It has been an incredibly busy 12-18 months in the life of writer Duncan P. Bradshaw. Not only is he one third of the Sinister Horror Company – a blossoming horror press based in the U.K. but he now has an impressive catalog of releases to his name. Two zombie novels in the form of ‘Class Three’ and ‘Class Four’ his venture into Bizarro fiction waters with ‘Celebrity Culture’ and his more recent release, the sci-fi horror tinged ‘Prime Directive’.
We have just seen the release of his latest novel ‘Hexagram’. I read a little excerpt of this late last year when the Sinister Horror Co released the ltd edition eBook ‘Horrorboros’. As well as featuring a short story penned by all three members of the SHC we were treated to previews of upcoming releases. ‘Hexagram’ was the one that really got me excited and I am really enjoying the ride so far. I will have a review for it later this week.
Duncan stopped by for a chat about his writing, the SHC and even took part in my blockbuster quiz DUNC OF THE DEAD! Enjoy…
BtB: First of all, Duncan, I always like visitors here to introduce themselves to my loyal subjects. The floor is yours. Tell us about Duncan P. Bradshaw.
DPB: Hello. My gestation pod first cracked open one autumnal morning, two cycles behind schedule. My tardiness meant that my brethren had already been killed, and our plans for world domination lay in tatters. I knew that I had no choice but to live amongst you, and adopt your ways and customs. I took a human wife, and adopted two of the animals you call ‘cats’, but back on my home planet, we call them ‘kats’. Yet still…the dreams persisted. I found solace on a primitive terminal one day and began to type out the thoughts that plague me. When I was done, someone read them, and said, “That’s okay that is, well done, have a biscuit.” So I had a biscuit and released my words. Ha.
BtB: When was it you decided to become a writer? Was it the lure of the millionaire lifestyle that most writers seem to enjoy? (Obviously I am joking here)
DPB: It was the promise of a fur lined pair of pants, the insides as soft as mole skin, yet absorbent, like cat litter. Imagine my surprise when I released my first book, and the promised pair of pants did not arrive? No matter. I made my own, though the material is substandard, and my testicles are now shorn of hair.
BtB: Tell us about your first published work. It must have been an incredible feeling to see your name on something.
DPB: It was. There are moments in life which you get, that don’t feel real. Opening that nondescript box, and holding the proof to Class Three, was one of those moments. It was mad. Up until that point, it has existed on a laptop screen, and doesn’t feel real. Yet, when you hold it in your hands (the book you pervert) and flick through it, it is such a weird feeling. Even the words that you are now familiar with, take on a different quality when printed. That feeling never gets old. Even now, getting a proof through for a book is amazing.
BtB: Who or what has influenced you as a writer?
DPB: I can’t say I have any huge influences really, not one particular person, or book. I’m shaped by things I’ve seen, films, acts of randomness in the street, and that is my influence. I’m quite…unique, so when I write, I tell the story the way I want to. I don’t try and put myself into the mindset of someone else, or as a homage to something, I want it to be quirky and something a little different.
BtB: Where does your love of the darker side of fiction come from?
DPB: First and foremost, it’s zombies. Tracing all the way back to George Romero and the original Dawn of the Dead. Honestly? I’m not a huge horror lover, not to the extent of a lot of people in the genre writing business. Sure, I’ll watch something if it takes my fancy, but I think there are far worse things happening in real life that are a lot scarier. Everything that I write, comes from the recesses of my mind, so make of that what you will.
BtB: Let’s get stuck into your books. First of all, you now have a great variety of stories available. You obviously don’t want to be pigeonholed as ‘that zombie author’ having dipped your toes into Bizarro and science fiction. I like to see writers I follow take risks. Tell us about your releases thus far and what you have planned for the rest of 2016 and beyond and give us some insight into what we can expect from ‘Hexagram’
DPB: It all started with my zom-com novel, Class Three. I approached that on the simple notion that if I was to only write one book, I wanted to put everything in there that I wanted to. It has gore, zombies, silliness and a doomsday cult, as I think there needs to be more cults in literature. From there, I came up with the idea of a follow-up trilogy, Class Four. The first book ‘Those Who Survive’, came out last year. It’s a bit more serious in tone, but still a little irreverent.
However…as you alluded to, I didn’t want to be ‘zombie guy’. We hit up a few conventions last year, and the only books I had, were based on zombies. So I did an online novella writing workshop with bizarro legend, Garrett Cook, where Celebrity Culture was born. I wanted to test myself and write something completely different. It was really tricky, but am happy with how it turned out.
I then wrote Hexagram. It started off as a novella, on the simple notion, that as we’re all made of stars, what would happen if you could harvest the stardust? My brain went into overdrive, and came up with it starting with an Inca ritual, and the knowledge would be hidden away. Different people, through five hundred years, would find it, and use the knowledge to their own ends. It shows the moral grey in people, how some blindly accept things as fact. It is six stories, in different time periods, and is probably my favourite thing I’ve written to date.
At the end of 2015, I came up with an idea for a book called Deadlock, which I’m editing at the moment. This is about a retired thief, convinced into one more job, which ditches him into Hell itself. He is forced to endure trials, and is caught up in a battle between good and evil. Whilst I was writing it, I came up with the idea for Prime Directive, and in a lull, wrote it. I’ve always been fascinated with space, and this is my little sci-fi/horror story.
Deadlock is currently on hiatus until 2017, as there are issues with it I need to resolve. So I’m going to be finishing off the Class Four trilogy shortly. Right now, I’m working on a book called Summoned. It is utter silliness. A monster is summoned accidentally, and what follows is a multi-narrative story, with a comic and a choose-your-own adventure inside. That should be out next year, then who knows? Whatever my brain fancies doing.
BtB: The Sinister Horror Company seems to be going from strength to strength. Can you tell us about its beginnings and what the future holds for the press?
DPB: Cheers man. We started it off really when the three of us, Dan, Justin and I, all released our debuts at the same time. As we all knew each other, we figured if we clubbed together, made a brand, we could help each other out. So when the other guys get some good press, it shines a light on our other books. Then last year, I read a synopsis for a book called GodBomb!, by a certain Kit Power. I loved it, showed the others and said that I would love it if we could publish it. I contacted Kit, and the rest, is history.
Since then, Dan has gone out to get a few people to do stuff for us, Justin too. For me though, I’m a little different. Publishing someone else’s book takes time away from my own stuff, so, just like GodBomb! did, I’m holding out for a submission which WOWs me. When I get that, I’ll be dipping my toes in again.
It’s another example of how the SHC works. The benefit is, there are three of us, each of us is writing, and has our own ways of getting other people in. It’s a real collaborative effort, but we’re also left to our own devices, which works.
BtB: You guys seem very approachable, both on social media and with your appearances at the cons throughout the U.K. It must take up a huge amount of any spare time you have but shows a real dedication to what you want to achieve. I tip my hat to you, good sir. I hear that it is increasingly difficult (particularly with Facebook) to get posts seen by people outside of your regular subscribers. Word of mouth seems to be the best way of getting your books out there into the hands of readers. How do you find the whole self-promotion aspect of writing? I know most writers hate it, but at the end of the day if you want people to read your books then you need to tell them about it, right?
DPB: Honestly? I don’t think we know any other way. The whole point of this, to me at least, is to help people out. If someone wants some pointers on how to format something for Kindle, I’m gonna ask if I can help, as I know how to. This is, and always should be, a community. We are all responsible for sharing things, and helping each other out.
Promotion is one of those things that you just have to do. First off, we tried anything and everything, and even now, we experiment with different things, and see what happens. Fact of the matter is, that there is no silver bullet. One post might do really well, whilst another disappears like a stone, you just have to keep plugging away.
Again, each of us, has differing approaches to promotion, and our own releases. I like to announce stuff a few months ahead of launch, build up a bit of buzz, others though, choose a different way. Each to their own. Though one thing has to be borne in mind, if you don’t tell people, they won’t know. Of course, you don’t want to be constantly saying, ‘BUY MY BOOK’, but you do need to at least bother to tell people about it.
I quite enjoy it, I’ve spent months creating something, and am finally out of the editing cycle. I want to be able to shout about it for a bit, before I sod off back to the office upstairs and work on the next project. You have to take a moment and revel in releasing a new book, in whatever way you feel comfortable with, it’s a big fucking deal, so enjoy it.
BtB: ‘The Black Room Manuscripts: Volume 2’ is released at Edge-Lit in Derby this July! There are some real heavyweights in this next volume including William Meikle, Shaun Hutson and Graham Masterton, with all profits going to Alzheimer’s Research U.K. Can you tell us some more about these anthologies and the reason behind your decision to work with Alzheimer’s Research U.K.?
DPB: The Black Room Manuscripts first off, is a big commitment. We have taken it in turns to curate it thus far, and whilst the others chip in with some proofreading, approaching authors, etc, in the main, it is that one person who is dealing with all of the admin for it. TBRM2 is Justin’s baby, and I know he has a few reasons as to why he chose Alzheimer’s Research UK for the charity. He’s written a really eloquent piece at the beginning, which sums it up way better than I ever could.
Ultimately, we are eternally grateful to everyone that contributes a story, and to those who pick it up. It means so much to us that we can entertain people, and do some good by supporting a charity. It’s my turn next year, and I’ve already got the ball rolling. Then, with each of us having done a stint, I think we’ll sit down and have a chat about what the future holds for The Black Room Manuscripts.
BtB: What else does the Sinister Horror Company have in store for 2016 and beyond?
DPB: I’ve had a busy start to the year, with Hexagram being my third release of the year. Happy to report that the other guys are finally pulling their fingers out J In all seriousness, we have some really cool titles coming out before year end. Not just horror either…best thing is to grab our newsletter, or hit us up on Facebook, as it is going to be a busy end to 2016.
BtB: There is word going around that Mr Park needs a new book out in time for Edge-Lit in July or else he will be singing a version of Guns N Roses ‘Since I Don’t Have You’ How is he doing and will this performance be at Edge-Lit if he fails to make the cut?
DPB: This is true, though he has got more caveats going on than a political paper. I went round to see him last week, and can report that it is looking likely he will make it, though not with the book he was promising. I’m not going to steal his thunder, but I’m really happy with what he’s gonna release. He had this idea for his first four books, and this really will be an ideal way to bring them together, before he starts anew.
BtB: Finally. Coffee or tea?
DPB: Tea. No question. Can’t stand coffee. Unless it’s Irish.
BtB: Movies or books?
DPB: You crafty sod. Depends on the mood, if you want to switch your brain off and receive, watch a film. If you want to participate, read a book. I love doing both. Not at the same time I should add.
BtB: Somebody asks me where to start with your books. What do I tell them?
DPB: I’d say Hexagram, I think it’s my strongest writing, though a bit of a ‘concept album’. Whilst it lacks the humour of Class Three, I think it is a good marker of how my brain works, and that I’m trying to do something which is a little different.
BtB: What is the best joke you have ever heard? (Surely it must be one of mine?!)
You’ve yet to review Hexagram, so I’m going to say this…you are the single most hilarious person on the planet. You’re my hero, my beacon of hilarity. Does that work? I’m absolutely terrible at remembering jokes, I can only remember two, and they’re both utter shit. But hey, you asked for it:
What’s brown and sticky?
What did the postman say when the crocodile bit his arm off?
The postman one was made up by my brother and I when we were like five, six? Yes, we realise it’s as funny as pissing yourself at a christening, but it cracks us up even now. Something to do with Pavlov probably huh?
BtB: The apocalypse is upon us. You can only fit three books into your rucksack before you leave. What are the books you choose and what is that large bulge in your bag?
Why, that large bulge is just a sign of how happy I am to see you. Well, one thing for sure, is that is isn’t Steven Seagal, so Adam Howe will be devastated. Three books? Okay. First is World War Z by Max Brooks, an absolute stone cold zombie classic. I love the reporting style of the book, there are stories in there, some only hinted at, which deserve to be turned into a novel. Which made the utterly diabolical film even more galling.
Second…I’d go for Hitman Diaries by Danny King, he’s an absolute legend at dark humour, and this book has it in spades. Finally, I think I’ll pick Watchmen by Alan Moore. Difficult choice between that and V For Vendetta, but Watchmen wins out, as every single time I read it, I find something new within its pages.
Dunc knows a bit about the undead. How much? We are about to find out as we welcome Mr Bradshaw to my hugely popular quiz DUNC OF THE DEAD!!
Which famous Z movies are these images from?
Answer: Day of the Dead. The original, not that clusterfuck of a remake.
Answer: Looks like one of the Return of the Living Dead’s, but can’t work out which. Definitely not the first one…
Answer: Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, one weird ass film, a birthday present from Mr Park.
Answer: Serpent and the Rainbow! I have Thomas S Flowers to thank for knowing this, he suggested I watch it.
Answer: Looks like the first Resident Evil movie?
What year was the movie ‘28 Days Later’ released?
2002? I think…though, I will contend that it isn’t a zombie film.
The ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remake was released in what year?
2004/2005? I wasn’t a big fan of it to begin with, as I’m a purist when it comes to zombies and how they move. I will admit that it isn’t too bad, but still not a patch on the original.
What are the words Ash screws up in “Army of Darkness” that causes the zombie army to come to life?
Number one, that scene cracks me up even now, loved how utterly silly Army of Darkness is, compared to the first two.
- Klaatu verrata nectu
- Klepko verrata nartar
- Klestro verrata naktak
- Klafta verrata nipto
Bill Pullman is given the zombie drug and buried alive in “The Serpent and The Rainbow”. What is put in his casket with him?
Spider, though it then does nothing at all except crawl over his eye? Odd.
- Another corpse
Largely considered the first zombie film, White Zombie (1932) starred which horror stalwart?
Bela Lugosi, in fine fettle too.
- Bela Lugosi
- Boris Karloff
- Henry Daniell
What does the acronym CHUD stand for from the 1983 camp horror and its sequel, CHUD II?
Hmmm, never heard of this, I’m gonna guess it’s number two, and then add it to my wanted list when you put me out of my misery.
- Cadaver Hunting Unfrozen Dudes.
- Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller.
- Cannibals Have Unleashed Death.
In Shaun of the Dead (2004) what was the song playing on the juke box when the central characters were attacking the zombie pub landlord?
Ha, Don’t Stop Me Now, what a film.
- The Who – Pinball Wizard
- Outkast – Hey Ya
- Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now
The movie ‘World War Z’ was originally a book written by?
Max Brooks! One of my favourite books ever, the film though…fucking hell. I hate it, it took source material which could have been used in a myriad of ways, and they made that. Urgh, turns my stomach even now. I just hope Mr Brooks got paid enough.
Several things are now clear. Duncan P. Bradshaw is quite amusing, knows a lot about the Zombie genre and he writes good books. Check out his stuff, I asure you that you will not be disappointed. I will be reviewing ‘Hexagram’ early next week so make sure you come back.
Until next time…
Check out the Sinister Horror Company.
Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #Hexagram #IncanRituals #HookofaBook
- File Size:3282 KB
- Print Length:232 pages
- Publisher:EyeCue Productions (July 25, 2016)
- Publication Date:July 25, 2016
Their lands plagued by invaders, the Inca resort to an ancient ritual. By harvesting star dust from people, they hope to accumulate enough to raise the sun god, Inti, and reclaim their lands.
Yet when the collection is interrupted, it sets in motion events which will rattle human history.
Six stories. Six different time periods. One outcome.
We are all made of stars.
When an ancient Inca ritual is interrupted, it sets in motion a series of events that will echo through five hundred years of human history. Many seek to use the arcane knowledge for their own ends, from a survivor of a shipwreck, through to a suicide cult.
Yet…the most unlikeliest of them all will succeed.
Duncan P. Bradshaw lives in the county of Wiltshire, nestled around the belly button of southern England, with his wife Debbie, and their two cats, Rafa and Pepe. During the day, he is a mild mannered office goon, doing things which would bore you, if he was forced to tell you. At night, he becomes one with a keyboard, and transforms his weird and wonderful thoughts into words, which people, like you, and me, can read.
Why not pop over to his website, http://duncanpbradshaw.co.uk/ or give him a like over on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/duncanpbradshaw or read his ravings on his blog, http://duncanpbradshaw.blogspot.co.uk/
Praise for Hexagram
“Hexagram is a visceral journey through the dark nooks and crannies of human history. Lovecraftian terror merges with blood sacrifices, suicide cults and body horror as Bradshaw weaves an intricate plot into an epic tale of apocalyptic dread.” – Rich Hawkins, author of The Last Plague trilogy
“A rip-roaring boy’s own adventure yarn. This novel contains multitudes, and the sheer scale and breadth of the story is exhilarating. A glorious, unhinged thrill ride.” – Kit Power, author of GodBomb!
Praise for Bradshaw’s Writing
“Duncan Bradshaw has a fantastic writing style. He gets you engrossed in the characters from the very outset. His mix of comedy and horror and real life are superb.” – Confessions of a Reviewer
“The true genius of Duncan P. Bradshaw is the rollercoaster ride of words and expressions. I have never seen an author go from the depths of dark and gore to laugh out loud all within the same paragraph.” – 2 Book Lovers Reviews
“Remember, you’ve now willingly plunged yourself into the mind of Duncan Bradshaw. You’re completely at the mercy of his strange imagination and all the eccentric oddities that his curious mind can conjure up.” – DLS Reviews
“Bradshaw is able to weight the horror set pieces with a dry humour and plenty of laugh out loud moments.” – UK Horror Scene
“One of the first things that I did after reading The Black Room Manuscripts, was to go out and buy Class Three by Duncan Bradshaw. I just found his writing in Time for Tea to have this gleeful kind of undertow to the carnage he wrought on his tea drinkers and wanted to see what his writing was like in a longer format.” – Ginger Nuts of Horror
Want to Feature Duncan Bradshaw?
If you’re a member of the media or a blogger and you’d like to feature Duncan Bradshaw or Hexagram, then please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at firstname.lastname@example.org