Justin Park is a very talented and driven man. Not only does he write amazing books that will have you holding your breath and turning the page as fast as you can he also co-runs a publishing company called Sinister Horror Company. They published many great books and I always look forward to seeing what they will come out with next. Justin has an awesome sense of humor and always a quick come back. His writing flows smoothly and will leave you wanting more. I have read three of his books so far and I highly recommend you picking one up, it won’t be your last. Please take the time to get to know him you won’t be sorry you did. Welcome to Roadie Notes Justin Park……
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
My first documented story was when I was 8 years old. My mum kept all my story books from primary and the first one is a story about zombies and werewolves, which is clearly influenced from watching Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
My stories of that age were like regurgitation of films I had watched, only with my own twist. As I read through them now I can see one based on Poltergeist, one based on Troll, another on Gremlins.
Some of the content was pretty grisly. I’m surprised I was never questioned about it, or my parents spoken to. But things were way more liberal when I was a kid. You’d never get a music video like Micheal Jackson’s Thriller being made now-a-days. People are too scared about losing revenue or upsetting audiences. I’d like to think the pendulum will swing back someday.
By the time I turned 9 the stories were being developed more from my own imagination, with the page counts vastly increasing. The main themes were horror, monsters and ninjas. Not a lot has changed!
2. How many books have you written?
I’ve written four books (in order): Terror Byte, Punch, Upon Waking and The Exchange.
This year I also curated and created the charity anthology The Black Room Manuscripts Volume Two. That was a lot of hard work, but worth it. I managed to get both Graham Masterton and Shaun Hutson to feature in the pages, which was pretty mind-blowing when you consider these were childhood heroes of mine.
As well as those two I was able to create a line up of horror authors whose work I genuinely respect. I’m really proud of that collection. All profits from the book go to Alzheimer’s Research UK as well, so it’s nice to bring a bit of good into the world. Keeps my karma balanced.
I help format, edit and produce various other books released through the publishing company I co-run, the Sinister Horror Company. Amongst those this year I’ve had a hand in helping get released are Stuart Park’s Marked, Kit Power’s Breaking Point, Daniel Marc Chant’s Aimee Bancroft and the Singularity Storm and Adam Millard’s The Bad Game.
We’ve released so many great titles this year, and we’ve still got a load more to come.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
No, I don’t think so. No subject would be taboo for me, but how I approach those subjects is a different matter. I wouldn’t handle any sensitive subject without careful consideration of my approach. All stories deliver messages. As a writer it is your job to insure you deliver the correct intended message, even if that is confusion.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I am…uh….38. I think. Yes, that’s right. I have to think about it now-a-days.
I have no wife and no children. Some of my friends have been married a few times now – I guess they must have stolen my turn! J
I’m a bachelor, just like Bruce Wayne, except for the money, and the crime fighting in crazy costumes.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
I love them all for different reasons. I think Upon Waking is my artistically satisfying, because of the way the narrative is told from all different people’s stories. By adding all of these experiences together you build a complete picture of what happens in the world of the killer. A back story is revealed, a motivation, and their methods, yet nothing is told directly to the audience. It is all built up in layers.
When it comes to the actual writing and use of words, then The Exchange is my favourite. I have tried to be slightly poetic with my phrases and prose in that story. A beta reader described it as word porn, comparing it to how he felt when he read Perfume. High praise indeed. But that’s my aim, to write the best I can.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
It’s always what I’ve done, ever since I can remember. I left it alone after university for a good 8 years, but came back to it, after reading an interview with author Guy N Smith in the Dark Side magazine (UK horror monthly magazine). That coupled with my brother telling me about print on demand services set the ball rolling. I didn’t care if I anyone bought a book, the important thing was I could produce books and put them on my bookcase.
I try to write the best I can, but at the end of the day I’m only trying to please myself. It’s an absolute bonus that other people enjoy reading them too.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
Outside of writing I do a lot of exercise, so am often on my mountain bike, in the swimming pool or down the gym.
I’m a massive music fan, so am always heading out to watch bands live. Got a few lined up before the end of the year: Dinosaur Jr, Slaves and John Carpenter are already booked. Possibly looking to get tickets for Regina Spektor, Daughter and Frightened Rabbit too. Best gig of the year so far has to be Sigur Ros. That was the fourth time I’ve seen them, and possibly the best. Simply superb.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
I know people that do, but I don’t. Finishing a book is like finally letting it go, and that is a difficult and gradual process. A better man than me once said: ‘No art is ever truly finished, only abandoned.’
However once I have sent a working draft to beta readers for feedback I usually question whether it’s any good. When you’ve spent a month going through it the plot seems predictable – but it would do if you wrote the thing!
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
I usually write with music playing in the background, although largely it is instrumental or music I know so well the lyrics can wash into the background. My favourite albums to write to are Jonsi & Alex – Riceboy Sleeps, Beyond The Black Rainbow soundtrack, Upstream Color soundtrack by Shane Carruth, Mugstar – Centralia and anything by Mogwai.
I’m always discovering new music so the list changes, but the above are staple favourites.
When I read things back I have a tendency to read it aloud. This helps me to feel the rhythm of the words, ensuring the flow and drama is how I want it. I think it’s important that the reader is driven along by the sentences. To me reading shouldn’t be a laboured experience but more like sitting on a raft at the start of a white water rapid. Once you start the journey you shouldn’t be able to stop. The best reading experience is where you almost forget you are reading words and follow an image that plays in your mind.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
I have two muses for my writing – two main inspirations that clash together. One is the exploitation cinema and pulp books of the 70s and 80s. I may have not been about to enjoy them first time round, but that hasn’t stopped me now. The second is a level of creative artistry. I’m wanting to push my own boundaries and try out new things.
My writing is about striking a balance between the two. The more I write, the more I allow myself to use my art house inspirations. So I’d like to see a bit more of that come through. I think it worked well in Upon Waking, and the positive reaction I got from it showed me art and horror make welcome bed fellows.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
Fame? I’m not too worried about that. Respect and appreciation for what I do would be a much better thing to have. Money? I wouldn’t say no.
My dream at the moment is to fill an entire shelf of my bookcase with books I’m proud to have written.
12. Where do you live?
I live in Bristol, UK. It’s a buzzing city with lots always going on. There is a thriving music scene which serves my entertainment purposes well. Favourite bands playing round Bristol at the moment are Thought Forms, Get The Blessing, ANTA and Sonance.
There’s also a fantastic film night once a month called The Hellfire Video Club, showing weird and wonderful movies from around the world. I regularly attend. It’s certainly fuel for the mind.
There is a visiting stray cat we’ve named Graeme (although it turned out to be a girl we still kept the name). We look after her by making sure she is fed when she turns up.
I like the transient nature of our relationship. She turns up whenever she decides to, hangs around a little bit to eat and say hi, then heads back off again. I don’t know where she goes or where she sleeps, but she seems happy enough and that’s all that matters.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
The best bit about the actual process of writing is that moment when you are lost to it. The music fades out, the world disappears, time loses all meaning and you are engulfed in the characters and events unfolding. I think that’s the point for most activities, from exercise to meditation to any creative venture: that moment of bliss comes when you are freed from the washing machine jumble of your own thoughts. A focus of the mind creates clarity. To obtain that clarity is why Buddhists meditate for days at a time.
My second favourite thing is the reaction I get from other people who have read my books. I love it when they are shocked, appalled or so caught up in the action they come back to tell me their thoughts.
That helps to drive me onto the next project with a burning enthusiasm, which is helpful as I have 5 stories bouncing around my head and need to be released onto the world. By the time I get to finishing those I expect there will be more incubating in my subconscious. At least I hope so, I have no plans of stopping any time soon!
You can connect with Justin here:
Publishing Company: SinisterHorrorCompany.com
As Always thanks you so much Justin for letting us get to know you better. So very glad to know you and call you my friend!