The Darker & Weirder The Better: Kendall Reviews talks to the talented horror author S.J. Budd

Originally born in Cornwall, south west England, her childhood was surrounded by myths and legends. She has always been fascinated by anything out of the ordinary. It was in this strange and ancient land where she developed a passion for writing.

S.J.Budd loves writing short stories exploring dark fictional worlds and its mysterious inhabitants, and is currently working on her first novel. Her day job involves working as journalist for and she also blogs on her site

Her work has appeared in Aphotic Realm, Sanitarium Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Deadman’s Tome, Innersins , Aphelion, Bewildering Stories, Blood Moon Rising Magazine, Shadows at the Door and Danse Macabre Magazine, The Wild Hunt, Morpheus Tales and Freedom Fiction.

I thought a cheeky Cornish cider might be in order…

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KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

I live in London with my kids and wonderful other half but am originally from Cornwall. I love all things dark and spooky and have been writing seriously for about four years now. Along the way I’ve met some great writers and developed a deep love for indie horror fiction.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

Reading is my number one hobby. The darker and weirder the better. When not reading I love being outside, taking long walks in forests with my family followed by a hearty pub lunch. Occasionally I dabble with a tin whistle, I love traditional Irish music. I also have an allotment so I don’t get much writing done in the summer months but I do get a lot of vegetables!

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

I once got this little book of spooky tales when I was about five years old from Trago Mills, the best shop in Cornwall. I’ve kept it all these years and now I take so much pleasure in reading it with my two children who have also inherited my love of anything spooky. Halloween decorations stay up all year round in our household.

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

Music plays a huge role in my writing especially with setting a scene. My favourite bands to listen to when writing are Massive Attack, Fever Ray, Omnia, Lana Del Ray and Hedflux I have an eclectic taste in music.

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KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director? 

I don’t really watch a lot of television and films but when I do its horror based! Recently I’ve been watching a lot of really good Irish horror films such as Wake Wood, Dorothy Mills and Shrooms. The most recent horror film I’ve watched is Veronica, based on a true story which I thought was really good. I find a good horror film can really inspire my writing.

KR: What are you reading now?

I’m a total bookaholic, if books were like wine I’d be in rehab. I’m reading Unclean Spirits by Chuck Wendig, it’s unlike anything I’ve read before and I’m really enjoying it! I’ll be reviewing it for The British Fantasy Society once finished. Next up is Classified by Aphotic Realm, The Bell Witch by John D Taff, and Entertaining Demons by Daniel Russell.

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KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

There was one book that I read when I must have been around 11. I won’t name it but it was absolutely terrible and I thought if that book could get published then maybe, just maybe, one of mine could?

I find other writers very inspiring and for the purposes of supporting indie fiction I’ll mention a few indie writers I’m loving at the moment. I love dark fiction and although it’s largely male dominated there a few really amazing female authors that I really love, these are Kristi DeMeester, Damien Angelica Walters and Gwendoline Kiste, what I love about these writers is that they write really scary stories that are unashamedly feminine and beautiful.

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There’s also some great magazines out there for those who love dark short fiction, they are Aphotic Realm, Sanitarium Magazine (which has recently been resurrected yay), Deadman’s TomeUnnerving Magazine and Dark Moon Digest.


Recently I’ve been reading a lot by Adam Nevill. Man I love his stories! I’ve just finished the Ritual and plan to work my way through his novels. I’ve finished all his short stories.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

I always work out the ending first for some strange reason and then work backwards to the beginning. I will plot an outline but sometimes I’ll leave the middle blank as that’s where I can have fun as a writer.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I never research before beginning a book that comes later. Most of my stories don’t require it I mostly write what I know. Is that lazy?

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

My usual writing day is really varied and it can be hard to slip in a writing session. I have two young children so I usually write either very late at night in winter or very early in the morning during summer. I can’t really write if there’s a lot going on around me, I have to be in the zone.

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

I’m still very fond of my first story which I had published in Sanitarium Magazine back in 2014, The Little Orphan. Prior to its publication I hadn’t told anyone that I was writing fiction but having something published gave me the confidence to share my work. I’ve written a few stories that I really like that are currently in submission.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

I do there’s some great community of people out there who have taken the time to read my work and also offer some great feedback and words of encouragement. I believe that no writer is ever too good to not get criticism regarding their work. Although sometimes they can be hard to take they are a good thing as they make me work harder on my next story.

KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?

See my blog post I’ve written for Kendall Reviews! (Writing Tips From Writers Who Know Their Shit) I think ultimately to have success with writing is to do it for the love, stick at it and just have fun with it.

KR: What scares you?

People! I’m definitely a book person. A lot of things scare me actually which is why I love horror.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

Can I go for both e-book and paperback? E books are cheaper, better for the environment and really allow you to support your fellow indie authors as most books are 99p so I just buy them to read at a later date. I have many a huge tbr pile languishing around my house, but I never feel guilty about my kindle tbr pile.

I also love paperbacks, I love the smell of old books I try to buy them second hand, saves the trees! And there’s nothing better than searching in charity shops for obscure and random books!

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

I have a tale coming up for the Horror Zine’s book of ghost stories which I’m really excited about. I’m not sure yet on the release date, probably late Spring/Summer 2018 (that’s a random guess)

KR: What are you working on now?

I’ve got a story I’ve just started working on about four old university friends reuniting after a long time apart, one of them has a dark secret and is about to plunge the others into mortal danger…

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.

Kate Bush – divine goddess and inventor of music, she’s also my spirit animal! With her being around I’d feel a lot better about being stranded on a desert island.

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b) One fictional character from any other book.

Jack Bauer – I know he’s not from a book but does a script count?! He would know how to get us off this island! Everyone knows not to mess with him.

c) One fictional character from your writing.

The Witch from I am Witch, my tale featured in Aphotic Realm. She is pretty badass and between her and Jack Bauer, myself and Kate Bush we would be pretty well protected from any threats whilst on the island, both natural and supernatural.

KR: Thank you very much Sarah.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @SjbuddJ

To find out more about Sarah please visit her official website

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