Author Interview – Dan Peacock

More From This Author

Books & Stories
"What To Do When A Protagonist Visits Your Generic Village" in F&SF
"They Came From Outer Space" in The Dread Machine
"The Tidal Lock" in Etherea
Another story, "Ellipsism", is forthcoming in Kaleidotrope next year.

Story Art Sneak Peek

Amazing Artwork By Daniela Rivera


Anthology: Uncanny & Unearthly Tales
Release Date: Oct 27th, 2023
Preorders: Coming Soon
About the Author: Dan Peacock is a science fiction and fantasy writer from the UK, with short stories forthcoming in F&SF, Kaleidotrope and Etherea. He is also a First Reader for Orion's Belt. You can find links to all his published stories at
Q & A
How does it feel to have this story published for the first time?
It never gets old! I’m really proud of this one. I’m normally a sci-fi writer, so it’s great to have something out there that’s completely different.
What inspired the idea for your story?
I had an image of someone unable to find a house to rent because they were stuck with a supernatural creature. I originally started to write it as a Douglas Adams-esque comedy - I think the working title was No Smokers, No Children, No Pets, No Demons - but when I started to pick apart why some people in this world had demons and some didn’t, and what had happened to Rebecca, the main character, to land her with one, it took on a much more serious tone. It’s quite a dark story now, with some heavy stuff.
We know that writing can be a tumultuous journey with a lot of obstacles, what is your kryptonite as a writer?
It is incredibly easy to not write.
A lot of writers say that you should write every single day, and I definitely don’t. I have periods where I don’t write at all, and I start to worry my skills are atrophying, but I just have to remind myself that some of my best stories have come out of nowhere after days or weeks of creative stagnation.

On the days where I can’t bring myself to sit down and put words on the page, though, I still try and fire a story off to a magazine or anthology. Most of the time.
Tell us about your favorite author. What about their book(s) call to you and how do they inspire your own writing?
I don’t have a single favorite author. In recent years, though, I’ve enjoyed Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life and To Paradise - her characters are so rich and layered, and her writing on a line-level is sublime. Similarly: Richard Powers’ Bewilderment and The Overstory. R. F. Kuang’s Babel was fantastic too; I admired how it used fantastical elements to further drive home some powerful messages on colonialism and oppression.
In short story terms, I have to give shoutouts to Charles Yu, Ted Chiang and Ken Liu. They have so many cool, original stories between them. Tower of Babylon by Chiang might be my favorite short story.
Clearly, you’ve succeeded at writing a captivating story for GrendelPress, but we all start somewhere. What advice would you give yourself as a young writer?
Surround yourself with other writers! I wrote a lot at university when I was doing a Creative Writing degree, but hardly wrote anything for several years after that. Since I joined some writing Discords and critique circles, though, I’m cranking out a lot more. Bouncing ideas off each other and critiquing each other’s works-in-progress is utterly invaluable.
Also: read more widely. Reading thirty Stephen King books in a row when you’re 17 is great, but I think if you read too much of the same person for too long, your writing starts to skew that way. It’s important to find your own voice.
We’d like to argue that every good story makes both the author and the readers feel something. What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with your story?
Rebecca, the main character of Bound, is one of my favorite characters that I’ve ever written. She has a complex history with her demon. It’s hard to say more without spoiling the story too much, but it deals with the legacy of a traumatic event and the long-term fallout of dysfunctional or abusive relationships.
In real life, we see some people as monsters for things that they’ve done. And in 95% of cases, that might be an accurate assumption. Sometimes, though, it’s not black and white. I truly don’t know if my main character is in the right, and I love that.
What do you love most about your story’s genre?
I enjoy the spectacle of high fantasy, but dark fantasy set in “our” world, or something close to it, has a real opportunity to shine a light on certain things about our current society and the way we treat each other.
In Bound, people with demons are shunned, feared, and ostracized, although you quickly learn there’s a reason for that.
What are some other genres you’d like to break into and why?
Sci-fi is primarily what I write, but I’d like to do more fantasy: there’s the opportunity to explore vastly different settings, conflicts and issues than in sci-fi. (A change of scenery, if you will.)
I’ve dabbled with cross-genre stuff, too, including a story with medieval knights in a cyberpunk setting, and that was fun. I’d like to do more things in that experimental sort of vein.
If you had to pick another story of yours to share with your readers, what would it be?
My short story What To Do When Your Protagonist Visits a Generic Village came out in the July/August 2023 issue of F&SF. It’s a really fun piece written in multiple-second-person-POV, looking at all the villagers in a generic fantasy setting when your standard-issue hero rolls into town. Essentially, I put all the fantasy tropes into a bag, and poke it with a big stick.
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