Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Charles Tan Interviews Christopher Fowler

You've been writing for a long time and never seem to tire writing about horror. What's the appeal of the genre for you?

I think horror and horrified amusement are a natural reactions to the modern world. No lives are ever certain, and this uncertainty makes us fearful. I always think of Ms Jackson herself as someone who wrote more about uncertainty and why we should be afraid than what we should be afraid of. As times change our fears change, so there's always something new to write about. And it's cathartic to dissect your fears in public.

When writing stories that combine horror and humor, do you initially plan these out or do you find that the latter is merely an extension of the former? How effective a tool has humor been for you?

A sense of humor is a key tool in my survival kit. Some stories naturally suggest a humorous approach (as in my story 'The Night Museum' in 'Old Devil Moon' - written, I should point out, long before a similarly titled movie). There are some subjects that would lose strength if they weren't taken seriously. But humor can be used to make a point. I wrote a story called 'Night After Night Of The Living Dead' that used humor to set up an unexpectedly serous ending.

Were there any particular aspects of horror that you attempted to nurture when writing the stories in Old Devil Moon?

Each collection I write allows me to try new angles, and 'Old Devil Moon' gave me a chance to test some types of story I'd never tackled before. Being gruesome is easy. It's harder to create a tale that leave behind a disturbing feeling, a ghost-trace of something that lingers. I also wanted to take several stories in entirely unexpected directions, but wanted to mix them with other more conventional tales, so that the reader would come away from the collection with the sense of having experienced many different aspects of the horror story, both traditional and experimental. I think it's the most varied collection I've yet written. One day I hope I'll be able to put all my most extreme and unusual stories in one big 'Best Of' anthology!

Our fundraising anthology, Jack Haringa Must Die! is now available. Price: $10

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