Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Author Interview: J.G. Clay, author of Tales Of Blood And Sulphur


J.G Clay is definitely a Man of Horror. There can be no doubt. Putting aside the reverence he has for the horror greats, such as King, Barker, Herbert, Carpenter, Romero and Argento, there is another fact that defines his claim for the title of the 'Duke of Spook'. He was born on Halloween night. By a quirk fate, it was also a full moon that night. Co-incidence?
Here at Clay Towers, we don't believe in coincidences.

The 41 year old hails from the Midlands in the United Kingdom, is married with one step child and two dogs that bear a strong resemblance to Ewoks. Beyond the page and the written word, he is music mad and can hold down a tune on a bass guitar pretty well. He is an avid reader and also has an enduring love of British sci-fi, from the pages of the '2000A.D' comic to the televised wanderings of Gallifrey's most famous physician. Clay is also a long-time fan of the mighty Birmingham City Football Club and endures a lot of flak from his friends for it.


Tell us about the book you want to talk about today.

‘Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor’ is my first foray into the world of the published author. It’s a short story collection consisting of ten tales bound together by a wrap-around story featuring a mysterious story teller named Null. The tales deal with themes such as greed, temptation, pride and loss. Not all of them have a happy ending.

Give us an insight into your main character.

There isn’t one ‘central character’ as it were. Each of the main characters in the ‘Tales’ are flawed people; most of them are ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations. Some of them try to fight it out, others embrace the darkness. They’re a mixed bag of characters

What genre are your books?

Horror with an element of sci-fi; two genres I’ve loved since I was a child.

Did you self-publish or publish traditionally and why?

Booktrope, the publishing company I’m currently with, is a ‘hybrid publisher’ taking elements of both traditional and self-publishing.  I enjoy being with them because they give me a huge amount of control over my work, the way it’s presented and marketed and the material I chose to write. Traditional publishers don’t offer much leeway from what I understand.

What do you consider the most important part of a good story?

The characters. If the characters aren’t relatable or realistic to a degree, the story doesn’t work.

How long have you been writing?

Professionally, only for the last two years. I’ve been writing as a hobby for over twenty years. Writing is something I’ve enjoyed ever since I could pick up a pen.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A plotter when it comes to novel writing. I think you have to be even if you’re just working from a rough outline. There’s too much that can go wrong when you’re dealing with a large work. When it comes to short stories, I’m more of a pantser; dive in and let it happen.

What is your writing process?

I normally write for two hours in the morning before I leave for my day job, then two hours in the evening. It’s a pattern I try to stick to, even on weekends. Admittedly, it can be a little difficult at times, but for the most part it’s a routine that I try to stick to.

What part of the writing process is the hardest for you?

Starting off. That moment before the first sentence is typed, when it’s just a flashing cursor on the screen, waiting to go. A hard moment and a terrifying one.

What advice would you give an author just starting out?

Read lots. All the little tricks, feints and other parts of the craft can be found on bookshelves the world over. Write lots. Practice makes perfect, so they say anyway. And above all, don’t be discouraged.

What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?

Just get your head down and batter your way through it. Failing that, step away for a time, only don’t leave it too long.

What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?

I get easily distracted so I don’t listen to anything when I’m writing. Before and after, definitely but not during.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I’m music mad so there’s a lot of music listening going as well as bass playing. I’m not a virtuoso by any means but I can hold down a tune. Reading and films are also favoured ways to pass the time and I love watching football when I can get out to support my club Birmingham City FC.

Who is your favorite author?

Stephen King, without a doubt. If it wasn’t for him, I would have never bothered with horror. His work sucked me into the world of the macabre. I haven’t looked back since.

What is your favorite book?

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. It was the first book of his that I read. To me, that book is a masterclass in horror writing. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it over the years. In fact, thanks to Salem’s Lot, I can’t sleep facing a window, even now. Just in case there’s a pale face staring back at me from the dark.

Who is your favorite character from a book?

That’s a difficult one to answer. At a push, I’d say Josh Hutchins, ‘Black Frankenstein’, from the Robert R. Mcammon novel, ‘Swann Song’. He’s an ‘every-man’ type character who gets pushed into a heroic role by nuclear war but never lets the situation twist or turn him. Mcammon is really good at creating these types of characters, but Josh stands out from the others for me.

Who is your favorite character from your own book(s)?

Fortuna Devoratum, The Eater of Luck. He’s the villain in the first story in ‘Tales’. Fortuna is one of Hell’s greatest gamblers and a partner in ‘House Asmodeus’, Hell’s gaming franchise. I wrote him as this urbane sophisticated but jaded creature and I think that comes across on the page. He’s kind of an anti-James Bond demon…with bigger teeth than Daniel Craig.

Read anything good lately?

‘No Rest for The Wicked’ by Dane Cobain, ‘Gristle and Bone’ by Duncan Ralston and I’m just about to start ‘Reinheit’ by Thomas Flowers. All great horror/sci-fi books from some fantastic emerging authors

Have you had anything else published?

Not at present, no. I’m pretty much at the beginning of what I hope is a long and prolific career. Keep watching this space.

What's your next project?

I’m currently working on two novels. The first one, H.A.DE.S, will be my debut novel. In part, it’s a homage to the film ‘C.H.U.D’, a film which I still love to this day, but I’m also throwing in racial tension, shady government types, skinheads and the Brixton riots. It sounds like a strange mix and it probably is but it seems to be working. The second novel ‘Fool’s Gold’, is a kind of a prequel/sequel to the ‘Tales’ story, ‘One Night in Mumbai’. It’s an almost Lovecraftian nightmare set in the Antarctic involving energy sources, elemental beings, greed and an evil older than the Universe itself

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just thank you for letting me ramble on. It’s been a pleasure.


Eleven Tales steeped in Blood and reeking of Sulphur

J.G Clay takes you on a journey through the voids of Reality and into dark places where demons, mutants and inter-dimensional creatures taunt, taint and corrupt Humanity. Survival is not guaranteed, sanity is not assured and death lurks in every corner. These are the Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor; eleven twisted tales of terror and mayhem……

There are cracks in the skin of Reality. Some are microscopic, others are as wide as a four-lane motorway. As the fault lines increase and widen, the door to our world shines like a beacon in the darkness, a warm and inviting sight to others beyond our understanding. When They cross over into our realm, The Tales begin......

A gambler taking one last desperate throw of the dice. A struggling writer making an unholy alliance. An eternal being fighting to stay alive in the financial capital of India. A man burdened with a terrible town secret. The Law Enforcers who must never cry. The End of Days live and direct from the rural heartland of England.

The blood is warm, the sulphur is burning, the tales will be told, the Apocalypse Minor is imminent!

Paperback US: http://amzn.to/1CZpm7F
                          Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1RYqLlM
Paperback UK: http://amzn.to/1KoFNKP

Nook (Barnes & Noble): http://bit.ly/1CUUYMd

And Apple iBooks

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a huge fan of horror, I enjoy sick and twisted with a bitch slap of humor though. But your character Fortuna sounds divine (all bad puns intended). I think I would enjoy your book.