Conrad Williams talks horror, sparkly vampires and childhood fears of the dark.


Occasionally my work with Starburst magazine allows me the opportunity to interview famous authors. I caught up with Conrad Williams at last year’s fantasycon, nice chap by the way, and he agreed to an interview.

Below is a small excerpt.

Starburst: If we could start with a little something about your early career: where you come from, school, influences, and as a child what scared you?

Conrad Williams: I was born in Warrington in 1969. From a pretty early age I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was lucky in that every English teacher I had supported and encouraged my ambition. It’s not enough, though, to have people on your side. You have to do some grunt work too. I wrote a lot of short stories and pestered people to read them. I remember getting in touch with Ray Bradbury, an early influence, and being a complete fanboy. But he was incredibly nice, sent me a note and a signed photo (which I have framed in my room) and picked out one of my stories for praise. It’s little pats on the back like that over the years that give you help to carry on. Early influences also included the double bill of horror films on a Friday night (BBC2, I think), where they would show one old black and white film (one that stayed with me was Night of the Demon) followed by a lurid colour. I remember how I felt watching these, being moved in different ways within the space of three hours: discomfort and dread followed by deep horror – the colour films that bothered me most (in the best possible way) were the two Dr Phibes movies, Theatre of Blood and The Ghoul. The level of acting in these films often goes unmentioned, but there is some top talent here. The Price films are pretty camp and filled with black humour, but The Ghoul is played with a straight bat. It was an effort to get myself up the stairs in the dark to bed afterwards. I was deeply unnerved by the dark when I was little, probably all the way up to 11 or 12, I would ask for a light to be left on. I definitely felt smothered by the dark; there was a physical weight to it, I thought. I believed I could feel it press in around me.

For the full interview with Starburst, follow the link and enjoy:

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