Last Updated August 1, 2003
Fellow Lumlians ... A Message From Silky
Welcome to the Brian Lumley FAQ
First off let me say thank you to all the fans that have written to Brian or myself. Brian enjoys hearing from his fans and also enjoys responding. It has gotten to the point now where so many of you are asking the same questions ... and the time Brian spends in answering the same questions (which is time lost in his writing), I have compiled a list of the most "frequently asked questions." You will find quite a few here and many of them are answered in depth.
It is now asked that if your questions are answered in this FAQ ... please do not write. If your question has already been answered here you will not be answered. Brian has taken valuable writing time to answer these questions and we will appreciate your honoring this request.
We thank you in advance for your understanding. Now on with the questions:
1. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I was a soldier (an MP) on duty in Berlin. Nights in the Olympic Stadium, the home of the Royal Military Police in Berlin, were long ones. This was 1967, long before the Wall came down. I was reading my favourite literature: macabre stuff of course. Some of it was good, some bad, and some bloody awful! I thought maybe I could do better.
I was keen on Lovecraft, in fact I had been collecting his books for several years. He'd been published (posthumously) by August Derleth at Arkham House, Wisconsin, USA. And A. W. Derleth was the publisher and editor of some of the collections I had been reading. Usually very good stuff.
So I wrote some short stories "after" Lovecraft, and I sent them to Derleth. This was a good idea but badly executed! First, I didn't know a thing about publishing, an editor's basic requirements, the proper approach, etc. And I certainly didn't know that Derleth was the dean of macabre publishers!
I don't know what he must have thought of those first manuscripts ... single-spaced on weird-sized military paper, badly typed, stapled in the top left corner and unnumbered, rolled up and posted to him surface mail (from Berlin, in a tube?) Later, I discovered they'd taken all of five weeks to get to him. But can't you just see him at his desk, having to nail these damn things down in order to read them?
Anyway, he bought them, published them, and Arkham went on to publish two books of my short stories and a short novel, all in hardbound editions. I owe a lot to August Derleth. But then, so do a lot of people. His publishing house was a who's who of all the old and the best weird writers.
God knows where I got the nerve...
2. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
This is a dumb question but one that every writer in the world gets asked all the time. How does a professional artist visualize a scene from a writer's mind? What inspired the builder to place his first brick -- and how did the architect develop the design in the first place? Who explained to the moorhen chick, before it emerged from its egg, that its first effort would be to jump in the water and swim? I'm a writer! Ideas are what it is all about. I HAVE to have ideas, and so they come. But where from? Out of my head, I suppose ... and some might say I am!
3. HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSSED?
I force myself. I don't believe in writer's block. I DO believe in mental idleness. But to admit to writer's block is like saying you can't think. But we have to think even to ... to think! So I force myself. I just keep writing, and if it works -- good! And if it doesn't, I change it around until it DOES work. Sometimes it's very HARD work. But to sit still and simply stare at a blank piece of paper or empty screen is totally soul-destroying, not to mention utterly defeatist...
4. HOW MANY BOOK HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHAT ARE THEY?
NOTE: (US): published in United States. (UK): published in United Kingdom. No (US) or (UK): published in both countries. (OOP): Out of print.
The Caller of the Black (OOP) (US)
Beneath the Moors (OOP) (US)
The Horror at Oakdeene (OOP) (US)
Khai of Ancient Khem (OOP)
Ghoul Warning & Other Omens (Poetry) (OOP) (US)
Ghoul Warning & Other Omens & Other Omens (Poetry) (US) (1999 Updated Printing) (A joint collaboration by W. Paul Ganley and Necronomicon Press.)
House of Doors
The Brian Lumley Companion (US)
TITUS CROW NOVELS: (In Reading Order):
PRIMAL LANDS NOVELS: (OOP) (In Reading Order):
THE DREAMLANDS BOOKS: (In Reading Order):
THE PSYCHOMECH TRILOGY: (OOP in original format.) (Reissued by TOR Books
US 2001/2002) (In Reading Order):
The Compleat Crow (UK) (All of the Titus Crow short stories
in one book)
Harry Keogh: Necroscope and Other Weird Heroes (US)
THE NECROSCOPE NOVELS: (In Reading Order):
5. HAVE YOU EVERY WRITTEN UNDER A PSEUDONYM?
No. I once tried to sell a story to Derleth by someone called Hagna S. Grey. (Or some such.) He said, "God, no! That sounds like Theda Barra! There's nothing wrong with Brian Lumley!" So I took his advice.
6. WHO ARE/WERE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
That's a hard one. There was Lovecraft, of course, but I think every weird writer I ever read probably had something of a hand in my development. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Abraham Merritt, Jack Vance, H. Rider Haggard ... lord, I mean lots of people. High adventure always attracted me.
7. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE NECROSCOPE?
My father died just a few years before I left the Army. He had had a good run: he was eighty-four. But when he was lying there in his box I thought of all the years -- twenty of them -- that I'd been away from home, and all the conversations we had never had. I mean, my father was only a miner, but still you would be hard pushed to find a more intelligent man -- and even harder to find a better gentleman. I would have liked to tell him I loved him, I suppose.
So I went across to his local pub and bought two pints, one for him and one for me. I helped him drink his, too, and I imagined I was talking to him. I got to tell him some of the stuff I should have told him a long time before.
That was the germ of Necroscope. And as for the rest of it, it just growed.
8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK IN THE NECROSCOPE SERIES?
There are two. Necroscope and Deadspawn. I think it's because they're so different. In the first, Harry is so vulnerable, so humble. And in the last he's a monster. But he's still hanging in there, and so he's OUR monster...
I also like the Vampire World Trilogy a lot. I think these three books are probably my best written work to date.
9. WILL THERE BE ANY FILMS BASED ON THE NECROSCOPE SERIES?
In the event I ever have definite news on this subject, believe me you people who visit this Website will be the first to know. But to talk about movies is a mistake, the kiss of death. There are plenty of writers (nice guys, people I like) who've shouted this and that is going to happen ... only to watch it all go up in smoke.
10. HOW MUCH RESEARCH WENT INTO THE NECROSCOPE NOVELS?
A hell of a lot! Locations, historical and current events, you name it. Almost all the alien (Wamphyri) names are culled from real names, tribes, that lived in and around the Romanian regions.
11. HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE WAMPHYRI:
"Vam" as in vampire -- "phyr" as in fear -- and "i" as in eek! Vam-fear-ee, with a hissed, slightly extended emphasis on the fear bit!
12. HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE KEOGH?
"Ke" as in key, and "ogh" as in oh. Key-oh.
13. WHAT IS THE CORRECT READING ORDER FOR NECROSCOPE?
The Vampire World Trilogy:
The Lost Years
The E-Branch Trilogy (and the last of the Necroscope Series)
14. DID YOU PLAN AN EXTENDED SERIES?
No. It was supposed to be a one-of ... but I found the finished book so satisfactory that I had to do Wamphyri. And then I personally wanted to know where the Wamphyri came from -- hence The Source. Deadspeak and Deadspawn were quite deliberately written in response to pressure: my readers wanted more. And since Sunside/Starside already "existed," the Vampire World Trilogy followed in natural procession/progression. The thing just growed!
15. ARE THERE PLANS FOR VIDEO/COMPUTER/GAMES SYSTEMS BASED ON NECROSCOPE?
I did have high hopes but now I'm not so sure. Big questions are yet to be resolved.
16. ARE THERE ANY PLANS FOR ANY OF YOUR NOVELS/SHORT STORIES TO BE DONE ON AUDIO, EITHER TAPE OR CD?
No. There is nothing in the works at this time. The only story on audio (tape) at this time is The Viaduct which is in The Greatest Horror Stories of the 20th Century audio book. (You can find the relevant information on this on this site.) HOWEVER: Silky has produced a 4 CD set of my convention readings and they are available in the Store section of this site.
17. WHAT ABOUT THE COLLECTIBLE STATUES? ARE THERE AT LEAST PICTURES TO SHOW WHAT THEY LOOKED LIKE?
Classic Plastics did some "beautiful" things from The Source. But they had problems with other projects and the thing fell through. I do have some statuettes; the photographs are below.
18. WILL THERE BE MORE MYTHOS/HERO/PRIMAL LAND STORIES/NOVELS?
As far as novels go, I doubt it. I've moved on. The Mythos has more or less stagnated now. There's still a genuine love of Lovecraft, but it's increasingly difficult to find anything new to say. Hero was a heroic fantasy (obviously), but Swords & Sorcery isn't what it used to be. Same goes for the Primal Land stories. Tarra Khash is a personal favourite -- but I really wouldn't know where to take him now. I know Fantasy is big, but personally I can't be bothered with orcs and elves and such.
Post Script: I've recently done a long Innsmouth novelette for a Steve Jones anthology (2003) and I am working on some others at this time. But if and when they are published you'll find all the information on this site, in the Monthly Update on the MessageBoard and the bi-monthly Newsletters.
19. WHEN WILL CANADA GET NEW BOOKS? (This was specifically asked of Necroscope Invaders.)
The following information was given by Melissa Singer at Tor Books.
"The way Brian's licensing works on the newer books is that his US publisher and his UK publisher have agreed to a nonexclusive distribution in Canada. What that means, in essence, is that we can *both* ship books into Canada (if anyone in Canada orders them, that is). So if the British publisher has a book available, in print, and a Canadian bookstore decides to stock that book, the store can go ahead and do so. Equally, if the US publisher has an edition of the same book in print, the Canadian bookstore could choose to stock that edition -- or even to stock *both* editions.
We hear that many Canadian bookstores prefer to stock the US editions, but they may say the same things to the sales reps who handle the UK editions.
So far as current availability, as of late July, if there is an existing mass market UK edition, a Canadian bookstore *should* be able to get it. They should also be able to get the US hardcover.
As for US mass market, that will be next May, according to our current schedules. However, nothing in publishing is to be considered guaranteed until you hold the finished book in your hand (and sometimes not even then), so this may move, though it's not likely.
20. DO YOU HAVE ANY POINTERS FOR THE AMATEUR WRITER? and WHERE CAN I GET MY BOOK/STORY PUBLISHED?
The following information is taken from the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook/Handbook:
One volume of up-to-date accurate listings of national and local newspapers and magazines, radio and TV stations, agents and publishers. Whether you are established or just starting out, here are all the media contacts you need. Addresses, telephone, fax and e-mail addresses, full names and titles are included.
Some information included:
And much more information. (You should be able to find this at your local library.)
21. WHEN WILL WE BE SEEING YOU AND SILKY IN THE STATES AGAIN?
I try to get over as often as I can when my schedule allows. The best thing to do is to check out the Appearances Section of the website as well as on the MessageBoard in Brian's Area/Messages Breaking News.