Today I have Simon Cheshire, author of Red Eye’s latest YA Horror Flesh and Blood on the site talking about the scenes from his life that allowed him to become the horror writer he has. Read on to find out more…
Who was it said “the child is father to the man”? Wordsworth, was it? One of those poets with billowing shirts, trudging over moorland, anyway. It’s certainly true that formative influences leave their mark.
SCENE ONE: my school friend’s hideout, 1971
Two of my friends from school and I went through a phase of listening to the same vinyl record almost every Saturday afternoon. We’d huddle under a huge blanket, to block out the light, and hear Christopher Lee tell ghost stories. It frightened all three of us silly, but we loved every minute of it. Of course, I was the sucker who always got shoved out from under the blanket to go and turn the disc over half way through, but that’s another story.
SCENE TWO: the living room, 1980
BBC1 showed the two-part TV adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. I sat on the sofa, with my brothers, and watched that guy from Starsky & Hutch nervously tape sticks into a makeshift crucifix. My nerves turned to water when little Danny Glick started scratching at the window, and don’t ask what happened to me when Mr Barlow turned up at the prison. Seriously, don’t ask. Still the most frightening thing every shown on telly. Well, up to 1980, anyway. In 1984 they screened Threads, and I still can’t even hear that title without flinching.
SCENE THREE (a prequel): under the covers, 1969
An irresponsible cousin had given me a pile of reprinted American pre-Code comics from the ‘50s, which I read by the light of a torch every night for a month. Stories full of voodoo rites, vengeful corpses and assorted brutal crimes. They made UK weeklies like Beano and Dandy look just a wee bit tame. How I actually slept, I don’t know, because those stories haunted me for years.
Flesh and Blood was released on March 2nd by Red Eye, a Stripes Publishing imprint. You can read my review of the book here.