Greetings from the Ethereal Plane,
With the release of Hinnom Magazine Issue 003, we would like to spotlight the authors involved. There will be seven interviews in total, including this one. We would like to thank these fantastic writers for believing in Gehenna & Hinnom and for submitting such amazing works.
Alas, without further ado, let the interview commence!
CP: Could you first tell us a little about yourself? Why you find the darker side of fiction intriguing?
JH: As a child I had terrible nightmares so I guess my fascination with fear started there. My imagination has always had a special talent for making monsters to torment me with. I’m not sure where it all came from but I think growing up in a house on the grounds of a Victorian asylum might have had an influence (asylums still scare me to this day).
I got into horror movies at a pretty early age, adding more fuel to the fire and the obsession only deepened. At some point I realized if my monsters were bad enough to scare me and my parents, I could probably use them to scare other people too.
CP: “Limbs” is a haunting dystopian tale filled with claustrophobia and grief. Can you delve into your inspirations for the story? How it came to fruition?
JH: My partner and I used to do these little writing competitions, just between us. Really they were just an excuse to flex the creative muscles. We’d set a theme and give ourselves a week or two to come up with something that fit. “Limbs” was born out of the first one we did.
Zombies were still really big at the time and I was getting bored with post-apocalyptic worlds filled with the shambling undead, so I decided to populate this one with something far nastier. One of my all-time favourite films is John Carpenter’s The Thing and, ever since I first saw it, body-horror has been pretty high on the list of things that freak me out – so I took a lot of my inspiration from there.
I also wanted to write something really bleak. I think some of the inspiration for grief and loneliness in there came from Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. I remember how powerful the feeling of isolation was when I read it, how close to madness Robert Neville comes and that’s before you even get to the monsters on the doorstep.
CP: While speaking of inspiration, what inspired you to become a writer? What authors helped carve your path?
JH: I wrote my first story when I was about 9 years old for an English assignment in school. It was a total rip-off of War of the Worlds because I’d seen the 1953 film the previous weekend. I enjoyed writing so much that I just never stopped. Ever since then I’ve filled notebooks, floppy discs and laptops with words, most of which never go anywhere but some of which get refined down into something like “Limbs”.
My gran was a big part of it too. She got me the audiobook of The Hobbit and I used to listen to it every night before bed. Pretty soon I added The Chronicles of Narnia to the collection. From there I graduated to late night reading – Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Darren Shan, anything fantastic or horrific that I could get my hands on.
CP: Without revealing too much, the narrative structure of “Limbs” shifts between past and present. What challenges, if any, did you face when writing a story like this?
JH: I think the biggest challenge was exposition vs. tension. If we’re going to be invested in this protagonist we need a little background on him but at the same time we don’t need his life story – just a few key scenes to establish him as a person. Then again, I didn’t want to detract from being in the present, from the horror he’s facing at that moment and the tension building there. It was a fairly fine line to tread at times.
CP: Tell us something that not many readers know about you.
JH: I have six toes on my left foot, I can fit my whole fist in my mouth and I once accidentally invited a supernatural being to live in my house. Also, at least two of those are lies.
CP: If you could converse with any person, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
JH: I get a little bit obsessed with mysteries. I always said that if I had a time machine, the first thing I’d do is go back and find out who Jack the Ripper was. So maybe him. Or the guys from the Lead Masks Case. Or The Monster with 21 Faces. I just want answers!
CP: What does the future hold for Jim Horlock? What can our readers look forward to?
JH: Well I’ve always got more short stories brewing, be they horror or humour or fantasy or some mix of these, so watch out for me in more anthologies and magazines. I’m also working on a YA horror/fantasy novel of my very own currently, which I’m hoping to bring out in 2018. Until then, you can find more of my work in To Hull and Back 2016 Anthology (Christopher Fielden), Eclectically Heroic (Inklings Publishing) and Tales from the Boiler Room (Mighty Quill Books). For more updates, follow my page on Facebook: Jim Horlock – Author.
CP: If you could give advice to any new and aspiring authors, what would it be?
JH: Be open to criticism. Sometimes it’s painful, sometimes you might get told that something you’ve spent months hammering out has some critical flaw – that’s just part of the process. You have to be prepared to go back to the drawing board if you’re going to grow. When it comes down to it, do what’s best for the story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Some say Jim Horlock was forged from mankind’s fascination with darkness and that his sole purpose is to terrify and tantalise. They postulate that he is an anthropomorphized entity, bound in human flesh and driven only to spread fear. Others say that is ridiculous and that he’s a 29 year old writer from Wales, a graduate of the University of Glamorgan, and possibly a little too obsessed with things that go bump in the night. Seriously, he has a Facebook page. You can look it up.
Jim’s stories have appeared in To Hull And Back Anthology 2016, Tales from the Boiler Room and the soon-to-be-released Eclectically Heroic Anthology.
Thank you as always for stopping by and please make sure to share and follow us on social media!