Friday, June 10, 2011

Author Spotlight: G.R. Yeates

I belong to a Facebook writer's group called Indie Writers Unite! On this group, we are having our own little blog tour, featuring other authors. So, today, I'm interviewing G.R. Yeates, author of The Eyes of the Dead.

Vampires are loose in the trenches of the First World War.

Passchendaele, 1917. Private Reg Wilson is a man with a name but no memories. A soldier who remembers nothing of life before the fighting began. Until he comes to Black Wood, a tainted place that knows him intimately. There, he will discover a darkness buried long ago by time and dust. An appetite that has been awoken by war. A hunger that will feed upon his blood, his regrets and his worst fears. It will show him what he has forgotten. It will show him nightmare made flesh. And, before he dies, it will make him look deep into the eyes of the dead.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for publication since January 2007 and I started researching my debut, The Eyes of the Dead, in June 2006.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve written in one form or another since I was a child. Since 1998, I’ve regularly written poetry and I’ve tried my hand at song lyrics as well as I was involved in a few bands in my twenties. So, it’s always been there really and I’ve never been short of ideas or inspiration. To answer the question, I don’t know what inspires me because it has been a constant part of me.

What kind of environment do you write in? At a desk? Using a laptop? Paper and pen? Music or quiet? Food?

Usually quiet unless I need some motivation then I crank the music up. I need to be at home with my computer and have my books around me for comfort and occasional referencing. I’ve tried writing in other environments and something is missing. I’m never that satisfied with writing done away from home.

Why do you feel you had to write The Eyes of the Dead?

The idea just came to me really. Bringing together vampires and the First World War had not been done before to the best of my knowledge and I’ve always been someone who can only be seriously interested in a project if it’s not run-of-the-mill or the norm. It has to stand out and strike me as having some originality to it.

What character speaks the loudest to you? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others?

The lead protagonist, Reg Wilson, speaks the loudest to me, partly because I’ve known him for almost five years now in various incarnations. The other characters have been fairly consistent as the book has grown and developed but Wilson, who goes through the most punishment in the novel, has also gone through the most punishment as the novel has gone through the editing process more times than I can remember now. It’s also been a rough four years for me as I’ve been starting out so I guess my identification with Wilson has grown because of that as well. He’s become a mirror for some of my own frustrations and pain.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Not much to be honest and that’s because I don’t think a writer ever stops writing. We’re always thinking of stories, characters, ideas and sometimes dreaming them into being when we should be getting a restful night’s sleep.

What was your first introduction to horror literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write in?

My first introduction was the collection Monsters, Monsters, Monsters by Helen Hoke. It had a number of the greats between its covers like Joseph Brennan, Arthur Conan Doyle and Ray Bradbury but the one that had the most lasting effect on me at the time was the story the collection closed with; H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider. It was a melancholy coda and it resonated with me very deeply indeed.

Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, that leaves you wondering where that came from?

All the time. Every day. That is usually how I start a novel. I need to be able to conceive of something unsettling, disturbing or grotesque enough to unnerve myself before I set to work. If I’m not scared then the reader won’t be either.

What project are you working on now?

I’m working on the second book in the series begun by The Eyes of the Dead. The title is The Shapes in the Mist and it is set during the zeppelin air raids of London during the First World War.

Is there anything you'd like to say to your readers and fans?

I would like to say that I hope they enjoyed the book and that I wish to continue to entertain them with everything else I write.

Some just for fun questions:

What's in your refrigerator right now?

Well, I live in shared accommodation so there’s a variety of things. My share of the goodies though includes a bottle of Coca-cola, because I need the caffeine to top up my nervous energy reserves, a cottage pie and tomorrow’s lunchtime sandwiches.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

My favourite superheroes are Batman and The Punisher so I think I would eschew superpowers in favour of being a merciless vigilante in black leather like them.

What is your favorite movie?

The Whole Wide World, directed by Dan Ireland, starring Vincent D’Onofrio and Renee Zellweger. It’s a dramatisation of the romantic relationship that took place between Robert E. Howard and a schoolteacher he befriended, Novalyne Price. Her diaries formed the basis of the screenplay and they make very moving reading as well. I also think the sequences where D’Onofrio ‘acts out’ Howard’s character, Conan, are more intense and powerful than all of the other film adaptations of the man’s work put together.

The Eyes of the Dead is available at:

Further information on G.R. Yeates is available at:

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