You might remember David’s compelling piece ‘Conscious Nightmare’ from a few weeks back. Turns out the author himself is just as compelling. We sat down for a chat.
Hi David, thanks for joining us. Your debut story was Conscious Nightmare. I got a bit of a Kafka vibe from it. Was that something that influenced you?
Yeah, Kafka has been an influence of mine. We read Metamorphosis in school and that was the first time I really took notice of literary form. But I’m a big fan of Poe too.
Nice, Poe’s a bit of favourite round NiTH as well.
Yeah I’ve noticed the daily Poe-ms
Got a favourite?
My favourite Poe story is the Masque of Red Death. Suspense, horror, imagery and a political message all in such a short passage? Perfect.
Do you think horror generally suits short form writing? What sort of limitations did you experience writing with limited word counts?
I think horror is a very diverse genre that can fit into any form, since there’s so many devices to horror. I always believe that the story should be as long as the story needs to be, rather than using the word count to craft a story. The one I submitted to NiTH just happened to work in 900 words, fortunately for me
Indeed. So tell us a bit more about yourself. Who are you, what do you do? Have you written anything else we can read?
Well, I’m just a working class boy from the north of England really, I’m currently a theatre technician who does lighting for shows, but the dream is to make a living as a writer. I’ve been very lucky through my life to be surrounded by creative people and I think that’s been a major help in developing my style. NiTH was my 4th published story, I had a longer piece of horror in an issue of Dark Gothic Resurrected and I’ve had a couple of flash fiction pieces done online
I bet working around the theatre is good experience for storytelling as well?
It is, we’re the biggest theatre around where we are so we tend to get the biggest shows which is good for the mind but the crew I work with is filled with creative people. There’s a bloke who writes really clever bluesy songs, a man who’s been all around the world and is full of stories, we’ve got a guy with an art degree and my stage manager used to be a figure skater so there’s plenty of artists around
Thinking back on your story I recall a lot of play with light and shadow.
And I’m glad you got that, that’s a major part of my style
Speaking of style, are there any books you are reading at the moment that you’ve found particularly interesting?
I remember buying a copy of The Old Man And The Sea (Hemingway) a while back and then reading the whole thing in one sitting. I can’t recall ever being moved by a story as much as that one, it was just a truly astonishing piece of writing, quite a feat for a story about catching one fish. That is my all time favourite book, the way Hemingway can just make you care so much about anything in so few words is something I believe every writer wishes they could emulate. I’m currently reading for Whom The Bell Tolls it’s the same, I was invested immediately.
Just on Hemingway, What do you think makes Hemingway so alluring as a writer?
Well the man himself was an enigma and a genius, that’s always alluring. But he could make a story about anything, I mean he practically invented the six word story and that’s impressive. His style and what he had to say just speaks to me. He wrote about humans and that’s what I care about
Do you have a particular process or ritual when you write?
My writing process is simple enough, when an idea pops into my head I think about a mood I’d like to set and then I make a playlist of songs that make me feel that mood on my iPod and I don’t tend to listen to anything else until I’ve at least made a draft of the story in my head. I tend to go on a lot of walks during this time.
I think walking and writing are pretty complimentary habits. Anyone you’d like to shout out to that has played an influence in your life?
If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to mention and thank my English teachers Miss Copeland and Mrs Claxton who were the ones who really showed me that I can write.
Nothing quite beats a good English teacher, does it. Thanks for joining us, David.
Contact David on Twitter @thedavidrford