“Horror is an emotion… and writing is how I get my fears and darkness out”
We caught up with the latest addition to the incredible Resurgence team; the acclaimed film and novel horror and fantasy writer Tim Lebbon.
“Horror isn’t a genre, it’s an emotion,” Tim Lebbon quotes American writer Douglas Winter. “Powerful horror can exist in any type of story, it’s actually very broad.”
Indeed, the acclaimed award-winning writer’s impressive canon of work carries many storylines and themes, with horror and fantasy at their heart.
Tim Lebbon, the latest addition to the burgeoning Emergent Games team as lead writer on Resurgence, has published 47 horror and fantasy novels, including three movie novelizations: Kong: Skull Island, The Cabin in the Woods and Thirty Days of Night.
Ever since he could pick up a pencil, he has been writing stories, with his first novel published at 25.
Unbelievably, Tim was a quantity surveyor for local Government before becoming a full time writer, a job he describes as “the most uncreative and boring in the universe.” Amusingly, he adds “interestingly, I know quite a few horror writers who used to work for local Government, which says a lot!”
Tim would spend his days full of numbers, and his evenings writing, before jacking in the surveying career to write full-time at 35.
“Why do I write what I do? It’s simply the way my brain works. Virtually everything I write becomes supernatural or fantastical.”
In saying that, he often follows the old maxim of sticking to what you know, referencing his non-supernatural thriller The Hunt, about an endurance athlete being hunted and chased. Tim is also an endurance sports enthusiast, and has completed several Ironman events.
“I think I’m quite level headed and amenable in normal life, and that’s because I get all my fears and darkness out on the page. I find writing cathartic.”
His biggest fear is his family being in danger, and it’s quite telling that since becoming a dad 24 years ago, much of his writing has involved families in peril.
But Tim is incredibly upbeat about his journey as a writer, sharing his biggest highlights with great enthusiasm, including when The Silence was turned into a 2019 film starring Stanley Tucci, and Kiernan Shipka, and directed by John Leonetti.
“They got me on set in Toronto, where I played a corpse in the movie. I was bloodied up and made to look dead. It was such a buzz seeing my story turned into a film.”
Another was a vampire convention in Transylvania, and the time he organised a live gig with punk singer Frank Turner, as part of a book launch based on one of his songs.
Tim’s incredible passion for compelling storytelling is palpable throughout the interview.
“A writer’s job is to keep their eyes open all the time,” he says.
“I’m always taking note of strangers’ conversations. I might pick up on one line and wonder what’s going on. How did that start? How will it end?”
“Stories build from lots of different places. I rarely have one idea that turns into a novel. I’ve got files full of ideas that I’ll combine to create one story. So inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere: the news, a friend’s dream, that sort of stuff.”
He’s also hugely inspired by music, which he listens to while writing. Mogwai is a current favourite, and various movie soundtracks.
But it’s his most recent novel where we see his sympathy for a world post-climate crisis, more aligned with the world of Resurgence. The Last Storm hit shelves last month and is set in America when the climate crisis has passed the tipping point. Amidst drought and famine, the story centres around a family of rainmakers who can bring the gift of rain from strange places, which often falls with other creatures such as scorpions and spiders. Again, it deals with a family in peril.
Through talking to Tim about his work and interest in the climate crisis, it’s obvious he is such a natural fit for Resurgence. Which is his first gaming project.
“It’s very much feeding into my concerns at the moment, which is all about the climate crisis. But what I also love about Resurgence is the element of hope we are instilling. The fact that humanity isn’t completely obliterated, that it can find itself again.”
“I also love working with such a brilliant team, it’s not as solitary as writing novels. I get so inspired through concept art, which then feeds the narrative. I love the whole dynamic with such a great bunch of people. I see things and it just blows my mind. It’s going to be incredible.”
So what can players expect from Tim?
“We’re making a whole new post-apocalyptic world. It’s not building the world from the ground up, it’s what has survived, and how that has evolved. It shows nature taking control. But, the most fascinating aspect is that I am helping create this world but always with a nod to science, so it’s believable. We’re actually working with a scientist, so it’s fiction grounded in possibility.”
We can’t wait! Stay tuned for more on Resurgence.
Tim Lebbon’s latest novel The Last Storm is on sale now at all good stockists.
Find out more here