Lee Mather is a horror author living in the North of England with his wife, Jennifer. He enjoys most sports and has a keen interest in cinema, music and literature.
His most recent publication is his short story “Wrath” as part of the Fading Light anthology by Tim Marquitz. Lee kindly took the time to speak with FBR reviewer Ryan Lawler.
Ryan Lawler: Hi Lee and welcome to Fantasy Book Review. Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Lee Mather: Hi Ryan, glad to be here. I'm a 34 year old writer from Manchester, England. In addition to my story in Fading Light, I feature in anthologies such as Bloody Parchment and Corrupts Absolutely?. I also have a standalone short, The Green Man. I am a member of the Horror Writer's Association.
Ryan: What lead you to start writing a darker style of fiction? Is it something you grew up reading, something you always wanted to write, or something you just discovered you were good at?
Lee: I grew up reading fantasy and horror and for some reason it resonated with me more than other types of fiction. I made a conscious decision to write in my late twenties. I'm the type of person who needs a challenge and writing was something I always thought I could have a go at. One day I did.
Ryan: Where do these dark ideas come from? Are they based on your own fears and experiences, or are they just prompted into being by various material?
Lee: A mixture of sources, really. Plot development and emotional 'punch' usually comes from me but ideas for story or characters can come from anything. I often have to put a lot of energy into developing that initial idea into something worth reading.
Ryan: Your Fading Light short story Wrath is a very dark and depressing story centred around the strained / estranged relationship between a father and son. It was hard for me to read emotionally, and I can only imagine how much harder it would have been if I had a son. Did you find it difficult emotionally to write?
Lee: Yes, it was a shit to write. My wife and I had our first child this year and I think Wrath came from my subconscious anxieties associated with us having a baby (being a father is awesome by the way but nothing can prepare you for how humbling, frightening and euphoric it is all at the same time!). I took a bit of a risk with the story. I'm certain it will get a reaction but I'm also slightly nervous as I think it might be too much for some readers…after all, the aim of an anthology submission is that people stumble upon your work and want to read something else you've written. Having said that, the feedback I've received from early reviews has been very positive.
Ryan: How long did it take you to come down from the emotions of writing this story?
Lee: I'm glad it got accepted for the anthology. I wouldn't like to have to keep revisiting it to get it out there into the world. It wasn't an easy come down but it's better on the page than lingering somewhere inside me ?
Ryan: I see on your website that you write a mixed combination of short and long form fiction. Do you have a preference for the length of your stories?
Lee: When I first started to write I tried a novel and it wasn't great. I decided to write shorter fiction to improve my writing technique and to also see if I could get a few things published. The good thing about short fiction is that you have to get to the point, particularly if you're writing with a pre-set word count in mind. This helps you to be ruthless in editing but also efficient in the writing itself. The development for me was in turning my hand to longer forms of fiction where I could spend more time creating characters and worlds I care about.
Ryan: What about reading? Does story length influence your decision on whether or not to read something?
Lee: I'll happily read any length of story. Size doesn't matter ?
Ryan: Are there any other stories that you would like to mention? Any secret projects you can share with us?
Lee: My novella, First Kiss, Last Breath comes out on October 8th from Lyrical Press. It's about a teenage boy who fears he's brought a demon into the world through his painting. I also feature in another anthology due out around November time but the publisher has yet to finalise the table of contents so I won't announce it until then.
Ryan: Finally, are you able to name three of your favourite fiction stories?
Lee: This is very, very tough and might change like the wind, but on this day, at this hour…
"IT" by Stephen King. The introduction alone is utterly terrifying.
"Game of Thrones" by George RR Martin – I'd like to be greedy and say the entire "Song of Ice and Fire" series if I could? Please don't kill them all, George!
"Let The Right One In," by John Avijde Lindqvist. It's devilishly subversive and brilliantly unique at the same time.
Ryan: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Lee.