Interview with David Annandale, author of Gethsemane Hall

Interview with David Annandale, author of Gethsemane Hall

Posted on August 15 by admin
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

David Annandale joins us today for an interview. David is the author of one of our new releases Gethsemane Hall.

Caitlyn: How did you come up with the idea for this work?

David: I’ve always loved haunted house tales, and had been wanting to write one of my own. I’m also a sucker for the group-of-investigators-venture-into-the-spooky-house paradigm. Two of my favourites in this vein are Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Richard Matheson’s Hell House. The idea that came to me, as I thought about this model, was to have my group made up of people with utterly incompatible belief systems. And what if, I wondered, they were all wrong?

Caitlyn: Tell us a little about the overarching theme of your work, and why you felt compelled to explore it.

David: As the novel developed, it became something of an exploration of truth. Each of the characters either feels she or he has some sort of lock on the truth, or seeks to control what others will perceived as true. I wanted to look at how people might react when their most cherished or deeply held beliefs are challenged in the most fundamental way imaginable. Do we accept that we were wrong, or do we reject the overwhelming evidence that we are, even when doing so might lead to our death? And is truth necessarily good and freeing? I suppose one of things that led me to examine these questions is my own somewhat paradoxical position: I write stories where the supernatural is undeniably real, but outside of fiction, I am firmly in the camp of the committed sceptics.

Caitlyn: How did you research your book?

David: I travelled to England several times, visiting the locations that inspired the setting of Gethsemane Hall. The primary locations, then, were Ightham Mote and the Chislehurst Caves in Kent, and the town of Axminster in Devon. These are also places that were important to me growing up, and for which I have a deep love. So though this is a horror novel, it is also meant to be a tribute to the country that has given me so many fond memories, and whose writers have fired my imagination all my life.

Caitlyn: What was your first publication?

David: My first publication was a non-fiction article for the comic book magazine Amazing Heroes. It was a history of Godzilla’s appearances in comics to that point (this was back in 1989). My first professional fiction publication was the short story “Dismemberment.” It appeared in a 1991 issue of Prairie Fire, and, funnily enough, has not been reprinted in any of the Chicken Soup anthologies.

Caitlyn: Describe the most memorable response you’ve received from a reader.

David: Does an audience member count? The response I’m thinking of was for Revulsion, a play I wrote for the Edmonton Fringe Festival in 1998. At the climax of one performance, I heard a woman gasp. She cried, “Oh no!” and covered her eyes. For a horror writer, that is the equivalent of receiving a standing ovation.

David Annandale is the author of Crown Fire, Kornukopia, and The Valedictorians, thrillers featuring rogue warrior Jen Blaylock. His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies of horror fiction. He teaches literature and film at the University of Manitoba and lives in Winnipeg.