Friday, 1 July 2022

Danny Weston - Author Interview (Q&A) - A Hunter's Moon - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books #28


We all love a Danny Weston book, especially me! Therefore, it was great to catch up with the man himself as part of our next author interview. His latest book, A Hunter's Moon, has been published by UCLan Publishing. It is another masterclass in storytelling that will leave your spine tingling and your fantasy imagination in overdrive! You can check out our book review HERE to find out more. We hope you enjoy this interview and can be tempted into walking the "darkside" of fiction.  It's time to enter at your peril; good luck and we hope to see you again. 

  1. You are a man of mystery so please tell us about your latest mystery and why we should read it?

My latest book is called A Hunter’s Moon. It’s a folk-horror tale inspired by the Scottish legend of the Cù Sìth - the supernatural wolflike creature said to haunt the forest of Tay, the servant of the mysterious Walkers in the Woods. Since moving to Scotland several years ago, I have been taking a lot of inspiration from Scottish folklore and this legend is one that I hadn’t previously heard about, but I instantly felt compelled to write about it. People should read this book if they like a dark mystery with a supernatural twist. It was conceived and written during the lockdown and, it was only after I finished, I realised it could be seen as an allegory about COVID 19.

  1. You have a fantastic way of writing really scary but believable stories. Do some elements in your books have a certain amount of truth to them? If so, could you share what these are?

Firstly, thank you for the compliment. I would say that all my books have truths in them, but they are cunningly disguised as fiction. What I mean is that no matter how fantastic the premise of a story, the characters and the world in which they live must be rendered in an entirely believable way. Once a reader is convinced about the people in the story, they’ll start to care about them. And then they’ll be willing to suspend their disbelief when the story ventures into the realms of the fantastic.

  1. What scares Danny Weston in fiction and in life?

It’s great fun to be scared by fiction. I’ve loved reading horror stories since my teens and the beauty of this kind of horror is that it's caged within the book. I love a good short story. Roald Dahl used to specialise in them before he started writing for younger readers. And I love the short stories of Ray Bradbury and H.H. Munro (Saki). A reader knows that what’s happening on the page cannot really hurt them. 

Real life is a lot scarier - and what scares me are the big subjects like global warming, the rise of the far right, poverty, famine and the possibility of war - all totally out of my control. The best thing about being a writer is that I can have autonomy over the worlds I create. I can impose a kind of order on it all.

  1. I hear you and Philip Caveney are good pals; who do you think would win in a written dual and why?

The two of us used to say terrible things about each other, but lately we’ve been on surprisingly good terms. I think we’ve both come to accept that we owe each other a great deal and I’m finally ready to admit that without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Also, I’m not sure how you’d do a written duel. Fountain pens at dawn?

  1. Which book are you most proud of writing and is there anything you’d change about it looking back?

Inevitably, the book I’m most proud of is my very first, The Sins of Rachel Ellis. It was published way back in 1977. I know I’ve written better books, but this was the one that started the ball rolling. I had been trying since my teens to get a book published and there were two serious attempts before this one. (Looking back, I can see that I wasn’t ready.) Rachel Ellis was my last gasp, do-or-die attempt to crack the nut and thankfully, I got there. I was twenty-six years old and it felt like I’d just climbed Mount Everest.

  1. What kind of childhood did Danny Weston have? What kind of books did he enjoy reading that influenced his stories when he got older?

I had a peripatetic childhood, which is a posh way of saying I moved around a lot. My dad was in the Royal Air Force so every two years, we upped sticks and went to another air base (most of them in Lincolnshire). So I had one of those old-fashioned childhoods where you wander about the countryside, damming streams, climbing trees and generally getting up to mischief. Then my parents got posted to Singapore and I ended up in a horrible boarding school in Peterborough. It’s interesting to note how many of my books feature a boy who has been separated from his parents. Just saying.

  1. I hear your drawing skills are very good; could you draw one of your favourite characters from your book?

I trained as a graphic designer a very long time ago, but I’m rusty these days and usually prefer to leave that kind of stuff to the professionals. I did however come across a sketch I did a few years back, when I was in the early stages of writing Mr Sparks and decided to try and capture the look of the central character. He’s a two hundred year old ventriloquist dummy and may just be the single most evil character I’ve ever created. The finished cover (by James Fraser) is a thousand times better.

  1. Is there a particular question that you would not have liked me to ask? If so, what is it and why? 

I hate it when I’m visiting a school and a pupil asks me that question. ‘Please sir, how much do you earn?’ I hate it for two reasons. One, because money and writing are two entirely different things and two, because it’s always embarrassing when you start crying in public. You can buy the book HERE.  

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