Meet author Graham Masterton #HorrorLounge
Tell us about your latest book
THE COVEN is set in the 18th century…Beatrice Scarlet, brought up as an apothecary’s daughter, is skilled in chemistry and medicine. Recently widowed, she is employed to help in a home to reform young prostitutes. Seven of the girls are employed to work in the factory of the tobacco baron who finances the home, but when they all go missing it is believed that they have formed a coven of witches and summoned Satan so that they can escape. Beatrice, however, thinks differently. In essence, this novel is an 18th century CSI, with spooky overtones.
I have also just finished GHOST VIRUS, an out-and-out supernatural horror novel in which the second-hand clothes of dead people take over the personalities of their new owners.
First memory of reading horror
The Pit and the Pendulum and other stories by Edgar Allan Poe when I was about 9. I loved them!
For readers new to horror which 3 books would you recommend they start with?
THE MANITOU (by me); MIRROR (by me); RITUAL (also by me.)
Do you have a favourite horror sub-genre, and why?
Anything that doesn’t have vampires, werewolves or zombies in it.
Most terrifying book you’ve ever read.
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS by HG Wells (but I was only 10)
Did you write in other genres or straight to horror?
I write crime thrillers, historical sagas, disaster novels and political thrillers
Tell us briefly about your route to being published
As editor of Penthouse magazine I started to write sex manuals in the early 1970s. When the bottom fell out of the sex book market I submitted THE MANITOU to my publisher in place of HOW TO TURN YOURSELF ON. It was an instant bestseller and made into a movie.
Tell us about your fans
I never call them fans. I’m not Justin Bieber. They’re readers, and friends. They are invariably clever, creative, amusing and very loyal. Many of them are very pretty (except the blokes with beards)
Horror doesn’t seem to be as well respected as other genres of fiction. Why do you think that is?
I disagree. I think these days the new reading generation treats horror with as much respect as any other genre. And I have noticed that horror gets serious reviews in the papers just as much as other fiction.
Do you think horror is ready for a renaissance?
I believe it’s already renaissed.
Tips for new writers of horror fiction.
Don’t write about any threat that has ever been written about before. There are millions of fascinating demons in global mythology. THE MANITOU was an instant success because nobody had written a horror novel about Native American demons. Make your characters and your settings utterly believable. The more believable they are, the scarier the threat will seem to be.
Do you believe in evil?
Not as a separate entity no. Most acts of evil are nothing more than selfishness taken to extremes. I don’t believe in the supernatural either. I think ghosts and strange apparitions and what appear to be weird coincidences are as natural as we are. It’s just that we don’t yet understand them, just as we didn’t understand viruses in the 18th century.
What scares you?
3 most scary words in English language?
Cancer, communism and fennel
Do you celebrate Halloween?
Only by signing books in aid of Stand Up To Cancer