Lee Mountford is a lifelong horror fan, much to the dismay of his amazing wife, Michelle. It is therefore not surprising that he writes terrifying, graphic horror novels that keep readers at the edge of their seats. His first book, Horror in the Woods, was published in May 2017 to fantastic reviews, and his follow-up book, The Demonic, achieved Best Seller status in both Occult Horror and British Horror categories on Amazon. As our Author of the Day, Mountford tells us all about his latest book, Tormented.
Please give us a short introduction to what Tormented is about.
Tormented is a brutal and graphic horror novel about a man who, with nowhere else to turn, voluntarily commits himself to an insane asylum. He soon realises what a mistake that was, and that there is no salvation waiting for him there. Instead, it transpires that the staff, under the guidance of their Director, are administering a certain medicine to the patients, one that causes horrific transformations to them. A literal hell is unleashed as things get completely out of control.
What inspired you to use Arlington Asylum as a backdrop for your story?
The story was actually first set aboard, in Thailand, where a young traveller gets kidnapped and committed to an asylum there. The story evolved, however, and I ended up setting it in England in the 1950’s. An asylum was always key to the story, and I had a few inspirations, but one of the main ones was actually from the video game Outlast.
Why horror - what drew you to the genre?
As a genre, horror is what I call home. It is primarily what I read, what I watch, and what really intrigues me. While I may branch out into other areas in the future (under a pen name) horror will always be my genre of choice.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Dracula. I know it may be an obvious choice, but it has had such a huge influence on the genre that I couldn’t really pick anything else. Plus, I live near Whitby, one of the main locations in the book, and it’s possibly my favourite place in the world - very gothic and atmospheric, with the stunning Abbey overlooking the town.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’ve just asked my wife this question, in the hopes of getting some help. Her responses were: being forgetful, being unbelievably unobservant, and being incredibly annoying. Not exactly skills that will make me a superhero, but apparently they're all I’ve got. I did have a black belt in Taekwondo, but haven’t thrown a kick since I was in my twenties.
Your work takes you to some very dark places. Do you ever get nightmares while writing your books?
Not nightmares, but often I get up very early to write, when it’s quiet and still dark, and sometimes I freak myself out a little bit - especially when I’m writing about the supernatural. Often, I look up to the back window, overlooking the garden, and expect to see someone standing there, looking back at me. So far, that hasn’t happened, but that doesn’t mean I’ll drop my guard.
Readers report that you created a dark atmosphere with graphic imagery. How did you pull this off?
I think that comes from being a lifelong fan of horror, no matter what the medium - books, movies, or video games, i love them all. Often, some of my best scenes or descriptions just come from the gut, without the need to figure out every little detail ahead of time. I’m big on plotting out the storylines of my novels, but the detail and scares tend to just come to me when I’m in full flow.
Were there any interesting connections that you found—ways that this work fits with the rest of your books?
Actually, yes. People who have read my other works will see some interesting links in Tormented. So far, all my books exist within a shared universe, one that lets me explore different sub-genres, but still allows me to link the stories loosely together.
Do you have any interesting writing habits, what's your average writing day like?
Currently, as I write around a full time job and raising a nine-month old with my wife, my writing habits chop-and-change depending on what stage of a project I’m in. If I’m plotting a story out, I write a little bit each day, but a lot of the work is done in my head as I think things through, or bounce ideas off my wife. Then, when the story is fleshed out and I get to work on the actual writing, I tend to get up early each day (about 5am) in order to get a few good hours of writing in. Same for when I’m editing. Then it’s back to plotting out my next book, and a few months of getting a little more sleep.
What are you working on right now?
My current work in progress is called The Mark. It is about a woman called Kirsty who is attacked in her home one night, and the attacker carves a mysterious symbol into her flesh. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she soon starts to experience terrifying, supernatural happenings. These incidents begin to grow in frequency and severity and Kirsty soon realises that she is in mortal danger, but no matter what, she can’t outrun what is following her. Kirsty has to unravel the mystery of the strange mark, and figure out a way to stop the evil entity that is stalking her before she loses her soul to it. The Mark will be a supernatural horror, more in line with my second novel, The Demonic, than the more gory Horror in the Woods & Tormented.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Quite a few places. There is my website, which is www.leemountford.com, and I update a blog here quite often to keep readers updated on what’s going on. I'm also quite active on Facebook (@LeeMountfordAuthor) and Twitter (@LeeMountford01). I always try to reply to anyone who is kind enough to reach out, so if anyone has any questions or comments, just let me know!