Interview: with Anthony Ferguson
Author of The Sex Doll: A History (McFarland 2010), edited Devil Dolls and Duplicates in Australian Horror (Equilibrium 2011). Multiple story publications in magazines and anthologies. Two time finalist in the Australian Shadows Awards in the short story and edited works categories. Committee member of the Australasian Horror Writers Association, and contributor to Breach #010.
Hi Anthony, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm a middle aged university Arts graduate who came to the writing game late. I didn't start writing for publication until I was 35. It has taken me a good few years to become competent at it, with a lot of hard knocks along the way. But I'm a persistent bugger. I don't give up. I’m on the AHWA Committee. I’m an editor for Andromeda Spaceways Magazine. I’m a two time short-listed finalist in the Australian Shadows Awards, and multiple time judge.
Do you have any particular writing rituals you are comfortable sharing?
Rituals. Apart from the ones I conduct in my basement. I go through phases where I draft consistently every day for weeks with grim determination to complete a project, obtain feedback, re-write and submit. At other times I do sod all for a week, until the inner voices start nagging me. It all depends on finding the spare time around work, grinding it out. Ultimately, I do it because I love it, and it fulfills me - the arc of creation. I write after work, and sometimes during my lunchbreaks, with a pen and notebook. Sometimes, not having to go and switch the laptop on makes it easier to start writing. . I think the key is to keep writing and keep getting feedback and keep submitting. Like any profession, hard work and persistence pay off.
Are there any horror/fantasy/sci-fi tropes or sub genres which you feel are played out?
Apocalypses, Vampires and zombies perhaps. I reckon werewolves have had the short end of the stick though. Let's have some more werewolves. Most of the tropes never get old, haunted houses, monsters. There's always a new angle to approach them from, so the horror genre keeps re-inventing itself. I like basements in horror lit. Inevitably the gateway to Hell. That's why Aussie houses don't have them.
And vice versa, what tropes would you like to see more of?
Oh damn. I may have answered that above. Just give me anything as long as it's well written and gripping.
What books are beside your bed right now?
Hah! What books aren't? So many. Sticking to theme, I got Steve Dillon's new collection, a few old Stephen King ones I haven't read yet, just finished a Joe Hill collection of 4 novellas. I'm reading Catch 22 right now, cos I've never read it.
Published or unpublished, what's the hardest scene you've written?
I have two novels I'm shopping around. The first is under consideration by Grinning Skull Press (name dropping). The second one I'm just about ready to submit around, and it has a rape scene in it which was uncomfortable to write.
How important is social media to you as an indie author?
It should be, shouldn't it? But I grew up using pen and paper and all this new technology is hard for me to get a grip on. I usually ask a teenager to do it for me. He's tied up in my basement. Seriously, I hope as I get more prolific that I come to use it more effectively. As an introvert I'm not great at self-promotion.