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I was lucky enough to be the editor for Greg's new novella, The Noctuary, so you can take my word for it that it's awesome. If you're a horror/dark fantasy fan I urge you to pick up a copy immediately. Go now!

Back? Okay, here's Greg:


1. Let's start out easy – tell us a bit about The Noctuary. The title is very evocative – did it come first, or the idea for the story?

 The whole idea for The Noctuary came to me when I was about halfway through my mentorship with author Brett McBean in 2009. I started thinking about where all my ideas came from and the actual mentorship program became metaphysical in a way. I had this thought about what it would be like if an artist’s muse suddenly appeared to them. Writing the book as a sort of journal made sense, but I also wanted the reader to perceive the story in real time, but still have that appearance of unreality to it. Noctuary is actually Latin for “Night-Diary”.
 
2. The idea of the Dark Muses is wonderful, and their scenes are some of my favourites. Where did that come from? 

I obviously borrowed from Greek myth here. I took the story of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who served to inspire musicians, artists and poets and gave it a darker twist. I thought about good and evil and how demons would go about tempt human souls to sin. The concept of the Scribe and writing evil into humanity sprouted from that seed.

My nine Dark Muses represent all the negative aspects of humanity i.e., hate, violence war, tyranny, black magic etcetera. I knew how each of them would look physically, but the tricky part was coming up with their names.
 
3. How did this compare to writing your previous book, Torment? Anything you learned from that you were able to use in The Noctuary? 

The Noctuary and Torment couldn’t be any further apart. Torment is my take on the classic haunted house tale with a dash of demonic possession and “trial-by-faith” thrown in. The Noctuary is much darker – it’s more a work of the fantastique, that delves much deeper into concepts and themes of Hell and damnation of the soul. The Noctuary is also written in first-person and is at times, quite surreal. With Torment, I wanted the reader to sympathise with Jessica Newman, but Simon Ryan, the central character in The Noctuary, is sort of an anti-hero. I think readers will question Simon’s motivations.
 
4. Like yourself, Simon in The Noctuary writes dark fiction. How much of his experiences were drawn from real life? (Please don't tell me you have a Dark Muse of your own – I'd be both jealous and terrified!). 

The only thing Simon and I share lies within his name. When I was born my parents wanted to call me Simon, but my three older brothers wanted them to name me after a well-known Australian cricketer at the time, Greg Chappell. I guess the concepts of pseudonyms and what my life might have been like if my name was Simon might have subconsciously found their way into the book, but you can rest assured the story is complete fiction! 
 
5. I've seen The Noctuary compared favourably to the works of Clive Barker – can you tell us who your influences are, and is Clive among them? 

Clive Barker is one of my greatest influences. I admire Clive’s courage to present the visceral nature of horror, like he did in The Books of Blood and The Hellbound Heart. His control of prose is magnificent and immediately evokes imagery when you read it. As an artist and writer I have a very vivid imagination and it’s very easy for me to connect with Clive’s work. Another writer I adore is Edgar Allan Poe and he is a master of that other key aspect of horror fiction – atmosphere. The Fall of the House of Usher, The Red Masque and The Pit and the Pendulum taught me a lot about building that sense of dread that is vital in horror fiction.
 
6. What are you working on after The Noctuary? 

I haven’t done much new writing as I have been illustrating a non-fiction graphic novel tentatively titled “Witches!”. It is written by Horror Writers Association president Rocky Wood and multiple Bram Stoker Award winning author Lisa Morton. It will be published by McFarland in early 2012.

I did complete one novella about a young boy meeting a demonic acting troupe and I’ve been dabbling with the first draft of a Halloween-themed tale. 

Find out more about Greg and his work here.

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