Phil Hickes’ short story “The Beautiful Dead” will appear in the Gothic Blue Book: The Revenge Edition this month.
1. Vampires or Zombies? Which do you prefer in fiction?
Vampires, as long as we’re talking about Salem’s Lot and 30 Days of Night type vampires. Not the ones with floppy hair.
2. Haunted House or Haunted Mental Asylum? If you had to spend the night in one to write about your experience which would you chose, and why?
I’ll go for Haunted House as I quite like the idea of prowling creaking corridors with a candle and nightcap. I don’t want to end up in a straitjacket while some demented doctor attaches electrodes to my crown jewels.
3. Have you ever read a book or a fictional story that frightened you so much you had to put it down at least once while you were reading? If so, what was it? What frightened you?
Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe. It’s brilliantly written. It’s about the father of a girl who’s abducted and murdered, and as well as the supernatural element, there’s a horrible bleakness associated with the guilt and grief felt by the parent. I’d also include a non-fiction account of the Fred & Rose West murders at Cromwell St. The things they did. I had to take regular breaks from that. Real life is always scarier.
4. Why do you enjoy writing Gothic/Literary horror/horror/paranormal fiction? Or just, why do you enjoy writing in general?
I grew up opposite a crumbling Victorian churchyard, which may have something to do with it. My Dad’s a vicar and we lived right on top of it. I was a bit like the kid in Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, although I never spoke to any of the inhabitants. From reading Pan Horror Books and Dennis Wheatley as a kid, to having black hair and listening to Bauhaus and The Sisters of Mercy as a teenager, I’ve always been interested in the Gothic and supernatural. I suspect the obsession is the result of an as yet undiscovered gene.
5. What other projects do you have in the works?
I’m desperately trying to finish my first book. It’s hard, trying to find the time with a demanding day job, making it good, rewriting etc. It’s aimed at a younger audience. It’s set in the fictional town of Malreward, which is where my story in The Gothic Blue Book is also based. My own little Lovecraftian universe. Naturally there are lots of dark and sinister goings-on.
Phil Hickes was deported from England for stealing a load of bread and a gentleman’s silk ‘andkerchief, Phil Hickes currently resides in a New Zealand penal colony where he works as an advertising copywriter. In his spare-time he enjoys prowling the foggy streets in a hansom cab, with top hat, frock coat and surgical bag, laughing maniacally for no apparent reason. You can find other most excellent scribblings by said author on Amazon by searching ‘Phil Hickes’ and read his bland but well intentioned tweets @hickesy