Meet author Ben Gwalchmai  @bengwalchmai #HorrorLounge

Ben Gwalchmai 

By Ben Gwalchmai

Tell us about your latest book: Purefinder is gothic-horror, historical thriller with a satirical edge

First memory of reading horror: Goosebumps Stay Out of The Basement  

Do you have a favourite horror sub-genre, and why?

Gothic horror because the melodrama can be loud & proud or subtle & slow, it can come in explosions or hang heavy over the thing - a sand-filled sky. It also inspired the Giallo films and you can never have enough Suspiria in your life.

Most terrifying book you've ever read.

I think I find horror in places that not everyone would recognize, the most recent of which is David Cameron's unauthorized biography. The most terrifying is sometimes the most normal in its complacent inequality. 

Your favourite Stephen King book.

The Running Man

New horror authors you'd recommend.

E. Lily Yu

Who do you consider the King and Queen of horror fiction?

I'm a republican. I kneel to no-one. 

Your favourite horror film (adapted from a book) & why?

Hmmm...tough one. The Shining would seem like an obvious choice but it is fantastically well done, however, one of my favourite directors is David Cronenberg and The Fly - though based on the original horror B-Movie - was also based on Kafka, Zhuangzi, and more. 'Be afraid, be very afraidâ'. Wondrously, it also became an opera in 2008 - so, final choice, The Fly.

Horror book that you'd like to see adapted to film & why?

Any portion of the Andy Diggle run on Hellblazer - Diggle was one of the few writers on this classic horror comic to really understand the character of John Constantine and the stories that naturally fit. 

Did you write in other genres or straight to horror?

I'd written poetry, plays, and sci-fi short stories before.

Tell us briefly about your route to being published 

I was both unlucky and lucky to not get an agent - after finishing the final draft of the book, I sent it to every agent that I thought might like it but to no avail. I'd also sent it to a few publishers that had an open submission policy at that time and one that I was encouraged to but didn't really give much thought to those. In fact, I gave up on the book ever really seeing the light of day. Fortunately, one of those open submission publishers didn't give up and when they approached, I jumped. The only different thing that my story might have to other writers is that I wasn't happy with the publisher's suggestions for a cover and they were so brilliantly flexible, they let me ask someone I'd been recommended - his work was exactly the right fit. When I read it back now, I sometimes think we could have edited it a little more but the tone and voice of it suits gothic horror.

Tell us about your fans 

The ones that have got in touch, I'm very grateful they're interesting and interested. The ones that don't get in touch but take my book out of libraries and give me a very pleasant surprise in my ALCS payments twice a year are just as appreciated.

Horror doesn't seem to be as well respected as other genres of fiction. Why do you think that is?

Though I'd say that horror is only disrespected in literature - in film, it's a high art - I think the only reason for it is because of its penny-dreadful/pulp origins. Fortunately, those of us who are poor and like a good pulp can revel in our habit.

Do you think horror is ready for a renaissance?

No, i's our secret. If snooty readers can't take the iron taste of blood on their brain then they can get lost in TS Eliot's backside, the rest of us will be running with the wolves.

Tips for new writers of horror fiction.

It isn't blood. It isn't death. It's the depths humans are willing to dive that are truly horrifying. Other yourself.

Do you believe in evil?


Do you celebrate Halloween?
Hell yes.

Where can readers find you on social media?  



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