Are There Enough Chairs In Heaven – Cullen Spurr

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Memories are the pathway to our souls…

I’d like to start by saying I am delighted to be the first person to review this author’s debut short story, bringing his work into the blogging world is truly an honour, as well as giving him the recognition he fully deserves. Pushing his work into the spotlight and paving the way for his future works to be shown to the world. If his other work is as good as this short story then we are all in for a treat!

Firstly we dive straight into the story with a stream of consciousness as the protagonist starts to describe his surroundings and the confusion in which they bring, already the sense of darkness fills the gaps as we go along the characters journey. Guessing at each turn on who this character is (as no names are given), where he is and what has happened to him, which only increases the mystery.

As we progress through the characters memories we are taken on a trip through his childhood, dipping into his adolescence and falling in love. However don’t let this description fool you, the darkness behind the words slips out as we slowly discover the character’s emotions (feeling numb to the world) with a glimmer of hope when ‘she’ walks into his life. Even when all seems like it could be a ‘happily ever after’ situation his world comes crashing down beneath him.

One of my favourite things about this story was the break of consciousness, snippets of the protagonist swaying from his past recollections and bringing more mystery into his words. The fact that he realises he’s breaking from his trip down memory lane and giving away clues to the reader without them knowing how they piece together.

Another way to know if a story is good usually falls into the lines of wanting to know more, with this story it is open to interpretation on what actually happened with this man. Not giving you a clear black and white ending you find yourself questioning whether the break in consciousness earlier in the story meant that the ending wasn’t all that it seemed.

If you like a bit of darkness, some mystery and a story that pulls you in from the beginning and doesn’t let go then this is a story I would definitely recommend. Cullen Spurr is an unknown author for now, but I have a feeling that his work is going to capture a wide audience and have something special behind every cover.

Until next time…

If you would like to read this yourself it is available for download by viewing the PDF here – Are There Enough Chairs In Heaven – Culln Spurr

Bio: Cullen Spurr
Throughout his school life he was reprimanded for being outspoken and a little different, with the exception of his English teachers, who praised his creative writing and inquisitive mind. He developed a passion for all forms of creative writing early on in his life. This developed through many mediums such as music, poetry and prose. He self-released a short novella through Amazon’s Kindle store in 2013 but then took a step back from writing to pursue music throughout university. After graduating university Cullen rekindled his passion for writing and started working on, what he hopes to be, his debut novel.

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Guess who’s back…

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Blogger break over, ready to start again…

Firstly I just wanted to say that having a break from blogging was not due to my lack of interest, I just happened to have a few big life events that came faster than anticipated and therefore I needed to pause my blogging to focus on that.

I do appreciate the continued support which really makes me thankful for the community of book lovers/authors that have been with me though this journey. I know that I made some promises to authors to review their books and I do intend to keep those promises (it just may have a shift in timelines now).

So, the reasons behind my disappearance are as follows…

  1. I have re-located up north to Leeds (UK) which included finding a new place to live, finding a new job and then actually moving up there (plus getting settled).
  2. As previously mentioned, I got a new job to support my move therefore having to start at a new place, meet new people and learn a WHOLE lot of new things.

As you can imagine these two events have taken up most of my time and regrettably I’ve not had time to focus on The Book Box or had the time to relax and enjoy the wonderful books I have lined up.

However, it is with great pleasure that I announce my return! I am fully settled into my new place and gotten off to a good start at my new job so I will be taking more time to focus on The Book Box again – planning to have a new book review this weekend!

Finally I would like to thank those that have stood by me in my absence and continued to support my love of reading and blogging and I promise that I will return stronger than ever.

Until next time…

Author Interview – Gary Buller

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Digging deeper into the lives and career of authors…

As promised I’ve done another author interview to highlight and give thanks to the lovely authors that gave me the support and encouragement I needed for my blog to flourish and grow. Hopefully this will give some very well deserved recognition to Gary Buller, an author who gave me a chance and allowed me to start something I’m passionate about, my blog! So without further delay let’s get to know him a little better…

When did you decide to become an author?

Only last year. It came out of the blue to friends and family- even my girlfriend of sixteen years, but was an idea I’d been toying with for a while. I wasn’t very confident initially, but when the story acceptances started to roll in I felt better about my abilities.

Where do you get your story ideas?

I get ideas from things that happen day to day, no matter how mundane. My story ‘Shelf Life’ (Hindered Souls anthology) had origins in supermarket trips with my other half. Pushing the trolley along behind her, bored out of my tree, I wondered what would happen if this experience lasted forever?

Authors are traditionally cast as reclusive loners. Are you?

No, not at all. I’m very sociable but most of all I’d say that I’m a family man. On social media I’m quite cheeky and full of innuendo which I think goes completely against the grain for horror writers. I think some of them balk a little at some of my tweets. I have a good sense of humour and am not easily offended. I find it quite odd when horror writers talk about pushing boundaries in one breath and in the next they’re getting upset over a rude shaped vegetable or something. Writers can take things far too seriously.

Does your writing require research?

Sometimes, especially when it’s about something that I’m not overly familiar with. Google is handy for occasions like that. When I’m writing from experience though I’ll just go with what I know. I have a fairly short attention span when it comes to research, and get bored fairly quickly.

Which authors influence your writing?

I’ve been compared to Stephen King a couple of times which is both flattering and a curse. I think there are too many King wannabes out there. I have read most of his stuff, but don’t intentionally try to ape his style. I do like Joe Hill, Ray Bradbury and Adam Nevill for my horror and speculative fiction fix. I also enjoy the Helen Grace stories by MJ Arlidge.

What part of writing do you find most challenging?

Finding the time is the biggest challenge these days. Also self-editing. It’s one of the reasons why I initially joined a writers workshop and moved on to be part of a writers circle. It’s very difficult to spot faults in your own works.

Do you write the story, or do your characters take over?

The characters always seem to lead the way when I write. They are an extension of me, I suppose, so it makes sense. I’m currently working on some writer-improvement exercises under my Horror Writer Association mentor, Bram Stoker winner Hank Schwaeble, and he’s of the opinion that you have to incorporate at least a little plot development when you sit down to write.

When a reader closes one of your books, what do you hope they’re left with?

I hope that they enjoy it, and want to read more of my stuff. That’s the challenge- to get your name to stand out amongst the thousands and thousands of fledgling writers. If I scare the reader, or give them nightmares then even better.

Do you have any advice for new/ aspiring authors?

Learn that rejection and criticism is not a bad thing. Take that story and work on it some more. Before long you’ll be looking back at drafts of your work from months ago and seeing an improvement. Join an online writer’s group, or circle. Read other aspiring writers work and critique it, then let them do the same to yours.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/spirit animal, why?

My mascot is my six year old daughter, Holly. She’s my inspiration and I love her very much. She has a short piece of flash fiction in my horror collection ‘Mechanisms of Despair’ called ‘Dog of the Dead’ and absolutely delighted in signing the books when they arrived from the printers.

Do you Google yourself?

Occasionally. It’s never anything very interesting though. Just links to my Twitter and Facebook, and the occasional review or Amazon page.

How did you choose the genre you wished to write in?

I think horror chose me. Since the days of secretly watching video nasties when I was too young to do so back in the eighties, I’ve been interested in the macabre. My grandad used to tell a mean ‘true’ ghost story and it used to really freak me out. I’ve attempted writing other stuff but my eyes glaze over just a little. My heart is not in it.

Do you have any new books coming up that you wish to shout about? 

My short story collection ‘Mechanisms of Despair’ is out now and available on ebook and paperback from Amazon. All my proceeds go to Sarcoma UK, a bone and soft tissue cancer charity, and the publishers proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Foundation in the USA.

I have a short story coming up in a massive horror anthology with a collection of very talented horror writers including John Palisano, Vice President of the horror writers association. It’s called ‘Monsters Exist’ and features cryptids and legendary beasts local to each author. Published by Deadman’s Tome, it should be available June/July time from Amazon and we expect it to do really well.

I would also be amiss if I didn’t mention a project that I’ve been working on with Unnerving Magazine. Hobo Chapbooks will be available in limited editions of 44 from the 5th June 2017. They feature collaborative mashups where horror writers put their slant on other authors works. They are available to pre order here.

Until next time…

If you want to know more about Gary Buller you can have a look on his website for all sorts of updates. Alternatively follow him on Twitter (@garybuller) for regular content!