Greetings from the Ether,
With the release of Hinnom Magazine Issue 006, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the authors involved in the project. George Taylor’s story “Decoys” is a expertly written journey into cosmic horror. Join us as we dive into the crafting of the story, and what the future has in store for the author.
CP: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How you came to write horror fiction?
GT: At school my favorite lessons were Art and English. I was pretty good at drawing. Not so good at writing. I didn’t read much horror fiction, although I watched a lot of horror films. My Nan is also a horror fan. When I was eighteen or nineteen, she gave me a bunch of books. Among them was Great Tales of Horror and the Supernatural, in which I discovered Poe and Lovecraft and other masters of the macabre. From that point I was hooked, and purchased every horror novel and short story collection I could lay my hands on. The Pan Book of Horror Stories sticks in my mind, because it was while I was reading these volumes that I decided I wanted to write this kind of stuff.
CP: “Decoys” is a damn well-written cosmic horror tale. The epistolary structure is expertly done, the imagery creepy as hell, and the ending is a surprise. Can you tell us how it came to fruition? What inspired the story?
GT: When I read this question, a tic of panic shifted in my innards because I couldn’t remember what inspired the story. It was conceived in 2007, after all, I reassured myself. But I racked my brains and somehow remembered the book I was reading at the time. Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural. In the Afterword the editor referred to Boris Karloff’s introduction to Tales of Terror (World Publishing Co., 1943) in which he credited Joseph Conrad with writing the greatest description of pure terror – in all its implications – in the English language. Since the editor agreed, he closed the Afterword with that passage from Conrad’s little-known novel The Shadow Line. It was that passage which inspired the story.
CP: Your stories have appeared in some great publications. Where exactly do you hope your writing takes you? What goals do you hope to achieve?
GT: I hope my writing takes me on to the next step, whatever that may be. Since “Decoys” is my first professional sale, I think I may be heading in the right direction. I owe GEHENNA & HINNOM BOOKS a debt of gratitude for this.
CP: Do you have any other projects you’re working on? What does the future hold for George Taylor?
GT: I’ve just finished the final edit of a short story about a woman who finds what she thinks is an abandoned baby. And I’m in the process of doing a final edit of a longer, more ambitious piece about a woman who sets out to “save” her sister from a man whom she believes is a cult leader. Her journey takes her to the edge of sanity and beyond the boundaries of our so-called reality. Assuming that I have a future, I hope to finish the first draft of another weird tale about a man who “acquires” a wardrobe and gets a lot more than he bargained for.
CP: What has been your favorite moment thus far, as a writer?
GT: I’ve been a big fan of Guy N. Smith ever since I read Night of the Crabs when I was purchasing as many horror books as I could. After I’d decided I wanted to write horror fiction, I sent off one of my first stories to a fanzine dedicated to the man and his works in the genre. To my great surprise, it won the short story competition. Whenever I look back at the story, I don’t think it’s particularly good. But it’s the best I could do at the time. I still like to think Mr. Smith saw that it showed some potential, and consequently selected it as the winning entry. For which I’m very grateful.
CP: What writer do you find the most inspiring, living or dead? Why?
GT: There are many, both living and dead, but since it seems I have to whittle it down to just one, I’ll say Thomas Ligotti, whom some writers I admire have called the greatest living writer of weird fiction. Need I say more?
CP: We always like to end our interviews with a little tidbit of advice for the many readers who are writers themselves. What’s the best advice you could give to a new author?
GT: Always do the best you can. And never stop writing. If you’re anything like me in those respects, you’ll do it anyway. Whenever and wherever you can. Go for it.
George Taylor has just moved to a garret in the south of London. Where he hopes to write more speculative and horror fiction. Previous publishing credits include Twisted Tongue, Graveyard Rendezvous, and Wispers of Wickedness.