|Investigating the Horror
Part one of an interview with Graham McNeill, author of Ghouls of the Miskatonic
|The Dark Waters Trilogy | Published 12 April 2011|
Experience anew the sanity-bending terror of the Arkham Horror world with Ghouls of the Miskatonic, the first book in The Dark Waters Trilogy by Graham McNeill! As a young student at Miskatonic University dreams of something terrible stirring in the fathomless depths of the ocean, a troubled professor struggles with the deteriorating sanity of a former colleague. A series of bizarre and inexplicable events, including mysteriously butchered bodies appearing around Arkham, soon follow, culminating in a cataclysmic discovery...
Mystery and horror awaits you when Ghouls of the Miskatonic is released in the third quarter of 2011! Graham McNeill, New York Times bestselling author, agreed to answer FFG’s questions about embracing Lovecraft’s mythos in his writing with a two-part interview.
The Dark Days Ahead
FFG: What is your favorite part of the Arkham Horror world?
GM: I think it’s the fact that by playing the game and writing about its world I can feel I’m part of the mythos Lovecraft created and that I’m contributing something toward it. The Arkham Horror world is a shared universe that hopefully becomes more enriched by every player, writer, and reader’s involvement.
FFG: Who would you say your favorite character is in the Arkham Horror world?
GM: I’d have to say it’s Ashcan Pete, as I like his underdog nature and his sheer gumption in thinking that even someone like him can make a difference. Pete has a brief cameo in Ghouls of the Miskatonic, but it’s a telling one, and I hope to go back to Pete in later books and dig through his backstory to unearth what made him the man he is. How did he end up on the street? What drove him to whiskey? I touch on elements of that in this book, but I think we’ll see more of that as the story unfolds. And the fact that he has a dog he can hurl at the bad guys to save his sanity! It’s always a great moment of pathos in our games of Arkham Horror when that happens.
FFG: What is your favorite aspect of translating the Arkham Horror board game into a novel like Ghouls of the Miskatonic?
GM: I guess it was bringing some of the cosmic horror of Lovecraft to the fore. In Arkham Horror, you can fight the monsters and the world isn’t necessarily doomed. There’s a sense that there’s always a sliver of hope that maybe, just maybe, the world could be saved. What I enjoy about Lovecraft is the bleakness of existence. The idea that humanity is just this insignificant speck in the face of such cosmic horrors is what makes his work so appealing to me. Reminding the reader that we’re all doomed to be enslaved/wiped out by the Great Old Ones in the long run was tremendous fun!
FFG: What part of Ghouls of the Miskatonic was the most exciting to write?
GM: The scenes where our characters first meet a creature of the mythos, a beast that is clearly not of this Earth. I’m used to writing fiction where the characters understand what they’re fighting and have common frames of reference for what they’re seeing. This was a great chance to show how an ordinary person would react when confronted by something extraordinary. How can they even begin to describe it? Should they fight it, should they run? Can they do any of these things with their brain leaking out their ears in terror…?
FFG: Who do you find your writing style to be inspired by?
GM: I’m a huge David Gemmell fan, and I think his work has had the biggest influence on mine in terms of style. Clive Barker’s breadth of imagination has also been a big inspiration, and I love the poetry of his language. It’s horror, but there’s real beauty in it too. To achieve that is something incredible, and attempting to mesh those styles together seems to be my particular voice.
FFG: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
GM: Stick at it. No one is great their first time out (unless they’re naturally talented or really lucky – either way, more power to you!). It takes years of plugging away, writing, and learning from what people are telling you about your work before you can improve. I always say that writing is a skill like any other. The more you do it, the better you get. Write every day, even if it’s just for twenty minutes; work those mental muscles! Read a lot, and read a lot of different things to see how other stories, other characters and other genres work. Flit from fiction to non-fiction, your preferred style of books to something you’ve never tried before. It’s no accident the best writers are the best readers.
FFG: Finally, which of our games do you like playing the most, if any?
GM: We have a regular gaming thing here, and Arkham Horror is often on the tabletop. I love its co-operative element, the fact that the players are united against the game. Now and then we’ll dig out Fury of Dracula if we’re feeling gothic, or Talisman if we need a quick fix of good old-fashioned high fantasy.
Stifle your screams, the chilling conclusion to the two-part interview with Graham McNeill, author of Ghouls of the Miskatonic, lurks on the horizon. Look for it in the coming weeks...if you dare, and pre-order Ghouls of the Miskatonic today!
The Dark Waters Trilogy is a gripping new series from best-selling novelist Graham McNeill.
So I've been excited about this upcoming series for awhile, and on a complete tangent I'm starting to get really into Warhammer 40k, so I decided to start reading some of the fiction. I'm currently about 100 pages from finishing the Ultramarines Omnibus, loving every minute of it, and I just made the Graham McNeill connection. I was sitting here, looking at the cover for Ghouls of the Miskatonic, and thinking, "Man, that author's name is so familiar. Why is that...?" And then I look at the big fat omnibus sitting not 3 feet away from me, dinged and dented from lugging it around everywhere and from much reading enjoyment, and I smack myself in the face.
Still can't wait for this, and now I'm more excited than ever, knowing some of his other work! Put in another vote for an eBook--my particular poison is NookBooks.
(and a Kindle version would rock)
Kindle, ebook please ;-) Would love to read it.
Will it be available in e-book formats? Kindle? Nook? iBook?
I absolutely love his work on the Horus Heresy Series and his Ultramarine novels.
I hope he doesn't let up. His Warhammer fiction is so visceral it's hard to read sometimes, in a good way. You can barely stand what happens to the charecters. Again, in a good way. Warhammer 40k is tragic and deadly and he captures the feel perfectly. I challenge anyone to read Storm of Iron without a feeling of complete helplessness. Fantasitc.
I here's to hoping for truely chilling nail biting Cthulhu Mythos fun.
I'm an idiot. Ignore the above. Boy, I wish I could delete a comment.
Wow, no mention of Lovecraft? Hmmm...