My debut collection of short fiction contains twenty works of mystery, suspense and horror fiction. The tales explore different themes and are set in different parts of the world from the French Pyrenees and the Scottish Highlands to the cities and bush of Australia. They explore social and psychological phenomena such as greed, obsession and paranoia. Others are just nasty tales of terror.
Who is your most unusual character?
Professor Hoffman from the title tale “Hoffman’s Creeper” is certainly one of the most memorable characters in the collection because he displays a great intellect but a complete lack of basic human emotions. His special relationship with the plants in his greenhouse conflicts disturbingly with his inability to develop and maintain relationships with other people.
How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?
Every story is different. Sometimes I have the entire story in my head and have to rush to get it all down before I forget. Sometimes I have a great idea for an ending, or just a particular character, and it takes me weeks or even months to decide how to start or finish the tale.
How has your background influenced your writing?
My background has definitely influenced my writing – I can’t imagine how any writer’s couldn’t. I grew up in a comfortable but modest family and social setting and many of my tales demonstrate a strong dislike for the rich and greedy as well as for people who act selfishly or without consideration for their fellow human beings.
Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?
I find that a glass of Glenfiddich helps the words flow.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m working on two mystery novellas. One is set in France, where I lived for several years, and is about a student of mediaeval history and his uncle who is an antiquarian. They come across an enigmatic scroll that leads them into adventure. The other is set in my hometown of Brisbane and is about a private investigator who doesn’t have a lot of work – until he finds a code in a second-hand book while rummaging through his favourite bookshop.
Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?
I certainly do. Sometimes I have an idea for a story while I’m working on another. I have to make some notes so that I don’t forget. I have ideas for about seven short stories at the moment. I just need more time to write them. *sighs*
What do you like to read? What is your favorite genre?
I love to read what I love to write – mystery, suspense and horror. My all-time favourite writers include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Ruth Rendell, and Christopher Fowler.
What, in your opinion, are the essential qualities of a good story?
The ability to make the reader go and check that all of the doors are locked and that his other half doesn’t have a carving knife hidden under the pillow.
Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
My ideal reader is one who will take his or her time reading my tales, think about the characters and events in them and ask, what does this mean for me and the society I live in? It’s also the reader who will contact me or leave a review of my work. Writing is a solitary art but writers need feedback. We do write for ourselves primarily but it sure is nice to know that our words have made an impact on others.
Where can we learn more about you and your tales?
At my blog: http://www.trostlibrary.blogspot.com