Featured Author: Anthony Watson
State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II
Anthony Watson is co-founder and co-editor of Dark Minds Press alongside Ross Warren. Dark Minds Press have so far published two collections of dark fiction – Dark Minds and Darker Minds and are currently working on the third book in the series Darkest Minds for publication in 2015. As well as this, he runs a horror review blog “Dark Musings” which has had over 28,000 visits.
He also writes and, as well as his story in State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II, has been published in Sanitarium Magazine with his short story Elder’s End and has a story Interstice scheduled for inclusion in the next Spectral Press annual ghost story anthology. 2015 will see publication of his war/horror novella Winter Storm in a seven author collection.
Anthony lives on the Northumbrian coast amongst its rolling hills, ancient castles and unspoilt beaches with Judith and their dog Themba. He taught himself to play guitar ten years ago but still can’t manage a barre chord.
Synopsis: “Indigo” from State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II
A man is in his favorite club listening to the musicians when he hears a mesmerizing song—Indigo. The song seems to bewitch the entire crowd as the atmosphere changes. When the song is over and the spell is broken everyone goes back to normal except the man, he seems changed. He meets up with the guitarist-Lowell Johnson and they begin to talk. Because the man can remember Indigo, Lowell recognizes him as special and decides to take him under his wing. He teaches the man to play guitar and teaches him different songs and eventually teaches him Indigo. Many events happen in the town during the guitarist’s training. Eventually he will learn all the secrets of Indigo.
And then he began to sing, still he had his eyes closed, his deep, bass voice growlin’ out the words. It was like everyone was transfixed, hypnotised or somethin’—the music took them away somewhere, somewhere different for everyone there, but someplace good
Time to Meet Anthony Watson
Charon Coin Press: What inspired your story in State of Horror?
AW: I’m never really sure where the inspiration for any of the stories I’ve written comes from (and it’s perhaps best left undiscovered) but my love of music obviously had a lot to do with Indigo. Music can have such a massive influence over people’s lives and emotions and I thought it would be interesting to use that in a slightly darker way.
CCP: Is there a reason this particular state appealed to you?
AW: Not actually living in the US means I get most of my impressions of the country from films and books. Louisiana has always struck me as having a distinct character – no doubt as a result of the mix of cultures to be found there. Given that Indigo is a story set in the 1920’s about a blues musician and has a very specific supernatural element there was really only one place it could be set.
I obviously enjoyed my “trip” to Louisiana as the next story I wrote – a flash fiction piece called Just Another Day – was also set there.
CCP: What do you look for in a horror story as a reader?
AW: Over and above good writing and characters who I care about, which I’d look for in any form of fiction, with particular reference to horror I really want to be unsettled by what I’ve read. I also appreciate originality – there are plenty well-worn tropes within horror and it’s nice to see an author using them in a new way. (Or coming up with something entirely new of course).
CCP: What is your favorite writing snack food?
AW: I enjoy both writing and eating. Not at the same time though.
CCP: What other works do you have out there?
AW: I currently have a weird western novella and an apocalyptic novel searching for the right publisher. My First World War horror story Gehenna is in the Dark Minds anthology and my last published story was Elders End in Sanitarium Magazine. Later in the year my war/horror novella Winter Storm will be published as part of a seven author collection.
CCP: What is one important thing the readers need to know about you?
AW: That there are no important things to know about me.
CCP: Who are your favorite authors?
AW: I started reading horror at around the same time Stephen King started writing it and have remained one of his Constant Readers ever since. For good reason.
Most of what I read comes from the independent presses and there’s a wealth of talent on display there. If I’m looking for uncompromising, dark horror then Gary McMahon and Simon Bestwick are the authors to supply it. For subtle, enigmatic horror there’s Frank Duffy, Mark West, James Everington and Stephen Bacon.
Michael Kelly is a great editor but writes some amazing stories too whilst Gary Fry has carved out a niche for himself with a unique blend of horror and philosophy. I can’t help but be in awe of the craftsmanship of Stephen Volk, James Cooper and Ray Cluley.
Willie Meikle and John Llewellyn Probert write the most entertaining horror I’ve ever read but if I want to be really scared – and I mean proper “have to put the book down now” scared – then Adam Nevill is the author I turn to.
I mentioned originality earlier and that’s something to be found in abundance in Ralph Robert Moore’s new novel Ghosters.
Someone who’ll be making it big this year is Benedict Jones who’s already had a novel and a collection of shorts published. You heard it here first.
CCP: What drew you to State of Horror?
AW: The happy coincidence that I finished writing the story just as the submission window opened.
CCP: Do you have a favorite state or state you are waiting to open?
AW: I do have a yet unpublished story set in a very specific location in Maryland…
CCP: Music or no music when writing?
AW: I used to have music playing when I wrote but now I don’t. I kind of get into a “zone” when I write and become pretty much oblivious to anything happening around me so there’s no point in having music playing.
CCP: If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would you go and why?
AW: Right where I am. I live on the beautiful Northumbrian coast and am married to Judith who I love very much. Geographically and emotionally, this is exactly where I want to be. To quote Michael Stipe, “this is all I want, it’s all I need.”
CCP: What was the hardest part about writing your story?
AW: The same thing it is with every story I write – thinking up character names. If I can get away with not naming a character I will. Ironically, I had to find ten names for characters in Indigo – and had the added pressure of trying to make them sound authentic. Still, I managed to get away with not giving the main character, and narrator a name…
CCP: Do you have any writing rituals?
AW: Before I begin any story I slaughter a goat and rummage through its entrails to divine the plot.
Get more of Anthony Watson by following him over to Facebook at Anthony Watson or visit his website here. Come back for more author features over the next few weeks as we visit with the authors from the recent releases.Pick up your copy today by visiting these great retailers.