An Interview with Indie Horror Author – Luke Walker
Luke Walker has been writing horror and fantasy fiction for most of his life. His novella Mirror Of The Nameless is published by DarkFuse. His collection of horror fiction, Die Laughing, was published January 2015. Several of his short stories have been published online and in print. His next novel, Hometown, will be published by Caffeine Nights in 2016. He is thirty-eight and lives in England with his wife and two cats.
Terror Realm (TR): Firstly, tell us about your horror heroes.
Luke Walker (LW): Loads and all for more or less the same reason. Stephen King (obviously). James Herbert. Clive Barker. Alison Littlewood. Gary McMahon. Tim Lebbon. Susan Hill. Poe. Lovecraft. John Carpenter. George Romero, and many others. All these writers or film-makers understand horror inside out. They understand its place in life and that is just as important to the human condition as any other facet despite some assuming it’s simply gore and violence and suffering for the sake of it. In horror, we can see people at their absolute worst and absolute best. I often think that is overlooked or ignored by people.
TR: What is your favourite horror movie of all time? What do you love about it?
LW: Without question, the original Night Of The Living Dead. It’s brutal in a way that a lot of modern horror films try to replicate and fail miserably. There isn’t a single shot that I don’t find creepy in some way. Whether it’s the long, slow approach of the car into the massive cemetery at the start (mirroring the approach of the first zombie) or the first few zombies around the farmhouse gradually becoming a few more … and a few more … and a few more, or the location of the house and in its place in acres of nothing, the whole film looks utterly bleak. I don’t think there’s a moment where the viewer really thinks there’s going to be a happy ending.
TR: How long have you been working in the horror industry?
LW: For as long as I can remember. I wrote my first ‘adult’ story when I was about fourteen. It was terrible as was everything I wrote for years after. I tried a mix of fantasy and normal fiction (which was also all terrible), and finally clicked on the sort of horror that works for me when I was in my early twenties. Since then, I’ve written a lot of short stories and around fourteen books as well as playing with turning some of the short pieces in scripts.
TR: What has been your greatest success so far?
LW: If you’re looking at sales and feedback, then my novella published by DarkFuse, Mirror Of The Nameless. The good reviews were a nice surprise for what felt to me like a little tale of Lovecraftian horror. I look at that one now and wonder how I managed to write something extremely fast-paced that (I think) is also a decent character study of a guy who will risk everything for his daughter. The reviews for my short story collection Die Laughing were also better than I hoped for. Hearing those people liked a particular tale is ALWAYS a massive boost.
TR: Do you have a particular ritual or routine to get you in the mood to create horror?
LW: Not really. I listen to loud music to get the blood pumping and make sure I either have a cup of coffee or a glass of water to hand. Other than that, I try to start at the same time each session and aim for at least 2,000 words. Some days, I do more. It’s rare I do less. I think it’s easy to get bogged down in feeling like a writer and doing supposedly writerly things. If they work for you, then great. Go for it, but don’t forget writing is a job like any other. I don’t have any ritual for my 9-5 so I’m not going to for writing.
TR: What advice do you have for anyone starting out in horror?
LW: First thing, read. A lot. Not just horror, but a bit of everything. Feel free to write utter crap (because you will) and don’t dismiss it as 100% useless. You’ll be surprised by the odd line or image that stays with you for years and comes back in a much-improved way for a later piece. Be around people. Listen to their stories and how they tell them. In any genre, the most important factor is the character so feel free to steal real-life people for your stories. Get feedback on your work, listen to it and don’t be a special snowflake who thinks you’re an artist, man, and like nobody gets you, man, because wow you’re so deep. You’re not. You’re doing something a million others are doing. You just have to do it to the best of your abilities and keep going. And eat your greens.
TR: What are your experiences of getting published and finding an audience?
LW: It’s a slooooooowwwwwwww process. If you’re impatient, you’re in the wrong gig. I get way more rejections than acceptances even with publications and credits to my name and had to write nine books before the tenth was published (that publisher has since closed down). As for an audience, I try and engage with people on Twitter and maintain my blog, but the best way to keep people interested is to keep having stuff published. Yeah. As easy as that. Basically, the online I is pretty much the real life me. I like to think that’s how most people want others to be.
TR: Is there anyone you’d like to publicly thank?
LW: My wife Rebecca. My light.
TR: And finally – as we’re all fans of horror here: if you could be in any horror movie what would it be and why?
LW: Back to NOTLD for this one. So I’d either get my brains eaten or shot, but hey, it’d be worth it.
Links to books by Luke Walker, or including stories by Luke Walker –
Mirror Of The Nameless – Amazon
Die Laughing – Amazon
Wicked Words featuring my story 6/13 – Amazon
Serial Killers Tres Tria featuring my story Bear – Amazon