What inspired you to start writing?
In 2007 I attended a lecture hosted by the fantasy author G.P. Taylor. I got chatting to him after his talk and he was impressed that I had spotted hidden song lyrics in one of his novels. He encouraged me to write down my ideas, saying that if a former vicar and police officer could do it, anyone could.
What was your first short story?
Following that meeting I tried unsuccessfully to start a young adult novel about the titular town. I had no idea how to even begin something as long as a novel and after several false starts I was beginning to lose faith in my own ability. But in 2012 an article on the website Den of Geek called for people to submit short ghost stories for a fund-raiser story telling event on Halloween night. 500 words felt a lot more manageable than a novel so I adapted one of my chapter ideas into a short story called Strange Reflections for the competition. I didn’t win but finally felt like I had gained some momentum. In 2013 Den of Geek ran the event again so I entered with another called The Conductor.
Have you ever had anything published?
In 2015 I submitted The Conductor to Hallowscream, an annual anthology comic celebrating the short lived 1980s horror comic Scream! I was delighted to find out, on the day it was published, that they had included it! Encouraged by GingerDoll, another regular Den of Geek reader, I have recently submitted a 3000 word story about a spectral guitar teacher to a publishing house for inclusion in a book of ghost stories. I am still waiting to hear back from them. Watch this site for news in the near future!
What are your influences?
My favourite author is Stephen King. I’m a huge fan of his short stories The Mist, The Jaunt, The End of the Whole Mess and Crouch End among many others. Chris Priestley’s Tales of Terror series, with its linked short stories contributing to a wider story, is a major inspiration for Badgers Crossing. I enjoy horror movies, British ones from the 60s and 70s in particular – The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now are firm favourites. And of course I absolutely love the writing by the legends of horror and strange fiction M.R. James, E.F. Benson, Algernon Blackwood and H.P. Lovecraft.
I first became interested in horror and ghost stories when my headmaster, Mr. McGeown, read a scary tale in assembly about a Napoleonic uniform coming to life. He would continue that tradition with some fabulously scary (but gore free) tales of terror. That same year IPC Magazines published the weekly Scream! comic. It only lasted 15 issues but had a lasting effect on me.
If there is anything you would like to ask Paul then please visit the Contact page where you can send him a message.