Meet author Oli Jacob @OliJacobsAuthor #HorrorLounge
Tell us about your latest book
The Lament of the Silver Badger is a new collection of short stories that, funnily enough, lean more toward horror than anything else. I try to add a variety to my anthologies, but in this instance we ended up having a carnival of creepy stalkers, sanity-crippling dopplegangers, and tiny people who live in beards.
I'm also crowdfunding a new slice of horror on Unbound, it's about the appearance of 6 feet wide hole in a gated community which doesn’t seems to end, and makes strange noises during the night. More here if you're interested.
I would say I’d do a story about loving puppies, but there’ll probably be some dark twist in there…
First memory of reading horror
Rather cliché, but it was Stephen King who I first ventured toward. I was already a horror movie nerd with a penchant for John Carpenter, George A Romero, and the like, which lead me to King. I believe Night Shift was the first one I read, and then spiralled from there.
Which 3 horror books do you keep returning to?
Anything by HP Lovecraft, although At The Mountains of Madness specifically.
I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
The Bachman Books – Stephen King
For readers new to horror which 3 books would you recommend?
Apart from the above 3, I’d also include:
The Last Days of Jack Sparks – Jason Arnopp
House of Leaves – Mark Z Danielewski
Leviathan – Ian Edginton (technically a graphic novel, but rather good)
Who do you consider the King and Queen of horror fiction?
The King would be HP Lovecraft, from the way he’d craft a story not based on gloopy description, but by brain-tickling fear and paranoia. It’s easy to be gory, but takes skill to really get under your skin.
The Queen would undoubtedly be Mary Shelley, not only for breaking convention and establishing women as equals in the horror writing field in a time when it wasn’t “the done thing”, but for producing a classic in Frankenstein that still inspires today.
Greatest horror film (adapted from a book) & why?
I’m going to cheat a bit here by saying a film adapted from a short story, primarily Who Goes There? by John W Campbell Jr. which ended up being… The Thing. For me, it is the seminal horror film because – as well as the visceriffic visuals – it relies on a creeping anxiety rather than out and out scares.
Horror book that you’d like to see adapted to film & why?
The aforementioned Last Days of Jack Sparks, which luckily enough is being adapted into a film. It is stacked full of brilliant visuals described in such a manner that you feel present as the horror unfolds, from the chill of a hillside church, to the sticky streets of Hong Kong. Jason Arnopp has experience in writing for the screen, which shows in his book. Personally, I can’t wait to see it.
Best horror TV?
The Twilight Zone. I’m a big fan of a well-crafted twist or morality tale, so this always tickled my mean streak. Other than that, if you want something absolutely cheesy and straight out of late-90s Channel 5, hunt out Urban Gothic. The Sandman episode is a stand out for me…
Did you write in other genres or straight to horror?
I like to dabble in other genres, specifically comedy as my own personality tends to lean in that direction. I’ve also dipped my toe in the likes of Fantasy, Thriller, and Western, but there always seems to be a dark vein emerging in all of them. Does that say something about me? I’m going to say… *shrug*
Tell us briefly about your route to being published
I’ve been self-published via Amazon’s KDP program since 2012, and use Lulu to publish my paperbacks. Recently, I’ve looked into working with Unbound, so hopefully something will come of that.
Tell us about your fans
Loyal and friendly. I’m still in the level below the level below “Cult Author”, but those do read my books on a constant basis eat them up, whether it is Kirk Sandblaster engaging in a new adventure, or the crew of Station 17 being ripped apart.
Horror doesn’t seem to be as well respected as other genres of fiction. Why do you think that is?
Because it isn’t seen as an “educated” genre. With the kinds of books you can find in bestseller lists or award shows, they tend to strike a similar narrative of having an important message or shining a light on an important subject. With Horror, it isn’t the message or subject that is important, it’s the narrative and having fun. I do feel that lately in fiction, the fun element has been taken away and replaced by readers wanting something more akin to a happy reality. That, or Misery Fiction. Or 50 Shades of Bloody Whatsit.
Do you think horror is ready for a renaissance?
To say renaissance is to suggest it fell out of favour. What I think now is that we need to embrace the new wave of horror that is being born out of the masters of old. The King’s & Koontz’, the Lovecraft’s & Shelley’s. Like most fiction – or creative arenas - some readers tend to stick to the acts that are most well known; the ones that sell out arenas or have the powerful movers and shakers behind them. It’s always worth for readers to bypass the big scenes, and dwell deep into the indie scene, where you can find writers like Dane Cobain (No Rest for the Wicked), Andrew Lawston (Apocalypse Barnes), and many more. Even the advent of Creepypasta has helped keep Horror in the underground, where tales such as Slenderman, Candle Cove, and Dionaea House tingle the senses.
Tips for new writers of horror fiction.
Look at the normal, and wonder how you can turn that into something that scares the crap out of you. Pro tip is to write in low-light when you’re alone. If what you’re writing is scaring you, then you’re onto something.
Oh, and read horror. All the time. Forever.
Do you believe in evil?
I hate to be the kind that makes a comment on popular events, but suffice to say I feel you can just look at the world we seem to be evolving into, and answer that question.
What scares you?
I’ll keep this short as to not provoke the Gods: Spiders, Heights, and the Magic Roundabout theme tune.
Do you celebrate Halloween?
I adore Halloween. Absolutely love it. I used to throw house parties in my younger days that became quite the social, and now enjoy spending it with my wife watching all sorts of spine-tinglers. And if the chance to dress up comes along, even better…