Orrin Grey was born on the night before Halloween, and he’s been in love with monsters and marvels ever since. He has a BA in English and Philosophy from Baker University, and now he writes weird stories featuring mad monks, ape fiends and cursed books, among other things. His first chapbook novella, The Mysterious Flame, was recently released by Dead Letter Press. You can learn more at www.orringrey.com.
IFP: How did you become interested in writing Mythos/Lovecraftian stories?
OG: I feel like I’ve been interested in Lovecraft forever. He was more or less my introduction to weird fiction, and I can remember reading him clear back into middle school.
Early on, I wrote my share of pastiches and Mythos stories, but what really got me was when I started learning about the writers that Lovecraft influenced, and then about all the other writers that he’d been influenced by. There was this kind of shared creativity that Lovecraft seemed to really embody and encourage. He was quick to acknowledge and celebrate his own inspirations, and I found, through him, not only a source of inspiration but a way to find other sources of inspiration, and a model for how to incorporate them while still turning out my own stuff. So, it’s less the Lovecraftian pastiches that really appeal to me now and more what happens when somebody like Mike Mignola or Caitlin R. Kiernan takes some of Lovecraft’s flavours or tropes or obsessions and runs with them in their own direction, and that’s more what I try to do.
IFP: What was the inspiration for your story?
OG: I really like ghouls?
Seriously, I think it was just that I’ve been a fan of ghouls – especially Lovecraft’s take on them – for a long time, and I just wanted to do a story involving ghouls. From there, I decided that I’d try exploring what would happen if I took the ghouls and made them more like natural creatures, approached them as just scavengers in a food chain rather than degenerate monsters.
I don’t remember where the scene at the end with Harter and the pickaxe came from, but it was one of the first parts of the story that I thought of, and it’s still one of my favourites.
IFP: If you were a Mythos monster or character, who would you be and why?
OG: Given the subject of my story, it’d be tempting to say a ghoul, but I’d much rather be something (someone?) like Nyarlathotep. In the end, though, I’d probably just be one of those giant albino penguins.