Dan – 2020 might be remembered not just for its pandemic but for the break-out horror author of the year, Ross Jeffery. For those who don’t know, Ross brought out three books last year: Juniper, Tome, and Tethered. The latter was an experimental flash fiction collection of literary fiction, which speaks to Ross’s emotional range as a writer. If you’re into an exploration of the complexities of a father and son relationship and masculinity in the new century then you should check it out. However, the previous two books are more our concern today because they are pure horror. 
Now, full disclosure, Ross is my mate. But that just means he has good taste:) Now, that’s said, what he achieved last year as an independent author, is nothing short of remarkable. Both his novella Juniper and debut novel Tome were long listed for the Stoker awards – quiet literally the biggest award in horror. Then Tome made the shortlist. Even if he doesn’t win – and I wouldn’t rule him out – that is an incredible achievement. Then, Tome and Juniper both got shortlisted for the Splatterpunk Awards – which TBH is maybe cooler and more punk. 
Ross is one to watch. His writing goes straight for the throat and doesn’t let go. So, without further ado, here’s my man, the very twisted and talented Ross ‘Hand for the Grave’ Jeffery.
1. Who is Ross Jeffery?
Ross Jeffery is the Bram Stoker Award and Splatterpunk Award nominated author of Tome, Juniper and Tethered. A Bristol based writer and Executive Director of Books for STORGY Magazine. Ross has been published in print in numerous anthologies and his short fiction appears online in many fine magazines. Ross lives in Bristol with his wife (Anna) and two children (Eva and Sophie).

2. What attracts you to writing horror?

I think that I’m attracted to writing horror because we are all horrified by something, we are all scared of something and that horror is a way to face these fears, a way to write them out and send them out into the world – writing horror for me is a cathartic experience, I work through

Tome by Ross Jeffery

my own issues within the pages, and I also hope that my writing also helps other face their fears from the comfort of a chair and a coffee. There is something innate in us, buried deep down as to why we love to be scared, why do we always say boo to a baby, it’s something that thrills us, something that makes us feel alive whilst also some what unsafe – but knowing the things we read are just that words on a page it makes the whole process bearble. I feel too that horror is something that everyone can relate to in some way.

3. Who are your writing heroes and why?

My writing heroes are Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King and Donald Ray Pollock – and with all of these writers it is because they have the balls to take readers where they might fear to tread, each of these writers pushes boundaries, strives for greatness, confronts issues that others might sidestep to not cause offence, these guys are brave and bold and dive straight into the bleakness that many are afraid of writing. King is a master of the horror genre and is someone that I love to read, he is a comfort to me, and continues to reinvent himself time and time again. Palahniuk is just bold and daring, taking the reader where they don’t want to go or admit to wanting to travel. Pollock is just a stunning character writer and his book The Devil All The Time is one of those books that is deplorable due to the monsters of men trope, how true horror can reside in the most normal of minds – there’s no scary monster it’s the monsters of normal people that is so unnerving.

4. What does your writing routine look like?

My writing routine is dropping the children off to school and then coming home on my two days off a week and sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee and some breakfast. I will usually write from 9:30am – 1:30pm straight. I never look over the words I’ve written until I’ve finished the project, otherwise I find that I’m always saying I’m writing a book instead of I’ve written a book. I find that if I re-read the work I’ve been doing I spend the majority of my time editing

Juniper by Ross Jeffery

those words than putting new words on the page – so I leave all the editing until the book is finished and I’ve written those words THE END. I make copious amounts of notes and have taken to planning my books a lot more in recent years, I have a huge pin-board at home (which looks like a detectives crime investigation) where I have chapters up and then little red strings going between certain parts of the story – my common thread as it were. I also sketch ideas of what my characters look like, this helps me really visualise the characters. I usually write in silence, I did listen to some John Denver when I was writing Juniper but this was mainly in the editing stage, I just find music and other noises a distraction – so where I can I try to write in silence and when no one is in the house.

5. What scared you as a child?

Spiders. Always spiders man!

6. What scares you as an adult?

Spiders, but bigger ones! Also something bad happening to my family.

7. You’re known as a big supporter of authors on social media, and you’ve an awesome book review channel on YouTube. Who’s an indie author everyone should be reading?

This is a tough question so I’ll name a few for you – Kev Harrison, Gemma Amor, Laurel Hightower, Michael Clark, Steve Stred, Joshua Marsella, Sonora Taylor, Eric Larocca and David Sodergen to name a few

8. What’s the first horror novel you remember reading?

What impression did it make on you? The first horror book I ever read was Stephen King’s IT – yeah I started as I meant to go on, I think I read this when I was about thirteen, much of it went over my head but I just bloody loved it, I’ve read it a few times since and it’s one of those books that kinda speaks to you where you are in life and each reading of it since changes my opinion of it greatly, each reading I just see how amazing it is. I had the bug from there really, I just wanted more and more!

9. Best horror short story and why?

Sonora Taylors Weary Bones is just abosolutely stunning, there is such a sense of power to this story and the unsettling vibe that is sewn throughout makes for such a brilliant and gut wrenching read, it’s just a marvel! Also Israel Finn’s Stones is another fabulous story that just floored me.

10. What’s your all time favourite horror movie and why?

The Exorcist – I’ve a thing for religious horror, I just cant get enough of it, these forces of good vs evil – the deepness to the horror that’s on show is something that blows me away. Also I watched this as a nine year old child and I think it scarred me in a good way. Also Jaws is a bloody classic and my favourite film of all time, it’s horror but it’s no Exorcist in my opinion.

11. Which character from someone else’s fiction would you most like to be?

I’d love to be Detective Kinderman from The Exorcist and Legion – the man’s just so cool, a real take no shit kinda guy, when I’m older I’d like to be like him!

12. Where did the idea for your last book come from?

My last book Tome is the sequel / prequel for Juniper my debut – so I had a story in mind already from what had gone before but the seed of the story came from a signed book I have from Chuck Palahniuk which had some stamps on the inside cover that detailed various places this book had been.

13. Can you tell us something about your current ‘work in progress’?

My current work in progress is a novel called Hostage – it’s set in Polperro in Cornwall and is a folk horror that deals with a husband and wifes grief at the loss of their child that may or may not contain Sirens. I’m very excited about this one as it’s set in the UK as my books Juniper and Tome are set in America, so it’s nice to be writing about things I know and a place I’ve spent a lot of time!

14. What book of yours should people start with?

I’d recommend starting with Juniper – it’s the first book in my series of books set in the fictional town of Juniper – akin to Stephen King’s Castle Rock – strange and horrific goings on seem to happen in this town – so come on down and visit Juniper, the locals are a welcoming bunch!

15. Have you got a newsletter/reader magnet?

Nope – none of that jazz – just come and discover my books!

16. Where can people stalk you online like a serial killer?

I’m usually on twitter and my username is Ross1982 also you can subscribe to my YouTube channel which is Ross Jeffery and I think Dan will put the link here.

17. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just that i’m all about collaboration if you want to connect, if I can help promote your books get in contact – this usually works best if we have some type of relationship before you contact me out of the blue and say review my book. Also if you want to help support me as a writer please do read my books and if you can leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or both, it really does help!