To celebrate the release of Aphotic Realm's first anthology featuring twenty dark twisted tales of strange and sinister fiction, I'm chatting with Morgan K.Tanner, one of the featured authors.
Hi Morgan, tell us a bit about yourself
I live in the Black Country in the West Midlands with my missus and little lad who's nearly 8. I love horror in all forms and my metaaaaal: the more extreme the better! I'm a drummer and play in a two piece band, we don't gig all that much anymore but still write and record. Check us out - A Grave Digger Named Pete, or my previous sludge/grime band Black Soul Cancer. I used to teach drums too, but now its all about the writing baby!
Who are your biggest influences when it comes to writing?
I suppose anyone who writes horror, I would have to mention Stephen King, especially for the way his characters are so, well, real. I'm a big fan of Clive Barker for the fantastical worlds he creates, and the gore-soaked extreme he goes to destroy them and those inhabiting them. I also enjoy Chuck Palahniuk for his derisory outlook on modern life. But what really got me interested in writing was reading HP Lovecraft. My earliest stories were heavily influenced by him but came across, even to me as a very poor man's version.
Name a great horror book, short story or magazine you've read recently.
I've read a few beauties recently, I just can't pick one. The Sadist's Bible by Nicole Cushing was excellent, a heavy does of blasphemous gore. The Jesus Man by Keith Anthony Baird was a post-apocalptic novel like no other. The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen was a haunted house tale that felt fresh and not cliche. John.F.Leonard's Bad Pennies was a brutal kind of Lovecraftian novel that I really enjoyed. I recommend everyone to check these out.
How long have you been writing for?
It was around six or seven years ago now I think. My first ever thing was a Lovecraft-inspired short story that was never finished but one I'll hopefully go back to one day. I spent weeks with a thesaurus writing a kick ass opening paragraph that I'm still proud of, but the rest of the story sort of petered pit into nonsense.
What's a typical writing day for you?
After coming home from work and doing the family stuff, I'll settle down with either a book or some metal on the record player. After a while the urge to get the laptop will be too storng and I'll have to type some words. Some days I manage to just read through something I'm working on, other days I'm on fire. But I'm trying to do something every day, be that research about publishing, reading blogs, working on my own blog, or trying to figure out how to avoid that massive plot hole that's giving me the middle finger from the screen. They say write even when you don't feel like it, and that's advice I'm taking literally.
Do you have a story that you've written that you are particularly proud of?
I have two. My story, Answer the Phone was recently published in The Horror Zine and was then selected to appear on Evil Podcast where it was read by Dennis Sera. He's got a great creepy voice and you should definitely check him out. Hearing my story being read was a great feeling. My other story, For David, has been rejected a couple of times so is currently sitting in the depths of my hard drive. I know I'm biased. but I really love it and one day it will find a home, oh yes it will.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
My debut novella, working title, An Army of Skin, is currently with the editor, so once it's back I will be making some changes (hopefully not too many but probably loads) before unleashing it upon the world this year if all goes well. I also have three or four short stories that I'm sitting on, maybe I'll put a collection together who knows?
If you could throw an amazing dinner party who would you invite? Guests can be living, dead or fictional.
This one's been the cause of a lot of head scratching. I suppose someone who writes would like to have dinner with their influences and learn all about the craft. But they could get a bit heavy couldn't they? Lovecraft or Poe might bring the mood down a bit, but then hearing from the man himself about his plans for more Cthulhu mythos-inspired stuff would go well with the brandy by the fire. Oderus Urungus aka Dave Brockie, frontman of the mighty GWAR would be a man (alien) I could listen to all day, it's such a shame he's no longer with us (although he's coming to this dinner party you're organising, right? Dave and John from John Dies at the End by David Wong would be entertaining, especially if they brought the soy sauce. I'd also love to have a chat with Larry David and tell him how I agree with him about 99% of the time. Tyler Durden would be invited too, but there wouldn't need to be a place setting for him. Oh yeah and I'd get Hannibal Lecter to cook.
Tell us about your story. What was the inspiration behind it?
This may sound a bit weird. I remember it well when the idea for The Almost Cannibal cam eto me. I was sitting in traffic, idly nibbling on a stray piece of skin from my finger. My mind wandered, as it usually does, and I wondered if what I was doing was actually self-cannibalism. Then the thought went to gnawing on a piece of skin from someone else's finger (not that I thought that was a fun idea), and the thing just seemed to come together. A psycho who keeps prisoners to eat parts of? That was a pretty twisted idea and needed to be written. The whole religious bit came as I was writing it and I needed a purpose for the story. I hope it translated.
Tales From the Realm Out Now