Well it’s a grey chilly February morning here in Yorkshire and I am still fighting off a coldy lurgy ( I will spare you all the disgusting details of this battle) and I logged onto my pc and there in my inbox was, to my surprise, a lovely review of Night of the Rider by Steve Stred over at Kendall Reviews– which has really made my day and cheered my snotty self right up.
Steve Stred had positively reviewed my self – published mini collection last December, of Christmas Terrors.
He has been amazingly supportive of me and my writing but he is a powerhouse of a reviewer, giving so many indie horror writers his time and support so generously.
Short Sharp Shocks! #18
Alyson Faye: Night Of The Rider
Reviewed By Stred Stred
I had the pleasure of recently reading Alyson Faye’s ‘Christmas Terrors: A Mini Collection of Dark Fiction’ and was absolutely blown away. I loved it so much I quickly snagged her release ‘Trio of Terror – Supernatural Tales’ and this one – which is Book 18 in Demain’s fantastic Short Sharp Shocks! series.
KR: You can read the Kendall Review for Christmas Terrors: A Mini Collection of Dark Fiction HERE
I simply couldn’t wait, so I read this one last night and wow, does Faye deliver again. She’s quickly wormed her way into a must-read author for me.
This is a dark fantasy with horror on the fringes. I don’t read much fantasy, really only sticking to George RR Martin and Patrick Rothfuss, but this has no problem sitting beside those two literary giants.
We follow Barnabas, a man rushing home after racking up gambling debts and then running afoul of a hunch back. He soon realizes he is being chased by the mythical Rider, out to serve justice.
What I really loved about this story was that in a short page count we get a stunning story, but also a fantastic look at the back story of the Rider. Usually, when something is this short the author will frequently leave the background details a mystery of the antagonist or monster (heavens knows I’ve done this!), but Faye tackles it full on and because of that we get a substantially deeper, richer experience.
The ending of this is superb. It wraps things up and really drives everything to a wonderfully brutal conclusion.
I’m so glad to have discovered Faye’s writing, and I can’t wait to dive into her ‘Trio of Terror’ release. She is able to weave in so much emotion, all wrapped in a super dark package.
Just really blown away and I absolutely can’t recommend her works enough.
The review is followed by my 2019 interview where I talk about starting writing Rider at Wentworth Castle in the gorgeous Victorian library there on a residential.
And I also included the real life former Salts family mansion, Milner House, in the Milner Field near me which is now derelict as the home of Barnabas.
Here it is in its Victorian hey day-
All that is left in the woods now are ruins, slabs of concrete, rocks and boulders and the chipped fragments of the mosaic tiles from the conservatory which give a hint of the splendour that once stood there.
I also included my rescue Borador, Roxy, in the story, as the pup who bravely nuzzles up to the Rider for comfort.
Here’s the opening of the interview:-
Alyson Faye Talks To Demain Publishing
(Originally featured on the Demain Publishing Blog 2nd May 2019 HERE)
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Welcome Alyson to the Demain family. Night Of The Rider – what’s it all about?
ALYSON FAYE: Thank you. I began writing it on a residential in a Castle in Yorkshire in a huge Victorian library- so that helped my mood. I do enjoy writing Victorian Gothic stories, but this time I had the idea of combining it with a magical element, the cursed, once human Rider. I wanted to contrast the real world of Victorian London’s seedy underbelly, with life in the family’s country mansion where the myth of the Rider casts a long shadow.
DP: Sounds like the castle/library provided great inspiration then. Being that your story is ‘historical’ (so to speak) what were the challenges you faced when writing it?
AF: One challenge was, I realised, as I went along that I wanted to make the Rider sympathetic, not a true baddy, so I wrote in his tragic back story. I also wanted Barnabas to remain likeable but misguided. I wanted his sister, Leonie, to be a feisty, strong female with her own inner life and not just there to faint and look pretty. I think I succeeded. In fact Leonie’s role grew as the father’s role decreased.
DP: I agree, you did succeed. I was intrigued by the Rider’s back story and wanted to know more. For some reason he reminded me of the Night King in Game Of Thrones…but of course, that could just be me…are any events in the story based on your own life?
AF: There are two things in the story which I took from real life. Milner House, where Barnabas flees home, was once a real mansion in the woods over the road from where I live. It’s now in ruins. The rich and famous family of local mill owner Titus Salt (who founded Saltaire village, an English Heritage site) built it in the late nineteenth century. The young puppy who ventures to cuddle up to the Rider, and sleeps beside him is based on my own rescue dog, a Labrador cross, called Roxy.
Many thanks for the interview op to Dean Drinkel the man behind Demain publishing and to Gavin Kendall of Kendall Reviews for his fantastic support of my writing over the last 2 years or so.