The pictures above are from the book I was kindly gifted in the post by P.J. Blakey-Novis, his brilliant book of short horror stories, ‘Embrace The Darkness.‘ Seeing I was an avid horror reader he offered me a signed copy and when it arrived in the post I have to say I was Ecstatic about it. My poor husband then didn’t see or hear from me for a couple of hours due to me being fully in the reading zone. Now I will be honest, I have been sceptical about short stories before (If you read my blog a lot you may remember a rant about a fellow author who wanted a review for her short story, one she was charging full Novel prices for and I wasn’t impressed but that was down to her attitude about it all too) But this book… Well it has definitely changed my view on short stories and this is one really worth paying some pennies for.
‘The book is 68 pages long and wow what a journey it has been reading it, there are 6 short stories, some 8 pages long – some being 16 pages long but the author has managed to pull you in to each one of them. They all have a life of their own, some darker than others and all have different themes to them, one is mental health related, another about witchcraft, then there’s a medical one and nightmares but they all grip you, they make you want to read on, to make you see what happens at the end. My favourite one has to be ‘Opened up’, this made me cringe at the thought of what the doctors found on the mysterious lump on the poor characters foot but also the atmosphere, the doctor, the nurse and receptionist all gave it an extra creepy tone, not just in the way some of them looked but their strange attitude. The other creepy thing to it is that when you have had a procedure before in real life you can see yourself in the characters shoes, you can envision the hospital and its dank, dark corridors. And its funny to see that although their seemed to be some warning signs the character still went on and trusted that doctor… Even though the outcome wasn’t necessarily the doctors fault… I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed them all and after telling my husband and my sister I think I may have found two others to read it! Would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a quick horror thrill and scare.’
If you think it sounds interesting then check out the authors blog where he has selected a sample from it to read 😉
Enjoyed my review? Let’s get to know P.J. Blakey-Novis a bit better shall we 😉 Here is his author interview, so please give him a warm welcome…
Question One… Why not introduce yourself a little, where you from? What do you do alongside writing?
My name is Peter Blakey-Novis, and I currently live in the small town of Newhaven, on the south coast of England about half way between Brighton and Eastbourne. I’ve been jotting down short stories and poems for most of my life, but never tried in any serious capacity until I decided to complete a full-length novel. Aside from writing, I run a catering business with my wife specialising in BBQs so that keeps us very busy through the summer, in particular.
Question Two… Thank you so much for the copy of your book ‘Embrace the darkness’. What inspired you to write those awesome little horror shorts? And which one was your favourite one to write?
Back in February, I saw a post on Twitter for submissions for short horror stories, something that I had not done before. This was for a ‘proper’ publishing house, and I thought it would be fun to try my luck. I had fully expected to receive a rejection slip as it was my first short story that I had tried to sell, but considered it to be good experience. I was surprised, and very excited, that the publishing house wished to purchase my story and it is due for release later in the year. I thoroughly enjoyed writing that story, entitled Prize Winner, and it gave me the confidence to write more short stories which have gained some great feedback. As for a favourite one, I would say it has to be Embrace the Darkness, loosely based around a genuine nightmare that I had as a child.
Question Three… We spoke over messenger and I told you the ‘Opened up’ story was the one that made me freak and was my favourite and you said that was from a personal experience. What gave you the idea? How did it materialise?
Hospitals are a great source of horror, I think, with all the potential for blood and gore. I have only had one operation in my adult life, which was the removal of a ganglion cyst from the top of my foot, and despite me not having any reservations about the minor surgery, it inspired the story Opened Up, showing just how much trust we have to have in the medical staff.
Question Four… Do you like to listen to music whilst you write? If so what is your current playlist?
The short answer is no. I need absolute silence when I write, which is a downside of having four children! I am lucky that the catering business tends to fill the later part of the week and weekends, allowing me a few days to write during school hours and some evenings. The school holidays are a different matter, though!
Question Five… You also have another book out called, ‘The Broken Doll’, why not tell us a little about this book and where you got the idea for it from?
The Broken Doll is pure fiction, a femme fatale type thriller with a large dose of ‘adult content’. The landscapes are based on my home town, along with landmarks and scenery, shops and cafes, but the story just developed as it was being written. It’s had some fantastic reviews, which is a great confidence boost, and its sequel is due for release in mid-August.
Question Six… If you had to take two of your favourite characters to dinner who would you take and why?
I think it would have to be Seb and Ella from The Broken Doll, just so I could watch the impending car-crash of their relationship in real-life! There are so many moments in the story that make me want to yell at both of them, in an attempt to stop them heading in the direction that they seem unable to escape from.
Question Seven… Is there anyone around you that gives you and your writing a lot of support?
That would have to be my wife, Leanne. She is my Intended Reader, as Stephen King refers to his wife, and nothing gets as far as being published without her having enjoyed it. She makes sure that I have time to write, listens to me read each short story or new chapter, and deals with the majority of my promotion, especially on social media, whilst still helping with the catering business and her own, online, clothes business.
Question Eight… Do you self-publish or have you gone traditional?
As I mentioned earlier, one of my short stories is being published traditionally (although this was sold for a fixed price, rather than any future royalties). The Broken Doll, Embrace the Darkness, and my next book are all self-published and widely available.
Question Nine… How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish, including editing and cover design?
The Broken Doll took me almost a year to complete, but there were some long periods when I wrote nothing. I try to complete a short story each month, which are available to subscribers on my Patreon site, as well as in the anthology collection. My second novel has taken around five months, as I have dedicated more time to it each week, and I anticipate another month of editing and formatting before it is completely ready.
Question Ten… Have you ever received some brilliant writing advice and do you follow it? And what advice would you give to other writers trying to spread their ink filled wings?
I would say that the best advice is write every day, even if it only a little. The more you write, the better you become at it. I can’t say that I manage to write every day, but I do have a strict routine detailing where I need to get to by the end of each week. The other important thing that I constantly remind myself of, is that the first draft does not have to be all that good; the editing will be when it all comes together. Just get it on paper / screen, and make it presentable once the ideas are down.
Brilliant advice, thank you for taking the time to join us 😉
If you wish to check out P.J. Blakey-Novis and his works then here are his social media links.
Purchase The Broken Doll via the links below;
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2mCgdLx
Barnes and Nobel – http://bit.ly/2mlRsXI
Smashwords – http://bit.ly/2mv7kUV