Meet Tim Mendees

Every Friday, we meet a member of the BFS and peer deep into their soul (or, at least, a form they filled out). Want to be featured? Email us: online@britishfantasysociety.org

Name, including preferred pronouns:

Tim Mendees (He/Him)

Which region are you based in?

I’m originally from Macclesfield, Cheshire, but currently reside in Brighton, East Sussex.

If you write, which genre:  Horror

Are you drawn to any specific SFFH sub-genres?

Cosmic horror is my main go-to subgenre. The more tentacles the better.

If you don’t write, what do you do?

Along with writing, I also co-host two weird fiction podcasts and am the co-founder of The Innsmouth Literary Festival. I also curate and edit cosmic horror-themed anthologies for a variety of publishers.

Your influences

Tell us about the book/film/thing that got you into SFFH: What was it? How old were you? What impact did it have on you?

I read The Willows by Algernon Blackwood and House on the Borderlands by William Hope Hodgeson at a very early age and it all kind of stemmed from there. The Willows especially creeped me out for weeks after reading it. I spent a lot of time out in the countryside so the feelings of isolation and unknown things lurking in the shadows had a profound effect on me. From there I devoured everything I could get my hands on that fell under the weird fiction umbrella. 

How does that early influence show up in your work now?

I like to wear my influences on my sleeve. My whole thing starting out was to write the kind of story that I enjoyed reading in those early days. I have such a love of the fiction that filled the pulp magazines of yesteryear so I set out to be pulp and proud. 

Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

Oh, everywhere. One of the things I love about cosmic horror is that you can put it in any setting you can think of. I often get story ideas while completing mundane tasks. Shopping is usually fertile ground for me. My mind wanders onto thinking about what would happen if an extra-dimensional horror forced its way into our reality in the bread aisle or if a box of cereal contained a trinket belonging to an Eldritch abomination instead of a free set of colouring pencils.

Who do you look to as a genre hero? Why?

For me it is probably Ramsey Campbell. I grew up reading his books and they were a big factor in me picking up a pen in the first place. Plus, growing up in small-town Cheshire, he was talking about things that I could instantly recognise. I also read King and people like that but I’ve never been to Maine so it always has a kind of cultural disconnect for me. Campbell was just down the road. Also, in terms of cosmic horror and weird fiction, I think he has always managed to surprise me despite his longevity. Each new work feels fresh and it never feels like he is retreading the same ground. No small feat. I got the opportunity to chat with him as part of The Innsmouth Literary Festival in September which was a very cool moment.

Tim chats online with his genre hero Ramsey Campbell

Your work

You’re stuck in an elevator for 60 seconds with that hero, and they want you to describe your work. Give us the pitch.

I’ll go with a line from one of my favourite reviews of my novella, Spiffing: “The demented love-child of H.P. Lovecraft and P.G. Wodehouse.” I think that sums up what I do quite nicely. It’s a very British, and often comical, take on cosmic horror.

What are you working on right now?

I’m simultaneously working on a novella-length piece for a themed anthology as well as writing a non-fiction book about the history of cosmic horror in video games. Oh, and I’m formatting a Lovecraftian Viking anthology as well. I usually try not to have too many things on the go at once but… deadlines sometimes creep up on you.

Thinking about all the stories/work you’ve done, what sticks out most in your mind? Why?

I always think my novel Miracle Growth is a good place to start for people as it sums up what I do quite nicely. It’s the most Tim Mendees thing I’ve ever written.

Where and when do you create/are you at your most creative?

I try and keep to a daily work schedule. I usually wake up at around five in the morning and start writing. I get a lot of inspiration from dreams so I tend to be most productive while everyone else is still asleep. 

What’s the best advice you’ve received about creativity?

Always carry a notebook and a pencil stub, you never know when inspiration may strike.

What’s your writing soundtrack?

My other job is a goth DJ with a weekly radio show and a monthly club night so I always have tons of new music to wade through looking for floor-fillers. I look at it as multi-tasking. 

The quickfire round

Sci-fi, fantasy or horror?

Horror

Quiet or loud?

Both

Dark or light?

Dark

Strict lines or genre blend?

Blend

Awards or bestseller?

Awards

Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction

Poetry or prose?

Prose

Plotter or pantser?

Pantser

Reading or listening?

Reading

Notebook or computer?

Both

Favourite SFFH book of all time?

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

Last book you read?

The Slime Beast by Guy N. Smith

Any SFFH author on auto-buy?

Ramsey Campbell

Favourite podcast?

Aside from my own, Appendix N Book Club

The home stretch

What’s the best thing about being a SFFH writer/agent/publisher/reader/fan?

Getting to meet people who not only know what random thing you are banging on about but who are also into it.

Time to plug your stuff! Where can we find you and your work? What have you got coming up? Consider this your advertising space.

Tim signs for his fans using a tentacle pen, naturally

You can find my website here. It badly needs updating but it has all my social media and Amazon links there so it’s probably the easiest way to find me. 

I have a novel and a novella coming out at some point in the very near future but I’m waiting on release dates from my publishers. The best thing to do is follow me on social media and I’ll make sure to let everyone know as and when.

I have also just adapted one of my short stories for a NSFW comic entitled Eldritch Lust. It is currently on pre-launch on Kickstarter.

A collection of Tim’s work

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