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An HMS Q&A With Dan Weatherer

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down and have a nice chat with Father Darkness himself, horror author Dan Weatherer. We discuss his work, his inspirations, and what readers can expect in the future from his twisted mind. Keep reading and enjoy!

HMS: Dan, Tell me about how you got into writing, and why you chose horror as your genre?

DW: Sure. Well, I worked an office job for nearly eight years but it was made redundant. I had experimented with small, comedy pieces online but never really felt that genre suited me. Having the time afforded to me to really give writing a proper go, I decided to start by reinventing a popular local legend regarding a chained Oak tree near to where I grew up. The piece was immediately picked up for publication. I continued to write darker material and haven't looked back! Legend of the Chained Oak actually went on to become a triple award winning short film (which incidentally, you can see for free on my website -

HMS: Ah very cool! Tell us a little bit about the legend and what inspired you to write about it.

DW: Well the Oak itself is close to 1300 years old. It’s huge, easily the oldest tree in the forest. The branches were chained sometime in the 1800's but nobody knows who did this or why. We are talking heavy iron links forged by hand, set as high as forty feet above ground here! There are also a series of worn stone steps that lead to the base of the tree. Clearly the site signifies something important. Legend has it that the Earl of Shrewsbury was stopped in his tracks one night at the foot of the oak. An old beggar woman asked him for coin and he rejected her. It is said that she cursed the earl and his family, stating that for every branch of the old Oak that falls, a member of his family would die. That night a storm raged, a stray bolt hit the oak. A branch fell and a member of his family died. It is said he chained the oak to prevent further loss of life but my research came up with no answers. In 2007, a large portion of the tree collapsed due to the chains becoming part of the structure of the tree. No one from the earl’s bloodline died (luckily). So the story lost its mystic. Shame really. I was determined to reinvent the legend and that resulted in my first attempt at horror.

HMS: That is truly an eerie legend. What other things have inspired you to write horror? Do you find that the inspiration comes easily to you?

DW: Inspiration seems to come in fits and starts. I can seemingly get an idea from out of nowhere! For instance one of my stories (Gyll's Whel) was inspired by a garden ornament! It was a water feature consisting of a large slab of stone with water running down the face. It looked like blood when seen in moonlight, thick and dark. My imagination latched onto that thought and a story was born. I note ideas down all of the time, from dreams I have, snippets of conversation I overhear, or random thoughts that grab my attention. I'll usually let the idea sit a while and add notes around a core concept before drafting a story. Horror and dark fiction just seems to fit with me, perhaps it is something to do with the way I see the world. I try to add a twist to my work or present something that you think you know already in a way that you would not expect. Of course, the greats such as Poe, Lovecraft, Barker, Herbert, and King have all inspired me to a degree but I try to present my work in as unique a way as possible. I don't want to be the next ‘such and such,’ I want to be Dan Weatherer, or Father Darkness. I'm not fussed which.

HMS: What do you think sets your fiction apart from other horror work?

DW: I think the diversity of stories and styles which I present really helps my work to stand out. Though I write short stories, these can range anywhere from 50 to 15,000 words. I like to challenge myself as a writer and also mix it up for the reader. A collection can consist of pieces written in a classical, gothic style akin to Poe, Contemporary pieces, pulp type pieces, black comedy… I even wrote a story that consisted of nothing more than the transcript of a telephone conversation! My latest collection will include short poems and even a short story that appears to have been written by a child! When the reader buys my collection I want them to be excited, like you used to be as a kid buying a lucky bag. You don't know what you are in for but you can't wait to find out! I also write for the screen and stage. I like to challenge myself and I am gradually making a name for myself as a playwright which is a huge dream of mine!

HMS: That's excellent. Do your plays tend to be of the horror genre? If so, what are some of your horror based plays about?

DW: They do, or at least dark in tone. For example, "The Release of Theodore Marlow" is a Victorian chiller, very Downton Abbey meets the Lady In Black, whereas "Beige" is a black comedy which explores the mindset of a man after he has just butchered his wife. That particular piece has already received staged readings in London and San Francisco! I'm having success with a few other pieces but its early days yet. Theatre is a hard medium to break into. There's not much money to be chanced in new voices. You are always competing with Shakespeare and an array of established shows that will always sell seats and fill theatres. New voices are a gamble and its tough to get a theatre to take chance. That just makes me all the more determined to succeed though!

HMS: You said that your story Legend of The Chained Oak was adapted to film. So with that and your plays, what does it mean to you to bring your stories to life through actors?

DW: Seeing someone "perform" something that you only previously saw in your head is surreal, but in the best possible way. When I saw "Beige" performed I was so nervous. You give the actors and the director your words and their interpretation is the end result. I can only say that I have been impressed with what they have delivered. They have given life to my work beyond the page and that is a very special feeling. Highly addictive too!


HMS: What's your favorite subgenre of horror to write in and why?

DW: That's a tough one. I try to steer clear of defined subgenres, probably in an effort to stand out. As I said before I like to mix it up. I vowed never to write a zombie story but ended up writing one from the zombie’s point of view. I figured it was suitably different and I slept well that night! I imagine a proportion of my stories are geared towards the supernatural, but I always try to twist the execution and deliver something unexpected. One reviewer said that I had a way of presenting the familiar in an unfamiliar manner.

HMS: So what can you tell us about your next release? Any spoilers?

DW: The collection will be titled "Neverlight" and I feel it's my most diverse work to date. Expect the unexpected! I will say there is a story in this about a frustrated writer that will do anything to land an agent, and I do mean anything...

HMS: So I would say it's safe to assume your next collection is going to be pretty exciting. How long has it taken you to put it all together?

DW: I'm really looking forward to getting it out there, the cover art alone is phenomenal. It was created by a 17 year old local art student. I gave her the title of the collection and she came back with something amazing! It actually inspired one of the stories in the collection. I'd say that it has gradually come together over the past 8 months or so, but I have been working on numerous scripts in the meantime, as well as trying to boost my profile locally and online. I'm passionate about promoting literacy, especially in my area and I'm working with local schools to deliver a series of creative writing workshops.

HMS: If you could choose one event in history and give it a horror spin, turning it into a tale of terror, what would it be and why?

DW: Damn that's a good question - let me think on that...I'm so tempted to say the moon landing...imagine Neil Armstrong descending the steps of the lunar lander , uttering those immortal words when a hulking great Leviathan bursts from beneath the ground, snatching him in its jaws, cutting him off mid-sentence. Imagine the silence that would follow as millions watching just realized that we weren't alone and the moon harbors man eating aliens.

HMS: Who do you think would win? Humans or aliens?

DW: Ok, now we are getting into a real deep area here...depends if we pulled together. We could probably take on a bunch of moon aliens pretty easily so long as they can't get to us...but if the UFO flying types decided they wanted in, we'd be crushed into dust. No doubt. Too much infighting, not enough decent tech and we are still really only shaved apes.

HMS: Okay one final question for you- a fun one I ask everyone:

The zombie apocalypse has just begun, a hungry horde of undead is about to burst through your door! The object immediately to your left is your only weapon against them... What is it?

DW: My scrunched up t-shirt - I imagine that's going to keep me alive for all of five seconds! (It's uncharacteristically hot today...I don't do all of my interviews half undressed!)

HMS: Lol! Well, I guess good luck with your tshirt?

DW: Thanks!

And there you have it folks, not only did you find out all about Dan and his work, but you also got to find out who would win the alien/human war. To find out more about Dan, stalk him on social media, and purchase his work, check out the following links! Thanks so much Dan for taking the time to sit down and chat with Horror Metal Sounds!

Father Darkness on Facebook
Amazon link
Amazon link
Amazon link
Download the Father Darkness app

Stevie Kopas, HMS

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