Amazon Blurb: Jim Goforth is a horror author currently based in Holbrook, Australia. Happily married with two kids and a cat he has been writing tales of horror since the early nineties.
After years of detouring into working with the worldwide extreme metal community and writing reviews for hundreds of bands across the globe with Black Belle Music he has returned to his biggest writing love with first book Plebs published by J. Ellington Ashton Press.
1. When did you start writing horror?
I guess I probably started writing horror right away when I was a kid, because my earliest stories were invariably filled with fearsome monsters and freakish beasts, ghosts and outlandish settings. I began to write not too long after I first learned to read and I was one of those kids in class who wrote the kinds of things teachers seemed to enjoy reading out to the others. Possibly to scare them into line…
2. Have you written in any other genre?
In terms of published output, no I haven’t; horror is where I love to dwell and where I see myself remaining in for the foreseeable future, but in just writing unpublished stories yes I have. I’ve written off and on for the majority of my life and I’ve ventured into all kinds of different areas aside from horror. Fantasy, sci/fi, westerns, adventure, urban, possibly even bordering on erotica due to the pretty explicit nature of some of the scenes I’ve written, have all played a part over the years, but horror eventually won out as my most preferred genre. I’ve written a lot of stories which have been far removed from horror, but the first couple of books I wrote as a teenager were when I was deeply enmeshed in horror and reflected that in their subject matter. Everything I’ve so far published in the way of books and stories have all been rooted in horror, though not all entrenched in the one same sub-genre of it.
3. What makes you uncomfortable?
Trying to get to sleep on a hot Australian summer night. It’s impossible. But in reality, not too much. With regards to writing, nothing. There are no particular topics, subject matter or things explored which are uncomfortable, even though they might be wholly unpleasant. When it comes to horror, I don’t think any stone should be left unturned which is why I tend to verge more towards the extreme end of the spectrum with my own work and plenty of others in the genre do likewise, or take it even further than I do, which is always great.
4. Does your family read your work?
Some of them do, some of them don’t. My parents are very big readers too, which is where I attribute my love of books and reading to. Horror isn’t exactly their cup of tea, but my dad is actually in the midst of reading Plebs right now. He went into forewarned, so I guess I will find out what his take is on it when he finishes it. If he finishes it.
5. Does your writing make you uneasy?
Not particularly, more often than not it makes me laugh at inappropriate moments. Whether that means there is something obviously wrong with me is yet to be ascertained, but I write the type of things which I love to read. Technically I am my own biggest fan in that regard, as well as being my own critic, but I wouldn’t say anything I write makes me uneasy. I acknowledge the fact that there are some horrendous things out in the world, and whether I explore them from a phantasmagorical angle or a more realistic close to the bone approach, it’s more a case of me making others uneasy with my writing. As long as I achieve this, as well as entertaining, or shocking, frightening, intriguing people, then I’m pretty happy with that.
6. Who would you say you write like?
I think I mostly write like me. I’ve been told Laymon, among others which suits me, but there is no intention to write like anybody else aside from myself. When I first decided to try and write a book, the results were highly derivative of all the authors I was reading at the time. It was full of my own characters, but the overall aesthetic wasn’t entirely my own style and it wasn’t until after I encountered Laymon’s work that I realised attempting to emulate the styles of others wasn’t the way to go, and soon discovered my own way to write and tell a story. Consequently, there is a vast difference of styles between my first book foray and everything that has come after it. I do see some similarities with the likes of Laymon and other splatterpunk exponents and myself, but plenty of notable differences too. Ultimately, I write like that Jim Goforth guy.
7. Who are your favourite authors?
Richard Laymon, Edward Lee, Bryan Smith, Brian Keene, Bentley Little, Graham Masterton, Jack Ketchum, Stephen Laws are a handful of my definitive favourites, also the likes of Catt Dahman, Lucy Taylor, Sephera Giron, Matt Shaw deserve a mention. There are a whole host of awesome up and coming authors who I can see becoming firm favourites too. Chantal Noordeloos, Scott Essel Pratt, Mark Woods, Stuart Keane, Alex Johnson and many others are ensuring the future of horror is in excellent hands.
8. Who influences you as a writer?
Richard Laymon is my chief influence and inspiration when it comes to writers and has long held that position, though I’m also influenced by extreme metal musicians (I could rattle off a list of black and death metal protagonists here, but in the interests of keeping this under several thousand words I won’t) as well as horror and grindhouse filmmakers such as Tarantino, Rodriguez, Roth, Zombie etc. Early on when I first tried my hand at writing horror many, many moons ago (before I even discovered Laymon) I was heavily influenced by the likes of Masterton, early King and Koontz, Dan Simmons, Robert McCammon and Shaun Hutson.
9. Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?
I honestly can’t remember the very first horror book I read though it was possibly one of King’s earliest or something of that nature. I was reading very young and I was a voracious reader, going through all kinds of books at a rapid rate. Once I discovered horror I read anything and everything of as many different authors I could find, and when I came across a particular author I would seek out everything of theirs I could and read them all. I would pore through the ads that used to be in the back of various horror imprints; Tor, Headline, Cemetery Dance, all those kinds of things and make lists of all these other authors I hadn’t experienced yet and then I would comprehensively mine all the libraries around to find works by all of them. That was actually how I discovered the late, great genius Richard Laymon himself.
10. How old were you?
I probably wouldn’t have been any older than ten, maybe even younger when I first started into horror and though I used to read just about anything and everything in terms of genre, horror was the grand favourite, head and shoulders above the other things I liked to read.
11. Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?
Not particularly no. With my chosen genre, that means I’m able, perhaps even expected, to delve into the darkest corners and murkiest of topics, and I will do so without any qualms. By that same token, there are plenty of distasteful subjects that possibly should be avoided, but there are certain ways to approach absolutely any of those, without glorifying them or coming off as condoning them, especially if they are deemed taboo or trigger material.
12. What was the best advice you were given as a writer?
The same advice I give to most others when they ask. Just write. If you love to write, then do it. Don’t be discouraged by critiques, or rejection or any other things you see as obstacles in achieving what you set out to do. If you love to write, then write.
13. If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?
I don’t think I would do anything differently, aside from perhaps getting back into my horror writing a little earlier than I did. Like I mentioned before, I started writing very early and even tried to get material published years and years ago (long before social media even existed and the ease with which it has made communicating with publishers, other writers etc) through the old snail mail process of sending physical manuscripts around. For years after that my horror writing was on hiatus while I was involved in a number of other things, a variety of different jobs, becoming involved with working in the universal extreme metal scenes and things like that. However, from the point of launching back into my writing, finishing books and stories, researching and seeking out a suitable publisher and having my debut novel published, I really wouldn’t alter that at all. I’ve ended up with a fantastic publisher who are a perfect fit for me and I have no intentions of looking back, or second guessing anything that led up to this point.
14. How many books do you read a year?
It varies and though I might not read nearly as many as I did when I was a horror hungry youngster, I still make time to read. A few books a month is probably a relatively accurate number, though that might equate to just one in one month and then four or five the following month.
15. Do you write every day?
Yes I do. The amount I get written day to day is variable, but I usually average between 2-4k words a day, sometimes more, but generally not too much less. Most of my writing is done late at night, since my day time is eaten up by an assortment of other activities, but it would be extremely rare when I don’t actually manage to get a good quota of words written.