What’s your background, what compelled you to start writing?
Before starting to write stories, I was fully into music composing. I spent almost twenty years performing, writing music, and growing as a musician and composer before stopping it and starting my writing career. I can’t pinpoint exactly why though. I think I just got tired of music one day, and just decided I needed a new challenge in my life.
Does writing energise you, or exhaust you?
It exhausts me. This is because I work until I get mentally tired. If I stop writing and I’m still all pumped up, then I feel bad because I didn’t give everything I could. Working to exhaustion is the only way for me to know I gave everything I could.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Stop self-doubting. No, seriously, stop it, it’s getting ridiculous…
What does literary success look like to you?
It’s about having someone like my stories. Even if it’s only one person who believes in me and pushes me to continue because it’s worth it; then I can say I have succeeded.
What kind of research do you do?
It depends on the story. My research is often around places and history, or habits, though sometimes I need to know how to efficiently kill someone, you know, in a believable and untraceable way so nobody can ever find it and work up their way back to me—
Sorry, wrong chat!
What inspires you?
Basically, anything can inspire me. Movies, series, or a well composed soundtrack. Music in general. It can even be a single word I like, or a sentence. Sometimes it’s a sensation I want to recreate and build a story around. It’s rarely the same.
For example, every time I finish watching True Detective, season 1, I feel like writing something hopeless, something so desperate and wild that it would leave me, I don’t know, not broken…but weird inside. It’s hard to point out exactly what it is, but this series, in particular, inspires me in many ways.
Besides hard work and talent, what other traits have led to your success?
I don’t know about talent. Like music, it’s about a half hard and restless work, a quarter talent, and a quarter insanity. No, seriously, hard work—that’s about all it takes. Talent is not everything, and it’s so overrated and misunderstood. You don’t wake one day and are a total genius in an area. It’s something I get tired of—hearing people complain that someone is always good at everything they undertake—as if that person has all the talents in the world and they are kind of jealous of it. It’s not about talent, it’s about how hard these “people who succeed in everything they undertake” work, and the dedication they put into their art or anything they tackle. There are a lot of struggles behind their success, there are tears and self-doubt, headaches, breakdowns, etc. I don’t know if I have success yet, but I’ve certainly had my fair share of struggles, hard work, and misery to get here.
In relation to The Gate to the Underworld;
What sparked the idea for this book?
I was reading Roosevelt’s Through the Brazilian Wilderness and, after having written Mount Terror, felt like writing another story about exploration, something that would pertain to the same universe as Mount Terror, with the Eyeless People, the unnamed book, and the Elder God. Black Hare Press had this call running—Deep Underground for a horror novella—that would be the perfect fit for my story.
What challenges did you encounter to finish it?
To make the mental degeneracy of the Leroy and Howard believable. To make it shockingly plausible. There was also all the Brazilian setting, and the fact it’s happening during the late ’50s. There was a lot of research to do. But in the end, I think I achieve what I wanted, and the book is about how I expected it to be.
Why did you choose Brazil as the setting of this book?
I’ve always been fascinated by the South American history, and I’ve wanted to write a story about it for a long time. As I said, Roosevelt’s Through the Brazilian Wilderness inspired me a lot to write it, too.
What’s your favourite scene?
I think every time the inspector tortures Leroy, and Leroy struggles to not remember. Or when Leroy wakes to the soot covering the area around their tent and Alvaro having disappeared. I liked writing this scene a lot and describing the whole setting; the brittle trees and all. I think it’d be a cool movie scene.
What’s brewing? What projects are you working on?
I’m currently finishing the edit of my latest book, which is the final instalment of my trilogy, The Birdman Project. After that, I will start writing a sci-fi novella, based around the exploration of the subconscious and the world of dreams.