Way back in 2006 I listed a chapbook on eBay called A Cthulhu Mythos Bibliography and Checklist published by Rainfall Books edited by Glynn Barrass. I then received an email from a young man saying “he was most surprised to find the chapbook on eBay and as editor, would I like him to sign our copies as he lived in Middlesbrough”. I had no idea that Glynn lived in Middlesbrough and needless to say, I said yes, and that’s how I first met Glynn Owen Barrass.
Over the years I have seen Glynn’s career and reputation grow both as a writer and an editor (either working solo or in partnership with another editor) and now there is a third string to his bow… Editor in Chief of Celaeno Press.
So we are very fortunate that Glynn has kindly agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to have a chat with us… and thanks for the tea!
JNJ: Are you from Middlesbrough originally – your name sounds very Welsh!
Oh yes, born here… My family does have Welsh origins though, although I have never visited the place yet.
JNJ: What made you start writing?
I have always been an avid reader, and when I was in my early teens had an ambition of becoming a horror writer, especially after my introduction to H.P. Lovecraft. It took some decades however, until I was in my middle thirties, before I started writing.
It all stemmed from my writing some ‘fan fiction’ tales for a Vampirella tribute site. A friend suggested I write my own fiction, and when I started there was no stopping me! I have written 163 stories to date, and numerous poetry pieces and scenarios for the Call of Cthulhu role playing game.
JNJ: Biggest influence on your writing?
Hmmm I would have to split that into a few different influences. For my horror fiction I would have to say H.P. Lovecraft and Ramsey Campbell. I also write quite a bit of Cyberpunk fiction, and the influences for that are the writer William Gibson, and the artist Christopher Shy.
JNJ: You have written a considerable number (over 160) short stories – Wow! That’s impressive. Is this where you see your future output or is there a novel in you?
There could be a novel, or at least a fairly long novella haha. I haven’t thought about a novel too much – my longest short story has been around 30,000 words. I guess if I start writing a story and I have enough to say, a novel will be born!
JNJ: You write and you edit – do you have a preference?
A difficult one… I do like to edit, as from the start it revolves around creating an idea for an anthology, then there is the pleasure of reading the ideas the contributors have created for their stories for the book, and of course seeing the whole thing in print. Writing though, is my passion, and when I’m editing a project I do miss just sitting down and working on my own fiction.
JNJ: How easy/difficult is it to edit someone else’s work?
It takes a good amount of concentration. The problem can be that you get so engrossed in a story that you forget to edit it!
JNJ: We saw an excellent review of World War Cthulhu that you edited with Brian Sammons – this isn’t the first collaboration that has seen you work together. How did this successful partnership come about?
I befriended Brian on Facebook some years ago, as I recognised his name from Call of Cthulhu books and anthologies. We got to talking, and came up with some ideas for books we would like to see. It started with Eldritch Chrome, and we are still editing books together now, many years later.
So far we have edited Eldritch Chrome, Steampunk Cthulhu, and Atomic Age Cthulhu for Chaosium Inc. World War Cthulhu and The Children of Gla’aki for Dark Regions Press, and Through A Mythos Darkly for PS Publishing.
JNJ: How easy/difficult is it to edit an anthology with another person?
In the case of Brian, it is easy and very rewarding, though I know that’s not always the case with editors. We are very much on the same wavelength with choosing the best stories for a book, and it has been a very smooth process for each and every book we’ve done.
JNJ: Are there more projects lined up for the pair of you in the future?
There are a few projects on the horizon right now. One is a sequel to World War Cthulhu: World War Cthulhu II, The Summer of Lovecraft, which is a seventies themed Cthulhu Mythos anthology. There are a few more I’m not at liberty to discuss right now, but they’re great, trust me!
JNJ: And now, in addition to writing, you have moved into publishing. How did Celaeno Press come about?
Edward Lipsett and I have long been friends and fans of weird fiction. We particularly enjoy anthologies and Edward runs a company in Japan, Kurodahan Press, which has published many weird fiction anthologies including many Cthulhu Mythos stories translated from Japanese to English.
I had long wanted to edit a King in Yellow mythos anthology, and we got together and created Celaeno to publish that (In The Court of the Yellow King) and more books of weird fiction and the Cthulhu Mythos. They include Arkham Nights (A Cthulhu Mythos collection of interconnected stories by Ron Shiflet and me), the Robert M. Price edited Beyond The Mountains of Madness (containing stories inspired by HP Lovecraft’s novella At The Mountains of Madness), and Robert M. Price’s Lin Carter’s Simrana Cycle, with collects stories by the famous fantasists Lin Carter and Lord Dunsany.
JNJ: Celaeno has produced some lovely looking books – what’s in the pipeline (if you can say of course) for Celaeno?
Thank you so much! We do our best to have the presentation as nice as possible, with eye-catching covers. Lin Carter’s Simrana Cycle is our first hardcover (with dust jacket), but hopefully not the last. We have a Halloween Cthulhu Mythos themed anthology coming out later this year, edited by Weirdbook’s Douglas Draa, with a cover by Dani Serra. It will be filled with stories by veterans in the field.
(JNJ stocks Celaeno Press books and we have copies available kindly SIGNED by Glynn. Celaeno)
JNJ: And we can’t talk to you and not mention… The Award from Chaosium
Oh yeah! That was an award that the other contributors and I received for the roleplaying game book Doors To Darkness. The book itself is for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, for which I have written numerous scenarios. The award won is the Silver Award for Best Adventure, won in the Ennies (The Oscars of the role-playing game business). My copy of the award stands proudly over my fireplace!
(We’ve seen it!!)
JNJ: So, what does the future hold for you professionally?
I am currently working on two scenarios for upcoming Call of Cthulhu role-playing game books, and stories for various anthologies I have been invited to write for. So more of the same in the future, with some edited anthologies and lots of short story appearances in books and magazines on the cards.
Thank you to Glynn for giving up his time to chat to us
Stranger Aeons: The Domain of Horror Writer Glynn Owen Barrass http://www.freewebs.com/batglynn/
Celaeno Press: Madness in Print wp/2014/02/19/about-celaeno-press/