Asking for Harry’s help to locate his mother, what is Dexter trying to achieve? Is it anything to do with the dark experiments he’d practiced as a boy? And will it really involve terrible entities rumored to occupy different underground parts of the country?
So begins a chilling investigation into their childhoods, growing up in a rural village with a cruel father and possibly worse monsters. Harry learns about many terrible things, including kidnappings, torture, and attempts to summon undead creatures from the earth’s ancient past.
And all that’s needed to waken them is a siren…a siren of depravity.
Gef: What was the inspiration behind Siren of Depravity?
Gary: I think it was an aspirational to write an investigative horror story involving a family secret and all the power that such hidden material has, how it impacts across generations. Also, reading King's Revival gave some focus to a plot which had original oriented around Lovecraft's Dexter Ward.
Gef: What was it about this book, if anything, that you approached differently from the previous titles?
Gary: It's the first novel I've written in the 1st person, which was interesting. Everything that's experienced has to be restricted to just one character. I hope I've pulled it off.
I've seen some early reviews alluding to Lovecraftian horror in their comparisons. Was this something intentional on your part or do you find readers instantly invoke H.P.'s name whenever cosmic horror comes into play?
Yes, as stated above, I definitely had Dexter Ward in mind while plotting the piece. I am trying to evoke similar cosmic material in my native UK. Lovecraft is the boss.
Gef: You've had several titles published by DarkFuse now. I take it the relationship with them has been amicable thus far? How would you gauge your progression as an author since the first book came out?
Gary: Yes, DarkFuse are a highly professional outfit and I've enjoyed working with them a lot. My progression? Well, I've had chance to write a range of materials, from cosmic stuff to British occult to weird psychologies. I've appreciated the freedom to do what I enjoy.
Gef: How much emphasis do you place on setting as character?
Gary: Quite a lot, in that I set my stuff in my native northeast England, an area I know well and which has both urban and rural environments to explore and invade. I'd like to be considered a regional writer.
Gef: Is theme something you have in mind when your writing the story, or is that something that kinds of reveals itself later in the process?
Gary: Yes, definitely. I often use fiction as a vehicle through which I can explore certain issues or ideas. I'm unusual as a horror writer in this regard, perhaps, and some folk like it while others struggle. But it's what I do.
Gef: What do you consider to be the biggest misconception of the horror genre?
Gary: That it's all about the gore. It isn't. And anyone who insists on this simply hasn't read enough of it.
Gef: What is the worst piece of writing advice you ever received? Or what piece of writing advice do you wish would just go away?
Gary: Not sure I've ever received any bad advice. Any shortcomings down the years have been entirely my fault. One piece of advice I'm wary of is the one about not copying others and developing your own style. I'm sorry, folk, but it's only by copying others that you do develop your own style. Good artists steal!
Gef: What kinds of stories resonate with you as a reader?
Gary: All kinds, although I have a fondness for cosmic horror, that sense of being exposed to the cold machinery of the universe. Lovecraft got there a few times, and so have several others. But it's an unforgiving aspiration and I can only hope to achieve it.
Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?
Gary: I have a new novella due next March, a sequel to Lovecraft's 'The Call of Cthulhu'. It's out from Horrific Tales and is called 'The Rage of Cthulhu'. Folk can read it as a direct sequel or as a standalone piece. I'm also working on a lot of new short stories, and news about these and other projects (along with my peer reviews) will be posted on my website at www.gary-fry.com