The Nightmare Engine Podcast

The Haunting Quill: Lee Mountford's Frightful World Building

February 12, 2022 David Viergutz Season 1 Episode 6
The Haunting Quill: Lee Mountford's Frightful World Building
The Nightmare Engine Podcast
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The Nightmare Engine Podcast
The Haunting Quill: Lee Mountford's Frightful World Building
Feb 12, 2022 Season 1 Episode 6
David Viergutz

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🎙️About the Episode
Ready to shiver under the covers? Master of horror, Lee Mountford, is our guide into the creepy abyss of haunted houses and portals to hell in this episode. No shadowy corner is left unexplored as we delve into his bone-chilling Haunted series, revealing the ins and outs of his writing process, and the challenges that come with penning a horror narrative where the grim reaper might be just around the corner for any character. Tune in if you have the nerves, and discover how he ingeniously took the well-worn trope of haunted houses and carved out a long-form series that's spine-tinglingly fresh.

What does it take to scare the living daylights out of a horror author? Mountford peels back the layers of his own fears and sheds light on how the things that go bump in the night for him can influence his stories. We dissect horror tropes, the optimal number of books for a series, and how his fear of the supernatural manifests in his writing. It's not all darkness, though. Lee shows us the brighter side of his life, highlighting the crucial role his supportive family plays in his writing career and how his childhood has seeped into his stories.

But that's not all! Lee lets us peer into the richly detailed world-building process behind his spine-chilling locations and characters - with a nod to the King of Horror, Stephen King, as a source of inspiration. From the eerie confines of a haunted house to the mind-bending realms of cults, religions, and political beliefs, we discuss how these elements intersect with horror writing. Finally, a special treat for game enthusiasts, Lee shares his writing experience for a video game and the unique horror it can bring. Listen in, if you dare, and find out where you can grab a copy of his books - the perfect companions for a night of fright.

🔗Connect with David
🌎 Website | 🎥 Youtube | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

🔗Connect with Jay
🌎 Website | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |

🔗Connect with David
🌎 Website | 🎥 Youtube | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

⭐️ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. 🙏🙏

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How did you like the show? Text us and let us know.

⭐️Enjoy the podcast? Do your good deed for the day and leave a 5-star review here ;)

🎙️About the Episode
Ready to shiver under the covers? Master of horror, Lee Mountford, is our guide into the creepy abyss of haunted houses and portals to hell in this episode. No shadowy corner is left unexplored as we delve into his bone-chilling Haunted series, revealing the ins and outs of his writing process, and the challenges that come with penning a horror narrative where the grim reaper might be just around the corner for any character. Tune in if you have the nerves, and discover how he ingeniously took the well-worn trope of haunted houses and carved out a long-form series that's spine-tinglingly fresh.

What does it take to scare the living daylights out of a horror author? Mountford peels back the layers of his own fears and sheds light on how the things that go bump in the night for him can influence his stories. We dissect horror tropes, the optimal number of books for a series, and how his fear of the supernatural manifests in his writing. It's not all darkness, though. Lee shows us the brighter side of his life, highlighting the crucial role his supportive family plays in his writing career and how his childhood has seeped into his stories.

But that's not all! Lee lets us peer into the richly detailed world-building process behind his spine-chilling locations and characters - with a nod to the King of Horror, Stephen King, as a source of inspiration. From the eerie confines of a haunted house to the mind-bending realms of cults, religions, and political beliefs, we discuss how these elements intersect with horror writing. Finally, a special treat for game enthusiasts, Lee shares his writing experience for a video game and the unique horror it can bring. Listen in, if you dare, and find out where you can grab a copy of his books - the perfect companions for a night of fright.

🔗Connect with David
🌎 Website | 🎥 Youtube | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

🔗Connect with Jay
🌎 Website | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |

🔗Connect with David
🌎 Website | 🎥 Youtube | 👨‍🏫Facebook | 📸 Instagram |🐤 Twitter | 🕰️TikTok

⭐️ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. 🙏🙏

Introduction:

Welcome to the Nightmare Engine Podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Virgoots and Jay Bauer, where they discuss all things horror, books, movies, stories. Nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

David Viegutz:

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to episode six of the Nightmare Engine Podcast. So I am your host, david Virgoots, horror author, and I'm here with my co-host, mr Jay Bauer. Jay, how are you doing, man? I'm doing well. How are you? I'm doing? good, man. I'm glad we got those technical glitches out of the way. So, in true horror fashion, we tried to get this interview on the way and ended up just having two of us talking and the other person just kind of a ghost out there.

Jay Bower:

So I'm not going to mention who that was, jay, but we're Good thing you didn't, because you know I don't want people to know that I was the voiceless. third part of this interview.

David Viegutz:

Luckily we're back in the mix and luckily our guest today. I'm very happy to be here with you, know, and I'm a fan of his work myself. Mr Lee Mountford is here with us today to talk to us about him and his books and his writing process And luckily he was very forgiving of that, lee. I hear you laughing in the background, man, how are you doing?

Lee Mountford:

I'm good, thank you. Thank you for having me on.

David Viegutz:

It's no problem at all. I'm glad, man. I'm glad we could make the time difference work. You know, because I know you're over there in the UK. What part of the UK are you in?

Lee Mountford:

The northeast of England where it's usually grey and rain and that kind of thing, and it is today as well.

David Viegutz:

So yeah, awesome. So what time is it by you? Is that afternoon, tom? Yeah, it's 20 past three in the afternoon yeah, so we kind of got the spread here. Jay's over there in Illinois and he was very kind to correct me and make sure I knew it was from the southern part of Illinois.

Jay Bower:

Chicago is a whole different state compared to the rest of us man.

David Viegutz:

And, as you guys know, i'm checking in from Texas, from near Austin. So very cool interview to have today. You know, i'm really glad to that I was able to reach out and Lee was able to make the time to be here today. So we're going to talk a bit about him. We're going to talk about his books and his writing process. We're going to talk a little bit about series and horror and just kind of the spectrum of things.

David Viegutz:

And this goes out to the readers so that they have a good idea of who we are as horror authors, why we write the way we do and the kind of things that we, you know, we try to convey with our writing. So, lee, i'm pretty sure everybody who knows your name knows you know about the haunted series, you know what's a great, excellent haunted house series. I've read Pair and Man and Myself Jay's on his way, you know, through the book, to tell us a little bit about that series, tell us about the inspiration behind it and tell us your thought process when it comes to like planning. Yeah, yeah, certainly.

Lee Mountford:

Well, i think at first I've written three no, sorry, six books prior to launching the haunted series. Only one of those has been at the haunted house And I think that's one of my favorite subgenres of horror. I think that's the. For me it's the creepiest, it can be, the scariest. So I wanted to dive back into that. But I wanted to do something a bit more long form. I really wanted to get into a series which in horror could be difficult. You know, characters are killed off left, right and center. It's hard to get a long, long series going with horror. So I wanted to try and make a way to make that work.

Lee Mountford:

So the original idea was we start in this one location, you know, go big, most haunted house in the UK. And then I came up with a way that I thought well, this could last for three books very easily. You know the story behind it, what's going on, how it finishes. And then it was always the intention to take those characters on a sort of wider journey, wider adventure if you like. And I came up with a sort of a story plot that would, you know, would start with Per and Manor And then you see, well, there's this wider thing going on in the world that links other locations together, which is basically these portals to hell, not to give too much of a spoiler. So it's a way that the characters then get involved with the church and are sent out to investigate these other locations. I thought, well, that could sustain quite a number of books and be a series there. I mean, it's certainly not safe. There's, you know, character desk things like that. It hopefully it's edge of the siege for the readers.

Lee Mountford:

But I thought that I'd like to start with a good way to make you know a series out of basically a haunted house for the form of a better word.

Lee Mountford:

And that was the real draw behind it is to try and make this long form thing And because it was something I really wanted to get into I haven't written six standalone novels that they were linked in the way of the shared universe but it wasn't a continuous story And that's something I really wanted to dive into And I've really enjoyed it. You know it's been fantastic. A lot of work is involved in the plot and what I really enjoy that stage come up with ideas, throwing them around, seeing how they think together. I do really enjoy that stage And it's given me more time to play that in that stage before you get to the writing. So it's been brilliant. And you know that series isn't done yet by a long shot, with six books deep, and I think it'll run for at least nine, i would say. And so so yeah, it's been and the readers seemed really really enjoyed it so far.

Lee Mountford:

I'm very lucky.

David Viegutz:

And when it comes to this type of horror Hawn of House horror you know a lot of readers.

David Viegutz:

I think there's a kind of a stigma that people attach to when you see a horror writer, so a lot of people go with, like dark fiction or dark speculative fiction or anything to avoid the dreaded H word. You know, and I think that's because there's there's a couple of different spectrums, And I and you know this was definitely an opportunity for me, for us to to change the conversation, do something else. But I was like man, this is such an important question for readers to understand, especially new readers who might be coming into horror, to understand the spectrum of horror. And so what I mean by that is we have the extreme side of things, which is that kind of that shock and all you know, what did I just read? And then you have kind of the lighter end of things where you said I think the term you use is safe horror And I really liked that idea too. That's a great way to describe it. So where do you think you you fall on that, on that spectrum?

Lee Mountford:

Yeah, i'm. I'd say I've written three books that I would say fall definitely more on the extreme side with regards to the violence in them horror in the woods, tom, and another, well, horror, they're definitely a little more in your face. but with regards to the haunted series, i'd say that's about middle. It's certainly dark fiction. you know the people get killed off It's. it can get a little bit brutal. So I would never be towards the safer side And, again, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But the horror for me if it's, if you go in and you know there's really no danger to a protagonist or any of the characters and you can't feel that tension. It's not something I choose to write. So I would definitely say I'm more on the darker side where you know you don't really know what's going to happen or who's going to survive, things like that, And that's definitely where I'd say I fall And that's where I pitch my horror all the time.

Jay Bower:

You mentioned something and maybe I misunderstood, but, Pair and Manor, was that based off of an actual house in the UK?

Lee Mountford:

No, there's. There has been two, two locations in the series that were based off real, real locations, and one of them was kind of took up a real location. Book five is called Mother Death. That's took the Einfield Haunting which is, if people have seen, the Conjuring 2, it's that case, if you like, and I took the idea behind that and sort of changed it to suit the story. But Pair and Manor, the idea for that was just to take this big gothic, you know traditional gothic horror mansion, and create something from there. So it wasn't based on one particular location, more of a maledomation of a few things, and so I tried to make it. You know, the. I wanted to take the classic haunted house from Days Gone By, because I do think there's a lot to be said for modern horror, where you take the horror and you put it in the modern house, which I'd done for sort of the demonic. But for this one I just had a real desire to take it back to that old gothic mansion type thing.

Jay Bower:

Nice And it does have that feel. For sure I love it.

David Viegutz:

I'm pleased. And when it comes to, let's talk about tropes a little bit. So we're talking about things that you can expect in like haunted house style books. Are there any tropes that readers love that you just you don't want to write.

Lee Mountford:

Hmm, so a question? No, there's nothing that springs out in my head that is a trope that I'd say I definitely don't want to write it, other than maybe having too many false scares. you know where I hear you something once that it's the cat that jumps down, and you know that I think that's a little bit warm. but, to be honest, the feedback from my readers, the tropes that they like, is actually True horror, where you actually put the scares on the page.

Lee Mountford:

I think a lot of haunted house Horror is what you don't see in that. You know that's great for building tension, but if it's a full book of that without any payoff, i think some people are get, you know, a little bit turned away from that. and so what people are? the feedback that I get from people who like the books is You actually put the ghosts in there, you put the scares in there And it hopefully it's really creepy for them because you know something is coming, you just don't know what, and so I think the tropes that I maybe avoid is just the, the false, false scares where you hear you something in it. It's you'd like to say it's a dog or a cat or you know something one day and then, if you keep doing that, i've noticed you. there's no real, you know, no real horror there for me.

Jay Bower:

Yeah, so you said you're thinking nine books for the haunted series.

Lee Mountford:

That's a, that's the number having my head so far. I have a rough idea of the next two and how that could go on to a final. What I don't have quite nailed down in my head yet Is the, the last book, how things gonna resolve. I have a rough idea of the, the final, final scene, and but as locations go, i haven't got that nailed down. So I think it would sustain nine books safely. It might be a bit more than that before the right is come, and what I think nine books so far is is the sort of number That's in my head with with what I have planned currently and, to be honest, you, you can. You know I've had a haunted house, i've had an asylum, a Cathedral, there is the. I am aware that there is the thing you am. I just gonna start looking for locations for location sake, and it's a bit hammed in rather than being true to the story. So that's in my head as well, not to push it too far and milk it for the sake of it.

David Viegutz:

Yeah, you know, if you're getting into like the different types of trailer, you got double-wide, haunted double-wide you know, There could be a book in there. That's a trailer park.

Lee Mountford:

Yeah, that's it.

David Viegutz:

Haunted Winnebago man.

Lee Mountford:

Somebody did suggest a hundred graveyard and I think that's a cool idea, but how would you stay? not for a whole book. You know it does not even an open area It might be. Just don't go there.

David Viegutz:

And you got here Nice and easy. Jay and I talk a little bit about about our fears, because you know, as horror writers We are, i think, some of the most down-to-earth You know, normal people as far as the Ryers fear goes, that every author have reached out to, to beyond this podcast has Has responded Yes, i would love to be here, which it seems to be kind of the opposite for a lot of writers, who are a little bit more introverted. So I like to believe that a lot of authors are totally normal, so with that normalcy comes a bit of. So here's an interesting question. Jay hates this question and I love this question. Lee, what scares you man?

Lee Mountford:

Now I will freely admit. I mean, if I watch a good film or a book, i can get scared. You know, i don't think I don't sit there and think nothing scares me, because if that's the case I have no business writing horror and and I think a lot of haunted houses, you know, scare me. I'm a bit Skeptical in real life, you know. Does do these things happen? I don't know, i'm not saying definitely not, but I wouldn't say I'm a hundred percent true, believe it. And yet still these things can get under my skin. The first Paranormal activity film got under my skin a little bit and if I watch that later night on my own All the lights are on, we're gonna go to bed, it's. You know, i'll freely admit that and I think this.

Lee Mountford:

This comes from when I was very young. I had a fascination with ghosts and heart and some things like that, and I watched a program called ghosts. Watch is in the UK on Halloween 1992 and it was Televised as if it was this investigation into a haunted house. And it was. It was supposed to be an actual Help in the term. You know it really happened. It's a real investigation. No one was expecting anything to happen. You know it's all live. It had actors in there, presenters in the UK, who were well known. But then things happened and you're watching, you think I've just I saw something there. There's a ghost of right in front of that curtain. I saw this is crazy and it chopped the nation.

Lee Mountford:

Back then There was quite a lot of complaints and it turned out he was a bit of a trick. You know it wasn't, it was, it was fiction, but that that was my ex's. That really, if you know, for two weeks Trouble sleep, and you know the lights were on that when I was I think I was about 11 or 12 at the time And that sort of lit something. And ever since then I think things like that really get under my skin. If you don't, if they're done well, you know there's some of the dorms, but I think I'm happy to admit you know haunted houses, things like that course creepiness, they can freak me out Definitely. How about yourselves? What, what's case? you guys would just say So it's funny.

Jay Bower:

You said a hundred houses. Those freak me out, but not the actual. Like you know there's supposed to be paranormal activity happening there, but like the kind you go to like around Halloween. You know they're full of actors and things like that.

Introduction:

No, scare the hell out of me.

Jay Bower:

I won't go to a man. Yes, he has my wife and my son and they'll go to them. They enjoy them and like, nope, i want no part of that. I've seen enough movies, i've read enough books. I know how this goes. I'm Not going in those things. And it's it's funny, like David was laughing about it. I was like, nope, man, i won't do it. I won't touch those things. Go ahead, i'll stay out here in the car where it's safe. I'm not doing it.

David Viegutz:

Yeah, you're like.

Lee Mountford:

Definitely. I think I'm with you on that. We have it in. I live quite close to place go whippy, where some of Dracula was set. It's a favorite place in the world but because some of Dracula was set there, they have this little Dracula museum and there's a walkthrough thing with some scenes from the film and sometimes There's actors hiding where they'll jump out and scare you, and I went through with my wife And she did not like that. She went back and I've run the lens of my own, like nope.

David Viegutz:

Yeah so you started asking yourself the question like am I walking into a plot point right now?

Lee Mountford:

These are the tropes I do not like.

David Viegutz:

yeah, and I'm living one, Yeah my fears are a little more rational. I don't like Trains like old locomotives.

David Viegutz:

Okay old steam engines, man. I think it was from when I I was reading the gunslinger series, you know, the Dark Tower series with Stephen King, and had Eddie the train and for some reason that just scared the hell out of me And I never made it past that book. I don't remember which book it was, but I could not with the locomotive, especially because it talked and I think it flew to. It was Really weird, just couldn't do it. You won't get me on a train. I'll get on the metro, you know I'll get on a bullet train, that but not not a, not a locomotive.

Jay Bower:

So name the pod and we'll have a train. Sounds is yes. Yeah.

David Viegutz:

Yeah, i thought it was too good of an opportunity. Just to remind me every day And my other fears is really weird too is um a black holes. I don't know if you've ever seen that the old star Star Trek movie, the new Star Trek movies, were like one of the ships was coming out of a black hole. Yes, for some reason That's horrifying The movie sphere, horrifying event horizon, horrifying.

Lee Mountford:

Yeah, but there's something about space isn't there with the unknown, and you know that blast you, we know it's terrifying. It's so small and that is. I think that is a terrifying concept. It's amazing. But yeah, we're so insignificant. When you think we think of things like that, i can fully understand that.

David Viegutz:

Yeah, you mentioned the the paranormal activity Series. Man, when I first came out, i remember the first movie and remind me I think it was one of the one of the better done You know found footage, since, like Blair witch and I don't, i don't know if you know a little bit about this podcast, but we talk about movies and and stories and more than just novel. So this is totally fine going off the rails here, because that the cool part about horror readers that I found is that they share a lot of the Same likes in the horror movies as well. Sometimes you don't find that in other genres, but with horror definitely, you know. So I mean the paranormal activity, the first one. I like them all, no matter how bad they are. I like them all. But the first one I remember I was in the army and It had just come out and we at that time there wasn't really, we weren't really big into Netflix and streaming and stuff like that.

David Viegutz:

So we just kind of, you know, used to watch movies, you know, and we're streaming websites and stuff. And I remember somebody's like, hey, click this video. I'm like man, this looks stupid, you know. I'm like what is this? I'm like it's not even a real movie, it's just like on somebody's video camera and I went with that mindset for the whole thing and I didn't sleep for a few days. It was. It was that scary for me and I love found footage movies.

Lee Mountford:

I'm with you It's. It's so in your face and it's sort of intimate. You feel like you're there, much more than a you know they're normally directed film. I think if it's done well it can be so effective play which, like you said, one of my favorite films of all time, the first, first paranormal activity and And I'm sure there's loads of those. But I do agree the found footage genre could be fantastic. I mean that there are, or there was a one called them Post. It was on should. It was a UK film set during the pandemic. I'm not sure if you've you've managed to see that. I would very much recommend what host it's. It's done over. I don't know if it's Skype or it's something similar.

David Viegutz:

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lee Mountford:

Yeah, and it was done so well. I think it was based off a shot that somebody made and then it did well on YouTube and they got the funding together to make film And that was done really well as well. So I think if it found footage is really done to its best, it can be effective. Yeah, i love that, johnna.

Jay Bower:

So, getting back to your books and and your Amazing catalog, how many books do you have out at this point? Do you know?

Lee Mountford:

I have 12 novels and a short story collection. So yeah, and six of those novels.

Jay Bower:

And how many?

Lee Mountford:

series. Do you have just a hundred series the moment I'm writing there I'm putting out another series at the moment that hasn't launched yet. I'm wanting to get some books off of that one later this year and which is sort of Think going in with I think I know it may not have as wide an audience as the haunted series. It's it's a certain Victorian England and it's it's certainly horror, maybe with some dark fantasy elements. It sort of laid in there as well a lot of Lovecraftian type type mythos. But it's something that's been in my head to write for a long time. So I'm going to devote a bit of energy towards that and launch that one. But currently the haunted is is the only true series I have and then um, this are you.

David Viegutz:

Are you working still or Or do you go full-time?

Lee Mountford:

No, i have a full-time position at the moment in sort of architecture, sustainability, things like that. But I'm at the point where I could and but have a young family, things like that. You know, you've got to make things sensible and really look at. You know, if I jump too early just for myself, it's, it's something that I'm, you know, thinking about, but it's not something I'm gonna do, you know, too early. But I'm at a point where, certainly where I could do it. If, if, maybe, if the worst happen, then I was made unemployed, i'll have this to just jump straight into. But that's the position at the moment and your wife and kids I'm.

David Viegutz:

what do they think about all this?

Lee Mountford:

It's great. You know that my wife here, tara, so she will not read my books. Man, that's fine. I, it's weird family. Oh. So it's okay What you're doing, but I don't really want to read it. But I will if and I said, no, don't, i don't. If you don't like our red, don't read it, right? you know the? the? I'm just saying it's good, is, you know? is is perfectly fine, that's all. I don't want people to go out the way to read horror if it's not for them, because these books won't be for them. And but why so supportive? I've actually helped her. She started to write some books in in the romance genre as well, nice, which she's put out there. So yeah, i've really good and I think that's key. If you have people who will support you and help you through it, It makes it so much, so much easier. And I think if it was a constant battle to have to try and you know, in your personal life to try and put books, i'll tell you.

Jay Bower:

So yeah, my, my wife asked me all the time. She's like am I in your books? and and like, no, no, you're not cuz. I was like I want to stay married, so you're not cuz.

Introduction:

And it's funny, she's a big reader.

Jay Bower:

She doesn't really read a lot of horror, so she hasn't really read any of that. And then, which is perfectly fine, just like you said, you know, and, and if it's not your thing, it's not your thing, and you know she'll, she'll ask once in a while Why in there. No, we're gonna, we're gonna?

Lee Mountford:

I do. I bounce ideas off my wife quite a bit. And just to say I mean sometimes I'll say that there's an ending, one of my books called forest of the dam. The end of that book is possibly my favorite, but it is by far the darkest and goes beyond just people being killed off. It's really dark. And I floated that idea past my wife first and just is this pushing it things too fine? She looked in no, i think you should be okay. So I thought, well, if I've got her approval and that's okay. So do you guys do that?

Jay Bower:

bounce things off your I do a little bit. Just, you know, like, hey, i've got this idea, what do you think about this, you know, and she'll kind of stew on a little bit and kind of give me her thoughts on it, you know, which is, like I said, she's a big reader, so that does help quite a bit to get to get that, especially Even if it's somebody that's not a big horror reader. I think that's still helpful because it just gets to story, you know it gets to It. Will this work as story, let alone the genre, you know? And so I do that on occasion and get some thoughts from her on it. Sometimes she just gives me these weird books like the hell are you writing?

David Viegutz:

Yeah, with my wife. So I give her a lot of hell because I've written 12 books and she hasn't read one of them. And But I'm okay with that because you know, and when I start looking at her you know her read pile. I'm probably not her you know, probably not her.

David Viegutz:

Her genre, you know, and that's, and that's okay. She likes horror movies, but I don't have really seen her pick up many horror books. But I'm okay with that because you know I'm, She supports me as the best you know she can and she'll listen. You know I'll give her some weird thing to some weird idea, like hey, what do you think about this? and she'll be like, no, that's kind of stupid, you know. So she'll. She'll give it to me real, you know, but she will introduce me as just an author. So there's no confession of, yeah, he's a horror author, and there's the people. So, lee, how was your childhood?

Lee Mountford:

It was normal, i would say no, no great traumatic experiences to have the work through. It was, i think, i had a very good upbringing, which I'm grateful for. Or parents didn't have a lot, but we, you know, we always provided for and, but I do. I do remember that and this maybe speaks to why my horror author is My younger brother. I'm the oldest of three and my younger brother and sister always remind me about how much I used to scare them, as When we were kids, you know, i had this horrible witch mask Went right over your head, i had orange hair at the back and it was green and horrible. And my younger sister she been about four, five at the time She was coming out of the bathroom and I was hiding and jumped out the scared and the look on her face. I actually thought I'd given her a heart attack. And she still never forgot that.

Lee Mountford:

My, my younger brother, we used to live near some train tracks in this big, big wooded area with it, with a creek, and, and I remember me and my friend at the time we found this all Sheep rib cage and Where we lived, that we sort of that's our very air. So we thought, wouldn't it be cool if we came with a story where there was a lot of kids being taken and And we put up some of these posters about missing kids just written, obviously no pictures that would hand made. Dug the the rib cage into the creek, we found his backpack. We hooked that one of the rib cages over as if it had been wet. I've been wearing it as if you look around your cage. But there you go.

Lee Mountford:

And and then we took my brother out there making sure we went past the flyer. It says odd, we've heard about that. There's this, you know, apparently people being go missing. And then we went to the point and he saw it and one It's a monster eating people and he ran. He was terrified and looking back, i think maybe the seeds were there for why I do. Yeah, not normal, but no, no traumatic experiences. My mother and sister certainly did.

Jay Bower:

Going back to that, well, what got you interested in reading horror, like who was your your breakthrough author and books and things like that.

Lee Mountford:

Yeah, and I think the earliest books that I can remember was sort of compilations and I had a ghost story collection and They had like MI James and things like that that I used to really like. There was some stories in there. I forget the name. There's, there's something society where they used to meet every year and at the end There was only one guy left. He went back for his meeting and I think we found in the next morning dead, but it sounds as if there was a lot of people there. I'm butchering that and I forget the name.

Lee Mountford:

It's quite a well-known story but at the time I wasn't really aware of it. That freaked me out And and I remember at primary school which is, i think, your guys, elementary school, that's what we call it over here There was this book of ghosts and I've had photos in a supportive way of ghosts. I always used to get that out. Look through. That needs to creep me out a little bit. So, and that certainly did it. Then I moved into a bit Stephen King and as I got into my sort of teenage years, started reading him and But a lot of it was short stories, i would say in the early days before, sort of, eventually, novels and a lot of like four stories, things like that.

Jay Bower:

Yeah. I was mention Stephen King, and I think most of us are, especially at this age. You know That we look back to that. My mom was and is a huge Stephen King fan, just Always had books around the house and she had a lot of his books there And I remember seeing a pet cemetery just lay in there on the the coffee table.

Jay Bower:

I was like it looks kind of cool and I started reading it and I was like holy shit you know Like this is it, you know, this is, and you know, growing up on all those 80s be horror movies. You know a lot of that. Yeah, tales from the Crip, you know, like just all that kind of stuff. That can't be kind of horror stuff, but For me it was. It was King and it was pet cemetery, his first novel. I chose to read that. I didn't have to read for school or anything like that, yeah, and I was like that's it, you know, and I've always loved that stuff since and it's just, it's just been a big part of The things. I, like, you know, i may not go to visit a lot of scary things, but I will, i will read them.

Lee Mountford:

Yeah, it's always that's how it was my first King as well. Yeah, it's, that's. How do I have that? my uncle gave me the books, so I'd be a bit old for you what you might like, and yeah. I did create me out. But yeah, certainly look that up. How about a?

David Viegutz:

little bit of an oddball man. My favorite King story was the girl who loved Tom Gordon. Yeah, so it's more on some more of novella. That's a lot on the shorter end. It's about a young girl who's out in the woods, or I didn't really like the bait. There's Tom Gordon and I don't know if he's a real baseball player, but he's a. I think it's baseball. She's this young girls using the radio listening to the baseball games while she's lost in the woods And so it takes a.

David Viegutz:

It's what I call a slow burn. So you'll get the slow burn and then it just goes all wicked at the end and I absolutely adored that one. That was my first King book and that was one of the only King books I could find library And I think in in the middle school and I think that that point it was kind of you know, they were trying not to have King books in the and I think one slip through. After that I very quickly got on board with Salem slot. I think that was my second one and I love Salem slot.

David Viegutz:

I think it's one of the better vampire stories ever told besides Dracula. And then let me think, i think I got There's one more, the end, misery, and I think those, those three. And What I found, though, was that, okay, i'd read these, these horror stories, and they weren't I don't know. It was the people who were terrifying, not necessarily the situations, just kind of what people were capable of. And I remember in the first like three pages of Salem's Lot, there's just a paragraph, for this lady punches her baby in the mouth, and I'm like, why was that there? And I realized it was to set the mood, for the story, you know, is kind of showing what this town was like, and I was like that was more scary than the vampires, you know. And so tell me a little bit about your character development, lee. How do you go about making a character that you love, that you hate? And tell me about your haunted house. Are your haunted houses their own character? Was that fair enough? Do you think that's a fair assessment?

Lee Mountford:

I think so, yeah. Yeah, i think that's a good comment, because I do put in quite a lot of time in developing the locations and try to give them their own atmosphere. So I do it in a similar way to the sort of the characters. So I mean, each book sometimes works a little bit differently, but the usual method I come up with is I have the rough idea for the story and get that sort of as far as I can, and then I'll jump back and by doing the rough idea for the plot, i'll come up with ideas on what the characters should be. But then once I get the plot to a certain point, i'll jump in and I'll say, right, i need this many characters. I'll have an idea of the main one. I'll flesh those out. I'll create documents for those and get a physical description. I'll get a picture online of somebody I think right, that's the look. I'll paste that in, write a little bit of a backstory of how they got to the point of where the story kicks off from. I'll do that for all main characters And once that's at a point where I feel the pulse will go back and jump into the plot again. I'll do that. The characters might not be finished and fully fleshed out, but then I'll go on and I'll plot further ahead. Things will change, tweak to what the characters are. I'll look back and think, well, no, sarah, for example, wouldn't act like this. It doesn't seem right. So things change from there And I keep hopping backwards and forwards like that until I feel to a point where I'll always hit the point where I feel in the plot and where I'm spinning my wheels a little bit and think I need to get going now The draws there, to write, to actually get the story down rather than just mapping things out.

Lee Mountford:

But same with the locations is with the haunted series. Certainly I was hopping in and out of the location and expanded on that And I draw floor plans of the building. So I had a clear indication in my head of what they look like If they were a real location for those. If not, you know things that I think look close to what I was picturing in my head and just the style, the feel of the building, as well as the aesthetic.

Lee Mountford:

And one thing I wanted to do, which you know covered sort of put a draw that was to visit some locations to get more of a feel of things like that. But it obviously couldn't happen. I had one set in the Czech Republic for cathedral out there. Create a little assumption. You know, if I could only get there to see it and take it in a little bit, that would have been perfect. But not going to work out that way, unfortunately. But that is one thing I'd like to add a little bit more as to get out and see more of these places. Certainly I treat the locations as a character in most stories because I think in horror location is a key thing, a lot more than most genres, i'd say. And I don't know if you guys do the same or have a similar sort of outset.

Jay Bower:

Yeah, a lot of mine have been set in this fictional town of Brownsville, illinois, which is a town that I used to live in. I changed the name but it's like that's been a common thread, for a lot of them is just this little town that I'm really familiar with And there's a lot of creepy areas of it. You know I've used that as my backdrop. A lot That my new series I just released is in the same little town. Several of my stand-alones are in the same little town but at some point this little town is going to have to get out of there.

Jay Bower:

But, yeah, definitely to get that feel of it, you know, to understand the location and to understand and to bring that to the book. I think that's I think it's key And I agree with you. I think that that location is its character and its own right And, you know, going through parent manner like it really is a strong part of that story. You know I can feel that house. You know I can. I can feel the age of the house, i can feel the creepiness of the house And I think you've done an amazing job with that.

Lee Mountford:

Thank you, i appreciate that.

David Viegutz:

Yeah I'm a big fan of. When it comes to location, i have to think to myself why do I want this location over something else? One of the most recent books I picked because because then if it was just any other location it wouldn't really matter. You can change the name up, but who wouldn't change anything about the story? And so one of the one of the things I just published it took place in the Bayou of Louisiana, kind of modeled off that old skeleton key movie, you know, kind of the folklore with the voodoo and adding some some speculism in there and stuff like that.

David Viegutz:

And so I really try to say what can the culture of the area bring to the story? And then how can the area affect the story in a way, especially when it's like a man around the middle of nowhere, you know, or in, you know, when there's some natural seclusion that comes from that, there's some mystery behind it. You know, one of my favorite things to look up is like the old, especially when I was commuting. Now I listened more podcasts and more audio books, but I used to listen to old documentaries about things like the Branch Davidians and Waco. You know these cults and why they would establish a cult out in the middle of these, these, these compounds, out the middle, you know where, nowhere you know. And so I really love cult fiction And so I try to bring a lot of those elements in there, lee, do you have any?

David Viegutz:

do you have any cults in your books? You thought about writing cults.

Lee Mountford:

Yeah, yeah, certainly, i'm totally with you on that. To be honest, that's something I'd like to dive into a little bit more, because I do have cults in them. The Netherwell Horror certainly has a cult, and the Haunted Saviys the latest book is sort of leading a cult into that. that's it. I don't know if it's a male man not tie into the other. You know the early books as well, and so, yeah, certainly. But what I'd like to do is is maybe have a book that's more focused on just a separate cult, because I think the whole mindset of that is is fascinating, like you say, how people get into that point and the locations where they said it. You know watch a lot of documentaries and things like that, and so I've sucked into these things and you know how the life's turned upside down and isolated and I think that's a horror in its own right. So, yeah, a big fan of cults in horror and things like that It's certainly I use freely, you know I love that as a trope and dive in every chance.

Jay Bower:

I've had, but it's a very thin line between, like, cults and religions and, you know, just political beliefs. It's just, it's really weird when you kind of sit back and watch it. I studied history, i have two degrees in history and I studied early medieval history actually But I was also fascinated with World War Two, with Hitler and the way that was kind of cult like. But I was also very interested in monks. There's a lot of similarities. Obviously, their outcomes are completely different, but there's a lot of similarities in how people can give themselves over entirely to something like that. And I think cults are, you know, it's a big part of that And that's scary in real life and it's scary on the page, you know, and I think that's fascinating to dive into those.

Lee Mountford:

It is. I think you hit the nail on the head. People can give themselves over to this ideology, but also these personalities, these big personalities that sort of lead the way And I do find it weird not weird, sorry, but fascinating, but scary that people just throw everything away to follow these personalities. And for me it's standing, you know well, aware of that. I can't really understand the mindset, but it's scary that people have that power over each other. I think that's something to be mind and horror. But I think you're absolutely right in what you're saying there, jay. Yeah, definitely.

David Viegutz:

And having strong characters in any story. I think that's one of the things that we as horror writers have to excel at, because the scary thing is only scary up until it pops out on the page And then it's not scary anymore. And so now you really have to focus on your character and bringing that character some realism so that people can relate. You know, you want them to be able to relate, even in any kind of escapist fiction. People want to feel like they're. They've left their world and gone to this other world and they're a part of it. You know, and to kind of change gears real quick, we got a few more minutes left.

David Viegutz:

So, jay and I, we we write short stories, and I know you write short stories, you have some collections and stuff. We believe that short stories are kind of the lifeblood of horror authors, and so what I mean by that is the small indie press used to be a way that people got really well known in the horror sphere by publishing good anthologies. You know publishing an anthology, and so so what? what do you look for in a short story When you, what is your main focus? You've only got 1500 words, 3000 words, you know which. For anybody listening, that's probably about what five, 10 pages, maybe 20, you know what is your short story look like. How do you go about those? It's a good question?

Lee Mountford:

Yeah, because I think I definitely write more in the way of long form fiction than the short story. But what I like about short stories is it's it's immediate, a little bit more immediate And and you really have to get to the crux of things a lot quicker, which can help in your novel writing. Sometimes I can be guilty of you know where am I leading this story and you're going off track far too much. And writing short stories really hones you on writing to the point, keep what's important and get to that quickly.

Lee Mountford:

But I think scenario based is something that I look for in my short stories quite a bit is, you know, you have this strong idea of a scenario, of what's happening and tell a story quite quickly, and I think that comes from having a really strong set of the scenario and things like that. It's not so much of investigating a mystery and finding what's at the end of it. This is the point, this is what's happening and it's a quick air to be. So, i think, something quite immediate and a strong scenario or something I definitely start off with with the short stories. That's there and I don't know how you guys find it.

Jay Bower:

Yeah, i noticed in a lot of short stories that I write I tend to go first person because it's the immediacy that you mentioned, you know, because you can't get any faster into that story than first person. You know, and most of my long fiction is all third because it's you know, you take longer to develop things And I think that just is just my natural inclination, i guess, when I'm writing those stories And I love reading short stories, i love reading collections because you can get a taste of an author's style and, you know, get a feel of like, oh hey, you know this, this is the kind of stuff I really want to read. So I would check out more of their longer fiction, you know. But I think it's a good way to kind of sample things sometimes too, and when you get those awesome collections together with all kinds of authors, you get so many different voices And I think those are just really helpful. And you know, something that I think horror is has always done a good job of versus other genres.

David Viegutz:

Absolutely. Yeah. Well, folks, i think we're starting to wrap it up now. We're looking at a good stopping point here, kind of on the on the author sphere of things. Lee, are you? are you going to make it to 20 books? Are you going to go trying to go to 20 books this year?

Lee Mountford:

Um, it might not be this year, maybe next year that hit the 20, but I'll certainly hit 20 at some point. Yeah, if not this year, maybe early next year. I would say yeah, certainly.

David Viegutz:

No 20 books Vegas the conference.

Lee Mountford:

Oh, my apologies. Well, yeah, 20 books, that's like another six. I might struggle with that. Yeah, no, i don't think I'll be able to get to the 20 books. Vegas, unfortunately It is something that I want to get to. But the? I will get to one this year where Stalkercon was supposed to be held in the UK in 2020. But obviously, covid stopped that and they've got put back. Put back and it's called Chillicon now, but that's going to be a May of this year. So I'm hoping to get to that. That's a three day event. But one thing I've never done too much of is conventions or or to get together like the 20 books one that you mentioned. So it is something I need to get more involved in. So it's things that progressed. I think getting out to Vegas to go to the 20 books would be amazing, because we have nothing like that over here. So it is something I will plan to get to in the future, but this year I think it'll be a stretch, unfortunately.

David Viegutz:

Yeah, they've got self publishing live with Mark Dawson. That one's actually. He's putting that one back on. I couldn't, i can't get my passport fast enough, otherwise I'd be going to that one too.

Lee Mountford:

Yes, i think I said June, june, july. I'm waiting for that. I put my name down for that one, so I'm just waiting to see when the tickets come online. So I may may well be at that one this year.

Jay Bower:

Also. So I wanted to ask, as we're we're getting close to ending what's, what's next for you, what's coming out next?

Lee Mountford:

So I'll, i'll definitely be continuing the haunted series, but I've just took a little break from that to launch a new series which is going to be called the Darkfall series. I'll set in Victorian England And it's it's certainly horror, 100% horrible. It has layers of sort of dark fantasy in there. It's very lovecraftian You know there's monsters that exist in the world and this secret organization that runs them And it's. I've always loved that.

Lee Mountford:

Setting Victorian England, i think, would make for a great horror series. It's something I'm always drawing. So I'm going to start it off, set around in some of the more famous towns and cities around where I live, and then they move down to London and see where we go from there. So I'm currently putting out the first three books and writing the first three books of that series, which I'm hoping to get out all three of those by the end of the year And then I'll jump back on the haunted series, wrap that up and then back over to Darkfall and some other things as well. So, yeah, i want to think this is totally random, but I'd always I'd really love to write a video game as well. I something I'm really looking to get into. I think video games are great for horror, and it's something I'm a-hicking to try, but don't know what to start with that. So anybody has any ideas?

David Viegutz:

I actually did We could jump into LIT RPG.

Jay Bower:

I think you're probably going to say the same thing, with J is LIT RPG You could do that No, I actually was going to say I have written for a video game before.

David Viegutz:

Oh, you guys mean that actual video game. It never did come out.

Jay Bower:

But some of the footage I saw of it was amazing And I had to write all the It was more of a Halo style game And I had to write missions for, like, they had seven planets and I had to write bounty hunter missions for two of the planets. And then they liked it so much they gave me one planet It was kind of like a Hoth-like planet And there's the bounty hunters and there's two other factions and they were like you have all of it, it's all yours, you can make, you can do all the storylines from it, and so I had to write all of that stuff for that particular planet. So if you ever visited this planet, everything you did was stuff that I wrote. So it was, it was different. It was way different than than novel writing and short story writing. Yeah, it was so cool And to see some of the footage and they had a soundtrack done and he sent it over to me.

Jay Bower:

So I have it and it's like all instrumental. So it's perfect for writing to, but it's definitely got a Halo vibe to it. So, not so much writing for her horror, but and it was, it was really cool.

Lee Mountford:

That's yeah, that's awesome, I think, for horror it's such an immersive medium And that's one of the big inspirations I have as well for for new books is you know there's a haunted house game called. I think it's a Visage, Let's get the hell out of me. Playing that one through this house terrified me. I think I was brilliant. Sound, he'll tell. So it's such a rich medium. It's something I would like to get involved in because I do draw a lot of inspiration from it. So yeah, So yeah, No, it's totally fine.

David Viegutz:

I could sit there and watch. I don't have any game systems anymore, but I could sit there and watch hours of playthroughs for Dead Space on I absolutely love Space Horror. I think that's probably something I'm interested in in the future. But yeah, lee, shameless plug time man. Tell us, tell us where we could find your stuff. Tell people where they could check you out and and and you know, tell them, tell them what book you think you should jump in on, and that sort of thing.

Lee Mountford:

Sure, yeah, thank you, and you can find me on my website, leemontredcom, and if people sign up to the mailing list there you get the short story collection for free and e-book and also the prequel to Paramana, which is written as if it's a nonfiction book detail in the history of Paramana up to a point. So I thought that was a good way of getting backstory over without padding out the actual book about it. So if you go to the website, you sign up to my mailing list, be kept up to date. I'm on Facebook, twitter. Just search my name, you'll find me And I'd say here haunted Paramana is a really good place to start. Maybe the demonic And if you like the more gory side of things, i would say maybe horror in the woods is a good human end point And but yeah, if people look at that, i'm sure you'll see something that you like. Things crossed.

David Viegutz:

Very cool.

Jay Bower:

JJ has a I just want to say and it's awesome to have any on the show being able to talk with you and kind of pick your brain about your process a little bit and your stories, and it's, it's been a pleasure.

David Viegutz:

Oh thank you, i've loved it Fantastic. Yeah, thank you again for being here, lee. Folks, let's make sure that we spread the love here, share this podcast around, let everybody know about it. I think this is probably the one of the more upcoming real talk podcast when it comes to horror out there. We try to keep things honest and we try to keep things ground level and we try to keep it cool and just bring new voices on so we can all kind of see what's out there for each other. So thank you, lee, for being here, thank you, jay for being here And, ladies and gentlemen, you are listening to the Nightmare Engine podcast. I'm your host, dave Virgoots. Have a good night.

Introduction:

Thanks for listening to the Nightmare Engine podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Virgoots and Jay Bauer, where nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

Horror Authors Discuss Haunted House Series
Haunted House Horror and Personal Fears
Author's Supportive Personal Life
Developing Characters and Locations With Stephen King
Exploring Cults, Religion, and Horror Writing
Victorian Horror, Video Games, and Writing