Sunday, 28 February 2016

GUEST POST: Confessions of my Past, Present and Future #26 - Daniel Marc Chant

Confessions of my Past, Present and Future


Daniel Marc Chant

The Past

I grew up in a place called Gillingham in Dorset, often confused for Gillingham in Kent – mine is pronounced with a hard ‘G’ and the other with a ‘J’ so that immediately makes anybody from Gillingham in Dorset a ‘Hard G,’ which I understand is an American term for a particularly tough individual. A Gangsta as it’s otherwise known.

Truth is my growing up was as mundane as you could imagine. And I certainly wasn’t hard – despite what your Mum will tell you. I grew up in a dysfunctional but loving family of four kids and my best mate lived a few doors up from me. While it was a former Council estate the family home was a beacon of happiness. It still is. My parents live there still, and it’s an oasis in a desert, I assure you.

But I digress. During my time at school I was bullied, tortured and mocked to the extreme at every turn because I was a bit of an outsider. At first it cut like a knife, then it became par for the course. I grew used to it. And steeled myself as a result. Its clichéd, and I’m not asking for sympathy, but I found escape within the pages of books that then inspired the limitless boundaries of a young child’s imagination.

I’ve always had a connection with animals (not in that way pervert) and at first I wanted to be a Vet. I read, and was gifted at Christmas, many books on flora, fauna and wildlife of the British Isles that I devoured voraciously. I ran out of books to read. While rummaging through my Dad’s books (thankfully not Razzle) on a shelf, I found a copy of Reader’s Digest – an archaic format now – but it was a glorious hardback copy of “Mysteries of the Unexplained” that I read repeatedly, with slavish obsession. Of the many strange stories within there was the tale of Springheel Jack. And with that I became infatuated with the mysterious and the unexplained.

Be it luck or bad timing, my brother Nick got into table-top gaming and bought miniature figures, which were made of lead back then, of dragons and beasts and monsters from a now extinct firm called Grenadier. I didn’t truly understand what I was seeing but I wanted to be a part of it so got caught up in this world.

At first it was the Fighting Fantasy series by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, re-reading each adventure more times than is healthy.  A black and white paper catalogue arrived for my brother and in the back was a new role-playing game - something about detectives, unimaginable terror and monsters. Springheel Jack had taught me to love monsters so I read further and found it’s based on some dude named Howard Phillips Lovecraft.  Apparently he had written books. I loved books. I wanted to know more. So I found a tattered anthology at a local bookstore by Lovecraft and, to quote Lewis Carroll, “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

The Present

Time is a harsh mistress. Things creak and ache more than they used to. Everything takes more effort than they did and time is a premium when, decades ago, minutes seemed like hours. Like everybody else I have bills to pay, obligations to meet and no fucks to give. It’s now become a question of balance, spending time with those close and dear and doing what makes me happy while also not spending all of my money on a life-size Predator statue. If Jurassic Park taught us anything, it’s that life finds a way.

I’m nobody within the field of indie horror. And I’m proud to say that. I try my hardest but am under no illusion that I’m the next big thing. I don’t want to be (although I won’t say no to the money.) The voracious appetite for more horror and monsters, steeped deep within me, is the most exciting motivation. I’m lucky enough to call many amazing indie horror authors, friends (though they might dispute this claim.) I obviously must mention my Sinister Horror Company partners in crime Duncan P Bradshaw, who has the most insane off-the-wall talent its stupid, and J R Park who is a filthy master wordsmith of epic levels, as people to watch. There are simply TOO many amazing people I have the pleasure to know that are turning out fucking amazing stuff I might as well post my entire Facebook friend list here. And probably remove my books from publication as a result.

Of the books I’ve read lately that have been fantastic have been Ray Cluley’s Probably Monsters, Benedict Jones Slaughter Beach and Pennies for Charon and Ken Preston’s Joe Coffin. But I feel bad for not mentioning the other books which are equally amazing, like Duncan Ralston’s Salvage, Thomas Flowers’ Subdue, Nat Robinson’s Ketchup on Everything, Rich Hawkins’ The Last Outpost, anything by Adam Millard, The Last Bus by Paul Feeney and…. GOD, DO YOU SEE.

There are SO many amazing books by amazing authors. Already available. Already there. The horror community is full of such wonders, it’s thriving and anybody that says otherwise isn’t a ‘Hard G.’

The Future

This is an odd one. And with all things it’s cyclical. Things come in and out of fashion. Some things are here to stay. And horror is one of them. I’m a firm believer that horror is at the cusp of a renaissance. Not that it needs one to its fans, but I mean to the wider public. Horror is often viewed as something to be reviled or looked down upon. To put this in perspective so are films based on comic books (and I also love comic books and films based on them.) Now, stick with me…

Nobody watches a film and says, “That’s based on a thriller book, what trash.” Nobody watches a film and says, “That’s based on a drama book, what trash.” In fact, nobody says “That’s based on a book, what trash.” So to put that in perspective people right now look at a film and say “That’s based on a comic book, what trash.” And, “That’s based on a horror book, what trash.” The general closed-mindedness to the genre is the biggest threat. Horror is simultaneously every genre, as is drama, thriller, comic book adaptation and so on. Too much, I feel, we are judging something on the sum of its parts rather the parts of its whole.

What matters are great stories and characters, despite the genre in which they find themselves in. And having had the absolute pleasure of reading and knowing some fantastic talent within the indie horror community I am wholly confident they’ll achieve that. And I can’t wait to read and see the results.

You can read my review of Mr Robespierre here.

This book won my short story of the year for 2015 and is immense!

You can buy Mr Robespierre here.

You can buy any of Daniels other books here.

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy any of the books mentioned in this feature. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews. 


Daniel Marc Chant is an up-and-coming author of Horror and strange fiction. His passion for H. P. Lovecraft genre and the films of John Carpenter inspired him to produce intense, gripping stories with a sinister edge.

Currently based in Bath -- a picturesque town in Somerset, UK -- Daniel launched his début, "Burning House," to rave reviews, and swiftly followed with the Lovecraft-inspired "Maldición," the story of a lone survivor of a desert island plane crash fighting for his life with an ancient predator.

Daniel continues to hone his craft with a number of dark titles waiting to hit shelves, including "Mr. Robespierre" and "Devil Kickers." He also created "The Black Room Manuscripts" a charity anthology featuring twenty stories from twenty experienced authors and talented newcomers.

He hopes to one day contribute to the Cthulu Mythos. Although hopefully not as a sacrifice.

And for more about Daniel, visit his site or find him on social media:

WebsiteFacebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon Page

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