By Jordan Gerdes
We have a late one tonight, as grad school and teaching is kicking my ass currently, but I promised 31 Nights of Fright, and damn it, we are going to deliver! Tonight, we have David Robertson, author of Unnatural Causes (under his pen name Tober Charles), here to talk about writing horror!
FOF: First and foremost, tell us about yourself
DR: Among various jobs I wrote UK TV drama for about ten years. The money was good but it became frustrating not being able to get any of my original work produced. I had stories I wanted to tell and so switched to novel writing. No scheduling conflicts, no actors disappearing and no budget constraints!
FOF: What do you do? And why do you like it?
DR: I left a financial job in the City to publish my book about 4 months ago. That being done now and beginning to get some traction I’ll probably go back to that for a bit and save a few bob to enable taking time off to finish my current WIP.
FOF: Explain a little bit of your process? Where do you find your inspiration?
DR: I don’t force ideas. They come to me from diverse sources. For example Unnatural Causes came out of President Trump pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Accord. I thought it was an act of madness and felt compelled to write something about our abuse of Nature. From there I thought about location and have always been fascinated with the story of the Island of St Kilda on which my fictional island of St Kiernan is loosely based. The story was always going to be about human greed destroying our eco-system, if not our morality, so that started building the plot. At the same time the characters I needed to tell the story come in to play.
FOF: What drew you to horror in the first place?
DR: Horror, like Fantasy/Sci-Fi, enables your imagination to go on sweeping journeys that are completely out with ‘normal’ life. You’re not constrained by a ‘that could never happen and will take readers out of story’ self –censorship that you might decide in other genres.
FOF: What is your favorite horror work? (Movie, Show, Art, Book, whatever you want)
DR: Got to be a toss up between The Exorcist and The Shining. Both brilliantly written, acted and directed. My only horror work is my novel Unnatural Causes.
FOF: What has been your favorite thing you have gotten to work on doing this?
DR: What I enjoyed most was channeling the passion I felt about the harm we are doing as a species into what I hope is an entertaining yet thought provoking book.
FOF: What role do you think your specific style of art plays in the community overall?
DR: Novels in general are a bedrock of civilisation. Sometimes you can learn more from a novel than you can from a textbook. To Kill A Mockingbird, for example came out at a time when racism was even more rife than it is now. Lady Chatterly’s Lover when sex was a taboo subject, 1984 has become shorthand for a totalitarian viewpoint. Books can make a difference.
FOF: Anything you are working on that you want to highlight?
DR: I’m now working on a book about how a super- rich cabal of shady industrialist steal an election. No idea where the inspiration came from for that!
FOF: : If you could do anything with any horror franchise, what would it be?
DR: Not a franchise unfortunately but I would have loved to have seen a sequel to the underrated ‘Deep Rising’ from 1998 with Treat Williams and Famke Janssen. When they ended up on the primordial island and Finnegan uttered his laconic ‘Now what,’ as something lumbered through the trees towards them. What happened next!!!!!!!!
FOF: Anything else you’d like to say?
DR: I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the writers struggling against the odds to get their work out there and an equal thank you to all the readers out there without whom we’d be wasting our time!
Stay tuned for more creators this month!