Some of you may have seen my recent review of Greg Chapman’s novella The Eschatologist in Edition 26 of SQ Mag. Today, Greg joins me to talk about his first novel length work, Hollow House, to be released later this month by Omnium Gatherum.
The Temple of Folly.
That was the original title of my debut novel, Hollow House.
Whilst I absolutely love the title, Hollow House, I still do have a fondness for the original, because it encapsulates the presence the house has throughout my book.
I believe I always knew my first novel was going to be a haunted house tale, but at the time I had no real clue on how to make it stand out amongst the thousands of other haunted house tales out in the wild. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I was going to have to write a haunted house story by not actually setting it inside the haunted house.
Being my first foray into writing a novel-length work (I’ve written five novellas and a bunch of short stories previously) I really struggled putting pen to paper. It wasn’t until I decided to give the haunted house a backseat to the story that I really felt empowered enough to write it. So in a sense, Hollow House is more about the people who live around the house that may or may not be haunted.
Next door to the scary house there’s a nuclear family that just doesn’t get along, down the road is a doddery old couple, a little further away is very disturbed loner, who can only connect with women if he locks them in his mother’s bomb shelter. On the other side of the street is a divorcee trying to help her suicidal daughter, and finally, right across the street from the house of evil is a journalist, who’ll go to any length to get a great story.
Instead of taking you into the scary house, I take you into all the other houses and reveal how the scary house slowly feeds on their insecurities and foibles.
I think we all wonder about what’s going on in other people’s houses. Most of it will be good, but there’s a lot of bad stuff going on too. Maybe there’s an unhappy couple who argue all the time? Maybe there’s a father who thinks it’s easier to chastise his kids, rather than raise them? Or maybe a teenage girl desperately trying to find hope in her life?
Maybe there’s an old house on the corner of that street that only looks empty?
These are just some of the themes I explore in Hollow House.
The event that brings all these people together is the discovery of a body inside the house that’s supposed to be empty. How the smell of death makes them aware.
Once, when I was a journalist, I went to a neighbourhood where someone had died inside their house and was only discovered when the nearby residents smelled death. We went there because a few weeks prior, the person who died had been attacked in a home invasion.
I recall interviewing many of the neighbours about the man as the smell and the flies pervaded around us. I’ll never forget that smell, but what I won’t forget is how little the people knew about him.
I explore that in my novel too; the sense that we’d prefer to keep to ourselves rather than have a chat over the fence.
Maybe apathy is what helps evil thrive.
Why don’t you visit Hollow House and find out?
I certainly plan to! Thanks for joining us Greg, and best of luck with the Hollow House!
No one in Willow Street pays it any notice, not the disgruntled Campbell family next door, not Alice Cowley and her suicidal daughter, or Mr. and Mrs. Markham down the road. Not even Darryl, the loner at number seventy, who is abnormal himself, thinks much about it. It is just the old Kemper House, forgotten and abandoned.
Until it makes itself known.
When the stench of death wafts from Kemper House through Willow Street, and comes to the attention of recent resident and newspaper reporter, Ben Traynor, it starts a chain of horrors that brings Kemper House’s curse into their own homes and leads others direct to its door. Kemper House not only haunts its neighbours, it infects them with an evil that traverses time and reality itself.
Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist from Australia. After joining the Australian Horror Writers Association in 2009, Greg was selected for its mentor program under the tutelage of author Brett McBean. Since then he’s had more than a dozen short stories published in magazines and anthologies in Australia, the US and the United Kingdom. Greg is the author of four novellas, Torment, The Noctuary(Damnation Books, 2011),Vaudeville (2012) and The Last Night of October(Bad Moon Books, 2013). His debut collection, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares, was published by Black Beacon Books in September, 2014. Voodoo Press released his latest novella, The Eschatologistin January 2016.