Richard Barnes is a NZ writer who has recently had a little success with his short stories, having also had a story published in the KiwiWriters Challenge Collection.

Now, he has had another short story, Something Unpleasant, accepted in the Masters of Horror Anthology. 

Where did you come up with your anthology idea?

I had a vague idea for a story around something nasty lurking in some isolated area in New Zealand – the original thought was perhaps a short novel with a cast of characters getting slowly picked off, but when I decided to use it for a short story I had to scale back the cast list. From there, I had to come up with a much stronger story for just a couple of characters – and in the exciting way that writing can go, I found that my characters had some more interesting things in the closet than I expected.

How long did it take for you to put together your story?

About a week! As the deadline loomed I was trying to finish two bigger short stories for competitions (that I’d taken about four or five months to write), but I just couldn’t let this one go either.

Why did you submit your MoH story – was it one you have had for a while or one that you put together especially for the Anthology?

As I said, I had vague thoughts about trying to do a horror novel, but the MoH anthology came along and the idea seemed suited to it.

What research / preparation did you do for your story?

I read some Stephen King short stories…I don’t really like unhappy endings, but going over Mr King’s work reminded me that a good story doesn’t have to finish with the good guys on top and the bad guys defeated.

Who’s story are you most looking forward to reading? why?

Definitely Angel McCoy’s – “The Barnes Family Reunion” – what has she heard? It can’t be as horrific as the real thing though.

Why do you write horror?  What is the fascination in it for you?

I’m more of a general sci-fi and fantasy writer, but slobbering, many tentacled monsters have a habit of turning up in my stories (as my Mum asks – why can’t I write something that isn’t weird?). I’ve always loved Stephen King and James Herbert, and when I got into comics Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Jamie Delano’s Hellblazer and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman combined fantasy and horror in some very strange ways.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve always occasionally dabbled, but the real kicker was back in 2001 when I won a short story competition run by the fantasy arm of Simon and Schuster in the UK. Since then, I have tried to get some discipline and write more often and with more purpose.” Tried” is the optimum word here.

Is writing your full time thing, or do you have a day job?  What is it?

If only…..no, I still have to pay the bills with a day job – being a Business Analyst means far more time with Excel than Word.

Why do you write?

It’s better than having this weird stuff rattling around in my head. Seriously, when I re-read “Something Unpleasant” I had to question what the hell is going on in the murky depths of my mind…

What are you currently working on?

One of my New Years resolutions for 2010 was to take my writing seriously and finish a decent first draft of a novel by the end of the year. It would help if I could decide what idea to go with. It’s a toss up between “Project Hades” – spooky hard-ish sci-fi, “True Cosmic” – space opera of hidden powers/ agenda but coming up fast on the outside is “Carrie Black is Dead”, being the story of an embittered corpse and a ball of hate.

Check out the Masters of Horror Anthology, now on sale at http://triskaidekabooks.co.nz/.  Get your copy now!

Interview – Richard Barnes

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