Interview with M.R. Gott, author of “Where the Dead Fear to Tread”.
M.R. Gott, the author of the novel WHERE THE DEAD FEAR TO TREAD which
was called ” frantic, horrific, brutal, and without doubt the darkest
thing I have read in years. Maybe in my life, by She Never Slept and
“one of the most disturbing and atmospheric things I’ve read in a long
while,” by Dana Fredsti author of Plague Town. Aside from writing,
M.R. enjoys strong coffee, dark beer, red wine, and fading light.
Q. “Where the Dead Fear To Tread” is the best horror title I’ve seen since I started interviewing for “Things That Go Bump In Your Head.” It also.. kind of is a sound alike, so okay, I may be biased. But I was wondering how you came up with the name and what it signifies in your opinion:
A. I am glad you like the title, the moment the book was released I developed an incredible aversion to it. Where the Dead Fear to Tread refers to the final scene in the novel. Throughout the novel there is
an ever present escalation of tension and ultimately I want my reader to be curious, what is so dreadful that even the dead will fear it?
A. Your plot… involving supernatural beings and child abductions, combines some of the most disturbing elements of psychological horror and traditional horror. Were there any challenges in combining the genres?
A. Where the Dead Fear to Tread is very much my attempt to scare the reader. When working with more fantastical horror elements I felt the need to keep certain elements very grounded in the stark realities of
our world. I found that the simple psychological elements of fear helped to ground the fantastical events.
What was coming for my characters may not exist, but the creature/being would be revealed using elements we all experience day to day.
Q. Tell us a bit about the sequel “Where the Damned Fear Redemption.” Do you have an anticipated release date?
A. The publishing industry is very much a business, and from a business perspective Where the Dead Fear to Tread has yet to find an audience. While the reviews have been very positive overall, the sales have been dismal. A completed manuscript for Where the Damned Fear Redemption exists, as does a still untitled finale to what I refer to as the legacy of The Devourer.
I do not begrudge anyone at my publishing house for this, and in fact sing their praises of support. They took a chance on a very unique vision, one that was difficult to even nail down to a single genre/style. If nothing else I can say I am published novelist based on the opportunities they afforded me. Were I in their position I would not be moving forward with another novel in a series that has proven to be an incredibly poor investment thus far.
That is not to say Where the Damned Fear Redemption is dead in the water, however sales would have to begin to increase greatly for Where the Dead Fear to Tread before the sequel is unleashed upon the world. As a teaser I will say that the sequel is by far darker and scarier than the original.
Q. William Chandler is the archetypal antihero – a vigilante who acts as judge and jury to wrong doers. How does this tie into his falling into the rabbit hole, as it will, of supernatural worlds with bigger bad asses than him?
A. William Chandler is the epitome of paradox. His revulsion at man’s inhumane treatment of man has led him to commit inhumane acts of violence. William is very aware of the fact that every time he kills someone he is stealing a family member, or friend from someone else. The horror of William’s situation is that he realizes the role he plays in the world’s cycle of violence, but feels more guilty when he
takes no action. His character is very much the embodiment of the well-worn paradox; you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. William has accepted his damnation and is now freer in his actions.
The rabbit hole he sinks into brings him into the fantastical world of The Devourer. These two characters are on a collision course with each other, even before they are aware of each other.
William as a bad ass, I think this is best encapsulated by Rober Hibbs of Ravenous Monster, “There’s a fight scene where William takes on a handful of mobsters who are armed to the teeth in a gangster hangout called The Horse and Buggy. All William needs are some nearby steak knives to fuck up the gangsters beyond repair. Somehow during the course of this insanity, Gott manages to keep the intense pace of the scene without confusing which knife is being stabbed where, and he paints dramatic images with the use of quick-but-colorful descriptions of the edges of the knives in William’s hands snapping off the bones of his victims which almost makes you feel every vibration of the stabbing blade as William scrapes it off someone’s skull.”
My goal was for William to be a formidable foe to the story’s protagonists, yet the reader never feels confident he will survive. Heather Faville of Double Shot reviews had this to say about William’s
nemesis, “The opening scene of Where the Dead Fear to Tread gives a horrific visual of just what The Devourer does and how he gets his name.”
With a strong protagonist and antagonist my intention was for the reader to not be sure who would win or how.
Q. Do you think that most readers think of Chandler as a likable character?
A. The feedback I have received on Chandler varies greatly. Some readers easily look past his extreme violence, in support of his aims. Others do have difficulty reconciling the actions he takes. The character is very cognizant of his actions, and his awareness makes it difficult to forgive his actions. In a scene early in the book Chandler visits the funeral for the mobsters he recently and consciously executed. This
is a great embodiment of his character. He watches silently as the widows and children cry, and cannot feel guilty. He wants to, but cannot, and in this moment he fears he is losing his humanity.
If my fictional character cannot condone his actions, can you?
I always referred to Chandler as my protagonist. I hoped my readers would empathize with him, but never be comfortable with his actions. His violence is never in self-defense and he does not hesitate to torture or kill people, who are also victims of violence. Chandler recognizes how children without parents are at greater risk, and then he kills some ones parents.
Where to Buy The Book:
Where the Dead Fear to Tread is available from all major e-book
retailers, for all e-readers. M.R. Gott recommends buying from the
Untreed Reads Store because for one low price you will get a
pdf, as well as a Nook and Kindle copy.
For the remainder of October Where the Dead Fear to Tread will be 40% from most retailers.
~ by Sumiko Saulson on October 17, 2012.