Project 13 Dark – The Interviews – Ross Jeffery

Project 13 Dark – The Interviews – Ross Jeffery

You may remember Ross Jeffery from my interview with the staff of Storgy Literary Magazine. Ross is their Executive Director of Books and always has his nose in one. He is also a burgeoning writer who is part of Project †3 Dark and has just had his story Judgements published in Idle Ink.

†3Dark is the brainchild of author, editor, and book coach Joseph Sale. It’s a unique dark fiction project that showcases both the written and visual artwork of some of this century’s greatest creatives.

Ross Jeffery’s transcendent story Bethesda opens the project’s first issue called Dead Voices. I asked Ross to answer a few questions about the idea for this story and how he emerged from a bout of writer’s block that lasted 7 years. He also talks about the future of dark fiction and how to avoid the slush pile when submitting to literary magazines like Storgy.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

To be honest I think I have always wanted to do something creative. I guess words just clicked for me. When I was at school I had a fabulous Media Studies teacher called Mr. Peckett who looked like Harry Hill, but he was a phenomenal teacher. He opened my eyes to writing, to authors I’d never heard of and he pretty much showed me the power of words. From his guidance, I went on to study Media Arts and Video Production at University and a large portion of this degree was writing, writing scripts, essays and other works – so it’s always been there lurking in the background until it came into the foreground, thanks to Tomek and Tony. Now I couldn’t imagine my life doing anything else.

You went through a period of not writing that lasted for years. What caused it and how did you push past it?

I had been writing for years up to this point. I’d been writing about lots of dark and disturbing things, writing really graphic and spiritually dark material; because before I became a Christian this was the area of writing I felt at home in – I’d go for shock value all the time, there was no filter and no subject I wouldn’t talk about.

After becoming a Christian, I continued to write in this vein. My wife raised the subject with me and I had a moment of reflection and clarity. I stopped. Just went cold turkey. I didn’t write for seven years. Seven years. I of course made notes about things but I didn’t actually sit down to write for a long time.

After seven years, I felt God tell me to start writing again; so, I began writing and wrote the short story ‘Bethesda’. I put myself out there and sent it out into the world. Firstly I wanted to see if I was writing anything people wanted to read; plus, now I was writing with a freedom I’d not experienced before. In those seven years, I also read an awful lot of books, from a variety of authors and genres and I think if you want to be a better writer, you need to read anything and everything.

I sent the short story out and heard back pretty quickly. It was a fabulous feeling and it also connected with the publisher on a personal level so for me that is what being a writer is all about – writing words that move, effect and connect with people!

In Bethesda, you take an ordinary day at the beach and make it extraordinary. What sparked this idea in this setting?

I love reading the Bible, it’s full of so many wonderful stories – that in my opinion are as relevant today as they were when they were originally written. I’ve always loved the story about the pool of Bethesda and wanted to incorporate this into a story. It also came at a time where personally I was struggling with being Ill, not being able to do anything – I had a portion of my neck (vertebrate) removed and replaced by some artificial components but at the time I was writing I was crying out to God for help.

The beach itself was and is a place I visit frequently in Bournemouth when we go to see my wife’s family. It’s a place I always find peace and comfort and I thought – this is where I want to base my story – I wanted to re-image the story of the Pool of Bethesda and bring it into the modern age to a new audience who possibly have never heard of the tale before.

Project 13 Dark is a collection of dark fiction. What kind of writing do you think fits into that category? What future do you see for it?

I think Project 13 Dark’s premise is brilliant. Dark fiction is all relative. Life is difficult, life is messy and at key moments in our lives we will all find ourselves clawing at the walls trying to escape the darkness. I am a huge fan of dark fiction (transgressive fiction). I love the writings of Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis and think this is the type of writing that I would associate with Dark Fiction and if we can use these guys as our measuring stick we won’t be going far wrong. I can see the future for Dark fiction really kicking on – as long as there is a reason for the dark, I don’t have a problem!

'Life is difficult, life is messy and at key moments in our lives we will all find ourselves clawing at the walls trying to escape the darkness.' @Ross1982 #amwriting #darkfiction #shortstories Click To Tweet

At Storgy you read and review a lot of emerging and well-established writers. What do you feel is the key ingredient that makes a story good?

At STORGY we read and review a lot of books, short stories and other writings from emerging and well-established writers and we all look at things differently – it’s such a collaborative place to work and I work with two amazing guys who have helped my writing to no end (Tomek Dzido and Tony Self). I want a story to punch me in the face, that first page has got to either knock me out or blow me out of the water. If I don’t have that hook, I don’t want to read on. I also love stories that look at the real life, look at the things we often take for granted – I also love a flawed character, we are all fallible – that’s what I love to read about.

What is the ultimate goal of your own writing?

I guess I would be happy if my writing continued to connect with people. If I were able to forge a career in writing that would be a bonus – but for me my main passion at the moment is STORGY Books our independent publishing arm of STORGY Magazine. We recently published the anthology Exit Earth featuring twenty-four short stories and critically acclaimed authors such as James Miller, Michael Carey, Courttia Newland and Toby Litt.

I am still writing and if recognition of my work comes from this, that’s a bonus.

Who is the writer you most admire and why?

Chuck Palahniuk all the way! I owe this guy so much, he opened my eyes to what writing should be. I remember reading Fight Club for the first time, before the film had come out and it blew me away. The way he is able to reinvent himself time after time is astounding – he’s such a huge catalogue of books and I have read every one, and he just keeps on blowing me away! Even his foray into colouring books was a masterstroke and shows the man knows what he is up to. Plus, I was also privileged enough to interview Chuck and he was such a great guy, his insights into writing really helped and just speaking to one of my writing idols was something I’ll never forget – and the signed copy of Fight Club he sent me afterwards shows that the man is all about his fans!

What advice do you have for new writers who want to submit to literary magazines and anthologies like Project 13 Dark?

Make sure you are writing for you and not the paycheck or the competition (they help, don’t get me wrong). Write about what matters to you, your honesty and personal experiences transfer so much better onto the page than trying to make stuff up. Write about what you know when you can. When you can’t, research! Also, you need to make sure your work is shit hot! I don’t want to be reading peoples work that is littered with spelling or grammatical mistakes. Treat us with respect people. We are taking the time out to read your work for publication. The least you can do is put across or submit the best you can do! Review and edit, and when you think you are going to send it off, leave it for a few days, read it again and do a final edit!

Will you be writing any novel-length fiction in the future? Why or why not?

Personally, I would love to. I have a few ideas floating around and also got about 60,000 words into a project but have since put it on the shelf and not looked at it since. I have a bit of a problem, that is that my mind is always so active. I come up with ideas for stories all the time. I carry a note pad around with me wherever I go. I use it to write ideas down when they spring into my mind. I write down bits of dialogue I hear from people’s conversations. I put down things I have observed in nature – everything goes into this book. I guess at the moment I am happy in the short story realm. I have an idea I am fleshing out at the moment for a possibly novella length piece, but the short story is where I call home. I love its boundaries and its rules, its functions and the impact a short piece of fiction can have. That’s not me writing off the novel thing, I just at the moment don’t have the patience to write something that long. I need to get rid of some of the clutter in my mind first to free up the time and space to focus on a novel.

And what everyone wants to know – what can we look forward to from you?

Well exciting news is that last year my story Bethesda was published by Project 13 Dark, I had a story in the Anthology Exit Earth by STORGY Books called Daylight Breaks through and at the start of 2018 I had a short story accepted for publication in Idle Ink (being published at the end of the month 29th January 2018) called Judgements.

I am currently working on a short story that I am so excited about, something I can’t wait to share with people. It’s based on something horrific that happened to me, but the idea and concept of the story is something that has really been pushing my writing boundaries (homelessness and mental health). It’s really challenging and there are a lot of moving parts but if I can pull it off I will be thrilled with the outcome and how it has helped me become a better writer. I’ve immersed myself in the writings of Chuck Palahniuk, Charles Bukowski and Dan Fante to help me get into writing about a flawed character, so hopefully some of their greatness will be gleaned and help me write a character that is believable and people can connect with.

As mentioned above I will be trying to plan my novella length idea at some point this year, it’s a little like Bethesda as being rooted in the Bible, but I am looking at the story of Moses and the plagues and seeing if there is something there – a modern retelling of some sort!

But at the moment I have a book full of short story ideas that I would love to flesh out and possibly try to submit to other magazines. I’d also just love to hone the craft I love so much a bit more before delving into the full novel!

Keep reading and writing and when you think you have it nailed, read some more!


Ross Jeffery is a Bristol based writer and Executive Director of Books for STORGY Magazine. Most often than not found collaborating with Tomek Dzido and Anthony Self with either pen or camera. He is an avid reader of an eclectic mix of fiction and is a lover of the short story form. He is hard at work with his own collection of short stories and a novel for publication in the near future. Ross has been published online at STORGY Magazine and Idle Ink and in print with STORGY Books Exit Earth (Daylight Breaks Through) and Project 13 Dark (Bethesda). Ross lives in south Bristol with his wife and two children. If you would like to follow him he’s on Twitter @Ross1982. 

Connect with Ross

Twitter – @Ross1982

Instagram – rossi_bozzi

Website – www.storgy.com

Judgements

by Ross Jeffery

Idle Ink – Curious Fiction

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†3Dark

Issue #1 – Dead Voices

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Writing Goal for 2018

Writing Goal for 2018

Life has been crazy. Life has been great. Life has left little time for writing. Writing is something I love. Writing brings me joy. Writing has become something frantically pounded out on the keyboard whenever I get a free minute. It happens after everything else is done, when I am tired and burned out.

But not this year. Nope. It’s time to make writing fun again. It’s time to get back the reason I began writing in the first place. I started by making a video look book for the story I’m currently working on. It was dead in the water and I needed something to get me back into it. It took me a whole Saturday to make this video and I will get absolutely no reward from it except the act of creating it. I used to create for pleasure all the time when I was a kid. Lately, I have forgotten how.

I encourage all creatives to create for the joy of creating with no expectation of what will happen to the end result. Only then will it be fun and only then will it be authentic and good. Forget about marketing and reviews and sales. Do it for yourself!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

When was the last time you did something creative just for fun?

What is your favorite creative outlet?

What are you working on this year?

Project 13Dark is Reborn and Fully Funded – Here’s how to get the first issue.

Project 13Dark is Reborn and Fully Funded – Here’s how to get the first issue.

You all may wondered about the status of 13Dark. The great news is the first issue is fully funded and is about to come out. Due to unfortunate personal circumstances, I won’t be appearing in the first issue as planned, but I will be in the final issue. So, get started with DEAD VOICES featuring fresh, unique dark fiction from Tice Cin, Ross Jeffery, and Samuel Parr. Do it now. There are only 3 days left to back us!

JOIN PROJECT 13DARK

Get Your Issue#1: DEAD VOICES, plus book bundles, original signed artwork, writing coaching, and more!
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THE STORY THUS FAR

Earlier this year, 13Dark ran an ambitious £32,000 kickstarter to launch a new publishing venture. This venture would publish the works of 13 incredible voices in dark fiction, including names such as Richard Thomas, Moira Katson, Christa Wojciechowski, Eden Royce and Veronica Magenta Nero. 13Dark would also introduce newer voices such as Samuel Parr, Andy Cashmore, Tice Cin, Matthew Blackwell, Jamie Parry-Bruce, Anthony Self, Tomek Dzido and Ross Jeffery. These amazing stories would be released one-per-month and be accompanied by incredible artwork from Shawn Langley. While the campaign wasn’t funded successfully, many fans flocked to stop 13Dark from falling by the wayside, helping us to raise money via purchasing writing coaching and book bundles from us directly. Further to that, we were humbled to find our writers and artists decided to stick by our side and help us get back on track. Now, 13Dark has been re-configured and reborn. Instead of 13 individual stories published over 13 months, there will now be 4 issues of 13Dark, with 3 stories per issue, and the last issue including 4 stories. All of work will explore the sacred and profane, the holy and damned, the beatific and the demonic.

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Dead Voices will feature fiction from Samuel Parr, Tice Cin and Ross Jeffery, three new but astonishing voices in dark, weird fiction. But don’t take our word for it, read some samples on the IndieGoGo page.

 

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Extracts from †3Dark Stories: ‘Bethesda’ & ‘Under Soil’

Extracts from †3Dark Stories: ‘Bethesda’ & ‘Under Soil’

Via the blog of Joseph Sale

Hello everyone,

We are on the homestretch of our Kickstarter Campaign, so, to thank all you AMAZING people out there who have backed us, we thought it was time to give you all a little taster of what’s coming. Here, below, we have two story extracts.

The first is from ‘Bethesda’, our Issue 1 story by Ross Jeffery. ‘Bethesda’ is a hopeful tale of religious experience, told with a unique and convincing narrative voice that becomes quietly, profoundly moving. ‘Bethesda’ is set in England.

The second, from ‘Under Soil’, by Tice Cin, is set in Cyprus. This dark fiction tale is woven from a Gothic style that slowly unveils a deeper meaning to it. Sensual and intense, this is as vivid as an acid trip, or else, a direct encounter with something beyond the shadow of our daily lives.

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Be†hesda – Issue I – Ross Jeffery

I’ve been watching him now for a while: the pale man, as he trudges back and forth from what I assume must be his car, or mini-van, parked at the foot of the hill, stopped from entering the promenade by the safety barrier. It was put in place to stop cars driving onto the beach to unload their cargo. There was a girl who I went to school with a few years back. Jessica was her name. She said that she saw an elderly man crushed to death by one of those cars; he’d been buried up to his neck by someone who’d gone off swimming, leaving him with just his head sticking out, encased in the heavy, wet sand. He didn’t see it coming. The driver didn’t see him either. The huge petrol-guzzling Range Rover drove over his head popping it like a tomato. She said that the blood sprayed out from under the car. But it wasn’t just the head, the Range Rover crushed his limbs beneath the sand. Dead on impact, she said. There was so much blood, it formed a tributary down to the sea. Apparently, it took a good few days for the tide to wash away the blood. It kept on coming back like the blood on Lady Macbeth’s hands. Gone one moment, back the next. Immediately after, the local authority met and decided there would be no more ‘incidents of this nature’ and so installed a barrier which put a stop to drivers bringing their cars down onto the beach. There were obviously complaints about it all, uproar in local neighbourhood partnership meetings, but in all honesty who can complain about the inconvenience of carrying your beach equipment a hundred yards after an elderly man has been crushed until he popped like a geyser.

X

The man just stands there now, looking out to sea. He raises his hand, shielding his eyes from the glare of the sun on the water. The light refracts off his large watch, sending a blinding beam across the beach in my direction. He lowers his hand and turns to his windbreaker. He reaches into the chest pocket of his jacket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I can’t make out the brand but catch a flash of red from the pack: Marlborough Reds, strong stuff. He lifts the pack up to his mouth, his lips reaching out and claiming one of the sticks, he slowly pulls the pack away revealing this cigarette hanging from his mouth. In one fluid motion he moves the pack down and into his pocket and when bringing his hand up, opens the zippo lighter with a flickering flame. He inhales, deeply, two jets of smoke pour from his nostrils. With a flick of his wrist the zippo is closed and he places it in the breast pocket of his shirt. He stands there staring out into the surf. He only moves to lift the cigarette to and from his mouth; he doesn’t even move to pick up a child’s red Frisbee that lands a foot away from him. He stares out to sea. He doesn’t move when the children shout at him to pass it back, call him a weirdo, a paedo and a bunch of other derogatory remarks. Just stands there in his backdrop of Jamaican merchandise. I watch intently as one of the boys, the youngest, slightest one is pushed by his friends in the direction of their fallen Frisbee; I see the boy stiffen with terror as he moves, well pushed, towards the Frisbee. What does this say about the boy’s home life if he thinks that interacting with a stranger could cause him to suffer? A dog yaps near me as it jumps over the groyne I’m sitting on, distracting me from my observations. The owner of the dog says hello and good afternoon to me, I reply by moving my mouth but not speaking the words, and add a little head nod for good measure; I’ve always found that odd, total strangers saying hello. I used to shrink into my coat every time my father would say hello to total strangers when we were on family walks in the country. After the stranger is gone. I look back to the man. He’s gone too. The kids are laughing and punching the runt in the arms; he seems to have successfully acquired the red Frisbee. But where is the man?

 

 

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Under Soil – Issue II – Tice Cin

Her body is dead earth. It has the soft mulch of being left outside for too long and being rained on. The rain never stops. Flesh quivering, the panting of her breath moves hair that has fallen across her collarbone. Small needle marks blemish her skin and raise blood to its surface. Shooting over her legs, threads of blood meet each other as they flow from head to toe. The interlacing of red is divinely timed. Her colour is renewed and replaced interchangeably by the rain, then the blood, and back again. This skin is lace that embroiders the ground. This was the call and now was the time to answer. Standing up, her feet sink in soot, cleaving it free from the gravel beneath. Divinely timed. Heading for the hills, her footprints suck in blackness, leaving traces of her body in their trail. Bound between sky and earth she is the first of her kind. Sent to shake life from her skin, she moves through the heat of the day. As the sun pinches her cheeks she walks with it roasting and drying her offerings, liquid intermingling to infuse gravel with metallic clay. She stops. Knees hitting the ground, she pulls at her ribcage. First she becomes aware of the pressure on her thumbs as they grip skin and bone. Then that pain is nothing. The sound of skin peeling sends white noise crackling into reverb around her and when it stops she holds two ribs in her hands. An un-stringed cello, she buries them in the ground. Piled over bone, the slow erosion of hot rock here blends with soot, marbling and intertwining body with earth. The first death will be here. Fire the reward of the wrongdoer. Volcanic ash and hot sand carried the stench of carrion as brother buried brother out of sight. This palpable toil. The men warred so quickly yet with so much fire that their bodies were swallowed in dirt before they ever had the chance to make surrendering moves. The walking prayer. When making something level again is no longer a crime, then she will come. Balance hums into being. Her fingers are like wings that drag along the floor as she walks and her hair gestures forwards sensing each step that she needs to take. Marking the area of this sin was all she has to do. She is here to give to an earth that is dead. Her lips part, lower lip hanging like a corpse’s dislocated jaw. Out from her mouth rolls a shard of flame that lingers at her feet before rippling with open arms over the dry hill, leaving nothing but green behind.

———————————————————————————————

We hope you enjoyed those extracts and that it demonstrates what we intend to do with †3Dark. If you did enjoy them, please help us make this project come alive by offering a back or telling your friends about us:

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We have TONS of incredible rewards to offer you, but more than that, you will get the satisfaction of knowing you are a true patron of the arts, have supported the work of aspiring authors, and are making a vision live.

Please note: Our incentive offer is still valid: if you can get a friend to back this campaign and then confirm it to our Facebook page, Twitter, or in the comments section of this KS, we will send you a FREE eBook from Dark Prophets Press!

Well, that’s enough from me. I hope you enjoyed reading this fine work. Onwards and upwards †3Dark.

Until next time!

Joe Sale

Project Lead, †3Dark

Visit the Campaign

Visit the 13 Dark Indiegogo page

to view the full details about the project.

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Are you ready for a journey into the dark?

Are you ready for a journey into the dark?

I told you all I had cool news for you. Here it is!

Project 13Dark has launched its Kickstarter Campaign. Tired of the same ol’ mainstream fiction? Find out all about this unique project that will showcase both dark fiction and art. Become part of movement that demands quality but also insists on paying the artists who create it. Watch the video and read on to find out how.

Lose yourself in a unique, epic world that will be created over 13 months. 

†3Dark is a unique project created by Joseph Sale that will showcase both the written and visual artwork of some of this century’s greatest creatives including Richard Thomas, Moira Katson, Eden Royce, Veronica Magenta Nero, Christa Wojciechowski as well as newer voices such as Matthew Blackwell, Andy Cashmore, Samuel Parr, Tomek Dzido, Anthony Self, Ross Jeffery, Jamie Parry-Bruce and Tice Cin.

All of their work will explore the sacred and profane, the holy and damned, the beatific and the demonic. 

The aim is to release 13 unique never-before-seen short stories, monthly, in digital and paperback form, accompanied by custom artwork from Shawn Langley, and with cover artwork by grandfailure. These editions will be beautifully produced, melding the visual and written elements, offering unique insight into our world. Each story will be edited and have a foreword written by me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of something colossal. 

Visit the Campaign

Visit the 13 Dark Kickstarter page

to view the full details about the project.

Go!

For 13 Dark Backers 

Readers will be interested in…

In addition to 13 beautiful editions of short fiction with YOUR NAME in the ‘Thank You’ section, †3Dark will provide opportunities to receive limited edition signed copies of Dark Prophets Press titles, specially discounted subscriptions to Gamut Magazine (the prestigious neo-noir magazine created by Richard Thomas of Dark House Press) and much, much more!  

Writers will be interested in…

If you have a group of short stories or a novel coming out and need in-depth analysis, coaching, and intensive editing, you will want to snatch one of the top reward spots! The cost of the the pledge is far cheaper than you would ever have to pay for a writing coach and editor, plus you get all the free goodies listed above (and a T-shirt!)

We hope you’ll join us on this descent into the heart of the divine… and the dark. 

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Why I Quit My Job: Project 13 Dark

Why I Quit My Job: Project 13 Dark

Originally posted on Joseph Sale: Graphic Horror Writer

Yesterday, at roughly 9:30am, I quit my job.

It was a good job, in many respects. It paid decent wages. There was a great team of people there who I shared laughs with. I enjoyed my time there. But, unfortunately, I had come to a realisation, a reality I had to face, which was that I was being called by my true vocation: writing. That’s the thing. Something we must all bear in mind: there’s a difference between a career, a job and a vocation, a ‘calling’ we feel deep down, that drives us, that makes us who we are. It’s folly to ignore that calling.

Joseph Sale, creator of Project 13 Dark

This is me. I’m completely normal. Completely. Don’t worry about those things I wrote. Shhhh.

For a long time, I’d convinced myself I could go on doing the 40 hours a week and write here and there in between, but now I’ve realised it’s just not in me. Kudos to those who can do it; it’s impressive. But I need to give all of myself to the world of creativity. So, here I am, throwing caution to the wind. Melodramatic as it sounds, I really would rather die than give up on doing what I believe I was always meant to do.

It’s not just about writing my own work, however. That’s only one small thing. I’m a passionate reader and bibliophile. I’ve been following various authors for a number of years and wanted, for a long time, to bring their work to a wider audience. From this desire, †3Dark was born.

So, I’ve quit my job to work full time on a unique publishing venture, a dream I’ve had for a long time I finally feel could become reality. So, what’s it all about? Read on…

Originally posted on Joseph Sale: Graphic Horror Writer

†3 DARK – Author Spotlight: Christa Wojciechowski & Mental Illness in Horror Fiction

†3 DARK – Author Spotlight: Christa Wojciechowski & Mental Illness in Horror Fiction

Hello all! I’m ecstatic to have been signed on by the †3 DARK Project. I know it’s still a mystery to most of you. I will post all the details very soon. In the meantime, follow †3 DARK on Facebook and Twitter.

There is nothing more validating for a writer than to be recognized by another writer whom they greatly admire. Enjoy this spotlight Joseph Sale has written about The Sick Series and grab the first two books – they’re free for a few more hours.


Originally posted by Joseph Sale †3 DARK – Author Spotlight: Christa Wojciechowski & Mental Illness in Horror Fiction

Today we’re going to be beaming the spotlight down on another one of our incredible †3Dark authors: Christa Wojciechowski.

It’s an honour to have Christa involved in the project. I’ve been a fan of her fiction for while, ever since I read the first book of her Sick series of novellas.

SICK PART I med Mental Illness in Horror Fiction

Here’s an extract of a review I wrote for Sick:

‘Sick is a brilliant novella that explores the nature of human dependency and self-deception. The voice of the protagonist, Susan, is crystal clear and never wavers throughout, drawing you completely into her world and her way of thinking. This voice also generates a fantastic sense of dramatic irony, leading to a genuine tension. We want our heroine to realise the truth but her antagonist is convincingly devious. Normally, novels in which there is a truth evident to the reader but not the characters can be frustrating, but Sick manages to remain compelling and true to its characters throughout. Most importantly of all, however, this novella triumphs because it is so psychologically insightful.’

What’s unique about her approach to horror is the genuinely in-depth explorations of mental illness, addiction and relationships. While so many horror authors pander to the stereotypes of mental illness or psychosis as something to be feared and abhorred, Christa is more empathetic, getting to the roots of it, and exploring it in a nuanced way. As such, her characters are frighteningly three-dimensional, to the extent that we feel we can inhabit them.

And that’s where the real horror comes in.

SICK PART II med Mental Illness in Horror Fiction

In two ways, really.

Firstly, we feel empathy for their fear, their uncertainty. We feel we can relate to it at a primal level.

Secondly, and even more powerfully, it challenges the binary perception of mental illness as something some people have and some don’t. We’re all susceptible to moments of aberrant behaviour, irrational thought or delusion, and Sick really made me feel how fragile the self-constructed perception of my well-being was, and how easily I could fall into the addicted trap of her protagonist Susan. Some writers create aesthetically sensational larger-than-life characters, but Christa’s work is much in the vein of Stephen King: the extraordinary – in both the good and bad sense – can be found in the most ordinary, real people.

As a generous offer to followers and supporters of †3Dark Christa has put Sick Part I and Part II for FREE on Amazon today! 

Christa is currently working on a new series The Sculptor of New Hope, partly inspired by the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (The Rape of Proserpina). She describes it as: ‘a dark, gothic romance that begins in New England and ends up right here in Panama.’ Bernini’s work happens to include many of my favourite sculptures, capturing the impossible sensuality of flesh in marble. The Rape of Proserpina, harrowing as that title is, is one of the most astonishing pieces of art you’ll ever see.

If you want to find out more about Christa and her work, you can read the incredible interview she did with Storgy magazine. Christa’s †3Dark story will feature in our July slot. I just can’t wait to see what dark wonders she unleashes on us.

Adieu for now

@josephwordsmith

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"Anyone who has ever secretly longed for the significant other of a close friend will immediately identify with this well-written story set in the South of France. The dialog is sharp and the characters believable. The writing is both funny and poignant."
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