Wakeful Children is a collection of highly imaginative and inventive short stories written by S P Oldham. You will be unwittingly taken on a journey to witness the twisted brutality of Joe Gallows, the weird dream-scape of The Sandman, the ice-cold grasp of The Face of the Gale, the elemental horror of an ancient, evil entity in Devil's Drop. You will visit some of the residents down a darkly troubled street in Absorption; watched over by a beautiful, malignant presence all the while.
These and other tales make Wakeful Children an extremely unusual, compelling and refreshingly different read in this genre. One that will leave you thinking of it long after you have turned the last page...
1) As a female horror writer what do you bring to the table in terms of what of you write?
I write horror across a broad spectrum, from graphic gore and strange speculative fiction, through to more subtle and understated ghost stories and eerie tales. My love of horror comes from – and remains well within – the written medium, i.e. books. I rarely if ever watch horror on screen, although I do like a good ghost story or a supernatural tale.
There seems to be a modern view that to be a ‘true’ horror fan, and thereby in order to write horror well, you have to be a fan of horror films and on-screen gore. I disagree. When you look at some of the classic names in the genre – Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, they all pre-dated on-screen horror either partially or completely, yet their stories remain abiding horror favourites. Their imaginations alone fed their writing. They didn’t need to watch increasingly graphic, explicitly violent films as a means to keep the creative juices flowing. I think that this perhaps also brings a freshness to writing, in that it is less influenced by the dictates of horror films and more true to the horror of one’s own mind. That said, if someone ever expressed a wish to turn one of my stories or books into a film I would be over the moon!
2) Do you think female authors are underrepresented in the horror genre?
Possibly. I know of one or two, though if I am honest, if asked to think of horror authors I would probably come up with male names first. I don’t think that is rampant sexism on my part, they just happen to be the ones I know and have read. Is that because the industry is more geared towards promoting them, or society more conditioned to accept them? I really don’t know, but they are interesting questions.
3) Tell us about your book(s)
I have two short story collections, ‘Wakeful Children: A Collection of Horror and Supernatural Tales,’ and ‘Hag’s Breath: A Collection of Witchcraft and Wickedness.’
‘Wakeful Children’ is a compilation of short stories embracing the spectrum of horror I previously referred to, in that some of it, such as ‘Joe Gallows,’ is graphic horror, whilst other stories, like ‘Absorption’ or ‘Devil’s Drop’ are more supernatural in nature. ‘Hag’s Breath’ is a collection of stories centred around witches, some more traditional than others but, in the words of one reviewer, “if you think these are your standard black hat, black cat witches you’d be very wrong!”
In addition to these two collections, I also have two books in what will eventually be a series of three, based on a zombie/apocalyptic theme. These books are called ‘Sleep, Think, Die’ and its sequel, ‘The Undertaking.’ I am working on a third and final book in this series, as well as a stand-alone horror book on a different theme.
Wakeful Children will be available on paperback sometime in the New Year. At present, the other books are e-books only.
4) Why is horror writing important to you?
I think it is because of all the genres out there – and I have dabbled and continue to dabble in a few – this is the one I find the most satisfying and which has the most to offer in terms of possibility and richness of imagination. When writing horror, or speculative and dark fiction, you can really let yourself go. There is such scope for vivid imagery. There is a whole wealth of legend, myth and folklore from which to draw inspiration. You can feed in to the most basic and elemental needs and fears that exist within yourself, an inherently human aspect and one no one can rid themselves of entirely, however hard they might try. The challenge is to tap into that and if you are very lucky, bring it so to life on the page that your readers want to turn away, or turn out the light, but they just can’t bring themselves to do it…
5) Is the future of horror female?
I would hope the future of horror is neither male nor female, but something genderless that allows readers to decide what they want to read not based on the author’s gender, but on their ability to write, to captivate and to thrill. That said, I do think it is important to showcase and to highlight female horror authors, not so that they can ‘take over’ the genre, but so that they can be seen as equals and accepted as such. As I said before, if there is an imbalance in representation, then initiatives such as this one are very important.
About the Author:
I am 48 years old, happily married to Adam for the last 28 of those years. Together we have two grown up sons and a spoilt Cocker Spaniel. We live in the Sirhowy Valley in South Wales.
I have been writing stories and poetry since childhood. My first success was a poem called ‘Pegasus’ which I was thrilled to have accepted for publication by the village newspaper at the age of 12. Since then I have been published in more than thirty anthologies, various calendars, eBooks and eZines, greetings cards and other media, as well as having a short story broadcast on Rutland Radio’s Sunday Night Story. I only ventured into the world of Self-Publishing in February 2015.
I write primarily in the Horror and Speculative Fiction/ Supernatural genre, though I also write Historical Romance under the pseudonym Lillian White. I currently have three horror fiction books available on Amazon and am in the process of writing a fourth. I also have two historical romances on Amazon and am writing a third. I am an avid dog lover and have also published a book based on life with my beautiful Golden Retriever, Roman.
I AM AN AUTHOR, BLOGGER AND A JOURNALIST.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”