Monday, 2 February 2015
I recently had a chat with up-and-coming writer Daniel Marc Chant, author of BURNING HOUSE and his latest release MALDICION, which I've just finished reading and enjoyed very much. Dan's a good lad and another of the new wave of horror writers hitting the scene. It's a pleasure to interview him.
How would you describe your writing style?
I think I’m a to-the-point writer. I don’t like to waste paragraphs on empty dialogue or exposition. This probably comes from cutting my teeth doing screenplays as opposed to novels. In a screenplay description is a premium so that no doubt colours my approach to writing prose. I’m under no doubt that sometimes it’s to its compliment, others it’s detriment.
Which of your books would you recommend as a good starting point for someone who hasn’t read your work?
Personally I’d say my second book Maldicion. My first book, Burning House, was the culmination of me desperately wanting to do something like this and get it out there. The idea for Burning House had fermented for years in my head through conversations with my best friend and countless viewings of The Thing by John Carpenter (still my number one film). Therefore my first book suffered because of that eager inexperience. There are countless things I’m proud of in it – for instance the action and the pace when it truly kicks off – but there’s the lack of decent characterisation and substantial plot that’s a hallmark of a newbie.
Maldicion on the other hand (hopefully) captured my adoration of Lovecraft and survival horror.
Do you have a favourite character from any of your stories?
I love animals (not in that way you sicko) so the titular cat in Mr. Robespierre (my upcoming third book) is probably my favourite. I’ve always had felines in my life and despite having huge respect for all of evolution’s marvels none can capture the majesty of the humble housecat for me.
Mr. Robespierre is – what I think – a cat should be. Elegant. Mysterious. And full of secrets.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Never sub your own work. Has to be that. We all like to think we know English and grammar, and for the most part we do, but when it’s your own story and you’re personally invested you’ll miss things. I guarantee it. I know I did.
My first book suffered from me being over protective with it and not letting people read it and critique too much before release. I won’t make that same mistake again.
Who are your literary heroes/heroines?
Firstly it has it be Howard Phillips Lovecraft. While the man is famous for his reprehensible and backwards views on race his fiction resonates with me like no other. I don’t agree with his point of view but I adore his catalogue of work for the most part.
Secondly it’s Danny King. He’s a writer specialising in comedic British crime fiction but every word he writes vividly comes to life. His dry sense of humour, and observation skills, are second to none.
What book do you wish you’d written?
Hitman Diaries by Danny King. One of the best reads ever.
What book are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Gristle & Bone by Duncan Ralston. It’s a collection of seven horror stories. Duncan is a prolific supporter of all things horror and all round awesome human but he’s also a deranged sick puppy when it comes to writing. I love it.
After that I have Reinhart by Thomas S Flowers and Black Friday by Jeffery X Martin.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to watch films, regardless of genre, as well as cook and play games on my Xbox One. I’m a huge fan of gaming and think it’s one of the most unappreciated media types currently.
What advice would you give to new writers just starting out in the business?
Just do it. The hardest thing you have to accept is that while you care about your work nobody else does. That may sound harsh but it’s true – especially for a newbie. Nothing is a statement of intent like you sacrificing your own time and effort to put your work out there.
The world doesn’t owe you anything. But you can show the world a thing or two.
What do you think of the current state of the horror genre?
Muddled. The proliferation of the digital age has meant that horror is a cheap commodity now. Horror films cost less than other types. Horror books rarely have a place in modern bookstores. But online horror is a burgeoning genre of talent and need.
Horror fans are nothing but embracing of horror. I personally think what’s lacking is a sense of community and collectiveness amongst horror fans.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m compiling a charity anthology called The Black Room Manuscripts. My friends and I managed to snag short stories from Danny King, Duncan Ralston, Adam Millard, A. S. Chambers, Jeffery X. Martin, D. K. Ryan, Thomas S. Flowers, Kit Power, Madeleine Swann, J. R. Park, Duncan P Bradshaw, Daniel Marc Chant (me), Vincent Hunt, Craig Anderson-Jones, Martin Jones, Paul Townsend, D. K. Ryan, Ian Caldwell, David James, Leo Stableford and Kayleigh Edwards.
As if that amazing list wasn’t enough there’s an afterword by the fantastic Jennifer Handorf, producer of British horror films like The Borderlands and a foreword from Jim McLeod from Gingernuts of Horror.
Besides that my third book, Mr. Robespierre, is finished and preparing for launch at Horror Con in Rotherham in July.
Book four, titled Devil Kickers, is about a third of the way through and is collaboration between me and my brother from another mother Vincent Hunt. I’m excited about that one as he’ll bring his fantastic comic book sensibilities and experience to (hopefully) make a fun and different take on the exorcism genre.
If you had the chance to co-write a novel with an author of your choice, who would it be?
Besides Rich Hawkins? Haha.
Warren Ellis. That man is a literary titan to me.
Finally, are there any nuggets of info about future works you’re willing to share?
I’ll soon fling open the door to The Black Room and reveal its secrets (which is for charity so please get involved!) but besides that I’m currently plotting book five which, based on inspirational conversations with my girlfriend could involve a vet, an experimental lab, rednecks or teenagers in log cabins.
Check out Daniel's website at:http://danielmarcchant.com/