Author Interview – Paul Melhuish

His Other Work

paulmelhuish.wordpress.com/

Books & Stories
  • Terminus (2008) published by Greyhart Press. (UK)
  • Do Not Resuscitate (2009) Murky Depths Magazine
  • Choice Hill Farm (2010) Horrified Tales magazine
  • Necroforms
  • High Cross
  • Fearworld
  • Dark Choir
  • "The Last Economy" from Shoes, Ships and Cadavers: Tales from North Londonshire

    Author's Note
    I very much look forward to reading all the stories in Paramensia. Many thanks for the interview.
  • Story Art Sneak Peek

    Amazing Artwork By Daniela Rivera

    "End Bed"

    Anthology: Paramnesia
    Release Date: April 7th, 2023
    Preorders: Kindle | Paperback
    About the Author: Paul is a 52-year-old Occupational Therapist and writes in his spare time. His latest novel DarkChoir was published by Silver Shamrock Press in 2020, before that, his previous novel, High Cross, was published by Horrific Tales in 2018, along with other short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. He remains a proud member of the Northampton Science Fiction WritersGroup.
    Q & A

    How does it feel to have this story published for the first time?

    Absolutely wonderful. I've been looking for the right publisher to publish 'End Bed' for a while now and I'm so glad it's to be included in the Paramnesia anthology. Great title for an anthology by the way.

    What inspired the idea for your story?

    I worked in a hospital here in England and thought 'Great, this should give me lots of inspiration.' Although I picked up a lot of medical knowledge which came in handy for other stories, 'End Bed' was the only story directly inspired by the experience. There was this one bed (Bed 4 in bay 2 on Ward 18) that people seemed to meet their end in but I think that was just coincidence. I hope.

    We know that writing can be a tumultuous journey with a lot of obstacles, what is your kryptonite as a writer?

    Do not write after 8pm or under the influence of alcohol. No, seriously. If you are not enjoying writing a story or a scene or a certain plot in the story then that will come out in the writing. The idea has to be strong enough for me, as a writer, to put the time and the effort into it. Unfortunately, you only know if an idea works when you begin writing it down. I've got three quarters of the way through novels before and realised it isn't working so didn't carry on. That's a lot of time wasted.

    Clearly, you’ve succeeded at writing a captivating story for GrendelPress, but we all start somewhere. What advice would you give yourself as a young writer?

    The usual advice young writers get is 'write what you know.' While I think there is validity in this I'd say 'Write what you like.' You have to enjoy writing or it becomes a slog and I don't think it should be.
    For myself, I'd tell my younger self to get someone, preferably another writer, to beta read his work. Feedback is essential. 'End Bed' was workshopped by my writers group before I began to submit it.
    The other advice is give, especially when trying to get published is, never give up.

    We’d like to argue that every good story makes both the author and the readers feel something. What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with your story?

    The central premise of 'End Bed' is 'Did it happen or did he imagine it?' The theme that the story deals with it death. Shakespeare referred to it as 'The undiscovered country from which no traveler returns,' and he's not wrong. I can't tell you what beliefs I've challenged with the story but what drove the story was my own utter incomprehension of what happens after death. I saw people die in hospital and it left me utterly perplexed and, frankly, disturbed as to where we go when we leave our bodies. I myself have a Christian belief but death still freaks me out. I wrote 'End Bed' out of my own fear of dying. You are more exposed to it in hospital and, if anything, the experience challenged my own complacency about death. Wow, this is a bit grim. Let's get to the next question.

    Tell us about your favorite author. What about their book(s) call to you and how do they inspire your own writing?

    When I was writing 'End Bed', I was (as I said earlier) working in a hospital. It was very stressful and mentally tiring. One of the things that kept me going was reading Adam Nevill's book 'Apartment 16'. Adam's technique is very well thought out and he alludes to what is unseen rather than reveling the horror in all it's glory. I think there's a lot to be said for this subtle approach and harks back to the old masters such as M.R. James (another one of my favorites) as E.F. Benson. For example, they'll casually state that the character is totally alone in the house but there are now some footprints in the dust where there were none before causing the reader to realise that something weird is happening. I highly recommend Adam's book 'Last Days', which is packed with this sort of thing.

    What do you love most about your story’s genre?

    'End Bed' fits neatly into the Horror genre. What I love about Horror is the scope it encompasses. Horror is based (largely) in the real world but that reality is twisted to enable the inexplicable to happen. Having said that, Horror doesn't have to be exclusively supernatural, it can overlap with the genres of crime or even romance (The film Ghost with Demi Moore has horror elements). Good horror, (like good sci-fi) should be thought provoking and have a point to make. My go-to example of this is Frankenstein.

    What are some other genres you’d like to break into and why?

    I've written a psychological thriller which I'm trying to get published. I like the idea of the sub-genre known as 'domestic noir'; what lurks behind the doors of quiet suburbs, what secrets do they keep?
    I've also written science fiction and belong to a science fiction writers group (who also workshop horror, lucky for me). I like to cross science fiction with fantasy and have my heroes land in their spaceship on a planet ruled by an evil magical king or queen. I don't think this cross over has been explored enough. I'm a big fan of Michael Moorcock who was writing thing kind of thing but would like to invent my own mythos for the 21st century.

    If you had to pick another story of yours to share with your readers, what would it be?

    There is a story called Cold Readings that I finished last year. Here is the premise
    Anna Harvey in the manager of Huxlow House, an isolated nursing home for the elderly located in the middle of a large forest. Her latest resident is an elderly lady named Dorothy Spires, one of the worlds most famous mediums. Her late night TV shows used to be viewed by Millions. At the end of her life, and suffering from dementia, Dorothy has checked into Huxlow House but she hasn't arrived alone. Soon after her arrival, the hauntings begin.
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