I have a very talented author to introduce to you today, R- J Berridge who wrote "WHERE ARE YOU?: TEN TERRIFYING TALES. When I say, these short stories in this collection are perfect for you Halloween read, I am not kidding. This collection is the best I've read since a collection from Poe. Take a look at the book and then meet the author.
WHERE WERE YOU?: Ten Terrifying Tales Kindle Edition
Ten Terrifying Tales are ten short stories set in this very world. Taken at various time points during the outbreak, they tell the tales of ordinary people in ordinary situations and the battles that take place in this ‘new normal’.
Home Sweet Home
Him and Her
The Last Train
Ryan Berridge (Author)
Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
I was born in Sheffield, England where I have spent the majority of my life. I did have three years living in Lincoln, studying Business Studies at the University of Lincoln. I also travelled around South East Asia for six months in 2010 and for a further six months in 2016. In my spare time I enjoy reading, writing, playing football (soccer) and exercising. I currently live in Sheffield with my partner and five year old Labrador.
What inspired you to author your book?
I have always read since a very young age, starting with Roald Dahl and gradually evolving into the horror genre, firstly with RL Stein and the Goosebumps books and now Stephen King who remains my favourite author. I’m also a huge fan of horror films, especially the ones where it fells more real (nobody falling over a twig on the ground). I’ve had the idea to write a book for years, at 33, I decided it was finally the time to take the leap.
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
I didn’t want anything cheesy or too in your face but it still needed to resemble what the book was about. I hope the face of the infected really stands out, I liked how piercing the eyes were.
Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
Personally (and I realise this is a bit of a cliché) but it has to be my partner and my family. They have done nothing but encourage me every step of the way, from my earliest drafts of my first novels they were supportive and helpful even though now, looking back, those first drafts must have taken some sugar coating.
As a writer I read Stephen King’s “on writing” after around half of the stories were written. The advice given in this book lead me to re-write the first five almost immediately. Things that I didn’t even spot about how I wrote, like using way too many words to get to the point, were now all I could see. I also read a book by Frank Turner, an English folk singer, where he explained how he came up with some of his songs. What was fascinating was that both Stephen King and Frank Turner made the same analogy, that when you are writing sometimes it feels like you are not writing something new you are discovering something that has always been there. How the words just flow onto the page and they are often the best books or songs respectively. I have felt that on a few of the stories I have written and they are generally the better received ones.
What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
The biggest struggle, without question, was the complete lack of experience. All of the little tricks and tips you pick up along the way were a mystery to me. It was a conscious decision to write short stories first before embarking on a novel, this way I learnt as I went along. The first draft of the first story (Him and Her) has been completely re-written and improved upon. In such a short period (6-8 months) I feel I have learnt a lot.
Tell your readers about your book.
A military accident releases a deadly virus into the public, turning infected humans into ultra-violent crazy people. 9 of the 10 stories are based in England, where guns are unavailable and survival is that much harder because of this. I wanted to make the stories realistic (with the exception of the protagonist), stories you can put yourself right in the centre of; at work, at home, on holiday etc. The infected are purposely unidentified, the closest word for them would be zombies but I want to shy away from that tag, I have bigger ideas for the novel.
Who is your target audience, and why?
Adults, primarily. I want people to look around wherever they are and think “what would I do if a zombie outbreak happened now”. I often find myself thinking along those lines when my mind wonders, what would I do, where would I go, and I want to explore what other people would think.
If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?
2020 has been . . . not great. I want people to have an escape from the world we are currently in and perhaps to know it could be a lot worse. I know people are sometimes struggling for time, child commitments etc, so these stories can be read in those bitesize 15-30 minutes you might get free during the day.
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
Packing my bags and travelling around South East Asia. Nobody in my family has done anything like that so I set off without knowing what to expect. It was a real eye opener and I hope it made me better person.
What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
I try and make the stories as real as possible. Nobody tripping over nothing, no good guys with unlimited bullets or heroes walking into unrealistic situations. I also write as things happen, so you don’t know what is coming from one page to the other.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
A long walk with the dog, no headphones just me and my thoughts. It’s amazing how thoughts pop into your head, even when you are thinking about something completely different.
What one piece of advice do you have for new authors.
Always work on something else before you redraft. For example if you write a chapter and then would usually redraft that chapter, don’t. Write another 3 or 4 first and then revisit it. The reason is you always want to redraft when the chapter is furthest from your mind, it makes it easier to disassociate yourself from your own work which is a big advantage.
Tell your readers anything else you want to share.
Just a thank you to anybody that has engaged or read the book. I am writing because I enjoy it, no other reason, and I will keep writing as long as the ideas keep coming.