Steve Dillon (Left, outside Woolworths, ready for anything!)
“I enjoyed writing poetry and short stories from my early years and continued with my poetry through my early teens, until I burned the diary they were written in for fear someone might discover them and think me silly. I recall these were fairly dark, if naïve, poems, in which I appeared as the ‘thresher’ of corn (my own metaphor and symbol for innocence) because I had normal teenage fantasies about the girls at school; I might add this caused me great conflict and I became a born again Christian for a while… a phase I thankfully outgrew, and I’m pleased to say I’m feeling much better now.
“In my early and mid-20s, I became the editor (reviewer, advertising copyist, publicist, and publisher) of an internationally-distributed fantasy role-playing games magazine called Adventurer, which survived just 11 issues.
Through this, in 1987, I was invited to interview the newly established horror maestro Clive Barker at the Weaveworld launch in our mutual hometown of Liverpool (UK). Here I also briefly met the even more esteemed Ramsey Campbell for the first time, at the venue’s bar no less! I’d previously read H.P. Lovecraft and Brian Lumley (I’d published a few of his stories), but was mainly into fantasy and sci-fi at the time. But after this interview with someone I believe to be a genuine maestro of the fantastique, I was hooked, reading as much Clive Barker as I could find, and moving on to Ramsey Campbell, Algernon Blackwood, M.R. James, Robert Bloch, etc. etc. over the years.
Fast forward a couple of decades and my family and I moved to Australia, where I formed Oz Horror Con in 2012. This was to organise horror conventions, screenings, charity events, and I also began publishing books, the first being a dedication to Clive Barker’s Nightbreed and help raise funds so that we could screen The Cabal Cut, called The Book of the Tribes.
A couple of years later, moved by images I’d seen of the global refugee crisis, I got together with about 40 writers and artists, with eager support from Ramsey Campbell, to publish 36 inter-related short stories, which together comprised the two anthologies that comprised The Refuge Collection. As fund raising efforts, not only were these my first serious attempts at professional standard anthologies, they actually did some amount of good. These books and these collaborators helped change the lives of at least two families, by helping to fund their relocation to Australia (via the charity Sanctuary Australia Foundation) from war-torn Syria and the Congo.
After a brief rest following the incredibly time-consuming Refuge Collections, I subsequently started a new publishing venture, Things in the Well. Under this banner to date I’ve published 6 anthologies, 3 charity magazines, a collection of stories by the UK’s Paul Kane, Kane’s Scary Tales Volume 1, and a collection of stories by my Australian horror writer and friend, Noel Osualdini, called Train Wreck and Other Stories. I’ve also published the current collection, and my first collection The Beard and Other Weirdness under the Things in the Well banner, and I plan on releasing some more.
Most of my own writing has been published in the above anthologies.and two collections of my own stories and poetry, although my 6-part story for The Refuge Collection, which provided an arc across other writers’ contributions, has been published as a novella, The Empath’s Tale – The Complete Story.
I think that’s enough about me, but feel free to catch me online:
FaceBook.com/stevedillonwriter, DillonStephen@hotmail.com or tweet me on Twitter @ThingsInTheWell – Steve
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