I’ve had a few living legends on the 3Q’s Interview Feature since it began, but I don’t think I’ve had anyone that comes close to the longevity and genre changing career as today’s guest. Ramsey Campbell has been releasing dark fiction since the 1960’s and continues to release novels and stories that excite and invigorate readers – both long time fans and new readers.
I’m super honored to have him join me today!
Steve: What does your process look like once you finish your first draft? Do you immediately dive back into it, or do you take some time away?
Ramsey: Give it time, certainly. These days I’ll leave a novel unexamined for months while I write a few short stories. When I reread the first draft, I’m usually disconcerted by how clumsy stuff I thought was good turns out to be. Once I would have been depressed by this, but now I feel seeing a problem is simply the first step to solving it. the first draft is always longhand, and I rewrite on the computer. Once I get there, I very much enjoy jettisoning everything I can and improving the rest as much as possible. It then gets printed out, and I give it a final reread, revising further (usually minor changes). I’ll generally make further small improvements while reading the copyedit and the proofs, and then the thing is loosed on the world.
Steve: Do you believe cryptozoological creatures exist? If so, which one do you think has the best chance of being proven to exist?
Ramsey: I’ve really no idea on either issue, but we did do the circuit of Loch Ness many years ago in the hope of a glimpse. Perhaps the collective imagination will generate a sighting someday.
Steve: Of the books or stories you’ve released, which is your personal favorite and why?
Ramsey: I continue to be fond of the trilogy – The Searching Dead, Born to the Dark and The Way of the Worm. It started life as my bid to do more justice to some of the ideas I’d come up with in my first published book (The Inhabitant of the Lake, written in 1961-1962). I wanted to convey more of the cosmic if I could. My old friend Pete Crowther was initially responsible, by challenging me to write a supernatural horror trilogy. I felt and feel the only reason to write in that form is that the narrative demands to be told in three volumes, not just a long novel cut into three. Eventually I saw how it could cover nearly all the lifetime of the central characters and their antagonists, and also show how an obscure cult might eventually operate in plain sight, though still secretively enough to maintain its mystery. I do think the trilogy encapsulates much of what I try to so as a writer.
Steve: Bonus Fun Question – What was the best practical joke you’ve ever been involved in?
Ramsey: When I used to review films for Radio Merseyside another reviewer used to constantly show up at press shows after the film had begun and require to be told what had happened so far. Eventually wickedness possessed me, and I informed him that the central character had murdered someone in the first scene. Great was the bemusement he expressed at the end. I did alert him to the trick I’d played, but I don’t think he forgave me.
Steve: Oh, that’s great! And that would absolutely change every single thing that happened afterwards!
Thanks again for doing this Ramsey!
To find more of his amazing bibliography – check the links!
One thought on “3Q’s Special – Ramsey Campbell and why you don’t want to be late for a movie with him!”
Awesome 3Q’s. It’s encouraging to know that even R. Campbell has “clumsy” bits in the first draft!