I was once asked if I could write with more inspiration, sprit, power, etc if I were upset or depressed, as opposed to being happy. I’m not at all sure what the answer could be. We read a lot about artists suffering for their work, but maybe that is not the same thing. Being depressed could well make ones work dark and foreboding, but I’m not sure if being happy makes the work light and optimistic.
Personally speaking, most of my books are dark already. They are full of murder, suspense, mystery, characters you would prefer not to meet (well, not all of them!), and situations that are fairly terrible. I’m not at all sure if they could be any more dark if, when I created those stories, I was in a bad mood.
The point is, when I wrote ‘Sallowed Blood’ I was feeling very buoyant. It was a story that really rattled along. I had the germ of any idea and now began to plan it out in much more detail.
I’d left the UK in the early 80s looking for work. I ended up in Germany. Bavaria to be exact, and the beautiful, fairytale village of Hohenschwangeau. Nestling beside the village was a huge lake called The Alpsee, and watching over us all was Prince Ludwig’s mystical castle Neuschwanstein. It was a truly inspirational place to live and work, and I was there for around 10 months.
During that time I sketched out various stories, but never actually wrote anything down. A lot of those sketches are still with me, and I will use them one day. Of that, I am totally convinced. When I had found myself published, I began to develop a tale of a young man who had inherited a castle. And what better place than Hohenschwangeau. Although the village is not named in the book, it was where I placed the story.
I’ve always loved those old Hammer horrors. I still do. I wanted to write a book that had the same sort of atmosphere, one that would transport me back to those wonderful Monday nights when, after the News at Ten, Granada would air a truly fabulous film. My brother and I would settle back and become immersed in all of that glorious gothic mist of mystery and mayhem.
By the time I’d finished the book I was really quite pleased with it. My hero was suitably vulnerable, and the villain (or, to put it more accurately, villains) grotesque. I sent my hero on a wandering journey that took him from Cornwall to Edinburgh and finally to Bavaria. I loved every minute of it, and thrashed out 65000 words in a frenzy of unchained imagination.
Then I had to find a publisher. It wasn’t that I was unhappy with my first. They were supportive, helpful, and had got me started on this arduous road. I simply needed to know if somebody else thought I was any good! I need that affirmation, because my self-confidence is not good, and I’m easily deterred. My books weren’t selling, nobody seemed in the slightest bit interested, and I began to wonder if any of it was worth it.
So, I went through the usual routes and found a list of publishers and began to submit.
Within a few tries, my book was accepted. I couldn’t believe it. Over the Moon with joy, I waited for the editing process to begin.
And when it did, it almost finished me off completely.
Just how, exactly, I’ll let you know next time.
All of my work can be found in my two websites. I write YA horror under the pen name Glenn Stuart, and you can visit my website and found all of titles, including my very latest INTERLOPERS FROM HELL at www.glennstuart.co.uk.
My adult and cross-over work, with links and extracts, is www.stuartgyates.com.
I hope you find something of interest on either of those sites. Thanks for stopping by, and keep reading!