After an extended hiatus, Christopher Bell is back with our gaming retrospective column, proving that rumours of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. The same can’t be said for the residents of the Curien Mansion, however. It’s time to take a look around The House of the Dead…
On the night of December 18th 1998, Agent Thomas Rogan receives a frenzied telephone call from his fiancée Sophie, a researcher working for the infamous geneticist Dr. Curien. She’s at Curien’s mansion but the call ominously cuts off before she can fully explain her situation. Rogan hurries to the scene with his partner – a mysterious man by the name of ‘G’ – to find and rescue her. The agents have no choice but to explore the mansion and face with the horrors within…
Author Simon Kurt Unsworth has had a very difficult few months. How will his change in circumstances affect his writing?
Read Simon’s previous articles here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
This is how it happens.
At the end of November, I finally finished all the amendments to the novel, was really happy with it and sent it off to John Berlyne. ‘Don’t expect anything fast’, he told me, so I didn’t, trying to forget about what might potentially happen next, about whether he’d like it or not, about whether he might be able to sell it to publishers. It’s not easy to clear something like that from your mind, though, and every day I opened my e-mail hoping to see something back from John. In the last month of last year, to be honest, I was making myself more than a little stressed about it, until I managed to find a way of stopping worrying about the novel. So, how did I do that?
Horror writer extraordinaire, Simon Kurt Unsworth, brings us up to speed on the life of his new novel. And he’s had some very exciting news…
I shouldn’t have been so cocky.
It all felt like it was going so well; I’d sent the novel off and I was proud of what I’d accomplished in it. The final draft felt like it worked as a thriller and as a horror, I was happy with my imagery and its pace, and I liked my characters enough to have some emotional investment in them. I had two writing courses lined up to teach which I was set to be paid for, and life felt good. And then things started to, if not go wrong exactly, then at least yaw. I like the word ‘yaw’; it’s got a dizzying, oscillatory sort of feel to it, and it’s pretty much exactly how life’s felt these last months.
In a break from our usual content, our very own P.G. Bell takes part in ‘The Next Big Thing’, a short interview that’s bouncing from writer to writer on a weekly basis. Next week, he passes the torch to our Editor in Chief, Caleb Woodbridge, as well as writer and film maker Aurélien Lainé.
1. What’s the working title of your next book?
‘An Unwanted Miracle’
2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
I’ve always been a zombie fan but it’s easy to forget they weren’t invented by George A. Romero in the 60s as so many of the stories out there follow his model – society crumbles, leaving a small cast of characters under siege from the flesh-eating hordes. That can be great fun, but the zombie has very different origins. They weren’t usually dangerous in themselves, but were more often tools of some more calculating, malignant force, operating in secret. (“White Zombie” or Hammer’s “Plague of the Zombies” are great examples). That’s something I wanted to revisit, whilst grounding the story in a thoroughly modern setting.
Following last month’s introduction, horror author Simon Kurt Unsworth returns to chart the vagaries of writing full time for a living.
So, where in Hell are we? This is a pun, of sorts, but not one that’ll mean anything to you. I may choose to explain it later. Bear with me.
Last time we talked, I introduced myself; this time, I need to introduce my novel, seeing as that’s sort of what these columns are supposed to be about. Well, I can tell you it’s been a long, long time coming. Don’t believe me? Picture it: it’s 1995, and I’m 23 and sat in a fairly grim bedsit in Leeds, near the Faversham Public House. I’m waiting for my then girlfriend, Susie, to come home from work and three things collide like damp tissue paper in my head.
|Simon at the ‘Quiet Houses’ launch
Impossible Podcasts is very proud to bring you The Bellows, a brand new monthly column by horror author Simon Kurt Unsworth. Regular listeners will know Simon from our interview at FantasyCon last year and our review of his excellent book, Quiet Houses. Now he’s back to tell you all about… well, we’ll let him explain, shall we?
I suppose the first question you’re asking is, “Who is this who is coming?” No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. There are, of course, many ways to answer this: I’m a husband, father, child, self-employed trainer, author and wearer of cowboy boots, and each of these realities exists alongside the others and has given me experiences and a history. For your purposes, the most important stuff is this: I’m a World Fantasy Award-nominated author, and I write horror stories.
I was first published in 2007, and I’ve got two collections out: Lost Places came out from the Ash Tree Press in 2010, and Quiet Houses, published by Dark Continents, came out in 2011. Lost Places was Peter Tennant’s (reviewer for Black Static magazine) favourite collection of 2010 on days when Angela Slatter’s Sourdough wasn’t (his words, not mine), and Quiet Houses was placed on the Edge Hill Short Story Collection longlist.