Monday, 28 June 2010

Horror News.Net praises Swan Song!

At the danger of turning my blog from an insightful writing sketchpad into an egotistical back slapping paradise, my ebook Swan Song just scored an AMAZING review over at Horror News. Net and I am stoked!

Go to, click on Book Reviews, then Swan Song!

Or, you could just read it here.

You know, whichever....


Written by: Jevron McCrory
Release Date: February 2010

Publisher: Vamplit Publishing
Publication Date: 2010
Format: B & W
Price: 2.99

I have a confession to make.

When I started reading Jevron McCrory’s aptly titled novella Swan Song, I wanted to hate his protagonist. That’s not the confession. Nor is it a slam against McCrory’s writing. McCrory brings the character of Lewis Morrison, Swan Song’s male lead, across in vivid detail with a few well-chosen words. It just so happens that Lewis is a jaded, often drug-addled man with a tendency to act the ass. In fact, he’s exactly the sort of fellow readers love to hate. And I would have loved to hate him too.

Here’s my confession: I couldn’t do it. No matter how much I wanted to loathe Lewis, McCrory wouldn’t let me, damn it! Despite his myriad flaws, Lewis is just too human to hate. With subtle brushstrokes that at first are nearly undetectable, McCrory paints layer upon layer of complexity around Lewis until he emerges as a multifaceted figure just this side of tragic. Indeed, by the end, McCrory has given us enough glimpses into Lewis’s humanity for the reader to recognize him as Everyman on a bad day. A very very bad day.

Sent to write a review of mysterious beauty Katrina Collins, whose bewitching melodies are stealing the music scene club by club, Lewis expects to be bored by another warbling wannabe. He does not expect to pass out, swept into unconsciousness on the young woman’s song. Nor does he expect to find himself gripped by an inexplicable obsession with Katrina.

As Lewis, despite his professed anger, is drawn ever more powerfully to Katrina, everything he knows about sex, love, and life is turned upside-down. And for those of us along for the ride, the notion of the warm and fuzzy—er, make that cold and fuzzy—romantic vampire is turned on its head as well. McCrory’s vamp is the undead parallel to a jungle cat: alluring, majestic, and compelling, to be sure, but not a creature with which you’d be advised to cuddle up. Assuming, of course, you like your blood vessels unmolested and your internal organs, well, internal.

This is not to say that the human elements within the beast are left unexplored. McCrory has an excellent grasp of the range of human feelings. In the short space permitted by the novella format, he wrings anger, pain, lust, happiness, sorrow, and more from his characters, taking the reader on an emotional thrill ride. Although there is not time to spell out each character’s motivations for every action and decision, we feel close enough to the characters that such revelation is unnecessary. We sense that this is the way in which the character should behave, and that is enough. The hints and intimations that we receive throughout tell enough to flesh out the back story, but to think our way through the narrative is to miss the point. McCrory’s tale is best simply experienced, on a visceral level, the way Katrina’s spellbound audiences experience her music.

My one complaint, if it can be called such, is that Swan Song is over so quickly. Though its brevity lends it the breathtaking capacity of a swift punch to the gut—or should I say the throat?—I found myself greedy for just one more bite. Those who enjoy a juicy vampire tale will probably feel the same way. There’s something here for fans of the ubiquitous bloodsuckers no matter what incarnation you prefer. I like my vamps to have personality without being above getting gore-streaked and nasty.

Swan Song delivers on all of the above.

Available at:
Available at: Vamplit Publishing


Monday, 21 June 2010

First Online Interview

My first online interview was conducted a short while ago by Paula Phillips at Paula Zone. I figured I would post it here, just for the hell of it!


Interview with Swan Song author, Jevron McCrory

Who remembers the book I reviewed just the other day? Swan Song? You know, that awesome vampire novella with the singer Katrina Collins and the music reporter Lewis Morrison? Well, if you haven't checked it out, then scroll down the page or head over to the right hand side of the screen where you will see a little calendar and click on June 13th!

Today for you all, I have an interview with the author Jevron McCrory of Swan Song for you to read!

Tell us about your book, Swan Song.

Swan Song is essentially about two very damaged individuals.

A cynical somewhat reprehensible male music journalist falls for the latest 'big thing' on the music circuit, a beautiful waif like female songstress who proves to be as elusive as her music. She also happens to be a vampire.

The story explores why people end up the way they do and how far they are willing to go in order to make the necessary changes, whilst raising morality questions on who could be considered the more evil, the creature who, by necessity, commits horrendous acts or the mortal who simply chooses to do so.

I wanted to do a real character piece and limit the amount of 'action' in order to draw the reader in, make what was happening more believable and hopefully more effective. It's a slow burn piece. It was intentionally written as the 'antidote' to Twilight and I wanted it to be everything I thought Twilight wasn't. Fierce, unforgiving and uncompromising. I actually created a template, listed everything about Twilight I disliked, then put the polar opposites into Swan Song.

The result is a gritty modern violent London based vampire story that I hope gives the creatures of the night back some of their bite.

As your novel is based around vampires, what was the first vampire movie you saw and the first vampire book you read?

The first REAL vampire movie I ever saw was The Lost Boys and it absolutely fried my brain. I had never seen anything like it! It was funny, stylish, romantic, violent and so utterly downright cool that I became more than a little obsessed with it. It's easily my favourite movie and there's probably not a week goes by I don't watch it. It's the yardstick by which all vampire movies should be measured.

The first book was Bram Stoker's Dracula as I had heard so much about it. The ending disappointed me as I felt the Count was disposed of far too quickly but the richness of the prose and characters just drew me in. It's truly a classic.

What gives you the inspiration to write in a particular genre?

I think I have tried my hand at every genre, be it a short story or my numerous screenplays. My heart however belongs in the horror genre. It just has the ability to straddle multiple subgenres effortlessly. I've always loved dark material and I find violence in fiction exciting.

Has your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family?

To some degree.

I think it would be impossible not to be influenced by those around you. In some instances, I've been very intentional about a character resembling someone I know, or once knew, at other times, I think it must be a subconscious thing. So much of what an artist creates is laced with meaning only decipherable in hindsight.

Did you experience writers block? If so, what did you do to get rid of it?

I'm very lucky as I don't seem to suffer from writers block. I always have something to say. Anyone who knows me will agree with that! I can just take two characters onto a page and things often just seem to start clicking all by themselves.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a collection of twelve short stories for Vamplit Publishing that will ultimately become my follow up to Swan Song (EDIT -They may now appear in the paperback edition of Swan Song!)

They are all stand alone tales that will each have their own unique themes and characters and will range from drama to horror to romance to black comedy. I've gone pretty far in some cases yet I want them all to share a unique sensibility and style. I want to build on what I began with Swan Song as there's definitely an audience for the savage, bittersweet, gritty, London based vampire.

What is your favourite scene in your book?

Without giving too much away, my favourite scene in Swan Song would have to be when Lewis sees first hand, in shocking fashion, what Katrina is.

I spent a long time agonising over when and how to make the 'reveal' as I knew it would be a pivotal moment in the story. Actually, from that point on, the story rushes headlong to it's conclusion and there's a sort of breathlessness to it that I like. I also remember how shocked and scared I was when Kiefer Sutherland was finally 'revealed' as a vampire in The Lost Boys and I wanted to aim for that kind of impact.

Finally, I blended a bit of sexual heat with a spot of random violence, all brought about by a mere simple accident.

Had you previously written anything?

Many things!

I've been writing since I was about fourteen years old, maybe earlier, so before I wrote Swan Song, I had one novella, about seven short stories and about six screenplays under my belt. My first novella, a black comedy called Little Napoleon, may be making it's published debut with Vamplit later in the year.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Little Napoleon took about seven or eight months as I continually juggled plot strands and characters. I just couldn't stop playing with it! Swan Song, because it was wrote on spec and I knew a publisher was waiting for it, took as little as a couple of months! I just thrashed it out in a frenzy. I wanted a pure and simple intimate character study rather than a head spinning Usual Suspects structure so it just came together really quickly.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?

Both. Often, my characters ARE my plot!

They start to speak to each other and ideas just start forming in my head. Things just start to happen, things I could never have planned without that initial interaction. Character development comes later during the process.

I remember George Lucas saying in an interview :

'You are always aiming to be furthering the plot AND learning something new about the character at the same time.'

That stuck with me.

How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?

Always, though I figured I was far too lazy to make an actual go of it. I had tons of unfinished stories when I was younger. Finally, I hit upon an idea that just wouldn't let go and I finished it, proving to myself I could do it, IF I wanted to!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what are three material things you couldn't be without?

Material things? So I can't bring my wife? Seems unfair.

Okay, an acoustic guitar, my samurai sword (for chopping trees to build a shack and stuff like that) and probably my 100% screen accurate full size replica Chucky Good Guy Doll from the Child's Play movies.

Well, I can't bring a computer can I?

What are you reading now?

Michael Jackson's biography Moonwalk. I've read it a dozen times. The man was a legend.

Which author has inspired you the most and why?

Clive Barker.

Barker has taught me more about the art of writing than any other writer I could even begin to think of. You'd think I would have a whole slew of favourite writers vying for this coveted position but no, Clive Barker wins it hands down. He's ferocious, passionate, highly inventive, fearless and his prose is simply to die for. I try to imitate him actually when I write! Maybe I shouldn't say that!

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

I don't think I am in any position just yet to give advice. All I will say is above all, above anything else, be passionate, as passionate as you can be. Without passion, you have nothing. I truly believe that.

To finish off, do you have a quote or poem that has stuck with you over the years and what is the story behind it?

Brandon Lee, in his last on camera interview before he tragically died whilst filming The Crow, quoted from Paul Bowles' 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky. This broke my heart when I heard him say it, as he was to die only a handful of weeks later. It also speaks to the enduring appeal of the vampire in it's sentiments of treasured time. It's a beautiful quote.

Because we do not know when we will die, we tend to think of life as an inexhaustible well, yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

To Shock Or Not To Shock

We write for ourselves. First and foremost.

If you started to write for someone else, I'd worry, as you should.

We write to please ourselves, because, and it's true, you can't please everyone.

Bottom line; you try to write the kind of stories that YOU want to read, that you have been looking for, that make you go 'Finally, that's what I want to hear, or read, or whatever...'

When I write, a multitude of people cycle through my head.

My publisher, my friends, my wife, my mother and father. Recently I've realised that although an idea may spring fully formed from MY head, I may end up the last person I consult when I write.

Let me explain.

I get a good idea, on some nights, a GREAT idea.

Now this idea may flourish all by itself or it may need a little gestating. Some stories write themselves, others you have to drag kicking and screaming to the page.

So I start with a great idea, but no less than four paragraphs in, I hit a crossroads. I can go dark, down the safe road I know I am capable of travelling alone. I can flip side and go comedy, a turn post no one saw coming and may be all the more sweet for it. I can go romantic and anxiously try to avoid the pot holes that romantic vampire literature has to side step these dangerous days. I can go 'David Lynch' and twist it into something that has so many levels it would make a lesser readers' head spin.

And on and on and on.....

And I am only four paragraphs in!

So am I writing for me, or my potential audience?

Sometimes, most often, I tend to throw caution to the wind and say fuck it, it was my idea, I'll dance with the devil by the pale moonlight (thank you Jack Nicholson; copyright Batman 1989)

But recently I do question who will be reading this piece? Will I alienate my readers by going too far? And most importantly, will I alienate my readers by not going far enough?

I want to write dark stuff, I always have, but, as I have learned from films like Hostel, which concepts have scared me beyond the realms of my own imagination (not the film itself, that sucks), you CAN go too far.

When I drink and write, I always want to go further. It takes my sober mind to advise caution; is this RIGHT for the story?

I ask myself this question right now as I pen the seventh story in what will become part of a collection of twelve stories that will eventually become my follow up to my debut 'Swan Song' and it's a big question.

Am I going too far?

Or am I not going far enough?

To Shock Or Not To Shock?

It's a tricky one...