Praise for Twisted Tales Events

'In the past few years Twisted Tales has become a major force in the promotion and appreciation of horror fiction. As well as putting on author readings and signings at bookshops it has expanded into organising larger events, bringing authors and critics together for discussions of the field. I've been involved in quite a few of both and have found them hugely enjoyable and stimulating - I believe the audiences did as well. May Twisted Tales continue to grow and prosper! If you love the field, support them! I do.' - Ramsey Campbell

‘Twisted Tales consistently produce well-organised events for writers and readers of horror. What really distinguishes Twisted Tales for me is the intelligent themes and investigations they pursue, and the high quality of the discussions they always stimulate. As an author I've been invited to three of their events and have been pleasantly startled, to near shocked, by the attendance levels - two out of three were even sold out. I salute anyone who contributes so much to the literary and cultural life of horror fiction.’- Adam Nevill

'Twisted Tales events are wonderful... a great way of promoting 21st century horror fiction. Supported by Waterstone's Liverpool One and really well organised, Twisted Tales brings together established names in the genre as well as new voices and of course readers. Looking forward to much more to come...' - Alison J. Littlewood

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Ricardo Pinto interviewed by David McWilliam

Ricardo Pinto is best known for his fantasy trilogy, The Stone Dance of the Chameleon. Since this was published, he has been working on a number of projects. A sci-fi novella is ready for publication, and a variety of collaborative work is edging towards the light of day. Most recently he has been concentrating on a novel set in ancient Persia. His earliest work was in designing computer games and now it appears that he may be coming full circle with the release of War in Heaven, a graphic novel that incorporates cutting-edge digital technology.

For more information, please visit:

DM: Both The Stone Dance of the Chameleon and War in Heaven draw on Gothic horror in order to imbue your stories with a sense of crisis and urgency. Are you influenced by writers in the field, or do you draw on other sources of darkness?
RP: I no longer read much that could be categorised as Gothic or horror, though I did read Lovecraft, Poe and Kafka etc, and no doubt the influence of other writers has seeped into my subconscious through films - from Hitchcock to Del Toro; but in truth there’s more than enough darkness welling up in me and, perhaps, it is out from this pit within a writer’s psyche that ‘real’ terrors must crawl…

DM: Why are you so attracted to the epic form, be it in the scope of Stone Dance or rewriting Milton’s Paradise Lost with War in Heaven?
RP: I suppose I hadn't really noticed that I was - and that is suggestive. What occurs to me is that the epic may well be the most psychologically intimate form of storytelling. What is it after all but the internal world - especially the subconscious - writ large; the world as a projection of a person's interior reality? This may explain why epic is full to bursting with symbols - the sort of symbols, or archetypes, that Jung said were generated by that part of our subconscious that is common to us all. In War in Heaven, it is clear, I think, that what we are experiencing is something akin to Eve's dream - though there are indicators that it is not a dream. I wonder if we don't all, in a sense, live in an epic world - one that we make such by the way that we choose (involuntarily) to interpret the path that our lives take...?

DM: The hubris of political leaders is a destructive element in your fiction. Is this in any way a comment on twenty-first century politics, or are you more interested in mythic archetypes?
RP: Twenty-first century politics seems to me to be the anaemic handmaiden of more shadowy corporate cabals. Having survived the genocidal autocrats of the twentieth century, we seem determined to keep our modern leaders leashed as ridiculed and oft-ignored fools. Deep into the past, and across all societies, every kind of political system threw up monsters who exploited the weaknesses of those systems, and of human nature, to wreak havoc. Today, the hubristic powers have burrowed underground, or skulk behind the glittering facades; but who among us does not feel their malign breath on our neck? So it is hardly surprising that such influences should stain a writer’s work. On the other hand, as I have said above, I believe the epic form is symbiotic with the human psyche and there the Hitlers and the Pol-Pots are adults as projected by a fearful child. Mythic archetypes have broken free of our collective subconscious to rampage across the world, and the boundary between our psyches and that world has been left flimsy. If, as I believe, we now live in a world that is co-extensive with our psyches, is not everyone interested in mythic archetypes?

DM: What was the purpose of situating Eve in the present when Satan comes to tempt her?
RP: It is a venerable tradition to explore fantasy worlds through portals anchored in the here and now. The utter degradation of Eve that we witness in the opening panels sets a necessary tone for what follows; to punch this degradation into the reader’s stomach, the judgement that the she or he makes of Eve must be real and current. Her innocence as portrayed through the story shines out against this dark ground.

DM: How did your collaboration with Adrian Smith on War in Heaven come about?
RP: In the early 90s we worked together and have been friends ever since. We have been talking about collaborating on something new for years. This possibility was blocked by my focus on my Stone Dance trilogy, and Adrian's focus on the work that he was doing for Games Workshop and others. More recently, we have been working together on a number of projects, of which War in Heaven is only the first to make it into the light of day...

DM: How much of an influence did you exert in shaping the strikingly horrific vision of Satan found in War in Heaven?
RP: I took care to locate War in Heaven in the dark intersection between Adrian’s and my sensibility. Thereafter we pupated it together…

DM: With the idea of tapping into the collective unconscious and your movement towards collaborating on many of your recent projects, are you shifting away from the idea of authorship as a solitary art-form?
RP: After the effort to birth the Stone Dance I was psychically somewhat used up and, with the relatively tepid response to those books, and the crisis in the publishing industry, I was left somewhat adrift. Without the support of a publisher, it has been rather daunting to throw myself into another demanding solitary work. Also, as a necessary antidote to the immensity of the Stone Dance, I spent some time experimenting with short forms - only to find that they are even harder to get published than novels. Graphic novels seemed a natural extension of this process, and I find collaboration exciting and fun. Nevertheless, I have been nurturing several solitary creations….

DM: Can say anything about the unpublished projects you are working on?
RP: Adrian and I have a few projects hanging. One that started as a graphic novel, but that has morphed into a kind of children’s book, may be finished soon. My Persian book - a novel set in the 6th century BC - will attempt to tell a story that stretches across several hundred years and that will encompass the history of much of the ancient world from Greece and Egypt to India. This book is fully researched and ‘designed’ and ready to write. When a suitable clear period comes along I will take the whale-breath and make the dive…

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments on this blog are moderated. We will have them posted up as soon as possible, thank you for your patience.