The fine folks over at Crystal Lake Publishing have managed to strap down horror author Jasper Bark for a new story that is due out soon titled STUCK ON YOU. This book promises to be a monster, and I am itching to check it out!
For those of you who don’t know Jasper, he is an acclaimed author and media personality who is noted for his outrageous personality and lack of fear. Crystal Lake managed to get him to answer a few questions, and they were kind enough to share them here. Check out the interview below, and then make a note to check out his new book, STUCK ON YOU AND OTHER PRIME CUTS, when it hits store shelves in May.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
The fact that it’s the genre you go to when you want to think the unthinkable. The genre where all our worst fears and neuroses bubble up to the surface. What if my child doesn’t come home one night? What if my home, my body or my mind is invaded and I’m powerless to stop it? What if consensus reality is just a cosy fiction that masks a deeper more irrational universe than we can ever understand?
This last fear is probably what attracts me the most. Horror stories are where I first learned about people who held heretical beliefs and practiced unthinkable acts in the name of both science and religion. Who had the balls to lift what Shelley called “the painted veil that those who live call life” and peer at what lies behind it. Granted they usually came to a bad end because of it, but in the brief moments before their fall I always thrilled to their Faustian excitement, drunk on the power of forbidden knowledge.
The Gnostics used to believe that fearsome angels, known as Archons, patrolled the outer limits of reality to terrify and attack all but the bravest and most dedicated seeker after the truth from venturing into the unknown. Sometimes the deepest and most profound truths lie beyond a howling chasm of fear. To experience those truths we have to leap blindly into that chasm with no guarantee that we will get to the other side.
That moment of electrifying, near hysterical terror, when we leave behind everything we know to be true, and hurtle towards a new reality, that’s the note of cosmic terror that I love the best.
What were you thinking when you took an urban legend and turned it into a delightfully twisted story called Stuck on You?
Mostly – “Gee, I bet this will make ’em toss their cookies” I wasn’t actually sure it was an urban legend when I stumbled across it on an obscure forum while researching something else. The person posting it seemed to think it was a true story. In fact the tale first appeared on the Darwin Awards site, which is devoted to deaths that are so dumb the victim is given an award for not muddying the human gene pool with their decided lack of smarts. So there’s some debate as to whether it actually happened or not (my guess is definitely NOT).
It was one of those little snippets of information that stuck to the seamy underbelly of my imagination and wouldn’t let go until I wrote a story to get rid of it. Taking the Piss, another story that’s collected in the forthcoming collection: Stuck on You and Other Prime Cuts, was just the same. It was inspired by something hideous I read about that just wouldn’t leave me alone. I sometimes create stories as little traps for the vile and hideous notions that infest my psyche, so I can be done with them and pass them onto my unwary readers. Think of it as a public service.
Stuck on You goes to some pretty extreme places, did you ever worry that you were going too far?
All the time. The fear for a writer working on something like Stuck On You is that you’re going to lose half your readership. That what your describing is going to gross them out so much they’ll throw the story down in disgust. So I would try and slowly ease the reader into each new incident that befalls the main character Ricardo. I would build to a gross climax then scale it back a bit. The thing about the story is that just when you think it’s gotten as low as it can go I’ll find a new depth to plumb, but you have to let up a bit in between. The intense levels of eroticism helps with this as did the black humour. Many readers have said they squirmed while reading it, or felt sick, but most have also said they laughed too, which is good because there is a strong element of slapstick in the story.
There are some really erotic and sexual scenes in Stuck On You. Were they fun to write?
Yes, but they were also very hard (if you’ll pardon the pun). That’s because, in my experience, Sex and Violence are the two hardest things to write well. Not many people have first hand experience of extreme violence so their depictions of it can sometimes seem inauthentic or clumsy. While most people have first hand experience of sex, we make ourselves very vulnerable when we talk or write about it in great detail. Mainly because we’re revealing something of ourselves that’s very intimate when we do. What’s more, its very difficult to find the right language to approach sex without sounding like either a clinical sex ed. description or a euphemism laden dirty joke.
Champions of ‘Quiet Horror’ often claim that ‘anyone can throw in a bunch of sex and violence and get a response’ but I think they’re wrong about this. You’ll get a response, but it won’t always be a good one, because not anyone can write sex or violence well. That’s often why many authors stop at the bedroom door and only hint at the violence. I think they’re making a virtue out of a necessity. However, I do think you can write something of great quality that’s also extremely violent and highly erotic. That’s one of the issues I was hoping to address with Stuck On You. You’ll have to read it to see if I’ve succeeded but I can promise you that if you like either sex or violence you won’t be disappointed.
Why should people read Stuck On You?
Because it’s the sickest, filthiest and most inexcusable thing you’ll read all year. If you think you’ve read everything in horror think again this will take you to an all time low. It’s the ultimate guilty pleasure, the sort of book you have to read with one hand free, partly to hide behind and partly to do other things with.