Greetings from the Ether,
With Hinnom 008 now available, we thought we’d interview some of the authors involved to help get the word out about their pieces. Join us as we interview Adrian Cole, and as we dive into the making of his nightmarish, aquatic tale “The Next Time it Rains.”
CP: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How you came to write weird fiction?
AC: As a kid I always loved reading and used to scribble my own efforts for fun. My earliest “weird” influences would have been things like the PAN HORROR antholgies and then the HPL paperbacks published in the UK by Panther. My first attempt at a professional sale was an HPL pastiche and it was THE HORROR UNDER PENMIRE, published in Frighteners, an anthology edited by Mary Danby. The fantastic element of fiction always hooked me, whether sf, fantasy or horror. I was a big fan of ERB, HRH, DUNE and LOTR. All this was in direct contrast to the job I did (now retired) which was, ultimately, a Business Manager in a large college, overseeing a substantial annual budget. Nowadays I devote a lot of time to writing.
CP: “The Next Time it Rains” is a mammoth of a short story with some striking prose and haunting imagery. Can you tell us how it came to fruition? What inspired the piece?
AC: It’s had an interesting genesis. Initially it was prompted by a submission call (no details as I don’t want to give out any spoilers) and I did submit a first version of the story, although something was nagging me about it. I’d missed something. The story was rejected and ironically it gave me time to think it through and re-work it. I wanted to create something unusual, our world but in a state of change, a subtle metamorphosis. I’ve always admired the work of Ballard, Keith Roberts and others like them, so maybe that was part of the inspiration for the style. (Don’t get me wrong – I’m not in their league!)
CP: Your stories have appeared in a plethora of great publications. Where exactly do you hope your writing takes you? What goals do you hope to achieve?
AC: I write across the genres and in differing styles. Some years ago I wrote a number of fantasy novels, such as THE OMARAN SAGA and the STAR REQUIEM. I have also written a lot of pulp fiction, notably the NICK NIGHTMARE stories, in which I really let it all go! Great fun to write. But I also like to write straight horror and sf, often a blend of the two, such as “The Next Time it Rains.” I’d like to do much more of this, as it’s very satisfying, as well as demanding. It’s been a while since I wrote a new novel and if and when I get to that, it will probably be some sort of fusion, horror/crime perhaps, or a near future story. As for my ultimate goals, well, to write as well as I can, and maybe raise the bar. And stay as physically active for as long as I can! I’m 70 next year, but hey! who’s counting?
CP: Do you have any other projects you’re working on? What does the future hold for Adrian Cole?
AC: I’m hoping to get NICK NIGHTMARE INVESTIGATES (the first collection of Nick’s stories) published in a good paperback edition and make him more accessible to the world. There’s now a second volume, NIGHTMARE COCKTAILS, completed and ready to go, with the third arc of stories (working title NIGHTMARE CREATURES) in progress. I’ve also written a series of Sword & Sorcery stories about Elak, Henry Kuttner’s creation (with the formal approval of his agents) and there’s a plan to publish these as a collection, ELAK, KING OF ATLANTIS. I am further in the process of producing new DREAM LORD stories (sword & planet homage to ERB and Brackett) which I hope eventually to collect in a new DREAM LORD book. There’s also a collection of my Mythos stories (a mixture of reprints and new stories) out there in the ether as we speak! I’ve a file of short story ideas, so there’s plenty to get my teeth into. I want to produce a few horror novellas – it’s a form I like, so watch this space!!
CP: What has been your favorite moment thus far, as an author?
AC: Initially it was getting a letter from my agent at the time, telling me he’d sold my first book(s) – this was the DREAM LORD trilogy, back in the 70s. I was knee high to the proverbial grasshopper at the time, so it was a big thrill. In more recent times it was winning the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection, for NICK NIGHTMARE INVESTIGATES. I was completely shocked and very proud. First award I’ve ever won.
CP: What writer do you find the most inspiring, living or dead? Why?
AC: There are so many! I’ve mentioned the old classics, like ERB, HRH and HPL, and Tolkien, Ballard… Standouts these days are writers like Dan Simmons and Jonathan Carroll. And I’d have to include among the old hands, Mickey Spillane. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do and there are some huge gaps in my reading. (Oh, I forgot Theodore Sturgeon, one of my top sf writers).
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?
AC: Be patient, persistent and think positively. You need to be thick-skinned and determined. Rejection, negative reviews and less-than-million selling are all hard facts of life, probably for most writers. You will have to live with them, but stick to your guns. I have so many published stories that didn’t sell first time around. Often it’s a matter of taste. I go back to that first story I sold, THE HORROR UNDER PENMIRE (mentioned in my first paragraph above). I sent it to Pan and the editor rejected it because although he liked the first half of the yarn, he didn’t care for the second and all the frogs etc. So I sent it, unrevised, to Fontana and Mary Danby, bless her, jumped at it. She particularly liked the second half of the story and all the frogs! I’ve kept that in mind for over 40 years of writing!
ADRIAN COLE is a native of and lives in North Devon, England.
His first published work was a ghost story for IPC magazines (UK, 1972) followed by a trilogy of sword & planet novels, THE DREAM LORDS (Zebra, US, 1970s). Subsequently he has had more than 2 dozen novels and numerous short stories published, many translated into foreign editions.
He has written science fiction, heroic fantasy, sword & sorcery, horror, pulp fiction, and Mythos as well as two young adult novels, MOORSTONES and THE SLEEP OF GIANTS (Spindlewood, UK, 1980s).
His best known works are the OMARAN SAGA and STAR REQUIEM fantasy quartets, both reprinted recently as e Books (Gollancz SF Gateway) and as audio books (Audible).
Adrian’s most recent book is NICK NIGHTMARE INVESTIGATES (Alchemy UK) which collects the first arc of stories about his hard-boiled occult private eye. It was the recipient of the 2015 British Fantasy Award for best collection. He has previously appeared in Year’s Best Fantasy and Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthologies.
He contributes regularly to the revised WEIRDBOOK Magazine (US) and has had several short horror stories in anthologies in both the US and the UK, including The Mammoth Book of Halloween, due this autumn
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