2020 Snapshot: Matthew R Davis

Red Wallflower Photography

Matthew R. Davis is an author and musician based in Adelaide, South Australia, with over fifty stories published around the world thus far. He’s judged for the Aurealis Awards and the Australian Shadows Awards and has had his work shortlisted multiple times for both. He plays bass and sings in idiosyncratic rock and metal bands such as Blood Red Renaissance and icecocoon, sometimes performs spoken word with punk poets Paroxysm Press, and dabbles in short film, visual art, and anything else that takes his fancy. His first collection of horror stories, If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, is out now through Things in the Well; his first novel, Midnight in the Chapel of Love, will be released by JournalStone Publishing in 2021. Discover more at matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com.

  1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

The big one is my first collection of horror stories, If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, which came out through Things in the Well in January 2020. It contains thirteen of my best tales, illustrated with wonderful B&W images by Red Wallflower Photography. We put a lot of work into this project – myself, ace shutterbug Meg Wright, and publisher Steve Dillon, as well as our models Aislynn Mary and Mavi Lee – which included making props and found-object art for the pictures, and I’m very proud of the end result. Though further book-related events have been postponed for obvious reasons, I held a launch night that featured readings from the collection and a live musical performance by me and some talented friends, including the song by The Cure that lent its name to the book. I’ve also had stories included in a couple of recent charitable anthologies from the same publisher – “The Ballad of Elvis O’Malley” in Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts and “Vision Thing” in Black Dogs, Black Tales – with more to come soon: “Our Tragic Heroine” will appear in Tales of the Lost Vol. 2, amongst an all-star line-up that includes Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill, and there are further related projects it’s still too early to mention. I’ve also got “Walking on Knives” coming out later this year in Shadowy Natures and “Il re giallo” will appear in Nightmares in Yellow Vol. 2, a Carcosa-themed tribute to Joe Pulver. As usual, I have a bunch of stories out on submission, so hopefully there will be plenty more work popping up between covers in 2020.

  1. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

It’s too soon to call it a publishing experience as such, but I was stoked to sign with JournalStone Publishing for the 2021 release of my first novel, Midnight in the Chapel of Love – they’ve put out books by such luminaries as Laird Barron, Philip Fracassi, Gemma Files, Gwendolyn Kiste, and Betty Rocksteady, so it’s an honour to join that roster! Other than that, there are a few highlights: having my first professionally published work appear alongside Tom Piccirilli and Alison Littlewood; being published alongside the likes of Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Kaaron Warren, and Angela Slatter; having my work shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards (three times so far) and the Australian Shadows Awards (four times); and, of course, the publication of my first book.

  1. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge? 

Modesty forbids me to mention my own tome again, but there are a lot of authors down here doing great work that deserves more attention. Claire Fitzpatrick’s Metamorphosis is a strong first collection that leans hard into body horror but contains a lot of heartfelt detail that marks her out as someone to watch; Kaaron Warren is a bit of an award magnet and for good reason – her latest novella Into Bones Like Oil is a melancholy meditation on loss, guilt, and all those things that make life great; J.S. Breukelaar’s Collision: Stories is a must for readers of weird fiction that strays far in concept but always remains close to the heart. Fellow Adelaidean Chris Mason is a rising talent and her first collection can’t come soon enough for me. I’ll save space by listing some more current writers whose work I enjoy, with apologies to those I’ve left off so as not to drone on forever: Angela Slatter, Terry Dowling, Alan Baxter, Lee Murray, Lisa L. Hannett, Joseph Ashley-Smith, Sean Williams, Jason Fischer, Kirstyn McDermott, and Brian Craddock.

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