On the Sofa with

On The Sofa With – Stephen Cooney

Today, I am joined on the sofa by Stephen Cooney, an amazingly talented painter, who is responsible for many horror book and e-zine covers.

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How would you describe your artwork?

I would describe my artwork as sci fi/horror although I’m finding I’m painting more fantasy and drifting away from horror at the moment.

What medium do you use for your art?

I use acrylics on canvas.  I prefer to use them as oils tend to take a long time to dry, and the chemicals can get a bit too much.

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How do you get your inspiration?

Mainly from the publishers themselves, and I put in some ideas of my own as well.

When doing artwork for a book cover, how much control does the author have over the finished result?

Almost all of it unless a publisher contacts me instead of the author, but I like to get as much input from as many people as I can, it makes the job easier.

For those who may not have worked with an artist before, can you explain the process, from the author’s first request to the finished product.

Well what tends to happen is I’ll get a simple layout from a client and come up with as many ideas as possible from what they want, and come up with a rough drawing.  I will then transfer the drawing onto a canvas board.  I never draw the background as I tend to make that up completely as I paint; all my art is done that way.  As soon as the painting is completed I’ll send them a hi res photo of the art.  It’s as simple as that.

Apart from book covers, have you done artwork for any other projects?

I use to tattoos but gave that up to do illustration work.

What would be your dream project?

I don’t really have a dream project, although when I was younger I always wanted to do album covers for heavy metal bands.

How long does a book cover project usually take you?

Well a book cover can take up two to three weeks depending on how much detail is in the painting, but saying that, I can complete a painting in about a week if I have to.

What happens to the original painting once the book is out?

Once the original painting is done and the publishers have their copy, I wrap it in a protective film and it’s stored away until I decide to sell it or sell it as prints.  A lot of the authors like to own the original if they can.

When you’re not doing a project for someone else, do you paint for your own pleasure?

Blimey I can’t remember the last time I painted for myself, projects are coming in almost all the time.  I paint all the covers for Nightmare Illustrated.   That’s one painting a month.  James Ward Kirk is another publisher I do a lot of art for.  God there’s so many I can’t think, but as I finish one illustration another comes up, but I can’t complain, I love art.   If I can do any illustration then I will, but if I can’t fit it in then I will say sorry no can do.  The reason I say this is because I always get ” we thought you would be too busy. ”

Do you have a website?  How can people get in touch with you?

Not at the moment but I’m working on it but the beys way to get hold of me is either email  amandawestlake@btinternet.com or Facebook.  Steve.cooney.9@facebook.com

You can find Stephen on his facebook page here.

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On the sofa with – Horrified Press

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Today I’m on the sofa with Nathan Rowark of Horrified Press, who recently took 1st and 2nd place in this year’s P&E Reader’s Poll.  Read about it on Horrified Press’s website here

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What exactly is Horrified Press, and what do you do

That’s a good question, Merita. What is Horrified Press and what do I do…

Horrified Press is a small press, lovely fun – all warm and cuddly – but what’s this? Arggghhhh… there’s monsters and zombies and undead harlots and gooey, sticky, gory stuff. That’s right, we’re a small horror press that release scary stories – anthologies mostly – to keep you up at night.

What do I do? I’m just like the ringleader. I make sure the monsters don’t eat the readers and the authors keep their ghastly creations on literal leashes.

When did Horrified Press come into being, and how did that happen? Was it a definite choice or did it just happen?

I’ve always loved horror – from movies, literature to video games. It’s in our culture – from the front page of the newspaper that you read over breakfast to the haunted mansion in your kids’ Atari game. Well, maybe we’ve moved on from Atari games now. I started Horrified Press as a label to release my own work to begin with. It went really well and I realised I could be doing this for others. There are many authors out there who would like free editing and advice going forward. After 4 years of proving my own metal I took it upon myself to help more authors do the same. Plus, we publish some great work from semi-pro and established writers too.

From where you are now, where would you like to take Horrified Press into the future? What are your dreams for it?

We’ve taken on some great guest editors and started a new imprint. My hope is that we can take it all the way.

What advice would you give to authors wishing to write horror? What makes a good horror story?

A good story – period. Grammar, style and substance can be learnt/discovered over time. If your stories suck then you could be the best writer in the world and still fail to impress an audience.

Who are your favourite authors, and why?

I enjoy Barker for his poetic verse and King for his sound writing style.

If you could oversee the making of a horror movie, with total control over the process, what would the storyline be?

I’d take a short story I wrote around 3 years ago and expand on its premise.

Do you think there are any areas that are taboo in horror writing, or are you an ‘anything goes’ person?

Anything goes. If you’re trying to scare people but worry about frightening them… it’s never going to work out.

I’ve heard people say that those who like horror must be strange or weird in some way. Do you agree with this?

Totally disagree. It’s the people that seemingly appear normal on the outside that are cutting up their neighbors behind closed doors.

Have you ever had an horrific experience, like any of the stories you’ve published? 

Yeah actually. I had an experience with a ghost (or something). There was a witness present and I had a convo with ‘the thing’. Never did find out why it was there. It will forever bug me to its actual identity and/or purpose.

You often take submissions for anthologies and ezines, how would you advise authors who may wish to submit, to proceed?

Lead with your heart and soul. A piece that I feel will speak to our audience is good enough for me. I’m very liberal in my personal tastes and ask that an author merely respects their public by honing their skills before submitting to the markets.

Do you act as publishers for those who write horror novels, or do you only work with short stories/anthologies?

We publish anthology collections, solo collections and novels.

How can people get in touch with you? Are you on facebook and twitter? Do you have a website? 

We do – have a facebook. You can submit to us by visiting our site: horrifiedpress.wordpress.com

Details of all the works published by Horrified Press, and submission guidelines for up coming works can be found at their website.