Author, Tim Major graciously took time to answer questions about the characters, and inspiration behind his latest horror novel, Carus &Mitch.
Carus & Mitch is available NOW from Omnium Gatherum, Amazon and major online booksellers.
Francis Xavier: What is the first line from Carus & Mitch?
Tim Major: I’m awake and upright and clutching the blankets. A name echoes from my dream. Mitch.
FX: What inspired Carus & Mitch?
TM: Shirley Jackson’s novel, We Have Always Lived In the Castle, features two young girls living alone, though they also go out into their neighbourhood. I was interested in the idea of two sisters who lived in similar circumstances, but who never left the house at all. The reasons for that situation developed from that initial idea – though the truth about what’s outside the house is left for the reader to determine.
FX: Three words to describe your writing?
TM: Unsettling, nostalgic, speculative.
FX: Which part of Carus & Mitch challenged you the most?
TM: After deciding to feature only two characters in the book, I wrestled a few times with making scenes feel distinct from one another. Hopefully readers will feel that there’s a nice development of both characters that holds their interest.
FX: Which of the characters in Carus & Mitch do you most identify with?
TM: Carus, the elder sister and point-of-view character. I don’t think you can write from a character’s point of view if you don’t empathise with them on some level. I wrote the story while my wife was pregnant with our first child. I think I gave Carus all the worries about increased responsibility that I was feeling myself at the time. Her love for Mitch is pretty touching, I think.
FX: What did you learn about yourself as a writer while working on Carus & Mitch?
TM: That short, plain sentences do the job nicely. My earlier writing was a bit more convoluted at the sentence level. These days, at least on a good day, I opt for the simplest way of expressing myself. There’s often ambiguity in my plots, but having additional ambiguity in the prose itself would be pretty frustrating for readers.
FX: What elements make for good horror fiction?
TM: Taking the familiar and revealing its creepier side. Generally, this doesn’t even mean bolting the scares on. Everything, no matter how benign, can be a threat sometimes.
FX: What are your thoughts on genre blending in works of fiction?
TM: My feeling is that if a writer isn’t mixing genres, they’re not really contributing. Of course, there’s something wonderful about a genre piece that nails all of the conventions perfectly, but examples of that are rare. I’d say that all of my favourite works of fiction are a mix of genres, and also a mix of the general and the deeply personal.
FX: Where can my readers find more about you and your work online?
TM: I blog at www.cosycatastrophes.wordpress.com, tweet @onasteamer and I’m on Goodreads too.
1. Favorite horror writer?
2. Favorite movie?
a. Don’t Look Now
3. What scares you?
4. What’s one word you overuse?
5. Favorite place to write?
a. A busy office, with headphones on
6. Title of your first published work?
a. Carus & Mitch
7. What book do you wish you wrote?
a. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
8. What are you currently reading?
a. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham
9. Coffee or tea?
a. Coffee, coffee, coffee
10. Favorite color?
a. Dark blue
11. Beer or wine?
a. Red wine, please