Here's where any and all of Brian's interviews will be listed so you can peruse them for info at your own pace and pleasure. No longer do you need to worry about them disappearing from the web forever. Enjoy!
Reprinted from Amazon.co.uk
Necroscope: Looking Back
Brian Lumley has enthralled readers across the world with his blood-curdling tales of the monstrous Wamphyri in the Necroscope series since 1984. The series comes to a conclusion with Necroscope: Avengers and to celebrate Amazon.co.uk invited Brian to look back at his bestselling creation.
… And looking quite a long way back at that.
I started to write the first book--Necroscope itself--in March 1984. That's 17 years ago. So if the series had taken just four more years to write, I would have been working on it for a third of my lifetime! Oh, there were a couple of other books between times, and I did a handful of short stories and put together a few collections, but Necroscope the series was the thing. And I have to consider myself fortunate, because there are plenty of writers who spend most of a lifetime looking for that certain something without ever finding it. I am talking about that something which happens to a book when suddenly it starts to write itself, when the ideas come so thick and fast that you simply can't keep up with them no matter how quickly your fingers hit the keys, and when you know that what you're writing is something else, something good, because it makes you tingle.
That's exactly what it was like with the first five books, Necroscope through to Deadspawn. I finished the latter in March '89, five years after I started Necroscope. But in between I'd written Demogorgon, The House of Doors, "Sorcery in Shad", Iced on Aran, and a good many short stories, including those tales that appeared in the Brian Lumley edition of Weird Tales. The Necroscope titles were taking (on average) six months each to get finished--in fact Deadspeak took just a little over four months. And they (the series books) were selling like crazy. Oh, I wasn't Stephen King or Dean Koontz, but I wasn't doing too badly for a guy who'd spent 22 years in the British Army in the service of Her Majesty. In the very beginning, however, it wasn't like that.
My editor at Grafton was Nick Austin. (In fact Nick has been my British editor most of the time, until now.) He liked this book from square one; when it hit the bookshops we were both looking for instant sales … which didn't happen. At the time--some time in '86--I had a 12 thousand pound mortgage, a couple of hundred in the bank, a small pension from the Army, and no prospects other than what I could do with my writing. I simply had to succeed, and personally I thought Necroscope was the very best I would ever do. In fact it wasn't (the Vampire World Trilogy was, but that was still to come). But despite my own and my editor's opinions, the book wasn't selling.
We looked at it, me and Nick: a hefty volume in paperback, it had this very explicit jacket. Just a glance would tell you "This isn't a Romance, a Western, a Mystery, a Fantasy, or SF." In fact the only thing it could be was Horror. In short, it was a horrible jacket! Damn, but in mint condition that same book or books will sell for £15.00 per copy to avid collectors now. And I've only got my own copy! But that's now, and at the time I'm talking about it wasn't selling.
It was Nick who suggested we re-jacket the thing. We did, and off it went; it was quickly reprinted, and reprinted, and … it still is being reprinted. But because it was a sleeper there was an 18-month gap before I started on Wamphyri! I used that gap to write Demogorgon and some other stuff.
In 1986 I attended the World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, and met Tom Doherty, the boss at TOR Books in New York. It was an all-important meeting. Probably I wasn't pushing anything, we hit it off immediately, became good friends … and we still are. (I think our secret is we hardly ever talk about books!) But Tom did go away with a dog-eared copy of Necroscope. And some time later I sent on the sequel, Wamphyri!, with a note saying that this was to be a trilogy.
Come '87 I was living in Brixham in Devon. I came in one rainy night to a great surprise: Melissa Singer, an editor at TOR Books, had been on the telephone to make an offer for all three books (sight unseen on The Source, because it wasn't as yet finished) and wanted to know what I was going to do next.
What I did next was walk around in a daze for a couple of days. But when I came out of it, brother, I hit that typewriter with a vengeance! And I paid off my mortgage, stashed a little money in the bank, booked flights to the US of A to do some mingling (schmoozing) at a lot more conventions, and generally began to feel that I was getting somewhere. Now all I had to do was find out if it was a flash--or even three flashes--in the pan.
TOR had described these books as "a trilogy." But I'd left The Source open-ended in the faint hope that … which is how a trilogy came to be five books long, the first five of thirteen. Thirteen, yes. Unlucky for some.
But not for me.
Deadspawn gave me the most trouble--it was the last, and the most difficult--of the original series. It could be that I didn't want to kill off Harry Keogh, the eponymous Necroscope. But I knew this thing had to end somewhere and the last thing I would do was create another soul-seeking, "oh dear, what's-to-become-of-me vampire," running around not biting anyone except the bad guys! I had stamped my own style on the Wamphyri!, and I wasn't going to change anything just because my hero had finally developed the ultimate photophobia.
So how about a spin-off? In The Source (and in Deadspawn), I had described this terrible place, this Vampire World. Why not use it to write a new series, a big fat fantasy trilogy? Harry was gone, but what if he'd sired a son in Sunside/Starside? Or better still, twins?
For a year and a month after finishing Deadspawn I let the idea take hold, and in May '90 started Blood Brothers. And what do you know, writing the Vampire World books was … it was like doing Necroscope all over again. No, not just a copy, but I got the same sort of kick out of it. Except this time I really did have to write them; they wouldn't write themselves.
And these were big books. They each of them took a year to write… When they were done, I was done … or so I thought. I finished Bloodwars in August '93, gave a big sigh, and completed some smaller projects I'd been working on here and there. (In fact I idled for maybe four or five months.)
But my readers wouldn't let me idle. I got letters, lots of them. People wanted to set up Web sites dedicated to Necroscope. People wanted to know when the next book was coming out. And in the USA Melissa Singer wanted to know that, too. Quite obviously the fans of the series had been taking notes. They'd noticed a gap in the chronology between Wamphyri! and The Source. So what was Harry doing then? (they wanted to know). I got letters that were pleading, others that cajoled, some that where almost threatening. I knew how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must have felt after he killed off Holmes at the Reichenback Falls.
So there was nothing else for it: Harry must come back…
Necroscope: the Lost Years, in two volumes, took two years and two months to write. (Jan. '94-March '96.) And at about the same time I was finishing up on the books, my American sales of the series were heading toward two million. Better by far, Necroscope was selling--in all its manifestations--into foreign language editions, including Russian! (This despite all the, er, rough times I'd given the KGB in those early books.)
But if I'd thought I was off the hook, forget it. Oh, no. My fans wanted more, and what with figurines of some of Necroscope's principal characters, a roll-playing game, a handful of Web sites, comic books and what all--and all dedicated to the series--what could I do but give them more?
Invaders, Defilers, and Avengers most definitely are the last books in the series, which now totals 13 big volumes. But this time I KNOW it's the end because...
Well, you will have to read Avengers to find out why, that's all. Because I'm not about to give the ending away here and now.
So there you go. Necroscope changed my life--in fact it turned my life around--but when certain readers write and tell me how it changed their lives, too … then I know I've done something right.
The books are now being published in 16 countries, including most recently Germany and China (?), and I estimate that they've probably sold in excess of 4,000,000 copies world-wide. People who want to know more, vampire fans, horror fans in general, or readers who can't find the one book they're missing or perhaps don't even know they're missing it, they'll probably find something of interest on my official Web site at: www.brianlumley.com
RLK! Spotlight on...Brian Lumley Interview
Brian Lumley was born on December 2, 1937, the son of a miner, in the coal-mining village of Horden, County Durham, UK. In 1946 he received the lowest marks in his English class and, when he told his teacher he wanted to be a writer, was told to follow his father's footsteps and become a miner.
At the age of twenty-one, he was called up for National Service and was assigned to the Royal Military Police. A nightly ritual of watching escapees caught on the barbed wire of the Berlin Wall, where he served as a military policeman during the Cold War, offered him grim motivation to write. Those cold lonely nights he spent reading what he loved - horror. In the mid-1970's he was the Royal Military Police Quartermaster of Edinburgh Castle.
For 12 years until he left the British army, he hammered out the sort of macabre short stories which had so enthralled him as a child. While still serving in West Germany, an American publisher - Arkham House - printed three of his stories. When he left the army he became a shop security guard in Oxford Street, London, still pounding out the horror stories he hoped would one day be his bread and butter. In 1984 he moved from South Devon to Torquay - four years after deciding to write full time.
Heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft, many of Lumley's early works were "Cthulhu Mythos" imitations, which didn't endear him to some Lovecraft scholars. The four-volume "Dreamscape" series (Hero of Dreams, Ship of Dreams, Mad Moon of Dreams and Iced on Aran), based upon Lovecraft's dreamquest stories, is a more modern rendition of the idea, featuring a hero who becomes trapped in a dreamworld that includes lighter-than-air islands, gigantic sentient trees and fantastic adventures.
His life as a top-selling horror writer began with Psychomech which was published in the UK in 1984 and eventually became a trilogy. But best-seller status came in 1986 with the publication of the first in the Necroscope series. This was Lumley's breakthrough book. Harry Keogh, the hero of the Necroscope series, uses his unique skill to wage an eternal battle against the vampires who prey upon the living and the dead. The inspiration for Necroscope came when Lumley's father died and he wished he could speak to him again. The idea wouldn't go away, and evolved into the character of Harry Keogh - the man who can talk to the dead.
The instant success of "Necroscope" resulted in four more books in the original series: "Wamphyri!," (Vamphyri!), "The Source," "Deadspeak," and "Deadspawn." This success spawned the massive "Vampire World Trilogy": "Blood Brothers," "The Last Aerie," and "Bloodwars," and most recently, the two volumes of "The Lost Years." In addition, "Necroscope" comic books, graphic novels, a role-playing game and quality figurines have been created from themes or characters in the books.
Other books to Brian's credit are "House of Doors" (a sequel has recently been published in both England and the USA), "Demogorgon," six novels in the "Titus Crow" Series, four in the "Dreamlands" Series, the "Psychomech" trilogy, many other one-off novels, and over 100 short stories, one of which "Fruiting Bodies", won a British Fantasy Award in 1989. Similarly, in 1990, Fear Magazine readers voted him the best established author, and he received the award accordingly. Another short story, "Necros," was adapted for and appeared on Ridley Scott's "The Hunger" Series on Showtime Television Network. Lumley's short fiction has often been selected for "The Year's Best Horror," and at the 1998 World Horror Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, he received the horror genre's Grand Master Award.
Lumley's popularity comes from his ability to combine numerous different genres in his novels, which encompass horror, science fiction, fantasy and even espionage fiction. He has written over 40 novels and collections of short stories. Currently, he is also the President of the Horror Writers of America. He attends a number of conventions each year to sign books and meet his fans, who have consistently grown in numbers, making him one of the most popular genre authors today.
Reprinted from Amazon.com
Life Under the Necroscope: An Interview with Brian Lumley
In the course of his prolific career, Brian Lumley has written more than 40 books and has become perhaps the world's most popular writer of epic dark fantasy.
After discovering a collection by H.P. Lovecraft (while in the midst of a military career), Brian Lumley wrote several novels blending and updating elements of Lovecraft's unspeakable Cthulhu Mythos with his own compulsively energetic style. Upon retiring from the military to write full-time, Lumley created his own mythos, deftly combining elements of horror, science fiction, mystery, and even international espionage. His most famous series, Necroscope, revolves around a vampire hunter named Harry Keogh who can literally speak to the dead. Lumley spoke with Stanley Wiater from his home in Devon, England, where he is working on what he claims will be the final volume of the best-selling Necroscope saga.
Amazon.com: Your American publisher just released Maze of Worlds, the sequel to your 1990 novel, The House of Doors. What inspired you to write this particular sequel?
Brian Lumley: Well, it required a sequel because I left it open-ended when I wrote House of Doors eight years ago. I was happy with the first book, but I just hadn't had the opportunity to come back to it. And having just finished the two "Lost Years" stories in the Necroscope series--having filled in Harry Keogh's life in between that period, that blank period--I needed a change in direction. Just to give me a break, for a little while, from the Necroscope. There's a lot more story to tell about the Necroscope world, but I needed that break just to freshen myself a little bit. So mainly that's why--but I was very pleased with the results.
Amazon.com: At this point in your career is it even possible to do a stand-alone novel? Or do your fans and publishers politely demand that you expand everything into a series, as you've so successfully done with the Necroscope?
Lumley: See, this could be the same for all writers, I'm not sure. But when I do something that pleases me, I'm pretty damn sure it will please the audience. If I write something that makes me want to cry, I'm damn sure that I've got my audience into an emotional mood, too. And if I want to stand up and cheer for the hero, I know they're going to do it as well. I've done other series, but especially with the Necroscope series I have an empathy with my reader. I know what he wants, what he expects. I've reached the stage now where I can write a line and go, "Nah--that's not right. That's not good enough!" So when you're writing, and you reach that stage, it would be silly to leave it after coming to have such a rapport with it, as I now have with that series. Of course, there's also the point that the series does remarkably well...!August Derleth once said to me (I had sent him a story where I killed off Titus Crow, and fortunately it never got published; it's lost): "Never kill a hero.You should take note of what happened to Conan Doyle when he killed off Sherlock Holmes--he had to bring him back." And Derleth was dead right! You don't kill off a good thing. Kill the bad guys by all means. But if you've got something good going, do it!Of course, every writer wants to make a living. And I want to make a living. And people are waiting for these stories. So you're right--it is hard to get out of doing them as series.
Amazon.com: Given your popularity, do you ever feel as if you have someone holding a gun to your head, demanding that you produce X words a day, Z books a year?
Lumley: It has not reached that point. Yet. They don't need to put a gun to my head because the ideas are still there. But I'm not blind to the fact that someday those ideas will come to an end. In fact, I will bring them to an end--myself--with the closure of this new Necroscope series. But there's two books to go yet and then... I don't know. Then I may--I can't say this for sure--but I may well have reached the end of the line, the total line by that time.Of course, a writer has to write for a living. Well, I no longer have to. I know that sounds terrible, but it's true!
Amazon.com: But even though that's the case, why are you still driving yourself so hard?
Lumley: Again, it's not that there's a gun to my head... but there is a body of loyal followers who want more... more of my work. [chuckles] I suppose it's like asking a farmer why he keeps feeding the pigs in his sty when he has enough money in the bank not to do this anymore. But there's a village down the road, and they just love his home-cured bacon. So now you can see why he would do it. What I'm saying is that I'm still feeding my pigs because my readers still want my "home-cured bacon." And while I can cure it, I'll keep on doing it. But the first time I deliver a rancid batch, that'll be the end! I'll know when to quit. I'll know when the ideas aren't fresh anymore. And I'll know when writing doesn't give me a thrill anymore. You know, I've heard of writers saying, "Oh, I don't want them clinging to my every word!" Well, good luck to them. I do--I do want them clinging to my every word!
Amazon.com: And your feelings toward critics?
Lumley: Critics I have no time for! A literary critic is someone who can't write, but who loves to show he would have been a wonderful writer if only he could! I used to actually listen to these guys--I used to listen to them. But you can never do right by them anyway. I remember someone once said, "Nobody ever erected a statue to a critic." It's true! It's damn true.
Amazon.com: Some critics have said that you're still writing in the shadow of the wildly influential H.P. Lovecraft.
Lumley: Once upon a time that was their favorite cry: "Oh, Lumley could be good if only he'd find his own voice." What they didn't realize was that I was in the Army at the time--I've only been out of the Army now for 17 years. But the first thing I did when I got out of the Army was write Psychomech. No sign of Lovecraft! Then Psychosphere. Then Psychamok! Then House of Doors. The Necroscope series.... No Lovecraft, anywhere! Now, after 18 years, not a sign of Lovecraft in my work. Yet I still keep hearing that same old cry. Now, when I was in the Army, writing was my hobby. The Army was my bread and butter. But even those early books found a place with the publishers and got published. They couldn't have been that bad--I got paid for them. I've since been paid for them all over the world. But I always had my own voice. The amazing thing now is that most of those so-called critics who were telling me to find my own voice seem to have lost theirs. Astonishing...
Amazon.com: You have a powerful affection for your fans. How much of an influence are they on your work?
Lumley: Well, in the last 10 years they've had all the influence in the world. Since computerization, since we've been able to get on the Internet, and people have been able to talk to me directly--actually they talk to my wife, Silky. She does all my computer work, otherwise I'd never get any work done! But nevertheless, I see everything. And I answer everything--I answer up to 50 e-mail letters a day. Now, this is not me emulating Lovecraft again, who used to write himself stupid (with correspondence) and never got any work done. These are one-liners: "Thanks for the warm words" or "Hey, your comment really pleased me." Short, but not formulized--they're straight from the heart. I try to answer each one.Fans are a very good reason for continuing, because they get a lot of pleasure from my work. Surely, one of a writer's principal reasons for writing must be to give pleasure to the people who read him. So of course I get a kick out of their letters.
Amazon.com: Yes, but the fans may forget how writers must spend most of their days--alone--all but locked away in a quiet room so as to produce those great stories.
Lumley: You're absolutely right, Stan, but I'm not entirely like that. My office door is open. I have a familiar black-and-white cat who's always in and out of here, and it irritates me, but I couldn't do without him! A long time ago I used to have a budgie who used to sit on my shoulder, or on my typewriter (before there were such things as word processors), pecking away at the keys with me. I always have music playing--usually Ray Charles. There's always something happening; I never, never switch off my telephone, so anyone can call me any hour of the day during work hours.I'll do anything to get outside, go into the garden. I'll hurl a mouse for the cat to go after. I'll walk around, string up a few flowers, have a swim--anything rather than sit at my desk! [laughs] But there's a little guy who sits astride my brain with a whip, and if I'm away from the machine for more than a couple of hours during the day, this little guy's lashing away. There's always that knowledge in the back of my head that I've got those few pages to write! Edgar Allan Poe called it an "imp of the perverse." That which "forces you to do that which does not require to be done, to the defeat of everything else that should be done." It's not in control of me--but I'm not quite in control of it!
His Vampires Do a Lot More Than
Brian Lumley doesn't just write novels (and short stories and poetry) he writes series of novels, and series of series of novels. He's a seemingly unstoppable force of nature -- or perhaps, considering his subject matter, a supernatural force. The prolific British author (over forty books and still counting) is best known for his "Necroscope" series, a rich tapestry of vivid characters and complexity that begins by combining the unforgettable Harry Keogh, a man who can speak to the dead, with Cold War espionage and a race of vampires from another world.
Invaders (published by Hodder and Stoughton in the U. K. as E-Branch: Invaders), just out this spring from Tor, is the first of the "E-Branch" trilogy that will end the Necroscope-related titles at 13 books altogether. The first ten Necroscope books have sold 1,500,000 copies in the U. S. alone and they have been or are in the process of being published in nine other countries. (Lumley's total sales for Tor overall have now passed the 2,000,000 mark.) Comic books and a role-playing game have been based on Necroscope themes as well.
Lumley waited for two decades to write about vampires. "When I read Richard Matheson's I Am Legend (God, how many years ago?) it put me off writing my own vampire novel for the first 20 years of my writing career. It was THAT good," says the author." But what's in will out, so eventually I did write it...and as we've seen, the thing got to be like Topsy. But I was conscious that quite a few vampire tales were being written, and I wanted vampires that did a lot more than just suck. They had to have histories, they had to have an origin, there had to be a damn good reason why they hadn't long since taken over the world, and so on. It became very involved, and the more story I told, the more there was to tell."
The complexity of the mythos he has created will, he admits, probably will be the death of it. "The big problem now is that while I used to do lots of historical, geographical, and political (if you will) research, now I have to research my own books! There are so very many threads running through them that if I'm not careful I might easily trip myself up. That's why the series will probably end with this trilogy. It's simply getting too complicated to continue."
The first book in the series, Necroscope, came out in 1986 and became an almost instant success. All the books since have proved popular as well. "The Necroscope books have something for just about everyone; and the Necroscope himself, Harry Keogh, could BE anyone; I mean any one of us. This fellow has really awesome -- heck, terrifying! -- powers, yet the only time you realize that is when he's using them. The rest of the time he is just like you or me, a very human person with human frailties. And because we can't help recognizing ourselves in him, we just have to love him. (In fact Harry is loved by both the living and the dead alike.) I haven't met a male reader yet who doesn't want to be Harry Keogh, or a female reader who doesn't want to go to bed with him. The stories are tight and fast and all the other characters are in-depth and real as I could make them. See, I tell these stories as if they're really happening, and it's very easy to lose yourself in a good lie."
A fan of horror and fantasy fiction since his teens, Lumley was almost thirty when he began writing in 1967. He was serving as a Royal Military Policeman in Berlin. "I was on Night Duty on the desk and had nothing much to do in the wee small hours. I read August Derleth-edited Arkham House collections." (Derleth and his small press, Arkham House, were noted for the posthumous popularization of H. P. Lovecraft.) "They saw me through many a night and shaped the style and contents of my first stories. I actually wrote some of those stories on duty, on that desk in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. And I typed them up from my scrawly longhand and sent them to Derleth who bought them."
By then he was no longer a part of the fan scene, "I hadn't been since I was a kid, 13 or 14 years earlier. I didn't know a damn thing about professional publishers or publishing. And I definitely didn't know that Derleth was the dean of macabre publishers, the man who had first published Van Vogt, Bradbury, Bloch, Leiber, Lovecraft (of course), and so many others that they're literally a Who's Who of our favorite genres. So these stories of mine were single-spaced things on oddly-sized sheets, unnumbered pages, stapled in one corner, rolled up and stuffed into cardboard tubes, and posted surface mail to Wisconsin ... from Berlin! It's just amazing that they ever got there -- let alone that he read them! Can't you just see him trying to unroll them, and having to nail them to his desk top in order to read them? But it appears I was lucky then, and I've stayed lucky ever since."
Lumley returned to civilian life in 1981 and became a full-time writer. He produced --among many other titles -- the science fictional "Psychomech" trilogy -- Psychomech (1984), Psychosphere (1984), and Psychamok! (1985) -- in which a hero with enhanced psychic abilities fights bad guys with similar powers; Demogorgon (UK 1987, US 1992) features the spawn of Satan himself using his supernatural powers to fight his dark side and against his unholy father; four books in the heroic fantasy "Dreamlands" series, and, of course, the Necroscope books which began in 1986.
Lumley's early reputation was linked to his liberal use of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos in both short stories and his earliest novels -- the "Titus Crow" series of the mid-to-late-1970s. Crow, an occult detective, tangles with Lovecraft's monsters in a fantastic extradimensional void in the series. "Without Lovecraft there would never have been a Titus Crow. All Mythos stories are dependent upon HPL, of course. But another big influence was the much-maligned August Derleth, the boss of Arkham House. He viewed the Mythos from a different angle, and if he could do it so could I. Burroughs was probably an influence, likewise Abraham Merritt, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, that whole bunch. But you know, I've read and talked Lovecraft until I really can't do it any more. Why can't we just say of him that he was an original, one of the greats, and that he influenced so many of us that he probably is the most important cornerstone of the weird fiction tradition today...and leave it at that?"
The Titus Crow and Necroscope books are also a Cold War metaphor. "The Necroscope books were guided by what was going on in the world while they were being written. The new trilogy is set in the future a couple of years, so it's pretty much guess-work. And it's mainly ecological as opposed to political. I've been lucky in my predictions so far; the Channel Tunnel I mentioned in the second Crow book (Transistion, 1975) is now a reality. But I really can't say if it's protected by star-stones from Mnar or not. I suspect not..."
Future worlds? Fantastic other dimensions? Star-stones? Politics? Was Lumley intentionally crossing genre boundaries to synthesize, horror, science fiction, and fantasy? "No, my crossing genres wasn't planned. It was just me trying to learn the business of writing, experimenting and finding out what I could do best and where it would take me. The first paperback book I did, The Burrowers Beneath, was a horror story "after Lovecraft". Its sequel, Transition, was a fantasy. The next two sequels were science-fantasy, and the last book in the series, Elysia, was pure fantasy. I was trying 'em all, that's all. But Necroscope? It has bits of lots of genres, but chiefly horror. Let's face it, the best of the "horror" movies do much the same thing. Is Bodysnatchers (original and remakes) horror or science fiction? Is The Thing, or Alien or Predator? See what I mean? On the other hand short stories I've done -- such as Fruiting Bodies and The Sun, The Sea and The Silent Scream -- are pure horror. So if you ask me what I am ... I'm a horror writer." "Fruiting Bodies" won Lumley a British Fantasy Award in 1989 and he was given a Grand Master Award at the 1998 World Horror Convention.
A couple of decades in the military, is not exactly common training ground for most horror writers. Although the author will agree that his first career has enhanced his writing career, he also feels writing offered him an escape from from his military career. "The army took me places, showed me a lot of things, let me meet a great many diverse people -- all grist for a writer's mill. But in places as dreary as Berlin was in 1967, writing did provide something of an escape."
The military also gave Lumley a taste for travel. He's visited or lived in the United States, Cyprus, Berlin, Malta, and more than a dozen Greek islands. He and his American-born wife, Barbara Ann, now live in Devon, but they still enjoy travel and Lumley particularly enjoys visits to the Mediterranean where he can indulge a bit in moussaka, and imbibe a little retsina, ouzo, and metaxa. What would he do if he weren't writing? "There are lots of other things that I haven't done, places I haven't seen. So eventually I'll have to find time for those things while there still is time. We've got one life and the older we get the more we come to realize how short it is. I just like telling stories. Writers are in the entertainment business, and it gives me lots of pleasure to entertain my readers. But I'm no longer driven to write. Now I have to drive myself."
Lumley's books have inspired music as well as reading. "There's a British heavy metal group called Necroscope; I've never met them. And in the States there are a handful of groups that have dedicated work to me. No mistaking the source of inspiration on tracks with titles like 'What Will Be Has Been,' or 'From Northern Aeries to the Infinite Cycle of the Unborn Lord.' Those are from a CD by a group called Epoch of Unlight. HEAVY!" One of his close friends in the U. K, is Keith Grant-Evans of The Downliners Sect. "Sect's been around all of twenty-five years and more; recently did a new CD called Dangerous Ground with yours truly doing voice-overs on 'Escape From Hong Kong' and 'Bookworm'."
But music's been an influence on Lumley as well. "Way back when I was 15 and 16, I had three main hobbies: Rock 'n Roll, the jive (the dance), and SF. I'm talking 1953, '54 here. I was a founder-member of NEZFEZ, the North-East Science Fiction group. We used to meet in a little town close to Newcastle at a pub called The Red Lion and talk books and like that -- you know the scene. I was doing artwork and "poetry" for fanzines (UK and USA) with titles like CAMBER, PEON, SATELLITE, etc. That was the, er, "intellectual" side of me. But I was also buying that vinyl and teaching the jive at a local dance hall. No, really -- at 16, yes! Hey, it was a great way to meet the girls!"
"So music has always been in me," he continues. "I suppose since I was ten and my big brother brought back all those 12 inch records from Germany with him in '48, after he'd finished his National Service. And was I ever into the big bands! Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, the Dorseys, etc! Today, I have this really excellent Ray Charles collection that I started to put together in 1960 in Germany, and been at it ever since. I'm usually listening to Ray while I write."
And where will the future find Lumley? "The future is a devious thing. We're all time-travellers, albeit pretty damn slow time-travellers. We only go forward at a speed of one day per day, one step for every step. And maybe that's the right way to take the future: I'll just let it sneak up on me. I mean, it's been doing it for 61 years, so why try to change things now? More to the point: when the E-Branch trilogy is finished, I think I may return to short stories awhile, just to keep my hand in -- or even to get my hand BACK in! I mean, it's quite a long time since I did any short stories. And I think I'm looking forward to it..."
HorrorOnline.com editor Paula Guran often focuses on authors in the DARKECHO NEWSLETTER, a FREE weekly email newsletter designed for the writers and creators of the field. Email email@example.com with SUBSCRIBE as the subject. More of her author interviews can be found at DarkEcho Horror.