Dean Raven was born in Nottingham, United Kingdom, and now lives in Melbourne, Australia.
He is a writer of novels, screenplays and short stories. Early in his writing career he won a few awards and had a few short stories published, and now he concentrates on novels.
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Interview with Dean Raven
The following interview is from February 2021 and deals with some of Dean’s inspirations and motivations.
How would you describe your writing style?
I read a lot of modern classics, so I would hope my style reflects that. I love the cleverness and humour of EM Forster, the simple, evocative language of John Steinbeck, the over-the-top drama of Emily Bronte, the ‘boys own adventure’ style of RL Stevenson, and, of course, the horror and thrills of HP Lovecraft, Mary Shelley and Stephen King.
Did you grow up with this kind of literature?
Yes. When I was a kid we didn’t have much money, but we went a lot to second-hand stores and car boot sales, so I bought a lot of cheap books. And ratty copies of modern classics were the cheapest. That was when I bought my first copy of Treasure Island, which changed my life.
When did you get into fantasy and horror?
When I was young, my parents bought a Betamax and they quickly became addicted to renting slasher and monster movies. I progressed from there to the horror classics and horror short story compilations.
Then in my teens, something weird happened. My family’s addiction turned to soapies like Dallas, Dynasty and Prisoner, and I left horror behind for a while and took up Sidney Sheldon.
So that explains Remember My Name.
You could say that. Remember My Name is my version of a Sydney Sheldon novel … written in the style of EM Forster.
When I first started writing I was targeting short story competitions, and social satire seemed like the best genre for that medium. I liked writing about ordinary people in extraordinary situations, so when I wanted to write a novel, it was only natural I would come up with a social satire.
And then you went back to horror for Dark Farm.
After taking a few years to get over the trauma of writing 240,000 words for Remember My Name while also having a busy full-time job, I found I wasn’t excited enough about another social issues story to do it again, and eventually I decided the easier option was to write a screenplay. That’s when my mind turned back to horror … something I could have fun with.
So yes, the screenplay … how did you move from a screenplay to another novel?
I’d done a short course on screenwriting and wrote a few short film scripts, so I figured it was time to write a blockbuster screenplay. I’d never done a full movie script before so I decided I would tackle something familiar. The first thing that came to mind was Lovecraft. I love schlocky Lovecraft movies but I always thought there’s a market gap for strong movie adaptations of Lovecraft works.
The toughest thing about HP is that he wasn’t very good at character development – he was all about the cosmic terror. Because of my experience with Remember my Name, I felt I knew how to write characters, so I wanted to combine this with a Lovecraft story.
Then came my brainwave … or rather, my problem statement: Lovecraft’s plots don’t translate well to the big screen because there is not enough in them. My answer was to join together three Lovecraft stories.
Triple the amount of story?
It worked pretty well. I was really happy with the amount of action and character development in the screenplay. And then I sat on it, not quite sure what to do with it.
You didn’t want to market it?
I did, but I knew as a novice screenwriter I had very little chance of selling it. So after a while, when I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and what had happened to them, I decided it wouldn’t take much to pad out the script and turn it into a novel. And hey presto! – Dark Farm.
What is your aim for Dark Farm and the Bringer of the Dark series?
There’s obviously a longstanding Lovecraft universe out there, and Dark Farm is in some ways a sequel, in some ways a reboot of HP’s original world. It also adds new villains and monsters. My series is really about Kragn, a new primordial god, and all the new gods and monsters I create will lead towards Kragn’s plan for the universe and the Gates brothers’ defence of it.
At this stage I’m planning a trilogy, with the second and third books published in stages. Book two will be in three parts and will concern itself with Dylan, Arika and Kane as they grow their respective powers. But that’s all I can say for the time being!
Dean Raven is represented by 939 Publishing, a division of Kidz@Heart Pty Ltd.