An Interview with Mark Taylor

Our featured author for episode 125 of the HorrorAddicts podcast is Mark Taylor. Mark recently answered a few questions for us about his work:

What is your story for episode 125 about?

Crossing Guard CoverThe excerpt comes from ‘Total Entertainment’, a short story from my collection ‘Strange’, published in 2015 by Eleventh Hour Literary Press. It is a dark dystopian telling of a future where employ is everything, and where dreams have become a commodity in the entertainment industry. Dreams are sold as interactive simulations.

The story has been so well received that my publisher has contracted me to turn the short into a novel, which will be coming out later this year, entitled: ‘A Night at the Dream Theater’.

What inspired the idea for using dreams as a virtual reality game in the future?

I was thinking about where the next stages of entertainment were coming from. With virtual reality now becoming a reality (if that makes sense), what next?

My answer was of course something similar, but in a place where every journey, every game, is different. You are experiencing a reality created only by a subconscious. Which of course doesn’t limit the experience to someone’s imagination. A theme explored more in the novel.

When did you start writing?witches tea party_small

I tinkered with writing when I was a teenager. My English teacher seemed to think I had a penchant for it, however, life gets in the way, and I ended up as a guitarist in a metal band. After that it just fell to the wayside. I picked it up again when I was in my thirties, and haven’t looked back since.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

If you’d asked me two years ago I would have said horror, straight up and without a doubt. These days? Well, I suppose I prefer things a little less cut and dry. I like to experiment with genre particularly, and ‘Dream Theater’ not only bends genre, it’s a bit of a brainteaser itself. I think of it as extreme horror with a spoon of hard science fiction, and a drizzle of humor. So I suppose I’m leaning more towards the weird and surreal at the moment.

And skinning people. For some reason a lot of my work has human skinning in it.

Who or what inspires you?

It’s a mixture of things, to be honest. I love reading. I read a lot of indie work, which I feel is important. I also love the masters too. But on top of that I’m a massive film buff, horror in particular. So all of that inspires what I write, but my inspiration to actually get down and get on with it? That would be my wife. She’s my rock.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

Strange CoverIt’s the ability to be able to do whatever I want. Had a bad day at the office? Someone’s getting murdered tonight. It allows me to vent my frustrations as a person as well as my frustrations as a writer. It allows me to delve into the human psyche…and fiddle with it.

And on top of that? I love the reactions from my readers, but not with the gore and splatter stuff, but when I write things that ‘get’ to them.

What are some of the books you have available?

I have a few short story collections, ‘Strange’, as I have already mentioned, but also ‘The Human Condition’, and ‘Small Cuts to the Psyche’. I have a couple of novels, ‘Shutter Speed’, and ‘Redemption’, and two novella series, ‘The Devil’s Hand’, and ‘Witches’.

Where can we find you online?

You can find my website at Mark Taylor Official, my blog where I ramble and review atMark Taylor’s Blog, and on social media on Facebook at Mark Taylor Facebook, or twitter atMark Taylor Twitter.

Press Release: Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume 1

imagesWelcome to the weird! Acclaimed author and editor Laird Barron, one of weird fiction’s brightest exponents, brings his expert eye and editorial sense to the inaugural volume of the Year’s Best Weird Fiction. No longer the purview of esoteric readers, weird fiction is enjoying wide popularity. Chiefly derived from early 20th-century pulp fiction, its remit includes ghost stories, the strange and macabre, the supernatural, fantasy, myth, philosophical ontology, ambiguity, and a healthy helping of the outre. At its best, weird fiction is an intersecting of themes and ideas that explore and subvert the Laws of Nature. It is not confined to one genre, but is the most diverse and welcoming of all genres. Hence, in this initial showcase of weird fiction you will discover tales of horror, fantasy, science fiction, the supernatural, and the macabre. Contributing authors include Jeffrey Ford, Sofia Samatar, Joseph S. Pulver Sr, John Langan, Richard Gavin and many more.

To find out more about the anthology check out: http://chizinepub.com/books/years-best-weird-1

The stories in this anthology are listed below:

“Success” by Michael Blumlein, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction,Nov./Dec.

“Like Feather, Like Bone” by Kristi DeMeester, Shimmer #17

“A Terror” by Jeffrey Ford, Tor.com, July.

“The Key to Your Heart Is Made of Brass” by John R. Fultz, Fungi #21

“A Cavern of Redbrick” by Richard Gavin, Shadows & Tall Trees #5

“The Krakatoan” by Maria Dahvana Headley, Nightmare Magazine/The Lowest Heaven, July.

“Bor Urus” by John Langan, Shadow’s Edge

“Furnace” by Livia Llewellyn, The Grimscribe’s Puppets

“Eyes Exchange Bank” by Scott Nicolay, The Grimscribe’s Puppets

“A Quest of Dream” by W.H. Pugmire, Bohemians of Sesqua Valley

“(he) Dreams of Lovecraftian Horror” by Joseph S. Pulver Sr., Lovecraft eZine #28

“Dr. Blood and the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron” by A.C. Wise, Ideomancer Vol. 12 Issue 2

“The Year of the Rat” by Chen Quifan, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August.

“Fox into Lady” by Anne-Sylvie Salzman, Darkscapes

“Olimpia’s Ghost” by Sofia Samatar, Phantom Drift #3

“The Nineteenth Step” by Simon Strantzas, Shadows Edge

“The Girl in the Blue Coat” by Anna Taborska, Exotic Gothic 5 Vol. 1

“In Limbo” by Jeffrey Thomas, Worship the Night

“Moonstruck” by Karin Tidbeck, Shadows & Tall Trees #5

“Swim Wants to Know If It’s as Bad as Swim Thinks” by Paul Tremblay, Bourbon Penn #8

“No Breather in the World But Thee” by Jeff VanderMeer, Nightmare Magazine, March.

“Shall I Whisper to You of Moonlight, of Sorrow, of Pieces of Us?” by Damien Angelica Walters, Shock Totem #7.