INTERVIEW: Craig Charlesworth

grave-warnings-front-cover-jack-drewell-nov-2016Beginning today, and over the next little while, we’ll be featuring short interviews with each of the authors who are published in GRAVE WARNINGS. First up is an interview with Craig Charlesworth, who’s story, “The Dumb Show” is featured in the book.


How and when did you get interested in writing?

I’d been fascinated by books from a very early age and the notion that I could write stories myself grew out of that. I used to scribble stories in my notebook at school, as did a friend of mine. We’d read through each other’s stuff and critique it. Then for a long time I put it to one side; going to university and getting a job took precedence. I started getting interested again when Doctor Who returned to TV in 2005, I’d been a fan of the show in my childhood and really liked the new show and I started getting into online fandom. I ended up scribbling down some fan fiction just for fun, which led to me getting in touch with Bob Furnell at The Doctor Who Project. Having my writing critiqued and edited by a good team was great and encouraged me to do more, including writing a few novels. Despite my enthusiasm this was only ever a hobby, the idea of actually having my work published was never really at the front of my mind because it seemed like such a long shot that it would ever happen. Thanks to Pencil Tip, however, my work has finally seen print!

Where did you get the inspiration for your story?

This is going to sound a bit weird, but it was actually a nightmare I had. I woke up one night shrieking having had this horrible dream and immediately though ‘that’s a brilliant idea for a story!’ I woke my wife up to tell her about it, much to her chagrin, and then I was afraid to go back to sleep in case I forgot it; fortunately I didn’t. I was planning to write the story anyway but within days of coming up with the idea Bob and the guys at Pencil Tip mentioned they were planning a collection of ghost/horror stories and it just seemed like the planets were in alignment. I submitted the idea and was delighted to have it accepted.

What was your biggest challenge in writing your story?

Finding the time. The story itself actually emerged more-or-less pre-formed in my head and when I broke it down it all seemed to fit together nicely, there weren’t any big structural problems that I struggled to overcome. But my wife and I recently had our first baby and between working full time and changing nappies, there wasn’t a lot of time for writing!

Do you have a favourite author, and if so, why?

I’m a big fan of Paul Magrs, I got into him through his Doctor Who novels and have since read all his Brenda and Effie novels, which are great. I like him because he’s such a great ideas man, with a stunning imagination. I also like that he’s created a universe that’s his, and even when he’s writing for something like Doctor Who he makes the show fit into HIS universe, not the other way around. It’s really audacious and it works really well. Alan Moore is another, a writer with a dizzying intellect and an outstanding imagination who doesn’t get the credit he deserves because he’s chosen to work primarily in comics. Patrick Suskind is another in the same bracket; he has an absolutely stunning imagination and the nerve to write stuff that nobody else would dream of. Specifically on ghost stories, since that’s why we’re here, I love The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Those are all absolutely stunning.

Interview © 2016 Pencil Tip Publishing