THE SEVEN: Graham Joyce

Continuing my interview series THE SEVEN, in which I invite some of my favorite authors to answer seven questions about their most recent projects, today’s guest is the inimitable Graham Joyce, who I first discovered through his horror novel DREAMSIDE, and his coming-of-age novel THE TOOTH FAIRY, the latter of which ranks as one of my favorite horror/dark fantasy novels of all time.

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Q. What is your most recent release?


Q. What inspired the project?

A. A walk in the ancient bluebell woods of Leicestershire in the English Midlands. The bluebell was the original national flower before the rose was adopted. It is a flower associated with fairy-lore and there are injunctions against picking or trampling the flower. One would incur the wrath of those who dwell amidst the bluebells. One day I was walking amongst the bluebells – though carefully keeping to the paths in between – and the idea for this story came streaming out. The scent was overwhelming and with the scent came the idea of recasting a very old tale in a new way.

Q. What is the primary theme you’ve chosen to explore with this project?

A. Lost youth.

Q. Of everything you’ve written to date, which project has been the most difficult for you?

A. REQUIEM. I don’t find any books “easy” to write, but some do come out like loaves from a baker’s oven. Others fail to rise or are misshapen or to continue the metaphor stick to the sides of the baking tin. You have to spend much longer time fixing up. I was half way through REQUIEM and it wasn’t working. The story was partly about misogyny and I realised my female protagonist had to become male. You can’t have women on a journey to discover how misogynistic the world is: they already know that all too well. So she became a he; but I had to go right back to the beginning and rethink all of it.

Q. Which title would you suggest as a good introduction for newcomers to your work, and why?

A. THE TOOTH FAIRY is a good intro because it is first properly ambiguous novel I did. Readers either like that ambiguity or they don’t. THE FACTS OF LIFE is one where I started to get my writing somewhere near where I would like it to be.

Q. What are your thoughts on the burgeoning digital market?

A. My thoughts are that no-one anywhere has a clue what publishing will be like in the next five or ten years and that we may as well embrace the uncertainty. People will always want to hear stories regardless of whatever technology is packaging them.

Q. What’s up next for you?

A. I’m just completing a summer ghost story set in the 1970s, a watershed period for British politics and a time when we had an astonishing invasion of ladybirds (ladybugs for my US friends). It’s called THE YEAR OF THE LADYBIRD.


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