Paul Meloy was born in 1966. He is the author of Islington Crocodiles, Dogs With Their Eyes Shut, The Night Clock and a forthcoming collection called Electric Breakfast. He is working on his second novel, a sequel to The Night Clock. He lives in Devon with his family.
What inspired your story “Joe is a Barber”?
A haircut. I was working in Bury St Edmunds and went for a trim in a small basement barbershop off the high street. Smart young men in waistcoats and ties worked silently while their boss patrolled behind them checking their work. It was quite tense. And I’m always struck by how intimate a haircut is, how vulnerable you are in that chair, and the story came to me on the drive back to work in a complete narrative consisting of single lines.
What’s the first horror story you can remember making a big impact on you?
Probably The Interlopers by Ramsey Campbell, although it was so long ago I should probably cite the impact the whole book (Demons by Daylight) had on me. It was a cumulative effect of reading something so surreal and unsettling that I instantly knew I had discovered a depth to something I hadn’t known existed. Proper scary! Still wonderfully confusing!
Name your three favourite horror writers.
Is your writing generally firmly in the horror arena or do you do occasional jaunts into other areas of speculative fiction?
Graham Joyce defined my stuff as ‘fractured realism’, which will do for me. I tend to strive for a sense of awe, or wonder, rather than outright fear, although fear is certainly a part of the mix. I suppose it’s more magic realism, or dark fantasy with elements of horror.
What’s in your to-be-read pile at the moment?
Sacrifice by Paul Finch, The Stormwatcher by Graham Joyce, Houses without Doors by Pete Straub and Song of Shadows by John Connolly.
The 2nd Spectral Book of Horror Stories can be pre-ordered here.