When Simon Parker was a small child, he discovered an old horror comic at a jumble sale. It was dark, spooky and borderline terrifying; he read it with a passion and a hunger he had never known for anything else. At just ten years old, to satisfy the monster unleashed within, he began writing creepy tales of his own. He’s only gotten deeper and darker since. His work has been featured in eHorror magazine, as well as several horror anthologies. In addition to being a talented writer with a vision as dark as any cellar, Simon is also an accomplished artist with his own business in horror art and collectibles. He resides in deepest, darkest rural Suffolk. Its rich history of ghost stories has inspired his tales – stories that don’t spring from the cosy shires but have crawled their way up from Hell itself.
Ever wonder what makes a serial killer take those first tentative steps? Or what you’d feel if a pile of rotting flesh grabbed you with putrid fingers? How psychotic would you become if you discovered hell was a real place and you were in it? Find the inky places between the shadows in these tales of psychological terror and darkest fantasy that bring the gothic tradition bang up to date.
“I snapped this book up and couldn’t find a story I didn’t like.” R.Dove (author)
“…all the gothic traditionalism of Poe with a contemporary twist…” Cohen (author)
“I had a hard time putting this book down.” C.Carrie (author)
“Horribly delightful images that stayed with me long after I locked this book in its cage for the night.” L.Shoemaker Amazon customer
“Get this, you won’t regret it *shiver*” C.Elmore (author)
“Looking for creepy stories to keep you up at night? Jump right in, you won’t be disappointed” Amazon customer confirmed purchase
“As sharp as Jack the Ripper’s knives” Lord Jeffrey of Starbucks
“A way with words that chills you to the bone” C.Gabriel (author )
1. Could you tell us a bit about your most recent release and why it is a must-read?
My most recent release is my book Tales of the Mysterious and Macabre. Personally I think it deserves to be on everyone’s must-read list because it digs at the roots of true horror, going back to the gothic traditions of the psychologically twisted tales that will keep disturbing you long after you’ve put the book down. There is a little gore too of course but my main focus in this book of short stories is to explore the darker side of human nature and the physical and emotional responses to true terror.
I’ve read this and I have to agree with you about delving into the dark side.
2. What is your favorite part of this book?
My favourite part of the book is the story titled Tree in the Void, many of the stories are based around dreams and night terrors from the past, but Tree in the Void was the most vivid of these. Writing this one felt more like I was transcribing actual events than creating a fictional tale. Obviously there are creative embellishments but when I read the tale, I can still feel those feelings I experienced the first time the dream stole my night.
3. In addition to being a writer, do you have a day job? If so, what is it?
I do have a day job as well as writing, in fact I have a couple. I am a painter and decorator and still enjoy it, part of the fun of it for me is going into a tatty or practically derelict room and making it spotless, clean and beautiful. To my way of thinking, nothing is cleaner than a freshly painted room. In addition to this, I get to work in some stunning places that I may never have seen otherwise (and some pretty creepy old places to which is always an added bonus.) As well as being a painter and decorator, I also do a few murals and the occasional trompe l’oeil if the opportunity arises. I am also an artist and sculptor and alongside my horror writing I’m in the process of building a website called The Dark Hearts (www.thedarkhearts.co.uk) where I showcase some of my horror inspired art and collectibles that I hand craft.
4. What does your typical day look like?
A typical day for me begins early, I’m normally up around 5am to write a little or maybe watch a horror movie while I’m getting ready for work. Then it’s off to work in my painting whites, preparing surfaces, filling, sanding, undercoating, top coating, wallpapering and generally making rough walls and woodwork look beautiful again. Once my day job day is done, I come home to my lovely family and either cook or help my gorgeous wife to prepare our evening meal. A meal at the table with my family to share our day and then once that’s done, I get a couple of hours for writing, painting and drawing or one of my many other projects. My weekends are typically spent having some quality time with my family (unless I’m approaching a deadline then every moment is taken up finalising that.)
5. What do you love most about the writing process?
I love my writing process as I can sweep myself away to some fantastically horrific places and explore to my dark hearts content. I love the fact too that you can scribble (yes I still write almost all my manuscripts longhand for the first draft!) absolutely anything that comes into your mind and it doesn’t matter the grammar, the spelling or even the structure, as long as the feeling gets across it will all come out in the edit.
6. Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
One of my favourite characters is never actually named in the whole story. He’s a despicable guy who has a heartfelt pride in his own cowardice. He is a corrupt black marketer who would do just about anything to make a buck and has absolutely no morals or ethics beyond his own welfare. He was fun to write and I liked the fact that he was never named, allowing the readers to almost insert their own suspected names of personal villains from their own lives. We’ve all come across one of these guys at some point in our life and this gives the reader the opportunity to merge their own reality with my fiction.
7. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Some of my characters are based around some real people I have encountered in various places but some are entirely constructed in my mind. There’s been one or two from real life who I’d love to have written into a story but I know for a fact they would be recognised for who they are and that’s not something I’d want to do… even if they do deserve everything that comes to them, that’s not my decision to make, that’s Karma’s game.
With those people I always say, “What goes around, comes around, but I sure hope I get to watch.”
8. What is the biggest surprise you experienced after becoming a writer?
The biggest surprise I’ve had since I’ve been writing is the way my characters come to life and drive themselves in directions they want to go, sometimes completely different to where I first intended them to go. Sometimes it feels more like I’m channeling an alternate reality rather than creating fiction.
9. Since being a writer, what has been the best compliment?
I think the greatest compliment I’ve had since I’ve started writing was from someone I worked with who read the first transcript of the first (self-published) version of my book and came to work the next day looking shattered and said, “There’s something wrong with you, normal people don’t think like that, I haven’t slept a wink, it freaked me right out!” I was so pleased I had managed to evoke such a reaction with my creation. I still smile at that one when I think of it.
10. If you could ask one question from any one person, living or dead, what would it be and from whom?
If I could ask one question of anyone living or dead, it would be my father. He passed after I began writing but long before I even considered getting it published. I’d ask him what he thought of my work and if it made him proud. I was very fortunate to have self-published the first version of the book shortly before my mother passed so she got to see it at least.
Oh, I’m sure he’s so proud of you and ALL you’ve accomplished. He wasn’t on this plane when you published, but he witnessed it. He was probably bragging, “That’s my son.”
11. What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
The toughest criticism is also a kind of compliment in a way. I won’t name names but someone whose opinion matters to me has refused to read my book as they know it would give them nightmares for a month. While I wouldn’t want this particular person to suffer in any way shape or form, the very fact that they think my stories are THAT scary is a frustrating compliment. I’d love them to read it but I can understand why they won’t.
12. If you were riding in an elevator with a new writer, what wisdom would you bestow upon him/her before you reached the top floor?
I think if I was to impart any writerly wisdom to a newbie writer, it would simply be, write, write, write, every day, something, anything, even rubbish, it’ll all polish and most of all NEVER give up!
13. What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
The most amusing thing I can remember happening to me was the first date with my beautiful wife. We went to see a horror film, I won’t name it as I don’t like slating other people’s work, but needless to say, it was far from scary and we actually spent most of the movie laughing hysterically at the poor special effects and terrible storyline. It was actually a brilliant first step in our new relationship and we still laugh about it now (as my wife still thinks I only took her to a horror film to try to get her to hold me when she got scared, lol, I’m not THAT devious, but it would have been a good idea!)
14. What websites or resources have been helpful to you, as a writer?
I use so many sources for my writing from visits to the library and actual research from real books, and occasionally real people to the everyday oracle that is Google. I have researched some of the strangest most twisted information on various things, and I’m almost positive I must be on a watch list somewhere with ‘The authorities’ wondering what the HELL I’m planning. There’s not one single source that has stood above the rest, but I must admit those pertaining to body farms and the physicality of death have held my attention for a considerable time, as have those regarding theories of the afterlife and the perceptions of evil, the devil and the theories of heaven and hell.
Funny you say that about the authorities. When I was researching for my latest book, Deception my daughter said, “If the FBI shows up at the front door, I’m running out the back.”
15. Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?
Without blowing my own trumpet, I am multi skilled, I can pretty much turn my hand to anything and do it to a satisfactory, if not accomplished, level. My art and sculpture is something I’m told is good, I like what I do but I always get a buzz from hearing someone else does too, although I’d still do it even if I was the only one who loved it. I do it for the love of it, not the recognition or praise it gets me.
But it is well earned praise. You’re creations are incredible.
16. What would the main character in your most recent book have to say about you?
My books main characters are killers, monsters, demons and psychopaths so they would probably think I am too much of a big softy. I write some pretty dark stuff, but I’m a big teddy bear really, full of love and able to appreciate the beautiful things in life, as well as seeing the beauty in the darker things of life that scare most people.
17. What is something memorable you heard from a reader/fan?
One comment from a reader that has stayed with me has also been repeated by several more people since, but the first time someone told me they “literally couldn’t put it down and HAD to read the whole thing in one sitting” was such an awesome thing to hear. Book sales are awesome, but if I never sold another book, THAT comment was confirmation enough for me that I’d done my job well.
18. If money were no object, where would you live and why?
If money were no object I think I would probably move to one of three places: Maine has always held an appeal for me (even before I found out it was the home of Stephen King!) as has Nova Scotia, but it’d probably end up being Scotland. I adore Scotland and although it’s not the land of my birth, it has felt like my spiritual home since my first visit many years ago. I’d build a mountainside retreat with stunning sea views, probably on the West coast as the scenery there is simply awe inspiring.
Ooh, I hope I’d be invited to visit.
19. Currently, how many ideas for different books do you have going/jotted down?
I have several FULL notebooks of ideas, probably enough to fuel at least another twenty or so books, films and graphic novels. I have so many projects on the go at the moment that I need to write them down. I have another book coming out next year as well as an audio version of this one, plans for a graphic novel series, a new you tube series and I’m just editing my first short horror film and already writing the screenplay for my next film. I have to write the ideas down as they come to me and get excited each time, as I can see the outline growing of its own volition, like watching shadowy babies being born to fulfil their own destinies, it’s awesome creating things like this. It makes you realise what Victor was on about when he screamed “IT’S ALIVE…IT’S ALIVE!”
20. Where can we find you online?
You can find me on Facebook as HorrorAuthorSimonParker as well as my Dark Hearts page, I’m on Instagram (The Dark Hearts), Twitter (@Horrorword or @DarkHeartsArt) I’m on Goodreads and even snapchat occasionally (MasterMacabre) and YouTube (Simon Parker) and I’m always looking for new ways to spread the darkness online. I’m also attending a few author signing events over the next couple of years so keep an eye for announcements online.
Thank you, Simon for your time and giving my readers an opportunity to glimpse into your writing and world.