SHADOW BOOTH AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Joseph Sale

Greetings from the Ether,

Our friends at the Shadow Booth are making steady progress with their Kickstarter. This literary journal is going to be out of this world and we are very excited to see the dreams of the editor Dan Coxon and these amazing writers come true. We will be interviewing all of the authors involved to help spread the word.

If you haven’t already, please make sure to stop by and visit their Kickstarter! Some Gehenna & Hinnom products may be awaiting you there.

Alas, let’s begin! We’d like to introduce you to Shadow Booth author Joseph Sale.

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Photo of Joseph Sale

CP: You have published several novels and short stories so far in your writing career. What exactly about The Shadow Booth piqued your interest? Why are Dark Fiction and Weird Fiction important?

JS: I think what piqued my interest most was the use of the word “uncanny” in the description of what Dan Coxon, the editor, was looking for. That’s a very Gothic word, and one that Freud used to use in order to describe our feeling when we experienced the “return of what is repressed.” It’s a deep word, full of psychological and spiritual ramifications, so it definitely caught my eye. Dan really knows what he wants for Shadow Booth and a clear vision is always so impressive. I also saw that Dan was publishing Richard Thomas, Paul Tremblay, and Gary Budden. That should certainly be enough to grab anyone’s attention! It’s such an honour to be published alongside these writers, who are real heroes for me.

I think Dark Fiction and Weird Fiction are very important because, in a bizarre way, they are much truer reflections of reality than any other genre. Only the other day I was in Birmingham for EGX, a gaming convention, and had gone out for some drinks in the evening with friends. On the way back, I took a shortcut through St Paul’s churchyard, and came face to face with this terrifying guy. He was made of shadows, cut out of the night like a two-dimensional silhouette. I couldn’t see his face. He asked me, in a very polite cockney accent, whether I could do a favour for him. We’re standing in a graveyard, it’s one o’clock in the morning, and this creepy cockney, who’s very far from London, is asking for a favour. You couldn’t make it up.

I never did find out what that favour was, but that brief encounter has now sparked a whole Weird Fiction novel I’m working on!

What I find about darker genres and horror is that they often encompass a very rounded portrait of human existence: friendship, love, joy as well as the negatives fear, despair, madness. You have to have the former, because otherwise we don’t care about our characters, and there’s no empathy or sympathy when the horror begins, we can’t feel the horror as our own.

 

CP: Could you tell us a little about your story “City of the Nightwatchers?” What inspired it, how did it come to fruition?

JS: Sure thing! This story came about from a few conversations with friends about how voyeuristic we’re becoming as a society. We love to watch people do things. Studies have shown we actually have less sex now than back in the early 20th Century. How crazy is that? We think of the past as prudish, but at the end of the day if you wanted sex back then you had to just go out and get it. Now, we watch porn. So, the City of the Nightwatchers is drawing on that. I’m imagining a whole society degenerating into these creatures that are made simply to watch . . . It was partly inspired by the film Nightcrawler, which is a work of genius. Though, as always, I’ve deviated from source, because I like to introduce a little bit of a supernatural element.

 

CP: You recently released Nekyia – the Collected Four Horsemen and the Fifth Horseman. Can you tell us a little about Nekyia?

JS: Where to begin? In brief, it’s a 720 page horror multi-verse epic. It’s very much in the style of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. It is centered on four re-imagined horsemen of the apocalypse, plus a mysterious “fifth horseman.” The horsemen and various other players are drawn, through the course of this story, to this city, which is kind of a “place in between.” Nekyia is an ancient Greek word and it means loosely: “a rite by which the dead are summoned to learn about the future.” It’s a trope of classical poetry: the hero must descend into hell to resurrect a prophet and learn the future that awaits them. I guess this is the heart of the story, a descent into hell, and a glimpse of a terrible future.

 

CP: Who influenced you as a writer? How does this reflect in your own work?

JS: So many people have influenced me. My father and mother, they are both massively creative people. My dad is a poet and my mother paints. Both have been huge influences and have introduced me to so many informative works. In the more public sphere, Stephen King, Richard Thomas, Hideo Kojima, Ryu Murakami, Hidetaka Miyazaki. I also love 2000AD, particularly Judge Dredd and the Four Dark Judges – they were a big influence on Nekyia.

 

CP: What other ventures do you have planned for the future? What can our readers look forward to?

JS: I’ve currently got a few novels in the pipeline. Some very noirish dark, weird stuff. Some sci-fi too. I also have a novel about my love of video-games hopefully coming out soon. More on that one anon. I write very prolifically, and then I see whether people are interested. Currently I’m working on a huge novel, the weirdest thing I’ve ever done. Can’t say too much about it, but what I’m going for is a modern novel with dark supernatural elements and plenty of bizarro, on the scale of something like Twin Peaks. There are real people as well as fictional in the story, and something like ten main characters. It’s about the period in our lives when you go to a very dark place, and about those wonderful people who come to rescue you out of those situations. It’s very emotionally important to me to write this. I need it to close a chapter on my life. I’m hoping it’ll help other people too who may have been through something similar.

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Thank you as always for stopping by and please make sure to visit The Shadow Booth and follow us on social media!

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