Spectral Book of Horror Stories: Alison Moore’s Eastmouth

alisonmooreThe fact that Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse was shortlisted for the Man Booker should tell you all you need to know about the quality of her work – but I just can’t resist adding a quote from Black Static’s Peter Tennant about her “Small Animals”: ‘Moore writes a pitch perfect tale of gathering unease, the situation moving from strange to distinctly disturbing … This quiet tale of creeping unease and reality shift is a superb example of what the short form is capable of’ (Black Static #32). Her Spectral Book of Horror story is “Eastmouth.”

1. Can you remember the first horror story you read that made an impact on you?

I can’t remember the first story but there are collections I’ve had for decades such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories they wouldn’t let me do on TV with ‘macabre tales to chill your blood’ by writers such as William Sansom, M.R. James and Roald Dahl.

2. What inspired the story you wrote for this anthology?

I liked the idea of a quiet retirement town, at the end of a train line, perhaps in need of some young blood.

3. How would you describe the kinds of stories you usual write and does this Spectral Book of Horror story depart from that?

My creepier stories tend to be about quite ordinary worlds within which we start to get a sense of things being not quite right. I was thrilled to find that Mark was a fan of my Nightjar Press chapbooks, which are in this vein.

4. In your heart of hearts do you prefer your horror to be of the slashy variety or of a more subtle psychological stripe? sh editor top

The psychological variety. A Black Static review describes my story ‘When the Door Closed, It Was Dark’ as one that ‘taps into our fear of the unknown while at the same time suggesting that the fault may lie in our own psyches’. I very much like working in that sort of area, where you’re not quite sure if the wrongness is within or without.

5. What are you currently reading?

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton and Cold Hand in Mine by Robert Aickman. Answering these questions has also made me dig out the Hitchcock collection for another read!

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