Luke Walker has been writing horror and dark thrillers for most of his life. His novels Ascent and Hometown are available now along with Die Laughing - a collection of horror short stories. Several of his short stories have been published online and in print. The horrors The Unredeemed and The Dead Room will be published in 2018 as will the dark fantasy Dead Sun. What little free time he has is spent watching bad films and reading good books while planning how best to take over the world.
Luke has worked as an hospital orderly, in a record shop and in a library while working on his books. He welcomes comments at his blog which can be read at www.lukewalkerwriter.com and his Twitter page is @lukewalkerbooks.
He is forty and lives in England with his wife, two cats and an ever growing pile of B movies.
1.Luke spent several months working as an orderly in a hospital. While it wasn’t the most glamorous job in the world, it did give him plenty of inspiration for when it came to creepy settings and atmosphere. He can also say that a severed leg in a bag is a lot heavier than you might expect when you have to carry it from the operating theatre to the morgue.
2.Luke’s first published piece wasn’t a novel or a short story as might be expected. It was actually poetry – several were published around 2001 and 02 in anthologies. His first published fiction was a short story online in 2008.
3.Luke has been in love with horror pretty much his entire life and while he can’t say for definite, he thinks his first go of contemporary horror was James Herbert’s classic The Rats which he read when he was nine or ten. His mum told him he wasn’t allowed to, so he blitzed the book one day during the school holidays, convinced the slightest sound from the front door was his mother coming home early for some reason.
4.Going back to classic horror, one of Luke’s first experiences was Poe’s The Cask Of Amontillado which he came across in a collection at a young age. The setting was unfamiliar but the realisation of what the narrator was doing brick by brick came with a dread he can still remember. Around the same time, he read Lovecraft’s Dagon in a collection his eldest brother left in the toilet. Both stories had a lasting effect.
5.Luke knows without any doubt that the original Night Of The Living Dead is the greatest film ever made and he will happily fight anyone who disagrees.
6.Luke took a nose dive down a friend’s stairs when he was nineteen and extremely stupid. As a result, he has a scar in the centre of his head from where it impacted with the pointy end of the bannister. Losing his hair several years ago has made it much harder to cover up the scar.
7.If Windows keep trying to configure updates while he’s writing, he won’t be responsible for his actions.
KG: What or who inspired you to be a writer?
LW: No one particular thing. I made up stories as a kid and read books I wasn’t old enough for. As I grew up, that continued to the point of writing down those stories which were usually a rip off of whatever I was reading at the time. After a long time, I found what I wanted to say and started to say it. Stealing the 70s paperbacks that belonged to my brother and my dad probably kicked me off. So, you can blame them.
KG: What gave you the idea of your latest book?
LW: My most recent published book, Ascent, takes place in an office building I pass everyday – with several changes to the design. I had a couple of separate ideas (people trapped in that building, terrorists detonating a nuclear device before they got to their main target, so the focus becomes a relatively unimportant city rather than London, and what grief does to us); those ideas eventually merged into Ascent.
Mirror of The Nameless was always going to be a tight, fast-paced novella with no room for anything outside the immediate story. I wanted to come up with something that’s already on the go before page one and doesn’t really stop. While I love Lovecraft, I don’t write in his style at all, but that didn’t stop me using him as a big inspiration.
KG: Who is your favourite writer and why?
LW: Stephen King. For the last 40+ years, he’s done more for modern horror than any other writer. Even people who don’t read horror and who wouldn’t go for a film based on one of his books could tell you Cujo is a big dog that gets rabies or ’Salem’s Lot is full of vampires or a clown hides in the sewers and kill kids. More than horror, King simply gets what makes a good book. He can nail a character down within a few paragraphs to the point of that character staying with the reader forever. Whatever the genre, the character is as important as the basic story. A lot of writers overlook that. King doesn’t. And while some writers are great story-tellers but perhaps not the best when it come to prose, King has got both down in a way that seems effortless but isn’t.
KG: What's your favourite book?
LW: Sticking with King, it has to be IT. I first read it when I was pushing twelve and felt like I was reading about myself and the friends I had at that age (although to be fair, we didn’t spend a lot of time running away from a killer clown that shape-shifted into our worst fears). It’s easy to get nostalgic as an adult and believe there is magic in childhood, but maybe there is. White and dark magic. And there are all spectrums of magic in IT.
It’s a classic of horror as well as literature.
KG: Do you read a lot? If so what are you reading right now?
LW: Yeah, I’ve always got a book or three on the go. Working in a library means the new stuff comes my way regularly and that means my TBR pile is ever-growing. Currently, I’m working on The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks which I thought I’d read years ago but if I have, I’ve forgotten a lot of it. Then there’s a crime/thriller by Craig Robertson called Random which I think is part of a series. I’ve recently finished Kealan Patrick Burke’s Novellas which was grand. I came across Burke recently with his novel Kin and loved it. He’s quickly become one of my favourite writers and someone I highly recommend.
KG: What writing projects are you working on?
LW: I recently signed contracts with an American publisher for two books to be released this year so I’ll soon have the edits etc to go through on them. The first one, The Unredeemed, should be published this summer with the second, The Dead Room, around the end of the year. Ditto the work on my novella The Mirror Of The Nameless which is a Lovecraft meets Mad Max action/horror. I’m currently working on a second piece for the good people at Kensington Gore which I don’t want to say too much about other than it’s an expansion of some of the stuff I usually go for – high stakes, violence, swearing and some more violence. I’ve also got a dark fantasy that I’m self-publishing. Dead Sun will be out in May 2018. It’s much lighter than my usual work but still dark. I don’t think I can go fully light. It’s just not me.
KG: What do you like most about writing?
LW: Tough one. Some days, it’s a hard slog and you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. Other times, the plot or character goes its own way and you come up with something that’s pretty sweet. I know a lot of writers hate editing, but I quite like it. My first drafts are crap 99% of the time; editing means I can lose the stuff that doesn’t work and build on what does.
And finishing the final draft is always great.
KG: Where do you see yourself and your writing in five years time?
LW: I honestly have no clue. I’d love to be doing it full time, but that would obviously mean earning the readies. I’ll still be writing either way. There are always more stories to tell.
KG: What one writing tip would you share?
LW: Read a lot and write a lot.
KG: What would you say to educate and inspire young writers?
LW: Again, read a lot and write a lot. I can’t emphasise that enough. Don’t expect your first work to be your best because it won’t. You wouldn’t expect a chef to come up with a great dish the first time they start cooking, would you? Or a software developer to create a flawless bit of tech first go? No. Your first book (or first however many) will be crap. That doesn’t matter in the long run. Just keep writing and keep reading. Follow agents and publishers online to see what they’re like as well as what they like. Always be professional even if the people you deal with sometimes aren’t. Any sub you make is like applying for a job so treat it that way. The publishing world owes you precisely piss all which can be hard to take. If you want to get anywhere, you’ll have to take it, though.
And then write some more.
© KGHH Publishing 2018