Welcome to the Day in the Life interview series! I’d love to introduce you to Glynn Barrass, author, editor, and all-around creative genius!
Terrie Leigh Relf: What are your daily writing and/or artistic rituals? How do you prepare your space for these activities?
Glynn Barrass: Writing is the first thing I do on a morning. I make a cup of coffee, sit myself before my computer, and after a brief check for emails (and a look on social media), I get down to whatever writing task I have set myself for the day. If it’s a story, I will be either writing a new section, or editing it ready for submission.
My space as such is just a keyboard, a monitor, and a coffee mug. That’s it! I thrive on organization and tidiness, so no real rituals as such; just a steady routine. I suppose if I removed coffee from the equation I probably would get a lot less done, however…
TLR: With what media – or genres – do you work? How did you come to this media or genre?
GB: I work almost exclusively in the field of weird fiction, writing my own works and creating/editing anthologies. I write fantasy, science fiction, cyberpunk, Cthulhu Mythos, and King in Yellow fiction for the most part, but often blend these genres in my fiction. Crossing genres is something I find very fulfilling and fun to do, as do many other authors. Taking the King in Yellow mythos, and incorporating it in a fantasy or cyberpunk tale etc., leads to the creation of a very interesting story.
In regards to writing fiction, I’ve been a fan of horror fiction ever since my father introduced me to Bram Stoker’s Dracula at the age of 8. Although before then, I was reading some macabre stuff in the forms of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Water Babies, A Christmas Carol, etc. I’ve had a lifelong love of reading, particularly HP Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos, and in my middle thirties, I decided to put pen to paper and start writing my own horror fiction.As to what attracted me to editing anthologies, well there are a lot of themed anthologies out there, especially concerning the Cthulhu Mythos, and when I began editing, I found there were some gaps, some un-covered cross-genres. It was at that point I created the Eldritch Chrome Cyberpunk Cthulhu anthology along with my co-editor extraordinaire Brian M. Sammons. As I recall, the anthology also contains a rather excellent tale by author Terrie Leigh Relf! After Eldritch Chrome, Brian came up with the idea for the book Steampunk Cthulhu, and with both books proving highly popular with readers, we have been creating anthologies together ever since.
Editing books is something I really enjoy. Coming up with a theme and asking a writer to create their own personal spin on it is very rewarding. Every time I put together a book, I am astounded by how much pure imagination and ingenuity my authors put into their stories.
Something else I work on is contributing to the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. I have worked on various campaign books and adventures for Chaosium and Miskatonic River Press, including the upcoming Punktown sourcebook, for Call of Cthulhu and Basic Roleplaying, which is based on the world’s created by fiction author Jeffrey Thomas.
TLR: Do you have a “day job” in addition to being a writer/artist—or is that your day job, too? If you have an unrelated day job, how do you balance your creative and work time?
GB: Writing and editing are my exclusive jobs! I devote a good portion of my day to both, and luckily, at this point in my life, I have no other distractions.
TLR: What tips do you have for other writers? This could be anything from a time-management strategy to an inspirational quote or exercise.
GB: Probably the main thing I get asked from aspiring writers is how to manage time successfully – I am the Time Management KING! (ahem). For me, setting myself a routine and sticking to it, is one of the keys to a successful writing career. One famous author, Brian Keene, said, “read every day and write every day,” or something on those lines, and since I began following those two simple rules, I have been successful in my career. So my advice is, set yourself some time through the day or night, give yourself a writing goal for that time, and STICK TO IT! The rewards for sticking to a writing routine are great. Trust me.
TLR: What are your thoughts on the creative process in general and your creative process in particular?
GB: I love the creative process! In my case, taking the seeds of a story idea, and nurturing it, making it grow, is very satisfying and enjoyable. For example, I’ve wanted to write a new fantasy tale for a while, and have been tossing a few ideas around in my head. Some nights ago, a name came to me in a dream – Harlot’s Gate – and when I woke up, it so intrigued me that I set my mind to work in making a story from it. I came up with an idea of an old abandoned military barracks, rumored to be haunted, with one of its exit gates being nicknamed Harlot’s Gate due to the prostitutes that used to hang around there. From this, I created a medieval fantasy ghost story, and have almost completed it as I type this. It is very enjoyable taking a rough idea and turning it into a full-blown tale. From a paragraph or two of a basic plot can come a short story, or even a novella (but no novel – yet!).
TLR: Where do your ideas come from? What inspires you? Intrigues you?
GB: My ideas generally just appear out of the aether, either from dreams or inspired by the things I’m into. The Cthulhu Mythos and The King in Yellow Mythos both hold a wealth of ideas for fiction, and how the terrors of these genres affect the human condition and our world interests me greatly. I love to take a horror concept and do something interesting with it, whether it is Lycanthropy created as a weapon through a nanotechnological virus, or a fantasy adventure set in HP Lovecraft’s Dreamlands.
TLR: What about upcoming publications? Awards and other accolades?
GB: I have many upcoming fiction appearances this year, both in magazines and anthologies. Some highlights include a story in the upcoming Return of the Old Ones Cthulhu Mythos anthology from Dark Regions Press, a story in the Lycanthrope themed anthology Flesh Like Smoke, from April Moon Books, and a story in NonBinary Review #5, The King In Yellow issue, from Zoetic Press. I am planning on releasing more anthologies through Celaeno Press, Chaosium and Dark Regions Press, including a sequel to the incredibly successful World War Cthulhu, which I edited alongside Brian M. Sammons.
TLR: What are you working on now?
GB: I am currently working on two books. Summer of Lovecraft, for Chaosium, is an anthology of Cthulhu Mythos tales set in the 1960’s. It is a sequel to Atomic Age Cthulhu, an anthology of 1950’s stories, which has been released recently. The other book is Children of Gla’aki, for Dark Regions Press. This latter is a celebration of the works of famous horror author, Ramsey Campbell, in particular the mythos centered around one of his most famous creations, the Great Old One, Gla’aki. I am compiling and editing these books with Brian M. Sammons, whom I have collaborated with on many similar projects.
TLR: Anything else you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?
GB: Well, this looks like an opportunity to promote myself a little more! As well as writing and editing for other publishers, I am also the Editor in Chief for Celaeno Press. We’ve published two books so far. In the Court of the Yellow King is a King in Yellow Themed anthology, which has fiction by some of the top names in weird fiction, including Christine Morgan, Tim Curran, Willie Meikle, Cody Goodfellow and Laurel Halbany. The Morgan and Meikle stories have won Occult Detective awards, which I’m very proud of!
The other book we’ve published is the Robert M. Price edited Beyond the Mountains of Madness, a collection inspired by HP Lovecraft’s famous novella, At the Mountains of Madness. This one also has fiction by many luminaries of the weird fiction genre and was a very exciting project to be involved in.
TLR: Thank you so much for creating time for this interview! I know our collective readers will LOVE learning more about you, your work, and what you’re adding to the genre of weird fiction!
Glynn Owen Barrass lives in the North East of England and has been writing since late 2006. He has written over a hundred-and-twenty short stories, many of which have been published in the UK, USA, France, and Japan. He also edits anthologies for Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu fiction line, and writes material for their flagship roleplaying game. To date, he has edited the collections: Eldritch Chrome, Steampunk Cthulhu and Atomic Age Cthulhu, for Chaosium, World War Cthulhu for Dark Regions Press, and In the Court of the Yellow King, for Celaeno Press. Please visit his website.