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The Noctuary: Pandemonium – Greg Chapman

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Greg Chapman is an writer, illustrator and comic artist. Those of you with long memories will remember that I interviewed him a few years when his novella The Eschatologist was published. Since then Greg has gone from strength to strength, being short-listed for a Stoker award, becoming the President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association, and winning the Richard Laymon President’s Award from the (American) Horror Writer’s Association. Greg was kind enough to answer some new questions for me his various activities, and in particular about his new book, Noctuary: Pandemonium.

Congratulations on winning the Richard Laymon President’s Award from the HWA! Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to the organization.  Thank you. The HWA is a fantastic organisation and I was invited to create some promotional artwork when the late Rocky Wood was President. I went from creating the occasional poster to concept designing the logos for the HWA’s annual StokerCon event. Every year I get to create the cover art for the Con’s souvenir book, which is really cool. I’m honoured to have been recognised in this way. 

Tell us about original spate of madness that drove you to write the Noctuary?

After joining the Australian Horror Writers Association in 2009 I was selected for its mentor program with Brett McBean. I was struggling to find my ‘voice’ in fiction at the time and during the many conversations with Brett I started to think about where my horror writing came from. The Noctuary was literally born from that idea. I was reading about the muses of Greek mythology and I pictured much darker creatures that inspired evil and could change humanity’s path. Writing the novella was a very cathartic process and in a way, self-exploratory. The main character is an author whose name is Simon (the name I was initially going to be given when I was born, but my older brothers were apparently not keen). I guess it was written from my sub-conscious. I recall just letting it flow, with no definite plot, just one long journal entry. The only thing that was different from the final published book was the story-within-the-story section. That became my first published novella Torment!

You’ve just published Pandemonium, a sequel to the Noctuary. Did you plan this all along? What made you want to return to this world and these characters?

I didn’t plan to do a sequel initially, but the novella was so well received that it sparked in me a desire to revisit it. Seven years later, after I got a few more books and stories under my belt, I decided it was time. I wanted to explore the idea of madness, the psychology of it and it made sense to root that concept in the world of The Noctuary. Sadly, despite the positive critical reviews, the original novella had almost faded into obscurity, and when I got the rights back I immediately set to work on incorporating it into the sequel. I wanted to make it a REAL book and use it to send the reader mad. The critical reviews of Pandemonium make me think I’ve accomplished that. J

You have been producing a lot of illustrations and covers as well as prose fiction at the moment. Any plans for more comics in the near future? I started a non-fiction graphic novel last year called Bloodlust; the story of all the accounts of vampire hysteria throughout history. I only got about six pages into it when real life and extra responsibilities intervened. It’s a massive project that I hope to return to soon. In the meantime, I am creating some comic book-style illustrations for the second Gene O’Neill book, Shadow of the Dark Angel from US small press Dark Moon Books. Creating cover art for publishers, authors and myself is fun and I love doing them.

What are you working on now? What’s next for you?  
I have a tonne of ideas for novellas, and a Halloween-themed novel that I’ve drafted the first chapter of, but I’ve been rather busy. I hope to get back to writing in the second half of this year.

You can find a copies of Greg’s work at the following links:
HOLLOW HOUSE *Nominated for a Bram Stoker Award*

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