If you consider yourself a horror literature fanatic, you need to know Greg Chapman.
You may not know him by name yet (and if you don’t, that’s your fault!) but you most certainly know him by his art. Chapman has contributed cover art to a laundry list of novels as well as the Horror Writers Association Members Handbook and the 2016-2018 StokerCon souvenir books. He also, of course, does the cover art for his own books.
His art work is a diabolical mix of originality with twinges of Clive Barker and nods to the beloved paperback covers from yesteryear.
As a writer, Chapman has seen his novel Hollow House nominated for a Bram Stoker Award, while he contributed to the Stoker-winning graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times.
Chapman is constantly upping the game – whether he’s uprooting familiar ground and putting a new twist on an old trope or splashing the creepy spotlight on a new idea that is sure to creep the hell out of readers.
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Chapman. Read on, fellow horror fiends..
MANGLED MATTERS: Who or what first got you hooked on the horror genre?
GREG CHAPMAN: I recall seeing A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was at my cousin’s house once and it scared the crap out of me. It really opened my mind to the power horror could have over a person. My first introduction to literary horror included the works of Edgar Alan Poe and Clive Barker. Their words and stories spoke to me and have nurtured my own writing ever since.
MM: The art of the short story or novella is a beautiful, and sometimes difficult, one. How do you go about trimming down a piece to fit the specs of a short story?
GC: I actually prefer writing novellas over short stories and novels. You have just the right amount of room to breathe with a novella. Short stories are a challenge and I haven’t had as much success with them. My training as a journalist makes it fairly easy to be succinct with my prose, but it’s finding the balance of characters and emotion that makes novellas such a thrill to write.
MM: What makes for a great short story, in your opinion?
GC: As with any story, character. Peeling back the layers of emotion with fear until you see them as real people.
MM: If you could sit down with any author, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
GC: Clive Barker. The man is a genius. I’d just like to shake his hand and thank him for his inspiring words and art.
MM: When you write, do you prefer music or do you need silence?
GC: It depends. I write most of my works in longhand and I usually need to be alone in a quiet space. If I’m struggling to get the words flowing I might put on some horror movie soundtracks to get in the zone.
MM: Of all your works, is there one in particular that rings most personal for you?
GC: Probably my third novella, Vaudeville. The main character is named after a childhood friend who died unexpectedly. The boy in the story is trying to deal with the death of his own father when he encounters some Vaudevillian creatures near his home. The story is an exploration of grief and I guess a way for me to honour my friend’s memory.
MM: As an author and artist, do your stories play out like a film in your head while you’re writing them?
GC: Definitely. The images come very easily. The challenge is to not give the reader too much description.
MM: What is the last excellent horror novel you’ve read?
GC: Bird Box by Josh Malerman. Just brilliant. Paranoia dialed to 11. I highly recommend it.
MM: What are you currently working on?
GC: I have two novellas being reprinted in October and I’ve been creating the cover art for them. Apart from that I have a new novel coming out mid next year so I’ll soon be diving into edits.
Keep up on all of Greg’s news and notes on his site!
Check out Greg’s Amazon page here for some terrifying reads this weekend!