Garry Charles is a British award-winning author of the Heaven’s Falling series. “Hammerhead: A Summer of Massacre” is his new novel, based on the film of the same name.
|Q||Garry, please tell me a little bit about yourself.|
In all truth I’m an average Joe, a married man with four children who works full time to pay the bills and farts in bed. But when the lights go out and the curtains are drawn I become the author of terrible things, a scribe of darkness.
Not many people know the real Garry Charles and I like it that way. It helps keep the writing side of my life and the personal side separated.I’m quite sure that people have me pictured as this sick bastard who tortures puppies, but the truth couldn’t be further away.
|Q||When did you first start writing and when did you start to take it seriously?|
|A||I was writing as early as nine. My first exercise book length novel was called The Radioactive Cream Cake. I wrote dozens of short stories and told even more in my head. I’ve always made up tales to tell my children, usually complete lies about how I was a soldier and how I invented the computer. I’ve always liked storytelling, but only three years ago did I start doing it for serious reasons.|
|Q||Do you work on one story at a time or do you have several projects and ideas in your head that you revisit?|
I usually work on one novel at a time. But in-between I will work on short stories as they come into my head. Shorts never take long to write so they act as a break from the big one. Some short stories turn into novellas.
Then I like to try my hand at screenplays. These are totally for fun and a pleasure to do.On top of this I still manage to fit in book and movie reviews for my website and articles for GOREZONE (the best selling UK monthly horror magazine).
In December 2006 you received the 'Dead of the Night' award for Best Author from Screaming Dreams. You have also been described as a very talented author who is definitely one to be following right now. How do you feel about the rave reviews and recognition?
It always leaves me with a good feeling when I see a good review of any kind. It can be a review online or in a magazine or just an email from a reader. It makes me happy to know that people are enjoying what I write, that for a week or so I gave them some entertainment.The award was the icing on the cake. The fact that those same readers went and voted for my work made me feel honoured and humbled. I thank each and every one of them.
|Q||What attracted you to horror/dark fantasy? Do you have any major influences and who are your current favourite authors?|
I was introduced to horror at an early age. I watched Dario Argento’s INFERNO and it stayed with me. I was reading Shaun Hutson, Guy N Smith, James Herbert and Stephen King by the time I was eleven years old. I loved being scared.
Dark Fantasy came along with Clive Barker. He proved that fantasy could be horrific.As for current writers. David Wellington (Monster Island), Shaun Hutson (Unmarked Graves), Joe Hill (Heart Shaped Box), Steven Pirie (Digging up Donald), Jeff Strand (Pressure). The list is endless.
|Q||What titles have you written and where can people buy your work?|
If they want to get hold of signed stuff best to go direct to
They will find Heaven’s Falling 1 and 2 alongside Hammerhead.
I have a selection of short stories online and these include:
www.andcream.com (BEST FRIENDS)
www.screamingdreams.com (THIS AIN’T NO CHRISTMAS CAROL)
http://www.kissthewitch.co.uk/seinundwerden/eight/contents.html (DANCE OF THE GYPSY)
|Q||In terms of horror in music, King Diamond and Alice Cooper spring to mind. Are you a fan of their work either musically or their story telling?|
I love early Alice Cooper, the music was so alive and the stage shows were to die for. I do like it when a song tells a story, but I hate the idea of concept albums. I’ve yet to listen to one that actually works for me.Then you have groups like GWAR and LORDI who have embraced horror to the extreme. Their music videos are like short films put to music. Outstanding.
|Q||Which do you like better, short stories or novels?|
|A||Both for different reasons. Novels are great. Writing a novel is like reading a book for the first time and an experience that can’t be beaten. Short stories are pure fun, a quick idea that has a start, middle and an end. They keep the mind ticking over yet never hang around too long to become tedious.|
|Q||Do you have any new projects lined up you want to talk about?|
I have a novella called Tranquillity coming out early next year through Screaming Dreams. It’s a rather nasty tale about bank robbers and an Amish community.
Screaming Dreams are also doing a chapbook of a longer short story entitled The Ghost Writer. This may be available before the end of the year.
I have a new novel almost finished. Slavis will be a good, old style monster novel.
A few screenplays on the go and some already sat with different companies.Finally I have War In A Box. This is a stage show I wrote for a very talented magician named Brendon Selley. It’s a show with a difference. Magic and fantasy will be intertwined with rock music and serious bloodletting.
|Q||Some people put horror stories down by saying all you have to do is write a simple story, and add a lot of blood, guts and violence. What would you say to those people?|
Yes, you do need the blood and guts. Bunnies and rainbows just wouldn’t work.
But the stories are far from simple. Without a story to fill the pages you have nothing. You need a tale that will engage the reader without talking down to them. You need to create characters that the reader will love and/or hate.
If the reader has no emotional connection with the story you will have lost them before the first chapter is over.It’s usually writers of more highbrow fiction who slate horror. Well I say ‘Fuck them and the pen they write with.’
|Q||What are the most important ingredients to a good tale? Getting inside the mind of the reader to anticipate the fear and terror, imagining the horrific acts or graphic descriptions of blood and guts?|
You need all the above and then you need the things that will make the reader grip the book until their knuckles turn white. You need the tension, the anticipation.
Once you have that you need the terror, the shit their pants moment they’ve been waiting for.A bit of humour always helps and a decent pace is a must. As a writer you can never allow the reader a moment of boredom.
|Q||For fun, what creeps you out?|
To say that I write very graphic scenes of death and violence I am
totally creeped out by medical shows that feature real operations. Why
do they make them? Who wants to see the insides of another living
person? Not me.
To check out more about Garry, visit
I would like to thank Garry for answering these Qs & As.
The pleasure was all mine and hope we can do it again sometime, meet up and do it over drinks at a Hydrogyn gig. Lol.
Till next time…
Keep It Loud!
ANGEL OF METAL
HAMMERHEAD: A SAMPLE
“He went out to the shed to get me another toy,” Simon replied, still tossing the dead rat from one hand to the other. ‘Oh, God. He’s gone out’ Mother could already feel the burn of leather strap whipping at her breasts for failing to comply with Father’s words.
“Honey,” she called to Simon. “Would you go and fetch Edward back indoors?” “You told me to stay away from him,” Simon replied awkwardly, a kid-like response in retaliation for her earlier tone regarding the rat.
“Well now I’m telling you to go find him for me,” she snapped unintentionally.
“Why don’t you get him?” The boy had been around Father and Edward too long.
“You know I can’t leave the house.” Her voice trembled. “Please do this for your mummy,” she pleaded.
“OK, don’t have a fit.” Simon saw the terror in his mother’s eyes and he backed down, dropping the rat and getting up from the matted fur rug next to the open fire.
“Don’t be long,” his mother hissed. “It’s dark out.”
“I’ll be two minutes,” Simon promised with a shake of his head, leaving via the back door and leaving Mother sat at the kitchen table.
He walked along the rear porch. He felt sorry for Mother, but he was only eight and what more could he do to help? He already did all the chores that Father gave him and he did extra when Edward told him to. And Edward wasn’t that bad all of the time. Yes, he was mean, rude and quite often he would unleash torrents of violent physical and mental abuse upon Simon’s tiny frame, but sometimes he was almost nice. After all he had given Simon the toy to play with.
Things could be worse.
But they could also be better if Mother just went along with the new way of life. At the very least he would have liked to see her eat. He knew the meat wasn’t chicken, but it tasted like OK and it filled him up. She really should eat to keep her energy up.
Simon pushed thoughts of Mother away as he stepped down from the porch and into the back yard. The ground had already been coated in a fine layer of frost and it stabbed through his socks and into the palms of his feet. He looked across at the shed, the single bulb from within casting only a dim light into the surrounding forest, but still enough for Simon to see by.
He ran, his feet quickly turning numb as the pain of coldness travelled up to his ankles. He wished they’d not taken his shoes. He wouldn’t have runaway. He couldn’t have done that. He couldn’t leave Mother alone here.
He reached the shed and pushed on the door, causing it to swing open and bang loudly against the workbench just inside.
“Edward?” Simon called. “Mother wants you back in house.”
“Yes, in a minute,” Edward’s voice replied. “But first I want to show you something.” The request was followed by a quick succession of hammering noises.
Mother fidgeted in her chair. Simon had been gone longer than she expected and she was worrying. She didn’t like him being with Edward. The boy was older than Simon by quite a few years and the thought of them being alone together filled her with dread. If she could have gone for him she would have, but she wasn’t permitted to leave the house.
‘A women’s place is in the kitchen or the bedroom.’ Father’s words echoed in her memory.
Her stomach rumbled before cramping painfully and she looked down at the dinner plate with longing. She didn’t want to eat. She wanted to starve, wanted to waste away and die. At least then it would be over for her. But what of Simon? What would happen to her darling boy if she was gone?
She fought the sickness in her stomach and raised the fork from the table. She still wouldn’t touch the foul meat they forced her to cook, but she would make herself eat the vegetables that sat cold on the chipped china. She would just have to ignore the juice that ran from the undercooked flesh and covered the base of the plate with its liquid redness.
Slowly she raised the potato to her mouth and bit down on it, her stomach rebelling against her need to feed. She chewed and swallowed, but it didn’t stay down.
She was still retching up nothing but acidic bile when the back door was pulled open. She felt the chill breeze from outside stroke the sweat on her forehead, but she couldn’t look up, her body bent rigid as a final bout of dry heaving tore at her throat.
Finally she managed to speak. “Did you find him, Simon?”
“Yes.” The reply didn’t come from her little boy. “He found me.”
Mother turned cold at the harshness of her stepson’s voice, not daring to look up from the small circle of vomited potato, stomach lining and hint of blood.
“We played a game,” Edward continued. “But I got bored.”
“Simon?” Mother cried.
Simon didn’t reply to her call, but Edward laughed softly.
“He can’t hear you.” From his place at the door Edward tossed something small and pink.
It landed in the pool of sick between Mother’s feet with a small, wet splash. For a moment she tried to figure out what the object was and then quickly wished she hadn’t. As the realisation of what it was hit her she felt the scream rise from deep within herself.
“What did you do to my baby?” Mother screamed as she tore her stare away from the severed ear.
“We played a game.” Edward grinned as she looked up, tapping the clawed end of the hammer against his blood stained jeans. “He lost.”
“You bastard!” Mother jumped upright and lunged, but the chain at her ankle only allowed for limited movement, the metal jarring her leg and sending a rod of agony up to the base of her spine.
Edward giggled as he approached her, feeling in his shirt pocket before fishing out two sticky orbs that he dropped casually on to Mother’s plate.
“He has your eyes,” Edward teased as he raised the hammer.
“BASTARD!” Mother screamed in anger, lashing out savagely at her son’s murderer.
Her nails dug into Edward’s cheek and tore four trenches of flowing crimson from just below his left eye down to his upper lip. He paused, the hammer held above his head as he grinned at Mother.
“Bitch.” He brought the hammer down with a vengeful speed.
Mother didn’t have time to back away, the hammer head shattering her skull on impact and powering down into her brain. Bright lights danced before her eyes for only the briefest of moments and then the life drained from her face.
Edward held her upright, pulling her closer. And then, very tenderly he kissed her on the lips.
“Goodnight Mother.” Pulling the hammer free he let her fall in a heap at his feet.
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