Jay Raven Blog

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01/04/2012
by Jay Raven
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Making A Splash!

I’m often asked where I get my ideas for my dark fantasy tales, and the answer is simple – myths and folklore. History is packed with fascinating – and disturbing – fireside accounts of death, betrayal, evil and trickery.

In Bitter Harvest , which appears in Tyche Books’ Ride The Moon anthology, I took what is seen as an amusing watery legend of the Wiltshire Moonrakers and gave it a profoundly sinister twist.

To find out why this legend sparked a chilling story of death and despair,  read the special write-up on the Tyche website.

 

20/12/2011
by Jay Raven
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Over The Moon!

I’m pleased to announce that my dark tale of smugglers and doublecrosses Bitter Harvest will be appearing in Ride The Moon – the launch title for new Canadian fantasy and sci-fi publisher Tyche Books. The exciting and varied collection 0f 19 lunar-themed yarns appears on Feb 29th 2012.

www.tychebooks.com

13/06/2010
by Jay Raven
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Absolute Xpress hat-trick

Even more great news – my story Malice Through The Looking Glass is featuring in the Absolute Xpress Inhuman anthology due out at the end of July. This is the 3rd consecutive AXP Flash Fiction Challenge where my spooky yarns have appeared.

12/04/2010
by Jay Raven
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Author Interview – Raven on the Rack!

I was interviewed online by Tina Moreau – the manager of Absolute Xpress – last Saturday as part of their chart rush to publicise the launch of Thieves and Scoundrels, their latest short story anthology. It features three of my stories -A Taste of Revenge, Wreckers and Strings.

The chart rush saw Thieves and Scoundrels rise to 25th in the Amazon anthologies chart – not bad for a brand new book!

Here’s a transcript of the show:

Absolute XPress:
Jay Raven, an author who has been published in the Flash Fiction Challenge before, is joining us from the UK.

Jay’s Bio:
Jay Raven is the pen-name of a UK short story writer who – having grown weary of 15 years writing tear-jerker romances and humorous twist-ender stories for mainstream magazines – decided to abandon himself to the dark side.
His first horror yarns Weapons of Mass Destruction and Blood Money appeared in the Absolute Xpress Creatures of the Night collection. And he has three more disturbing fantasy tales in Thieves and Scoundrels.
Scottish-born Jay, whose influences are classic fairy tales and the British “Hammer Horror” films he watched as a child, is currently working on his first novel, Pray For The Dawn – a gothic vampire chiller.

Welcome Jay, it’s good to speak with you tonight.
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:47

11:47
Jay Raven:
Hi, it’s good to speak to you. It’s nearly time for my evening meal here in the UK.
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:47

11:48
Absolute XPress:
It’s just coming up on Lunch hour for me.

Why don’t we start off by you telling us a little bit more about you? Where are you from, what do you do, and how did you find out about the Flash Fiction Challenge?
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:48

11:48
Jay Raven:
I’m Scottish, from the city of Glasgow, but have lived in England most of my adult life. Like all people from Glasgow I have a sweet tooth and a sour disposition 😛 …
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:48

11:49
Jay Raven:
I’m a full-time author, a writing tutor, competition judge and after dinner speaker. My first published piece was a letter to the editor in my local city newspaper when I was 17. As soon as I saw my name in print, there was no stopping me…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:49

11:49
Jay Raven:
I became a journalist, but I always dreamed of being a “proper” writer. And in the mid 1990s I opted for voluntary redundancy and headed gleefully towards fiction land…

Saturday April 10, 2010 11:49

11:50
Jay Raven:
The quick cash was in women’s magazines – so my first years were spent penning tear-jerker romances and humorous sting-in-the-tail stories…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:50

11:50
Jay Raven:
But I always had a darker yearning and when I saw a mention of the Absolute Xpress Creatures of the Night flash fiction challenge on the internet I knew this was my chance. I thought to myself: I used to watch Hammer Horror Films as a teenager, I’ve read Stephen King, I’m a dour Scot with a twisted imagination – scaring people can’t be THAT hard!…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:50

11:51
Jay Raven:
I sent two entries – Blood Money and Weapons of Mass Destruction – and was thrilled when both were accepted…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:51

11:51
Jay Raven:
Entering Thieves and Scoundrels was a real personal challenge – could I pull it off again? And would Absolute Xpress put up with me for a second time? But I’m happy to say, here I am with three stories in this latest flash fiction anthology.
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:51

11:52
Absolute XPress:
And we are happy to have to back again.

So without giving away the plot of the stories, tell us about what you’ve written for Thieves and Scoundrels?
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:52

11:53
Jay Raven:
I don’t really want to go into any details of my three stories – Wreckers, A Taste of Revenge and Strings – as they all contain an unexpected element and I don’t want to spoil the surprise…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:53

11:53
Jay Raven:
But what I can say is that they are all what I’d describe as “harpsichord horror”. That means that they have historical settings or nod towards classic gothic story forms and disturbing fairy tales…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:53

11:54
Jay Raven:
I’m fascinated by the past and often visit historic buildings and creepy “olde worlde” European cities (I’ve just returned from wandering round the back alleys and hidden hideaways in Venice) and love soaking up chilling folk tales of evil and the treacherous doings of the long-dead inhabitants…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:54

11:54
Jay Raven:
I find city Ghost tours are brilliant for anecdotes that can spark all sorts of fiction ideas!
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:54

11:55
Absolute XPress:
Is this the kind of story telling that readers can expect from your other work? You mentioned in your bio you’re working on a gothic thriller?

Saturday April 10, 2010 11:55

11:55
Jay Raven:
These tales are typical of my style as Jay Raven. I try to bring the deadly danger, unpredictability and menace of history alive, with a unique 21st century twist. I don’t like slash and splatter horror, but prefer quieter, more nuanced, psychological terror, where tension and atmosphere are intrinsic parts of the story telling…

Saturday April 10, 2010 11:55

11:56
Jay Raven:
Yes, at the moment I’m working on my first novel Pray for the Dawn – a gothic vampire chiller. 19th Century bounty hunters kidnap an important vampire lord and have to take refuge in a remote East European jailhouse as his relentless kinsfolk battle to free him…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:56

11:56
Jay Raven:
. It’s a homage to classic siege movies – like Rio Bravo, Night of the Living Dead and Assault on Precinct 13…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:56

11:57
Jay Raven:
The collective noun for ravens is an “unkindness” and I’d love to write a collection of historical horror/dark fantasy short stories under the title An Unkindness of Raven. Who knows – maybe a publisher might be interested. If one drops the right hint!
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:57

11:57
Absolute XPress:
Are there any authors or books which you particularly admire, or which have influenced you as a writer?
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:57

11:58
Absolute XPress:
And No i didn’t ignore your hint out of spite 😛
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:58

11:58
Jay Raven:
Great!…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:58

11:58
Jay Raven:
Like many people my age, I was hugely influenced by the earlier novels of Stephen King – Carrie, Salem’s Lot and The Shining. I think The Shining is one of the best horror novels ever written. It’s one of my ambitions to stay at the haunted Stanley Hotel in Estes, Colorado which was the spooky location that gave Stephen King the idea for the book…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:58

11:59
Jay Raven:
I also enjoyed the early work of UK horror writer James Herbert – especially his novels The Rats, The Fog and The Survivor…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:59

11:59
Jay Raven:
Of course, in listing my influences, I shouldn’t forget to mention the grandfather of horror, Edgar Allan Poe – and his famous poem The Raven…
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:59

11:59
Jay Raven:
Raven … hmmm… that would make a great name for a horror writer, don’t you think?
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:59

11:59
Absolute XPress:
You know I think it might 🙂
Saturday April 10, 2010 11:59

12:00
Absolute XPress:
So what is the hardest part about writing, in general, just flash fiction or horror vs. what you used to write?
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:00

12:01
Jay Raven:
I know I’m going to bring down the wrath of the Gods (and upset everyone reading this just now) but I don’t find short story writing too difficult. All those years of journalism taught me to write swiftly, economically and get rapidly to the point – also that demanding readers must be kept gripped and entertained…
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:01

12:01
Jay Raven:
My problem is finding time to write all the story ideas that are popping into my head- so many that I have a list of 50 or so frightening fantasy plots sitting fuming, impatiently, waiting to be written…
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:01

12:02
Jay Raven:
In fact, I sometimes I think it is a curse. I’m keen to write a horror novel, but while I am charting out my treatment for chapter 17 of 50 another short story idea will pop into my head and I’ll just have to write that…
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:02

12:02
Jay Raven:
I really like writing horror – but as my former work was all comedy, the tricky part is not putting in any jokes!
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:02

12:04
Absolute XPress:
Well I think you did a fine job with these stories at least.

Now before I open it up to audience questions, how can readers get in touch with you? Do you have website?
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:04

12:04
Jay Raven:
Simply visit my website at www.jayraven.com and you’ll find a contacts page. I’m always delighted to hear from anyone who loved any of my stories – and willing (but a little less delighted) to hear from anyone who didn’t.

Saturday April 10, 2010 12:04

12:05
Absolute XPress:
Haha Wonderful. Well it looks like we have our first questions already. Folks if you have more send them in…
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:05

12:05
Doris :
How much of your work inspired by places you visit – you’ve just been to Venice…do you just see some place and immediately the idea comes to you?
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:05

12:06
Jay Raven:
Yes, sometimes I’m already getting ideas in the taxi from the airport to the hotel! I find architecture particularly inspiring – creepy buildings generate creepy plot ideas.
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:06

12:08
Absolute XPress:
Well thank you very much Jay for coming by and answering my questions.. and dropping your hints.

Have a wonderful evening.
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:08

12:08
Jay Raven:
Thanks – now I’m off to have my fish and chips!
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:08

12:09
Absolute XPress:
Yum. Lucky You.

You’ve just watched the interview of Jay Raven, who wrote the stories “A Taste of Revenge”, “Wreckers”, and “Strings” in the Thieves and Scoundrels anthology.
Saturday April 10, 2010 12:09