Bio: Jim Goforth is a horror author currently based in Holbrook, Australia. Happily married with two kids and a cat he has been writing tales of horror since the early nineties.
After years of detouring into working with the worldwide extreme metal community and writing reviews for hundreds of bands across the globe with Black Belle Music he has returned to his biggest writing love with first book Plebs published by J. Ellington Ashton Press.
Jim also has a couple of collaborations due out later this year, involving other notable authors, and appears in the heavy metal horror themed anthology Axes of Evil from Diabolus in Musica, an imprint of Chupa Cabra House.
At present Jim is working on a host of full length novels and a handful of short stories with a variety of ideas for anthologies in the works.
Plebs on Amazon http://smarturl.it/Plebs
Axes of Evil on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Axes-Evil-Heavy-Metal-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00JAQ1F72/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397204394&sr=1-1&keywords=axes+of+evil
J. Ellington Ashton Press http://www.jellingtonashton.com/jim-goforth.html
1) Plebs is an intense thrill-ride of a novel likened to classic grindhouse slashers and it’s earned you quite a few 5 star reviews. What do you think of the response to your first published novel?
I’ve been pretty damn thrilled by the overall response to Plebs so far, the reviews have all been exemplary and there have been some wonderful things said. Having the work likened to some of the names that have been mentioned in various reviews is quite awe-inspiring and extremely flattering. I’m anticipating that a book like this isn’t going to be exactly everybody’s cup of tea and inevitably some folk are going to hate it, and I’d be rather interested to see what sort of negative response would be garnered from someone who didn’t particularly like it. I’m constantly saying that a bad review can generate as much attention, if not more than a good one, but so far it has been awesome feedback as a whole.
2) The plot centers around a band of men looking for a good time and via a group of lovely ladies allowing themselves to run afoul of a group of people called Plebs. Can you tell us a little about them?
Corey Somerset, Lee Hunter and Tim Hayworth are the young men still out celebrating after a friend’s birthday celebrations, making the unwise choice to wander a little further afield than they might have otherwise done if they weren’t under the influence of too much alcohol. They’re basically good guys, just somewhat prone to making bad decisions and not thinking a great deal of how much trouble some of those choices are going to land them in. Various circumstances in each of their lives have led to them being fairly shiftless slackers who lack any real motivation to find purpose; one is an idle rich kid, one is a bullied stoner and the other is a big brash ladiesman.
Their random intoxicated stumblings bring them into the domain of a group of mysterious women who are all fugitives from one thing or another, and who carry a host of killer secrets. These women share the domain in which they reside in an uneasy co-existence with the freakish creatures from which the book takes its name from, the Plebs themselves. Fundamentally, these entities were once upon a time human, now morphed and warped into bloodthirsty subhuman mutants courtesy of the experimentations of a disgraced scientist and through their encounter with the dangerous band of women, the three drunken adventurers come face to face with these horrors.
From then on in, things go to hell in a rush.
3) Unlike some of the old slasher films Plebs is a novel with a solid plot that pulls you along at breakneck speed, according to many reviews the 600 pages fly by. Would you tell us a bit about the writing process for the novel?
Plebs wasn’t actually supposed to turn out as a novel, much less one that clocked 180k words and spanned out to 600 pages. When the original idea occurred I was aiming to write it as a short story, with a similar premise to the events that occur in the first ten chapters or so, albeit probably with less happening than what I ended up with. The more I wrote though, the more I realised there was a whole lot more that was meant to happen with this story, the more I grew fond of building the characters and tossing them into horrendous situations. Ideas kept coming, new characters emerged to stamp their indelible mark on the thing and ultimately it had to become a full length, though even then I didn’t envision how lengthy it was going to be. I used to write all of my stories with trusty old pen and paper, shorts and novels alike, and Plebs was one of those that was entirely written that way, and I’m not talking notebooks, I’m talking pages upon pages of blank A4 printer paper. I have two prior novels which were written in notebooks, but with this one meant to be a short story I figured I would have it wrapped up with a handful of sheets of paper. Wrong. I’d be writing and writing in lunch breaks at work, on the train to and from work and all kinds of things. It was a staggered process and even at the time I was writing it, I wasn’t essentially writing to publish, I was writing to get the story out of my head and down on paper. I wrote it around a host of other things I was doing at the time and it was actually on hiatus unfinished for a while at one stage. It was written from start to finish without jumping between scenes or writing sections out of order, and then of course when it was finally complete I had to type the whole damn thing up from a stack of paper probably comprised of several small forests. I submitted it as a first draft, nothing was changed or altered from the very first write, and I’m pretty happy to say, even after a couple of rounds of edits, there was still very minimal alterations and absolutely nothing which changed the integrity of the story at all.
4) Has the length posed you any problems with editing or sales?
In terms of editing no, there were no problems at all. As I mentioned, the amount of edits required were so minimal that it was no issue going through any suggestions, or minor sentence restructurings or anything of the sort. I was more than impressed with the work done by the brilliant editors who presided over Plebs and have high praise for them. As a general rule I just write and almost never agonise over changing things, scrapping parts or worrying about how the story is coming out as I’m telling it and consequently I might underuse commas or overuse superfluous works. The editing process of Plebs has been more of a benefit to me than anything, it has definitely taught me a few things on honing my craft.
Plebs is certainly selling so I can’t say there are any problems there, though as a first book, I don’t really have anything to measure it by. I have the ability to track sales through Amazon and do so, but I know it’s selling elsewhere in places like Book Depository and Barnes & Noble which I don’t personally have the means to track.
I suppose the length may be somewhat daunting to some and in this day and age where ebooks are a massive industry, and a 20 page quick read can be published as a standalone work, a giant book may not be a reader’s first choice when there are so many shorts/novellas etc becoming available every day.
On the other side of the coin, there are those people who want to read a big book, who want to be immersed in a story that isn’t over in the blink of an eye, but instead is something where they can become fully involved with the characters and their fates. I love to read epic books that you don’t really want to end and have the ability to hold interest throughout, and I love to write them as well, and it would seem that other people are digging that too.
5) Before you decided to get back to your writing recently you were involved with reviewing and promoting extreme metal bands. Do you think the experience has given your work an interesting edge?
Most definitely. I’m a massive extreme metal aficionado and being involved with the scenes on a global scale in terms of reviews and interviews and promoting, and putting on gigs and metal shows locally has given me all kinds of interesting insights into a wide array of things. This isn’t confined to mere music itself, but the people who make it, the people who follow it, all sorts of perceptions of human nature and behaviours, some good and of course, some hideous. It is a veritable wealth of fodder for not just horror fiction like I write, but fiction and in fact non-fiction, in general. Some pretty ugly character traits can surface in there as they can in any given scene, which works fine for me, I have some rather ugly characters in my work.
On the upside, I always maintain that horror and metal go hand in hand, and the pair often intersect supremely successfully, the types of metal I most often choose to listen to are the dark varieties, black and death metal. If extreme metal was a fiction genre it would slot easily into horror or dark fiction realms, and vice versa.
Courtesy of the lifelong passion I’ve had for metal which parallels the lifelong obsession I’ve had with horror, I frequently incorporate elements of music into stories, even to some points where the music I love is a key facet, or in fact something a whole written piece may revolve around. Since many have referred to Plebs as a grindhouse/splatterpunk opus, I’ve taken to adopting that as an easy way to describe the way I write, adding in the fact that it is grindhouse horror driven by heavy metal.
6) You've got a story in Axes of Evil: The Heavy Metal Anthology, tell us a little about it and your experience working on it.
The story I have in Axes of Evil was not a story that was specifically written for that particular anthology, it was actually one written quite some time ago, well before I’d even started to write Plebs, but when the idea for the anthology came up I figured this piece Sinister Cavan had the requisite elements to fit the bill there. As with plenty of my writing it is a meld of heavy metal with some horror and so I submitted it and managed to score a spot in exactly the type of metal driven horror I’m stoked to be a part of.
Basically the story revolves around a morals crusader with a history of stamping out mediums (music, film etc) he considers to be evil and corrupting influences attempting to prevent a blasphemous metal band from playing a show in his hometown and the lengths he is prepared to go to when he finds he isn’t able to prevent it, in opposition to many of the things he’s closed down in the past. The underlying theme is primarily revolving around a juxtaposition of what people consider to be evil.
Because it was written a fair few years ago, it possibly isn’t something that can be considered a great representation of where my writing is at today, but in the vein of Axes of Evil it seemed rather appropriate.
It is around the 11k mark and was written very quickly when I had a whole slew of different ideas for short stories and was writing a bunch of them. The beast that eventually became Plebs was also among those seeds of ideas though it didn’t start to come to fruition until a little while later.
7) You also took part in Feral Hearts a cooperative novel with 5 other JEA authors, have you enjoyed collaborating and taking part in anthologies?
The Feral Hearts collab (and the Lycanthroship project as well) was an enormous amount of fun and I’m massively proud of being part of it with five truly excellent authors who are at the top of their game. Each of those involved has brought their own unique touches to the novel and the amount of variety and talent exhibited in this work is phenomenal, and it is something I cannot wait to see unleashed on the world.
Having never been involved with something of this magnitude, or indeed any form of collaboration with other authors I was extremely interested to see how I would work by stepping outside my own usual writing processes and having to adhere to certain guidelines and premises as was the case with these collab projects. I found it very much to my liking, incredibly challenging as well, but so much fun I would be keen to be part of something like it any time at all, the enjoyment I derived from it was immense. I’d never previously considered that I would be the type of author who could thrive in writing to specifics, or collaborating and working to a rule set, but now having done so, I can safely say I loved it.
8) Do you have any other novels or short stories in the works? Tell us a little about your ideas.
I’m almost always working on something, and more often than not it is multiple projects. This is my main method of dealing with anything that resembles writers block striking me, if that happens then I shift from the problem child work to another project and write on that either until I knock it over, or recharge inspiration for the other one.
The chief reason I have myriad things on the go at any one time though is because I’m always being inundated with ideas and concepts to write about, most of them, wildly dissimilar and unable to be all used in one specific story, so I have to get them all out, even if a few have to wait while I work on others.
Right now I am concentrating on one full length novel, after clocking 180k words on another one which I’m going to have to look at making into a couple of books in two parts since even at 180k it is only partially done.
The one I’m investing the majority of my writing time is my first exploration of the oft-travelled route of the undead, albeit with my own interpretation of a few things. Referring back to the remarks about my past experience with extreme metal and passion for the music, this book draws plenty from that since it revolves around various scenes of black and death metal, and a bunch of aficionados and band members who find themselves up to their necks in flesheating undead ghouls. Like Plebs, this book was actually supposed to be a short story which was going to form part of a series of shorts/novellas.
The other book, which is essentially complete if I decide it’s going to have to be two books was one that was always going to be split into two parts (I just didn’t imagine it would expand into such a giant monster in the first part alone). This revolves around a host of disgruntled ex-employees of a quaint rustic little carnival/circus creation who find themselves unceremoniously fired when their good natured old boss abruptly vanishes and is replaced by a sinister soul intent on turning the place into something entirely different. Not content on taking this indignity lying down, these suddenly jobless folk cook up some plans for revenge and discover there is much more to the apparent blueprint to turn their beloved former place of work into a new modern horror park than appears on the surface.
Aside from that I currently have a collection of short stories in with JEA and between writing on the novels I’m always writing an assortment of other novellas/shorts of all kinds of horrific things. I have a series of other music related horror tales I will be getting together at some stage, so when I’m not dedicating writing time to bringing that undead expedition to a conclusion, I’m writing on these.