Kev Harrison is an author you need to read. His folk horror novella, The Balance was published by LVP Publications earlier this year and is a must read. (Those at The Infernal Clock have a soft spot for folk horror.) His contribution to Inferno, is the Fourth Circle story, ‘Elixir’.
Infernal Clock: What was the inspiration behind your story?
I actually have a friend of a friend who is involved in one of the ghastly modern pyramid schemes that the protagonist is part of. That person is less cynical than Kai, but I generally find it pretty disturbing how people can get sucked into these brands and their promises, and can even program themselves to overlook the way in which people further down the chain are being chewed up, if they can’t get enough people to pound into grist beneath their own feet. I thought an examination of sin like the Inferno was the perfect venue to explore such an idea.
Infernal Clock: What is your idea of hell on earth?
Where the Daily Mail or Fox News were the only available sources of information.
Infernal Clock: The Inferno was created on old ideas of sin. If you had to label the nine levels how, what would you call them? Would you keep it at 9? Increase or decrease?
I would have to spend a lot of time doing this properly, but sins I’d like to see punished that come straight to the top of my head would be:
Tax avoidance, bigotry, cruelty to animals & spreading deliberate misinformation
Infernal Clock: They say the Devil has all the good tunes. What song would you recommend as an accompaniment to your story?
Definitely Opal by Swedish prog-metallers, Soen
Infernal Clock: If you were able to visit the Inferno, what level would you want to go to and who would you want to see there?
I think I’d really rather stay out of hell. But of the famous people mentioned by Dante, I’d most like to go and meet the Assyrian queen Semiramis, because no-one knows which of her huge number of misdeeds are real and how many are poetic license.
Infernal Clock: What is the hottest food you’ve ever eaten. Can you share a recipe?
I love spicy food and, when I went to Sri Lanka for a month of travelling in 2015, I promised myself I would take it easy on the spice, so as not to overdo it and get sick. On my penultimate day, back in the capital, Colombo, I went to a lunch time curry and rice canteen near the railway station, famed for it’s roasting hot food. After 26 days in the country, I felt ready. I told the guy, “give me the normal spice level for locals. I’ve been here a month, I’ll be fine.” I was not fine. It was absolutely delicious, but the guy gave me a complimentary lassi, because of the sweat and tears pouring down my face.
Infernal Clock: Who is your ‘favourite’ villain in history or fiction?
The portrayal of Lucifer, in Glenn Duncan’s I, Lucifer is someone I would gladly meet up with for a beer on a weekly basis.
Infernal Clock: What is your long-term ambition for your writing?
To be able to cut down my teaching hours to part time and focus on it more completely and for my peers to appreciate my work (though that last element’s already come partly true!)
Infernal Clock: Top-tip for other writers
Persistence is key to everything in writing. From drafting, to editing, to having the resilience to weather the inevitable multitude of rejections.
Kev Harrison is a British writer of dark and strange stories living in
Lisbon, Portugal. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of
magazines and anthologies, as well as on a number of podcasts. His
debut novella, The Balance, is out now from Lycan Valley Press, while
two of his shorter works, Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could
See and Curfew are available as part of Demain Publishing’s Short Sharp
Curfew, from Demain Publishing is a short story, released as part of Demain’s Short Sharp Shocks range, depicting a romantic weekend away on the English south coast that goes utterly wrong in ways that (I hope) you will not even begin to imagine. Don’t, whatever you do, miss Curfew! https://books2read.com/curfew
Oh, my, I live your curry story, Kev! And bless the man who ran the story for feeding you lassi. And your idea of Hell – argh!
I tell you Lynn, that guy was a lifesaver! Certainly a taste bud saver 🤣