Authors: F. R. Tallis
Tags: #Fiction, #Horror
Do you have any advice for an aspiring horror author?
I was recently asked to contribute a writing tip to a book of writing tips for aspirant authors. My tip was: beware of tips. It was considered such an unorthodox tip that it was given its own special place at the back of the book. Perhaps I should elaborate. I once overheard two writers discussing the role of research. ‘The important thing is the story,’ said one. ‘I always make sure I have a good story first and then I do my research after. Otherwise I end up doing too much research, most of which I never use.’ The other writer responded, ‘That’s a really good tip: so very professional!’ And he was right. It is a good tip, except
I don’t work like that at all
. In fact, I do the exact opposite. I get an idea, go off and read a large number of books on related topics, and gradually a story emerges. I am not against giving tips and advice; however, I think there is always a danger of implicitly suggesting that some working practices are inherently superior to others and will get better results (and this is clearly not the case). Different writers benefit from different methods.
What scares you?
I have had only one supernatural experience in my life. It was while on holiday in an old French farmhouse in the Loire. I know a lot about the circumstances in which people see ghosts. I also know a lot about psychological and scientific explanations of supernatural occurrences. Yet I am unable to provide a plausible alternative hypothesis to explain what I experienced that night. I wasn’t alone. My wife (a barrister with a scientific background) was also present. She still refuses to accept that what occurred was supernatural (although I suspect more as a matter of principle). I, on the other hand, have my doubts. An invisible presence making noises in the bedroom in the early hours of the morning and then running up and down the hallway is not, to my mind, easily explained. Nor are lights having no obvious source. The only alternative hypothesis that has any credibility, as far as I’m concerned, would be some sort of shared hallucination. But that is almost (although not quite) as implausible as a supernatural visitation. Spontaneous, complex, shared hallucinations are extremely rare, particularly among individuals with no prior history of hallucination, psychiatric illness or drug abuse. Besides (for what it’s worth) I felt perfectly normal at the time. Was I scared? Yes. As well as bemused, confused, and outraged by the impossible!
F. R. T
is a writer and clinical psychologist. He has written self-help manuals, non-fiction for the general reader, academic text books, over thirty academic papers in international journals and several novels. Between 1999 and 2012 he received or was shortlisted for numerous awards, including the New London Writers’ Award, the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, the
Prix de Letrice, and two Edgars. His critically acclaimed Liebermann series (written as Frank Tallis) has been translated into fourteen languages and optioned for TV adaptation.
, his ninth novel, is a horror story set in nineteenth-century Paris and this,
The Sleep Room
, is his tenth.
For more on Frank Tallis, visit his website
or follow him on
F. R. T
The Sleep Room
Writing as Frank Tallis
Death and the Maiden
First published 2013 by Macmillan
This electronic edition published 2013 by Pan Books
an imprint of Pan Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
Pan Macmillan, 20 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RR
Basingstoke and Oxford
Associated companies throughout the world
Copyright © F. R. Tallis 2013
The right of F. R. Tallis to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
The Macmillan Group has no responsibility for the information provided by any author websites whose address you obtain from this book (‘author websites’). The inclusion of author website addresses in this book does not constitute an endorsement by or association with us of such sites or the content, products, advertising or other materials presented on such sites.
You may not copy, store, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
to read more about all our books and to buy them. You will also find features, author interviews and news of any author events, and you can sign up for e-newsletters so that you’re always first to hear about our new releases.