Cre­at­ing the ‘things in the shad­ows’

Catalina au­thor writes hor­ror for read­ers around the world

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Sports - BY JONATHAN PAR­SONS Jonathan.par­sons@thep­acket.ca Twit­ter: @je­j­par­sons

Wil­liam Meikle says dif­fer­ent peo­ple are scared by dif­fer­ent things.

“To tap into some­thing that scares some­body, you’ve got to hide the scare a bit. I’m fond of ghost sto­ries of things in the shad­ows, flick­ers in the cor­ner of your eye be­cause that’s where the scares come from,” said Meikle in an in­ter­view with The Packet last week.

For him­self, he re­mem­bers hav­ing night­mares of gob­lins af­ter read­ing J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hob­bit” as a young boy.

Now, as a writer of hor­ror and sci-fi sto­ries, it’s the Catalina res­i­dent’s job to know what fright­ens his reader and creep out as many as pos­si­ble.

Orig­i­nally from Kil­birnie, Scot­land, Meikle moved to New­found­land 11 years ago af­ter vis­it­ing on va­ca­tion.

While he’s been a writer for

26 years, his IT job in Scot­land col­lapsed and he and his wife de­cided to move to the area they were so en­am­oured with while on hol­i­day. His writ­ing had be­gun to take off and they de­cided to buy a home in Catalina.

He now writes full-time for var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions around the world. He’s pub­lished over

100 short sto­ries in var­i­ous an­tholo­gies, and is cur­rently work­ing on his 33rd novel.

Meikle, 60, had his writ­ing jour­ney be­gin with song lyrics as part of a band in his youth days — but his love of hor­ror and sci-fi go back even far­ther.

He loved the Peter Cush­ing and Christo­pher Lee “Drac­ula” movies. And he says he can re­mem­ber his grand­fa­ther vo­ra­ciously read­ing boxes full of old pa­per­backs, and he ea­gerly picked them up af­ter he was done with each one.

It was these early mon­ster and ghost sto­ries that cap­tured his imag­i­na­tion. It was from there his in­ter­est grew, with sci-fi au­thors like Isaac Asimov even­tu­ally to hor­ror greats like Stephen King.

It was even a ghost story he wrote that be­came his first pub­lished short story that he sent away to a mag­a­zine, win­ning 100 pounds as his prize.

“Dancers” ended up be­ing pub­lished in seven lan­guages, read on ra­dio sta­tions and printed in news­pa­pers.

This was af­ter Meikle went to school for a de­gree in botany — which ac­tu­ally fac­tors into a lot of his writ­ing like the novel “Fun­goid”, for ex­am­ple — be­fore fall­ing into his job with IT in Lon­don.

How­ever, he never stopped writ­ing, craft­ing scary story af­ter scary story over the years.

“It’s just some­thing that felt nat­u­ral to me to start writ­ing,” he says.

Around 2004-05 he be­gan sell­ing sto­ries to the Amer­i­can mar­ket, which was when he started mak­ing more money for his craft. He now pub­lishes all over the world, in­clud­ing his na­tive Great Bri­tain and even Aus­tralia.

He says his sto­ries — which might be about were­wolves, vam­pires or spir­its — come to him like movies, imag­in­ing the nar­ra­tive vis­ually in his head.

“The process is a bit of a black hole re­ally,” laughs Meikle. Adding he has spread­sheets full of ideas on his com­puter at his kitchen ta­ble where he writes thou­sands of words about six hours a day.

He’s also had some suc­cess at writ­ing sto­ries for other au­thors’ char­ac­ters — like Arthur Co­nan Doyle’s “Sher­lock Holmes” and “Car­nacki the Ghost-Fin­der” by Wil­liam Hope Hodg­son.

“I get a lot of stick for my Holmes sto­ries be­cause I put ghosts in them,” he says with a wry smile.

Some of his writ­ing is even set in his adopted home of New­found­land and Labrador— like “Songs of Dream­ing Gods”.

How­ever, his sto­ries have re­ceived far more at­ten­tion abroad than in his prov­ince of res­i­dence.

“My read­ers over in Bri­tain love the New­found­land ones be­cause they’re quite dif­fer­ent,” he said.

Meikle is con­tin­u­ing to write from his home in Catalina about all the “things that go bump in the night,” in­clud­ing more mon­ster sto­ries, like one on the Loch Ness Mon­ster of his na­tive Scot­land. But, just like his first, Meikle keeps churn­ing out sto­ries on ghostly spec­tres.

“I al­ways keep go­ing back to writ­ing ghost sto­ries. I’ve writ­ten a lot of ghost sto­ries and there’s still more in me, I think.”

If you’re in­ter­ested in check­ing out Meikle’s writ­ing, and giv­ing your­self a lit­tle scare, go to www.williammeikle.com, or check out his work on Ama­zon or Kin­dle and Kobo stores.

JONATHAN PAR­SONS — THE PACKET

Catalina res­i­dent Wil­liam Meikle is a hor­ror and sci-fi au­thor who re­leased a new book, “The Green and the Black” on Oct. 9. The New­found­land-set story is a scary tale just in time for Hal­loween.

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