Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Paul Kane.
Paul Kane is the award-winning, bestselling author and editor of over fifty books – including the Arrowhead trilogy (gathered together in the sellout Hooded Man omnibus, revolving around a post-apocalyptic version of Robin Hood), The Butterfly Man and Other Stories, Hellbound Hearts and The Mammoth Book of Body Horror. His non-fiction books include The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark, and his genre journalism has appeared in the likes of SFX, Rue Morgue and DeathRay. He has been a Guest at Alt.Fiction five times, was a Guest at the first SFX Weekender, at Thought Bubble in 2011, Derbyshire Literary Festival and Off the Shelf in 2012, Monster Mash and Event Horizon in 2013, and Edge-Lit in 2014, as well as being a panellist at FantasyCon and the World Fantasy Convention. His work has been optioned and adapted for the big and small screen, including for network US television, plus his latest novels are Lunar (set to be turned into a feature film) and the Y.A. story The Rainbow Man (as P.B. Kane). Forthcoming from him are the collection Monsters and the sequel to RED: Blood RED. He lives in Derbyshire, UK, with his wife Marie O’Regan, his family and a black cat called Mina. Find out more at his site www.shadow-writer.co.uk which has featured Guest Writers such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Dean Koontz and Guillermo del Toro.
GUEST POST: Doing the Monster Mash by Paul Kane
I’ve always loved monsters, ever since I can remember. My first memories of TV revolve around Kirk battling the Gorn, the Doctor tackling the Zygons or that that less than jolly green giant Hulking out – those eyes really gave me the creeps. In the film world, it was always the creatures of Ray Harryhausen that fascinated me at a tender age, from the Hydra in Jason and the Argonauts to the Kraken in Clash of the Titans. Later on, I would become obsessed with Jason, Freddy, Michael and – in particular – the Cenobites and the Nightbreed. I’d also fall for the Alien and Predator, for King Kong and Godzilla, for Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman in all their various incarnations. Little wonder I grew up to write about such things...
And my latest two releases reflect that better than any others really: one of them, my tenth collection of stories, is even called Monsters. But it’s Flaming Arrow I’ll talk about first. Up until now, my Hooded Man stories have only featured human monsters: members of the Morningstar cult, for example, with their skull tattoo faces; the cannibal witch known only as the Widow; the disgusting slug of a man called The Dragon; not to mention the daddy of them all, De Falaise, the new Sheriff of Nottingham. But, being the horror fan that I am, I’d always wanted to bring monsters of some description into the world of the Arrowhead tales – and this new novella presented the perfect opportunity to do just that.
The original pitch for the book had zombies attacking Robert and his troops, because, well, I simply adore zombies. And, having done quite a bit of research into the Haitian zombi for my Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Case of Lost Soul’ (included in The Mammoth Book of Sherlock Holmes Abroad, which you can buy here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mammoth-Book-Sherlock-Holmes-Abroad/dp/1472118820/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435519963&sr=8-1&keywords=the+mammoth+book+of+sherlock+holmes+abroad), I felt that I could present them in a realistic way that would be in keeping with the rest of these post-apocalyptic adventures. My editor at Abaddon, David Thomas Moore, quite rightly pointed out that zombies had been done to death – pun intended – at that time, and I’m very glad he did. Because it forced me to think outside the box and come up with another set of monsters which, whilst still potentially very real within the context of the Afterblight Chronicles, are actually even more terrifying. Put it this way, I wouldn’t like to meet them on a dark night, which is exactly what happens when Robert, Jack, Azhar and a mixed group of Rangers and New Royal Infantry find themselves stranded in an Italian fort during a tour of foreign outposts.
This scenario also allowed me to pay homage to all those siege sequences in films like Zulu, Starship Troopers and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. And let me tell you, I had an absolutely blast doing it – a much tighter, more suspenseful way of approaching things than all those massive battles that were the talking point of the original Hooded Man trilogy of novels. Pitting Robert and co. against something they’d never seen before, a very different kind of monster.
Which brings us neatly to my other current release, the aforementioned Monsters for the award-winning Alchemy Press. I’ve put together a couple of themed collections now, the comedy horror book FunnyBones (CGP) and the more recent Ghosts (Spectral), and it was after the latter that I began to think about how many stories I’ve done over the last twenty years that have featured critters like the ones I was talking about at the beginning of this blog. Turns out there are a lot. A hell of a lot! More than even I could recall writing. Stories about vampires, stories about those zombies again, more witches, demons and... oh, just everything. Some were serious, some tongue-in-cheek (and one definitely tongue out of cheek), some a bit of both. But there was also an opportunity, as I’d done in Flaming Arrow, to return to a series a bit further down the line and catch up with group of characters as they were growing older. An opportunity to tie up a trilogy of tales I’ve named ‘The Life Cycle’ about a character called Neil, who we first see when he’s in his twenties in ‘Nightlife’ from the late ‘90s.
I wrote about him again when Books of the Dead wanted a new novelette to accompany my novella Pain Cages in 2011. That was ‘Half-Life’ and caught up with Neil when he was in his ‘40s, middle-aged, bitter and full of regret. The new story ‘Lifetime’ zips forward another 25 years and takes a look at the generation gap as only a tale like this one can. It’s a trilogy I’m very proud of… incredibly proud of, actually. And it’s one that has links to my release from earlier on this year, The Curse of the Wolf (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Curse-Wolf-2-Cursed/dp/1503231755/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435523177&sr=1-11&keywords=the+curse+of+the+wolf) and to the forthcoming Blood RED from SST Publications.
In addition to this, I’m very fortunate that the collection also boasts a cover painting by the creator of the Cenobites and Nightbreed, the legendary Clive Barker, and has an introduction by someone who has portrayed both of those creatures, Nicholas Vince (Chatterer Cenobite/Kinski). In short, you should really go and buy it. In fact, why not enjoy a Monster double-bill with Flaming Arrow, just like they used to do back in movie theatres when flicks like Jason and the Argonauts were originally showing.
To cannibalise a certain famous Vampire Slayer’s catchphrase, I’m wishing you all monsters – and you’re gonna love ‘em!
You can buy Flaming Arrow at
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flaming-Arrow-Afterblight-Chronicles-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00XPIBTCW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433166685&sr=8-1&keywords=flaming+arrow and http://rebellionstore.com/products/flaming_arrow