Me Question 1. In my review, I compared aspects of your writing to that of James Herbert (one of the horror authors whose stories I grew up with). Are you conscious of how you style your characters to influence the feel of the story or do they grow organically from the initial idea?
Peter ‘In Tunnels, the main characters (Lily, and her partner) are undeniably based on myself and my wife. The idea for the story itself came from our genuine experiences at live-action horror events, and there really is a (supposedly) haunted wartime fort near to our home. The main characters scepticism strongly reflects my own, and their actions in the story are based on how I feel that we would act in such a situation. A lot of my stories feature some kind of moral dilemma, such as in Retribution (part of the Tunnels Collection), in which a man has the opportunity to legally kill his wife’s murderer. In other stories, such as 21, I write from the POV of a serial killer, and it’s interesting to try and justify the way such a person thinks, and acts. So, to answer your question, I would say that it varies from story to story; in some, the characters react to the events around them, and in others the events that take place are results of the characters flaws / motivations.’
Me Question 2. What for you is horror and how do you express that in your writing ? What’s your own relationship with what you find horrifying?
Peter ‘For me, horror is that sense of dread that something awful is going to happen. As much as I enjoy a splattering of gore, I find the build up of tension, the threat of danger, and the genuine not knowing what is going to happen, to be the most terrifying. From a personal perspective, I suffer with high-functioning anxiety, so I am frequently on edge, or expecting something bad to happen. As unpleasant as it can be in reality, I do feel it helps ramp up the sense of dread in my stories. It’s also nice that I have the power to control the ending, and I suppose a head-doctor would say it is cathartic.’
Me Question 3. Screamfix is all about supporting indie horror. Who or what would you recommend to all those creative minds looking for a little inspiration and encouragement?
Peter ‘Writing is a long process, much longer than I expected, so persistence and patience are essential. Just because you’ve written a story, as fantastic as it may be, doesn’t mean you’re going to sell many copies. The best move I made was to start promoting other peoples work, which I began in October with a ’31 days of horror’ promotion. I found some fantastic groups on social media, specific to horror, and put together a list of other writers’ books, shared them across my social media platforms and blog. The majority of the writers also shared the posts and my reach has grown hugely since then. I’ve also made a lot of connections through this, which has increased my sales, gained me some great reviews, and led to me having stories published in other anthologies. So, my advice is to throw yourself into conversations with like-minded people, send out free copies in exchange for feedback (and take on board what you’re told, even if it isn’t all positive). As time-consuming as it is, being an Indie writer requires a lot of time doing your own marketing, and you’ll get a lot more done with a group of authors all supporting each other’
A big thank you from me to Peter for answering my questions – to find out more, check out the links below. See you next Saturday!
Our review of the title story.
Peter’s Amazon page.