August 12, 2016

Boundaries Between the Living and the Dead: a guest post by Greg Chapman, author of "Hollow House"

No one in Willow Street pays it any notice, not the disgruntled Campbell family next door, not Alice Cowley and her suicidal daughter, or Mr. and Mrs. Markham down the road. Not even Darryl, the loner at number seventy, who is abnormal himself, thinks much about it. It is just the old Kemper House, forgotten and abandoned. 

Until it makes itself known. 

When the stench of death wafts from Kemper House through Willow Street, and comes to the attention of recent resident and newspaper reporter, Ben Traynor, it starts a chain of horrors that brings Kemper House's curse into their own homes and leads others direct to its door. Kemper House not only haunts its neighbours, it infects them with an evil that traverses time and reality itself.

A Guest Post by Greg Chapman

The idea of breaking down boundaries between the living and the dead is an area I love to explore in my horror fiction, none more so in my debut novel, Hollow House.

Boundaries - cages and walls, both in the physical and metaphysical sense are scattered throughout my story.

The characters all live in their own houses, their own little worlds of private torment and sorrow. Throughout the book I cross each of these physical boundaries and show you the goings-on inside. With one character in particular, Darryl Novak, I go even further by showing you the other “house” where he keeps his greatest secret. The other characters too are themselves their own little houses, where they keep their thoughts and their pasts safe. Some build walls around their courage, some around their sadness, and others to keep in things that need to be said.

But I break all these boundaries down and bring the characters together (albeit reluctantly, or not of their own choosing at all) by breaking down the walls of The Kemper House – the door between life and death. It’s actually the smell of death that is the first sign that the rules are changing in Willow Street.

The idea of a thin veneer separating the living and the dead has been around since time began and in Hollow House, I push this concept to its extreme. The Kemper House is the epicentre of the story, but instead of looking inside it, I let it break down the boundaries of all the other houses. The people around the house are what it needs, and it forces each of the people inside to escape their emotional facades. Walls come crashing down and evil enters effortlessly.

The only true barrier to remain strong is the one around the architect of this horror – Eric B. Kemper, the builder of the titular house. You will learn some of his plans and motivations, and see the purpose of the house, but ultimately readers will only touch the surface of its mystery – and after all, isn’t that what makes a memorable haunted house story?

So if you prefer a haunted house tale, where the story is more about living souls haunted by their own everyday fears, and an evil that feeds upon those fears, then Hollow House might just be the horror story for you.

Ironically, by writing this novel, I also broke down the barriers around myself. This is my first novel (and hopefully not my last) and it felt great to finally be able to escape my own lack of confidence and reach this goal. I hope you take a chance on my story. If you do, I thank you and hope you enjoy the ride.

Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist from Australia.
After joining the Australian Horror Writers Association in 2009, Greg  was selected for its mentor program under the tutelage of author Brett McBean.
Since then he’s had more than a dozen short stories published in magazines and anthologies in Australia, the US and the United Kingdom.

Bio (via Greg's blog) Greg Chapman is the author of four novellas, TormentThe Noctuary (Damnation Books, 2011),Vaudeville (2012) and The Last Night of October (Bad Moon Books, 2013).
His debut collection, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares, was published by Black Beacon Books in September, 2014.
He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written by Bram Stoker Award® winning authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton was published by McFarland & Company in 2012.
Witch Hunts won the Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel category at the Bram Stoker Awards® on June 15, 2013.
He also illustrated the comic series Allure of the Ancients for Midnight Echo Magazine.
His latest illustrative work is the one-shot comic, Bullet Ballerina, written by Tom Piccirilli, for SST Publications in the United Kingdom.
In January 2016, Voodoo Press published his fifth novella, The Eschatologist.
Lycan Valley Press will re-release a second edition of Torment in 2016 and Greg recently signed with Omnium Gatherum Media to publish his debut novel, Hollow House in the autumn of 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment