Meet author James Parsons @ParsonsFiction #HorrorLounge
Tell us about your latest book
My new horror novel is titled Northern Souls and is set in the North East of England. A young man called Eric is almost suspected of killing his girlfriend and so goes to commit suicide. Her ghost comes to stop him, telling him of demon tribes around the North controlling and murdering. He must stop them to save her soul and the people of the North.
First memory of reading horror
Probably either Charnel House by Graham Masterton or The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker when I was a teenager.
For readers new to horror which 3 books would you recommend they start with?
I think a varied mix such as The Manitou from Graham Masterton, The Books of Blood from Clive Barker and Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z Brite.
Do you have a favourite horror sub-genre, and why?
Possibly body horror.
Most terrifying book you’ve ever read.
I still have not read many of the considered classics of the genre but I might say The Damnation Game by Clive Barker.
Your favourite Stephen King book.
I have not really read too many King novels so I might go with The Shining.
New horror authors you’d recommend.
I couple I have recently met – Nick Stead for werewolf fiction and Brad Harmer-Barnes for Lovecraftian monster adventure.
Who do you consider the King and Queen of horror fiction?
Personally, I will go with Clive Barker and Anne Rice, both having made such huge impressions on the horror genres in the last few decades.
Your favourite horror film (adapted from a book) & why?
It will be Hellraiser. I love that film-it has a great mix of classic European gothic style along with late 80's splatter gore effects and some classic dialogue. Also considering the author adapted the film from his own short novella it is a real triumph.
Horror book that you’d like to see adapted to film & why?
It would be great to see a good adaptation of a Graham Masterton book such as one of his Manitou sequels as I think his books are often undervalued in the horror fiction world and some of his tales could really be spectacular on the big screen.
Best horror TV?
Even though it is often hit and miss American Horror Story has been one of the best television shows of the last six or more years. The first two seasons were the best I think but there have still been regular great episodes since.
Did you write in other genres or straight to horror?
Around ten years ago I had been writing screenplays influenced by David Cronenberg, Brian De Palma, Dario Argento, J.G. Ballard. Soon after I tried a couple of short stories in sci-fi and horror. I then started a horror novel and SF novel both at the same time. I completed the SF novel (Orbital Kin) first.
Tell us briefly about your route to being published
I did genuinely consider self-publishing for a while, after submitting to agents around the UK as there have been a number of successful individual authors who have done this with great results. In the end I went with a small UK publisher for my first book although may still self-publish some work in future.
Tell us about your fans
I am not sure that I really have actual fans just yet although I have had a good number of people connect up on social media telling me that they have read my two previous SF books and they enjoyed them, sometimes specific parts or scenes in the books. Often, they have been like myself in that they may want to find something different, unusual or just good fun to read.
Horror doesn’t seem to be as well respected as other genres of fiction. Why do you think that is?
It has been this way since the time of Poe and Lovecraft and will probably remain so although there is always a serious and loyal audience of horror fiction fans out in the world. The horror genre is rarely respected in literary circles or for mainstream awards perhaps partly because it explores the sides of human nature or existence which are disturbing but can serve to explore the human condition in often very honest ways and like horror films people want to watch them or read horror tales for an exhilarating yet safe experience.
Do you think horror is ready for a renaissance?
Every few years there seems to always be a few new horror novels which really push and challenge readers and what the genre is or can do. It never really has died away as there are always real fans looking for good new horror tales.
Tips for new writers of horror fiction.
Explore any unusual creepy idea which might come to mind. Try to write what you would possibly want to read. Don't be afraid to mess up the first draft, the story can change a lot before you are really done with it.
Do you believe in evil?
Actual supernatural evil? Probably not personally. Evil in human nature? Sadly yes there have always been too many examples of terrible human evil across history be it mass genocide or individual murders.
What scares you?
A totalitarian government, loss of many human rights, something moving in my morning cereal.
3 most scary words in English language?
Censorship, hate, deadline.
Do you celebrate Halloween?
Not in the over the top plastic American way that has come over to the UK in recent times really. Personally, I usually prefer to watch a good double-bill of horror movie classics or read some Poe or a new horror novel.