A few weeks ago I published a review of Lee Mountford’s novel The Demonic. This week we get to find out more about the man himself.
Quesion 1. The Demonic was inspired in part by real events – is history a resource you have drawn from in your other work or was it just that particular combination of location and legend?
Lee. ‘So far, that is the only novel of mine that has been inspired by a historical event, though I don’t think it will be the last. Before starting The Demonic, I knew I wanted to write a haunted house story, but didn’t know where to begin regarding the haunting and the story behind it. So I looked back to my childhood and to some of the scary stories we used to tell as kids, which is when I remembered about the murders at Brass Farm that had taken place in my hometown many years ago.
It suddenly all seemed so simple. So, without a doubt, I will be looking back on real-life events to see how I can incorporate them into future stories. The North-East of England seems to be rife with good old-fashioned ghost stories, which is very fertile ground for coming up with scary tales.’
Question 2. Horror is a very personal thing – what scares you? Do the things that had you sleeping with a light on when you were young still have that effect on you now?
Lee. ‘I’m a little bit of a skeptic when it comes to the supernatural, but if I’ve watched a particularly scary supernatural film, or read a terrifying book on that subject matter before going to bed – then I’m going to have trouble sleeping. I can be as unbelieving as I want in the cold light of day, but if I hear a noise that I can’t explain at night, then I’m ducking under the covers, certain that a ghost is about to come and steal my soul.
I think that stems from the first thing I ever saw that truly scared me, which was a BBC programme that aired in 1992 called Ghostwatch. I fell for the mockumentary hook, line and sinker (being only 11 at the time) and was terrified for days after. I own Ghostwatch on DVD now, and it still has the power to creep me out.’
Question 3. Screamfix is all about supporting indie horror. Are there resources you would recommend to aspiring authors out there, either practical or inspirational? What would be your one piece of advice from personal experience that you wish someone had told you?
Lee. ‘There is loads of great stuff out there for indie authors. I can recommend a couple of things right off the bat. Firstly, there is Iain Rob Wrights A-Z of Self Publishing. It is a video programme that walks you through the nuts and bolts of self-publishing, kind of a how-to guide, and it is completely free. Next, I’d recommend watching Chris Fox’s Youtube channel and reading his ebooks on writing and marketing – there is some great stuff there that helps you get in the mindset of being an independent author.
Also, diversify your work. Don’t just stick to ebooks. It is relatively inexpensive to produce paperbacks too, and with royalty sharing, you can also get your work converted to audiobooks for free. There are lots of markets out there, so try to spread your net.
I would say these are practical tips that aren’t just associated with horror but will hopefully be invaluable.
And as for the one piece of advice that I wish someone had told me – get into the habit of finishing what you start. I only really committed to doing that a couple of years ago and now have three books out, with a fourth almost complete. Thinking of all the times I abandoned stories because the writing got hard, instead of pushing through, just annoys me now, as I would have been so much farther on in my writing journey.
But we live and learn, and that is a lesson that will stay with me now forever. Writing isn’t always easy, and sometimes you don’t want to do it – but those are the times when you just HAVE to sit down and write.’
Lee Mountford’s fourth book, another supernatural horror story called The Mark, is due out soon. Visit his website and sign-up to the mailing list to be alerted when it is released.
Karen is a full time artist living in Whitby (perfect location for a horror fan). Her own monsters have taken over to the point where they actually have their own closet space and so she takes refuge in books and films, some of which she’d like to share with you.