Five Questions With… Rob Teun
Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…
Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?
Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all fo your hard work.
Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.
TGG: Could you please introduce us to your readers?
RT: It all began in 1988 with a true story, I was six years old…
“Once upon a time…”
I whisper from the darkest corner of the cupboard, drawing my thin legs tighter to my sparrow chest.
I clap my hands over my ears. Gritting teeth, fighting tears. The dread rhythm pounds through the walls as loud as fury. I want to be anywhere but a shadow in the dark. An ice cream truck lullaby plays outside the house as the shouts behind closed doors climb to screams before fading into pleas before silencing into whimpers.
“There was a Prince …”
Only a matter of time before it’s my turn. Only a matter of time before I will have to tell the world I fell down the stairs again. Me, the little boy, the small commitment that ruined his stepfather’s life. Not the drink. Not the job he hated. Not poor life choices. No. It was everything else that my stepfather had to carry around, the mighty weight around his neck, a cross he had to bear.
“I had one wish…”
The rhythms gather cadence, thunderous knuckles of hard bone crack against my mother’s skull with lightning strikes.
Words. Bad words. Words that no one should use but do. Ugly spiked words. Bitch. Cunt. Whore. Each word punctuated with a fist.
A silence falls. I remain in the cupboard, lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete.
It is the first night I do not hear my mother cry herself to sleep.
“If then the monsters could not see him, then they could escape…”
Little do I know that’s where my habit of telling stories begins, but over time I don’t realise this yet, but it truly hasn’t taken hold yet. Fast forward to 1993…
….My friends know I scare easily. They try everything they can because they think it is funny. Jumping, shrieking from the shadows in Halloween masks, even in the height of summer. They lure me into watching horror films without warning me, it’s not until the guts spill and the monsters appear that I know. I begin to imagine stories about my friends being trapped with the monsters as I picture my revenge. Over time, I grow sick of being scared. I start to read scary books so I don’t have to be scared anymore, but I don’t begin with Goosebumps, I go in at the deep end, head-on. I go to the library and find a book called IT by a man called Stephen King. It’s about being scared and about being a kid, about kids facing down monsters with their friends. There are times I have to close the book because the monster overwhelms me, a far cry from the Roald Dahl books I had been reading before now. I stick with Bill, Ritchie, Bev, Mike, Ben, and Stanley, this group of friends who find in each other a way to overcome those fears, those monsters. It is then I realise that my friends didn’t actually want to scare me because they were being horrible, they wanted me to be part of something. They knew that feeling of how your nerves clicked like roller coaster cogs pulling up to an inevitable long plunge and that feeling of excitement that came with it and wanted to share it with me. They wanted to find in me the way I could in them in a way to not only conquer the fear but embrace it.
Come to 2011
My friends are long gone, I am a man with a family and a library of monsters. I miss that time and those people, that feeling of being part of something bigger than myself, Horror. Fear. I write my first story for an open anthology and I am accepted. I am now a published writer. I now not only want to find more monsters, but I also want to create them. I find that there are others out there also who heed the call of the dark and it is there I find a place I want to belong forever, there in the horror community with the writers, the reviewers, the readers, and the late-night horror buffs I now share my passion. Been pretty that much that way since.
TGG: Could you tell us about “Ginger Nuts of Horror” and what inspired your latest short story, “Trimmings”?
RT: About Ginger Nuts of Horror (@GNHorror)…
Well, I just contribute things to it. Sometimes reviews, sometimes stories, sometimes stuff about why I write horror. It’s just one of the many great sites I contribute to, including, Kendall Reviews (@gjkendall), and Gravely Unusual Magazine (@gravelyunusual) which is a print magazine in the States. As it stands I’m hoping to write something for Cemetery Dance (they have an online and print magazine, and they also publish the likes of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Ray Bradbury, to name but a few).
Trimmings was actually an old story, I have quite a few like that. I got the idea after being hungry and seeing a pair of black handled scissors and I wondered how far hunger would drive a man. It seems it drove me to some pretty dark places to write that and all I wanted was a sandwich.
Read story story here: https://gingernutsofhorror.com/features/trimmings-by-rob-teun-a-horror-short-story
TGG: What do you like best about writing short stories?
RT: Short stories are perfect for me. I love them. They are perfect for waiting at the dentists, in line for a bus, or something light a bedtime. For me and so many other writers, Clive Barker’s Books of Blood paved the way for this love. Since then I went on to discover, BEST NEW HORROR (edited by Ramsey Campbell and Stephen Jones, then just Stephen Jones in later volumes. THE PAN BOOKS OF HORROR as well, though not as good as BEST NEW HORROR, still made an impact on so many others since.
TGG: What’s next for you?
RT: A lot of the old rights to my old books have reverted back to me, so I am giving these little monsters new names, new fur, and teeth and releasing them back out into the world. While that’s in the works, I am dedicating myself to helping writers from all fields and genres with advice, free editing, free proofreading (I used to proofread for an established publisher), etc.
And of course, more short stories…
TGG: Where can we support your work (follow you on social media, buy your stuff etc)?
RT: Well, more I can I support you! You can find me on Twitter (@rob_teun), and if you follow me, I’ll do anything I can do to help you. This could be beta reading/proofreading/editing/or just plain advice! All I ask is that you RE-TWEET the pinned tweet at the top of my Twitter and see if there are more writers I can help, regardless of genre.
TGG: Thank You!
Get Rob’s books here