Hi all, Finn here again.
For anybody who knows of my unconventional writing process, you won't be surprised to learn that the concept for this story is almost as alien to the finished product as the concept of left from right is to my every day existence.
That is to say that who our questionable 'protagonist' was in this story's most humble of beginnings is quite the opposite of who he eventually came to be.
Joseph Redding did not have a name. He was known only to me as Red, and was something of a witch/demon hunter with a history of being "not quite human" himself. Nor was he a respectable Victorian gentleman living within his era, but a modern day university graduate with permanently messy hair, few friends and a rather caustic outlook on life.
The truth is that basing stories on dreams seems like a grand idea until you realise you suck as the protagonist.
You're hopefully as glad as I am that Red didn't last more than the first 1,000 words, and the more I wrote the louder another voice came through. From Red came Redding, and later on he became Joseph Redding. A couple of the original references to Redding not being human still exist disguised in the first 1,000 words of the final version.
Redding's secret went from not being "entirely" human to something with far bigger implications, and I realised I was onto something.
A portion of the inspiration for the setting, scientific background and Jonathan "mad scientist" Corgaine, if you will, came from Lovecraft's story "Herbert West -- Reanimator" (1921-22). This particular tale haunted me a long time after reading it; so much so that the setting and background for Joseph Redding was never truly an intentional parallel.
The character Joseph himself went through various stages of lending me his voice, though none more so than when he stood in the gentlemen's emporium practically salivating over his own reflection. I knew then what Joseph looked like.
And it's absolutely a complete freakish coincidence he looked exactly like my most GIF-searched actor, model and future husband, Ben Barnes.
His character had come together so naturally and so completely that I felt it an injustice not to write him.
From the depths of penning this first volume surfaced the nature of Joseph's secret. I already had a vague idea from early on, but the sheer complexity of everything it implies within his world turned out to be enough worth spanning a further three volumes.
Writing in a Victorian style did not fall into place at first. Like I said, this was never intended as historical horror -- it was to be no more than a piece of short fiction about a paranormal hunter who follows a witch into another plane of existence like the dream I had some time near the end of August 2016.
The Victorian gentleman Joseph Redding presented one of those rare and sought-after moments in a writer's life where a character and their story write themselves with just your fingertips to hammer down the keys. I wrote and researched for hours on end at my 'work station' -- this sounds far more romantic than my spot at the dining table near the radiator, surrounded by empty cans of Pepsi Max and a half-consumed bowl of pasta I no longer recall on which day I ate. I also furiously deny the time I did not even get dressed...
Anyway, it took several days and two false starts to find the direction that would carry me for the next two weeks. For those who have read my other story, The Folveshch, you may know that I don't plan a thing beyond sitting on my butt cheeks and opening a Word document, so this is a big deal.
What came of this whim though is something I'll be able to run with for the next year and hope to update every quarter. Thanks again for giving me and this series a chance, and hopefully see you around for the next volume!
(And yes. Pill bugs are still the worst.)
Yours Still In My Pajamasly,
Mr Finn Arlett-Barnes
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The Sinister Fate of Joseph ReddingParanormal
[Formerly Featured/Historical Horror] Masquerading as a gentlemanly bachelor living in Victorian England, Joseph Redding is a fraud amongst the living. After splitting from his partner in unspeakable, underground crimes, he must now pay the price fo...