The Author's Own Words: Raymond Little - EYES OF DOOM

I apologize for being gone for a while. Ah, the life of an editor... It just never ends.

As it says in my bio, I am the Main Acquisition Editor for Blood Bound Books, an independent horror book company here in Arizona, where I live. We have a lot of projects we're working on right now, but our most recent release is the book EYES OF DOOM by Raymond Little. I did secondary editing on this book and gave Raymond a lot of suggestions, and he was kind enough to include me in the acknowledgements at the end for my work, even though I was not the main editor. So thanks, Raymond!

Buy EYES OF DOOM at this link: http://amzn.to/2sc6bYv
Vinnie, Matt, Jack, and Georgina’s friendship survived the fire in Hope House when they were eleven, but their memories of that fateful day did not. Neither did Frankie. But that hasn’t stopped Vinnie from seeing the dead boy years later. As they age, their memories start returning. The friends are plagued by glimpses of a strange hook-nosed man. Visions of a Ouija board. And a sense that something is watching them. Something that is willing to bring chaos and death to everyone they love. The only thing the four can count on is a friendship that has spanned 40 years. The past, the present, the future, it’s all the same. And now that the cycle is coming back on itself, it’s finally time for the friends to face the Eyes of Doom.

Raymond lives across the pond from us in Kent, a county in South East England. He writes dark fiction, with short stories published in several well received anthologies. EYES OF DOOM is his first novel, and we're proud to have it as part of our library of books. His website is http://raymondlittle.co.uk/.

Here's my interview with Raymond. It's also posted on Blood Bound Books's website. Hope you enjoy it, and hope you'll check out the book sometime soon!

Andrea Dawn: What drew you to writing in general? Was it a certain moment that sparked it, or did it evolve over time?
Raymond Little: It was definitely an evolution. I’ve been fascinated with storytelling for as long as I can remember. At a very young age I would create complex stories with my toy soldiers. They would be given names, characteristics and relationships, and be subject to tales of adventure and revenge. I then moved on to making my own little comic strips almost as soon as I learned how to write. It was natural that I moved on to writing short stories, though I didn’t take it seriously with a view to publication until about ten years ago.

AD: Is writing the only work you do? Do you have another job or any hobbies?
RL: I work for the charity Age UK Lambeth. My colleagues are a great bunch, and we do really important work for the aged and disabled across the inner London borough I was born in. A bonus for me is that I get to meet some real interesting characters with great stories to tell. Nobody is safe around a writer! I also run a creative writing class at a centre in Brixton which is great fun . . . especially after in the pub!

AD: What is your favorite childhood book, and has it influenced what you write today?
RL: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had a massive effect. It was so charming, funny and exciting, and taught me that the imagination has no boundaries. To be fair, though, I didn’t read much children’s literature. I was reading James Bond novels by the age of eleven, and scared the shit out of myself at about the same time when I read a copy of The Exorcist that my big brother had left lying around. That book turned out a big influence, though I didn’t fully understand all its nuances at that time.

AD: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
RL: A teacher at my primary school was so impressed with a story I wrote for a homework that she read it aloud to the class. It was a comical tale about a hopeless detective, probably inspired by Inspector Clouseau. I was about nine or ten, but I still recall my classmates’ laughter, and the realisation that my words had evoked that reaction. And it changed their perception of me in a subtle way; there seemed to be an expectation around me whenever I wrote anything in class after that.

AD: What does Eyes of Doom mean to you? Where does it come from in your life?
RL: I’ve always been a big fan of literary horror, and had the idea for some time of writing a novel that followed a group of friends across a lifetime as they are stalked by an evil entity. That extended time span enabled me to set Eyes against a background of so much social, political and cultural change in Britain that I’ve lived through. I was able to examine some periods that had a big effect on me for some reason or another, such as the energy crisis, terrorist attacks, the miners’ strike, racism and the reaction of some towards the gay community when AIDS first broke out.

AD: Eyes is a very character-heavy novel. The characters are well-defined and rich and their relationships are what carries the story. Is this something you do in all of your writing or was this the first time?
RL: I try to bring a real depth to my characters, even within the restrictions of a short story. The current novel I am very close to finishing, Thin Places, is a real examination of character. My protagonist suffers from an extreme form of solipsism – the belief that only he exists and the world is a fiction of his imagination. It examines the fabric of reality, and time, and the co-existence of reality and fantasy formed from my character’s perceptions. It is his relationships with the secondary characters, and the question in the reader’s mind of just who is real and who is not that carries the story. You have to have an interesting tale to tell, but defined characters and recognisable relationships are what gives a piece human interest.

AD: Which was your hardest scene to write in Eyes of Doom?
RL: On an emotional level, Georgina’s childhood got to me most. She is in a hopeless, terrifying situation, worsened by the fact that it is created by her own parents. The scene where they tie Georgina to her bed in order to perform an exorcism was difficult.

AD: How do you select the names of your characters?
RL: Randomly! I gaze up at the book spines on the shelf above my computer screen, flick through a newspaper, and mix first and surnames. I try to avoid first names of close friends and family, that’s the only rule.

AD: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with them, good or bad?
RL: I’ve heard of writers who say they avoid reviews – I don’t believe them! Who the hell would spend an inordinate period of time and effort working on a novel with no guarantee of publication, and then not want to know what reviewers think? It’s a great confidence boost to get good reviews, but I try not to get carried away, same way as I don’t let bad ones upset me (bastards!). The fact I’m being reviewed at all means my writing is being noticed.

AD: For writers reading this interview, can you give advice on what are common traps for aspiring writers?
RL: Taking too long on a first draft. Get it out and get it down while the energy is there. Many aspiring writers that I know have been working on their novel for as long as I’ve known them. Don’t fiddle; you can do that on subsequent drafts. I had just started Eyes of Doom when I noticed Blood Bound Books announcement that they were looking for a literary horror novel. The deadline was five months away, and I had the first draft finished two weeks before that. So work fast – editing can take its own time later.

AD: For fun... What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?
RL: Excellent question! In the immortal words of Matthew Broderick from his eponymous role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” He’s talking about experience, and enjoyment, and I guess that’s as close a meaning as I’ve ever heard, and a pretty good guide for retaining one’s sanity. Thanks Ferris!

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