13 Questions with Steve Merrifield

Well Horror Addicts, here we are at episode 60: 1800’s and we have the honor of having Steve Merrifield as our featured author. Now not only is this Steve’s first time to be on HA, it is also his first time to be interviewed. He mentioned to me that, “It’s flattering that someone has shown an interest in me and my work, but equally it feels a little strange too in the sense that for me the experience of writing and self-publishing on-line is pretty much a one man activity, so there is little discussion about my writing and writing in general barring a couple of emails or Facebook comments that I have engaged with. It’s nice.”

The story written for episode 60 is titled, The Darkwood Mysteries: The Peacock Cabal. “The main character, Emily Darkwood, is a student of medicine and she is intrigued by a mysterious ailment that has killed a young man. She finds out that other young men have died in similar ways and her investigation reveals a conspiracy and a sinister threat…”

The upcoming series, The Darkwood Mysteries has come to life thanks to our very own Emerian and Horror Addicts. Merrifield explained to me the birth of The Darkwood Mysteries. “I hadn’t written anything so short before being given the chance to do a story for season 6. While I initially found it tough to tell a story within the limitations of a short story I realized it was actually a great format for an idea that had been knocking about in my head for a while; a female investigator and adventurer battling the supernatural and the criminal in Victorian London. Emily Darkwood is a young woman putting herself through medical school despite it being a male led profession at that time. Her parents were killed in mysterious circumstances as a child, and one of the items she inherited from her parents estate is an amber stone that has the power to draw it’s user and the forces of darkness together. This causes her to be drawn into lots of different adventures, which she hopes will eventually lead her to find out the circumstances of her parents deaths, and her tales are narrated by her young servant Jack Hobbs.”

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Steve currently has three books out: Harvest, Ivory, and The Pack. “Harvest was his first book. Written to see if [he was] able to commit to a long haul project as [he] used to have a habit of starting projects but not finishing them. [He] ended up with a novel [he] was pleased with and it encouraged [him] to write more. Harvest is about an ancient force of destruction unleashed in a tower block, and a group of very different people who are all thrown together by their experiences with it, and have to come to terms with what is going on which ultimately leaves them the only ones that can challenge the growing danger.”

Merrifield’s short novel Ivory is centered around a young girl with the same name. Who has an unusual appearance (white skin and hair with black eyes) and a mysteriously undeniable allure, and Martin an artist who is drawn to her despite the dangers that surround her. It was influenced by one of my favourite novels; Oscar Wildes The Picture of Dorian Gray, with it’s themes around the corruption of beauty and the dangers it can pose.”

While The Pack “was quite a different book for [Steve], although it is essentially a ‘when animals attack’ storyline with dogs going wild in London, [he has] written it as a crime novel. It’s the first of a series of stories [in which he plans to use the same main character], although each can be read as a stand alone story.”

**Horror Addicts Exclusive**

Steve was kind enough to create a HA special, a coupon for Horror Addicts readers to get his e-book The Pack for 99 cents instead of $4.99 at smashwords.com! Just enter the information below:

Promotional Price: $0.99 Coupon Code: WW44Q Expires: June 30, 2011

**Horror Addicts Exclusive**

Curious, I asked what inspires his work. “The three that are completed and those I desperately want to get out of my head and onto my pc are all very different, and have their sources in different places. Harvest was inspired by tower blocks local to me as I have often found myself thinking that although they are much maligned in the UK, the way they are built could make them very secure desirable places – raised off the ground with a view, but if there is danger in the building it could be a very scary place as the environment itself traps you. Ivory was inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray as I mentioned earlier, and The Pack was inspired by ‘when animals attack’ stories that I have enjoyed like The Rats, The Slugs, The Birds, except I went for animals I have always been uneasy around – dogs. The Room that I am working on now came about because I wanted to write a haunted house story with a different spin and I wanted to make our every day surroundings scary – opening doors is going to be a frightening thing to do for my characters in my next book.”

Currently, all of Merrifield’s books are only available as ebooks. “Harvest and Ivory are available for free and can be downloaded in lots of places, but mainly through manybooks.net and smashwords.com. The Pack is the only commercial release at the moment and can be bought through smashwords and they also distribute to most of the big online retailers including iBooks.”

Steve isn’t out for fame or anything like that, he would rather be successful which for him means writing stories that people enjoy. While still earning some money from it so that writing could be a job and not just a hobby. Though he may love writing, being an author can be challenging. According to Steve, the hardest part about writing is…. “Finding the time! I moan about it so much, but having a full time job doesn’t leave me much time to write let alone all the added work of being self-published and self-promoting. I have no shortage of ideas, just not enough time to get them out of my head!”

Still, he loves horror which is “kind of an odd [choice] because [he is] a goody two shoes that doesn’t like getting scared by much – [Merrifield likes] an easy life, [he’s] not a big risk taker and hates roller coasters – so horror is [his] way of getting an adrenaline rush and being taken out of my comfort zone in a controlled way! [He] grew up on Hammer Horror and Doctor Who which had lots of Gothic horror style stories. Both series might have been low budget and considered a little cheesy now, but [Steve thins] it was sometimes the need for [him] as the viewer to fill in the blanks in the plots or to cover the poor effects with imagination that got [him] thinking about [his] own story lines. It’s the escapism side of it most of all though.”

Frequenters of Steve’s website will recognize the names of his up and coming books: The Room, Mable’s Grave, Projections, Wychaven, Nocebo. Keep an eye out for the release of these projects and many more! “This list of future titles is on my site in the hope that people will see me as someone to keep an eye on; knowing that there will be one or two titles coming out every year for a couple of years. I am champing at the bit to write The Room as it’s going to be set partly in my home town, and I can’t wait to get back into writing for DI Carter in Projections and Nocebo, as they connect with The Pack to make a loose trilogy. I will be very proud to have my own trilogy. The Darkwood Mysteries have really caught my imagination and I already have about twenty ideas and I have written and completed four already. I have plans for an initial run of fifteen and am going to release them in batches of three as audio readings through my site. The episodes will only be available for short periods and when they have run their course I will release them as an ebook and I might have a go at doing some art to go with each story for the book.”

For more information on Steve Merrifield or his work, check out these sites:

http://stevemerrifield.blogspot.com/

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/viralebooks

http://www.manybooks.net/authors/merrifields.html