When people find out I’m a novelist, the first question I usually get asked is, “What do you write?”
When I say Celtic fantasy/horror, the second question I get asked is, “Why?”
Well, that’s a long story…
I’ve always liked horror, even as a kid. That’s partly because it was difficult to get hold of – as a child I was (probably rightly) shielded from much that was unpleasant. On the other hand, having it forbidden raised my curiosity and as a teenager I read as much horror as I could, and when I was 18 hired horror videos.
Having read and watched horror I learned something of how it works - in terms of plot structure and the like – so it made sense to write in the genre. I’m not keen on mad serial killers no mater how well done (for example Halloween), and much prefer supernatural horror.
I’ve read some fantasy and quite liked it, and I’m happy to bring some fantasy themes into my work. I get frustrated by the lack of ‘realism’ in fantasy fiction though - fantasy worlds in fiction seem unreasonably comfortable. I want to show the constant battles against disease and starvation people faced, and to include the unpleasant deaths available instead of assuming everyone breaths their last peacefully in their sleep, or with a short, swift, instantaneous arrow to the heart.
In short, I think fantasy lacks the ‘bite’ that draws me to horror.
It’s myths, though, that particularly interest me. I studied the post-Roman Celts at university, and I read some of their legends. Celtic myths and legends made an immediate impact on me, and having lived in Wales I’ve got to know some of their settings intimately. The stories have some obvious fantasy elements, too. Having decided on supernatural horror as my subject matter, it wasn’t a surprise that I turned to the Celts and their fantasy-themed stories for inspiration.
So, that’s how I came to concentrate on Celtic fantasy/horror.