Greg Chapman is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated® and Australian Shadows Award-nominated author of Hollow House and the author of five novellas. His debut collection, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares, was published in 2014 and re-released as an illustrated edition in 2019.
His short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Dark Eclipse, DevolutionZ, SQ Mag, Midnight Echo, and several anthologies. His short story, The Bone Maiden, was an Australian Shadows Award finalist in 2015, as was his novella, The Eschatologist in 2016.
He released This Sublime Darkness, a collection of short stories and original art, with Things In The Well in October, 2019.
G’day Greg, welcome to the Well. The Creatures are watching us with interest. Perhaps they are wondering if they will inspire some new art, or if you might be a tasty snack!
Greg, let’s start with what prompted you to start writing?
I was in university studying journalism about 20 years ago when I did a literary theory unit that introduced me to the short story. The first time I read The Fall of the House of Usher, I was blown away by the mastery of Poe’s writing. That was the spark that lit the fire for me. I’d dabbled in crime writing but there was a resonance in horror that was undeniable. When I joined the AHWA in 2009 and was accepted into the Mentor Program it was then that I felt I had a chance of being a “writer”. Ten years later and that sensation has wavered a bit, but it’s always going to be part of me.
Who are your heroes of fiction?
Clive Barker and Edgar Allan Poe. Ligotti. Lovecraft. These philosophers are my biggest influences.
Tell me about the first story you remember writing.
My first story was a vampire story – about a vampire entering a church to ask a priest for forgiveness. It was a straight up tale, not as philosophical as the fiction I write these days. But it was my first story acceptance and I’m proud of it.
What three themes/tropes make your writing instantly recognisable as yours, and yours only?
I love messing with tropes generally and twisting them. I think that’s what makes my writing recognisable.
What’s your favourite story from your collection, “This Sublime Darkness,” and what inspired you to write it?
The Book of Last Words would have to be my favourite. I recall reading an article online about the last words of people on their deathbeds and a grim reaper type character formed in my mind – a being that collected those last words. A death-row prison was the perfect setting. There were also numerous stories of soldiers experiencing PTSD and I wanted to weave that into it as a sub-thread.
What do you think is your biggest obstacle when it comes to writing?
My biggest obstacle is me. Self-doubt. Imposter syndrome. A little devil on my shoulder that constantly tells me that I’m not as good as other writers and artists. I suspect he’ll always be there, whispering.
What kind of responses do you get from friends and family to your work?
My wife and children are very supportive of my writing (although they’ve never read any of my stories – “too scary”). One of my brothers always buys a copy whenever I have a new book out. As for my work colleagues a few support my work, but I’m pretty sure they also think I’m weird.
What piece of advice would you give to any new and upcoming writer right now?
I always try and shy away from giving advice, but all I will say is write what you want to write. You don’t have to conform. You make the rules.
If you could go back in time to do so, what wisdom would you impart to your teenage self?
You should start writing NOW!
What are your goals for 2020? And for the next decade? (If you’ve thought that far ahead!)
I’ve decided to focus on art for the foreseeable future. Maybe a graphic novel or comic series. I’m not entirely sure. We’ll see what happens…
Do you have any upcoming books/work which you’d like to mention? Or previous works which you’d like to draw attention to.
Art books –
– Dark Arts ( a high quality book of some of my art) https://au.blurb.com/b/9735249-dark-arts
– The Horrible Colouring Book https://bookshop.cqu.edu.au/details.asp?ITEMNO=9780646958255
– This Sublime Darkness
– Vaudeville and Other Nightmares
– Hollow House
– The Noctuary: Pandemonium
All of these works can be purchased through Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004Q7PCRE
Thank you, Greg. It’s been really great having you in the well. The Creatures are sidling ever closer, if I were you, I’d get out now before they decide to see how you taste…