Opus Questions with Dane Cobain
Howdy, and welcome to other rendition of Opus Questions! Much like the late great H.P. Lovecraft, I believe that the most merciful thing regarding humanity is our inability to grasp the whole of anything. If we could somehow piece together the great mysteries of life, said knowledge would cause us to go scampering off, mad from whatever terrifying revelation that came our way, sending us screaming gleefully from the light and into another Dark Age. But we have to look, don’t we? WE have this innate desire to peek into the dark. And this is what horror writers do, is it not? Horror wordsmiths pen strange and unusual stories to give us a peek at the cosmos. Horror illuminates our desire to look, reckless and heedless as it is. We voyage into the unknown because at root we crave that which terrifies us, the unknown. Horror writers of the strange and unusual are the grand heretics of the macabre, derelict puzzle guardians, whisperers in darkness asking, “What is your pleasure?” But what do these writers read? What sends them running for fear into the light? What has inspired them? Opus Questions delves into this curiosity. To understand the works that stimulate the heretics. It most certainly feels like a prerogative. To write, you must first read. So, to keep things interesting and to be a bit villainess on my part, I’ve asked my guests, up and coming authors of bizarre tales, to tell us a bit about their favorite books. And they could pick only two. You heard me. Just two!!! (laughs manically) So, without further ado, here is…
Hi, folks! My name’s Dane Cobain, and I’m the author of No Rest for the Wicked, a supernatural thriller which was released by Booktrope’s Forsaken imprint. Thomas is one of my fellow writers on the imprint, which specialises in horror, and so when he asked me to take part in his Opus Questions series, I couldn’t say no! Despite the fact that we’re both horror writers, and that horror is something that brought the two of us together, my two favourite books would both be classed as fantasy. Let’s start with my second favourite, first.
J. K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
I wouldn’t say that I’m a Potterhead, but like any serious reader of my generation, I’ve read each of the Harry Potter books multiple times, including the spin-offs. Prisoner of Azkaban marked a departure for Rowling – up until this point, the Harry Potter series had been relatively childlike, and also relatively simple. Here, though, Rowling flexed her authorial muscles and delivered a masterclass on how to create a truly interconnected novel.
This, then, is the book which showed that Harry Potter wasn’t just for kids – in fact, this was the first book in which if you were a parent reading it to your kids, you’d enjoy it more than they would. It’s also the first book in the series which makes Rowling’s fictional world seem as realistic as the real world that we’re used to.
Philip Pullman – Northern Lights
Best book ever, I swear down. I first read Northern Lights, which was called ‘The Golden Compass’ in the US, when I was about thirteen, and I was instantly hooked – unfortunately, I had to wait for the next two books in the trilogy to come out.
I’m not sure what it is about Pullman’s writing that blows me away, but there’s no denying that his work is both subtle and powerful, and his alternate universe is still as engrossing now as it was way back when I first discovered it.
Unfortunately, the novel was made into a (terrible) film, and that’s what most people remember. For the love of god, do not watch the film – read the book, then read the second book, then read the third book and cry at the ending, like I did.
Azkaban V.S. Northern Lights
It’s funny, because in many ways, the two books have a lot in common – in particular, they both take a look at a reality that’s close enough to our own for it to be believable, but different enough to be interesting. That’s an important quality for a book to have – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the influential poet, claimed that if a writer could infuse “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a story, the reader would suspend their disbelief for as long as it took them to finish it.
They’re also both parts of a series, which means that there’s plenty more to come if you enjoy them. As the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy, Northern Lights makes for the better book for a first-time reader, because you’re not reading the series out of order.
And what Northern Lights has, which Azkaban doesn’t, is a message. Azkaban is just a piece of entertainment, although the time travel mechanism is exceptionally well worked-out. Northern Lights is a piece of entertainment as well, but it has a lot to say on the subjects of ethics, morality and religion.
But let’s face it – both of which are well worth reading, even more so than my book. Big thanks to Thomas for inviting me to stop by, and big thanks to you for reading! Feel free to hit me up on Facebook and Twitter, or to drop a comment on this post to let me know what you thought of my choices.
There you have it folks. Thank you Dane Cobain for stopping by and giving us a peek at the books that have inspired you and have helped you develop your own stories. As Dane has states above, he has a new book coming out, No Rest for the Wicked, being released with Booktrope Forsaken imprint, so be sure to check that out as we all know it’ll be hauntingly fantastic!!
Dane Cobain is not just a writer, but also a poet and musician from a place you’ve probably never heard of, somewhere in England. When he’s not writing books, he’s reading and reviewing them on his book blog – SocialBookshelves.com – or working at his day job in social media marketing. Find him at Facebook.com/DaneCobainMusic or follow @DaneCobain on Twitter.