Thursday, July 11, 2013

Five minutes with Glen Mehn, 2012 SA HorrorFest Bloody Parchment finalist #horror

Today's visitor is none other than Glen Mehn, a finalist from the 2012 SA HorrorFest Bloody Parchment short story competition. His story, The Next Big Thing, appears in this year's anthology, The Root Cellar and Other Stories, which you can find all the buy links your little black heart desires here.

So, Glen, what planted the seed for your story?

 I'm fascinated by the changing face(s) of cities - particularly the cool, quirky districts that start out dangerous and then turn into the poshest areas of the city, chasing out what made it cool in the first place. There's a vampiristic or general blood-sucking of the life of what you look for in a city that happens, and it's terrible. I've lived through it in certain areas in New Orleans, San Francisco, and London - there was even a sniff of it in part of Kampala that I lived in, as it was close-ish to the airport and a really old Buganda area that was dirt cheap, but as all the NGOs, international companies, and embassies made rents rise to near London-levels in the traditional expat areas, lots of people started moving in, and the crazy nightclubs started shifting.

What are some of the themes you treated in your tale?

The changing face of cities. Seduction, and what it means. The transience of friendship and what it means to be a friend, mostly. I was also interested in the idea of inevitability - people talk about cities changing and an early draft of the story was set up as a statement of fate and inevitability. I question whether you can't improve an area without killing it. I hope so.

What are the hallmarks of a great horror/dark fantasy author and story?

People. Get me inside their heads and I'll be terrified along with them. Make me feel the knife, touch the scar tissue, and make my heart skip a beat. The strange but just plausible. There's a story by Kaaron Warren in Stories of the Smoke where the ubiquity of the urban pigeon is suggested in terrifying ways. Make me see the corners of my mind that I don't pay attention to.

How do you approach your creative process?

I try to think a lot, and then get down and write, mostly early in the morning or after work, and I try to get words on the page (or screen - I go back and forth between long handed chicken scratch and typing into a computer) before I can stop thinking about them. Some of my best work has been writing longhand first thing in the morning, before having a wee, toothbrush, or anything. And it's come after writing over and over things like "I have nothing in my mind I am super tired I don't know what to say but I have promised to put down at least 1000 words before coffee so there's 25 there".

I also try to think a lot, and shove ideas into my head. I help people create start-ups for my day job and I think that real innovation happens between specific disciplines, in the places where you're not supposed to play.

What are you working on now?

A short which is about the earliest days of Jazz (and this almost-forgotten cornetist who probably invented Jazz music, which means he's the grandfather of hip hop, rock, and most of th emusic of the 20th century), as well as a couple of novels - both of which I don't want to talk too much about except that one is an inside-out love story and the other one is an attack on the chosen one.

If you're one them folks who hang out on Goodreads, be sure to add The Root Cellar and Other Stories on Goodreads. And, if you're looking to be part of the next anthology, go read our submission guidelines here.

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