Greetings and salutations dear reader of the net. Here is another one of my infamous writer interviews.
I best warn you now, this one gets a little out of control.
The fact it took place in a pub during happy hour, and the words "flaming sambucas" were uttered often, might explain some of the questions and answers in this interview. That's before we mention the dancing topless on tables with the waitresses.
One thing I did learn is that fab young horror writer Christopher Long can not only write a good story, he can drink and party with the bloody best of them.
And I've drunk with the greats; Reed, Moon, Harris, Pasquale!
In my book this doesn't make him any less of a writer or talent. In fact, I think it means he's got more about him than these modern, health conscious writers. All they drink is green tea to keep their colon cleansed and their karma anchored, or something.
In my opinion, a good horror writer needs to know about fear. For instance, will they be able to make it to the bathroom in time to be sick, or fear of it coming out of both ends at once.
They need to have gripped the porcelain of the great white telephone, and yodelled into it crying for "Hughie & Ralf!"
Their knuckles white with fear, eyes blood shot and open wide. They need to have stared the devil himself in the face and lived to tell the tale.
It all started quite restrained when I met Chris in my local, "The Bull's Scrotum". We drank a few beers, chatted, and got to know each other a bit better. We quaffed some more beers and then happy hour arrived, so we moved onto the hard stuff. after having too many tequila slammers to mention, we soon had each other in head locks and were saying how much we loved each other's writing style and talking about the fact we should write the great British horror story.
After a lot of cocktails to help our research and creativity, we were almost to the point of doing a duet in the karaoke. Even though the pub didn't have a karaoke machine!
During all this fun and revelry I did manage to ask Christopher some questions. Well, I must of, as my tape recorder said I did. Although some of them were a little hard to transcribe here. I think at one point I had the barmaid's freshly torn bra on my head, pretending to be a fighter pilot. She refused to show me her black box, even though I said I was Baron Von Just Ripped One Off, the German fighter ace!
Chris, listen, it's your round. But before you get the drinks in, we need to do this bloody interview or Marge will have my guts for garters!
KG: In the world of horror, I have known to be King. Even more King than Stephen King.
He's more the Prince not the King, but he's not like Prince. Or what did he change his name too? An artist formally known as incoherent symbol? Fish-hook squiggly pants?!
Now, I've read all of your books and they're all very good, but I have to say something that may shock you...
They only bloody went and gave me nightmares! Which isn't very common, coming from someone as horrific and depraved as my good self.
The question is, what gives you, the esteemed horror writer Christopher Long, nightmares?
CL: Buying the next round always gives me nightmares. The thought of standing at the bar and watching them ring in drink after drink. It always brings on the cold sweats when I wake up. I’ve tried writing about it but it’s hard when your hands are shaking. Beyond that I think my favourite scares come from the things you can’t see in the dark. The creak on the stairs. Something that’s just out of sight. That’s where the best ones live.
KG: How long have you been writing? I mean, I'll put it another way! (at this point I fell off my bar stool - a little time after I'd recovered my composure and the rest of the bar had stopped laughing at me) What turned you into writing, as in made you want to write in the first place? I'm not asking you what turns you on, far from it. Don't want to know any of those sordid, dirty, or disgusting things you get up to. After all this is a family pub, I mean website.
Some people seem to think they can shove their depraved, sexual filth down other people's throats. But no, not me. Well, not until I get to my bondage club and it's 'bare botty spanky Friday'... And Mistress Heidi is in control, wearing her leather bondage lederhosen, and she has me trust up like a turkey in a butchers window. I have the same worried look turkeys have just before Christmas, and I'm begging her to agree a safe word. She just says in her broken German English, "Nein Mr Gore, no safe words for you. You bad horny little monkey!"....
...Sorry where was I? Yes what made you start writing?
CL: Mistress Heidi told me to. No, wait, sorry. Got a bit lost there. I reckon we can pin the blame on one Roald Dahl. I remember being about five years old and being given a copy of James and the Giant Peach. I read it cover to cover and then started trying to think up my own ideas. I was baffled when someone told me you write stories for a living when you grow up. When I finally grow up I fully intend to give it a go.
KG: Best to never grow up, dear boy. Do you have a routine to your writing? For example, some writers get up the crack of dawn.
Unfortunately I don't know anyone called Dawn. Besides, I'm more of a night owl. A vampire writer, if you like. I'm up all night at it, the writing I mean. Then I'm back and in my coffin, I mean my bed, first sign of daybreak.
CL: I’m ashamed to say that I’m a crack of dawn type of guy. Much to my wife’s annoyance. No, not like that. It’s because I keep waking her up when I get out of bed. I used to try night writing but it never seemed to click for me. Somehow that led to me getting before six every morning and going straight to the keyboard. Don’t ask me why but it really works for me. Maybe it’s the quiet you get then. Everything is so still when everyone else is asleep. There’s a silence that really focuses on the horror when you feel like you’re on your own. It helps sharpen the scares. And if I can start scaring myself then I should be able to start scaring others, which is the fun bit!
KG: I often scare myself in the mornings, when I forget to put my pyjama bottoms on! If you had a crystal ball, would you firstly take great care walking? But more importantly than that, what would you see for your future?
I mean writing and your career wise, not will you wear blinking hover shoes & self cleaning Y-fronts?
CL: Wait, you have to take care when you’re walking? No wonder my hiking blindfold always attracts attention. Although you’ve got me thinking about self cleaning Y-fronts now. Wonder if they’d have a built in spin cycle. Writing has always been the dream for me. If the future can bring a chance for me to get more writing out there and, even better, get more people reading it then that’s all a man can ask for. Every compliment I get for a story or a character or a scare means a lot. If I can keep doing that then I reckon that’s my future sorted. I recently got told by someone who read The Beast of Belfield that they don’t like to look over their back garden once night falls. Another satisfied customer!
KG: That's the ticket, scare them into fearing the ordinary! With that in mind. What's your favourite book that you've written and why?
CL: That has to be The Final Restoration of Wendell Pruce. I’m so proud of that story. It came from a particularly nasty nightmare I had one night. I woke up and knew I had to use it somehow. The fact the lead character and the story started to work so well from the offset was absolutely brilliant. The atmosphere builds and builds so well. Some of the people who’ve read it have told me it really caught them off guard by the end. I love it when that happens!
KG: You've got an interesting debut novella coming out called 'The Compressionist' can you tell me about that in a nutshell? See what I did there?
CL: Yes, I'll try to keep my answer short. It's a story that came about from a typo. I accidentally typed the word compressionist & thought there had to be a story there. It took a while to figure what a compressionist did. After a few very odd ideas I realised I was doing it. I compressed the world into stories. Somehow that mingled with idea of people inspiring stories and a sort of vampire like monster came into my head. The writer who consumes by writing. Slowly but surely a very old fashioned type of story came about. A story that has actually caught some people so off guard at the end that they've felt the need to shout at me about it. There's no pleasing some people!
KG: And then you have Wendell Pruce coming fast on the heels of The Compressionist, clever that keep your powder dry for another day. A little bird called Leesa, she's your editor I believe? You then plan to release another story in one collection. is there a link to the stories?
CL: Yes, Leesa, Leesa Wallace is fabulous editor. Sort of. It’s not like the stories have to be read in a particular order or anything like that, but there are little moments that link them together. If you keep your eyes open you’ll notice certain characters, locations and even law firms crop up in the background time and again. I started doing it to really keep myself entertained but, who knows, maybe there’s a larger story there somewhere. We’ll see, one day.
KG: And who are your favourite writers? Who has influenced your dark, warped mind? Present company taken as read of course?
CL: Oh, of course. You’re the only one on the list who keeps buying me shots. The others keep ignoring my emails and letters begging for free drinks! I think the main two culprits beyond your good self are M R James and Neil Gaiman. Those men have created stories that do something very special as far as I’m concerned. There is a real sense of character and story that just shine through their work that never leave you. There are others. Mr Dahl for one and it’s hard not to love the deeply tangled works of Kim Newman and Mark Hodder. Men who take reality and fiction and marry them together into a heady mix without ever really making it too complicated to enjoy. It’s hard not to sing the praises of Lovecraft as well. A man who truly haunts you after followed in his footsteps for a bit.
KG: Do you have any novels on the horizon, in the pipeline, on the starting grid?
CL: Oh I have a few ideas cooking away but I don’t want to say too much. Not because of secrecy. It’s more because my attention wonders really easily and I don’t want to let people dow....what was I saying? Novels! Right, sorry. I’ve got a couple I’m working on. One revolves around a chap who is told the day he’s going to die but not the date. The other is all about the dangers of identity theft but told in the style made popular by the likes of Stoker and Shelley.
KG: How would you best describe your writing and your style?
CL: More luck than judgement I think sums me up. I like to aim for a place where the reality feels grounded but the scares are unexpected and quick enough that they catch you and the lead characters off guard at the same time. It’s definitely an ever developing style though. I spent a very long time playing with different styles of prose and never quite finding my footing. Then I started looking at short horror stories last year and I really started to discover what I could do if I turned my mind to it. Who knows where I’ll end up next.
KG: Go where your fancy takes you. Would you like to write for the stage or screen?
CL: I’d love to. Never say never is my motto. Even if it can get you in a certain amount of trouble. I’ve played around stage plays and screenplays before and I know I’ve got a lot to learn but it’s hard not to want to see where those different mediums can take you. I’d love to work on the sort of horror we used to see a lot in the seventies. The horror that depends on atmosphere and those unnerving moments that are hidden just in the corner of your eye. Brilliant stuff.
KG: What has been your opinion so far of working closely with KG Pub? Have my staff treated you good and worked with you well? Please feel free to erm... talk and be Frank, you are Frank, no wait, your Christopher, Chris, Chrisey baby. You can be honest. I promise no one will get fired! Well Igor, my PA might get fired from a cannon, but you know what? I think deep down he actually likes it.
Would you recommend Kensington Gore publishing to other up-and-coming writers?
CL: The cheque’s in the post, right? Right. Ahem. I think Kensington Gore Publishing have been brilliant. Actually, to be fair, this has been a truly rewarding experience. To find people who are so willing to help a new author but who can also push you that little bit further as well, it’s brilliant. It’s more than you can ask for. There’s a real keen intellect and genuine care when it comes to the work. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough for anyone who asked me about. That cheque is in the post though, right? I’ve got that round to get in soon.
KG: It is but my cheques may bounce up and down more than my wife's chest on a trampoline, so be warned, my friend! No, seriously I'm good for a pint or three.
Is there anyone you'd like to work with? Maybe someone you look up to? someone tall perhaps?
CL: There are always the heroes, of course. The people who started warping your mind to begin with. Neil Gaiman would be a dream come true. Christopher Fowler’s Bryant and May stories are dark and fun, it’d be interesting to work with the mind behind them. The same with Jeremy Dyson, who has done some intriguing and addictive things with the short story. There is talk I might be working with someone soon but I’ve been sworn to secrecy. At least until they manage to get out of it! All I can say is this, it’s going to be a really interesting meeting of minds. Can’t wait.
KG: Now one last question. This is key question, imperative you answer this one correctly as it might very well decide if either of us are getting home in one piece tonight, can you drink a bloody yard of ale faster than me?
CL: The voices in my head say yes. The voices in my gut say maybe. Still, there’s only one way to find out for sure. See you on the other side!
At this point the tape machine ran out. Well, actually Chris or myself spilt a pint of creme De moth on it. Useless Green sticky mess. Now I know what Miss Piggy has to put up with!
I hope you have enjoyed this interview, I always like to expose myself, warts and all. But I implore you to read all of Christopher Long's books when they come out, they will be horror and ghost classics one day, or I'll eat my own hat.
We both did make it back to our places of residence eventually, God bless both our spouses Marge and the lovely Samantha for putting up with us.
Christoper Long's first novella published by Kensington Gore Publishing, The Compressionist is aviliable here:
Look out for more title coming from this really good young writer very soon.
Kensington Gore TTFN
THE FIRST REVIEWS...
By Kester on Amazon
This is how a horror story should be written. Who is Richard Cove and what is The Proxy? Christopher Long takes all the best elements of horror and weaves them into a refreshingly original horror story. Long takes a cup of coffee, a chance meeting and you become witness to unimaginable supernatural terrors. As much as you are drawn to keep reading, the story reaches out and draws you into something as repulsive as compelling. Long, writes in a clever style that allows you to visualise what is unfolding and the characters, and that allows the story to become alive in your imagination. There are very few horror stories that reach out and draw you in and this is one of the best.
And next from lovely lady Melanie Roxburgh on Amazon
This book had me from the start, sitting on the edge of my seat and every emotion coming to the boil. It was frightening yet kept you enthralled. I can honestly say that I could not stop reading! I did not put the book down once and it is the first book I have read from start to finish all in one day in many years. Christopher Long has a wonderful way of accurately describing the people and places in the book, that you have a real sense of being a part of the book, which makes it all the more frightening. It was very well written and very scary! I will now be changing my routines thanks to this book! Read it and you will understand what I mean! I don't want to be the next victim of The Proxy! I really can't wait to read the next book from this exciting new writer! Buy this book you will not be disappointed!