This week I’m talking to Ian Fairgrieve, a writer who aims to be one of the most renowned horror authors! I must admit, it’s not a genre I enjoy, but it is interesting to read what makes someone want to read or write stories that scare you!
Ian has plenty of interesting ideas on his writing and on the books he enjoys to read.
So, over to you, Ian.
Ian Fairgrieve on Writing:
I’ve been writing on and off for a little over 10 years now. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve kicked it up a notch and put more of an effort into my writing. What started me writing was a need to escape a mediocre life with a previous partner. I was unhappy at the time and it seemed the only way to escape the unhappiness. It was during that time that I wrote my first unpublished novella called ‘Survival Of The Fittest' which has been compared to a dark version of Tarzan.
I don’t think my writing style has changed over the years. The thing that keeps me writing is that my passion for writing has exceeded being a passion and has now become an obsession. I need to prove to myself that I have the talent to become a world-renowned best selling horror author.
I know that there are many reasons to be scared and I plan on writing stories exploring each and every avenue of fear. So far, I have over 60 ideas for stories, short and full length, so ideas aren’t an issue it’s just the execution of the storytelling but, with experience, I know I’ll get it spot on. I want people to be scared to read my work but I also want them to be scared while they’re reading it and even more so to be scared that they can’t put it down. I want to be remembered as one of the great horror authors who know how to scare people like Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
I write mostly horror but I do have ideas for a superhero series of shorts that I plan to merge into a novella series. I also have an idea for a sci-fi fantasy trilogy. I’ve only really written one short fantasy story but I’ve written a number of short horror stories ranging from killer clowns to stalkers to serial killers and shunned lovers. The genre I specialise in most is definitely is horror but I have a desire to try other genres. I don’t want to restrict myself. The genres I won’t write are romance, YA and children’s stories but only because I have no interest in doing them.
When I first started writing it was quite difficult coming up with an idea for my novella but as the years have gone by and the more I’ve written it’s gotten easier. Now it’s gotten to the point whereby all I have to do is look around and I see ideas for stories wherever I look. I’ve got most of my ideas just from looking at random things or the places I’ve been to. A couple of my ideas have even come from song lyrics and sayings and quotes. My novella is based on the nursery rhyme ‘Teddy Bears’ Picnic’.
I try to put some part of myself into all my characters. I generally put myself in their shoes and think about how I would react, what I would do in their position. It helps the writing process and tends to make the words flow easier.
The settings I create are completely fictional. It gives me free rein when deciding how an important event happens, where it happens and how it’s resolved. As I said before I don’t like to restrict my creative imagination.
Some of my stories are intended to get people thinking but for the most part, I want people to think about how scary they are. The biggest emotion I want to invoke is fear. It’s why I write stories about a multitude of different killers, different ways of killing them and the different weapons used. Although I want to instill fear in my readers I want them to enjoy the fact that my work scared them.
I tend to write whenever I can but I find my perfect writing time is at night. The peace and quiet really help the words flow. I even wrote a short sci-fi post-apocalyptic story that I hadn’t intended to do as part of a shared world with a fellow author in a matter of nights. I’ve written in bed before but I’ve recently gotten a night job so now I write on my breaktime. If I get a spare 5 minutes during the day I try to write then but having 4 kids does make fitting it into a routine difficult.
I am a keen reader of a wide variety of books. As a child, I started off with a series of detective stories called The Hardy Boys. Others I’ve read include the Dune stories by Isaac Asimov and The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Dean Koontz and Jeffrey Archer are other authors that I’d recommend.
In my honest opinion, I think a writer should be a reader as well. It helps you become a better storyteller helping you create more believable stories and so drawing your readers further into your stories. Plus, I believe if you want to be the best writer you have to read the works of the best authors.
Ian Fairgrieve on Reading:
I enjoy reading for pleasure. I find that a good book can pull you into the story which is what I enjoy most of all.
I tend to read each story at a different pace to enjoy each one fully. As a writer, I know how much hard work goes into creating a believable environment with characters you root for or hate. I normally take about a month to read a decent sized story.
I read all kinds of stories. I like to have a broad horizon of experience and knowledge of what goes into each story so that if I decide to write a story in that genre it makes it slightly easier.
The cover is the first thing about a book that grabs my attention. If it piques my interest, I have a look at the blurb and if that gets my interest further then I’ll read it. I have found though that you really can’t judge a book by its cover. I read a book by Jeffrey Archer called Honour Among Thieves and although I didn’t think it would be for me, I’ve actually read it twice.
I don’t really have a preference when it comes to the size of the book. I’ve read books with just a couple of hundred pages and others that have had nearly a thousand pages. As long as the story grips me early on then I’ll read it, however, if at some point I begin to lose interest in the story then I won’t finish it.
I enjoy reading a series of books or just a stand-alone book. If it is a series, I have to read them in order starting with the first, otherwise, I feel the story can get kind of confusing.
I think there’s a pretty good variety of books out there that I can enjoy reading but I’m always on the lookout for the next novel to really pull me into its pages. Although there are a lot of horror books available, I would like to see more that are actually scary not just "jumpfests". I like stories that seep into your very soul.
I tend to look in bookshops and charity shops for my next read and I also go to our local library.
There are so many books that I’ve read over the years but some of the ones I’d definitely recommend are the Buck Rogers books. There are 4 of them and they start with Arrival which is a story written by multiple authors. All the books I’ve read have has some form of impact on my life but these books have definitely made an impression on me and that’s why I’ve read them so many times
I’d definitely recommend the Dune series as well. There’s also a story that I don’t think is very well known called False Dawn written by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro which again I’ve read multiple times. My favourites never change, I never tire of re-reading them.
You sound so passionate about reading and writing, Ian! It's great that you recommend books for younger and older readers, too.
Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us today. Good luck with your writing.
You can find Ian on Facebook at IanFairgrieve Author and Storyteller.
Here are some of the books Ian recommends: