It’s been a crazy and exciting year so far, and it’s hard to believe that it’s almost over.
Right now I’m working on an interview for @HarperCollins author Michael Stanley (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip)who I met at Bouchercon a month ago where they won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original for the third novel in their series. They’re such lovely guys and the Detective Kubu series is so unique. I think the interview will be a lot of fun for everybody.
In the past couple days I’ve knocked out some serious story wordage in a new Thriller novel–The Wolverine. I expect I’ll finish the first draft by the end of the month if life doesn’t throw me too many curve balls. It’s about a dysfunctional family and a complex killer, a book that will explore the bonds of family, forgiveness, death, and maturity. This is another novel that I intend to sell under a pen name to keep separate from my Horror/Dark Fantasy work. It’s a lot of fun writing this book like it was to recently write The Lesser People. I see my career branching off, and like the idea of it, since most of my favorite work is more Literary Crime/Thrillers (think Dennis Lehane, John Connolly, Michael Koryta, Michael Connelly, Lee Child.) I’ll still write under my own name too, because I love Dark Fantasy in the vein of Clive Barker, Joe Hill, Brian Hodge, John Gardner, Jack Cady, Neil Gaiman, Robert Dunbar, Greg Gifune, and Peter Straub. So it’ll be a doubly fun adventure to do both genres under different names.
My latest novella (When We Join Jesus in Hell) from Darkfuse is doing well. If you’ve read it, share it with a friend and leave a review somewhere please. I also picked up two new pre-readers yesterday and look forward to their feedback from a reader’s standpoint to balance my writing buddies that pre-read from a writerly/reader angle.
Our creativity comes from what has touched, scared and stimulated us before this present moment as well as through thinking on what has never been, what could have been, and what might yet be.
We form narrative from light and shadow, wisps of smoke, whispered prayers, all in hopes that the finished product will connect with and move someone else (hopefully a lot of someones.)
Our muse, our inspirations, come from a number of places and take various processes from quick absorption, a streak of lightning, or the slower, gestating movement that rattles us to our core and takes our breath away. Sometimes the lightning strike produces the gestation, but no matter what inspires us a key aspect of a healthy writing career is to STAY inspired.
I’ve heard tons of people talk about writer’s block. Don’t have a clue how to get through it because I’ve never had it, but I think one of the reasons I haven’t is because of variety, multiple points of inspiration, and a pretty simple approach to life (kinda black and white actually, which isn’t always good but isn’t always bad either because it keeps me focused.)
So, let’s look at the various parts that feed and sustain our muse, our energy, and make our time more effective both before and after creating something new, and hopefully makes what we put ourselves through worthwhile…
It’s easy to stay inspired when you have knowledge that you’re passionate about, whether it be some aspect of the writing craft, or some aspect of what it means to be human, or the importance of stories, or a deep and abiding knowledge of human emotions. Some of it we pluck consciously from every day life, some floats up like gold-encrusted debris from our subconscious, from lessons learned that can only be learned via hindsight.
But how we come by inspiration isn’t as important as acquiring the seeds that produce more of it.
That spark of an idea that stirs something in us is always exciting. But we also get inspiration from other places and probably should. Those who wait for inspiration to strike them are happy when it does and tortured when it doesn’t. Who wants to live and create like that? We can make our own inspiration a lot of times by reading books that level us, by reading those that have before, by participating in other creative endeavors (which also bleed over into our writing in a cross-pollination sort of way!), by listening to the wind, watching the stars, letting our minds wander and by remembering what it was like to be a kid without our parents around, when the world held possibilities and not an endless, bone-crushing grind. I find inspiration in all of those things, a little every day, plus in studying beautiful and striking artwork, in playing guitar, in talking to a best friend, in listening to (and sometimes mishearing) a family member. Don’t always wait for inspiration. Breathe life until you’re about to burst so that there is always material creating itself in your subconscious.
Trust in our heart-of-hearts that what we write about matters to us and means something is incredibly important. If we don’t trust our process then it’s already standing on shaky ground. It’s easier to be inspired and find inspiration when we know deep in our gut that we’re going to find something worth saying, with characters that bleed and bond together, with dialogue that crackles, with obstacles that push our characters to their limits, and in turn, the reader.
What I’ve done to build trust in my process is to accept that nothing I ever write will be perfect, not to me, not to anybody. It takes some of the pressure off, lets me say, “Hey, I’ll just do my best and that’s all that’s required.” Then I go do my best and more often than not I’m mostly satisfied with the results.
Your muse will probably kick you in the nuts or vagina if you never let your imagination run wild and naked through the forest or bound recklessly down slick city streets. Imagination is paramount. It’s as important as the execution of a tale. It’s details, the way they’re told, the massive scope of the project, and it carries the weight of stars and land and sea. All of the greats had bucket loads of it pressing at the walls of their brains. They dipped their pen in that gushy mass of nerves and created what wasn’t there before.
When I read slush for Horror Library Vol. 4, back before I’d ever sold a story, one of the things that struck me about most of the rejected pieces was a lack of imagination. You know why? Because the majority of them would tell the same stale tale and how do you get excited about that?
We’re all given and nurture (or not) a certain volume of imagination. Those gifted with a lot must be wary that it doesn’t override the story because its easy for the very imaginative to let that fire burn away the story and diminish it. We learn through experience when we have too little or too much. Those who lack imagination are in a similar predicament, but theirs is that their work can come out too bland, bound by the constraints of what their logical, rational minds allow. We have to let go of our place in the world if we’re to let our imaginations grow. I think part of what holds us back is conditioning by parents and preachers and school systems. When we chase security it flees from us because it doesn’t exist. It’s a mirage.
There are many writers but only a handful who have truly inspired me, muses many times in their own way down dark passages and those open, lovely times that are crowded by bliss: William Faulkner, Tom Piccirilli, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Mr. Poe, Jack Cady, Greg Gifune, Robert Dunbar, Sara Gruen, Dennis Lehane, John Connolly, Peter Straub, Douglas Clegg, Clive Barker, Cormac McCarthy, John Gardner, Gary Braunbeck, Jack Ketchum, Brian Hodge, Lee Thomas, and Neil Gaiman. I’m going to dedicate my serial novel THE COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION to them because they are all in this, hidden between pages and crowding sentences with their undeniable mark.
So, go find those seeds that you can toss to the wind. Be patient while you work and every now and then as you toil away in your closed little world, eyes straining and heart aching, you’ll peek over your shoulder and see those seeds have taken root. What will grow? God only knows. But that’s part of the fun.
All right! The first five chapters of my Division novel THE COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION are up on Darkfuse’s website. Give them a read, let me know what you think, and spread the word to anybody who enjoys well-written dark fiction.
All right, the fourth chapter of COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION is going live today on my publisher’s website. Give it a read, leave me some feedback, check out Delirium’s novella club, go buy your wife flowers, give your kid a hug and listen to them, etc. As always, a huge thanks to my readers Shaun Ryan, Kevin Wallis, and Jen. And again to my publisher for putting so much faith in me and my work.
I also got the press release for my live event on Delirium/Darkfuse’s website. I’m super pumped about it since it’ll be my first time and I appreciate any who can spread the word and hope to see some of you there! Some of you are editors who have encouraged and helped me, some are writers who have been there and shared the struggle, some of you are readers and the reason I write, but we’re all in the same boat. We all love stories.
So check it out and spread the word! A big thanks to those who have already shared: K. E. Bergdoll, Peter Schwotzer, Jennifer @ Book Den, Douglas E. Wright, Dave Thomas, Dark Eva, Gregory Fisher, Jim Mcleod, Rich Gott, Amy Grech, Scott Tyson, and Scary Ass Books! Plus anybody I’m not aware of who shared!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DELIRIUM TO HOST LIVE ONLINE EVENT WITH AUTHOR LEE THOMPSON ON THURSDAY, MARCH 29 AT 9 P.M.
NORTH WEBSTER, INDIANA – DarkFuse Publications will be hosting a live online event with author Lee Thompson on Thursday, March 29 from 9 to 10 p.m. The event is open to the public and participants will be entered to win a one-year subscription to the Delirium Kindle Book Club—24 novellas total—as well as signed limited edition hardcover copies of Lee’s novella IRON BUTTERFLIES RUST.
Lee will be answering questions from readers and discussing his influences, creative process, future projects, and his Division mythos.
About the author: Lee Thompson started selling work in early 2010. His novels NURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN and THE DAMPNESS OF MOURNING, along with his novellas IRON BUTTERFLIES RUST and DOWN HERE IN THE DARK have all been published by Delirium Books. His free serial web novel COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION is currently being published in a weekly format.
You can find his short stories in Dark Discoveries, Sideshow Press, Shock Totem, Apex’s Zombie Feed anthology, Tasmaniac Publications, and other neat places. He’s worked a lot, sweated a lot, and continues to take up space the best he can. He interacts with his readers at his website.
About the publisher: Delirium Books is one of the leading specialty presses in the horror genre. Operating in the Midwest (Northern Indiana), Delirium Books has quickly gained the reputation of bringing to print and eBook formats the best new voices in horror fiction, including bestselling author Brian Keene. Delirium has also published established genre authors such as Brian Lumley, Greg F. Gifune, Douglas Clegg, Ramsey Campbell and Jack Ketchum.
My story More Than Enough is featured in this chapbook. I was one of the winners in their Writer’s Eye competition and they’re neat little books. You can snag a copy for five bucks by calling York Arts at 717-848-3200.
Also turned in a fun guest blog titled The Joy of Creating New Worlds. It’s snazzy. Looking forward to when it goes live because I love writing stuff like that!
Working hard on a writing book for beginners called Chasing the Dragon. It’s Bruce Lee for writing soul. I share a lot of things I’ve learned in the last year since selling five books to Delirium/Darkfuse and one to Thunderstorm Books. Going to cover a lot of material in a unique way and hopefully make some people think. Pouring my blood into this thing so it’ll be a little heavy and very straightforward.
Have fucking awesome news about my third Red Piccirilli novel COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION and the Division mythos as a whole that I can’t share yet but will be super excited when I can!
Plus I’ll have a live interview coming up before we know it!
Will also have a fun and insightful interview with one of my favorite writers on here again. The deadly Greg F. Gifune.
And Delirium is offering a sweet deal on the novellas right now that you need to check out. *Poke*
Just received word the interview with me went live on Darkfuse. It was a lot of fun. Here’s a snippet:
What was your inspiration for writing DOWN HERE IN THE DARK?
Well, it’s a small part of a large story, and I knew that Frank Gunn was as close as you can get to shattered by the end of IRON BUTTERFLIES RUST, so I explored that and the trip, the adventure really, as scary as it can be at times, that brings him to the crazy little town of Division. I see things very clearly when it comes to my character and how his story ties into others, the big picture and the small beats, which made it easy to write about him in this book. I enjoy subtext too and there is a lot of that, and a lot of links to other Division books, and I like the forward propulsion of the narrative, the searching Frank does inside himself and trying to relate to all the odd things going on around him, which really is out of his reach like it is anybody’s.
What themes do you enjoy exploring?
Oh, a lot of themes. Lol. Recurring ones are about betrayal and how we deal with it; the necessity of returning violence when somebody will be nothing but violent to you or those you love; growing up on the inside instead of faking it simply for the sake of others; how weak and strong and reliable and unreliable we can all be, how human that makes us; that if anything in the world is a monster, it’s man; if anything in the world is a hero, it’s man; connections that may not appear to be connections at first until we dig deeper and figure out people’s motives; how frail love makes us, and how incredibly driven; how hate doesn’t eat us alive, our allowing it to rule over us for an extended period of time does, because hate is as necessary as love; how there’s magic in childhood and adults train it out of us; how desperate some people are to find an identity and others will sacrifice everything just to fit in, which I and most of my characters feel is very, very sad; I like to explore the results of tragedy, and show how different people cope or accept it; I deal in self-loathing because I’ve done it most of my life, and the work it takes to break those negative thought processes; bad habits and good habits, regrets and pride, extremes and everywhere between; the mystery of life and our fear of death; our egotism one moment and self-doubt the next; most of my characters feel like Holden Caulfield, that they’re surrounded by phonies, that they themselves might be phonies, and it whittles at their souls because if nothing is true or fair or genuine then what’s the fucking point when you don’t want to play the game to begin with?
Tons of things going on here and all of them rocking. I’ve got the signature sheets for DOWN HERE IN THE DARK in front of me. The digital is out now, the signed/limited hardcover coming mid-April. It’s a hell of a story and picks up right after the end of IRON BUTTERFLIES RUST. It’s dark, twisted, cryptic and stunning. Alfred Hitchcock (my pet monkey) said it’s a tour de force.
Like everything else, I think it stands alone, but it’s a sliver of the Division mythos and I think it’s going to be badass when every book and short story is complete so everybody (including me) can read them in order and experience the full effects of these character’ trials and successes.
It also ties in directly to THE DAMPNESS OF MOURNING which is out early as a Kindle Exclusive. The signed/limited hardcovers are coming out on Valentine’s Day!
I did an interview on Literary Mayhem. Also just turned one in for Darkfuse that was a lot of fun and should be live soon. Working with Dave Thomas on some promotional stuff that should be a blast for everybody! I think I’ll be playing guitar and reading some opening chapters.
NURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN is in production as an audio book and so far I’ve heard the first 13 chapters (my lucky number!) and it is so cool to hear somebody else read my work.
I’ve also been interviewing some of my heroes lately. So far I’ve sat down and sipped absinthe with Robert Dunbar, Tom Piccirilli, and Lee Thomas. All amazingly talented bad boys. Up next I’ll be interviewing Greg Gifune. Working on his questions now. It’s been a lot of fun talking to those guys and picking their brains. They’ve been surprisingly candid and I love ‘em for it.
I finished the rewrite on the second Red Piccirilli book WITHIN THIS GARDEN WEEPING. I’d submitted it to Chizine but since I’ve written one novel and three novellas while waiting to hear back from them I figured it a good idea to use what I’d learned while waiting to make the book stronger. It’s the sequel to the first book BEFORE LEONORA WAKES, a simple but interesting YA story. I’m very proud of both of them since they set the foundation in what comes in the adult novels and novellas. You can read the opening of the second book on the lovely Book Den.
Another Division story, THE RIVER, is under consideration with Apex’s Dark Faith 2 antho. It’s the only short story I have unpublished right now and I love it.
Two short stories (Daddy Screamed With Us and Crooked Stick Figures) will be in the anthology American Horror Stories, vol. 1 from Delirium Books later this year, too.
I’m working out the threads of the third Red Piccirill novel COLLECTED SONGS OF SONNELION. So not ready to write this one yet. It’s going to be incredibly dark for Red. It’s going to break my heart to write. But I know I have to get to it at some point because this is the book that mostly shapes who Red is in the Division novels Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children, The Dampness of Mourning, and The Patron Saint of Infinite Sorrow.
Also working on the threads of a very touching, yet very disturbing, YA novel called A Monster of Many Faces. It’s going to tackle issues that have bothered me my whole life and people are going to die (one of them is already dead.)
I’m anxious (somewhat) for when reviews start coming in for all four books coming out this year. I enjoy feedback, and especially enjoy it when people tackle the challenge each story presents. I know not everybody will get them, and not everybody is going to like my work, but I’m grateful some do (some who I have a ton of respect for.)
I’ve heard news that my Thunderstorm novella is on the fast track and look forward to seeing the finished product. It’s going to be a beauty.
I’m very excited that some people are loving the Division story line and characters. I see it all so clearly and its such a massive story it takes my breath away knowing that it came out of my wee little imagination. Crazy.
Feeling very relaxed. No pressure here. But expect some great things.
I’m going to focus on things that are the most important to me this year, and one of those things is pointing out writers who deserve credit based on the sheer talent, intensity and honesty of their work in contrast to those sadass writers who rely on throwing money into getting their names out there or who constantly kiss ass or manipulate to get ahead.
These writers I’m going to interview are Pros in every sense of the word. And they show it where it fucking matters. On the page. In the residue their stories leave behind in your head.
I’m honored that Robert Dunbar is the first. He’s the author of THE PINES, THE SHORE, MARTYRS & MONSTERS and WILLY. He’s also the publisher/editor for Uninvited Books, a wonderful addition to the genre that is focusing on dark literary work and has released two of my top books of 2011 (Greg Gifune’s GARDENS OF NIGHT and Robert’s novel WILLY).
WILLY is a wonderful novel full of quiet intensity, beauty and sadness. It was my introduction to Robert, made my top five reads for 2011, and I can’t wait to dig into his other work. This is how it goes for me. (It happened when I first read Tom Piccirilli, Douglas Clegg, Peter Straub, Greg Gifune, John Connolly, Dennis Lehane, William Faulkner, Jack Cady, Clive Barker, et al.) I’d stumble onto a book by an author I’d never read and the lightning hits. All of the things I love most about a story are there in spades. Robert Dunbar did that to me too, the bastard. Now I have catching up to do. But it’ll be good fun.
Thanks for taking time with me and the readers, Robert!
My pleasure, Lee.
How did you start as a reader? Were you raised in a household where reading was encouraged and respected? Or did you have to sneak books and hope that if you were caught with one that you wouldn’t be ridiculed?
Was I raised in a cultured environment? Yes. Yes, I was. Absolutely. In fact, my governess went to great lengths to instill a love of the arts and …
I’m tripping. In our neighborhood, it was more socially acceptable to be caught with syringe than a book. A handgun involved fewer explanations. Something tells me you can relate.
When and how did you cross that line from fan to fan/creator?
I was never a fan. A connoisseur, perhaps. A passionate advocate. Certainly. But a fan?
Not that there aren’t artists I intensely admire.
By the way, that’s an amazing list of writers you mentioned, and I’m very conscious of the honor in being included, but I’d like to make it clear that I’m not above ‘kissing ass and manipulating’ to get ahead. I just suck at it is all.
Who has influenced you, Robert? Did different writers offer different things? (Did you love one for their lyricism and another for depth of character, etc.? Or just soak it all in?)
I can’t even enumerate all the crisis points in my life where I’ve asked myself, “What would Barbara Stanwyck do?” Oddly, I never seem to have a riding crop with me at such moments. Oh, but you probably meant literary influences, didn’t you? On that level, I’m easy to please. A book just needs to be brilliant.
You’ve already touched on a few of my personal heroes, but there’ve been others.
I admired Poe very much as a child but had already begun to find him rather tedious by the time puberty hit. (Actually, it didn’t hit so much as fall on me.) When I was about fourteen, I had the requisite weekend where I found Lovecraft to be intense and hypnotic but by Monday had decided he was jerk. (Don’t you hate relationships like that?) It didn’t take me long to discover Edith Wharton and Henry James and Willa Cather and E. M. Forster and Saki – wonderful Saki – and Shirley Jackson and Algernon Blackwood and Oliver Onions and Robert Aickman and Fritz Leiber. (Faulkner and Henry Roth and James Baldwin all affected me like heroin.) I don’t know what I would have done if not for the public library. Killed myself probably.
How much of your work is mined from real life’s joys and sorrows? Are any of your characters a mirror into your soul?
People are always advising me to write about my family. What the hell do they think I’ve been doing? Making shit up?
(It’s probably just as well I don’t have that riding crop.)
Yes, my work seems to get more personal all the time. WILLY in particular was a cri de coeur – and very therapeutic too, you know, turning it loose in the world where it could haunt others (instead of me). And a few of the stories in MARTYRS & MONSTERS are more intimate than I’m entirely comfortable with discussing. Some things can only be addressed in fiction.
I know most writers see somebody who has gained some recognition and think that said writer somehow found a magic key (surely that must be it) to appear out of nowhere. What has your journey been like as a writer?
Isn’t that hilarious? So few people have any sense of the commitment, the discipline … or what it all demands from you. When most “aspiring writers” ask for advice, what they really want are marketing tips. Actually, it’s not hilarious. It’s quite sad.
The times we live in…
This particular journey has taken us all to a lot of strange places. Austin Considine had a brilliant piece in the Times a few weeks ago in which he compared living through the AIDS fatalities in the nineties to surviving a war. In 1995 alone, more than 50,000 people died of the disease. New York especially was devastated, but all the big cities were hard hit. People complain all the time about how the arts suffered, but it wasn’t just because a big part of an entire generation of painters and musicians and writers and actors were wiped out. It was also because legions of people who appreciated what they were doing were also lost, people who understood the ballet, who attended plays (and I don’t mean Spider-Man), who read and discussed books. Good books. Intelligent books. Demanding books. The cultural repercussions are ongoing, and we feel it all too clearly within the genre. Democracy has no place in the arts – the best and brightest should naturally flourish. But somehow the most ordinary have inherited the earth. Or at least the genre.
I was going to say ‘don’t get me started,’ but clearly it’s too late.
People are forever asking me what makes a work literary. It’s one of those “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you” situations. I mean, what can you tell them? Obviously, talent is the most essential (and most nebulous) criteria, but intellect is also necessary, as well as passion, seriousness of intent, even courage. (There are “writers” out there who won’t have a clue what I’m referring to here.) I think if you look at a lot of what’s out there now, the first thing that strikes you is that – pretty much across the board – the component of intellect appears to have been excised. (There are exceptions of course, artists like Gifune or Laird Barron, that Thompson guy, a few others.) The whole culture has been drastically dumbed down. Horror novels, ostensibly intended for an adult readership, these days all seem to have been written for children.
Some of them appear to have been written by children.
What was the question again? Oh. My journey. Right. You’re sure you want to hear this? I’ll keep it brief. In my twenties, I imagined myself a poet, and my work did get published here and there, mostly in the smallest of avant-garde journals. In retrospect, I can see they weren’t very sophisticated poems, but the readings I forever seemed to be giving did attain a certain intensity, I suppose. Actually, I didn’t read the pieces so much as perform them, and these gradually evolved into experimental plays. (That’s the word people used to describe them. Experimental. Sometimes this was intended kindly.) The astonishing thing was how many of these scripts got produced, mostly at theaters that resembled storefronts or warehouses or garages. In fact, the one thing they never seemed to resemble were theaters. By then I’d started working for so many different newspapers and magazines that I lost count. Mostly, I did reviews and interviews, but these led to my writing similar bits for a couple of radio stations … and eventually to some television work.
It was only when I began to concentrate on my fiction that the true path revealed itself. Why do I suddenly sound like the I Ching?
Lol. What is your proudest moment?
Every night when I look across the bed.
What has surprised you? In the world of publishing? In creating your stories? In building your readership?
Funny you should ask. I wasn’t anticipating the impact WILLY has made. And I mean that. I’ve been shocked and quite moved by the passionate response. I suppose I must have lost faith in the book somehow. Or perhaps it was the genre I’d lost faith in. I certainly never expected much in the way of support. The book is so subtle – I figured horror critics, if they bothered to acknowledge it at all, would simply blast it for being “too literary.” As it turned out, I’ve wound up feeling both humbled and inspired by the number of reviewers who have championed WILLY. Maybe there’s hope for the genre after all.
If you could recommend only one of your novels (or the collection) to new readers, which would you choose? Why?
So many people have found me through THE PINES, and I’m always touched by that, even now. But MARTYRS & MONSTERS is the one I’d personally recommend. It’s a little hard to explain really – what this book has meant to me, how important it’s been in my life. Over the years, I’d grown so frustrated with reviews. A critic would rave that THE PINES was a “masterpiece of genre fiction” or that THE SHORE was “surprisingly good for a horror novel.” With MARTYRS & MONSTERS – for the first time – reviewers began to discuss my work purely in terms of merit, without the qualification. And that made all the difference. Writers are such sensitive creatures. Without this level of support, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to attempt a novel as complex as WILLY.
Well, I’m certain many people are glad you had the support that produced the courage. WILLY is fantastic. If you couldn’t write (say you lost your hands by poking them into a parallel universe) what would you do to let your creative side breathe?
I’ve always wanted to be an international jewel thief, like Raffles or Kay Frances in whatever the hell that old movie was called, but no one ever seems to be hiring. I must remember to ask Mannetti how she got started. Friends in low places probably. That may be the problem – I’m overqualified.
Sorry. I don’t mean to dodge the question. It’s just that I can’t even imagine not writing. It’s an identity issue, not an occupational one.
Do you have other passions? Do they feed/compliment your stories?
Yes, but you can’t get it anymore.
What do you wish the genre had more of? And less of?
More of me. Less of everyone else.
Did I say that out loud?
Seriously, I can’t imagine anyone who gets more of a thrill out of a really first rate horror novel than I do. I remember discovering Sarah Water’s THE LITTLE STRANGER last year and going into raptures. Then I read an article praising the distinctiveness of a handful of supposedly literary horror novels that had made it to the bestseller list. I rushed to read them all … and was sorely disappointed. It’s not that these books were bad exactly. No. Each had been professionally crafted, which was part of the problem. They all had a soulless, manufactured quality.
The genre needs more artists. The world needs more artists.
Amen. I’ve read three novels that Uninvited Books has published (your own, Gifune’s and T. M. Wright’s) and to say I’m impressed in quality, story, and craftsmanship would be an understatement. How did Uninvited Books find life? What is your number one goal with opening your own publishing company?
Greg and Terry are both extraordinary. As writers and as people. (Sandy DeLuca just scares me.) There’s this cheesy piece of corporate motivational advice I seem to keep stumbling across lately. “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Generally, I abhor such drivel, but a note of truth resonates through the self-help-inspirational-speaker-jargon here … because there are amazing talents like Gifune and Wright out there, even in this godforsaken genre, brilliant writers who are not churning out Zombie Kong or Yeti Massacre but creating intelligent, textured, profoundly satisfying works of dark literature. One doesn’t encounter genius so often that one should overlook the need to celebrate it. That’s what we’re all about. Our first paperback at Uninvited Books was an anthology called SHADOWS, Supernatural Tales by Masters of Modern Literature – conceived as a sort of mission statement. May we never set our sights any lower.
Is there anything else you want to mention?
Just to remind folks to keep an eye out for my new novella – WOOD. It should be out from Uninvited Books quite soon.
Excellent. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us.
Thanks, Lee. And best of luck with your own work! I hear wonderful things about NURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN, and my copy just arrived. Can’t wait to dive in!
It’s very cool to see my name and work alongside so many great writers (like Stephen King, Greg Gifune, Robert Dunbar, Dan Simmons, Joe Lansdale, and Lee Thomas.) Thanks to everybody who has taken a chance on me. I know how tight money and time can be.
If anybody has read my work and loved or hated it feel free to write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Thanks so much!
“Gossamer” is a mythical, almost philosophical book that strips the reader naked and forces us to challenge our assumptions about love with passages that will touch you in places inside yourself you forgot exist. - Anita Siraki/HellNotes
Lee takes the unlovely parts of real life and sets it in a setting so deliciously bizarre that you think you’re simply reading a story, when in fact you’re listening to a man sitting across from you and telling you all about pain. - Mercedes Yardley/Shock Totem
"10 out of 10 Stars... GOSSAMER: A STORY OF LOVE AND TRAGEDY will blow you away my friends. It is that good." -- Peter Schwotzer/Famous Monsters of Filmland.
"WHEN WE JOIN JESUS IN HELL is as crazy as its tormented protagonist. Hard as nails." -- Jack Ketchum, author of The Woman.
"Lee Thompson knows his horror-noir. He fuses both genres together in the turmoil of terror, tragedy, blood, guilt, and lost chances at redemption."--Tom Piccirilli, author of THE LAST KIND WORDS
"The Dampness Of Mourning is taut, tough, and terrifying..." -- Brian Hodge, author of Picking The Bones
“The Dampness of Mourning is a riveting thriller." --Midwest Book Review
"Thompson’s voice is his own — strong, hypnotic, and unsettling--grabs you by the balls and rips them right off, breaking your heart and your psyche in the process.” -- Brian Keene, author of Ghoul, Dark Hollow and The Rising
"Brooding, soulful, haunted." -- Robert Dunbar, author of Willy and Martyrs & Monsters