How do you feel about cemeteries? Do find them creepy?
A stroll through a cemetery is hardly my idea of a cheery weekend trip with the family, but as a writer, I find them a wonderful source of inspiration—so many stories, adventures, and struggles summed up in a few engraved words. A visit to a cemetery in the middle of night can certainly be a haunting experience if you notice even the slightest movement or noise that seems out of place, but it is otherwise a calming experience by virtue of the calm that reigns.
What’s the creepiest place you’ve ever been to?
I’ve been to countless creepy places over the years, including arguably the most infamous, Auschwitz. There are abandoned lunatic asylums, underground bunkers, castle ruins, enchanted forests, and pagan stone circles. But in keeping with the theme of the anthology, the catacombs of Saint Sebastian on the Appian Way in Rome spring to mind. You enter a church and are led underground, through tunnels lined with niches containing the remains of early Christians. For anyone who has read Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” and Doyle’s “The New Catacomb”, you’ll understand how creepy it is to visit such an unusual site.
What are your literary influences?
I admire Roald Dahl for the strangeness and twists found in his fiction. He is famous for his children’s stories but his talent really shines through in his tales of the unexpected for adults. For my mystery and horror fiction, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe are among my favourites, and Ruth Rendell is the queen of suspense for her psychological insight into surburban and rural England. Less obvious perhaps is the influence of JG Ballard, a writer who deftly combined suspense with dystopian fiction and soft science-fiction, using modern settings such as the periphery of urban centres as a driving force in his fiction.
Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
This is always a tricky question to answer. I have a vivid imagination and more ideas than I have time to write. Writer’s block isn’t something I’ve really ever experienced. The toughest thing sometimes is simply deciding which of my ideas to work on next. So, I can’t really say I “find” inspiration—perhaps the ideas find me—but there are certain situations or activities that get the ideas flowing and help me figure out a way around a problem in the plot. This is particularly useful when writing a story that requires very close attention to detail, like a mystery. Firstly, and as a general rule, I think better when I’m alone and have no distractions. Secondly, exercise in a quiet place helps me iron out the creases and solve problems. I live next to woods and marshland and so—you guessed it—I often go for a jog as part of the writing process. The environment and rhythmic movement are highly conducive to the imagination. If you track me down on Instagram, you’ll get even more insight into this process and be able to enjoy the same scenery. Although set in England, not Brittany—where I live—the rural landscape plays any important role in my latest novel, Letterbox. I simply replaced marshes with moorland and quagmires.
What are you currently working on?
I’m writing a gripping murder mystery set in Brittany and featuring my character, Oscar Tremont, Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable. I started the novel this year and made more progress than I’ve ever made in such a short time during Nanowrimo, getting 40,000 words down in one month. My aim is to finish the novel early next year. It will most likely clock in at around 60,000 words. This will be the fourth novel I’ve written—two of which are available through Black Beacon Books—and one which is currently awaiting its third draft. Mystery fans will love this book, which is a cross between Midsomer Murders and Sherlock Holmes. It’s a puzzle, complete with clues, red herrings, and foreshadowing. In the meantime, readers can meet Oscar Tremont in the various short mysteries in which he has appeared—ideal for armchair detectives who like to pit their wits against the protagonist. You can even follow him on his very own Facebook page.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Among the Headstones: Creepy Tales from the Graveyard edited by Rayne Hall, presents twenty-seven of the finest – and creepiest – graveyard tales with stories by established writers, classic authors and fresh voices.
Here you’ll find Gothic ghost stories by Robert Ellis, Lee Murray, Greg Chapman, Morgan Pryce, Rayne Hall, Guy de Maupassant, Myk Pilgrim, Zachary Ashford, Amelia Edwards, Nina Wibowo, Krystal Garrett, Tylluan Penry, Ambrose Bierce, Cinderella Lo, Nikki Tait, Arthur Conan Doyle, Priscilla Bettis, Kyla Ward, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul D Dail, Cameron Trost, Pamela Turner, William Meikle and Lord Dunsany who thrill with their eerie, macabre and sometimes quirky visions.
You’ll visit graveyards in Britain, Indonesia, Russia, China, Italy, Bulgaria, Thailand, USA, Australia, South Africa and Japan, and you can marvel at the burial customs of other cultures.
Now let’s open the gate – can you hear it creak on its hinges? – and enter the realm of the dead. Listen to the wind rustling the yew, the grating of footsteps on gravel, the hoo-hoo-hoo of the collared dove. Run your fingers across the tombstones to feel their lichen-rough sandstone or smooth cool marble. Inhale the scents of decaying lilies and freshly dug earth.
But be careful. Someone may be watching your every movement… They may be right behind you.
Purchase Link: mybook.to/Headstones
The ebook is available for pre-order from Amazon at the special offer price of 99 cents until 31 January 2021. (After that date, the price will go up.) A paperback will follow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cameron Trost is an author of mystery and suspense fiction best known for his puzzles featuring Oscar Tremont, Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable. He has written two novels, Letterbox and The Tunnel Runner, and two collections, Hoffman’s Creeper and Other Disturbing Tales and The Animal Inside. Originally from Brisbane, Australia, Cameron lives with his wife and two sons near Guérande in southern Brittany, between the rugged coast and treacherous marshlands. He runs the independent publishing house, Black Beacon Books, and is a member of the Australian Crime Writers Association. You can find out more about him at https://camerontrost.com and read more of his strange and creepy tales by grabbing a copy of his latest collection, The Animal Inside.