Interview by Matthew Summers.
Marty Young is an award-winning writer, Bram Stoker-nominated editor, and sometimes ghost hunter. His debut novel, 809 Jacob Street, won the Australian Shadows Award for best horror novel in 2013. Marty was the founding president of the Australian Horror Writers Association from 2005-2010, and one of the creative minds behind the internationally acclaimed Midnight Echo magazine, for which he also served as executive editor until mid-2013. His short horror fiction has been nominated for numerous awards, reprinted in a year’s best anthology and repeatedly included in year’s best recommended reading lists, while his essays on horror literature have been published in journals and university textbooks in Australia and India. Marty’s website is www.martyyoung.com
What are you working on right now? Anything exciting?
I surged through the first half of 2016 and wrote 8 short stories, all of which are out in various slush piles awaiting their doom, but now I’ve kind of been resting my pen and just enjoying reading. I’ve also got 4 novels and 1 novella that are awaiting final edits, and an idea for another anthology, but I’m struggling to find the mental strength to focus on any of those projects right now. My day job has swallowed my life. I’m lucky though, because it’s a day job I thoroughly enjoy so it’s not altogether bad.
You’re an active participant within the Australian horror scene. I’m curious, what’s your take on the scene right now? What do we need to do better?
Again, I was an active participant but I’ve certainly slipped back behind the curtain of late. In some ways, I’ve become a bit disillusioned with the writing world as a whole for numerous reasons, and felt like distancing myself from it a little. A recuperation period, I guess. A holiday. Some of my concerns stem from things I’ve witnessed over and over, ways of doing things that are entrenched and I don’t see changing unless there is a fundamental changing of the guard and with it mindset, and I don’t really see that happening – although I did read something recently that gives me hope. It’s definitely been fascinating stepping back from it all and just observing; you notice a lot more. I understand what (supposedly) necessitates doing things in certain ways and have operated that way myself in the past, but I personally feel the whole scene is in need of a burst of fresh air. In order for that to happen though, there needs to be a mutiny…
What does the future hold for you? Do you have any particular ideas that you hope to explore down the line?
I have several novels I want to write, delving more into fantasy-horror than outright horror, and am quite excited about those but it’s a matter of finding my balance again. I run a geological business that’s been keeping me mad busy of late and I’ve been enjoying that work, so I haven’t had the urge to write as much as I used to. That will change soon though (it always does). I will always write stories because I want to and I need to, and I love doing so. I will still submit stories and will self-publish, too, because that’s the new world. But I think I’m just enjoying being a reader at the moment and letting authors return to being those mysterious creatures they were before Facebook came along and revealed what underwear they wear.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
I was thoroughly impressed with Greg Chapman’s horror colouring book for adults, and loved the creative vision behind that. I dig seeing people daring to try something different.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip? Why?
Dr. Seuss. I’d actually like to spend some time inside his head, just to see how he saw the world.