Q&A with Dom Watson, the Author of Smoker on the Porch

Book links: AmazonGoodreads

About The Author: Father of cats and one human daughter. And a strange male toddler who magically appeared. Imagineer of the fantastic and the horrific. Explorer of the ethereal realms of the human id. Author of The Boy Who Walked Too Far and the upcoming novella Smoker on the Porch. Sequel to ‘The Boy’, A Stage of Furies due for release in 2022 Loves cooking, reading, cycling and generally behaving like a fool. Fighting the fight for mental health. Will sing for pizza and dance for wine.

Publisher: Dom Watson ( January 7, 2024) Length: 308 pages Formats: ebook Cover art: Blake Cover Design: ST King

Nice to see you again, Dom. Before we start, tell us how have you been?

Well, that certainly is the biggest question of all! Feels like It has been an age since I spoke to you guys. I’m okay. Lot of health issues this last year. Got diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis so it’s all a learning curve. The colder months seem to be the hard bit. But I’m good. There are times-frustratingly- where I want to write, but my body has other ideas. I’ll get there.

Let’s talk about the stunning cover for SMOKER ON THE PORCH. Please tell us how you and your cover designer Blake worked together to create it?

It’s great isn’t it. The cover came around quite early. I finished Smoker around 2019 and then moved house and I wasn’t in a good place mentally, but Smoker kept speaking to me. I had this image in my mind’s eye of the cover and felt compelled to speak to Blake. Luckily he had a blank slate and he got to it with the brief. We then had a couple of late night Zoom meets with wine and it birthed itself from there. He is so mysterious! I didn’t even see him visually. He had all the artwork up on the Zoom screen. We have a great rapport though. He’s my go-to- guy for artwork.

What was your first reaction when you saw it? How does it hold up (in your opinion) to what the main story is about?

I was flabbergasted. Obviously, I had seen bits in progress, but seeing the finished piece was mind blowing. He did that in a couple of weeks. Which is astonishing. It doesn’t really relate to any part of the story. I just loved Biggot standing over the three boys. He becomes their shadow. And a part of Jake (MC). So it fits beautifully. If you look hard you’ll see the Atari symbol on Podge’s T-shirt. Instead it says WATSON. And the sweet says Blake Magic. Fitting. Such trivia.

Let’s talk about SMOKER ON THE PORCH. A lot of authors have a harder time writing a second book after their debuts – wow was the experience for you?

Wow! That is so true. After The Boy Who Walked Too Far I just felt compelled to continue the story. I had the beginning in my head since finishing TBWWTF so I continued. Got to 20 k in and it came to a dead stop! The story still stands, but I wasn’t enjoying it as much. So I walked away and started toying with a short story. Which – weirdly – became SMOKER. So it wasn’t a case of writers block as such, more let the characters of TBWWTF have a rest (laughs). They went through the wringer to be fair.

How would you describe the plot of Smoker on the Porch if you had to do so in just one or two sentences?

The battle from childhood into adolescence presided over by an eldritch god. How’s that?? I remember my childhood vividly, and there are moments of abject horror. So to have it shadowed by an entity adds a malign aspect never really challenged in literature. The Smoker is the pendulum in a way. That if successful could echo in childhood depression.

What subgenres does it fit?

It embraces the metaphysical a lot. I remember someone asking me to describe it and I said. “STRANGER THINGS by the way of the Clive Barker underpass.” I like that. It sums it up a treat. It’s an adult book. It deals with some hefty subject matter. There’s the horror, the grand guignol, but there are moments of magic and (like I said) the metaphysical. Which is pure Barker. Fitting in a way because that’s who I was reading when I was these kids ages. No one was writing like that in the late 80’s. Not even Stephen King of James Herbert. It’s even a little bit autobiographical.

What inspired you to write this story? Was there one “lightbulb moment” when the concept for this book popped into your head or did it develop over time?

When the first series of Stranger Things dropped it propelled me into my own childhood. I wanted to write a novel about my childhood. With monsters. It gestated for a while and then characters came willingly. And then the monsters, and the plot. It took a couple of years to manifest but it was supposed to be a short, then a novella, and then it ruled the roost and became the novel it is.

Who are the key players in this story? Could you introduce us to Smoker Porch protagonists/antagonists?

We have young Jake Whittaker. Last year of secondary school, and his mates Gary and Podge. (Phillip). They are on the cusp of adolescence and they are petrified of the world ahead of them. But we also have Francis William Biggot, that old oddball and the end of the street- the local pariah. He’s our main villain, but he has a few underlings, most noticeably Gregor, he’s an absolute grotesque, and Sarah Chorn will agree (she loved the culmination of his story.) Biggot is like Dracula in the suburbs with his denim clad Renfields.

So what can readers expect from SMOKER ON THE PORCH and what should they be looking forward to according to you?

It’s a retro ride. If you love Stranger Things you’ll love it. But it isn’t just my “English Stranger Things “. It deals with some hefty issues. Issues that still resonate now, probably more so. Jake is bullied by his cousin in this, and drawing from experience it’s a big deal for me. It’s like me exorcising my personal torment to ink and paper. But it’s about friends too. Those old friends who forged who you are. But we have some fun to. Podge is hilarious, and Jude became my favourite in the end. She is my Holly Gibney. You’ll see what I mean. (Wink)

What’s your publishing Schedule for 2024/2025? I need to ask if Xindii will return?

2024 will be full on wordage. Ha ha, you ask about Xindii. I’m glad you have. Yes, Xindii and Doomfinger will both be back. And Brick of course. A Stage of Furies is 30 k in progress. After giving them a break they are back in action and I’m loving it. Its Die Hard with a Litch and Kaiju. That’s all I’m saying. I’m also writing I’d Bleed For You. I started this in 2021 for Nanowrimo and recently discovered it on my hardrive and fell in love with it again. It’s about a down on his luck dude who gets a job renovating an old Lighthouse. Suffice to say there is ‘shenanigans’ going on within. Its set on the coast where I live and I have researched Doggerland heavily. 2025 hopefully will be a double whammy release. I hope to include Smoker in SPFBO though.

In closing, do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to share with our readers?

Just a big thank you to you all really and keep reading. It’s important to have our sanctuaries. The world is big and loud and invasive, more than ever. Just keep reading and be kind. I really hope you all enjoy Smoker on the Porch as much as I did writing it. Thank you Lukasz.

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