Interview: with Joshua Kemp

Joshua Kemp is an author of Australian Gothic, crime and horror fiction. His short stories have appeared in Overland, Seizure, Tincture and Hello Horror. Last year he won the AAWP Chapter One Award for his novella Boneyard. And of course, you can read his story Ouroboros in Breach #06.

Hi Josh, please tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm an author of short stories mainly. I have a few novel-length manuscripts in my drawer, but often struggle to find time to give them all a good editing. I'm currently halfway through my PhD at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, working on an Australian Gothic novel similar to Angel Rock by Darren Williams and The Broken Shore by Peter Temple, and TV shows like The Kettering Incident. I write Australian Gothic, crime and horror fiction, and regularly find how easily these genres and modes can blend into each other.

Given the wide amount of fan fiction being published in countless places online, what are your thoughts on fan fiction in general?

I've never written any fan fiction myself, but I do really like the idea. I think it's a great way to get started. I can see how easily it would give you focus and a drive to write. I love the idea of telling your own story within a universe that's already well-established in fiction or cinema. I can't say I'm compelled to write any myself, but I think it's a good launching-pad for young writers trying to find their voices.

Are there any horror/fantasy/sci-fi tropes or sub genres which you feel are played out? And vice versa, what tropes would you like to see more of?

I would love to see some more surreal horror. With the recent revival of Twin Peaks, I've been sifting through David Lynch's body of work, especially his horror films such as Eraserhead, Lost Highway and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Lynch's ability to completely disorientate his viewer, and then scare the living shit out of them, is astonishing. So I'd love to see more of that nightmarish surrealism out there. I might even have a go at writing some myself when I get a chance.

How important is social media to you as an indie author?

To be honest, I'm very old-school. I don't even have a Facebook account. I understand it would be extremely helpful in terms of networking with fellow authors and publishers, but I haven't been able to make the leap just yet.

What books are beside your bed right now?

I'm currently reading The Yellow House by Emily O'Grady. It follows a little girl growing up in the shadow of her grandfather, who was an infamous serial killer. It's a coming-of-age novel, but with some very unsettling undercurrents through it. I'm really enjoying how subtle and creepy it is. I would highly recommend it, considering it just won the Australian Vogel Literary Award.

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