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Monday, 25 May 2015

Exclusive Fans of Modern Horror - Author Interview - Andrew Lennon - Interviewed by Matt Hickman

So, this week on the fans of modern horror page, we bring you another exclusive interview with me and fairly new, up and coming author, and a good friend of mine. I take pleasure in introducing Mr Andrew Lennon.

So, welcome. First off, Andrew or Andy?

The standard, please introduce yourself, tell us where you live, work, family etc. please include anything that you feel we need to know.

Ok, well my "Author" name is Andrew, but being honest I don't really like my name. Most people tend to call me Andy. Only my Mum and Dad call me Andrew. I live in Runcorn in the North West of England, just outside of Liverpool. 
As you've probably guessed I am a big fan of horror. But until about the age of 25 I had only ever been interested in horror movies. Books had never really interested me. Once I started getting into them, I really, really enjoyed them. My wife is a very avid reader and has a huge Stephen King collection so I guess I owe it to her for pushing me in the right direction. 
I've always had quite a vivid imagination, but the more I was reading, the more ideas for stories started to pop into my head. So I thought I would give it a shot myself. My wife was really encouraging, I think she was actually more excited about it than I was to start. I think that without her I would probably still be left with a few scribbled notes for an idea somewhere lying around the house.
I'm still very new to this game, but I feel so far that the feedback I have received has been very good so I like to think that I'm doing something right. 
You can follow more updates on both books I'm reading and books I'm writing at my blog

How would you explain your writing style to a potential reader?

I like to think of my writing style as quite simple. I personally am not a fan of over descriptive books. I think sometimes the story can be lost in too much detail. To me the beauty if books is that you make them grow and you picture them they way you want it to be. So if I feel description is needed then I will give it. If it's not necessary then I try and stick to the story to keep it flowing smoothly. You don't need to me to tell you that the protagonist has green wallpaper with purple spots. You will picture the surroundings yourself based on the characters and the events happening at the time. No amount of writing will beat the power of your own mind.

What made you first think that you wanted to start writing books?

Like I said, I have always had a pretty vivid imagination. The push that actually made me think "hey I wanna give this a go" was actually two books. The Summer I Died by Ryan C Thomas, which is a fantastic book. If you haven't read it then I highly recommend it. While reading that, there were certain things that happened which just made me think. "If I wrote something like this then I'd do that to the guy and I'd to this to the victim."
The second book was Forever is Over by Calvin Wade. I actually heard about this book from one of my old school teachers. It turns out that Calvin went to my old school and the book was based in Ormskirk where I grew up. These reasons alone made me try the book. It's completely different to anything I usually read, but it was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. I ended up finding Calvin through mutual friends on Facebook and asked him for advice and giving it a go myself. He was really helpful, he told me about createspace & kdp etc. It really just gave me the push I needed to get going.

What is your main style / genre. And would you ever consider writing in others?

My main style is definitely horror/thriller. I have written one short story Time which held the number 1 spot for free short stories on Amazon USA for quite a while. Time is more of a romance story, but it still has that scary element in there. It's just more of a "real life scare".
I think I'll probably write something away from horror again at some point in the future, but until the idea for the story enters my head then I couldn't say it's a definite.

What was the last book that you read?

The last book I "read" was Ratings Game by Ryan C Thomas, but I've also just finished SickER B*stards by Matt Shaw. Very good by the way.

What will be the next?

Right now I'm reading Angel Manor by Chantal Noordeloos & a short story collection called Dead Harvest. I've had a lot on lately so I'm a lot slower than I'd like getting through them, but when I finally finish I think my next will be Finders Keepers by Stephen King. I think that's actually due out next week?

Judging by your Facebook statuses, you do like to watch a good horror movie. Can you elaborate on what ticks the boxes for you?

I love pretty much all horror movies being honest. Being scary doesn't matter too much because I can't remember any movies that actually scared me. I do prefer horror films with a good story. A good ghost story is always fun. I'm also a big fan of the slasher movies, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street etc. When I'm feeling tired I like to watch some cheesy horror movies. The good old fashioned take your brain out to watch this and just forget about everything for a while. These movies are usually so poorly acted and cheesy that I'm left to watch them alone in my room.

You let me have an early read of your upcoming release "Keith", could you tell us a little about what readers can expect from the book?

I'd like to think I've taken a bit of a step up with Keith. I personally think that it's surpassed anything I've written previously and I hope that readers will think the same. It's a dark story and it's quite psychological. Hopefully it will give people something to think about while reading.

The main character in Keith. John has a few issues with his inner demons. You seem to capture these inner struggles "extremely" well. Is there something that you would like to confess?

Yes I've got inner demons. But I think if anyone tells you they haven't then they're lying. The difference is how you handle those demons. Some people suppress them, some people can't do it and it take over their life.

Keith is available to pre order right now from here UK or US 

Your book, a life to waste has just had a re release. Could you tell us a little about that?

I think it's safe to say that when I originally released A Life to Waste I was a little bit naive. I thought that I could do all the proof reading/editing etc myself. Oh how I was wrong. While feedback for the story in general was usually positive. One thing that constantly arose were the errors in the book. It got to the point that I was worried people were going to disregard me and any of my future works purely because of these mistakes. 
So I decided to step and do it properly. I hired a professional editor to go through it and "fix" it for me. I have to say that the end result is massively superior to the original and the feedback already tells that story too. I will definitely be doing it the right way and using proper editors for all my future works. You can find the new updated A Life to Waste here UK or US

There is a part of that book towards the end that is really quite disturbing. Where did the inspiration for the story come from?

It's hard to say one thing in particular. I think usually ideas come from lots of different things blended together to create a new monster. If I were to reel off a few movies like Silence of the Lambs, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Human Centipede. Start merging them together and you'll probably start visualising the scene in my book you're talking about.

Another short story of yours i have read, "daddy's girl" really showcases the extreme end of your writing ability. Could you tell people a little about this story?

I really had a lot of fun writing that story. I'm hoping it will be appearing in an upcoming anthology but I've not received any feedback yet so I won't name that right now. 
This story was one of the first I actually did any real research for. I don't want to give anyway any spoilers but I can tell you that when you read this story you will be cringing with some of the torture methods that I thought up.

You have many fingers in many pies at the moment in the form of anthology work. What do you having going where, and when?

Very exciting times right now for me when it comes to anthologies. I struggle with patience so it's killing me waiting for them to come out. I have "Fast Food" which will be appearing in "Under the Bridge" a Troll anthology by J Ellington Ashton Press. I have "Throw a Punch" appearing in "Growing Pains" by Sinister Saints. "Twins" appearing in "Kids" by Dark Chapter Press. Plus one which I'm especially proud of is "Meet Victor" which will be appearing along with my daughters story "Ember's Game" in the anthology "JEApers Creepers" Which will be a collection of horror stories for children. I'm really looking forward to being published in the same book as my daughter.

Are you currently working on anything new. Or taking a short breather after writing Keith?

I've got a notebook scribbled full of potential stories right now. I'm not 100% sure which is going to be the next one, but I'm going to starting work on one of them tomorrow.

I found your book Family Man a disturbing little number. How did that come about?

That book was originally planned to be a far longer story. I found while writing it though that it was losing it's way a bit. I thought the beginning was really good but would be wasted in a story that had no direction. I was trying to figure out a way to keep it fresh and to shock people. I think, without giving any spoilers. If you read it then the ending will certainly have an impact on you.

If you could write a book with absolutely anyone. Who would you choose and why?

No brainer, Stephen King. The guy is definitely the best writer to grace my lifetime at least. I'd argue possibly the best writer of all time. Take that, Dickens!

The Externals. Now I enjoyed this story, but it seems to have had a mixed response on Amazon. Do you have any ideas why?

Ah well that story has temporarily been pulled from Amazon because it's going to be appearing in an upcoming anthology named "Supernatural" by Horrified Press. 
The Externals is completely different from anything I've written before. I was reading a lot of Lovecraft at the time and I think you can feel that influence come across. As I stated earlier, I think that my writing style is quite simple and I think that's what people who read my work like about it. The Externals couldn't have been further away from that. I used a hell of a lot of description and I think the story itself almost comes across like a sort of art form. It'll either get you and you'll love it, or it won't and you'll hate it,  but it was fun to try at the time.

On this very page, you have been known to overlook your own words? Are they forgotten as soon as they hit the page?

Yes definitely! I've had people on Goodreads quote my own work to me and I didn't even recognise it. I think while writing my hands just seem to take over and do what they want. I just have to hope that they actually wrote what I originally thought of and they haven't gone off and stuck a shopping list in the middle of my story.

I personally think that you are right on the turning point in your writing career. I hope that you continue with the ongoing success. At what point will you feel that you are "making it?"

My aim for writing is to have someone read my work and enjoy it so much that they recommend it to other people. I think if I got to the point that people had heard of me through word of mouth then that would be a massive achievement.

I travel a lot in my work. Lets say i am spending a night up north and you happen to be in the hotel having a drink. We get chatting about books, and I mention that I am just about to download a new one. How do you convince me to try one of yours?

Well I'm actually a bit shy in real life so I'd probably just mumble something about the fact that I'd written a book.
What I'd like to say I would do is tell you about the keys to the story, the psychological background, the violence, etc. and tell you to check out the reviews on amazon. That's why they're there at the end of the day, to guide readers.

Who are your biggest writing influences?

Stephen King, Ryan Thomas, Brian Keene and more recently I've been quite influenced by Iain Rob Wright and Matt Shaw. They're becoming sort of pioneers for the Self Publishing industry.

Do you do any other type of work, beta reading etc?

Not really, I do the odd beta read if someone asks me to, but other than that I just review books I've read. My reviews however are very short and to the point. I don't like writing reviews in which I re tell the whole story. I usually just state if I like the book or not and my reasons for that.

Where do you think you will be in twelve months time?

Well between anthologies and upcoming releases of my own books I think that by the end of this year I'll probably have my name printed in at least ten books. Hopefully with that increase in output I will have also gained a lot more readers as well. So hopefully, I'll be a bit further up on those Amazon charts at least.

Quickly, before we wrap up. Anybody that you would particularly like to mention? Writers, readers family etc.

Yes. As mentioned before my wife has been hugely encouraging for my writing and without her I wouldn't have completed my first story. 
Also, one thing I've learned is that the writing game does have a lot of nice people in it. I've been given very good advice and help from Matt Shaw, Iain Rob Wright, Jim Goforth and quite a few more. 
I also feel that Stuart Keane needs a personal mention because he's had to put up with me constantly pestering him with questions. He's got on me route for quite a few anthologies, plus two of my own he's helped me set up "A-Z" & "Edge of Darkness". He even made the cover for "Keith" for me. Stuart is definitely one of the busiest guys in this game. I think he's going to go far and I wish in all the luck in the world.

Lastly. Where can people get hold of you?

Facebook - Goodreads - Twitter - Blog

Andy. Its been a real pleasure talking to you. I hope you continue with the success of your writing moving forward. 

Next up, Tim Miller.

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