15 Questions with Author Jasper Bark

What are you currently up to?

I have quite a few books coming out at the moment. I have a novel out now, from Crystal Lake Publishing, called The Final Cut. It’s mash up of gritty crime, splatterpunk and urban fantasy, set in the world of indie horror film making. It also looks at the reasons we watch, read, write and make horror films and books. On June 10th I have a novella coming out with Crystal Lake called Run To Ground. That’s an extreme horror romp which takes place in a remote rural cemetery that’s been infested by an entirely new breed of monsters, ones that can possess the very ground at our feet. The third one comes out on July 1st from Knightwatch Press, it’s called Bed of Crimson Joy and it’s a mash up of several sub genres, most notably erotic horror and quiet horror.



Do you enjoy seeing horror novels you read being made into movies or TV shows?

If they’re done well then yes I do, it can be fun to see how the film makers approach certain scenes in the novel and how they portray the characters. If they get it wrong then it can be infuriating. Very occasionally the film or TV series can actually be better than the book. I hope fans of Charlaine Harris and Tolkien will forgive me for saying this, but two notable cases would be True Blood  and the Lord of the Rings.



With a name like Bark you must like dogs. What is your favorite breed?

Probably wolves, with whom I feel a big affinity, also foxes and coyotes. I know that technically these are all proto-dogs, or to be more precise the creatures from which we first bred dogs, but there you go. Guess I must be pretty old school (or secretly a lycanthrope).



Has anything you’ve ever written given you nightmares?

I’ve had readers tell me the things I’ve written have given them nightmares. In my case it’s probably the other way around. A few of my nightmares have given my something to write. Fever dreams are also a good source of material. Anything that sets my deranged imagination alight is good with me.



Does being a horror author improve your ability to score with the ladies/men or does it scare them away?

That kinda depends on the ladies or the men and (in my case) how little taste they have. Horror really turns some people on, especially if there’s an erotic element to it. I’ve had some interesting messages and e-mails from some people who’ve read my work. However, if you wanted to see some true life horror, you’d only have to watch what my, normally gorgeous, wife would do to me if I tried to score with someone else. That’s enough to scare me away, let alone any horror nut with dubious taste in bed partners.



Would you allow a studio/screenwriter to change your work it it meant your story would become a movie/TV show?

That would all depend on the deal I, or my agent, had worked out with the studio. In all fairness though, you have to expect that some changes are going to be made to your work if you sell the film rights. What works on the page doesn’t always translate so well to the screen. If the film sucks then people will still be able to read the book and see what you really intended. If it works well, then hopefully it can give your book sales a welcome boost.



What is your favorite horror movie/book/TV Show (one for each)?

My favourite horror film is the wonderful old British anthology movie The Dead of Night from 1945. My favourite TV show is, and probably always will be, The Twilight Zone. I love way, way WAY too many horror novels to pick even my top ten, let alone my very favourite.



How do you feel about the publishing industry these days. The actual written word vs. e-books?

It’s changed so much since my first book came out and it’s currently in a constant state of change. This means that there are some things the industry has lost that I will really miss (such as publishers paying decent advances) and other things it’s gained. eBooks are one of the things that it’s gained. From an author’s perspective eBooks make it easier and quicker for readers to find and buy your work, so that isn’t a bad thing. There are also less overheads with eBooks because you don’t have to print them, so the potential for profits is a little higher. These days eBooks are to paperbacks what paperbacks used to be to Hardback books. They’re the quicker, cheaper more disposable version of your book.



Stephen King vs. Dean Koontz vs. Clive Barker? Hell in the Cell!

I’m picturing the whole fight as a three way affair. To my mind King and Koontz would play it smart and band together to take out the Brit in an early bout. So bye-bye Barker to begin with. King is taller and potentially heavier than Koontz, but he had major surgery following his car accident and that could be a handicap. Plus Koontz can be a sly, devious bastard when he wants to be. King could use his his height and weight to his advantage, not to mention his dark imagination. Koontz on the other might just swing it his way if he refused to fight fair, so I would say this could go either way.


Dean w/ Jasper in Dog Form


What was the scariest moment of your life?

The scariest moments of my life have been those when I’ve faced the very real prospect of losing someone I love most, namely my wife and children.


Will horror authors ever stop being compared to Stephen King? And is that a bad thing?

Apart from Lovecraft and Poe, I can’t think of any other author who has had such an impact on the field as King has. So I don’t see people stopping the comparisons to King any time soon. I think it’s only a bad thing when it’s an erroneous comparison. When the writer being compared writes nothing like King and tells totally different stories. Other than that, a comparison to King is a huge recommendation for many readers and it can’t hurt either your book sales or your ego.



What was your first job?

My first ever job was washing dishes in a cafe in the Lake District. My weirdest job is probably working as a bottom model, people paid me to take photos of my once pert behind. My most boring job was quite possibly working in a porn shop. I didn’t last too long in that last position.


Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

I don’t want to jinx myself here and say ‘no’ because that’s just tempting fate isn’t it? I will say however, that the best way to approach writer’s block is the way a sculptor approaches a block of marble. Take a hammer and a chisel and start chipping away at it until you have something that, if not a work of art, is at least functional and decorative.



What is your advice to up and coming authors? What is the best way they can get their material to the public?

I would suggest that they be as helpful as they can to other authors. In today’s market place, other authors are no longer your rivals, they’re potential allies. We’re all in this game together and we need to look out for each other as much as we can. With regards getting your work to the public, there are more options than ever. These days self publishing and the Indie press are just as viable a route to market as mainstream publishing, don’t rule any of them out.


Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers or Pinhead?

Tough one. While I enjoy slashers, I do like a bit of supernatural horror, so I’m going to rule out Michael and Jason. I was a little younger when I first saw Nightmare on Elm St and it scared me more than Hellraiser, so I think it’s Freddy by a gnat’s whisker. That’s assuming you’re asking me which one I like best, of course. If you were asking me which one I’d choose to wipe my butt as a recent amputee, or who I’d like to partner with for a ‘gay-for-pay’, no questions asked porn shoot, then my answer might be completely different.



Thanks a lot for having me guys.

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