Book 55 in the Short Sharp Shocks! is Curfew by Kev Harrison. Kev’s no stranger to DEMAIN as he already has an entry in the first series (Book 13 – Cinders Of A Blind Man Who Could See) and is very much part of the family. Curfew (with a cover by Adrian Baldwin) is published as an ebook on the 4th September.
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: It’s great to speak to you again Kev – hope everything is well over there in Portugal. For those that don’t know you (yet!) can you tell us a little of your background and whether that has had influenced you as a writer?
KEV HARRISON: Thanks! I actually grew up in a really poor family on a council estate in Woking, but from an early age, my mum would drag my brother and I (subsequently my sister, too) to the library. I suppose it was a free form of entertainment. But that meant my head was pretty much permanently stuck in a book from about age 5 until my early teens. I think that was the first catalyst for my passion for storytelling.
DP: I remember what it was like to go to the library and lose yourself in books – think it’s a bit of a dying art nowadays as so many local councils have shut their libraries…very very sad. Okay, what’s the story behind Curfew?
KH: This story came off the back of a real life trip to a very weird and spooky B&B, not on the south coast of England but in the Alentejo, in Portugal. I was in a very small town called Borba, known for its wine, and the relationship between the owner of the B&B and the maid was pretty much identical to how I’ve portrayed it here. Once you’ve read this story, you’ll see how unsettling that is.
DP: It’s definitely unsettling – did you find it difficult to write?
KH: This was one that came to me quite naturally, though the edit process was more difficult. I sent it off to beta readers, as you do, and the feedback that came back was really quite different. I think the bizarre nature of a certain secondary character was a bit marmite. Some found it added something, others didn’t care for it. I opted to keep it in in the end.
DP: And we’re glad you did. We touched on libraries / books – what books (or authors) influenced you would you say?
KH: I think it’s almost impossible not to be influenced in some way by people we read. In terms of creating atmosphere and bringing the most out of the surroundings the characters find themselves in, I always find Michael Griffin and Adam Nevill incredibly inspiring. Equally, with authors like Max Booth III or Michael David Wilson, I look at their handling of dialogue and find it so natural, it makes me look at my own character interactions and want to pare them back so they feel more ‘real.’ For the ‘other worldly,’ if you aren’t moved by the way someone like Gemma Files can create something wholly different and weird with a capital ‘W’ then I just don’t get you.
DP: As always, some great names there. Turning to the horror genre specifically then, what do you think draws readers into the genre and what exactly are they looking for?
KH: I think in the dark times we find ourselves in – and I stress we were well into the dark before COVID added even more to the pile – people are looking for ways to escape. For the high stakes to belong to someone else, in a world that doesn’t really exist so that we can forget that the planet is burning or that an increasing number of countries are being governed by underqualified arseholes.
DP: Indeed! I keep hearing rumours that the horror genre is dead, what say you?
KH: I think this is something we hear every few years and I think it’s nonsense. There will always be people who are drawn to horror and, in fact, I believe we’re in a golden age for it right now, with more books and films getting more attention than the last couple decades.
DP: Agreed. So is there a particular horror book (or film) that you’re looking forward to reading / seeing (if we’re ever able to return to cinemas)?
KH I’m a huge fan of the films of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (The Endless is my favourite, but I have a huge soft spot for Spring, even if I can understand why it’s divisive). So their new one, Synchronic, I’m keeping my eye out for. On the book front, I loved Ross Jeffery’s Juniper earlier this year, so the prequel, Tome, which will be arriving in October is high on my wanted list.
DP: That sounds great. I’m not aware of Justin / Aaron so will check those titles out asap and I’ve seen quite a lot of great notices for Ross’s Juniper. What is Kev Harrison scared of?
KH: I’m terrified of horses. I recognise that they’re beautiful animals, but I’ve had a few near misses with them. They’ve never featured in my work so far, but who knows what the future might bring.
DP: Finally then Kev – is writing a short term / long term career for you?
KH: Definitely long term. I’ve been taking this seriously for only the past 3 or 4 years and it’s only the last year or two that I’ve started to build up a reader base, first with Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See and then my debut novella, The Balance. I think persistence is probably the most important characteristic for writers to have.
Persistence is definitely the key!
Well, Kev thanks for your time as always, it was brilliant to talk to you. The best of luck with Curfew.
If you would like to connect with Kev direct: