Today on our 10th day of the Wrapped in White Anthology tour from Sekhmet Press, we welcome Patrick O’Neill who says if he were a toy it would be a Mr. Potato head disassembled, and reassembled Frankenstyle! Patrick gives us the inspiration behind his short story titled, The Other One, inspired by true haunted accounts of his childhood. Let’s read on …
I loved the idea of Wrapped in White because I love ghost stories. Few publishers out there specifically request ghost story submissions and so when I came across this, I knew it was for me. Ghost stories are where I feel most at home. Ghost stories are the way forward.
The Other One had an interesting twist a reader wouldn’t expect. I truly felt sorry for the family by the time it all unraveled. Where did the inspiration come for this story?
As a small child I lived in the village of Morton, depicted in the story, and always felt there was something creepy about the place. Even the house I lived in was haunted. I always had to sleep with the light on and would scream if I woke in darkness, which often happened as my mother would come in and turn it off once I was asleep. In my recurring dream I woke to find my bed swaying back and forth on a black, oily sea. Years later I discovered that a child had died in that room, shortly before we had moved in.
What are three of your favorite books/series? Do you feel they influenced your writing?
The Secret History by Donna Tart. I love this novel. I can’t ever remember caring about characters so much in a book. Great plot and beautifully written. A fascinating and terrifying interlace between ancient mythology and reality and a mesmerizing study of guilt and redemption.
The Girl on the Landing by Paul Torday. This book was brilliant because I couldn’t categorize it. It’s like nothing I’ve read before. Very creepy and builds effectively to a horrifying conclusion.
Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James. Every time I dip into this I am taken on spine-tingling journeys through haunted graveyards and churches, ancient libraries and forgotten places. James is the master of the ghost story.
M.R. James is a major influence.
How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing? Tell us something most people don’t know about Patrick.
I like walking and finding remote churches and ruins in the countryside. I watch horror movies and take photographs.
Do you have a specific music playlist you listen to while you’re writing? Do you find different types of music can help or hinder tapping into a specific mood?
No Specific playlist but I love Mozart and Verdi, Metallica and Zeppelin. Music definitely helps, not whilst I’m writing, but whilst I’m thinking and mulling about what to write.
Here a couple of silly questions to bring out the human side of your life –
a) If you were a toy, what would you be and how would people play with you?
Mr Potato Head. Pull off my arms and legs and ears and put me back together again: Frankenstyle.
Do you find inspiration for your stories while washing dishes or taking a shower?
I find inspiration in the strangest and least likely of places: in a park, in a shop, standing at a bus stop. It normally happens when I’m really tired.
What’s on deck for Patrick in 2014? Any new releases we can look forward to?
I’m currently working on my debut novel, No Contrition, a story following one man’s quest to discover why his wife and foster child were murdered. My book of short stories, The Darkest Eyes, is now complete and once all rights revert to me, I’ll be seeking out a willing publisher. I’ve also been asked by a brilliant, Random House author to co-write a Victorian novel, and we continue to plot this story out. I’m taking photographs for a new book that has been commissioned – it’s all about the history of daffodils! It’s a great project.
This year I’m looking forward to appearing in Villipede’s new anthology, Darkness ad Infinitum, with my story, The Westhoff Version; Dark Continent’s, The Sea Anthology, with my story, The Setting Sea; Siren Call’s, Voices from the Gloom 2 Anthology, with my story, The Last Assignment; Fringework’s, Dead Men’s Tales Anthology, with my story, Aye for an Eye; and Dark Quest’s, Trust and Treachery Anthology, with my story, The House on the Lake.
Finally, since we are all lovers of the horror genre – what is your deepest and worst fear? How do you cope with this fear or prepare to handle such a fear?
I have a fear of walking through woodland in the middle of the night, with only the sounds of animals snapping at twigs and rustling through undergrowth. Sometimes I have to do it though, just to feel the fear and try to overcome it. It never works.
Where can we learn more about Patrick?
Patrick O’Neill is a rising talent in the world of horror fiction and resides in Dorset with wife, Nikki, and son, Benedict. His dark and unsettling tales have featured in numerous anthologies and he is currently working on his debut novel, No Contrition. Patrick can be contacted at padzoneill [at] hotmail.com