Another day dawns, another great day of horror fiction begins. Today, we continue our dystopian theme and welcome author of Grimdark Horror Andy Graham, back to Unusual Fiction.
Andy Graham is a British author, currently living in the Czech Republic, who will now stop talking about himself in the third person because it’s odd.
I have two main collections of books. The Misrule is a series of dystopian political thrillers set in an alternate world based on life in 21st century EU/US. I also have an expanding collection of dark fiction tales that explore the creepier side of life, death and the undead.
Outside of reading and writing, I’m a musician, qualified osteopath, seasoned insomniac, and father to two young kids who have too much energy to let me grow old gracefully.
Who is your favourite horror author and the book you like best by this author?
Stephen King and the book Wizard and Glass. A superbly told story that ratchets up the tension to a heartbreaking ending. One of the things I like about this book is what isn’t on the pages. Giving readers enough information so they can see the outline of what is in the author’s head but still have enough freedom to colour those pictures in themselves is a great skill. Too many words and you control what the reader is seeing, too few and you risk losing them. Some writers are very economical, others choke their prose. There is a time and place for both. In this book, Mr King got the balance perfectly. The boy has talent, I think he’ll do well if he applies himself…
Name a character in film, book or legend that you wish you had created in your fiction.
There are two. They may not fit within the usual horror expectations but are linked in a tenuous way. The first is Dolores Umbridge. Yes. That Dolores Umbridge, the one from the Harry Potter films. See what I mean by her not being a typical villain? The evil within her is the utterly banal kind. It is the kind of malicious jobsworthiness, the sadism in suit (in this case a pink dress and cardigan), that is all the more evil for it being so real and familiar.
The second? Frankenstein’s Monster. I’m not scared of it. I’m frightened of what was done to it by people who didn’t understand it and so punished it. Everyone and everything has their limits. Unfortunately, people like Ms Umbridge are exactly the kind of people who would push Frankenstein’s Monster past its limits and then attack it for that.
What scares you?
Apart from Dolores Umbridge and Frankenstein’s Monster? Hurt or harm coming to my kids, be that deliberate or accidental. We live in a world as harsh as it is beautiful. At the moment we are amongst the lucky ones: we have a home and food, friends and freedoms. We don’t live in a war zone, nor are the kids of an age or living in a country where they can be forced to risk their lives for someone else’s ideals. My children are as safe as they can be within normal expectations. I hope that lasts.
What have you got in the pipeline?
I’ve recently finished my main series (The Misrule, a set of dystopian sci-fi) and am working on a series of short stories and novellas to complement my Dark Fiction Tales. Volume Three of that series is about 50% done. I have the basics of a sequel to An Angel Fallen knocking around my head and I want to tackle that next. An Angel Fallen is the favourite thing I have written. Interestingly it was also the easiest thing I’ve written, and I’m hoping to be able to produce more work in that vein.
Please, include a paragraph of your work – your favourite passage or a few lines from a work in progress.
An extract from An Angel Fallen.
In front of the boys, lying in a pool of slime, in a shredded white dress, was a figure that could have been made of porcelain. It was curled in a fetal position, its fingers interlaced as if it was begging or praying. Wrapped around the body were two giant wings. There were holes in the wings, blackened rents amongst the feathers. Some of the feathers were still smouldering. Black smoke sank to the ground off crystal-white wing tips.
“What in hell?” Mike whispered.
“Is it dead?”
“How do you know?”
A wing twitched.
“It moved!” Raph pointed.
“Told you it was alive.”
There was a creak. The boys shuffled closer to each other. They grasped at each other’s clothes, pulling themselves closer. The thing turned, slowly, agonisingly, until it was lying on its back.
Blonde hair, slick with mud and blood, was plastered across a face that glittered like diamond. Spidering across the skin was a cobweb of red cracks that hissed steam.
“What happened to it?” Mike asked.
The eyes snapped open, eyes that held boiling blue fire. A voice resonated in Mike’s mind. Each syllable flared in time with the pulsing fire in the cracked alabaster face.
The boys fled.
You can pick up two free books – An Angel Fallen and the prequel to The Misrule – here: http://andygrahamauthor.com/newsletter/
Find out more about Andy’s work: