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World of Horror: Interview with Greg Chapman



Bram Stoker Award® nominee and multiple Australian Shadows Award nominee Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist based in Queensland, Australia. 

Greg is the author of several novels, novellas, and short stories, including his award-nominated debut novel, Hollow House, and collections, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares and This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories. His next book is the collection, Midnight Masquerade, coming this Halloween from IFWG Publishing.

He is also a horror artist and designer and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, (McFarland & Company) written by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, won the Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel category at the Bram Stoker Awards® in 2013. 

He was also the President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association from 2017-2020.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

I was studying journalism about 20 years ago and took a literary theory course that included an analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. I was familiar with Poe’s work, but the examination of this story was particularly potent, and I immediately had a new understanding of gothic fiction. As a kid growing up in a Catholic household, horror movies were not readily available, but thankfully I had neighbours and cousins who enjoyed horror movies and a video store was just down the street which I frequently visited to stare at the lurid embossed horror movie covers. I distinctly remember being at a cousin’s house when I was about 12 or 13 and seeing the opening dream sequence of A Nightmare on Elm Street. It was terrifying and tantalising at the same time. Over the ensuing years, I was exposed to more and more horror in magazines, novels, and comics. Clive Barker’s The Books of Blood were a significant influence on my own work. Horror and its associated taboos are fascinating to me as an author, artist, and reader. It’s great escapism.

Is there a horror tradition in your country, in your culture? A taste for horror, a market? Not necessarily literature; perhaps oral tradition too.

Australia’s influence on horror is there, but it’s not as evident as in other parts of the world. There are some ghost stories by Banjo Paterson and of course some of the early films of the 70s like Patrick, Wake In Fright, and Picnic at Hanging Rock. Australia is home to the world’s longest-living Indigenous culture, one that’s steeped in oral tradition with its Dreamtime stories. 

Who are some of your favorite characters in horror, internationally and/or in your own culture?

Of course, Australia has some cultural horror icons. Mad Max for one, and more recently, Mick Taylor from the Wolf Creek films. As an aficionado of horror films, I admire all the greats: Pinhead, Freddy, Jason, and Ghostface. They’re all amazing, almost godlike characters who will likely still be portrayed on film for a long time.

Do you make a conscious effort to include characters and settings from your country in your writing and if so, what do you want to portray? 

Thinking about my last decade as an author in the horror genre, I’d have to say no. I have only really set one story in Australia, in the town of my birth, a place called Rockhampton in Queensland. The story was set in an old cemetery and involved a man trying to bury his partner whom he’d murdered atop an old grave. Obviously, things don’t go well for him. I do plan on penning more stories in my native Australia – we have such unique flora and fauna here, including a wide array of potentially dangerous animals. Many of my counterparts have already written great stories along those lines so I suppose I want to do something original and fresh. Only time will tell. 

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?

I was a journalist for almost 10 years and in a way, my time as a reporter taught me many truths about the world and its people, more than the horror genre. I can be a bit cynical and nihilistic, and I think it’s fair to say that this comes out in my horror fiction. It’s not for everyone, but I think it’s irresponsible to see the world only through rose-coloured glasses.

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve, both in the US and in your country?

With more avenues for publishing and the wide array of small press houses, I think horror’s greatest strength right now is its community of people. Although competition is naturally there, I feel everyone is supportive of each other. There’s definitely a celebration of the genre and its authors. Here in Australia, I think horror is fairly strong. Halloween has some popularity and I think this will only grow over time. Many of our authors, like Alan Baxter, Kaaron Warren, Jack Dann, Geneve Flynn, and J. Ashley-Smith are putting Australia on the map when it comes to horror fiction and hopefully, this will continue. We even have our own association for horror authors – the Australasian Horror Writers Association.

How do you feel the International horror writing community has been represented thus far in the market and what hopes do you have for representation going forward?

As above, there’s definitely a sense of community. Lots of conventions and events where authors can gather and talk shop. There’s also a hell of a lot of diversity too, which is fantastic to see. Horror thrives on new voices. One thing I would love to see though is for a StokerCon to be held here in Australia sometime 😊.

Who are some international horror authors you would recommend? 

Here in Australia:


Kaaron Warren

Alan Baxter

Gene Flynn

Aaron Dries

Kat Clay

Matthew Tait

Matthew R. Davis


Dave Jeffrey

Lee Murray

Zoje Stage

Todd Keisling

Clive Barker

Jess Landry

Tim Waggoner

There are so many others, but those are a few of my favourites.

What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?

Don’t worry too much about markets, just write the story you want to write the best way you can.

And to the writers from your country out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?

Join the Australasian Horror Writers Association and the Horror Writers Association. They have been of immense help to me, and they can help you too!

You can find more about Greg at his writing and design websites.

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