My guest today is the charming Nicholas Vince – the nicest man ever to appear in a horror movie – he was The Chattering Cenobite in Clive Barker’s Hell Raiser films. With a background like that it’s not surprising he chose Horror as his genre as a writer. Even the photograph of his writing space has a slightly sinister feel when you spot his ghostly reflection in the window!
So tell us about your writing space, Nicko
When I was made redundant a couple of years ago, I set up the study to resemble what I remembered of a writer friend’s, back in the 1980’s. He’d pin photos, notes and clippings on the cork board behind the desk where he wrote in long hand. My notes and clippings are all stored in the Evernote app so I can access them on my laptop, tablet and phone, so it’s pretty bare, but there are some postcards with pictures which will probably spark a story at some point.
There used to be a white board on the wall opposite, on which I mind mapped my first book, What Monsters Do, but as I’m developing my YouTube channel and it appears in all my videos, I changed it to framed signed photos from guests I’ve met at horror conventions. There are also two paintings of Vincent Price, who’s my all time horror film favourite. And, in an ornate gold frame, a postcard of the Mona Lisa painted as a gorilla.
Below those are some figurines and puzzle boxes inspired by the Hellraiser movies with my books of poetry on the top shelf, and plays below. Both are stacked two deep. Most of my bookshelves are two deep. Under the window and atop the filing cabinet is stationery, including envelopes for signed photos and books, which I sell on my website. I can plug my laptop into the big screen on the desk, so I use that when I’m preparing books for Kindle and CreateSpace and to edit videos for YouTube. I use the Scrivener app for writing books, stage and screen plays.
Do you do all your writing in the study?
No. I wrote my second volume of short stories, Other People’s Darkness, in my reclining chair in the lounge, with a rug over my knees and the dog, Bertie, beside me. (Usually he’s lying down so I can type with both hands.) He’s very warm and comforting on a cold day, but of a ‘windisome nature’; so there are air fresheners behind the ‘tetris’ toy. When I’m preparing for an acting role, this is where I sit to learn lines—which confuses Bertie as he sometimes thinks I’m talking to him.
On the shelf behind me is a PlayMobil house and a shoe box. I’ve written part of a horror anthology film, which is in development at the moment and I need to produce story boards. As my drawing skills aren’t up to the mark, I’m photographing the PlayMobil figures in the shoebox, on the kitchen table, to get the shots. I’m also writing a couple of short plays, one of which will hopefully be part of this year’s London Horror Festival in October, so I’ve got Theatre Ghosts by Roy Harley Lewis in the pile of reference books on the table.
Apart from his body heat, Bertie is very good at making sure I take regular breaks. He’ll occasionally turn his head and place it on the keyboard as a hint he wants a walk, and as we can see the garden from the chair, he’ll leap up suddenly to chase off any squirrels or cats who dare to enter it—which means me getting up to open the back door. Fortunately, I managed to keep Bertie in the house when an escaping mugger came crashing over the garden fence last year.