Creating the ‘things in the shadows’
Catalina author writes horror for readers around the world
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.
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.