Interview with Daniel I Russell, Author of Samhane

Bec: To start off, please tell us a little bit about yourself –

Hey Rebecca.

Where to start? Erm, I’m originally from England but moved to Australia a few years ago. I write horror and have appeared in such places as Pseudopod, Sick Things, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Wicked, Festive Fear Global Edition and Dead West. I’m also the associate and technical editor of Necrotic Tissue horror magazine. I have three children, a wonderful partner and teach chemistry and physics.  Any spare time I use for sleep.

Bec: Tell us about your book –

Samhane is out towards the end of the month in print and probably digital versions. It’s a nasty, fetid little number, that’s been compared to Richard Laymon. If you like your blood thick and coagulating, you might want to spend a few days in the town of Samhane:

“For weeks, I have tossed and turned in my bed in turmoil over whether to publish this. But the people of this town must be warned. Everyone must be aware of the Danger lurking in the dark, waiting.”

Samhane. Just a sleepy town in the rolling hills of northern England. A nice place to live.

Few people know the truth.

Donald Patterson travels to Samhane in pursuit of a sadistic murderer and rapist. Unless Donald reaches Orchard House by midnight, his fiancee will be the star of the next torturous broadcast….

Brian Rathbone and his son are already in Samhane, hired by the mayor. Specialist exterminators, their talents have helped to deal with the ‘little problems’ that have begun to massacre the residents. But as events take a more sinister turn, Brian wonders about the true reason they are there….

Blood and carnage. Pain and suffering. Desire and sweet chaos.

Welcome to Samhane.

Bec: How many countries will Samhane be available in?

Samhane will be printed in English by Stygian Publications and Voodoo Press are releasing a German edition for distribution through Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Bec: Is this your first major publication?

 

Kind of.  Samhane has been released previously in 2008 as an ebook only with another publisher, as well as a thriller novella. Due to problems, I pulled both books and I’m glad to see Samhane getting a new lease of life, hitting shelves in print. Already I’ve seen such a great prerelease reception (the German edition went triple figures in the first week of prerelease) so it’s humbling and amazing to see how many new readers I’m reaching this time around. I just hope I meet their expectations.

Bec: What draws you to the horror genre?

I guess it’s the sense of freedom. I’ve never been one for holding back with my writing, and the dirty darkness allows me that opportunity. It would be quite bizarre if John Grisham, in the middle of one of his legal thrillers, suddenly wrote horny redneck werewolf or a chainsaw-welding mad man into the plot. I can get away with that. Plus, writing horror is a lot more fun. You make your own boundaries.

Bec: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

From the literary world, here comes that name again. Richard Laymon started it with me, as reading his work, I thought, I can do this and I would enjoy doing this. He had a fast pace and the pages turn so quick, especially in such belters as Endless Night.

I like the feel of 80s horror movies, the zanier the better. I know we have gore-no, etc, nowadays, but there was something a bit more visceral about the 80s. Maybe it was the lack of CGI. I was born in 1980 so grew up in the decade of video nasties and whispered celluloid taboos in the playground. I guess that sowed the seeds.

Bec: Knife or hammer?

Both can be used creatively. If I’m eating dinner, the knife. Building a shed? Hammer. Killing someone in a book? Perhaps the hammer to stun and the knife for fun.

Bec: Blood spatter or spray?

Definitely both in my novels. As well as drip, gush, jet, splatter, pour… You get the idea.

Bec: Why clowns?

Because at times, don’t you want to be cheered up? A splash of colour on a grey day and a friendly painted smile can turn your frown upside down. Seriously though, I don’t know. Just like the man who pays for electric probes to be stuck up his anus…it’s just his thing. Not that I get off sexually with the whole clown thing. We tried it once, but it took too long to wash the custard out of the bedsheets.

Bec: What scares the crap out of you?

Now? I guess that every parents’ nightmare does change the emphasis from themselves onto their families. During the pregnancy of my youngest son, we had to have ‘one of those talks’ with the doctors. Decisions had to be made, and that was terrifying. I can watch any horror film you want, but it’s the childrens’ hospital documentaries that send more shivers up my spine. Just makes you think, what if?

Bec: Which would scare you more? Being a love slave to a demon? Or being a slow, live meal for a cannibal? Why?

Easy one. Sex slave to a demon sounds kinda fun, as you can have female demons (in my fiction anyway). They’d always be horny, which is a plus.

Bec: Do you have any other publications coming up that you would like to share?

Festive Fear Global Edition is out next month in time for Christmas, but this is already a sell out. There may be copies still available at The Merchant’s Keep. That features my story ‘It Comes But Once a Year’, starring one of the Samhane escapees. One of my clown stories will be appearing the German anthology WICKED through Voodoo Press. Every story is illustrated with some amazing artwork. Even if you don’t speak German, you gotta love the artwork! Other upcoming publications is the English version of the clown story, Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem, in Devil Dolls and Duplicates in Australian horror, and Rainchild and the Trickster, a Native American/Lofecraftian tale in Dead West from Bandersnatch Books.

Bec: Fire or dismemberment?

Dismember and then fire to destroy the evidence, or at least make it easier to carry. To receive? Neither, thank you very much.

Bec: What is your favorite horror creature?

How can I pick just one? Any, if it is original and well done. Been reading some giant creature stories of late, courtesy of Brian Keene and Sarah Pinborough, so I guess that’s been my flavour of the month.

Bec: Are there any authors that inspire you, if so, why?

Apart from Laymon as mentioned, I’m aiming to get a few more violent-yet-magical deaths that Bentley Little does so well. I would also love to capture that feel of early Clive Barker, The Books of Blood type era. I also adore Jack Ketchum and Brian Keene, as they have boundaries (or lack of!) in a similar place as myself.

Bec: It’s a cold, quiet night at home, suddenly a human brain slams against a window of your home . . . What do you do?

I jump out of my seat, swing open the heavy, metal door to the cellar and run down the wooden steps. I turn on the hanging light and count the jars. If one of my brains is missing, the kids are in deep shit. They know not to touch daddy’s things.

Bec: Screaming, scared woman or kick-butt-I-can-handle-this woman?

One can become the other, and vice versa, under the right circumstances.

Bec: What scared the crap out of you as a child?

Everything scared me as a child! I was a complete pussy. Horror films, themepark rides, the dark, everything. But I always had this morbid curiosity about them. For example, if you’d watched a movie I was too chicken shit to watch myself, I would expect a graphic, blow-by-blow run down of it. That way, I could watch it without watching what. Oh, and aliens. The ones with the thin bodies and large eyes *shivers*.

Bec: Are there any words of wisdom you would like to share with fellow writers who are looking for success?

Don’t look for success! Do this because you like doing it. Your rewards should be words on the page and the feeling of accomplishment having finished that short story or novel. Any publications and royalty payments are just a bonus.

Bec: Where can we buy your book?

Samhane will be available direct from the publisher at www.necrotictissue.com and also on www.amazon.com and other online retailers. Your local bookshop should be able to order them in. The German edition is on preorder right now at www.voodoo-press.com and www.amazon.de.

Bec: Thank you for sharing your time and insight with us! Best wishes with your book!

Thank you, Rebecca. I gotta go wipe a smear of grey matter from my window. Bloody kids!

Link to purchase Samhane for your Kindle ($.99): http://www.amazon.com/Samhane-Daniel-I-Russell-ebook/dp/B004UH7EDA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403801548&sr=8-1&keywords=samhane+daniel+i+russell

© Rebecca Besser and Daniel I. Russell, 2010. All rights reserved.

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