Guest Post – Horror Author G.R. Yeates

  • It is my pleasure to bring you a guest post from a very talented author. Please enjoy his thoughts and take a moment to visit him on-line.

Farewell to Horror

Writers are often asked where we get our ideas from and we don’t like to confess, I think, that underneath the surface we don’t actually have a lot of them in the first place. That might sound strange but what I mean is that part of becoming a writer usually means identifying a singular idea, concept or theme that will become the fulcrum of who you are as a creative artist. Years and years will then be spent finding different ways of expressing this One Idea. In today’s blog what I am going to be talking about is the catalyst for my One Idea in the horror genre. It is a book entitled This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski.

Tadeusz Borowski was a poet and writer of Polish literature and his most acclaimed work was inspired by his time spent in Auschwitz during the Second World War. These stories were collected together as This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen or, to give it the original Polish title, Farewell to Maria. When it was published it was condemned for portrayal of a ‘world of stone’ that lacked heroism and was accused of being amoral and nihilistic. Borowski committed suicide at the age of 28.

I read it for the first time back in 2002 when I was going through a lengthy phase of reading Holocaust literature. Something about this book resonated with me more so than anything else I had read up to that time. In his fictionalised account of his experiences, I found Tadeusz Borowski expressing a view of the world that I could identify with. Existence as a series of tedious and repetitious acts. Evil’s mundane nature revealed in its everyday familiarity rather than being a rare form of aberration. The world as a kind of concentration camp into which people are steadily indoctrinated until they become perfectly willing collaborators in their own destruction and the genocide of others. It’s a cold book that treats the reader to an unflinching glimpse of reality.

A world of stone indeed.

ThinbehindthedoorDuring the long process of writing The Thing Behind the Door, though I didn’t realise it at the time, I think I was unconsciously seeking to distil what Borowski expressed in This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen and then filter it through my own experiences of late 20th to early 21st century society. The Thing Behind the Door crystallised much that I had been trying to say through the medium of the horror genre up to that time.

It was the best expression so far of my One Idea.

For the conclusions I reached and the sentence I meted out, well, you will have to open the door and see what is waiting behind it.



  • G.R. Yeates is the critically-acclaimed author of The Vetala Cycle – a historical horror series set during WWI that combines vampire folklore with cosmicism. His work has appeared in anthologies published by Dark Continents Publishing, Cutting Block Press & Static Movement. G R Yeates

    He was born in Essex, England and was brought up in seaside towns along the South-East coast. He studied English Literature and Media at university before spending a year in China teaching English as a foreign language. He moved to London in 2002 and has lived there for the last decade working in a number of different jobs and training as a singer before self-publishing his debut novel in 2011. You can find out more about G.R. Yeates at his website here

  • You can also find his work in this anthology of Great British Horror.


1 Comment

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One response to “Guest Post – Horror Author G.R. Yeates

  1. I had never really thought about the topic of this post until I saw it here and found it fascinating. There are some writers who clearly and unabashedly have one main concern or theme or idea that they examine over and over and over again – think JG Ballard in sf. Most of the best romance writers have a deep and abiding obsession with the struggle to find love in this life and the desire to make life turn out to have a happy ending, despite all the evidence ot the contrary in reality. Some readers love to see ideas examined and reexamined, others are bored to tears and think it’s a failing on the part of limited writers. I’d tended to share some of that feeling until I saw this column. Most of my writing throughout my life, although centered on certain genres, has varied wildly in terms of plots, ideas, themes. There’s never been a central theme or overriding literary concern, a;though recently in hindsight I can see the thematic concern of many of my longer works. Now, however, I’ve discovered what might be called a variation on a previously unnoticed literary. While the short and long fiction i’ve written recently and will for the balance of my life are centered on one idea, it doesn’t seem to be a confining obsession – it opens a world of plot ideas. I’m glad I saw the post because it’s clarified my own thinking.

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