Luke Walker has been writing horror, fantasy and dark thrillers for most of his life. The horrors The Mirror Of The Nameless, The Unredeemed and Hometown are now available as is the dark fantasy Dead Sun and the short story collection Die Laughing. Upcoming novels include Ascent, The Dead Room and The Day Of The New Gods. Several of his short stories have been published online and in magazines/books.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
I’m a 40 year old writer – mainly horror, but also dark thrillers and dark fantasy. As long as it’s dark, I’m happy. I’ve been writing pretty much all my life while working in a few different jobs. I drink a lot of coffee and have been known to watch the occasional horror film. But only on special occasions.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
To be honest, there isn’t a lot of time when I’m not either at my 9-5 or writing. And writing time has to include researching markets and sending stuff out. Most evenings and weekends are for writing. Outside that, it’s time with my wife, friends or reading a good book. I’ve always got at least two if not three on the go. Working in a library and being the first to see the new stock is pretty sweet.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
Either The Voyage of QV66 by Penelope Lively or The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler by Gene Kemp. Both are very 70s. QV66 is set in a Britain destroyed by flooding and humanity has abandoned the planet. A group of animals set out on a journey to London Zoo in order to find out what one of their group is because they’ve never seen another creature like him. Tyke Tiler is about a kid in their last year of primary school which my class read at the same age, so it fit perfectly. Both books are obviously for kids, but I could happily read them now as an old fart.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
An album called Infernal Love by the rock band Therapy? (question mark required). It was released in 1995 and still sounds fresh to me. Even now, it pumps me up when I’m writing.
I’ve always got tunes on when I write – get the energy levels up with loud rock, industrial or classic stuff. Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Garbage, Massive Attack, AC/DC, Smashing Pumpkins, NWA, Stones. I also love John Carpenter’s soundtracks. My wife and I saw him play with his band about two years ago – easily one of the best gigs I’ve been to. Big fan of old school Blues, too.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
Probably John Carpenter or Neil Marshall. It’s a shame Marshall’s last two films didn’t do well. It’d be great to see more work outside TV from him. The Descent is one of the best horrors of the last twenty years. And I could watch most of Carpenter’s stuff any day of the week. The Fog is an underrated classic ghost story. And I have to mention Romero simply because Night Of The Living Dead is the greatest film ever made. I will happily eat the brains of anyone who disagrees.
KR: What are you reading now?
A book called The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood which is a creepy, nineteenth century mystery. I don’t know if I’d call it outright horror. More the sort of thing that gets under your skin with suggestion and atmosphere. I recently finished The Last Plague by Rich Hawkins which was a great splattery action horror romp. Looking forward to the other two books in that trilogy. Not sure what’s next on my list. I’m in the mood for some crime although I do keep thinking about finally reading the Game Of Thrones books. I may need to set aside a fair bit of time for them, though.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Without a doubt, Stephen King, James Herbert and Clive Barker. I started taking my writing seriously when I was nineteen or so and those three authors were the writers I wanted to emulate. I didn’t at all, but in terms of imagination and output, they were my inspiration. These days, it’s anyone who obviously cares about the craft and takes it seriously. There are a lot of writers producing great stuff who aren’t big sellers or well-known which is a real shame. They’re the people who keep me going.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I always have a rough outline that goes scene by scene as well as a brief character breakdown. I also try to think about the basics of my research before I start so I don’t end up bogged down in stuff I know nothing about. 99% of the time, characters and plots go their own way which is fine. As long as I’ve got that loose outline to play with, I know what to do. Plenty of writers just wing it from start to finish, but I don’t think I could ever do that.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It completely depends on the tale and what’s required. For example, I recently wrote a book which involved a lot of travel around a part of England I’ve never been to and then a climatic scene in a historical building. Google Maps came into play for both as did contacting a couple of people who could help me with specific questions about nuclear weapons. My last completed book needed research into guns (always depressing to Google that) and trying to work out how technology will evolve over the next twenty years. Tech doesn’t interest me, but I needed to do the work.
On average, research can be anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
I usually do a couple of hours on a weekday evening and more at the weekends. It’s best for me to sit down at the same times and finish in the middle of a scene rather than at its end. That way, I can get straight back to it rather than trying to find a way into a new chapter. Speed-wise, I probably do about 2k in an evening and between 3k and 3.5k during a weekend day. A draft will take me around five weeks which I then leave for a month, read through and make notes before starting the second draft. It’s ready for my wife to read probably four to five months after I start the first draft.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
Hometown, my first published book, is the one that’s probably the most personal. And as it’s my first, it’s obviously one I’m very fond of.
The Mirror Of The Nameless and its upcoming prequel The Day Of The New Gods are the two that ended up exactly as I intended: all story, all action and all in your face. My recent novel, The Unreedemed, features probably my favourite bad guy. Benjamin Harwood is a monster, but he knows it. He accepts it and he doesn’t care. For a short piece, I included an unusual (for me) tale at the end of my collection Die Laughing which was called How To Live Forever. It’s not horror at all but it’s possibly my favourite out of all the short fiction I’ve written.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
I know they say you shouldn’t, but I’m happy to. They’re not for me; they’re for the readers so if a reviewer didn’t like it, then that’s fine. I’d rather get ten crappy reviews than no reviews at all.
KR: You can read the Kendall Review of the not so crappy The Mirror Of The Nameless here
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Write and read as much as you can. It’s the only way to improve. Don’t be surprised if the idea and the passion don’t translate into anything that’s much good. You wouldn’t expect a chef to come up with a world-class meal the first time they get into a kitchen, would you? Or an athlete to break records without putting in hours and weeks and months of training? So why would your first books be perfect? Just keep going, get feedback and write some more. And when it comes to submitting your work, be professional. You’re effectively applying for a job, so follow the guidelines. And never pay to sub your stuff. The money comes to you, not the other way around.
KR: What scares you?
Just the usual. The self-destructive nature of the human condition; the worst people in the world being in charge of it; dying alone; going to the dentist.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
Paperback or hardback (sometimes). I like to feel the book so it’s physical copy for me.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
The Mirror Of The Nameless is an action horror novella about three Lovecraftian gods which have taken over the world. Dave Anderson discovers his teenage daughter has gone missing and is apparently looking for an object which might be able to destroy the gods. The government is also looking for Ashleigh so Dave teams up with her boyfriend to find her. It’s a question of who finds her first…or if Ashleigh is going to make everything worse in her attempts to destroy the gods.
KR: What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished the second draft of a book that’s a little different for me. It’s a futuristic thriller set in about twenty years that isn’t supernatural horror, but is still grim. It’s got a bit of a 1984 meets The Purge thing going on. Hoping to polish it over the next few months and see where it goes. Not sure what’s next. It’s been a while since I focused on short stories, so I might knock out some before another book.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose…
a) One fictional character from your writing.
b) One fictional character from any other book.
c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.
I’d choose Ashleigh from The Mirror Of The Nameless because she’d be able to come up with a way off the island; Robinson Crusoe because duh, and Trump. So when Ashleigh, Robinson and I get off the island, we leave Trump behind and everyone’s happy.
KR: Thank you very much Luke.
Luke welcomes comments at his blog which can be read at www.lukewalkerwriter.com and his Twitter page is @lukewalkerbooks.
Sign up to his newsletter at www.tinyletter.com/LukeWalkerWriter
In a world controlled by three tempestuous gods ready to destroy all human life on a whim, Dave Anderson knows he should follow the herd and not make waves or he may end up sacrificed to the monsters from the darkest reaches of the universe. All that goes up in smoke when he discovers his teenage daughter is risking her life in the resistance movement against the demonic tyrants. Dave, an unlikely hero, joins forces with her boyfriend in a frantic hunt to save his beloved daughter before the authorities feed her to their dark-overlords. Their sole hope of overthrowing them and bringing peace to this totalitarian society is finding a secret weapon which, legend says, is the only way to defeat the gods. But unleashing the weapon may risk opening a doorway to something much, much worse. The first novella by Luke Walker for KGHH Publishing is a dark, fast paced, horror, adventure.
You can buy The Mirror Of The Nameless from Amazon UK & Amazon US
In the ultimate battle between evil and evil…only one can win. Four hundred years ago, Benjamin Harwood butchered whoever he saw fit to kill, knowing that sacrificing his murder victims to a demon would keep him safe from eternal punishment. But now, their agreement has been torn in half and the demon is coming for Harwood’s soul, coming to set him to burn. Preparing for war, Harwood gathers the worst of the worst, the monsters and murderers he calls friends. With this group of damned killers, Harwood must return to the crimes of his past and seek help from his most recent prey: a teenage girl whose family he destroyed, a girl with more reason to loathe him than anyone in his life or death. Only then he can try for a redemption that may be impossible or face a universe of suffering. But Harwood doesn’t know there is a hole in the floor of the world. And something much worse than the dead is down there…
You can buy The Unredeemed from Amazon UK & Amazon US
Stu Brennan and his friends are trapped in surroundings horribly familiar and completely alien. Their hometown has become a city of human and inhuman monsters since the suicide of their friend Geri turned her nightmares into flesh.Now Stu and the others must fight their way past cannibals and faceless torturers if they are to have any chance of uncovering the truth behind Geri’s death and escaping her private hell.But while they battle to survive in the endless night, Stu’s wife is desperately searching for him, all the while unaware of the unspeakable horror drawing closer with every moment – a horror eager to turn her last moments into agony. If it finds her, there’ll be no way back for Geri’s old friends and nobody to stop the same depraved evil that destroyed Geri from moving on to its next target.Stu’s baby daughter.
You can buy Hometown from Amazon UK & Amazon US
After an unbearable loss, Emma Cooper feels as if she’s simply surviving rather than living. That is until an angel and demon pull her from her fight against grief into a new battle.
Her daughter’s soul is trapped in the midway point between Heaven and Hell. By joining with the divine and the damned, Emma has a chance of helping her daughter and countless others escape what should be a world of peace but has now become the frontline of a war.
Someone is leading a rebellion against the injustices of life; they’re fighting for every human being to have an equal chance. But this conflict is heading towards something much worse than Emma or any demon or angel suspects. The forgotten remnants of Creation are breaking free; insane horrors from outside the universe eager to turn all of reality into suffering.
Unless Emma can stop this war, it will be too late to save her child’s soul.
And the soul of existence itself.
You can buy Dead Sun from Amazon UK & Amazon US
A monster from Portuguese folklore crosses countries and oceans to hunt the child who escaped it years ago.
The dead rise throughout Britain, leading a teenaged boy into a decision which will be either the easiest or hardest of his life.
In a pleasant suburbia, a young couple find a link full of terrible possibilities between their new home and Jack the Ripper’s horrendous crimes.
Three friends lost on a hiking weekend in the Pennines discover the way home means facing a monstrous god from the freezing void beyond the world.
In the near future, anti-social behaviour isn’t met with anger or complaint. It’s met with a gun.
And after a voyeur bulldozes her privacy on the daily commute, a young woman fights back, leading to bloody consequences.
In these stories and more, you are invited to face the cold horrors of restless spirits and the ugly possibilities of future nightmares. You are invited to look them in eye and make your choice.
Will you die laughing or live screaming?
You can buy Die Laughing from Amazon UK & Amazon US
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