This week I am interviewing author Cameron Trost.
Do you know where your ancestors are buried? Do you visit their graves?
I never met my paternal grandmother as she died when my father was a young boy in the early nineteen-forties. Even today, he remembers hearing the earth hit the coffin and wanting to punch the men as they buried her, even though they were just doing their job.
This is the gravesite I’ve visited the most often over the years, particularly with my father on Mother’s Day. She is buried in an unmarked and unsealed grave—because the family couldn’t afford a headstone and slab at the time—in Toowong Cemetery, which is one of Brisbane’s oldest and most picturesque cemeteries. During these visits, my father reminded me that he’d like to be buried with her when his time comes, so that in death he can be with the mother he didn’t have the chance to know in life.
I’ve also visited the graves of family members on my father’s paternal side. They are buried on the other side of the city in Balmoral Cemetery, another historic resting ground in what is otherwise a modern city. While I’ve not yet visited the graves of more distant ancestors, I have been to the towns and landscapes they inhabited, namely Tipperary, Ireland, on my father’s maternal side, Somerset and Dorset on my mother’s maternal side, and the Scottish borderlands where the Turnbull ancestors on my mother’s paternal side had a fortified tower called Fatlips from which they raided the lands of rival families. I’ve yet to visit the towns my father’s paternal ancestors came from in various parts of what is now northern and western Germany.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I remember writing when I was a child featured a stone-age warrior protecting his village from a gigantic wyrm—real Conan the Barbarian type stuff. It’s probably still in my parents’ attic.
As a reader, what kind of short stories do you enjoy most?
I enjoy reading what I enjoy writing; short stories that pull you in from the start, drag you along, and just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, give you a mighty slap in the face or send a chill up your spine at the end. I’ve yet to find anyone who does this more unfailingly than Roald Dahl or Charles Birkin.
How do you go about research for the fiction you write?
My research is a mix of online and in-the-field. Most of my stories are set in places I know and involve characters who resemble people I know. I rarely write about Wall Street stockbrokers, for example. Of course, there are specific areas where my knowledge is limited. For example, I’m currently working on the first novel featuring Oscar Tremont, Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable, and he is working on a murder case in parallel with the local gendarmerie. While the narrative doesn’t closely follow the work of the gendarmes, I have to carefully research procedures and ranks in order to make the story believable. I’m fluent in French so this can be done quite easily online.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever written?
The short stories featured in my second collection, The Animal Inside, are my best work, in my opinion. It’s a themed collection of strange tales that walk the line between humanity and the animal kingdom, and this is where my love of Roald Dahl’s adult fiction is most starkly obvious. These are highly original tales and some and very quirky and I’m proud of that, because with so many books out there, being able to call your work “highly original” is no mean feat.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, CAMERON TROST
Cameron Trost is an author of mystery and suspense fiction best known for his puzzles featuring Oscar Tremont, Investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable. He has written two novels, Letterbox and The Tunnel Runner, and two collections, Hoffman’s Creeper and Other Disturbing Tales and The Animal Inside. Originally from Brisbane, Australia, Cameron lives with his wife and two sons near Guérande in southern Brittany, between the rugged coast and treacherous marshlands. He runs the independent publishing house, Black Beacon Books, and is a member of the Australian Crime Writers Association. You can find out more about him at https://camerontrost.com and read more of his strange and creepy tales by grabbing a copy of his latest collection, The Animal Inside.
ABOUT THE BOOK
AMONG THE HEADSTONES: CREEPY TALES FROM THE GRAVEYARD
Edited by by Rayne Hall, presents twenty-seven of the finest – and creepiest – graveyard tales with stories by established writers, classic authors and fresh voices.
Here you’ll find Gothic ghost stories by Robert Ellis, Lee Murray, Greg Chapman, Morgan Pryce, Rayne Hall, Guy de Maupassant, Myk Pilgrim, Zachary Ashford, Amelia Edwards, Nina Wibowo, Krystal Garrett, Tylluan Penry, Ambrose Bierce, Cinderella Lo, Nikki Tait, Arthur Conan Doyle, Priscilla Bettis, Kyla Ward, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul D Dail, Cameron Trost, Pamela Turner, William Meikle and Lord Dunsany who thrill with their eerie, macabre and sometimes quirky visions.
You’ll visit graveyards in Britain, Indonesia, Russia, China, Italy, Bulgaria, Thailand, USA, Australia, South Africa and Japan, and you can marvel at the burial customs of other cultures.
Now let’s open the gate – can you hear it creak on its hinges? – and enter the realm of the dead. Listen to the wind rustling the yew, the grating of footsteps on gravel, the hoo-hoo-hoo of the collared dove. Run your fingers across the tombstones to feel their lichen-rough sandstone or smooth cool marble. Inhale the scents of decaying lilies and freshly dug earth.
But be careful. Someone may be watching your every movement… They may be right behind you.
Purchase Link: mybook.to/Headstones
The ebook is available for pre-order from Amazon at the special offer price of 99 cents until 31 January 2021. (After that date, the price will go up.) The paperback is already published.
Also by Cameron Trost
11 thoughts on “Interview with author Cameron Trost”
That’s so sweet and moving, that your father wants to be buried with his mother from whom he was separated at such a young age. — I wonder if this wish could be the inspiration for a story.
It just dawned on me that Oscar Tremont is an anagram of Cameron Trost…How fascinating! So, do you see yourself as an investigator of the Strange and Inexplicable?
Wow! Diana made such a great discovery.
Would also like to know if this character will embody you?
Your family story is impressive from the map of the graves alone. Most of my family are buried in two places – my mother’s hometown and my father’s – so maybe that’s why it’s so interesting to hear about different countries. Although I’ve never had a chance to see where older generations of my family used to live, so maybe I’d have to look for them somewhere else as well.
Judging by the description of your favorite type of stories, your own must be more than thrilling. ‘Highly original’ is intriguing, too, so I’m already curious to read The Animal Inside. And of course, your story in the anthology!
Just like what you said, “I enjoy reading what I enjoy writing,” it also goes the other way, “Write what you love to read.” I’m interested to know more about your research process; how do you do your in-the-field research? Was there a specific thing you conducted to get the most of the experience? I just saw from the other comment that Oscar Tremont is an anagram of Cameron Trost; that was genius! I’m intrigued to read your short story on the anthology as well as ‘The Animal Inside’!
I thought visiting my grandparents’ graves ,which are in two different cities from where i live, was hard before hearing your ancestors’ resting places. It must be nice to have a cosmopolit family.
It just hit me that getting to see a loved one being buried right in front of your eyes is such a devastating feeling–it’s the reality, and I know we’re all subject to feel that in the future; still, I don’t think I will ever be prepared for that.
Aside from the horror genre, do you also read other books? If yes, what books can you recommend outside horror?
I feel sorry for your father. It’s not fair that some people lose their parents at a young age and have to live without parental love and support.
By the way, your answer to the short story question is exactly how I would describe the Shortcut. It was thrilling!
Thank you all for your comments, and I’m glad you realised Oscar Tremont was an anagram! 😉 It’s a lot of fun exploring the strange and inexplicable with him. camerontrost.com