Q: It’s ‘Daughters of Darkness II’ week and today I’m thrilled to be joined by T.C. Parker who is one of the contributing authors in this release! T.C., thank you for joining me today! First off, if you can share a little something about yourself and the genres you enjoy writing in?
A. Hi! Thanks for having me. The basics: I live in Leicestershire in the UK Midlands, I have two kids (5 and 2), I run a research agency by day and, when I’m not at work or with the kids, I write – usually horror, and occasionally crime/thriller. I’m a big fan of a complicated plot and a narrative twist.
Q: As one of the authors who is featured in ‘Daughters of Darkness II’, what was your leading reason for participating in this release?
A: A few reasons, really. Steph and Aly are friends, so I was excited when they asked me to contribute – and even more so when I found out Bev, Cath and Lynn were the other three Daughters in the volume. I’m big fans of their work, so jumped at the chance to share a TOC with them.
I also feel very strongly about the need to increase the visibility of women and LGBT people (and indeed LGBT women) in horror – so the female focus of Black Angel delighted me, too.
Q: Can you share the title of the story that you have featured in ‘Daughters of Darkness II’ and a little spoiler-free tease about it?
A: Absolutely. The stories are the first two entries in an interconnected series of novelettes I’m working on right now called Hummingbird – all based around the strange goings-on at a primary school in the (English) southeast countryside.
The Body Tree (Hummingbird #1) focuses on Jodie, one of the parents, who gets caught up in a series of anti-LGBT protests at the school gates – and whose encounter with a stranger at drop-off one morning sends her spiralling into some very dark places.
Undeserving (Hummingbird #2) is told from the perspective of one of the protestors, a church-goer named Tanya whose son also goes to the school – and who finds she’s bitten off more than she can chew, when she ventures out to prosleytise…
Q: Do you have any fun details you can share about working with editors Stephanie Ellis and Alyson Faye?
A: They’re fantastic, inspirational women – that’s the main thing. Oh, and if she hasn’t mentioned it already: Steph knows a *lot* about death metal!
Q: What are your thoughts on their Black Angel imprint and what do you hope to see from them in the future?
A: I love their female-centric ethos, and their openness to spotlighting a diversity of perspectives on “femaleness.” Their current emphasis on British horror is also very welcome for me, given the dominance of the US in contemporary horror writing.
Q: You’ve recently released the western horror ‘Salvation Spring.’ What can you share about the title with us?
A: I think the most straightforward way to describe it is: it’s probably not what you think it is, and if you read it, you’ll probably end up in places you weren’t expecting, going in! I was conscious when I was writing it that it was… a little bit David Lynch, and a little bit Blake Crouch (“Mulholland Drive in the desert” was how I described it to friends at one point), and very much *not* a western in the traditional sense – though i absolutely loved working with some of those western tropes (the dusty mining town, the stifling heat, the horses and the brutality of frontier life).
In terms of plot, and without wanting to give too much away: it opens with an amnesiac and somewhat damaged woman, Sasha, riding into the desert town of Salvation Spring on the back of a Mustang, in search of a mine outside the town limits that she thinks might help her unlock some of her buried memories. She meets the local doctor, Jess, who fills her in on some of the unusual goings-on (and grisly murders) in the area… and that’s about all I can say, I think, without letting slip any spoilers!
Q: Where were you born (and/or are you from) and how has that affected your writing?
A: I’m from Leicester, and though I lived in London and the northeast for many years, I’m back there now, only a few miles up the road from where I grew up.
There isn’t a particularly strong tradition of horror lit in the East Midlands – although I’m intent on changing that, slowly! One of my books, A Press Of Feathers, takes place on the site of an abandoned asylum in the city, and was inspired – believe it or not – by my experiences playing badminton as a kid with my family in the sports hall of a then-still functioning psychiatric hospital – a Victorian Gothic castle-style building literally overlooking a housing estate from the top of a hill. I’m still not sure what my parents were thinking, taking us there on a Friday night…
Q: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
A: God, so many! Other than the Daughters of Darkness: I’m close with E(dward Lorn) – we’ve recently collaborated on a novel, Maiden (a slice of Arctic-set isolation horror), which is due out very soon. I’m also good friends with Hailey Piper, who I adore, and whose writing puts mine to shame – her Worm & His Kings blew my mind, and I’m very excited to dive into her latest novel, Queen of Teeth. Daron Kapauff is another friend and collaborator – and I’m learning a lot from his forensic take on editing! Kev Harrison (The Balance, Below) and Ross Jeffery (Juniper, Tome, Only The Stains Remain) are both good friends, and top blokes as well as incredible writers. Laurel Hightower is wonderful, and her work is heartbreaking – and she’s funny and kind as well, to boot. I’m sure I’m missing some people here, too – the horror writing community as a whole is fantastically supportive, so I learn a lot (about writing, and more generally about the world) from everyone involved in it. And not just writers: reviewers like Brad Proctor and Kevin Whitten (Well Read Beard) are amazing, and big part of the reason I fell in love with the writing community…
Q: Have you written any characters that you’d love to revisit down the line?
A: Yes! The main characters from my ensemble con-artist trilogy (The Debt, The Push and The Remembrance) felt like close relatives by the time I finished those books, and I was sad to see them go… so I’d like to check back in on them and see what they’re up to.
Q: Finally, if there is anything else you would love to share with our readers, please do so here!
A: I guess mostly just: thank you for reading my stuff, if you are! I’ll never stop being grateful to anyone who invests the time and energy in reading and reviewing. It still blows my mind that people want to!
You can follow T.C. Parker’s work at any of the links below!
@tcparkerlives on Twitter
@writestc on Instagram