How did Voices of the Damned come about?
I had the idea of doing a collection of my short horror stories a while ago, but I wanted to do something different. Paul Fry of SST Publications contacted me back in November 2014, complimenting me on my debut dark crime novel, The Venus Complex, which he had just finished reading. He said that if I ever had a project, then to please consider his company. I’d already done a couple of reviews of Daniele Serra’s art books for SST publications: Veins and Skulls (for Fangoria) and I Tell You It’s Love (with a story by Joe Lansdale), so I was familiar with the kind of projects that SST was involved with. They specialize in doing quality full color art books amongst other things.
The art and illustrations in Voices of the Damned are magnificent and really complement the stories. How did you pull those together?
We got Daniele on board immediately. Dani had already done the cover art for my debut dark crime novel, The Venus Complex, and I adore his work. Then I thought: why not ask Clive Barker? He generously allowed me to use three of his artworks: one for the cover and two to illustrate couple of stories in the collection. (And big thanks to Mark Allen Miller, VP of Clive’s Seraphim Films for helping coordinate this.) Then I asked Nick Percival, because I loved his work on the Hellraiser Boom! Comics, then Steve McGinnis (who I had met at Toronto’s Horror-Rama convention in October 2014), Ben Baldwin, Tara Bush and Vincent Sammy all said yes. I’d worked with Eric Gross before on our “Cilicium Pandoric” project and so he created the artwork for “The Cilicium Rebellion”. I was thrilled with the results that these amazingly talented artists came back with. Paul Fry did the wonderful interior and exterior design of the book, so combined with the haunting, visceral and beautiful illustrations, Voices of the Damned is a very special project for me.
I loved The Cilicium Trilogy and the order of female cenobites. It just left me wanting more of your vision of the Hellraiser universe. Might we see more stories or a full-length novel? (Pretty please?)
What I’d love to do is a graphic novel of the rise of Sister Cilice…
Do you have a favorite story in Voices of the Damned? If so, why is it your favorite?
“Sister Cilice” was my first horror story, so I’ll always have a special love that one. (Thanks to Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan for asking me to contribute to the Hellbound Hearts anthology, which started me on my horror story journey.) However, I also love “Zulu Zombies” (I’m writing the screenplay for that one) and “Gaia” as well. Actually, all my stories are my babies, so it’s hard to pick out one particular favorite.
You’ve had a diverse career so far including film, television, and music. How did you get into writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid: scripts, stories, etc., so when “acting left me behind” as thespians say, it was a natural progression to move into writing. And I wrote most of my scripts for the TV shows that I presented in the 80s and 90s, so that was helpful as well.
When do you write? Do you lock yourself away?
I write at different times of the day. I often get my ideas right before falling asleep. But I’ll never remember them if I wait to the next morning, so I have to get up and write them down.
Actually, one of the weirdest times that I wrote a chapter (a particularly erotic murder scene) for The Venus Complex was after I’d downed numerous Margaritas while watching the Eurovision Song Contest.
What scares you?
Home invasion. Basements. Spiders. Authority. I’ve written about the first two in “Gaia” and “Botophobia”.
Who are your favorite authors and which of their books mean the most to you?
Clive Barker (Weaveworld, The Hellbound Heart), Dashiell Hammett (The Thin Man), Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep), Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr Ripley, Strangers on a Train), Ernest Hemingway (A Moveable Feast and anything else he’s written), Shirley Jackson (The Lottery), Stephen Volk (Whitstable).
What are you reading now?
I’m reading Leytonstone by Stephen Volk, Monsters by Paul Kane and Ricochet by Tim Dry.
I’m writing a screenplay based on my short horror story, “Zulu Zombies”. I’m thinking about a sequel my dark crime novel, The Venus Complex.
SST [the publisher] have now decided to do two editions of Voices of the Damned:
1. A full color, standard print, Trade Hardback
2. A full color, premium print, Deluxe Edition Hardback. When ordered directly from SST’s website, the Deluxe Edition will come with a free collector’s edition paperback of just the artwork. Both these editions will be available on Amazon on the 31st of October (but not the free paperback art book, as mentioned before.)