With Tim Jeffreys’ short story, “Last Shot,” we return to the world of celebrities and the bold frame of the camera lens. In Jeffreys’ story, a paparazzo gradually realizes that a common thread runs through a series of celebrity deaths… Read on to learn more!
Q (Crone Girls Press): What do you write? How long have you been writing? What are your preferred genres and why?
A (Tim Jeffreys): I write speculative fiction, mainly short stories, novelettes and novellas. The word count is growing, and my kids are getting older and less demanding, so there’s hope for a novel someday! I’ve been writing for a good quarter century now. I write across the genres of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.
Q: What inspired your story in this anthology? Tell us the “story behind the story.”
A: My good friend Martin Greaves often points me towards things that make great jumping off points for stories, sometimes unintentionally. This story was inspired by a photo he’d seen on Instagram of Andy Warhol. It was Warhol heading off to hospital in his limo, never to return. Underneath someone had commented ‘Who took this? The Angel of death?’ There just happened to be a young girl caught in the frame too. Bingo.
Q: What draws you to the genre of horror/dark fiction? What do you find there that you don’t find anywhere else?
A: Good question! I don’t really know the answer to that, except to say that horror/dark fiction gives you free reign to explore the weirder sides of your imagination and those ghoulish interests you feel a little guilty about.
Q: Why horror? Why do you write it? What about the genre appeals to you as an author?
A: I really don’t have an answer for that. I don’t think of everything I write as horror – it’s usually other people putting the ‘horror’ label on it.
Q: There are a number of subgenres/tropes/flavors of horror. Where does your story fit? What drew you to this particular category?
A: I don’t like extreme horror, or gore. I like the kind of horror that works it’s spell in a more subtle way. Creeps up on you. Those are the kind of stories that make you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut when you read the last line. Then you’re thinking about them for the next five days, trying to work out just what the hell it all meant. Hopefully this story is one of those.
Q: What do you find the most challenging about the writing process, and how do you meet that challenge?
A: The most challenging part is knowing the worth of something I’ve written, especially right after writing it, or during the writing of it! Sometimes you have a sense of how good (or bad) something is, but often it’s quite a surprise when people like or don’t like something.
Q: What was the worst writing advice you ever received? The best writing advice? Why, and how did it affect your writing?
A: Early in my writing life, other writers would often pull apart the technical aspects of my work. While I think technique is important in writing, this is something you can develop over time. As a writer, you’re constantly learning. To focus too much on technique, especially early on, can kill your writing. I think it’s much better to write with passion and enjoyment, and sort it out later, rather than constantly be worrying about whether your commas are in the right place. I’d rather read a good story with poor technique than a boring story with immaculate technique.
Q: Of the characters you’ve created, who is your favorite, and why?
A: I’m going to have to choose Danny Seraphine, the hero of a novella I co-wrote with Martin Greaves called Voids. He’s a man on a mission. A man with principles. And he goes around blasting deadbeat dads in the nuts with his sterilization gun, so what’s not to love?
Q: If someone asked you to recommend books/stories similar to what you write, who/what titles would you be giving them? And, why?
A: I aspire to write the kind of stories Ray Bradbury and Jeffrey Ford wrote/write – wildly imaginative speculative fiction not beholden to any particular genre, or mixing genres, while tossing in the odd story that’s not speculative at all! I’m a big fan of L.S. Johnson’s writing, and as we’ve shared the odd TOC, perhaps I’d hand out one of her short story collections as being similar to my work, although I think she’s leagues ahead of me.
Q: What’s next in your writing journey?
A: I feel like I should produce a novel in the near future, although I’m waiting for an idea big enough before I embark on that particular journey. After writing so many short stories, I feel ready for something more expansive.
Tim Jeffreys’ short fiction has appeared in Weirdbook, Not One of Us, The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 2, and Nightscript, among various other publications, and his latest collection of horror stories and strange tales ‘You Will Never Lose Me’ is available now. He lives in Bristol, England, with his partner and two children. Follow his progress at www.timjeffreys.blogspot.co.uk.
To read “Last Shot” by Tim Jeffreys, pick up a copy of Stories We Tell After Midnight 2. And, once you are finished, please think about leaving us a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews make our cold, dark little heart so happy…