Author of: “The Stone”
Geographic Location: Bristol, England.
Recent publications: In the horror or speculative fiction genre – “Shuck” in Dead by Dawn 111, Bloody Books 2008, and “Contaminator” in Dead Souls, Morrigan Books, 2009.
Do you think alien life exists in the Universe? We have to re-define what we mean by alien – disease-causing viruses are about as alien a concept as you could want. If the question means do I think there is life in places other than the earth, then I should think there must be, but we might end up having to re-define what we mean by ‘life’ as well. But hasn’t bacteria already been found on Mars?
If you could travel off Earth, would you? What if it meant you could never come back? I have enough trouble persuading myself to leave my writing room and go down the road for a litre of milk when I’m trying to write, so the idea of leaving the Earth itself is terrifying to me. In a way, as a writer, I already inhabit an un-earthly realm – or perhaps an ‘unrealistic realm’ is closer to the mark.
What inspired your essay? My story ‘The Stone’ was inspired by finding a very peculiar stone, which I keep on my desk, that when rolled across the floor, does exactly what I describe in the story. It quivers for a long time. I’m holding it in my hand right now. How I finally came around to making a metaphorical story about ‘desire,’ I do not know. It does strike me though, that treasure hunters with metal detectors are curiously restless and tortured souls – that there is a big wanting in them that goes beyond the physical objects they un-earth.
What music or movies helped you to write this essay? I haven’t deliberately listened to music for years now. I like silence too much, that could be why I don’t ‘twitter,’ as ‘twittering’ is like making a mental noise, isn’t it? I do love movies, but I watch them to get as far away as possible from my own working and thinking, not to help me in it.
How many rewrites did you do before submitting? I wrote “The Stone” in 2006, but the character that was to find the stone eluded me for quite a few months, until I spotted a lonesome metal detectorist in a field, and knew him to be my man. I remember finding this story quite hard to write – fear and desire all at the same time, that is – but I don’t think there were many rewrites, I just worked at it until it was done to the best I could do it.
What is your favorite bit?
“There had come the strangest sentiment amidst his terror, a tiny lonely aching something – a craving – that twined about his consciousness until it was equal to his fear, and he’d had to struggle hard to resist the desire to look fully at what stood out there in the darkness of the hall.”
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