My first published story, My Lovely Wife, is how I ended up writing in this genre. I had toyed with genre writing before then but not to the extent that I would have something published.
My Lovely Wife started with me trying to be as emotionally detached as possible. I know this is pretentious, but the literary equivalent of Kraftwerk. I had been trying to accomplish that within Seth (available on my website at https://danibrownqueenoffilth.weebly.com/seth.html ) for some time. Reaction to Seth from people close to me ranged from negative to outright abusive. All except from my son’s late father. His reaction was, “you have to make it more extreme”. He bought me a copy of 120 Days of Sodom for influence. I eventually developed some serious emotional hangups to working on the piece. Not very good when the point is to write without emotions.
I started a shorter piece, My Lovely Wife. I couldn’t afford an editor. My life was very quickly going down the toilet with the stress of the projections of people around me. Every single mother stereotype projected onto me, regardless of the evidence pointing in the opposite direction (as is the case with lots of lone parents). No one would listen to what I was saying about what I want to do with my life. I needed people to back off and let me do it. All people saw was a single mother with no ambition or education. At one point I offered to staple my degree to someone’s forehead. I had laid out for too many people what I was doing, when I hoped to accomplish it and what I planned on doing next. The vast majority of these people around me didn’t take in a word I had to say. I go into more detail on my website in the author note’s section. I’m not particularly comfortable with releasing that sort of information about my life, but since I’ve posted that, people have been leaving me alone. Finally. It is 2018. Worth the trade-off as far as I’m concerned as I can finally pick up the pieces of my life. And finally return to the person I actually am rather than these increasingly bizarre projections of a character someone else created.
At the time, I had two pieces finished, Broccoli and My Lovely Wife. As I mourned for Seth, I would watch those awful real-life crime programmes, which helped develop Seth’s character with the hope that I would be able to pick it back up again. I wrote My Lovely Wife after taking in all these awful crimes and acts of domestic violence on the TV.
My Lovely Wife needed to be edited. Due to my total lack of funds, I had my boyfriend at the time edit it. He had never come across experimental writing before so edited it into genre fiction. It was accepted by Morbidbooks right away. I figured one published book and people would leave me alone to build up a life for me and my son. How wrong was I!?!
After it was published, reviews started to come in, as they do. “Brutal torture porn” stood out. My now ex-boyfriend couldn’t edit out the emotional detachment. From that first published novella, I developed a reputation for being able to write the extreme.
Broccoli, which I have since self-published, has been reviewed as me trying to describe body fluids in as many words as possible. I’m not going to disagree with that.
Things didn’t get better for me after My Lovely Wife was released. In fact, they became worse with “you’ve written a book, now what are you going to do?”. The mild PTSD I was expected to make a full recovery from as I did more of the things I wanted to do developed into a full blown, twice treated case of C-PTSD complete with panic attacks as people continued hounding and harassing me into having the life they saw for single mothers inside their own warped heads. Throw in some increasingly worse sexual harassment and the medical advice changed from “keep doing what you’re doing to write about those mother-fuckers, kill them in your stories”. Obviously the doctors never used the word “mother-fucker” but that was the advice. The doctors realized how hard it can be to get rid of toxic people. I was basically spiraling from high-functioning mild mental illness to low-functioning with the stress. The doctor saw me for who I was and hoped to accomplished with my time here on Earth. I was lucky, as it could have been a case of the doctor being as bad as the people around me.
Reptile was my first clumsy attempt to kill off fictional versions of the people bothering me and reclaim my life and privacy. I’m a typically private person. I had never written with my own emotions before. I was writing it as people were telling me I was worthless. Not in those words, but telling me what I should be doing, no matter how bad what they thought I should be doing would be for the future I wanted to build. Add in sexual harassment and people approaching me with stuff I couldn’t possibly have the solution for or care about and all I could do was write. I would wake up really early and churn out story after story, because these people had me for daylight hours. Every time I would successfully escape from one, two more would appear.
At some point during 2014-early 2017, I didn’t believe I had a future. But I kept fighting. I didn’t really perfect the technique until it came time to writing Sparky the Spunky Robot later on in 2017. By the time I had started to write Sparky, I was in therapy for the second time. My life had escaped from me to the point I didn’t know who I was any longer or what had happened to put me there. But I was much more mature and my memories were coming back to me. I remembered who I was. Also, I had managed to clear out the vast majority of super negative, toxic people from my life. These people are like leeches. And could finally use some of the therapy techniques to deal with the toxic people I can’t go no contact with.
Although I have made attempts to get back into writing Seth over the last few years, I haven’t seriously sat there working on it. The intention, apart from being Kraftwerk, was to write the opposite of me. I have a hateful, negative male character, high sexed but uncertain of his sexuality. One day, I would like to finish that story. I celebrate his birthday every year.
The group of stories I’m writing now (I’ve called the entire group Tainted Love/Push the Button) has the experimental, it has the porn of my earlier writing. But it also has the genre fiction. The extreme. And it has some of me in the stories. I’m hoping by the last one, it’ll have the emotional detachment again. It has people I don’t like, but dealt with in a much different fashion to how I dealt with them in Reptile. I’m learning how to combine different parts of people I don’t like to create something new and write out all the stress. As I do that, I’m happier. I have less stress. And my life is moving in the direction I want it to go. As I write these stories, I feel better and more confident within myself. I’m also more inclined to tell someone to Fuck off at the first sign of bullshit. I’ve been slowly buying Kraftwerk records in German (they’re really expensive) to put on during the final stretch of these stories. My tribute to Seth.
I’ve already mentioned Broccoli and the body fluids. When writing Broccoli, it felt like chasing the highs I had when I was a teenage stoner. Stuck in a spiraling out of control life, every time I would sit down to write, I would try to chase the Broccoli high as I call it. As Broccoli is all body fluids, there’s a sea of vomit and diarrhea, I would write a lot about body fluids and a lot of body horror during 2014-2017. My stories became increasingly violent as well.
Although I consider Threatrum Mortuum (VSX and The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror 3), Erosion (Triggered) and Sparky the Spunky Robot (unpublished novella) to be a bridge between older stories (post Broccoli, which was my first completed novel) and Tainted Love/Push the Button, I still have problems with the PTS and still write fun things (we’ll get to that in the next question).
I’m not fighting the PTS as I did between 2014-2017. I’m letting it come. And sometimes, actively chasing it myself. During 2014-2017, a lot of the negative toxic leeches would use what happened to me many, many years ago, stuff that although it had a bearing on my life in the physical sense (I don’t have much money and really need a new Mac), it didn’t have any emotional impact whatsoever. Stuff that basically would have been forgotten, if these horrible people didn’t bring it up. I’m going back over the stuff they were using as an excuse to keep my life bad with their hounding and harassment. They’d blame the past for my increasing distress, when really, it was the present. A concept a lot of people don’t seem capable of grasping.
I think I finally re-found my Broccoli high. Not the same as taking acid, but just as fun. And a hell of a lot more fun than smoking a joint. More productive too. I love to write.
I’m still the Queen of Filth. I’m not allowed to talk about the first story from Tainted Love/Push the Button at this point in time, but the second one, 56 Seconds has lots of elements. It has the body fluids, in this case, cum and lots of it (okay, not as much as Sparky). It has the hypersexual. It has violence. It has a bit of my opinion of someone in it. It also has some sensual erotica, something I haven’t been able to write in many years. And it was a lot of fun to write. It was fun to let the story flow from my head to my fingertips. I repeated myself a lot within it (hello, Kraftwerk). A lot of people I have been close to at various points in my life have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and I was using the symptoms of that within it, trying to understand and put myself into the place of someone with BPD. While writing that story, right at the end, I didn’t get a decent night sleep until it was done, so I guess I managed to get some sort of mania thing going on.
I’m looking at NPD and anti-social personality disorder in Becoming, which is the third of this group. And trying to understand why I attract so many people with personality disorders into my life. Strip/Becoming is the working title. It is looking at the character, Marcy, losing her identity – although not in the way I lost mine. This entire group of stories is connected. Marcy first appears in 56 Seconds and she was the character I most wanted to give a back story. I might go back and give Honey one too, or the hipster jerking off in the toilet.
The final element in what I write, is I speak to a lot of different people and make it a point to listen. I can’t experience first hand what a lot of my characters do and I really wouldn’t want to. But with some of the tamer things, I listen to people into that stuff. It gives my writing that added touch of realism. It also gives me keywords to google. And I read a lot. Lately, I’ve been looking more intensely at personality disorders and listening to people who have them.
The name Queen of Filth stems from my ex-boyfriend. He gave it to me. I refuse to use a name other than a variant of my own but there was already a Dani Brown out there, so I needed something to stand out from the others with the same or similar names. I don’t think he understood the Cradle of Filth connection. I’ve since bought a Cradle of Filth teeshirt, despite only ever having heard one or two of their albums, for public events.
What’s your favorite out of all your work?
My favourite out of all of my work. My favourite is usually what I’m working on at the time. All time favourites are Seth, Stef and Tucker and 56 Seconds. I’ve already covered Seth in this interview.
Stef and Tucker haven’t been published yet. It is a little series of novelettes. I think I have four completed so far. It follows a band who get up to some very bizarre things on tour. Going to set the record straight on somethings about it now. My now ex-boyfriend had changed an interview I had given to state he was a character in the stories. He was not. As far as I’m concerned, it isn’t anyone’s damn business if I’m in a relationship or not, but he liked to be included in everything and I did my best to accommodate this. Seldom did he form a basis for a character. Where he has, it will be included in the author notes. Off the top of my head, I think Jerusalem in The Previous Plastic Surgeon. The idea itself did come from him listening to a particular band and me messing around with their lyrics, a habit I’ve had since early childhood. How I picture Stef and Tucker and supporting characters in my head: is the band, Seth as the Road Demon (a supernatural version of Seth at least) and a pop singer as portrayed by The Daily Mail. I love writing the Stef and Tucker stories. I love erotic bizarro. It is simply fun. I hope when these stories start to get published, readers enjoy them as much as I do. The future with Stef and Tucker will see me actively trying to turn on readers with the bizarre sexual situations. It won’t all be jerking off into socks and having relations with zombies.
56 Seconds. Love/lust lost in 56 seconds of glory on the sheets. I don’t know if there are words to express how much fun I had writing 56 Seconds and developing the characters. I only finished it a few days ago. It was me trying to understand the behaviours of men who send dick pics and what is their thinking behind it. I haven’t written like that in years. Out of the entire Tainted Love/Push the Button stories, it is probably one of the more fun ones, at least as a writer. The one I’m on now, Strip/Becoming is very extreme and very violent, more so than anything I’ve written before.
Excluded here is Chester and Lester. That is a free series I have running on my website https://danibrownqueenoffilth.weebly.com/chester-and-lester.html.
They’ve taken a bit of a serious turn lately. I had a few hiccups in recovery towards the end of 2017 and the beginning of this year and it was coming out in those stories. I’m in a better place mentally now. I’m also a lot stronger and won’t be making the same mistakes. I’ve started writing a new one. A fun one again. They’ll still include the warnings with them though. Although it turned out not to be my writing that seemed to give people permission to approach me and ask me all manner of ridiculous questions taking precious time away from me, I still have some anxiety in that regard and my over the top Placebo fan girling can only go so far towards relieving it. Next time I’m asked about favourite pieces, Chester and Lester will probably make the list.
Your latest, Ketamine Addicted Pandas, is a book about pandas who run wild in the world after years of captivity, what inspired it?
Ketamine Addicted Pandas. That piece was so much fun to write at a time in my life where I really needed something fun, something that was my idea of fun. Writing is fun. It is my passion in life. For years, I was having other people’s ideas of fun thrust upon me and didn’t get to have any fun. I retreated into this story. Writing. That is fun for me. I also do other things and have since rediscovered random trips with no overnight accommodation and parties (ketamine free and destruction free). I bring my notebooks with me though. I bring my notebooks or index cards everywhere.
The idea itself. An email from the WWF saying pandas have moved off the endangered list. Black metal band Immortal gracing my facebook newsfeed. And 30 years of black metal rumours. I know some of them like their electronic music so I added in the dance music. The concept itself is so ridiculous and over the top. Writing with those extremes was fun. I didn’t give myself any limits. And didn’t care about who is going to find it offensive. It was also me writing about no one in particular. Like I used to do.
Ketamine was an easy choice. When being used outside of its prescribed form, people use it as a party drug. The pandas like to party as they bring about death and destruction. It goes well with their dance music. Zoos would keep a supply of it handy as it is used as an animal tranquiliser. I don’t know whether it would be strong enough to knock out a panda. As a drug, it is something I’ve never taken. No one I know would give me details of taking it. I guess that’ll teach me not to make fun of people for taking horse tranquilisers (seriously guys, have you tried acid!?!). The word itself, ketamine, it has a nice ring to it. As no one would tell me about taking it, I did have to look up information on it. Turns out it isn’t addictive. But given that the pandas are probably too large for it to be effective, I didn’t let that bother me. They also eat baboon brains instead of bamboo in my story. Reality was the last thing I was concerned with when writing it. I don’t know what reality is like for someone high on ket though. No one will tell me.
The pandas are rather fond of both drugs and chaotic destruction; tell us a little bit about why?
I pushed the pandas to the extremes. That was purely down to the black metal thing. Extreme music. Extreme pandas.
Drug use? Most people who take drugs do so recreationally and don’t become junkies, but let’s make them junkies. Who cares about reality? Public service announcements that pot is the devil and one joint will turn you into a drug addict. Yeah, I’m going to use that. Not all people who enjoy dance music take drugs, or party drugs, but who cares? They’re stereotyped as such. This book is pure escapism into the reality public service announcements like to make but with pandas instead of people.
The destruction is from the black metal elements of the story. I find it fascinating these young people making music, some of it very beautiful, would torch historic churches in the 90s. It is a very odd thing to do. But these guys were strange enough and extreme enough to kill each other. There’s so many rumours about black metal, that it would be difficult to work out what is true and what isn’t. I’m almost certain some of the people involved wouldn’t know the difference. I took the most extreme elements and went over the top with them. Don’t torch one church. Torch many. And there’s plenty of other religions in the world. Destroy their buildings and rape their clergy as well. Don’t discriminate.
Why do they choose to pick on Nazis and metalheads?
The Nazis. Down to black metal rumours. Who is a Nazi? Who used Nazi imagery, or were they sourcing it from the same places the Nazis themselves sourced imagery from? There’s neo-nazis in the world. The pandas hunt them down for the uniforms. Real Nazis burning in Hell take offense. So they bust out of Hell in pursuit of the pandas to get their uniforms back.
Metalheads? Down to black metal, again. There is no metal beyond black metal. It is taking something small and blowing it out of proportion. Maybe some of the black metallers don’t like other types of metal? So they’ll track down other bands and kill them and steal their instruments and stages. At least actual black metallers have mellowed out.
Black metal and Nazism are two very extreme things. Being around people, not Nazis or black metallers, but with extreme view points, I started to write with only the extreme and over the top in mind. I tried to make it more extreme. More intense. More over the top. Which is how I feel when I’m around very extreme people. Something went well? Well, lets do it again, only this time, lets do it better. That never-satisfied feeling of the easily bored. I don’t know what it is like to be bored or empty. I don’t have time for boredom. I tried to capture what it might be like in the story though.
Despite some of the strong themes of violence and fecal destruction there are some themes hidden within the plot that are almost esoteric, what made you add them?
I added them with the black metal rumours and the little bit of information I know about Himmler. Apart from ketamine, I didn’t look up anything to write this story. I just wrote it. Over the years, I’ve read about Satanism, which is a common theme in black metal. Paganism, another common theme in black metal. I didn’t do so hot in history class at high school, but I did find some of the occult elements of Nazism to be interesting. Somewhere along the lines, with black metallers cursing each other and making shit up about each other, Satanism, Paganism and Nazi occult things with a little touch of Aleister Crowley, half-remembered bits of information combined in my head and fell out on the page.
We reach the end of the book with a sense that there could be other books and certainly more misadventures for the colony of bears, what should be expect?
There will be a second one. Once I finish the Tainted Love/Push the Button group of stories, I will write the second one before starting another group of stories. Ketamine Addicted Pandas is too fun to not write. I love the extreme over the top characters. I want to keep them as that, characters. I don’t want extreme people in my life. Weird, yes. Passionate, yes. Extreme, no, I want to save that for the page.
As I was writing this story, a lot of the people with extreme points of view in my life, left and found someone new to pick on. I was very open about what I was writing when writing this, minus to potential Tindr dates as my writing has gotten me in trouble in that regard in the past. Writing something so over the top and something that was bringing me obvious joy, the leeches left. They realized they couldn’t change me. My happiness was not reliant upon them and they couldn’t make me as miserable as them and bring me down to their level. Ketamine Addicted Pandas served as a shield for me.
The second one will see the pandas pick on the KKK in the Bible Belt. They have demonic help, so they can transport there easily enough. I do have some notes for it. I would like to make them more extreme. More over the top. More insane. And bigger junkies. They need to exhaust the world’s supply of ketamine and Hell’s supply of ketamine.
How would you classify your books as a whole? Bizarro? Gonzo? A bit more their own thing?
I don’t know how to classify my books. Although I can write to a brief when required, I typically write what I want, when I want. More so now. Each story brings in elements of different genres. There will be a lot more experimental things from me. Once I have a new computer, I will be picking up my main experimental piece, The Panda Says No!, again. Not to be confused with Ketamine Addicted Pandas.
Some books, like Welcome to New Edge Hill, easily fit into the horror category. Others, like Reptile, are more bizarro. I self-published Broccoli and had the hardest time picking categories for it. Seth I class as porn-lit. Night of the Penguins is a bit of a showcase over what I can do. Some of my stories even have sensual erotic elements in them.
What else can we expect to find coming from you in the near future?
Near future, 56 Seconds. I have a publisher for that already. As of writing this, it hasn’t been announced so I won’t say anything more.
I did a Dual Depravity with David Owain Hughes, which’ll be out from JEA, possibly within the next few days. It has my stories The Previous Plastic Surgeon and God’s Fleshlight as well as two from David.
Splat 3. The final one. I have three stories in there.
I haven’t secured a publisher for Sparky the Spunky Robot yet. I sent it into a slush pile months ago and now need to track it down. If it was a rejection, I’ll be sending it onto another slush pile rather than using one of my usual publishers or self-publishing. It is a good story, but it may take some time before it gets an acceptance somewhere.
There’s probably more. I write things and then send them out and forget until I either hear back or go over my submissions folder.