Blurring The Line: Alan Baxter

Dec 3, 2015

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available. (And yes, I have a story in it, so I’ll be interviewing myself too!)

Today, it’s me!

Alan Baxter

Yep, that’s me, being all meta and interviewing myself, as mentioned above. It seems only fair, as a contributor to this amazing book, that I answer the questions I’ve been putting to everyone else. I’ll keep the same format too, so from here on, I’ll move to third person.

alan-by-nicole-web-crop-smallAlan Baxter is a British-Australian author who writes dark fantasy, horror and sci-fi, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. He lives among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, with his wife, son, dog and cat. He’s the award-winning author of six novels and over sixty short stories and novellas. So far. Read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at his website – – or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook, and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything.

1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your story in Blurring The Line?

For a long time I’ve been wanting to write a story that was in some way paying homage to that great horror novel, The Exorcist. But I also wanted to interrupt, to subvert, the strong Judeo-Christian framework of that book, and so much other western horror. I love the cosmic horror of people like Ligotti and Lovecraft, and non-western horror from Asia and elsewhere, so I tried to meld all those styles a little. “How Father Bryant Saw The Light” is the product of that desire. Hopefully I at least partly achieved what I set out to do.

2. What does horror mean to you?

Horror exposes us to darkness while at the same time providing the guiding light by which we examine that dark. Horror also shows us that sometimes there is no way out. It’s the skin peeled back to reveal the muscles and veins of life, to expose the truth more deeply than any other kind of fiction. And it helps us deal with what we find there, prepares us for the actual horror of real life.

G K Chesterton said, “Fairy tales are more than true – not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” Horror is even more true than that, I think. Its pure honesty is the simple fact that sometimes the dragons exist and they can’t be beaten. And we need to face that.

3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?

This is such a tough one and I apologise to all the other writers for asking them! There are so many, so I’m going to pick a recent one. I’ve lately become a huge fan of everything written by Nathan Ballingrud. His collection, North American Lake Monsters, is one of the best collections I’ve ever read. So I’m going to pick one of his stories, in this case, “Skullpocket”. It was originally published in Nightmare Carnival, edited by Ellen Datlow, and you can read it for free on online, here at iO9.

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

Given what I said about my story above, I’m going to have to go with The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. If you’ve only seen the film, you must read the book! (That actually applies to all films made from books.)

5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…

There’s a Japanese folkloric belief that if you can’t sleep it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream. That, to me, is a mind-blowing concept. On the one had it’s quite simple and demonstrably false, but just imagine if it were true…


Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young
Tom Piccirilli
Lisa Morton
Tim Lebbon
Lia Swope Mitchell


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