Come with me on a journey, an excursion into murky depths as I stalk the abyss for the Damned. We will commune with those who write for the Pen of the Damned.
I give to you, dear reader, a word of caution. This odyssey is not for the faint of heart. The abyss is home to beings that savor fear, feast on distress, and have mastered the realms of terror. To go is to risk madness, terror, or an eternal sojourn among the bedeviled. If you go, you must go freely, of your own will. You accept?
*dark grin* Let’s go.
Hold my cloak, don’t open your eyes, and tread lightly. The abyss hold secrets you don’t want to know.
We approach a powerful corner on the path to deeper chasms. This is the lair of Thomas Brown. He has an old soul, and brings a calm potency to Pen of the Damned. Open your eyes. But don’t let your guard down.
Thomas. Thank you for giving us some of your time.
You write with Pen of the Damned. How did you get involved?
Hello Zack, and thank you for having me on your blog. I first contacted the group after stumbling across the site and reading several of their weekly stories. I was impressed with the quality of the writing and sought to share a piece of my own on the site. It was then that I learned the nature of the group, the set-up, the Damned concept. Joe and Nina contacted me shortly afterwards with more details and the rest, as they say, is history.
What has been your favorite experience with Pen of the Damned?
In terms of a single experience, I think my favorite was my initial post. The story aside, it felt so good to see my writing showcased as a member of the Damned, displayed alongside other such fine writers of dark fiction. I’m proud of the story, too, which I feel introduced my voice and recurring themes in my writing well to the group and readers alike.
Pen of the Damned is predominantly short fiction. Do you prefer to write short stories or novels?
I do prefer shorter fiction, particularly flash fiction; vignette-style pieces that really convey the spirit and tone of a scene. Either that, or novel-length writing, where I can immerse myself in a theme or atmosphere. Middle-ground short stories are where I am least comfortable, my inclination being to either expand them, or convey them in flash.
Thomas. What influences your style of writing?
Naturally, I think the biggest style influences are other writers. You read and you absorb, even subconsciously, what works and what doesn’t – or at least, what works for you and what doesn’t. These quirks, these literary idiosyncrasies, find a home in your own voice, until you find yourself with techniques and a voice all of your own. Specifically, Tennessee Williams’ short stories influenced me, and the English translations of Andrei Makine’s fiction, by Geoffrey Strachan. Neither are horror writers but they are responsible for owning two of the most affecting literary voices I have ever read. If I could one day write fiction with half the impact and atmosphere of these two, I would feel very proud.
You have a blog http://tbrownonline.wordpress.com/ . On your blog, you have mentioned that music is an inspiration, and that sometimes movies can be inspirational as well. Do you have any other founts of inspiration?
I’m inspired by things I see and feel, mostly. I watch people and I listen to them, and if something resonates in me then I write about it. I don’t write horror because I want to write horror; I write horror because it is the best medium for expressing the things I want my writing to explore; namely people and human nature. I’m not talking about murder and bullying and ghosts. I try to look deeper: life and death, isolation, human sadness. Sometimes these take beautiful forms, other times they are ugly. Such is life, I think.
Thomas, your writing has been described as being “spare”, “haunting”, and “taut”. What is your secret with making a piece of short fiction such as “Crowman”, or your short story sequence in “The Storyteller’s Anthology” so powerful and well-written?
It carries on a little from what I’ve just mentioned. By examining the root of a human issue, I am able to identify with it, empathise with it and stay true to it while I write. This produces writing after the kinds of adjectives described above. Sometimes this comes at the expense of narrative or plot, but for me a story’s impact comes from the feelings it touches, the images it creates and how these make the reader feel.
You have a novel that is slated to be released on the 17th of June. It is called “Lynnwood.” I have read the following comments about the novel; “an escalating power of dread that is rendered deftly…”, “It was a creepy story. I kept thinking along the premise of the book “It” by Stephen King with an English twist.” Tell us more. Whet our palettes.
Lynnwood is a story about living and about hunger. One the one hand, we are the people society has shaped us into and on the other hand we are flesh and blood and a whole host of hormones and hot, heady urges, telling us to run and shout and gorge ourselves on food. Lynnwood takes a typically civilised place, filled with perfectly proper people, and explores what happens when these two aspects come into conflict. It is about old fears and darkness and the Gothic notion of forests as wild, revealing places. I think Lynnwood holds more than few surprises for its readers and I’m very excited to share it in June.
Thank you Thomas, for spending time with us. I am excited to open the pages of Lynnwood and dive into the story. We will leave you as we continue to stalk the Damned.
Here is a link to Thomas’ facebook page.
Thank you, reader, for wading into the depths with me.
Take a deep breath before we plunge further into the dark abyss of the Damned.