I would like to introduce Author Finian Black, the winner of the BRAG Medallion for his book, “The Nightmare Stone.”
Finian, it is a pleasure to be interviewing you. Could you please tell me about your book, The Nightmare Stone?
Hi, Stephanie. Thank you so much for interviewing me. It’s a real pleasure. To answer your questions:
‘The Nightmare Stone’ is about normal people thrown into a very abnormal situation. The main character is a family man, disillusioned with work, who gets the opportunity to give his wife and daughter a life they could only have dreamed of. But dreams have a nasty habit of turning into nightmares! It combines some of my favourite ghost story themes, namely the spooky old house, people who aren’t always what they seem, and historical references to place it all in context. Then I throw in a literary twist that has surprised a lot of readers.
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
Without wanting to give too much away, my son was completely obsessed with Peter Pan when he was about four. I went back to the original novel, to get beneath the skin of the Disney version that is so familiar to us all. There is so much darkness there, I knew I had to use it as the basis for this book. Secondly, I’ve suffered from significant episodes of insomnia, and that experience coloured the story.
How long did it take you to write, The Nightmare Stone?
I started sketching out the story in late 2009, then started writing it in late 2010 before abandoning it because it just wasn’t working. I hadn’t found the right balance of the past and present. A chance discussion with a good friend took me back to the manuscript and I finished the first draft a few weeks later. Then it was re-written before the editing and proof reading phase, so in total about a year.
Do you have to have a certain mind-set to write these types of stories? If so, please explain.
That’s a great question. I think you do. I think you need to be able to see the darkness that lurks beneath the surface of so many everyday situations. I’m not a fan of blood and guts and gore. I prefer the scare that comes from the shadow in the corner, the movement out of the corner of the eye. I like to imagine what lurks behind the mirror.
Do you have any other supernatural thrillers that you’re working on?
I certainly do. ‘Angels of War’ will be published on 12/12/12, again for kindle and kindle apps. It’s the first release of a trilogy, inspired by the myth of angels that appeared in the skies over the Belgian town of Mons in the first days of World War One. I’m very excited by the story; these are very human angels, fragile and flawed. The first book is set entirely in 1914-1918, then the second book will pick up the threads of the story in the present day. My wife came up with many of the themes that I explore and this book is definitely for her.
Where is your favorite spot in your home to write?
I write at the kitchen table of our house in Winchester, looking out over woodland. I need music to write, always. I write in the evening once the kids are in bed, so at the moment the views aren’t so good. Roll on the summer!
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
The same advice I give myself again and again – keep writing. I try and write something every day, even if it’s a few hundred words that will never make the final edit. It’s a skill that needs practice like any other, and I know I’m getting better because I keep working at it. Believe in yourself, and write the kind of stories you want to read.
What books have influenced your life the most?
I read ‘Watership Down’ when I was about nine. It blew me away, and is still one of the greatest reads ever. The imagery, use of language and scale of the story is astounding. Richard Adams lives quite close to me, but I would be too star-struck to ever seek him out! ‘The Stand’ by Stephen King is one of the best ever post-apocalyptic books. It’s his finest achievement in terms of characterisation and the use of multiple perspectives. I love it and have read it many times. I’m a huge fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon. ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ is, in my opinion, the best gothic novel of the last twenty years. And finally, I have to say ‘Great Expectations’. It’s simply the greatest novel in the English language.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading ‘Let The Right One In’, by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It’s terrifying and I’m in awe of the prose. I’ve recently finished Andrew Graham Dixon’s biography of Carravagio, entitled ‘A Life Sacred and Profane’. Carravagio was the original infant terrible. I think he may well pop up as a character in my ‘Angel’ trilogy!
What do you plan on reading next?
I’m struggling to find time to read anything at the moment, as I’m desperately working to get ‘Angels of War’ ready for publication. When it’s out there, I’m going to settle down with Justin Cronin’s ‘The Twelve’, sequel to ‘The Passage’.
How did you discover indieBRAG?
I discovered indieBRAG on twitter and was so pleased and proud to be awarded their Medallion for ‘The Nightmare Stone’, because it’s the readers who decide. Support for independent authors like me is so important and I’m immensely grateful.
What is your favorite quote?
Can I be cheeky and have two favourite quotes? They are both a bit clichéd but they get to the very heart of what it is to be an indie author, fighting to be heard in a frantic marketplace. The first is Wayne Gretzky’s ‘you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’ The second is the classic ‘some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.’
That’s all. Thanks again, Stephanie. It’s been a real pleasure.
FINIAN BLACK was born in the heart of the Black Country. He studied medicine at Leicester University, served in the British Army and is now a GP in the south of England. He wishes he could get back up to the Midlands more often to see his beloved Wolves play.
Black is married with two children. He writes because the words are in there and they have to come out somehow.
His fiction is inspired by the work of his heroes – Stephen King, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Charles Dickens.
He writes across genres; historical fiction melting into modern supernatural suspense.
THE NIGHTMARE STONE is his first novel. It is inspired by the life and times of JM Barrie.
Finian Black’s second novel, ANGELS OF WAR, will be available on amazon for kindle in December 2012. Inspired by the myth of the angels of Mons that were supposedly seen over the Belgian town during the desperate days of the battle of 1914, it is a sweeping story of love, loss and belief.
Links to THE NIGTMARE STONE on amazon us and uk:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Finian Black who is the author of, The Nightmare Stone, one of our medallion honorees at http://www.bragmedallion.com. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as The Nightmare Stone merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.