Welcome to the third and final day of my interview trilogy for the upcoming Gothic anthology, Among the Headstones: Creepy Tales from the Graveyard, edited by Gothic author Rayne Hall.
Full details about the haunting anthology are provided at the end of the interview. But now, let’s chat with Australian-based author Zachary Ashford.
Using three words, Zachary, describe your story in Among the Headstones.
Spooky, tropical, cemetery.
Is there a particular graveyard that inspired this story?
Not a real one. My wife and I have visited some of the more beautiful cemeteries while travelling, but the graveyard in my story is one of the typical country-town ones you see in rural and regional Australia. They’re usually quite tiny, existing on a single block of land. They’re really quite interesting because you might think there’s no one around, but the town may have been a satellite community on a regional route from back in the day.
I recently read your novella When the Cicadas Stop Singing. It’s full of Australian sounds and smells and flora. Is “The Hound in the Cemetery” also imbued with Australian life?
First, thank you so much for reading that. I really appreciate it. But, yes, “The Hound in the Cemetery” is full of the sounds of fruit-bats. It’s scaled back when compared to Cicadas, but the sounds of Australian wildlife are so central to what makes this country what it is. My wife and I travel as much as possible, and it doesn’t take long for us to start missing those sounds. I use them as a reference point whenever I can in creating setting. Those things are such a big part of human existence that they’re really helpful when creating a mood.
Would you rather spend the night in the graveyard from your story or in a haunted house?
This is a tough one. I’m going to go with haunted house, though. It might be haunted, but it’ll have a bed, and I can sleep through anything, hahaha.
What do you strive for when you write a story?
Really, for me as a reader, I want a fun read. Something I can whiz through without putting down. I like things to happen. I like action and movement, and I try to create that in my fiction. In a way, and this sounds pretty wanky, I try to recreate the feeling of a good heavy metal song. I want the plot to be racing forward like a good drum-beat and bass-line. From there, you’ve got the characterisation and tone to flesh out the riffs and flourishes. I want my writing to compel the reader on.
No, not wanky at all. Pretty cool, actually. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’m a creature of routine. I’ve really got to get myself in the right zone for writing fiction and engaging with the creative process. I’m a lot more productive if I treat it like work: get up, get showered, get comfortable. Similarly, I use certain music/sounds for certain projects. It really helps me get in the zone and train my brain into that creative work space. That’s something I do specifically, and I find it helps.
What’s your next project?
I’m feeling pretty full of ideas at the moment. I have a longer piece I’m working on, but that’s often in-between novella length pieces. I’ve just finished the first draft of a novella that’s a bit darker than what I’ve worked on so far and I’m about to start a psychological novella as well.
Good luck with everything! Where can readers find you online?
Twitter is the best place: https://twitter.com/ashford_zachary 🙂
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zachary Ashford is an Australian author and educator. His books include Sole Survivor 1, Sole Survivor II, The Encampment By The Gorge & Blood Memory, Autotomy Cocktail, and his latest release, When the Cicadas Stop Singing.
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 2022. (After that date, the price will go up.) A paperback will follow.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Among the Tombstones trilogy of interviews. I’m certainly looking forward to release day!