Today I am pleased to welcome Richard E. Rock to the blog to talk about why he writes horror. Welcome, Richard, over to you.
Thank you for hosting me today, Val. You know how we are always told to follow our dreams, but what do you do if those dreams are always bad ones?
In my case, I write them down.
For my entire life, I have been plagued by nightmares and anxiety dreams. When the idea occurred to me to start transcribing them and turning them into stories, I stopped fearing them and instead embraced them.
My debut horror novel Deep Level began life as a nightmare. In it, I was being chased through endless dark tunnels by a driverless Victorian engine that was completely silent and produced no steam. In another part of the dream I was being stalked by a demonic entity. When I let it get too close my eyes would turn into cobwebs and I would feel my life-force ebbing away.
When I woke up in the morning my first thought was, “Wow! That was amazing! I gotta write that down!” And my career as a horror novelist was born.
I like horror and am interested in it, but I’ve never been what you could call a dedicated horror fan. As a reader, I cast my net pretty wide. My favourite authors include Stephen King, Zadie Smith, Cormac McCarthy, Shirley Jackson, Joyce Carol Oates, Franz Kafka and Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Since writing Deep Level I’ve completed two more novels which have yet to be published, both horrors, and am now knee-deep in the first draft of a fourth one. All these books began with a nightmare. I love ideas that come from dreams as they are raw and unfiltered, untainted by reason or logic. These are ideas my conscious self could never had come up with in the cold light of day.
Earlier this year Deep Level packed a suitcase and went off on a blog tour. To my delight (and great relief), every review was a positive one, and many of them began with words along the lines of, “Now, I’m not a horror fan, but...” before going on to praise it. That was a great feeling. It meant that what I was doing was working, it was effective. So as long as these nightmares keep coming and keep exciting me, I’ll keep on writing horror.
By day, Richard E. Rock works as a commercial scriptwriter for radio, But by night…he writes horror.
He was inspired to do this after experiencing a series of particularly ferocious nightmares. After waking up and realising he could turn these into utterly horrible stories, he started deliberately inducing them.
His debut horror novel Deep Level was published in 2020 by Darkstroke Books.
Based in Wales, he lives with his girlfriend and their cat. If you’re looking for him, you’ll probably find him wedged up against the barrier at a heavy metal gig, for that is his natural habitat.