Confessions of my Past, Present and Future
There are probably rules for this sort of thing, but rules (like promises) are made to be broken. As a young, awkward sort, struggling to find his place in the high school hierarchy, books were a welcome retreat from a world I did not much understand, never mind wish to be a part of. (Likely I was a troubled youth!)
There were several books that not only afforded me my escape, a few of which have stuck long in the memory, and provoke a smile and a familiar tingle when recalled. I will not pretend that any of these books are literary heavyweights, but then I never did harbour notions of snobbery. A good story is just that, and these kept my imagination alive and kicking during those tediously grey teenage years.
Backwards – by Rob Grant
I was Dwarf before it was cool. I read this book out of sequence, later seeking out others in the series and fell in love with the idea of travelling backwards through life. The thing with Red Dwarf was that it often posed deeply philosophical questions and explored theories my young, pre-pubescent mind could scarily comprehend. It was also damn funny. I think I will look this one up on the Amazon store, as sadly (and this is the case with the majority of my books) I have long misplaced my copy.
American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
There are two books that I wish I had written, this, and the next on the list. Their genius supersedes anything I might ever hope to commit to words, and this book moved me in a way that no other has ever come close too. Yes, it was brutal, sickening in parts, but I was struck by the ease with which the prose flitted effortlessly from daily tedium to acts of insanity (and the occasional CD review). This book, more than any other, showed me the power of the written word. Yes, I admit that I purchased it for the hype, but I returned time and again for the ride.
The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
The second book that I wish that I had written. I came across this (and other similarly epic works) while at University, not out of course necessity, but personal interest. I know this looks terribly high-brow of me, but I will be honest, I do not understand what much of the poem talks about. Scholars have spent their entire lives pouring over its structure etc., and while that is to be commended, I believe you do not need to understand the significance of every line or verse to appreciate the vision of the author. I often wonder to myself if anything of such length, depth and lasting impact could ever be written today. I seriously doubt that it could.
If you have read this far, then I must have caught a hold of your interest. Alas, this is where I feel I might disappoint you. You see, as an author of dark fiction, I endeavour to steer clear of pieces that I feel might subconsciously influence me. That might sound terribly precious, but I have, on occasion found myself adapting a voice similar to what I might be currently reading. While I have read King, Poe, Barker and Lovecraft (and become a huge fan of) in the past, I avoid them now as much as possible. There will be a time to read them again, perhaps when I decide to call it a day on my writing career.
Still with me after that shocking admission? Good. Then I must confess that my present reading is wildly unpredictable. I have dabbled with A Song Of Fire And Ice (haven’t we all) but, (and as a playwright this might make some form of sense) I am increasingly drawn to the Graphic Novel.
Preacher – Garth Ennis
I know there’s a TV run, but I will not watch it. I do not want my vision of Ennis’s world shattered. I do not own all of the novels; I am still several light, but what I will say is that I have read Moore, Gaiman and Miller, and Preacher knocks them all out of the park.
The appeal of the Graphic novel for me is that the immediacy of the characters and the narrative lives and dies via its use of dialogue. I am not an art man. I do not know good pencil work from bad, but I do know a good line when I hear it, and well written graphic novels have characters that are rounded, gritty, flawed and relatable. A good comic writer can make the implausible seem almost second nature. As a playwright, I try to tap into that technique, for when you have nothing to tell the story but a bit of plywood, a lick of paint, and a team of committed actors, great dialogue makes or breaks your work.
As a graphic novel, Preacher is up there with the best of them.
Now we come to the part of the article that I feared writing the most. It is impossible for me to say what direction my writing will take me in the future. In the three and a half short years of my career so far, I have explored most aspects of the horror/dark fiction genre in one form or another, having insane amounts of fun in the process. I am sure that I will steer clear of the horror genre, at least in it is more traditional form, as I find myself drawn more to the deeper shades of humanity, and away from traditional scares.
I will say that I am confident that I will continue to explore the darker themes of modern life. I just feel that this is where my interests lie, and though I dabble with social and political topics in some of my work, at heart, I will always write about people.
I have said before that I believe there is beauty in darkness, and I imagine I will continue to try and show that in my books and my stage plays. At least that is the plan for now, and it is a plan that sits well with me.
Thank you for reading.
You can buy Neverlight here:
Dan Weatherer is represented by The Cherry Weiner Literary Agency (Author) and Julie Fox Associates (Playwright).
Dan Weatherer was first published by Haunted Magazine in Spring, 2013. “The Legend of the Chained Oak” was an immediate success and was made into a short film which won the award for ‘Best Horror’ at the Portobello Independent Film Festival (2014), ‘Best Short’ at The Bram Stoker International Film Festival (2014) and also the ‘Best UK Short Film’ award at the Stoke Your Fires Film Festival 2014. The film featured at numerous film festivals around the world during 2014. The premiere screening took place in his hometown of Cheadle, Staffordshire, where he kindly donated all of the proceeds to local charities.
In 2015 Dan was shortlisted for the prestigious position of Staffordshire Poet Laureate 2016-2018.
Aside from the publication of numerous short stories with a multitude of presses, his next major project was a solo collection of short stories titled ‘The Soul That Screamed’ (Winner of the Preditors & Editors™ Readers’ Poll ‘Best Anthology 2013’.)
A further two collections “Only the Good Burn Bright” (Spring 2015, James Ward Kirk Fiction) and “Neverlight” (Spring 2016, Spectral Press) quickly followed.
His first non-fiction book titled ‘What Dwells Within’ was released in the Autumn of 2015 and details the life’s work of paranormal investigator Jayne Harris.
An accomplished playwright, Dan was a finalist of the Blackshaw Showcase Award 2016 and a two-time finalist of the Congleton Players One Act Festival, 2016. Dan has had several of his plays appear at festivals and fringe events. Expect to see more of his work on stage very soon.
Work continues in earnest on his second novel and a fourth collection.
He lives in Staffordshire, where is married to his wife Jenni and is a (proud) full-time dad to his daughter Bethany and his son Nathan.
And for more about Dan, visit his site or find him on social media: