with Elliot Harper:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Elliot: I’ve only recently found writing. I’ve been a reader all my life, but never found the time or confidence to start writing, something which has always been a dream of mine. In 2016, I moved to Houston, Texas with my wife, and this afforded me the opportunity to explore that dream. Although I don’t like to stick to any particular genre, my early influences are the Science Fiction of Ursula Le Guin and Iain M Banks, and the weird fiction of China Mieville, Jeff Vandermeer, and Steph Swainston, as well as the dream-like works of Haruki Murakami.
Q2: Who are some of your biggest influences today?
Elliot: Currently, my biggest influence is still China Mieville. His use of vocabulary and language in the Bas-lag series of books still blows me away no matter how many times I read them. I’ve recently written a dark fantasy book which is heavily influenced by his work.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?
Elliot: I grew up in a little seaside town called Scarborough, Yorkshire, in the northeast of England. My hometown is the basis for the fictional seaside town I’ve created that features in some of my writing and four of my unpublished books called Eastborough-on-Sea.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?
Elliot: Me and my wife love to travel. For our honeymoon, we went backpacking around the world in 2011-12. Seeing all those cultures first-hand changed my life and I’m always thinking about what I saw and did in that year. When I write I remember back to the bustling markets and cities and it gives me my inspiration.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Elliot: I think the pivotal moment for me was when a friend of mine was published. It was at that moment that I realised that it can happen to real people that I actually know in my life. It gave me the confidence to believe that I could possibly do it as well.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Elliot: My favorite activities when not writing are reading (currently dark fantasy), playing games (currently The Witcher 3), and watching movies and series (mostly horror, Carpenter, Cronenberg, Aster, etc, but also anything by Denis Villeneuve, and eagerly awaiting the Dune movie in November)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9xhJrPXop4 to preview Dune
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming work you’d like to promote?
Elliot: I recently won a flash fiction competition, the Flash Vision contest by The Molotov Cocktail. This was the first time I’ve ever won anything for my writing. The story will be available to read on their website, https://themolotovcocktail.com/ within the next few weeks.
Q8: What is a favorite line of yours or others?
Elliot: Favorite quote is from Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking”
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Elliot: The people who have helped me most in my writing by their constant support and willingness to read my work (and listen to me talk about it endlessly) are my wife, Naomi, and my friends, Rob, John and Will.
Elliot Harper is the author of two self-published books, the dark science-fiction novella, The City around the World, and the speculative short story collection, On Time Travel and Tardiness.
His story, In the Garden, was the winner of the Flash Vision 2021 story contest by The Molotov Cocktail.
He has short stories in print as follows: Into the Forest appears in Air and Nothingness Press’s, The Wild Hunt: Stories of the Chase anthology, There’s a Dead Bear in the Pool features in Clash Book’s Black Telephone Issue 1, and Blackout features in Popshot Quarterly Magazine, The Protest Issue.
His fiction has appeared online in Issue 3 of Clash Book’s Black Telephone Magazine, Maudlin House, Neon Magazine’s Battery Pack Volume 4, Horrified Magazine, Coffin Bell Journal, FIVE:2:ONE Magazine’s #thesideshow, Storgy, Queen Mobs Teahouse, the Ghost City Review, Akashic Book’s #FriSciFi, Back Patio Press, Litro Magazine’s #StorySunday, Selcouth Station’s #2 Food Edition, Dream Noir Lit Magazine, Vagabonds: Anthology of the Mad Ones Volume 8 and Riggwelter Press.
He currently lives in Houston, Texas with my wife, Naomi, but he’s originally from Scarborough, England, although he considers Leeds to be his home. He likes to write fiction that isn’t confined by any particular genre, but leans towards the dark, the transgressive and the surreal. Find him at his website, https://www.elliotharper.com/, and on Twitter, @E_Harper_Author.