Meeting An Influential Author

Hello, gothic fans. I have some rather exciting news. In anticipation of my upcoming release A Peculiar Curiosity in three days, I was privileged to enjoy a pre-launch book signing at the incomparable Surrey International Writer’s Conference this past weekend. My tablemate at the signing was none other than Vancouver’s own horror/thriller writer, Michael Slade. I was honored to sign my book alongside Slade because his book Headhunter was one of the first horror novels I read, back in 1984 when it first came out.

 I loved the book, and recall defending it to my then boyfriend, who panned it and mocked me for enjoying it.  What the heck? I remember my boyfriend’s argument circled around the fact that the book was written by a consortium of people with the pen name “Michael Slade” so therefore, it couldn’t be good—it was a fraud after all. I, of course, thought his argument ridiculous. I fondly remember my reading experience with Headhunter, and when I think of it, an image of the Sea Bus terminal leaps to mind, so I must have read it during one of my many journeys from Vancouver to North Vancouver in the early-mid 80s.

It was at one of Slade’s workshops at the Surrey Conference that I learned the true story behind the name Slade. It seems that in the 80’s when Jay was working on a criminal law case, he got an idea for a novel. He took the idea to his law firm partners and they so believed in his story that they offered to take over all his law cases for a year if he would write the book and share the profits with them all, as a repayment. Thus the pen name Michael Slade was born, and so was the disturbing tale, Headhunter. How cool is that?

Since becoming a regular attendee of the Surrey Conference, I have conversed on several occasions with Slade, or Jay Clarke (his real name). I also subscribe to his Facebook page so I may get regular updates of his work and thoughts. Very quickly, I discovered that we share the same interests in the weird and twisted, which is pretty cool. We both seem to like stories where history and psychological terror meet.

I am currently working on a gothic horror story called Hugo, where the Great Depression of the 1930s provides the backdrop for sinister medical experiments. I was honored to get a blue pencil session with Slade, where he read the first few pages of my new work and rather enjoyed it. Not to be too sure of myself, but I suspected he would like it because of his interest in spooky tales of old. Do you want to see what I mean? Then please go visit his website.

While Slade doesn't write gothic per se (although he does have one gothic novel Ghoul), he does write books along the same theme as mine, so if you enjoy my combinations of horror and history, you just may enjoy Slade’s books.

I’m leaving you with this photo of Slade and me at my book signing. This is one of those pinnacle moments, where you are watching your own dreams come true, and can barely believe it. Here I am signing my published books, next to the man who early influenced me to become a horror writer. Wow. Just wow. Never thought I’d see the day.

Have you ever met someone in the industry who had inspired you to fulfill your dream? Share your experience in the comments below or visit my Facebook page and let's start a conversation. 

-Melanie Cossey 


Popular Posts