Interview with BP Gregory

As at August 2017 you have four novels as well as a cluster of short stories that seem to vascillate between science fiction, humour, and horror. Did you set out to be a genre writer?
I love to write about people. Both horror and sci-fi allow me to frogmarch characters through extreme situations. Peeling back their layers bit by bit to discover what, if anything, lurks inside. Do we each treasure some inviolate core of self, kept safe from our actions and choices? Would it matter if nobody ever saw it?
With such an interest in people, do you write about real life?
I never write about real life. I figure if I wanted reality, I could stand on a street corner and watch it.

But I'm always thrilled to hear someone complain, "You wrote about me!", even though they're dead wrong. Because that's the idea: you're supposed to identify, it's what makes the characters rich. A male friend once proudly claimed I based Simon from Only Skin on him, which horrified me to hear. That character's a real jerk.

Pretty much every novel finds its germ in something that's happened to me, however. Even if you need to dig a long way back to find it.
Can you share some of them with us?
Well, with Automatons I remember back in school I had this classmate suddenly blurt out their conviction that people only believe in God because they're too weak to believe in themselves.

I was of course flabbergasted. However, it got me pondering what it must be like to hold such an ironclad, one-size-fits-all belief concerning folk around you, especially people you know little to nothing about. Out of that, Joyce's character sprouted readily, like a gin-soaked weed from a compost heap.

Only Skin had an even simpler genesis. I was on the beach, and became piqued by the odd behaviour of a young man sitting on his towel. Despite the fact that nobody was looking (well, besides myself), you could tell by his smirk beneath those mirrored glasses that he thought himself the bees' knees. Centre of the entire beach.

Once again, it got me to wondering what life must be like experienced through those filters. He wasn't really seeing his surroundings at all. From there I came eventually to conceive of my sociopathic protagonist, Simon. A man with no true boundary between fantasy and reality.
How about your novel Outermen?
That's another that hearkens right back to school. We'd a representative from the space program in to give a talk. He spoke about the mundane aspects of space: fluid retention, skeletal damage, etc. All shiny-eyed, front and centre, I couldn't get enough. We ran well overtime as I pelted the poor fellow with question after question. He's lucky I didn't knock him on the head and bundle him into the trunk of my car.

He gave me the context to see gravity, something we can't do without, as a physical barrier. To exist within a barrier is to be enclosed; you must have an inside, and a negated, unreachable outside. Outermen is about an enclosed world, a world without a universe. And the terrible things that happen to those who dare to leave.
Even while working on books, you seem to find time to release short stories along the way. How do you approach composing shorter pieces, as opposed to novels?
What I try to convey in each medium is quite different. In a short story I aim less to string a narrative, and more to describe an event. A frozen moment. I wish the reader to understand how it felt, that one instance. To have somebody else's emotions put inside of them. Wear another skin, so to speak.

Whereas when plotting a novel I commonly have a character's beginning state, their end state, and then take the audience on a journey to understand what could possibly take somebody from state a) to state b). The aim is to show how such a transformation may be plausible; or indeed, why somebody might fail to transcend themselves even when all the stars are right.

Both long and short stories do share the same hopeful goal. I would like to change how my readers think or feel about something. Show them the world slightly different, even if it's only for a moment. Such glimpses can sow long-lasting changes.
Do you feel that working in a contentious genre like horror is helpful toward achieving such goals?
I find that when speaking to people, even with those who dislike it, horror has a universal accessibility. Few can claim to have never felt afraid: and to be afraid is to feel small, and mortal, and human.

As a chronic nightmare-sufferer from way back, I find horror particularly liberating. It bestows boundaries on fear, helps to master it. Fictional evil can be avoided, subverted, or defeated. Even at its most extreme, failing all that, you know the story will end (ignoring the fourth-wall stuff).
Published 2017-09-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

White Picket
Price: Free! Words: 2,590. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(5.00)
The starving folk in rags love gathering on my lawn to wait for me to get home. More every day. The author was always fascinated by what could be contained in a brief moment. This short urban fiction story is part of a suite of short science fiction, fantasy and horror pieces by BP Gregory, each its own little maelstrom of human suffering and longing. Includes bonus short story Abstract.
Hard Plastic Candy
Series: Automatons. Price: $1.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 170,990. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
This is the Omnibus Edition of the novels Automatons and Something for Everything. Perhaps the world ended and we brought it on ourselves. Spanning hundreds of years, books one and two of Automatons are a stripping bare of the ways people stumble blindly down the same old paths, and how we find it so much easier to be humane to our technology than each other.
Flora & Jim
Pre-release—available October 14, 2018. Price: $3.99 USD. Language: English. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
The world is frozen. The animals ascendant. And, locked in desperate pursuit of "the other father" across a grim icy apocalypse, Jim will do anything to keep his daughter alive. Flora & Jim is BP Gregory's fifth novel, scheduled for release late 2018.
Abstract
Price: Free! Words: 4,090. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
It had only slowly dawned that he was in fact subsisting in a flat beneath General Fucking Broncawei, a war criminal. But once it had, every creak and shudder of the ceiling became especially ominous. This short urban fiction story is part of a suite of short science fiction, fantasy and horror pieces by BP Gregory, each its own little maelstrom of human suffering and longing.
The Town
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 52,200. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Kate knows what she saw on the satellite footage: the burnt out remains of a town. But she was drunk, the evidence vanishes and nobody believes her. Determined to prove it at any cost she sets out into remote bushland and farms, exposing a slew of horrible urban legends, sinister locals, and the mystery of too many people who vanished over the years with nowhere to go.
Something for Everything
Series: Automatons. Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 95,390. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Long ago humanity retreated into migrating cities, leaving the landscape to monsters. Within the safety of walls the caste of Surgeons are denied human touch to preserve their skills. A Surgeon must not be touched. The city can never stop. Comforting truths to live by. But the other cities have fallen silent. Fear stalks the streets. And John the Surgeon craves touch more than anything.
Lunchbox
Price: Free! Words: 2,850. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
Do ghosts exist? Surely the city would be crawling with them by now ... Out on a drunken pub crawl, John and Charles are about to find out what happens when ghosts reach out from the icy walls and touch somebody. As seen on creepypasta.com in August 2015 this little horror is part of a suite of short stories, each its own maelstrom of human suffering and longing.
Orotund: Collected Short Stories Volume Two
Series: Collected Short Stories. Price: $0.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 23,410. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
A paroled monster, a prostitute and a policeman all see a little girl lost but this isn't the start of a joke. An isolated, frail old man trapped in his apartment; what possible threat could he pose to the sociopaths next door? Take a stroll down humanity's eerie back alleys and enjoy BP Gregory's newest science fiction, urban fantasy and horror short stories packaged together in Orotund.
Outermen
Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 97,940. Language: English. Published: March 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(5.00)
An oppressed world locked inside a shell, without a single star to wish on. Now the void beyond has spat back Michael Formir, splintered in mind and body. And he may have brought something terrible with him. Fear the sky with BP Gregory's latest science fiction / horror novel Outermen.
Glory
Price: Free! Words: 5,700. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Students were discouraged from venturing into the park's public toilet. Of course they all knew, in whispers and titters, it was because of the hole. This cautionary horror is part of a suite of short science fiction, urban fantasy and horror stories by BP Gregory, each its own little maelstrom of human suffering and longing. Contains disquieting (adult) themes.
Submerged
Price: Free! Words: 5,960. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(4.00)
An isolated, frail old man trapped in his apartment. What possible threat could he pose to the sociopaths next door? Except Brendan has his wife's foolish bravery to live up to ... This oppressive horror is part of a suite of short science fiction, urban fantasy and horror stories by BP Gregory, each its own little maelstrom of human suffering and longing.
Mould
Price: Free! Words: 4,180. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(3.00)
My best friend was in Pompeii. And like everybody else on that fateful day she never left, leaving me orbiting helplessly within horror, reincarnation and the persistence of memory. As seen on creepypasta.com in 2014, this mournful little horror is the most obscure of a suite of short science fiction, urban fantasy and horror stories by BP Gregory.
Strangers
Price: Free! Words: 5,110. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(4.20)
A paroled monster, a prostitute and a policeman all see a little girl lost, but this isn't the start of a joke. What can such a morsel do, when all that's left to rely on is the kindness of strangers? This short urban fantasy is part of a suite of short science fiction, fantasy and horror stories by BP Gregory, each its own little maelstrom of human suffering and longing.
The Elevator Story
Price: Free! Words: 5,780. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(4.00)
A well heeled lady almost misses an elevator, but she will desperately wish that she had. The Elevator Story, a horror of inadvertently dropping out of reality, is part of a suite of short science fiction, urban fantasy and horror stories by BP Gregory, each its own little maelstrom of human suffering and longing.
Cacophony: Collected Short Stories Volume One
Series: Collected Short Stories. Price: $0.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 15,540. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
(5.00)
In the dim swampland of his mind Boris Bulgaris has always dreamed of working with fast food. The government executes people who fly as "terrorists", but Guntarc knows he can escape his life amidst the clouds. A well heeled lady almost misses an elevator, and she will desperately wish that she had. Annotated with bonus snippets of background lore from the author.
Automatons
Series: Automatons. Price: Free! Words: 82,360. Language: Australian English. Published: December 7, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(5.00)
Perhaps the world ended, and we brought it on ourselves. But only Joyce noticed the whimper. And she might just be tits-out crazy. Intended for adult readers, science fiction / humour novel Automatons is a stripping bare of the ways people stumble blindly down the same old paths, and how we find it so much easier to be humane to our technology rather than each other.