Author Frank Duffy is no stranger to DEMAIN. Recently we published his ebook collection ‘Distant Frequencies’. His new joint collection ‘Night Voices’ (with Paul Edwards) is out on the 4th of September – it’s currently available for pre-sales…
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Hi again Frank, hope you’re well since we last spoke. Let’s get straight down to it – in writing your stories in ‘Night Voices’ did you have to do much research?
FRANK DUFFY: Hi! As a rule of thumb (for me) short fiction requires a degree of economy. Therefore, I like to keep research to a minimum. To be honest, I find that life experience often serves as the best research for short fiction. For example, my story, Missing Country, is me drawing on personal experience. I did that exact job, the location is real, and that school exists. I simply relied on memory. But more often than not, it’s my imagination going for a run and exercising its artistic license.
DP: And working with Paul – can you explain that process?
FD: I’ve always wanted to work with Paul (Edwards), and we’d even talked about doing something together long before ‘Night Voices’ came about, but it never panned out at the time. Then last year, I floated the idea of doing a joint author collection. Neither of us had done one before and although it’s hardly a new idea, neither is it particularly common in the genre [DP – you’re dead right and that was why DEMAIN picked the collection up]. The basic premise was that we’d write six stories apiece, keeping it relatively simple. There was no discussion about linking them, which I believe works in our favour. We’re both thematically and stylistically very different authors. Plus, it also offers the reader a bit of variety. Since I’ve always admired Paul’s work, I was very happy when he agreed to work alongside me.
DP: What is ‘horror’ to Frank Duffy?
FD: I try not to get bogged down in what constitutes horror and what doesn’t. So the question is a good one. Because while the fiction I write might not always be what traditionalists call horror, it would almost be impossible for me to describe it otherwise. My definition is very broad. And I find I’m most often more likely to read and be interested in people who share this view. Horror for me is in some ways tied into the existential. It permeates ordinary life. Horror is the realisation life has passed you by without realising it. Horror is living in the past. Horror is failure to learn from mistakes. Regret. Stagnancy. Bitterness. Waging a perpetual war of competition. For me, all of these things represent horror in some way .
DP: That’s some great definitions Frank, I’m glad I asked that question – thank you. What frightens you then…
FD: Since I was a kid, I’ve been deeply phobic about flying. For many years I often dreamed about being stuck on a plane, or even being tricked into flying on one. However, it has only ever found its way into one of my stories, The Regression. I started out writing it as a serious piece, but somehow an element of macabre humour crept in there, and changed its overall tone. I guess the humour helped alleviate some of the emotions I was feelings as I was writing it.
DP: Ah, flying. Not my best subject so I’m going to quickly move on. The Lockdown – how you finding it?
FD: Since I was last asked this question, life in Poland has returned to normal, all things considered. I’m not sure this is a good thing, but it at least offers a semblance of the ordinary. Of course, there some residual effects. Most people (at least here in Warsaw), myself included, still wear masks in public places, despite this no longer being a legal requirement. The irony being, it’s probably more disconcerting to see people not wearing them. But generally speaking, everything has gone back to the way things were pre-pandemic.
DP: Ah, that’s great to hear. Finally then Frank, can you tell us something surprising about you?
FD: I once broke International Maritime Law to get my beloved dog, Mr Mole, across the Channel. The story is much too long to relate now, but suffice to say, the story also involved 47 hours spent travelling across land with Disco Polo music blasting for the entirety of the journey. And believe it or not, my mother’s home was once thought to be genuinely haunted. Only, another irony, I never noticed a thing until many years later, which shows I’m about as sensitive to the paranormal as a lump of coal. A rather poor admission to make being a horror author…
Ha ha ! A great place to finish. Thanks a million for your time again Frank, all the best with ‘Night Voices’.