KR: I’m delighted to bring you an interview Steve Stred held with his favourite author Andrew Pyper.
Andrew Pyper Interview
As many of you have seen, I’ve decided to celebrate my favourite author all throughout the month of May. Andrew Pyper was my first big Canadian horror/thriller author I discovered. I’d been reading Stephen King for many years and most of my exploration in the horror genre had been what I could find in the section at our local Coles bookstore or what was on the turn racks at the pharmacy.
This was before I really discovered an online book world and even to a degree, once I began to find books online, it was relegated to the horror category on the website, not on Goodreads or Amazon.
Then one day I discovered Mr. Pyper’s book ‘The Demonologist,’ at Walmart. It was in the 2 for $15 paperback section they have and it was sitting beside a book called ‘The Troop’ by Nick Cutter. I took a picture of both so that I wouldn’t forget what the names were or the authors. I told my wife about wanting to order the two books and she directed me to go back to Walmart and just buy them, which I did.
I devoured ‘The Demonologist’ and from there quickly read ‘Lost Girls,’ and ‘The Damned.’ A few years later I discovered ‘The Wildfire Season,’ which I also loved. Then last year I snagged ‘The Only Child’ which at that time was his latest.
Now, in 2019, Andrew Pyper has returned with ‘The Homecoming,’ which has quickly flown off shelves and worked its way up to bestseller status.
I recently purchased the rest of Mr. Pyper’s bibliography, both on my Kindle and in physical form to read the other releases I haven’t read yet in May, which I’ve now dubbed PYPER-MAY-NIA. And if you’re wondering, I asked Andrew if he was ok with the title and the celebration, and he was on board!
As a part of this celebration, I also asked if he’d be open to a quick interview, which he kindly agreed to. Andrew Pyper has been a huge influence on my life as a writer and he’s connected with me as a novelist in ways no other writer has.
It is one of the biggest honours of my life, to present to you, my interview with Andrew Pyper. Please enjoy.
Steve – What initially drew you to writing dark fiction/horror/psychological thrillers? Did you have a favourite horror book growing up?
Andrew – I didn’t ever think of it in those categorical terms, really. I started out naïve when it comes to self-identifying as genre (or genres) and I mostly remain so. So I just wrote the books that interested me, and used storytelling traditions that struck me as useful. Of course, horror was a big part of that resource pool, largely because I grew up reading it and watching it. So on the horror lit side, the biggest titles for me were King’s Salems Lot, Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House, and James’ The Turn of the Screw.
Steve – Did you have a literary mentor when you started?
Andrew – No. I didn’t study creative writing at university or afterwards, so I never had that institutional support system (which I envy when I hear others speak of it). My writing impulse was, from the start, very personal, and unstudied. I don’t remember yearning for a literary mentor or community largely because I didn’t realize such things existed.
Steve – Have you found any barriers to writing your style of fiction being Canadian?
Andrew – I wouldn’t say being Canadian has been a barrier to the work I do, but it certainly has its advantages and disadvantages, commercially speaking. In broad terms, there’s publicity and promotion available to Canadian writers which is, relative to the size of our market, really great (CBC, literary festivals, journals, review publications and bloggers, arts grants, small publishers, etc.) On the other hand, American publishers can sometimes view Canadians as faraway, “foreign,” unavailable for tours or appearances, difficult to pitch to media, etc. While there is no practical basis for any of this, it’s out there. So it’s an additional challenge to making a mark in that marketplace. Having said that, it’s difficult for American writers to make a mark in the American marketplace too.
Steve – Who is your favourite Canadian Author?
Andrew – Oh man. Couldn’t name just one!
Steve – Of your own books – do you have a personal favourite cover?
Andrew – I think the US trade paperback cover of The Killing Circle (Picador) is my fave.
Steve – What are your thoughts on Hollywood/mainstream media’s dislike of labelling works ‘horror’?
Andrew – I think Hollywood likes horror just fine – at least at this particular moment. The mainstream media is a different story sometimes. While horror literature is enjoying something of an uplift right now, it’s up against a few decades of bad press. Why? Partly because horror, in being pushed to the margins over that period, became perceived as niche, small, a bit embarrassing. Partly because publishers, when they did publish horror, didn’t make the best choices. And partly because publishers believed there wasn’t much of a market for it. I think recent work is correcting these perceptions, bit by bit.
Steve – Have you read much independent/self-published/small press releases? If so, is there any that have stood out?
Andrew – I read a good number of titles that ChiZine puts out – they publish really good, really smart stuff. Notably, and selectively, I’ve enjoyed Michael Rowe’s Enter, Night, Gemma Files’ Experimental Film, and Ian Rogers’ Every House Is Haunted.
Steve – Do you have a “must-read” author?
Andrew – There’s many contemporary authors I admire, but I’m not sure that I have one who goes straight to the top of the TBR list the day of publication. Then again, my TBR list is very high.
Steve – ‘The Homecoming’ is your most recent release and has been greatly received. Have you begun your next book already or do you take some time post-release for promotion, reflection etc?
Andrew – Thank you! Yes, there’s a new book. The draft is complete and I’m now working on some of my agents’ notes. I try not to give myself too much of a break between books, as it’s those between-books periods of my life that tend to be the least happy, and when I do the stupidest, craziest things with my life.
Steve – What advice would you give to any new authors are there that you wish someone would’ve given you?
Andrew – I think, in practical terms, the best piece of writerly advice I can offer is to hold onto your work before submitting. Read it out loud to yourself. Read it on the screen, then read it on the page. Get friends to read it and be tough on it. Put it away for three months. Kick it around. Ask yourself “Is this, truly, the very best work I can do?” Don’t let the eagerness to send something out there do a disservice to the potential of the story.
Steve – Lastly, you have two kids. How old will they have to be until they are allowed to read any of your works?
Andrew – I’d let them read my books now except I know they’d be coming into our bed at night complaining of nightmares and I need my sleep!
EVERY FAMILY HAS SECRETS.
It is only after their father dies that Aaron, Bridge and Franny learn how wealthy he was. But they must fulfil a request in his will to get any inheritance: spend a month in a cabin, deep in the mountains, with no contact with the outside world.
Despite their concerns, they agree.
BUT SECRETS CAN BE A REAL KILLER.
The isolation soon makes them question what their father was trying to tell them. And why they have memories of the cabin, though none of them have been there before. The only thing they are sure of is that something is calling to them from the darkness of the woods. And before the month is through, they will discover just how deadly secrets can be.
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.
Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
On June 1st, 2019 his second full length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…