G.R Yeates is a self-published author of the critically acclaimed Vetala Cycle, a trilogy of vampiric horror novels set in world war one.
Q. How would you pitch your books to someone who hasn’t read them yet?
It's about vampires in the trenches of World War One - I think that's the most succinct description.
Q. What gave you the inspiration for the novels?
The initial inspiration would go back years to when I first read Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum est at high school which led to a fascination with World War One. I started working on the series in 2006 and, at the time, decided to challenge myself by taking a classic monster I didn't particularly care for, the vampire, and reinterpreting it into a fresh form. I think it worked out as I have yet to come across a version of the vampire that is very close to what I have done with the Vetala.
Q. How long have you been writing for?
I've been writing for publication since 2006 and, before that, I was pursuing a musical career for about four years and wrote a lot of lyrics and poetry during that time, all of which have been consigned to the bin. It seems to have served its purpose as a solid apprenticeship for prose though as I regularly hear my writing style described as poetic.
Q. You have an academic past in English Literature, how far has this helped you become successful?
Only in as much as my love of reading and stories led to my qualification so it's more the other way around really. Being a writer and being a hard-working perfectionist when it comes to the craft has opened a number of doors for me in recent years.
Q. You are a self-published author, what made you decide to go it alone?
The fairly common experience of being treated appallingly by the traditional publishing industry. I had an agent who did nothing for me for about eighteen months and, by the times I sacked him, ebooks and digital publishing were starting to become big news. I researched about it and decided that long-term it is the smart path to take these days.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are considering to self-publish?
Short answer: do it! Long answer: Work out what you can do for yourself in addition to the writing. All self-published writers have to promote themselves one way and another but also look at your skills and see whether you can do your own covers or your own formatting. Check out free formatting programs such as Sigil and Calibre. Also, join the Kindleboard forums, Goodreads, Librarything and the other venues where you can connect and talk with, as opposed to spamming, potential readers. I would also highly recommend joining the Indie Writers Unite group on Facebook - a lot of knowledge and smart, supportive people dwell therein.
Q. The Vetala Cycle novels are set in WW1, how much research did you do?
I did about six months before I sat down to write The Eyes of the Dead which was way too much for one book but as the idea for the series took root, it proved to be about right for writing a trilogy. I concentrated my research on personal reminiscences as I wanted to evoke an atmosphere and a sense of time and place to immerse the reader in rather than just churn out dry factual details.
Q. Do you read horror books and do you like any other genres?
I have been reading a lot of the new horror talent that is surfacing thanks to self-publishing. A few names that I would like to mention being James Everington, Tony Rabig, Autumn Christian and Sean McLachlan as writers to check out.
I read science fiction and fantasy extensively before I converted, for want of a better word, to horror in the mid-nineties and I have read a broad mix of the classics such as Shakespeare, Dickens and Wilde. Though I have developed a passion for obscure and weird European literature in recent years by writers like Thomas Blanchard, Bruno Schulz, Tadeusz Borowski and Stefan Grabinski.
Q. Would you like to see any of your books as a film or do you think they couldn’t be portrayed the same way on screen?
I would like to see them as films, definitely, but the film industry seems to be so stuck in a rut of remakes, sequels and prequels when it comes to horror that I doubt it will happen. I also have never enjoyed script writing unfortunately so that's a task I would gladly handover to someone else, which would probably lead to an adaptation with a happily ever after ending starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.
Q. So, Hells Teeth is the final instalment of the Vetala Cycle, what can we expect next?
It's the final instalment of this cycle. The Vetala Cycle will begin again in 2013 with a trilogy set in World War Two. Before that kicks off though, I will be releasing two novellas and two short story collections before the end of the year. The first novella is The Thing Behind the Door and can be considered a response to Stephen King's Carrie. The second novella is This Darkness Mine which will be a William Burroughs-style nightmare sent in a nameless city - it takes a lot of inspiration from Naked Lunch. Then, the first short story collection will be Night Residue - a series of vignettes, or flash fiction, inspired by nightmares I've had over the years. Lastly, I will be releasing a short story collection heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos entitled The Black County & Other Forms of Despair. As you can see, I'm keeping busy and fully intend to keep my readers so as well.
Thank you to G.R Yeates for agreeing to this interview, to find out more about him please visit his website