This is part of a series of interviews with contributors to Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror from Dark Peninsula Press. Check back here over the next few weeks as I post more of these so you can get to know these great authors and get a little taste of this awesome collection! Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror is available in print and ebook format!
Q: Tell us about your story in the Negative Space anthology.
A: “It’s Inside” opens as Sophie is gearing up to descend into an abandoned mine in search of her missing brother, Daryl. With the reluctant help of her brother’s friend Keith, Sophie has traced her brother’s movements to this particular mine in the Appalachian wilds—a place that by all official accounts does not exist.
Soon Sophie finds herself trapped alone in the mine and she is forced to search for another way back to the surface. But she won’t leave without finding what she came for, and the search for her brother takes her deep into the tunnels where she comes face to face with the secret buried there—secret that very much wants to get out.
Q: What drew you to writing a survival horror story for Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror?
A: Honestly, I couldn’t not participate. Survival horror has always been a huge inspiration for me, with genre staples like Silent Hill providing a lot of the motivation that got me into writing in the first place. So when I saw the submission call for Negative Space, the wheels immediately started turning and I knew I was going to develop a story whether I wanted to or not. And after years of trying to distance myself from the genre to explore other themes, it felt really good to get back to my roots. Overall it’s been an excellent experience, from writing, to working with the folks at Dark Peninsula Press and now finally arriving at the homestretch. I’m really happy with the results, and to have found others who appreciate the genre as much as I do.
Q: What work (fiction, video game, movie, TV show) of survival horror would you recommend as a gateway to the genre?
A: Video games are what got me into survival horror, so that’s where I’m going to go for my answer. And I really do think that because of their interactive nature, video games make an ideal medium for the genre. As for a particular gateway, I’m going to have to give two answers here.
If you want something accessible and easy to find, I think the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2 ticks most of the survival horror boxes and does a good job of delivering the classic genre elements in a more modern package.
That said, I would be remiss if I did not mention Silent Hill 2. The original PS2 release might require a bit of work to get hold of for some people but I really do think it is an absolute must play game, not just as an example of survival horror, but as an example of what can be done with interactive storytelling. The fact that it’s an excellent example of survival horror is just an added bonus.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge in writing survival horror?
A: One of the biggest challenges in writing horror is creating a situation that feels believable, and survival horror really takes that to a whole new level. Whether you’re writing about a plausible threat or the supernatural, zombies or nameless eldritch horrors, the reader needs to feel that the characters in those situations act in a way that’s believable, not just convenient. And since survival horror focuses so much on constraining the characters, delivering those constraints in a way that doesn’t feel contrived is incredibly important and can be a real challenge.
Q: What writing project are you currently working on?
A: I’ve got two novels I’m working on bringing to market, but writing for this anthology has really reignited my interest in short stories. The market for short fiction has been hurting for a long time now, but between small presses and digital distribution things are really looking up. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to experiment with new ideas and new markets, and short stories may be a great way to do just that.
Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your works?
A: I am admittedly terrible about maintaining an online presence, but I do have a Facebook page that I use to share any relevant information about my work. There’s not much there now, but I’ve got a number of things in the works and the news will be announced there in the near future.
It can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/srmwriting/