What's your story in the anthology called and what seeded the idea for you?
The Birthing Lady. A haunting tale, fusing English folk horror with J-horror was an idea that struck me the moment Dean gave me the letter U for this anthology. To add to this question, I possess a library of books on myths and legends and crafting out a story on Ubume was the perfect fit for this project.
What got you writing in the first place? What excites you about stories?
It comes down to having a vivid imagination that sometimes runs riot. Also I consider myself a storyteller as well as a writer. My fiction tends to be dark and suspense driven, whether it’s comedy, horror or science fiction. I have no idea why, but I find writing relaxing and it demonstrates what I need to say about this world. I started out writing screenplays, which is a long shot before committing myself to prose.
Have you got any real-life stories involving animals that scared you?
Only one about an Alsatian wolf dog chasing me down the street, when I was nine years old and weighed over nine stones. For a while I was scared of dogs. Now I love them.
Have you got any favourite animals stories?
Just one about a mischievous dog that was deeply loyal to its owner and whenever he wanted to make a mess, he would always tunnel himself through to next door’s rear garden to poop, burying his mess before returning to the patio covered in mud. Naughty but nice.
Do you have pets? Do they have any quirks?
I have no pets, but if I were to get one it would have to be a dog because they are loyal and have a great personality.
And now for a short excerpt ...
There she was, gazing straight into the eyes of Lucie Morgan, demanding her full attention. Lucie was scared of this old hag, clad in a filthy white robe with her long, unbound and dishevelled grey hair. She was of Asian descent, Japanese to be precise.
The air was warm, but Lucie shivered at the vision, knowing that the other figure was a ghost. In the village of Brays Beach, never had she seen a person of colour wandering around its outskirts.
It was just the two of them, alone in the marshes, overlooking the grim countryside. The overhead clouds were black, and this strange spectre continued to transfix her with her freezing cold stare.
Lucie wanted to run, but could no longer feel her legs. Movement was impossible. It was as if her muscles had been crippled by this forbidding being, paralysing her with her glare.
Black smudges covered the Crone’s wrinkled cheeks and forehead, deepening the shadows and making the ghostly apparition look as if she was centuries old.
Then, Lucie noticed the bulging object buried inside the woman’s robe. Almost as if she’d read Lucie’s mind, she parted it to reveal a baby soaked in blood.
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