Have you been writing for a long time? Can you tell me a little bit about your career?
Darkview: Psychosis is our debut novel, but we’ve both been writing short stories and screenplays, both together and individually, for years.
What inspired you to start a writing career?
R.J. Bathgate: I grew up reading books by Stephen King and Clive Barker. I found them more enjoyable than movies because with words, you can create your own visual reality, as if you were in the story. As I got older, through experiences I’d gained from films, books, video-games, and life in general, I felt I had a few stories to tell. I would definitely say Stephen King was the biggest influence, and inspiration, for me to write.
M.J. Hall: From a young age, I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. I remember in school, aged about eleven, we had to write a short story. I wrote this piece called ‘Dark Woods’, which was about ghosts haunting a village, or something like that. It was a bit cheesy, but I really enjoyed writing it, and I’ve loved writing since. Darkview is my first attempt at a novel, and the first time I’ve seriously considered writing as a career.
Is this book a stand alone or part of a series?
It’s the first book in a series. We’re working on the second book right now, and we’ve got at least another one in the pipeline to follow.
Why did you choose this genre?
R.J. Bathgate: When I lived in Canada twelve years ago, I hitchhiked from Vancouver to a little town in British Columbia, called Hope (where Rambo First Blood was filmed). I sat on an old wooden bench and noticed one side of the street was immaculate, but the other side was decrepit and hanging off a cliff due to a landslide. It was night and there was a Hunter’s Moon shining through the mist, and it was really eerie. I saw the street as a visual representation of a split mind, because you had clean, immaculate houses on one side, and decrepit, ruined ones on the other. The contrast couldn’t have been more different. It was like looking at a dark, mirror image. Soon afterwards, I found myself researching mental health issues, and writing a psychological horror story called Darkview: Psychosis.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
R.J. Bathgate: Drink lots of Mountain Dew – it’s great for writing! Seriously, follow your heart, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Harness that negative energy, utilise it, and turn it into a work of art.
M.J. Hall: Follow your heart, always keep going no matter what, and never give up!
About the Book
Author: R.J. Bathgate & M.J. Hall
Genre: Psychological Thriller / Horror
Take a journey into the disturbed, delusional mind of Jack Cyrus … take a journey into Darkview … a small, remote coastal town, deep within the Scottish Highlands. The sleepy, isolated spot bears a sinister, horrific history, shrouded by a chilling secret. A secret one man must unveil, which will ravage his soul … and sanity!
Jack Cyrus is in damnation! After witnessing the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, he has become plagued by dark memories and devilish visions, the result of post traumatic stress. Compounding his trauma, he is faced with the sudden death of his wife, from cancer, after returning home to Scotland. Lost and alone, and struggling to forget the horrific circumstances surrounding her passing, Jack has developed schizophrenia, experiencing chaotic, disturbed thoughts and demonic hallucinations.
On the sixth anniversary of his wife’s death, Jack receives a cryptic, hand written letter from her, telling him she is still alive. Suffering and held captive, she pleads with him to return to Darkview, the place she spent her last days, and rescue her from purgatory. Upon arrival in Darkview, strange things start happening, and what appears to be a centuries old mystery, starts unravelling itself. Jack must piece together the clues and lost fragments of his sanity to solve the unravelling mystery. Is any of it real, or is it just a manifestation of Jack’s mind, or another facet of his schizophrenia?
R.J. Bathgate, born and bred in Scotland, is the creator and co-author of Darkview: Psychosis. A father of two, and enormously proud of his heritage, he has studied psychology, social sciences, and is currently working towards an advanced diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling and hypnotherapy. His heart lies with new experiences and an interest into the unknown, particularly with writing. He has travelled the world from the dusty, wildlife-filled plains of Zambia, to the glaciers of Alaska, and the soaring peaks of the Canadian Rockies. He is extremely fond of NHL ice hockey, video games, good films, fine wine, and Jack Daniels. He originally wrote Darkview as a screenplay when living in Canada, but upon returning to Scotland, researched mental health issues, namely psychosis and schizophrenia. Inspired by this research, he brought in his lifelong friend, M.J. Hall, to help create a more realistic take on Darkview. The result is a story that combines traditional Scottish history with real life, catastrophic world events, told through the eyes of the protagonist, Jack Cyrus.
M.J. Hall was born in Stockport, Greater Manchester, at the turn of the eighties. Despite being born in England, he identifies more with his ‘adopted’ country, Scotland – he’s lived there since he was four, and his late maternal grandfather was Scottish, too. He presently lives in Edinburgh and is currently studying Environmental Science at the Open University, but has always dreamed of a career in music or writing, or both. He is vegetarian, loves animals (especially cats) and is devoted to his black and white moggy, Tahlula. He humbly admits being just a small voice in a big chorus, and his life changed for the better, or at least would never be the same, when his lifelong and best friend – R.J. Bathgate – invited him to collaborate on Darkview.