BARBIE'S BLOG  'The Next Big Thing'

Hi everyone!

Last Wednesday Steve Volk tagged me on his website  as part of an ongoing chain of book and author recommendations called 'The Next Big Thing.'

Now it's my turn to answer the ten questions below and then pass on the mantle to five other writers. Here are the answers to the questions…

1. What is the title of your book?

'The Venus Complex'

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve always been fascinated by the dark side of human nature. I consider myself to be an empathic being, so when I first read about psychopaths and serial killers in Colin Wilson’s excellent 'The Order of the Assassins', I became increasingly intrigued by these lone wolves of society, picking off the innocent lambs on the edge of the flock.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Dark Crime.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

For art history Professor Michael Friday, I think that Bradley Cooper ('Limitless') would do a great job. Michelle Williams ('My Weekend with Marilyn') would be a fabulous Dr Elene Shepperd, a forensic psychologist.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“Enter into Michael’s world through his personal journal, where every diseased thought, disturbing dream and sexually explicit murder highlights his journey from zero to psycho.”

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

'The Venus Complex' is published by Comet Press in New York City.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

'The Venus Complex' is my first novel and it's taken me on quite a journey… The creative and experiment process is not something that I could put into any conventional time span. Let’s just say that it took a while for me to find a publisher that understood me!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

American Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, Dexter, Psycho, etc.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I had been dabbling in writing crime for a while when a friend of mine, who was a dominatrix and sexual therapist in New York (with a master’s degree in Human Sexuality) mentioned to me that her greatest sexual fantasy was to sleep with a serial killer. I was appalled and puzzled (hey, that kind of behavior could be terminal!), but at the same time intrigued. It started a train of thought that resulted in 'The Venus Complex'.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

I’ve done a lot of research about serial killers and read many fiction books about the subject, but I never came across a book or film that explored the sexual landscape of the killer’s mind in the way that mine does. I think that it may be less controversial to write about violence than it is to write about the erotic fantasies of a disturbed mind.

Award-winning horror and fantasy writer Paul Kane did a great review of the book, and his description says it best:


 ‘After purposefully killing his wife in a car accident, art professor Michael Friday finds his perspective on things has become a little…warped.  Via his personal journal, we’re allowed into his mind to slowly watch the disintegration of it, bearing witness to his unnerving sexual cravings and ideas about killing: intertwined with the paintings he loves so much. As Michael writes, he’s “turning into something dead”; but at the same time he wants to be somebody, not a nobody.

Using his diary to rant against the world in general – including everything from banks to popular culture, from national holidays like Christmas to politics – he reveals more about the big, gaping hole in his own life. But as the novel goes on the first person narrative tensely builds up, displaying his dark dreams and innermost thoughts; his way of filling that void and presenting his grisly “works of art” to the world. As intelligent and cultured as Hannibal, easily as disturbing as American Psycho and infinitely less ‘reassuring’ than Dexter, this is a sexually-charged real life horror story that will definitely stay with you.’      -Paul Kane


Now it's time for me to tag five other writers, who will be answering the same questions on their blogs next Wednesday:

John Skipp is a splatterpunk horror and fantasy author and anthology editor, as well as a songwriter, screenwriter, film director, and film producer. He collaborated with Craig Spector on the 1989 anthology 'Book of the Dead', as well as for the novel ‘Light at the End’ and many more. He has written or co-written 14 novels and edited 7 anthologies. He has collaborated with Marc Levinthal and Cody Goodfellow. Skipp worked as editor-in-chief of both Fungasm Press and Ravenous Shadows.


Paul Kane is an award-winning writer and editor based in Derbyshire, UK. His short story collections are Alone (In the Dark), Touching the Flame, FunnyBones, Peripheral Visions, Shadow Writer and The Adventures of Dalton Quayle, with his latest out from the award-winning PS Publishing: The Butterfly Man and Other Stories. His novellas include Signs of Life, The Lazarus Condition, RED and Pain Cages. He is the author of the novels Of Darkness and Light, The Gemini Factor and the bestselling Arrowhead trilogy (Arrowhead, Broken Arrow and Arrowland), a post-apocalyptic reworking of the Robin Hood mythology. His latest novels are Lunar (which is set to be turned into a feature film) and the short Y.A. novel The Rainbow Man (as P.B. Kane). He is co-editor of the anthology Hellbound Hearts – stories based around the Clive Barker mythology that spawned Hellraiser – The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, featuring the likes of Stephen King and James Herbert, and the forthcoming Beyond Rue Morgue from Titan. His non-fiction books are The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark, and his genre journalism has appeared in the likes of SFX, Dreamwatch and DeathRay. He has been a Guest at Alt.Fiction five times, was a Guest at the first SFX Weekender, at Thought Bubble in 2011, plus The Derbyshire Literary Festival, Edge-Lit and Off the Shelf in 2012, as well as being a panellist at FantasyCon and the World Fantasy Convention. His work has been optioned for film and television, and his zombie story ‘Dead Time’ was turned into an episode of the Lionsgate/NBC TV series Fear Itself, adapted by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (SAW II-IV). He also scripted The Opportunity, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, Wind Chimes (directed by Brad ‘7th Dimension’ Watson) and The Weeping Woman – filmed by award-winning director Mark Steensland and starring Tony-nominated actor Stephen Geoffreys (Fright Night). You can find out more at his website, which has featured Guest Writers such as Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Dean Koontz, John Connolly and Guillermo del Toro.


Marie O’Regan is a British Fantasy Award-nominated author and editor, based in Derbyshire. Her first collection, Mirror Mere, was published in 2006 and she has had stories published widely in such magazines as Dusk, Dark Angel Rising, Here and Now, Midnight Street,and in anthologies like The Alsiso Project (Best Anthology, British Fantasy Awards) from Elastic Press, When Darkness Comes, Amazzoni in Italy and Amazonen in Germany,and Terror Tales, alongside Richard Christian Matheson, Simon Clark and Peter Straub. Her genre journalism has appeared in magazines like The Dark Side, Rue Morgue and Fortean Times, and her interview book – Voices in the Dark,featuring the likes of James Herbert, John Carpenter, Sarah Pinborough, Rob Zombie and Ron Perlman – was released last year. She is co-editor of the bestselling anthologies Hellbound Hearts and Mammoth Book of Body Horror, plus editor of the Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women,out this month from Constable & Robinson. Visit her website at


Dean M Drinkel is a critically acclaimed and award nominated writer and director. Dean's stories have appeared in diverse publications such as "Literal Translations", "Estronomicon", "Theaker’s Quarterly", "Morpheus Tales", "M is for Monster", "Monk Punk" and "The Unnatural Tales Of The Jackalope". He has compiled the anthologies, "The Demonologia Bibilica", "Cities of Death", "Demonology" and "Phobophobia". His short films have screened at the Cannes Film Festival.  His theatre productions have been staged in various theatres throughout England.  He was runner up for the 2001 Sir Peter Ustinov Screenwriting Award with his feature script "Ghosts" (as part of the International Emmy Awards).  He is currently working on a horror novel set in the South of France and a supernatural film set in Paris.  He has just been nominated for the "Best Screenplay Award" at the Monaco Film Festival which his script "Bright Yellow Gun".More about Dean can be found at:


Tim Dry is a mime artist, writer, musician and actor, best known for appearing in ‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’, the cult Sci Fi/horror movie 'Xtro' and for being half of a duo,  Tik and Tok, that popularized robotic mime in the UK in the 1980s. Tim is also an award-winning photographic artist, whose subjects have included Mick Jagger, Steven Berkoff, composer Georg Kajanus, author Rupert Thomson, The Mediaeval Baebes, writer Barbie Wilde and Joan Collins. As a musician he released five singles and an album in the '80s as Tik & Tok. He recorded an album with Georg Kajanus under the name Noir in the '90s and in 2011with guitarist Mo Blackford he released a digital album entitled 'Happy Accidents'. In 2010 he played the lead in the short horror/comedy movie 'SON Of Nosferatu'.

Tim is the author of two published books of memoirs (‘Falling Upwards’ and ‘Continuum’) and is currently hard at work creating the first of a series of novellas entitled 'Ricochet'. His websites are: and