interview by Joe Vaz

Issue 12 (August 2011)


Where is home?

Home is London, England. I’ve lived there all my life.

Where did the title come from?

The working title for the story was Dream Job, which I hated. Fortunately, I happened to be reading Don Juan by Byron while I was writing and I came across the phrase Happiest Amongst Mortals. It instantly brought to mind my story, so I pinched it.

Where did you come up with the concept of nightmares being written?

It’s something of a cliché among writers to say that an idea came to them in a dream; didn’t Paul McCartney say that he woke up one morning with the tune for ‘Yesterday’ in his head and that he was worried that he might of heard it somewhere before. I remember one day thinking: wouldn’t it be funny if, out of the blue, all these demons showed up to sue all these artists by claiming they were responsible for their dreams. From that idea I had a little daydream about a demon taking the stand in court to talk about his job as a dream writer. What a great job, I remember thinking, how do I apply.

Do you enjoy the combination of horror and humour? Why do you think they work so well together?

I write stories that I want to read. And, for me, the greatest reading experience I could imagine having would be to read a collaboration story written by Woody Allen and HP Lovecraft. A fractious working relationship that undoubtedly would have been, but I can’t help but imagine that it would have produced something amazing. Of course, that’s pure fantasy. Still, it’s the idea of humour juxtaposed with truly dark terrifying imagery that attracts me to it. Does the combination work well? I think so, though it does have the potential to be disastrous, but for me a large part of what horror is all about is meeting your fears in a place where you can laugh at them.

Are these characters based on anyone?

Howard is inspired by someone, but I’m not going to say who. The clues are there, figure it out. If you can’t, read more horror!

What happens next? Has Thomas been vaporised or is Howard’s fear of the unknown the only thing keeping him imprisoned?

I’m worried about Thomas. To be honest, I think he might regret leaving the writing room. He’s the type of person who lives his life by finding ways to escape it. Writing, movies, music, video games, they’re all rabbit holes for him to fall down. So maybe he would have been happy in the writing room, and I imagine there are some nasty things coming for him now he’s outside.

Are you working on anything right now?

I’m currently working on my first novel.

Where might we be able to read more of your work?

Happiest Amongst Mortals will be my first published work.


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Joe Vaz

Joe Vaz is the founder and editor of Something Wicked, which occasionally affords him the honour and good fortune to hang out with really cool people.
In his other life he is a film and television actor who gets small parts in big movies, most recently in Dredd 3D, due to be released in September 2012.

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