GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Horror Author Jasper Bark + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Interview: Horror Author Jasper Bark + giveaway

Get ready to meet a one of a kind. Jasper and I talk about horror, comic books, making a reality show for horror lovers and the three books he released this year! There is also a video with zombies and a certain nekid horror writer...I'm just saying...

Sharon: Did you pick the horror life, or did it pick you?

Jasper: Actually it snuck up on me like a homicidal maniac in the halls of an abandoned asylum. It had been stalking me for many decades though. I was writing professionally for quite a few years before it occurred to me to focus primarily on horror. I’ve published novels in many genres from science fiction to historical espionage, but it wasn’t until the publication of my fourth novel Way of the Barefoot Zombie that I realised what an affinity I have with horror.

Growing up, my favourite films, books and comics were all in the horror genre, even though I read very widely. As I became a pretentious teen, and then a jaded hipster, I drifted away from horror, perhaps thinking I’d grown out of it, but I could never entirely escape its foul clutches.

Finally, as I reached my thirties, I just had to be honest with myself and admit it was a genre I was always going to love and want to contribute to.
Sharon: Sounds like a romance story…friends as children…you grew apart and left, but fate brought you back…I wonder what the horror genre’s side of the story is…how did it feel to get dumped for your hipster ways…and what was life like in that asylum?
Jasper: I think horror smiled wryly, when I decided I was too old for it, knowing it had its claws in me for life and that it was only a matter of time before I would come crawling back. It had big plans for me and there was little I could do stop those plans, as they were already in motion, even at that point.

Life in the asylum ended when I grew old enough to knot my bed sheets together and escape through the barred windows. Sadly my parents and other family members are still in there. I do drive by occasionally though and throw some fruit through the bars for them.

Sharon: You had a lot of books released recently…The Final Cut (novel), Run to Ground (novella), Bed of Crimson Joy (novella). Where on the horror scale do these fall? What kind of readers will these appeal to?

Jasper: I would hope they’re all rather difficult to place on the horror scale. The Final Cut contains elements of gritty crime, extreme horror and urban fantasy. It’s set in the world of indie horror film making and it’s a book about why we read, write and watch horror and the importance of telling stories, which takes in everything from ancient myth to modern atrocity.

Run To Ground is Extreme Folk Horror, set in a rural graveyard where the very earth is possessed by powerful and murderous forces that are picking off everyone in the graveyard one by one. There is nowhere in the cemetery you can run, or hide, that isn’t under their control, but what they have planned for the errant groundskeeper will eventually make him pray for death at their hands.

Bed of Crimson Joy starts out as one of the most unsettling erotic horror stories you’ve ever seen, before developing into a slow building paranormal horror that has one of the most extreme endings you’re going to read this year. It’s already been picked for Year’s Best Hardcore Horror.

I think they would appeal to readers who like highly imaginative and thought provoking horror of the kind they’ve probably never read before. I will take you places you’ve never been and show you sights you’ll never forget, and that’s a money back guarantee.

Sharon: You’ve been involved with all forms of media and genre…even children’s books…What are you most proud/least proud of professionally?
Jasper: I’m proud of everything that I’ve worked on, and I always try to do the very best work I can, within the parameters of the project. The things I’m probably least proud of are the things I wrote purely for the money. Before I was a novelist, I worked for many years as a journalist and a copywriter, I once wrote an entire catalogue on radiators - I mean how many different ways are there to say: ‘It’s hot, it’s metal, it fits on your wall’ ??? I had to find over 50 ways before I completely lost sight of my sanity.

The things I’m most proud of, like most writers, are the things I recently produced, such as the three books mentioned above. I’m also very proud of the graphic novel Bloodfellas that I did with Mick Trimble for Markosia and the short story collection Stuck On You and Other Prime Cuts came out a couple of years ago from Crystal Lake Publishing.
Sharon: I was gonna ask if you ever found your sanity…but that one is pretty self-evident… <G> Bloodfellas sounds fabulous! Think I’m gonna grab that one. Only $3 for the kindle!

Jasper: I can’t tell you how many sofas I’ve searched down the back of, how many dusty corners I’ve poked through, but I’ve yet to come across that sanity. Thanks for your kind words about Bloodfellas, I think you should definitely grab it, I think everyone who reads this interview should grab it and every other book mentioned above.

Sharon: Do you attend conventions? What is one of your favorite? Do you cosplay?
Jasper: Yes I do attend conventions. My favourite is probably a tie between the New York ComicCon and the British FantasyCon. New York is the second largest comic con so you’re right in the heart of the action, but it’s not as overwhelming as San Diego. FantasyCon is a gathering of the tribes for writers and readers of horror and fantasy, everyone is on the same level, there’s no stars, tiaras or tantrums and it has the best panels.

I don’t cosplay as such, but I do love dressing up and I will often get into costume when I’m signing at cons and need to stand out from all the other creators peddling their wares.

Sharon: Got any pics in costume? Do you dress up for Halloween?! I bet your kids have had some great ones J My oldest wanted to be the sinking Titanic when she was 8…I had to get creative on that one <G>
Jasper: The Sinking Titanic, that is so cool. I would love to see that. Do you have any photos? I’ll tell you what, I’ll trade you a pic for a pic. Here’s a couple of my family last Halloween.
Sharon: If you were a casserole, what would be in it?
Jasper: On the surface it would look lovely and wholesome and be full of all sorts of organic, vegetarian delights. But as your fork sunk deeper into the bowl you’d find something lurking there that had way too many legs and way too black a heart. Something that was still alive and waiting for you.
Sharon: You should probably have a gluten free version too…
Jasper: With razor blade croutons, (actually maybe that should probably be the title of my next anthology).

Sharon: What is the nerdiest thing you own? (pic would be great)
Jasper: It would probably be a comic. I own an original copy of EC comics’ Haunt of Fear no. 23.

Sharon: You and I are Dark Horse and Valiant comic fans! What are some of your favorite comics?
Jasper: I have SOOOO many! The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius, the english version of which was originally published by Dark Horse. I’m a big fan of European comics and I loved all of Dark Horse’s Cheval Noir stuff. I also love the new Creepy and the old Warren reprints they’re doing. 

I love any comics by indie cartoonists Craig Thompson (especially Blankets) Pete Bagge, Alex Robinson and Daniel Clowes. Series that blew me away recently were Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez and The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross.

I also became a bit obsessed, recently, with a load of Black and White horror comics put out in the early 70s by a short lived publisher called Skywald under the title of the ‘Horror-Mood magazines’ - Psycho, Nightmare and Scream, which are amazing and so far ahead of their time. I wrote a column about then here Finally I really loved Future Primitive Kevin Gunstone and Slobodan Jovanovic’s excellent mini series for Markosia which everyone should check out.

Okay I’ll stop now before I remember about 500 more, otherwise I’ll just fill this whole interview with comics I love.
Sharon: Holy headless teenagers, that’s a lot for me to check out! I really like comics that blend black humor with the horror.
Jasper: Me too, that’s one of the best things about EC comics actually, the black humour, in fact there’s a big vein of it that runs through all my work.

Sharon: And…we both have two daughters…Mine are 20 and 15. I found the best way to connect with them during those teen years was through their music. How do you connect with your girls?
Jasper: Mine are 15 (about to turn 16) and 12 (about to be 13). My eldest daughter, Freya, is like one of my best friends. We share music, go to gigs and the theatre together, watch movies (especially superheroes) and anime (we love Attack on Titan) and we also swap books. Like close friends we’re also very supportive of each other, but being her dad it’s a tiny bit more one sided in her favour.

My youngest daughter, Ishara, and I have a slightly more traditional father daughter relationship, but then I’m also more of a mother to her as well, as I was the prime carer for them both growing up, on account of the fact that I worked from home throughout most of their life. We have a similarly odd sense of humour and are constantly making each other laugh over stuff that no-one else understands.

They both have a wicked sense of humour actually. I was vacuuming the house a little while ago and Ishara looked up and said: “Daddy, are you gay?”

“I’m married to your mother and I have two children,” I said. “What does that tell you?”

To which Freya replied: “That we’re adopted?”
Sharon: *high fives Freya*

Sharon: What is your strangest talent?
Jasper: I can type using only the power of my mind. But I have to be naked, and blindfolded, and hanging from the ceiling by my right big toe. In fact that’s how I’m typing this right n... OW! Ow, ow ow!

Sorry, I lost concentration there and fell from the ceiling. I’ll be back in a moment when I’ve bandaged my head. Oh and look, wouldn’t you know it, there’s the mailman with a package. Oh well, won’t be the first time he’s seen me with no clothes.

Sharon: What reality TV show would you like to be on…what reality show would you like to create?
Jasper: I’m not a big reality TV fan, so I can’t think of a single show I’d like to be on. I’d quite like to create a Jersey Shore Reunion show at Camp Crystal Lake, with guest appearances from Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger too. Just so long as none of the original cast survives.
Sharon: I would watch that so hard! Our family loved Wipeout.  It would be fun to watch the teens chased through a Wipeout course by Jason…
Jasper: Actually that would be great. It gives me the idea for a schlocky slasher movie, in which an eccentric millionaire makes an offer to a bunch of teens, who have all lost a brother or a sister to a homicidal maniac. If they can get through his wipeout style obstacle course, he will give them unlimited access to the captive killer who murdered their sibling. The only problem is, the obstacles are fitted with five foot spikes and chainsaws and the water beneath them is actually flesh melting acid. What’s more, another homicidal maniac is pursuing them through the course, picking them off, one by one. 
Sharon: *throws money at Jasper*

Sharon: But, why tho? (check out the commercial Jasper made)
Jasper: I was young and I needed the money. 
Okay, I wasn’t that young. But I do have two children and a very hungry overdraft to feed and a boy has to do something to sell books now, doesn’t he?
Sharon: You can show it to your girls as an example of what your brain does on horror.
Jasper: I think I’m already a living example of that.

Rapid Fire 

Sharon: Salt water or fresh water?
Jasper: Fresh water, it contains more interesting monsters.
Sharon: got a favorite monster?
Jasper: Hmmm, possibly the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Sharon: ice pick or axe?
Jasper: Axe, easier to sever limbs and keep your victim alive longer.

Sharon: monster in the closet or monster under the bed
Jasper: All the best things happen under a bed.

Sharon: Winter or Summer?
Jasper: Summer, I like it hot, but not Dante’s Inferno hot (just in case they’re warming me a place right now).

Sharon: travel into the past or into the future?
Jasper: The past, we can’t mess that up any more than we already have.

Sharon: Egyptian curse or 
Romanian curse?
Jasper: I come from Romany Gypsy stock, so my ancestry means I could potentially utilize both.
Sharon: We’ll talk later…I might know a person…
Jasper: ‘Kay.

Sharon: I forgot to ask the most important one! Coke or Pepsi? Be careful with this one *hovers finger over a red button labeled WRONG*
Jasper: Well the best answer I can think of is that iced Pepsi, on the whole, tastes better than Coke. However ... nothing tastes better than an ice cold Coke straight out of a glass bottle.
Sharon: Really? Thought you'd be safe with that answer?
*hits button*
Well, obviously, that's all we have from Jasper...check out all his books, there is something for any horror lover! Be sure to enter the giveaway below.
*looks down hole...throws moonpie in...shakes head and walks away*

The Final Cut

by Jasper Bark

May 27th 2016
280 pages
Some stories capture the imagination, others will be the death of you.

The Final Cut is a genre busting mash up of crime, horror and urban fantasy. An imaginative and thought provoking tale that explores our need to watch and make horror fiction, examining not just the medium, but the purpose of storytelling itself. Taking in everything from ancient myth, to modern atrocity, this novel will entrance, mystify and appall you in equal measures, haunting you long after you’ve reached the very last line.

In an East London lock up, two film makers, Jimmy and Sam, are duct taped to chairs and forced to watch a snuff film by Ashkan, a loan shark to whom they owe a lot of money. If they don’t pay up, they’ll be starring in the next one. Before the film reaches its end, Ashkan and all his men are slaughtered by unknown assailants. Only Jimmy and Sam survive the massacre, leaving them with the sole copy of the snuff film.

The film makers decide to build their next movie around the brutal film. While auditioning actors, they stumble upon Melissa, an enigmatic actress who seems perfect for the leading role, not least because she’s the spitting image of the snuff film’s main victim. Neither the film, nor Melissa, are entirely what they seem however. Jimmy and Sam find themselves pulled into a paranormal mystery that leads them through the shadowy streets of the city beneath the city and sees them re-enacting an ancient Mesopotamian myth cycle. As they play out the roles of long forgotten gods and goddesses, they’re drawn into the subtle web of a deadly heresy that stretches from the beginnings of civilization to the end of the world as we know it.

About the Author:
Jasper Bark finds writing author biographies and talking about himself in the third person faintly embarrassing. Telling you that he’s an award winning author of four cult novels including the highly acclaimed ‘Way of the Barefoot Zombie’, just sounds like boasting. Then he has to mention that he’s written 12 children’s books and hundreds of comics and graphic novels and he wants to just curl up. He cringes when he has to reveal that his work has been translated into nine different languages and is used in schools throughout the UK to help improve literacy, or that he was awarded the This Is Horror Award for his last anthology ‘Dead Air’. Maybe he’s too British, or maybe he just needs a good enema, but he’s glad this bio is now over.


A copy of The Final Cut.

Jasper Bark

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