Below is an excerpt from an interview Drew Forest took part in during February 2016, shortly after the release of his debut novel, “The Corpse Rooms”.
What inspired you to write “The Corpse Rooms?”
There was a lot of inspiration taken from lots of different sources. I knew in the summer of 2015 that I was going to write another novel after completing one in the previous year. I was sure that it was going to be a purely horror/supernatural story since this is a genre that I am truly passionate about but I wasn’t intending to go for an ‘all out blood and gore’ story. I wanted to approach it in a different way. While those elements are certainly present, I wanted to genuinely creep readers out. Something that always got under my skin, was the fear of the unknown. Whether that is an unknown predator or being genuinely unnerved by a situation you may find yourself in. Films like “The Blair Witch Project” and novels like “The Shining” by Stephen King and “The Wasp Factory” by Iain Banks certainly influenced the atmosphere of the book. The sense of building dread and the feeling that something isn’t quite right can be truly terrifying and I wanted to play on that and keep the reader guessing until the revelation at the end.
There seems to be an underlying theme of ‘secrets and lies’ in the novel, was that intentional?
Certainly. I knew that each of the main characters were going to be hiding something and that their secrets would be pivotal in bringing the plot together. The main theme I wanted to suggest was the idea of madness. I wanted the reader to get sucked into Theo’s world and begin to question everything. Is he a reliable protagonist? How many of the events taking place are actually happening and how many of them are purely figments of his imagination or the result of him being intoxicated most of the time? I wanted the paranoia to run throughout and act as a catalyst for the plot. I wanted the reader to be faced with trying to connect the dots and figure out the truth once they discover the secrets that each of the main characters are hiding.
Theo, in a lot of ways comes across as something of an anti-hero. Was it difficult to write a main character that some readers might not like?
I personally didn’t find it difficult. I find it more difficult to write a character that doesn’t have at least one or two flaws. For me as a reader and a writer, it’s these flaws and imperfections that make characters interesting. I was worried that readers would be put off by some of the revelations, but I didn’t want them to feel tricked or duped so I made it one of my priorities to ensure that there are enough clues scattered throughout. I hope that people may be able to relate to Theo, even if they don’t necessarily agree with all of his choices.
Horror as a genre can be a difficult to market to a mass audience particularly in the publishing industry. Did this concern you when you started the book?
To be honest, there were no plans from the onset to publish the story. I completed it as part of NaNoWriMo 2015 after finishing another story the previous year so it was written purely for my own entertainment. From a young age I had always written stories and never allowed myself to finish them. There was always the voice in the back of my mind telling me that they were not worth finishing and I know now that I was a fool to listen to it. When I turned thirty, I made an oath to myself that I was going to write a novel through to completion even if it killed me. Luckily for me, I managed to live up to my oath! I would love nothing more than for people to read my work and enjoy it but marketing it in terms of making a profit was never my intention and never will be. Obviously it would be great to make a living from writing but not many people achieve that level of success. I am more than happy to have just one person read the book and take pleasure in undertaking that journey. Investing in a story is quite a commitment so to have another person invest their time in my novel and having them enjoy it is worth more than all the money in the world to me.
What are your future plans?
More books! I am currently revising the next book which I expect to release in the summer, potentially sooner. I won’t say too much about it now but it’s certainly very different to ‘The Corpse Rooms’. I’m going to be starting work on the next one in the next few months, hopefully with a release at the end of the year, stay tuned!
“The Corpse Rooms” is available in paperback and digital from Amazon.
~ Reproduced with kind permission. Excerpt taken from ’An interview With Drew Forest, Author & Creator of the Horror Novel: The Corpse Rooms.“ – S.H.P © 2016