Ambrose Hall is here now to talk about his favourite stories and how they have influenced his writing… Be prepared for sticky ends and maggots.
I’ve always enjoyed stories told on a grand scale, with the emotions writ large, the stakes high, and the amp cranked up to eleven. That’s why I enjoy the gangster genre in film—because everything is so big, so extreme, so much larger than reality. The emotions and the motivations have the quality of myths; they have that do or die edge to them. It’s possibly why The Wire is one of my favourite TV shows, and Omar my favourite character in it. With a clear nod to Achilles, he pushes his revenge to the edge of insanity for his Patroclus. Characters in these stories tell themselves they have a code, that their world is run according to rules, but in the end, no one else is playing their game, and they meet tragic ends. It’s a hyper-real, exploded version of reality, of our emotions thrown up against the nonsensical blocks of existence. If we delude ourselves that there are rules, that we can feel so strongly without compromise, we’ll come to a sticky end.
At the other end of the scale, I like stories with big gaping holes at the heart. Like Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. I like stories that leave the horrors of the world unspoken, but still let you know that they’re there. Like Kafka, where the protagonists throws themselves against an unmoving horror of bureaucracy, over and over, until they slowly wilt and fail. I like characters who lose themselves amongst the labyrinth of existence, and never quite find themselves again. And those everyday scenes, in everyday cities, like Chandler’s LA, where you know if you chip away the first layer of the sun-bleached stucco, there’ll be nothing but maggots writhing there.
I realised, when I started writing my vampire story, that there’s the potential to do either, or both. That writing gothic fiction can provide a larger than life mythic edge. But that, in the ambiguous potential of eternity, there could be one hell of a long time spent staring into the void.
Biography – Ambrose Hall
Ambrose Hall is a speculative and literary fiction writer who currently lives in the South East of England. He originally comes from Bradford, in West Yorkshire, where he fell in love with gothic decay and wild moors. Ambrose has had flash fiction published in Crannog and A cappella Zoo magazines, and recently published a gothic vampire novella, Love is the Cure, available on Amazon. You can find out more about his work, and read some free short stories here: https://mrvolpone.wordpress.com/