Name Jacob Rayne
Where are you from
A small town called Bishop Auckland in the North East of England.
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I’ve been happily married to the woman of my dreams for just over four years. We have an amazing sixteen month old daughter who we are both immensely proud of. When I’m not wrist deep in dirty nappies I love writing dark, disturbing horror stories.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve recently self-published two of my horror novellas, Sunshine and Flesh Harvest, through Amazon.
The reviews are starting to come in and so far they’re making me a very happy man! There’s another novella, Digital Children, due for release during the first week in March.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I always loved to write stories as a kid, it was something that I couldn’t wait to get as an assignment. The first thing I wrote as an adult was a story called Becoming… which has been around for almost a decade now. I started that because I was bored one day and fancied trying something new.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I started taking this seriously which was about three years ago when I began writing a hitman novel called Karma Personified.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The very first book I wrote was Becoming… I was reading and watching a lot of horror and I decided to give it a go myself. The first handwritten draft of it was stuck in a bin bag in the loft because I was immensely proud of it. I thought there was something worth holding onto, so I kept it. A few years down the line, a chance comment by my wife made me dig it out and start working on it again. Ten years and many, many edits and rewrites later it’s almost ready for release!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Fast and furious. Do you remember the Looney Tunes character Taz? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c54SvkgQ04A
That’s what my stories remind me of – flying at you, wide-eyed, spitting and snarling, trying to tear you limb from limb. My books are filled with action and gore and I try to make them as addictive as possible. There’s a bit of gallows humour in there too. A few readers have told me that my stories would make great movies. One even said they could see it as a Tarantino film, which pretty much made my year!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
This is going to sound really cheesy, but it’s the truth so I’m stuck with it! The title of Sunshine actually came to me in a dream. I had the title in my mind for almost a year before the right story idea came along and everything linked together perfectly.
The title of Flesh Harvest was inspired by the events that take place in the story. Initially, I wanted to call it Blood Harvest, but I had read a book with that title the previous year, so that was out. On reflection, I much prefer Flesh Harvest as a title, so everything worked out for the better.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, there is hope no matter how bad the situation, but be careful who you trust. Don’t be a dick or it’ll usually come back to bite you on the arse!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Hopefully none of it, I wouldn’t like to think either of those things had actually happened!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, but some of my characters have a little of me in there.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Stephen King’s IT, Pet Sematary. A fantastic book called Mr Shivers, by Robert Jackson Bennett. Love that one! Shaun Hutson’s Body Count, Compulsion. James Herbert was an awesome writer. And I love most of Richard Laymon’s stuff too. It’s a real shame those two are no longer with us.
I’ve always loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too. Roald Dahl is probably the best kid’s writer ever.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
There are a few, but probably the one I have the most to be grateful for has been Rod Glenn of Wild Wolf Publishing. He’s helped me a lot and he’s a brilliant writer. The Sinema series is outstanding.
I’d also like to mention Poppet, Reggie, Chuck Lovatt, and the Light Brothers. All have given me very helpful feedback and advice and are all great writers.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Night Shift by Stephen King, I’ve just started Twisted Souls by Shaun Hutson too.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
The Light Brothers, Adam and Evans, are both really talented guys. Check out Adam’s Serving the Spirits and Gone.
For Evans, try Don’t Need No Water and The Mole People Beneath the City.
I’m starting to get into Iain Rob Wright’s stuff too.
My friend Richard Rhys Jones wrote House in Wales, which is one hell of a book.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently editing the first novel of a five book apocalyptic horror series, tentatively titled Dying Breed. I’ve got a great feeling about it; there are some really creepy bits and funny one-liners. My wife keeps giving me funny looks cos I keep laughing at the computer screen! I’m hoping part one will be ready for release by Christmas.
I’m also going to give Digital Children, my upcoming novella release, a final run through. Becoming… needs another edit too. Once that’s all done, I’m going to sort out the second and third (and, hopefully, fourth and fifth) parts of the Dying Breed series.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My wife’s cousin, Ian. He’s always been positive and supportive. He’s a beast of a drummer too.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I hope so. The time I get to spend doing it every day just isn’t enough. I’d love to do this full time and I’m working my backside off to make sure that happens.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m happy with them as they are.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Through reading and watching horror movies. The one thing I remember was watching The Shining as a kid and thinking Wow! It was the blood in the elevator I remember most, such an unforgettable and powerful image.
It took a good many years from that to starting this seriously, but I was always drawn to horror stories and films more than any others. As a teenager I always remember walking into a video store and looking at all the horror movies and feeling like a kid in a sweetshop! I still get a bit like that in the horror section in Waterstones and HMV.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Yes, this is from Becoming…
The dying October sun was shedding the last of its blood onto the dark clouds above Marshton town as Rhonda Williams pulled her car into the driveway of her detached home. The fading light meant that she had kept her headlights on for the duration of her short journey from the office on the main street.
Cursing, she realised that the bin men had left the bin recklessly across the bottom of the drive. There was no way she could park the car without getting out and moving the bin. Raindrops spattered the windscreen as she opened the door.
‘Just great,’ she hissed, putting one of her work files over her head to shield it from the concussive force of the falling rain as she hauled the bin back to its usual position by the back door.
As she dusted the stale dirt from her hands, she noticed that the kitchen light was on. ‘Lazy little bastards,’ she hissed, realising that her teenaged son, Mark, and her eleven year old daughter, Hannah, were home and hadn’t been arsed to put the bin back. ‘How many goddamned times do I have to tell them?’ she muttered as she got back into the car.
She parked the car in front of the garage and got out, again sheltering under the file as she used the light from the boot to search for the correct key. With it in hand, she pulled the bag of shopping from the boot and moved to the door. She inserted the key and turned it, feeling a strange sense of something being wrong.
The bottle of sparkling wine in the shopping bag clinked against the door as she fumbled and dropped the key. Then it struck her what was wrong: eyes were crawling over her skin like dozens of tiny spiders. She looked round and saw no one.
Muttering angry words beneath her breath, she put the bag down and bent to pick up the keys. As she concentrated on the key, a gloved hand lifted the lid of the wheely bin next to the one she’d dragged back along the drive. She heard gurgling laughter then the bin lid slamming shut.
She jolted and spun to face the source of the noise. Her entire body shaking with the fear that pulsed through her, she grabbed the lid of the bin.
Pulled it up.
A white-painted face stared up at her. The eyes were painted with black crosses, the nose was a black circle and the mouth a dark grin that seemed to stretch from ear to ear. A shock of fuzzy black hair sat atop the leering face.
She froze in her confusion.
The clown let out a low, disturbing chuckle then stood up from the bin. Rhonda’s heart leapt into her throat. Her eyes were drawn to the cleaver in the clown’s hand. It was dripping with blood that looked black in the fading light.
The clown’s movement towards her shocked her into action. She picked up the bag of shopping and turned the door handle. The hinges squealed as the door opened. She pulled the key out of the lock and forced her trembling body through the doorway.
She slammed the door on the clown’s arm which was reaching through the doorway for her. She tried to force the door shut but the meaty limb blocked its path. The clown barged the door with his shoulder. His black- and white-painted face appeared in the open door. Thinking fast, she pulled the wine bottle out and swung it at his head.
The bottle exploded, showering glass and fizzing wine everywhere. The clown stumbled back just enough to allow her to get the door shut. At first, her shaking hand missed the keyhole but finally the key sunk in. She lifted the handle and turned the key, just as the clown hurled himself against the glass.
To her relief the glass held, but she knew that it wouldn’t last forever.
The clown’s insane face pressed against the window, distorted by the pressure he was exerting on the glass. His wounds left small slicks of blood down the window. He let out an insane laugh that would stay with her as long as she lived…
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Keeping everything flowing nicely and developing characters without slowing down the action and boring people. I put such a huge emphasis on the action (because that’s what I personally look for in a book) that I can sometimes overlook other aspects of the story.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
At the moment I’d have to say it was Shaun Hutson. When he’s on top form there’s no one who writes stories as addictive as him. I love his short chapters that keep you reading, cos you’re like, ‘One more chapter,’ and before you realize it, you’re another fifty pages down the line!
He has great cliffhanger endings to his chapters so you have to know what happens next and I love his detailed descriptions of gore and action.
The thing I most admire though is how the story starts in the midst of the action and hooks you immediately, there’s no boring scene-setting where you’re half-tempted to put the book down.
I definitely try to keep all of those things in mind in my own work.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, save to pick out CDs or to make dozens of cups of tea!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I made them myself and I was amazed how well they turned out as art is certainly not my forte!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time in a hectic lifestyle. The writing itself – and I hope to say this without jinxing myself – seems to come easily to me. I just put some music on and off I go.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes, that the ending doesn’t usually end up the way you think it will and that it is best to let the story go where it wants to go and not think about it too much.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, if this is really what you want to do then stick at it.
Make sure your work is as good as it can be before you submit/self-publish.
Read a lot and try to figure out what it is that makes each book good or bad.
Don’t try to copy anyone or follow trends. People can spot a bandwagon-jumper a mile off. Do your own thing.
Get feedback on your work from friends and family and take their advice on board. If more than one person says to change something, then chances are it needs changing. If only one person says to change something then it’s your call.
One last thing, if you aren’t sure if it’s good enough to release/submit then it probably isn’t. Keep at it until you’re certain it’s ready.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for your support so far. I hope we have many happy years together. I’d love to know what you think of my stories, so find me on Facebook or Goodreads. And, in the nicest possible way, I hope I give you nightmares!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t but the first book I remember really enjoying was To Kill a Mockingbird.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I play with my daughter, read, play guitar, watch TV, play with my daughter some more and I love eating. Oh, and beer!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love 24, that always kept you wanting more. Dexter is great. My favourite show at the moment is either Sons of Anarchy or Walking Dead. I’m really enjoying Jericho at the moment too.
Filmswise, I’d have to say The Shining, Fight Club, This is Spinal Tap, Airplane, Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction are my favourites. Well, any Tarantino film really.
I have a soft spot for the Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street movies as I grew up watching those. The remake of Nightmare on Elm Street was brilliant. The Evil Dead one was good too. Anything starring Bruce Lee or Sammy L Jackson is usually worth a watch.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love pizza, shepherd’s pie, lasagne.
Colours – black, red, green
Music – I listen to metal the vast majority of the time. My favourite bands are Machine Head, Slipknot, Pantera, Slayer, Soulfly and I’m really getting into Gojira.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’d have a lot more time to play guitar so reckon I’d be in a metal band.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, it’s http://jacobrayne.wordpress.com/ You can also catch me on Facebook, Goodreads, Occasionally on Twitter.
I’d just like to say a big thank you to you, Fiona, for this opportunity. I’m extremely grateful for you having me on here. Cheers!