My book is called The Daemonia Anthology. It includes five novella's inspired by some of the most horrific but forgotten murders of modern history. Each story is different. Jesse is about a teenager who is struggling to come to terms with the macabre nature of his younger brother who has just been released from prison. Massacasm is about a young woman whose erogenous zones are in her pain receptors and she explores her sexual nature by inflicting pain on herself before meeting a sadistic murderer who is only aroused my inflicting pain on others. Limestone Pillow is about an abduction that goes horribly wrong in the Yorkshire Dales. Filial Loyalty is about a young schizophrenic who is tired of seeing his mother being bullied by his disabled father and contrives to murder him and the final novella in the anthology is The Jacker which is about a couple who one night try to rekindle the spark in their marriage with a night out in their car only for them to be hijacked by a strange man with a gun. The ensuing car journey leads the couple to delve deep into their memories and they are reminded of the darkest episodes of their youth as they try to understand why karma would deal them such a cruel hand.
How did you come up with the title?
Well each novella contains characters that are hellish in nature. As they are so evil I first come up with the idea of naming the anthology "Devils." I wanted the title to be different so I looked up the Latin translations (yes, each Latin dictionary seemed to give a different answer) to devils and from the answers I got I weaved together the word Daemonia and it stuck...The Daemonia Anthology was born. I found out after publishing the book that there is an Italian rock band called Daemonia Nymphe. I hope they like my book (laughs out loud).
What inspired you to write this book?
I found a book in a charity shop that was a collection of newspaper columns of murders dating back to 1800 to the year 2000. I was reading through and every now and again I would come across a case and think to myself, "yes...I can do something with this!" Then the cogs in my head would begin to turn and from a few paragraphs of fact, fiction would evolve in my head and the next thing I know, it's keeping me awake at night so I just had to write it down. My first novella, Jesse, is based on a boy from the 1880's called Jesse Pomeroy who started off by beating and torturing little boys in Boston, Massachusetts and after his first spell in prison, he moved on to murdering a boy and a little girl. I thought to myself, "what would it be like to be his mother or a sibling?" So I decided to write the novella through the eyes of Jesse's older brother during the months leading up to his horrific crimes. When I finished writing Jesse I became obsessed with writing and from there on, there was no stopping me and seven months later, I had an anthology of five novellas.
I have to say that's pretty impressive.
What inspired you to write horror, which by the way is one of my personal favorite genres.
I cannot really put my finger on any one inspiration for writing horror. I guess I am just interested in things that are macabre. I lead a pretty peaceful, placid life and if I'm honest, I find that quite boring. By writing horror I can escape from my placid reality and create a world that takes the reader, grips them in, hooks them and then sends an electric shock down spine with my trademark macabre twists. I do not like to write about the supernatural, like vampires and zombies etc; I believe that the monsters that come in the form of real human beings are far more frightening because at the end of the day that monster could be your next door neighbor or even sleeping next to you in bed. That idea is far more horrific than any non existent vampire.
Are you working on any current projects?
I'm currently working on the first book of a trilogy called Jehovah's Butcher. I'm about 15,000 words into the project and I've designed and completed the book cover. It is about a schizophrenic who believes he had a vision as a teenager where God told him that the devil has sent his demons into the world and that they exist in people. God ordered him to find these demons and destroy the human bodies in which they possess. My vigilante has been murdering criminals for twenty years and the story begins with him saving a little girl from the hands of a pedophile and her alcoholic mother who has been allowing the abuse to happen. In the company of the little girl my vigilante finds his compassionate side and when the police report to the general public that the little girl is missing and in the hands of a serial killer, the wealthiest pedophile in the world sends a ruthless mercenary to find the little girl and bring her to him before the police find them and an episode filled with Hitchcock like suspense follows.
I can't wait for you to finish that Richard please come back for another interview when it's ready because that sounds epic.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
When I was in year 5 at Junior School (Elementary to American readers...I'm from the UK) I wrote my own version of Robinson Crusoe and my teacher and the class enjoyed so much that I had to read it to the whole school in the assembly hall. I realized then that I had a talent for story telling and I've been dabbling ever since. I started taking writing more seriously last year after four years of struggling/failing to find a job. I don't want my family and friends to think that I'm lazy as I like to be busy and contribute to society in some way and I came to the conclusion that if nobody will give me work, then I will make my own work. I also want to be a positive role model to my son. I don't want him to grow up watching me do nothing with my life. I want him to grow up to be a useful member of society and I hope that one day he can be proud of what I achieve. I just have to keep typing away and maybe one day my books will take off...and if they don't, at least when I get to my dying bed I will be able to say to that I had a really good go at it.
What is it about writing that makes it worth wild to you personally?
I get a buzz when people read my work and tell me their opinions whether good or bad and I get depressed when I go a long time without anybody reading my books. I get a sense of relief when I complete a project and a feeling of gratification seeing my work on the market. The Daemonia Anthology reached #7 in the Amazon Horror Anthologies rankings for five hours. It feels quite surreal to have been only 7 places behind Stephen King, a man who has been topping the horror rankings since the 1970s. Writing is my drug and I don't know where I'd be without it.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don't really have a favorite author as I've read a lot of books and enjoyed many of them. I loved Roald Dahl when I was a kid. He wrote wonderful, colorful stories that make me smile to this day. As a teenager I read a lot of heroic fantasy, like J. R. R. Tolkien and David Gemmell. I read Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk a couple of years ago and it was quite refreshing to see a writing style that is left of the field. His use of narrative appears to break away from traditional and I find that inspirational as I tend to swing towards originality and this is not easy to find in this day and age.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I honestly don't have time to read many books anymore as I get stuck into my projects. I guess the newest author I have read is Tom Rob Smith. I enjoyed Child 44 but I struggled to get into sequels, The Secret Speech and Agent 6. I see his latest novel, The Farm, is doing really well on the market. I might get around to reading it when I get the time though I'll probably get a few pages in and then want to get started on my own project. That seems to happen every time I pick up a book these days.
What is your goal as an author for the next year?
Over the next 12 months I'll be working on Jehovah's Butcher. The first book of the trilogy should be ready by mid September. In between books I'll be adding some more disturbing short stories to the collection. I like to give them away, when Amazon let's me, to promote myself. I hate that the minimum they let me charge for a 5000 word story is 99 cents. I'd rather just give them away.
Well I certainly enjoy your free samples :) Perhaps you should try Smashwords they don't have that limitation and you can still sell your published book through Amazon and Barns and Noble.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank for taking the time out of your day to read my work. It means a lot to me and my family and you keep me ticking over. Without you I would be some crazy dude talking to myself on my computer.
Where is the best place for readers to find your book?
Amazon. Just type R F Whittaker into their search engine and hey presto, there's my work. The Daemonia Anthology is the best value for money. The Daemonia Anthology
Do you have a website?
You can find me on Twitter: R F Whittaker. I have a fan page on Facebook called The Daemonia Anthology or you can add my personal Facebook account, Richard Francis Whittaker.