Welcome to the first day of Bad Moon Rising! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and this is the third year I’ve celebrated by featuring horror/thriller authors who contribute to the genres guaranteed to ramp up the heart rate and make you feel like someone – or something – may be looking over your shoulder as you read.
F.R. Jameson will be kicking off this year’s celebration with his collection of short stories. Being somewhat claustrophobic, just the title, Confined Spaces, makes me a little uncomfortable.
An adulterous couple hear something dreadful happening next door; a movie-star is trapped in her hotel room; elsewhere a young man is buried alive on his uncle’s farm; while another man wakes up, unsure of who he is or how he got there, in a perfectly white prison cell.
Seven disturbing tales of claustrophobic terror, from author of supernatural thrillers, F.R. Jameson.
Favorite Halloween memories?
This is a tricky one, as Halloween wasn’t such a big deal in Britain when I was young. Indeed most of my good memories of Halloween revolve around being a teenager and getting together with similarly underage friends to watch any scary movie we could get our hands on. I can remember watching John Carpenter’s Halloween three years in a row, and being thrilled each time. That third year though we had a double bill with the sequel, which I think I appreciate more now, but which was a most disappointing experience at the time. (Though I am one of those people who thinks Season of the Witch is much better than its reputation would suggest). I remember the adolescent excitement of watching The Nightmare on Elm Street films, scoffing at the Friday the Thirteenth films, and one year having a proper laugh riot at Plan Nine from Outer Space. The main one I remember though was getting hold of a grainy, hard to watch copy of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was at that point banned in this country, and all our know-it-all smirks disappearing as we were immersed entirely in its grimy horror.
Favorite Halloween candy?
As I said, Halloween was always a bit incidental when I was young. Bonfire Night – five days later – was always the much bigger event. That’s changed in recent times, so much so that I think, after Christmas, it’s the occasion most money is spent on by the British public. Still though, I don’t think the quality of Halloween sweets and candy over here is particularly high. It all seems cheap to me, and I stare with envy to the other side of the pond at the treats which are served up in films and TV set on Halloween. We may have embraced this tradition a lot more, but we really need to put a hell of a lot more work into the treats too.
If you could go back in time, where would you go and what would you do?
There are so many places I’d wish to go. I think if I started time travelling I might never come back (which would be one way of avoiding the butterfly effect). I’d like to see what Stone Age men were really like, take a deckchair to the building of the pyramids, check out an actual Shakespeare play with actual Shakespeare in one of the roles, and of course hang out on the grassy knoll in November 1963 and see what was really going on. (I used to be a conspiracy theorist, but I’m now in the ‘Oswald did it’ camp. It would be good to know either way).
On a more personal note, what I’d really like to do though is go back and meet my grandparents when they were young. They were alive in my lifetime, but they were all somewhat distant figures, so I’d like to see them when they were still youthful and had promise, before any bitterness at life weighed down on their shoulders. Not to have any Back to the Future-esque shenanigans, you understand, just to buy them a cup of tea or a pint and see what they hoped for in life. Then I’d disappear before they twigged there was any connection between us.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing at the moment like I’ve never written before. After a long period seemingly in the writing wilderness, I have just rediscovered my mojo. At the end of February I sat down on my train-ride to work and started to doodle some ideas and before I knew it I was writing a book and had a first rough draft completed in no time. That novel is now typed up and needs editing, but I already have plans to turn it into a trilogy (with some spin-off material as well). To give me a break from this epic unfolding in my mind, I decided in August to try and write a novella and have it published by Christmas. This has turned into a short novel as well, with the potential to become its own (albeit much looser connected) series of books. That’s what’s taking up my time now, morning, lunchtime and evening.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created?
I have a great character I’m writing at the moment; kind of Toby Jones – monster hunter. He’s private school educated, Oxford university (though he was sent down before he graduated) and has a great line in sardonic and sarcastic wit. It’s a delight every time I conjure him on the page, and I’m trying to be careful – as he’s a supporting character in this book – that he doesn’t just come to dominate proceedings. I’m keeping myself in check with the back of my mind promise to write some short stories based just about him. Then I can just let him dominate everything.
Biggest horror/thriller novel influence?
Stephen King would be a huge influence, and Raymond Chandler was such a touchstone when I was young, that when writing in the first person I have to stop myself falling into a bad parody of his style. What I like about King is the way he makes the small epic. At his best the horror of his work is all consuming, but he roots it in the everyday lives of real people, a tangible and relatable world that makes the darkness all the more powerful when it finally bursts forth. Another more leftfield influence is P.G. Wodehouse. He’s not a horror or thriller writer, I know (although I do have on my shelf I have, The Lovecraft Papers by P.H. Cannon – which is basically Jeeves & Wooster vs Cthulhu) but is perhaps the most brilliant prose stylist in English. In my most perfect reality I’d write with the perfect prose of Wodehouse, the similes of Chandler and the empathy of King. That’s what I’ll keep striving for and maybe one day I’ll get there!
Husband, father, author and man who seems capable of holding seven streams of nonsense in my mind at any one moment. I’ve written two novels of supernatural fiction, THE WANNABES and HELL’S SECRETS. This year I’ve also published two lengthy short stories, FOLIAGE and THE STRANGE FATE OF LORD BRUTON, while most recently I’ve released a collection of disturbing, claustrophobic fiction, entitled CONFINED SPACES.
I blog most days and you can find me at https://frjameson.com/.