Spring Haunts: Tim Major


25 April 2024
Alex Davis talks to the horror author who will be featured at the Spring Haunts writing weekend

Ahead of the Spring Haunts writing weekend over the weekend of 11 and 12 May, we caught up with guest author Tim Major to discuss his writing, his workshop and a fascinating next book on the horizon...

1. What was it that first drew you to horror fiction?

Unlike many horror writers, I wasn’t a fan of horror stories when I was growing up. In fact, I was rather a wimp and avoided them as much as possible! My route into genre fiction was via science fiction classics… though, as it turned out, my favourites were often those with scary aspects, such as John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids and H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man. Similarly, Doctor Who was my main childhood obsession, and that programme certainly provides an ideal gateway to horror tropes.

So, I suppose it was no surprise that when I started writing fiction in adulthood, the stories turned out to be speculative but with healthy doses of horror. Nowadays, I see horror more as a flavour that can be added to any genre of fiction.

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2. Your next book out sounds fascinating - Jekyll and Hyde, Consulting Detectives. Can you tell us a little about that one?

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a great example of a work that’s speculative and horrific at the same time! One aspect of the original novella that’s often overlooked nowadays is that it’s actually a mystery story – of course, everybody now knows that (spoiler!) Jekyll and Hyde are one and the same, but that revelation is actually the ‘punchline’ of the original tale. I was keen to reinstate the mystery aspect of Jekyll and Hyde, and decided the way to do that would be to have the pair act as a detective duo… a detective duo that share a single body, with all the added frustrations that entails.

I’ve had so much fun writing Jekyll & Hyde: Consulting Detectives – it’s darkly funny and gory and mysterious – and I can’t wait for people to read it in September.

3. You've written in numerous different aspects of horror - do you have a favourite 'patch' to write in?

A lot of my short stories deal with parenthood, which makes sense as I started writing fiction when my wife was pregnant with our first child. Fears for my children, and fears for myself now that I’m responsible for other humans, are my strongest fears. Now that my children are no longer quite so tiny and vulnerable, I’m preoccupied with the shifts in relationship that will inevitably come with various milestones in life. My recent novella Shade of Stillthorpe is a creepy changeling story about a teenage child who becomes another person entirely after a brief disappearance, but like many of the horror stories I love, it’s really about personalities and relationships changing in a more conventional way.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’ve been turning my hand to mystery fiction! In recent years I’ve written three Sherlock Holmes novels for Titan Books, and then the Jekyll & Hyde mystery novel, and now I’m making the terrifying leap to writing a contemporary mystery novel with no speculative element at all. I’m pleased to say that it’s been going well, though. I’m also finishing up a themed short story collection which will hopefully come out later this year, which is very speculative and very horror.

5. What can people expect from your workshop at Spring Haunts?

Neatly enough, given my answers to previous questions, my workshop is titled Childhood Fears. In the session we’ll be considering the things that haunted us as children (which sounds a little like therapy, but that’s not the intention!) and then trying to broaden those fears into universal ideas that will haunt readers equally as much. We’ll also be studying viewpoints of child characters across a variety of horror novels. I’m hopeful it’ll be lively and interactive and fun, and I’m very much looking forward to it!

Spring Haunts - book your place today!

Where? The Guildhall, York
When? 11 and 12 May (10am - 4pm)
Who? Four expert authors, facilitator Alex Davies, you… and perhaps a few uninvited guests?
Why? You'll be inspired in a remarkable setting in a historic city