Today I am interviewing Jonathan Oliver, editor of the new horror anthology, Five Stories High.
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DJ: Hey Jonathan! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Jonathan Oliver: Hello. So, Five Stories High is my seventh horror anthology and my sixth for Solaris. I’ve always been a huge fan of short stories and novellas, and horror is my first genre love. So, right from the start with Solaris I wanted a shot at producing original horror anthologies. I get to work with the best writers around and all of the anthologies have been very well received. I’ve twice been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, I’ve won the British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology twice and I’ve been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award.
I’ve been the Editor-in-Chief of fiction publishing at Rebellion for eleven years, and helped found the Abaddon line of books. As well as editing, I also do a bit of writing on the side. I’ve recently put together a collection of my short stories called The Language of Beasts, which I will be shopping around publishers in early 2017.
DJ: What is Five Stories High about?
Jonathan: Five Stories High is a collection of five novellas, each set in the same house, Irongrove Lodge, which is home to many different entities. In itself Irongrove Lodge is also something of an enigma, and there are those who say the house itself may be a haunting. Basically, these are five modern horror novellas playing with that classic horror trope—the haunted house. There is also a linking narrative between the five novellas, written by myself.
DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind Five Stories High?
Jonathan: I’ve always loved ghost stories and tales of haunted houses. I love a traditional gothic pile, peopled by tortured spirits and melancholy wraiths. But I also love the way in which horror tropes can be subverted. So, while M.R. James, Arthur Machen, Oliver Onions and Algernon Blackwood would certainly feel right at home in Irongrove Lodge, the collection is more in the wheelhouse of those innovators of the supernatural such as Shirley Jackson, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Aickman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Thomas Ligotti. Continue reading