you spend your time if there were no restrictions in place – either time or moneywise.
Well, I’m a career martial artist and as well as writing; I run a kung fu academy. I love that work as well, and it takes up a lot of my time when I’m not writing. Otherwise, travelling with my family is my real joy. If I didn’t have the kung fu school to run, and money was no object, I’d take my family around the world as many times as we could manage. I can write anywhere, after all.
If you could spend the evening having drinks with any one person from history, who would you choose and why?
Man, that’s a tough one… Does it have to be someone dead? Because, I’d honestly love to sit and chat with Clive Barker!
What are your three favorite books? And what are you reading now?
Aarrgghh! I can’t answer that! I think Clive Barker’s THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW might be my all-time favourite novel. But I don’t think I can pick just three favourites. I love so many books for so many reasons. One perennial favourite is CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, and we’re reading that with our 4 year old son at the moment. I’m getting so much joy from watching him enjoy it as much as I always have. Right now I’m reading GODBLIND by Anna Stephens, which is a dark, grim epic fantasy novel and so far it’s outstanding.
If you could trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and what would you do?
Elon Musk. And I’d give away the vast majority of his fortune to a bunch of charities that really need it.
If you could choose one time and place in history to visit for a day, where would it be and what would you do?
I’d love to live a day in ancient Egypt. It would be a fascinating insight into so much that’s completely alien to my own lived experience. I’d just immerse myself in the culture and try to see and hear as much as possible. It would be good, of course, if I could at least understand the language for this day.
What book do you wish you had written? Think fame not fortune.
I don’t. Only I can write the books I write and other people can write the books they write. I don’t want to have written any other books. But I sure would like to get as well-read as someone like Stephen King or J K Rowling or George R R Martin, but for the books I write!
How would you like the world to remember you?
Hopefully as someone who was kind and generous and fun, and who left behind a bunch of really great books that can be enjoyed for years to come.
I was lucky enough to read the aforementioned DEVOURING DARK this past summer and what a fantastic novel it was! Alan already described it as a mash-up, and yes, a beautiful mash-up it was – of thriller, fantasy, horror and crime. There is something for everyone in this deeply dark depiction of death. And yet like everything there are two sides, so it’s not as heavy as I make it out to be. It’s a very satisfying read that I hope you will pick up along with MANIFEST RECALL (read my review for MANIFEST RECALL on the Randon Reviews page) both from Grey Matter Press.