Interview with author Simon Law
Simon Law was born in October 1983, and resides in West Sussex, England. Not uncoincidentally, this is also where he sets the majority of his stories. Law was first published in 2009. His début novel, ‘Bringing Forth the End of Days’, is a dystopian thriller about the end of the world. Law’s latest novel ‘The Damaged’ is Law’s first independently published work, and hit online stores in October 2015. If you haven’t picked it up yet, I have to wonder what in the world you’re waiting for. We’re thrilled that Simon Law was kind enough to answer a few questions about him and his work–just for you!
THW: Let’s start with an easy one. Of all the things there are to write about, why pick something as dark as horror?
I write the stories that come into my head, they just happen to be pretty horrific! I think this says more about the darkness of my subconscious mind than it does about any conscious decision to write horror. We all have a certain amount of darkness in our minds, its just that most people try to suppress it.
I grew up in the eighties, which was (for me anyway) the golden era of horror movies. It was a decade that gave birth to the majority of the franchises and characters that we would now consider horror staples. Chucky, Freddy, Pinhead, Jason, they were all born in the eighties; and I grew up alongside them.
Stephen king has also been a massive influence on me. I think the first adult book I ever read was ‘Pet Sematary’ at the age of like 10 maybe.
THW: What does your family have to say about your horrific endeavors?
They are all really proud that I write, but I’m not sure they all enjoy the subject matters!
THW: The Damaged is your second book. Please tell us about it?
The book is about two people with difficult and traumatic pasts coming together. It deals with how people cope with grief, or trauma, and the lasting effects that it can have on your mental state if you’re not strong enough to deal with it.
First, we have Matthew Mason – a guy who was traumatized as a child when he witnessed the brutal murder of his parents, and subsequently spent the majority of his life in a mental institute. Then, we have Tammy Aktins – a care worker who turned to alcohol and self-harm after losing her mother to cancer, and then losing custody of her daughter Jessica.
They are both deeply flawed individuals. Both ‘Damaged’ – maybe beyond repair.
When Matthew is released from the mental institute it is down to Tammy to look after him, and to ensure he maintains his course of strong anti-psychotics. Seeing the similarities in each other, they fall in love almost instantly.
Whilst trying to adapt to his new freedom, the demons of Matthew’s past refuse to let him go. He soon becomes plagued with disturbing hallucinations; including a strange raven which keeps appearing at his window; showing him ghastly images of his dead parents and pushing his hand towards revenge.
THW: Is your new book too scary or disturbing for those who don’t normally read horror?
There are many levels to this book, and I think that most people will find one that speaks to them. There are definitely some disturbing themes in this novel that some people may shy away from, and there is also plenty of blood and guts to keep the gore fans happy, but underneath all the blood is essentially a sympathetic love story about two people trying to overcome their own personal demons.
THW: Did you have a reader demographic in mind when you wrote The Damaged?
No. I essentially wrote the book for myself, and for the passion of writing and expressing myself. If you are a fan of horror, or psychological thrillers, then this book is definitely for you.
THW: The trailer is pretty scary. Did you make it yourself?
Thanks! I’m glad you liked it! Yes, it’s all my own work. I have a little bit of history in directing and film production, so this came naturally to me.
THW: I understand that you excelled in math and science in school. How do those skills translate to writing?
They don’t. What a waste of an education that was! Most kids seem to have a fair idea of what they’d like to be when they grew up – I had no idea at all! It was only later in life when I found my love for writing.
THW: Tell us a bit about your workspace. What do you need to be surrounded by to do your best work?
Solitude and silence. The voices in my head need the chance to be heard – and so I need as little distraction as possible. When I’m on a roll and the writing is flowing nicely, I sometimes listen to a little music, but never anything with vocals. My go to music is normally Vivaldi or Mussorgsky, depending on the scene that I’m writing at the time. Oh, and coffee helps too!
THW: What do you think is the best horror on TV right now?
Before it’s cancellation, I would have said Hannibal. I absolutely loved that show and I’m shocked and appalled that it’s no longer on. A close second would be Bates Motel.
THW: Has anything specific from your own life ended up in one of your novels?
Most of what I write is drawn from some form of life experience. I don’t believe that you can ever write honestly if you don’t draw from what you know; be it an emotion, or a fear, or a person that I know. I’ve never actually been involved in any mass murders though if that’s what you’re asking!
THW: If a friend told you they wanted to write a horror book, what advice would you give them?
Keep it honest, do your research, but above all else – remember that it’s all about the characters. It doesn’t really matter what genre you write, the characters always have to be the key focus. They have to be realistic, believable, and relatable. Horror movies may get away with one-dimensional screaming women who always run up the stairs when there’s a killer in the house instead of just running out the front door, but in a novel that just wont cut the mustard!
THW: What’s the best way for fans to reach you?
Croak out into the dark night sky, and I will hear you!
Fans, reach out to Simon Law here: