Featured Author: Jonathan S. Pembroke
Story: “The King of Belmer”
State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II
Jonathan S. Pembroke is a lifelong fan of speculative fiction. He cut his teeth reading superhero comics and grew up on the works of Stephen King, Michael Moorcock, and Larry Niven. He has published a number of short stories in small venues over the last decade. His first novel, Pilgrimage to Skara, a low-fantasy/sci-fi story set far in Earth’s future is ready for publication and is searching for a home. Jonathan has also started on the first book of an unrelated fantasy series, Princess of the North.
Jonathan graduated from a large midwestern university and served in the military for twenty years. He now lives in the American Southwest with his wife Lisa and a horde of unruly dogs.
Synopsis: “The King of Belmer” from State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II
David is taking his bitchy wife Kendra to his a festival in his hometown. It is far out and they have to get to by boat. She complains and brow-beats him the entire time. When they get to the festival, it is a backwoods, country kind of thing and many of the men are related. Most of the women, including Kendra, are complaining and carrying on—lots of bad attitudes directed towards their husbands. Kendra notices how the women there are run-over the men and treat them terribly and begins to feel bad seeing her own behavior. She has a change of heart and vows to be nicer to her husband. But she is too late. One of the men can’t take it anymore and hits his wife with a club. As Kendra and the other women try to escape they are captured and many knocked out. Soon they will all find out the secrets to the King of Belmer.
Silence descended. Kendra felt her hands began to shake. The face of every man in the tent was stone cold –calm—the same steady look still on David’s face.
Time to Meet Nathan Pettigrew
Charon Coin Press: What inspired your story in State of Horror?
Jonathan S. Pembroke: I’ve always wanted to try my hand at something Cthulu-esque. Lovecraft was – and is – such a titan that it is hard not to be inspired by his mythos. So this was first attempt at an homage.
CCP: Is there a reason this particular state appealed to you?
JP: Lousiana has such a rich history that is hard to overlook. Whether the potpourri of French, English, Spanish, and Native cultures, or the tales of wars, battles and family strife, it is a unique state with any number of possibilities.
CCP: What do you look for in a horror story as a reader?
JP: To be scared, but not in a “jump out of the shadows at the crescendo of the music” style of scare. I Like to be unsettled, creeped out, and left with a vague sense of unease. I think the stories that do that are the ones that stick with us.
CCP: What is your favorite writing snack food?
JP: I usually don’t eat when I am writing but I drink something nonstop. Coffee, tea, water, etc. I am a chronic ice-chewer which is probably my way of coping as I get into a story.
CCP: What other works do you have out there?
JP: I was recently published in the anthology Luna’s Children: Strange Worlds with a steampunk werewolf tale. It makes sense in context. I have a few other short stories published and finished a novel, Pilgrimage to Skara, which is searching for a publishing home.
CCP: What is one important thing the readers need to know about you?
JP: If my mouth is moving, I am probably making a smart-alec comment. I don’t take people, as a collective, very seriously and that includes myself. I am at my most serious when writing.
CCP: Who are your favorite authors?
JP: My favorite authors are Stephen King and Michael Moorcock. Both built complex mythologies that permeate across their myriad works, and have a distinct writing style. From a world-building perspective, Brandon Sanderson stands out. He really knows how to create a hopeless, dystopian setting.
CCP: What drew you to State of Horror?
JP: I like themed anthologies and the idea of a something lurking in the swamps outside New Orleans just resonated.
CCP: Do you have a favorite state or state you are waiting to open?
JP: Arizona, for sure. I have about six ideas ratting around in my head.
CCP: Music or no music when writing?
JP: I like background noise vice any specific type of music. If it is too quiet, I can’t focus. Outside writing, mostly classic rock from the 70s.
CCP: If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would you go and why?
JP: Right this second, somewhere warmer (it is cold and gusty outside as I write this). But I’d really like to visit New Zealand. The whole country just seems to have a rugged beauty to it.
CCP: What was the hardest part about writing your story?
JP: Trying to make the protagonist sympathetic and at the same time somewhat deserving of their fate. At the same time, the primary antagonist had the potential to be a one-dimensional villain and I wanted some humanity there too.
CCP: Do you have any writing rituals?
JP: Nope. I pretty get a drink, sit down, and start pounding the keyboard. The closest thing I have to a ritual is waiting three days between finishing a first draft and starting to edit. That way, I come at the story with somewhat fresh eyes.
Thanks to Jonathan S. Pembroke for letting us get to visit and learn more about him, his craft, and his story in State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II. if you are looking for more information on Pembroke, he blogs and babbles about writing and multimedia speculative fiction at http://flinthatchet.wordpress.com , which is not safe to be read by anyone.