Interviewing Author George Morris De’Ath.

Interviewing Author George Morris De’Ath.

George Morris De’Ath (“No, it’s not pronounced death”, he informs me.) talks about his newest book, what’s to come and what it’s like to be finally breaking into the publishing world amidst all the madness of 2020.


First of all, congratulations on your recently announced three-part book deal. In light of this, how does it feel knowing your first book will be released in 2021? 
Honestly, it’s weird. I keep getting asked this question everywhere I go and don’t quite know how else to answer it. I mean, of course it’s great but having gone through five years of endless rejection and failure – which is the part of success that no one ever sees – it’s definitely strange. And now to have not one but three books green lit, it’s very surreal. I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, and then I realise this is real and yes I am living through 2020, and now have copious deadlines. 

2020 is certainly not panning out the way we all expected but accepting a three-part book deal, no less, must be a welcome burst of excitement in these overwhelmingly negative times. You mentioned you have now been introduced to the world of deadlines. Do you think you are good at handling deadlines? 

Yes, I am. Too good even. (He laughs.) I like to set myself very early deadlines in case anything happens, you know, anything out of my control. I’m a very anxious person, so whenever I hear a ticking clock and know that work needs to get done, I just can’t help myself but want to crack on. I like to get on top of things ahead of time; it’s good and bad. I can burn out easily. 

Oh really? Do you find that this is a common occurrence for you?

Oh yes, very easily! I did the other day; happens a lot! 

That must be frustrating. How would you describe your writing process? Can you share some insight into how you formulate these stories and characters? 

Well, it involves a lot of day dreaming to be honest, and not listening to things when I really should be. A doctor could be giving me vital health information and I would find myself just blocking out their words and thinking of something wild to include in my books instead, very random thoughts and details that eventually all tie together and make a story. Every idea starts out as a snowflake and eventually snowballs into something bigger and bigger over time until it becomes one of the alps. Having an obsessive mind in terms of my creating helps in that regard.I sift through the good and badideas stuck in my head and then begin to plan out and formulate meticulous details for the whole story and each chapter. 

It’s interesting that you are thinking about these things in that much detail at such an early stage in the creative process. How detailed are we really talking? 

Like very! I’m talking woven fabrics on a character’s clothes specific! 

In that case you must spend a very long time in the planning stage unable to begin getting the stories out of your head and onto paper. Why do you think you have developed this approach?

Oh yes! Haha…as a writer I’m one of the named “architects” rather than a “gardener.” I can’t just let the story take me as I’m writing, I have to plan in advance before I even start the first chapter. As an actor it is kind of in my DNA to script the chapters out first to make sure the dialogue flows and makes sense as a whole and doesn’t drag. So I do that first then add in all the other saucy little dialogue tags and details after. 

It sounds like the stories in your mind begin their life almost as movie scripts before you then transform them into what we later come to read.

Yeah, I’m weird. 

Well this approach is clearly working for you, traditional or not! 

I suppose so yes.I must be doing at least one thing right. (He jokes.) 

The fact that you have received a three-part book deal is testament to that. Can you share any details about the first of the three books coming out next year? 

I can say very little, other than the first is called ‘The Art of Darkness’, it’s coming out next year and it’s a twisted crime thriller. (Makes ominous noises.) Sounds creepy doesn’t it. Also, I believe I can say that the three are all connected by the world they inhabit but are not direct sequels. I’m editing the second one currently and it’s a big one. I’m kinda going crazy having to reread it day in, day out but it’s all part of the job! 

Can you tease anything else about ‘The Art of Darkness’, or perhaps the other two books you have lined up? 

They’re all thrillers but they’re all very different genres of thrillers…if that even makes sense. 

You mentioned that you have been approaching publishers for five years now. Have you always had an interest in writing or was it something that you developed as you got older?

As a child I did write, but only rarely, only when I needed to in class and even way back then I was writing disturbing stories. I recall writing some really wild stories that my teachers read to the class because they were so out there. They must have thought I was one nugget short of a happy meal. But then later at college I started writing and taking it more seriously when I began to study literature. In fact, I used the prologue for “The Art of Darkness” for my course work, however it got cut from the final manuscript which is sad. And then beyond college to be honest I began to fall into a spiral state of limbo almost. I didn’t quite know what I was doing or where I was going next. I was flouting around life I suppose; I wasn’t happy. In truth, I hated my life. It was one of those moments where you either have a breakdown or a breakthrough and I had to ask myself some really important questions about who I was going to be. Anyway, I just continued on with that prologue which developed into an actual novel and that helped me escape from my mentality at the time. It truly was an escape. That’s what writing is for me, just an elaborate escape. I know that sounds pretentious but it’s true. My stories have helped me out of a lot of dark times in my life and I just hope they do the same for a lot of readers. 

That’s a sweet sentiment. A lot of people are certainly looking for a welcome escape right now.

Meh. (He waves off.) But I finished writing ‘The Art of Darkness’, read it and realised in that moment that I was going to be a writer. 

I’m glad to hear that writing was able to provide a much-needed outlet for you in past difficult times. It’s interesting that many authors are able to use their talent to channel their emotions in a productive way, thereby having a positive influence on not just themselves but an entire audience. 

Yeah, it’s intriguing isn’t it. I do believe we are all just making our way through the inferno, now more than ever as poetic as that sounds. It’s very interesting to see how people manage themselves and even flourish through certain mediums, not even just the arts but sports and other things. When people find that one thing, I think they often feel more whole and tend to flourish onward from it. 

Whilst we wait eagerly for the release of ‘The Art of Darkness’ next year I also understand you are self-publishing ‘A Tale of ?6’ in the meantime. Can you tell us about it? What should we expect? 

Ha! Well, what shouldn’t you expect? “A Tale of ?6” is a fun campy horror novella that I have self-published. It’s about two strangers who meet on a stormy night and wind up stuck together in a cabin in the woods sharing six scary stories with each other, until it is revealed that one of them is not who they appear to be and basically sh*t happens, to be blunt. 

It sounds like a fun read but also like it could keep me up at night!

Oh, it gets gnarly, it gets freaky, it gets weird and bombastic, it gets gory, it gets campy and over the top and most of all it gets tasty. 

That is an interesting choice of adjective. Does that allude to something that happens in the book or is it just a fun way of saying we’re going to be hooked?

A little from column A, a little from column B, who knows. I guess you’ll have to read and find out. 

I suppose we will. Is there anything in particular that inspired your novella and the six stories contained within?

Yes, I suppose. I mean, mostly I was bored over lockdown and just wanted to write a short and snappy collection of spooky stories. But I suppose I was influenced by ‘The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror’ episodes, you know, those self-contained anthology style episodes that explored fun parodies and didn’t over stay their welcome, as well as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘American Horror Story’. However, I really wanted to keep this short and sweet but yet have each story be different and leave a lasting impression. ‘A Tale of ?6’ I feel knows what it is and doesn’t try to be anything other than that. That being fun, camp, spooky, gory and sometimes comedic horror. I’m just really hoping that people like it for what it is, especially this Halloween when it appears the trick or treating may be put on hold. 

Seeing as we may not get the opportunity this year, I have to ask: trick or treat? 

Oh Trick, every time, every time. It’s got to be, what do you take me for madam! (He laughs.) 

What’s easier, writing short stories or novels? 

Short stories, without question. However,they’re harder to get published and in all honesty, I find writing novels far more enjoyable because you get to fully develop your characters and spend time with them and by the end you’re sad to see them go. Short stories are like snacks, easy to grab from the cupboard and lack much fuss, whereas novels are like preparing three course meals. Harder work but I personally find them more rewarding, but I do enjoy writing both. 

Do you have any advice for writers out there, looking to get their big break? 

Erm, I mean, I could easily sit here and say yes, do this and this, but the truth is there are no rules or tricks to an industry like this. I don’t really know of any advice myself; I mean I barely know anything. In truth I’m just an idiot. I know nothing. Even now, nothing is secure for me once these books come out, they could flop and I may never get a deal again but…we’re all just winging it aren’t we, so I suppose that’s comforting. But I guess I would say to PAY for a professional editor, and be picky with one, because they are the ones who won’t just check and tweak your work but tell you: this is working, this is not working, maybe try this. So I think to have that sort of rapport with someone can be hard to find, and having it be someone you can truly trust with your work is hard to find. I love my editor, she’s fabulous. Also, be pickywith your literary agent! I got my first one last year and they didn’t really get my work at all, in truth. It definitely showed, as for a full year I didn’t get any offers through because they didn’t know how to market me as a brand or my work. My current agent is amazing, and does fully get my work! So yeah, know your worth, be picky and of course just keep going. It’s cliche I know, but hell it’s taken me five years! For some it’s less, for some it’s more but we all get our fifteen minutes of fame; I suppose I’m on my last two minutes! (He laughs.) But yeah, just keep going, trust in trial and error, be willing to adapt your work and do what feels right in the moment, I guess!

Finally, do you foresee a sequel for ‘A Tale of ?6’ at some point in the future? I have heard that it has quite the open ending!


There may be a sequel, but I don’t know. It all depends on if people wind up liking this one and if they want a sequel. The age-old supply and demand will have to determine that. I’d like to do one for sure, I’d even like to do six of them and make it a little mini-series but we shall have to wait and see…

Interview with Indie Horror Publisher Eerie River Publishing.

Interview with Indie Horror Publisher Eerie River Publishing.

Hello readers, I hope you are keeping well in these strange times. For today’s blog post, I had the pleasure of chatting with the minds behind Eerie River Publishing house, an independent publishing house dedicated to bringing readers the best in horror and dark fantasy. Based out of Ontario, Canada, they offer a range of services such as editing and formatting, as well as publishing works and creating awesome anthologies. It was the latter that introduced me to this gem of a company. When the owner Michelle reached out to offer me a copy of their anthology “It Calls From the Forest”, a collection of works dedicated to the horrors which lurk in the woods, I jumped at the chance and immediately fell in love with the book. So much so, I have actually submitted a piece for the next anthology in the collection, this time centring around terrors from the sky with the third and final instalment focusing on the sea (I may also be writing one for that too, I am determined to end up in one of these anthologies!). As well as providing me with a copy of the book, Michelle also agreed to be interviewed, so get comfy and happy reading.

1) For those out there unfamiliar with Eerie River, what is it? 

Eerie River Publishing is a brand new, independent publishing house located in Southern Ontario, Canada. 

We are devoted to offering indie authors, regardless of experience level, the opportunity to publish their words in a paying market. We are still in our infancy, so our pay scale is not at that professional level yet, but as we continue to grow so will our payments. 

2) Tell us about the main members of the team? 

The team is rather small, but we are committed to a level of excellence in professionalism and openness. 

I, Michelle River, am the owner and project manager for Eerie River Publishing. I am a full-time mom by day, and an entrepreneur by night. For those that see our website, Twitter or Facebook I am the person behind the screen on my phone, the one answering questions and posting GIFs between playtimes and snacks. I also do the book formatting, promotional graphics and videos, all that fun stuff. 

I also have the monumentous pleasure of reading and responding to every single short story that is sent in for consideration 

Next in line is the wonderful Alanna Roberston-Webb. An indie author in her own right, I was lucky enough to secure and contract her to edit all of the anthologies for our “It Calls From” series, as well as our dark fantasy novellette call out. She has worked on a few anthologies for other indie publishing houses as well, and is one of the few people that I know of who is always there to help a fellow writer out: Be it to offer to beta read, talk plot, or grapple with word choice, Alanna will have your back. She also has the pleasure of going through the second round submissions and helping select the final stories for the books, as well as assisting with providing author feedback. 

I am also very lucky to have a sister that loves to read! Elizabeth has volunteered countless hours reading through stories that have made it through to second rounds, or for our monthly contest submissions. She provides valuable feedback, and will also be reading through the dark fantasy novel submissions coming through. Thankfully dark fantasy is her ultimate drug, so she is very excited about this new task. 

These lovely ladies aside, the most important members of our team are those that probably don’t even realize they are on it. We are honoured to have a group of wonderful authors and friends that have rallied behind Eerie River since day one, and they continuously help us by promoting, submitting their stories, cheering us on and offering insight where they can. They are very much appreciated! I know that without their continued support, their wonderful stories and their voices, Eerie River wouldn’t exist. I am forever blown away by the wonderful group that surrounds us, and I don’t know how we got so lucky to find them. 

3) What motivated you to start Eerie River? 

That is weirdly a tricky question. I guess there was a catalyst of things that happened that really pushed me to make the decision but these are the two main reasons. 

The first one happened last year in August. I wanted to put together a series of “alien” stories that coincided with the Area 51 Raid. I got in touch with fellow NoSleep and indie authors and over the next month we ended up making it a book and putting it on Amazon. I really enjoyed the process and weirdly enough the stress of it all. I had a 1.5 year old at the time, so I don’t know what I was thinking. 

However, probably the main reason was quality. As an indie author myself, and after being in a few anthologies, I realized that I wanted to offer authors a more professional platform for submission. I wanted to put something out in the world that authors could be proud enough of to show off to their friends and family, or even places like local libraries and bookstores. I knew that I had the technical skills to format books, and I believed that if we did it right we could put out quality writing that showcased the brilliant works of indie authors. And, if I do say so myself, I think we’ve done it! 

4) What is it about horror that draws you to that particular genre? 

There are so many aspects of horror that make me go back again and again. 

I really enjoy being scared. Not “I am going to actually die scared”, but I love the rush, that euphoric sense of relief after a terrifying scene. It’s addictive. 

I have no doubt that it stems from my childhood. With the exception of my dad, who hates horror, my whole family is obsessed with horror and the supernatural world. We love to be scared. We would sit in our dark basement, TV on max volume, and watch horror movie after horror movie. Someone would always try to scare someone else right before a jump scene, which never failed to make my mom scream and swear. It was great. 

5) Out of editing, writing, publishing and creating anthologies, which process is harder and why? 

Right now I find writing harder than it should be, but that is just because I have no time. I get an idea, but with everything else going on, in the world, and in my publishing life, I just can’t devote time to sit down and write. 

However, the most time consuming and difficult part of publishing is not getting the book together, that is easy when you have so many great stories to choose from, but telling people 

that you have a book. Marketing is hard. There were over one million books published on Amazon alone last year, meaning that the market is flooded with new voices. This is wonderful, but how do you get your voice heard among such a flood of books? To do that you need a social media presence. You need people to talk about you, you need to keep ads running, promotions going on and so much more. That by far is the most difficult part, especially in the economic climate we are in right now. 

6) Where do you come up with the anthology theme ideas? 

This last set was really me just getting excited about anthologies, and bouncing ideas off of people like Alanna. I had a few ideas I was working through, but I knew I wanted them to be connected some how. I am not sure how I got “It Calls From”, but I am glad I did. It is perfect for the first collection. 

7) What horror books and authors (apart from your own) would you recommend for those wanting to look into horror? 

That is a hard one because there are so many great horror books out there. If someone is just delving into the genre I would probably suggest an oldie, but a goodie: It’s the collection of short story horror by Clive Barker called “Books of Blood”. They are just long enough to peak your interest, but because they are short stories you can pick it up and put it down whenever you feel the urge. 

8) If people want to submit to yourselves, how do they do so and what are you looking for? 

Depending on the call out we are typically looking for horror or dark fantasy. 

You can view all of our open and upcoming anthology open calls on our website at https://www.eerieriverpublishing.com/open-submission 

We have also just opened up a window for authors looking to query their novel or novella series in the dark fantasy genre. This window is open from June 15 – July 31, so if you have something ready to go that fits what we are looking for then feel free to follow the link and send it in. https://www.eerieriverpublishing.com/publishing 

But that isn’t all! We also have a monthly contest for members of our Facebook Author group, which runs from the 1 – 15 of the month and the theme changes every single month. Details are found on the same submission page, under ‘Monthly Themed contest’. You can join the facebook group here https://www.facebook.com/groups/2420571304929806/ 

We want original stories with characters who are relatable and interesting. If the open call is themed, which it normally is, we are looking for stories that adhere to that specific theme but your interpretation and voice. For horror we want to be scared. We want horror that grips, 

shocks, and terrifies you. For dark fantasy we want all of those wonderful fantasy elements that we love, but with a darker underlying theme. 

We know that every indie author may not have the budget for editors, but please have someone beta read and review your work before you submit. We are not looking for professionally edited pieces, but we are looking for polished manuscripts. Give us the best you can, because the competition is fierce. 

I do want to point out our hard passes. We do not want to read or publish rape, detaileld sexual abuse of children or adults, sexual torture, or bestiality of any kind. I understand that these all have a place in horror, but it is not here with us. Kill the cat, kill the dog, murder a whole town and make us watch it. We do not shy away from gore, but those are my hard no’s, especially for our story collections. 

9) Do you have any advice for horror writers out there? Asking for myself as much as anyone else! 

For horror specifically, I think the best stories are ones that are based on the writers fears. So write what scares you. Scared of ghosts or people hiding in your closet? Write it. Let us feel your terror while we delve within the pages of your nightmares. 

The indie author world is an amazing group to be a part of. There are so many people out there ready to cheer you on and lift you up, who will jump in with both feet and give as much as they take. I suggest reading other people’s stories and offer feedback when asked. Don’t be shy to get feedback from other authors on where to improve your own writing as well. Get involved, and make friends! These people are your allies, and while you may not be able to buy everyone books (because, honestly, who can afford that?), you can still share people’s successes and grow with them. 

Don’t stop writing, and don’t get discouraged by rejections – learn from them. If you get personalized feedback read it, then see if you agree. Make the changes that you are comfortable with, then submit it elsewhere. 

As always, happy writing and stay safe out there.