“This piece, done with ballpoint pen, colored pencils, magic markers and watercolors served as inspiration for a creature of lore called Skinny Brimm who gets discussed in a story from my collection Westermead. I completed the art on March 20, 1991.” —Scott Thomas
I’ve been lucky to publish both Thomas brothers, Jeffrey and Scott, over the years. While they differ in vision and approach to craft from their contemporaries, they are far from interchangeable; Scott and Jeffrey operate in distinctly different theaters of invention from each other. As I moved on and formed Raw Dog Screaming Press with my wife, Jennifer, part of the joy of running the company was discovering what bizarre blind-side the brothers would strike from when turning in material for our anthologies.
Clearly, the Thomas brothers have a divergent perspective of reality — not in some psychedelic manner, but one that plucks from the shadows every unmapped mutation reality can endure. The Thomas mind seems to be one that is always churning, not unlike the tides toiling eternally to rearrange a coastline. This is borne out by the visual art Scott creates on a regular basis, as illustrations to accompany poetry and fiction, or as designs for t-shirt companies, or simply for his own pleasure. There is simply too much imagination at work here to constrain it to one medium, let alone a single genre. Of course, RDSP was created for the sole purpose of publishing the genre-bending book.
Luckily for us — and for readers! — Scott had a project in development titled Westermead, and he wanted to entrust RDSP with publishing it. Jennifer and I found that in written correspondence, in conversation on the phone, and in conducting business Scott is always a gentleman, with keen intelligence and good-natured humor. He has always been a pleasure to work with, and his are some of the books I am most proud to have been involved with publishing.
Beyond the experience of dealing with the man himself, bringing Westermead to life opened my eyes to the lush worlds Scott could craft when devoting an entire book to a single place and style. The book was so beautiful, in fact, that other publishers wanted to partner with us as “presenting” the book to the public. It’s hard to blame them, given the power of Scott’s vision. Reading his work is always —for me, at least — evocative of a change in the seasons, and the potential for exhilaration or fear in its wake. In fact, this sea of metamorphose itself seems to be a fifth season in its own right, one which Scott’s protagonists permanently reside in.
I am unsure how to describe this season as it embodies the new life of Spring and Autumnal withering, tempered with dangers presented by extremities represented in both Summer and Winter. It exemplifies the magic of That Which Should Not Be Yet Is, a contradiction of physics that is exciting because the very “everyday” nature of its presentation makes it believable, lending to much of his work the feel of historical texts. Hidden histories, perhaps, or histories as we wish they were, his are imaginings that blast open the potentialities for reshaping our past–in the case of his two books with RDSP, at least, although his other works deal with the future or dwell in the present.
Regardless, he helps remind me of why I wanted to be a writer and editor to begin with, of how I fell in love with the written word through far more conventional fantasy and horror novels in my youth. Scott’s creative compass points true, and I am glad to follow, as are so many other readers and reviewers. I can only hope the journey to publication with RDSP has been as satisfying for Scott.
His newest book, Fellengrey, debuts this week. Here is a description:
As a boy, Hale Privet dreamed of sailing the grey waters of the northern Gantic Ocean aboard a mighty ship of war. But when farm life kept him from the sea, the sea came to him – in the form of Rye Blackbird, the infamous mutineer whose wondrous tales help set Hale on his own path to adventure. And such adventures they are! Villains, mysteries, sea battles and even a cursed island await.
Privet’s story is part folklore and part fantasy, set in a long-ago time where you might just as easily witness something mystical, as feel the salty spray of the sea on your face. Fellengrey is a bedtime story for grown-ups, complete with pirates, ghosts, magic spells and, of course, a beautiful maiden to capture the dashing hero’s heart. Author Scott Thomas lyrically creates a world that is visceral and treacherous, but also lovely and familiar.
More information about Scott is available below.
Cast Your Characters
Fatally Yours interview
Read Horror interview
Scott interviewed by fellow RDSP author Forrest Aguirre
“The Wreck at Wickhampton”
Cobwebs and Whispers
The Garden of Ghosts
Midnight in New England: Strange and Mysterious Tales
Nether: Improper Bedtime Stories (with Jeffrey Thomas)
Over The Darkening Fields
Punktown: Shades of Grey (with Jeffrey Thomas)
Quill and Candle
Sea of Flesh and Ash (with Jeffrey Thomas)
Shadows of Flesh
Urn and Willow
Scott Thomas on Facebook
Purchase Fellengrey at reKiosk.
What a beautifully articulated article, John! You show an insightful understanding and appreciation of Scott’s work!
Thanks, Jeff–very kind of you to say! I look forward to getting to know both Scott and his work better in the future.
John, Thank you so much for this wonderful, in depth piece!
Can’t wait to jump into FELLENGREY this year, Scott!
Thanks for such a comprehensive interview/recap, John!
What a wonderful overview of the talented Thomas’s!
Thank you Dan!