A Quickie with The Queen of Filth
Nikki Noir (NN): What’s your darkest fantasy? And why will you never act it out in real life?
Dani Brown (DB): Is this where I talk about impaling certain politicians and leaving their bodies to rot outside the Tower of London? Because that would illegal. Would be nice though.
Or is this some sort of sexual thing? My sexual fantasies involve meeting the man of my dreams and getting married, taking things very slowly and getting to know each other (obviously before the marriage part). Only staying with the one partner for my entire life. But I’m not his ego-extension or pet-project to fix or emotional punching bag, which is why, in my 30s, I find myself unmarried and defending myself against creeps and their little love-bombs in my inbox or attempts to pick me up at events/walking down the street etc. Also wouldn’t mind impaling those creeps, or sending them a sexbot that slowly dissolves their cocks. Actually, the sexbots might be better for them. They’d get off on having something shoved up their arse. If someone sends a pair of tweezers with them, they’d spend their last minutes alive jerking off.
NN: We all have a guilty pleasure. What’s the one movie, television program, or music, etc that you love that most people wouldn't know about you?
DB: I listen to Steel Panther. I don’t like that particular type of music. I strongly disagree with Steel Panther’s message. But the lyrics are hilarious. And if I’m ever short of some sort of crude sex act to put my characters through, all I need to do is put on a Steel Panther album. There have been occasions where I’ve fixed the lyrics in a song by them ("If You Really Really Love Me"). On those occasions, I was drunk because I won’t sing otherwise. And then, there’s times where the lyrics are too disgusting to mess with ("Gang Bang at the Old Folks Home"). I like to think Steel Panther has never done any of the things described in their songs.
NN: If you could collaborate with any small press author on a project, who would it be and why?
DB: I’m not sure who I would collaborate with. I guess anyone open to it now that life has finally calmed down for me. It’ll be getting hectic again soon, but this time for all the right reasons, under my control and freewill, instead of people and their drama and chaos. The chaos will only be temporary though. So open to collaborations. I’ve tried a few over the years, but people and their drama. Those people are now gone and I’m about to be very far away from them.
In 2018, I did a Dual Depravity with David Owain Hughes. It was less of a collaboration though. We both wrote two novellas (in 2017) and all four novellas were released as one book by JEA, . My first novella was The Previous Plastic Surgeon. Jerusalem likes his girlfriends to be ugly. The last one left after too much plastic surgery performed in Jerusalem’s flat. He’s on the hunt for the next and found the perfect creature. He has some serious mummy-issues too. My second novella was God’s Fleshlight. It is a world where Health and Safety regulations went a bit overboard. There’s monkeys running around and they throw things from the trees because no one is allowed to climb the trees and get the stuff out or round up the monkeys. Health and Safety overlords have all the power.
NN: Tell us about your latest project or work in progress.
DB: I’m currently working on Queen of Filth Era Two, or Tainted Love/Push the Button on social media. It started in March of 2018. But we need to rewind to January and February of 2018. I think I had hit the lowest point of my life. The rug had been ripped from underneath me in late December of 2017. I had a deadline for Crackhouse in the Desert. I’m pleased to say that feedback I’ve received about the book has been positive, but I hardly remember what it was about. My body and mind were adjusting to a big black cloud of stress being snatched away. Even with the stress gone, which is a good thing, it takes a lot to readjust when it had been as intense as it was and then suddenly, it was gone without any notice.
For New Year’s that year, I went to a party where I drank a bottle of gin and declared “The Sugababes only ever sing about masturbation”. In January and February of that year, after I had written and sent in to my publisher, I started playing around with the concept of a pop band that only ever sing songs about masturbation. With the stress and everything that comes with it leaving, my story was angry and negative. I wanted to write something funny and amusing. Kesha had been making headlines again with continuing legal problems against her producer. The music industry doesn’t seem like a fun place for young women. I had the notes for Smothered Hope , which I still haven’t written. I also had the notes for Dream Princess, a story about sexbots that can dissolve human flesh. And the idea for , the more pleasant version of a girl band that only sing songs of masturbation.
In early/mid-March an anthology invite landed in my inbox (Where there are Dragons). At this point, I was only writing notes and moving around words on the page for the first two stories. I decided to write the story for the anthology invite. I think it was what I was waiting for. I wrote the story one day, proof read it the next and sent it in. It had to have a dragon. I added in the sexbots, but they were dead and cracked, yet somehow filled with semen and crawling with flies. That story became The Last Human. Right after finishing The Last Human, I thought I would see to some of these other short stories I had to write, but include elements from that story. I did eventually get to those short stories, but that next story became 56 Seconds. I believe I sent 56 Seconds to Nihilism Revised on 1st April, 2018.
During the writing of 56 Seconds, I started notes for Marcy’s character. She is the other woman in 56 Seconds. Donnie is bound to her. I also started notes for Faded Star Faded Dreams (which is one of the novel(la)s I’m currently working on, I’ve given up trying to decide how long they should be when I think of them) while writing Marcy’s backstory (Strip/Becoming). It was at some point during 56 Seconds that I thought the writing would be clear and I could get everything across if I developed the characters through a few different stories.
I started adding in elements of real life, Aleister Crowley (still had the books saved from university), Queen of Filth, erotica and everything else I could fit in. I stopped organising my notebooks into separate stories and thoughts and let everything bleed together. This wasn’t how I would write ten years ago. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t allow anything of myself to enter the stories, even if it was something as simple as wishes creeps would have their dicks dissolved in a sexbot. It was better. I stopped worrying. The people causing my problems were gone. With them gone, I could write and deal with the fixing the problems they decided I needed and anything I left university with as and when I could (those ten year old problems more related to driving, needing a new computer, wanting to buy a house, very normal “problems” for someone in their mid-20s, no longer so normal for someone in their 30s). I was finally free.
Early on in Era Two, I started looking at tarot cards and astrology as I had intended on doing so post-graduation. So I was picking up some things where I left them all those years ago. I still haven’t found that old deck of tarot cards I had but the internet provides enough for my current writing needs. I will buy a deck for these stories. Astrology I’m finding interesting. I’m finding it about as difficult as astronomy. I probably won’t retain that past Era Two (I didn’t retain astronomy) either. I used to do a lot of experimental writing, which is why I had a tarot deck in the first place. Post Era Two, I will probably use tarot cards more in writing and creating in general.
The people causing the stress seemed pretty intent on erasing my identity and replacing it with who they wanted me to be, no matter what fight I put up (stuff still gets back to me, one year later). On top of that, it is suspected my mother may have suffered from a personality disorder. So I’ve started looking at personality disorders. I have a long, long list of triggers I look for in people when they come into my life. I started using this list in the stories.
Really combining life and fiction and remixing it. Repeating it. Adding in some erotica as that’s what my fucking degree is in. As I’m the Queen of Filth, I made descriptions very vivid in places. When I’m not writing it as erotica, I’m trying to manipulate the readers emotions and reactions in other ways, hoping to explore a full range of personality disorders, illnesses (both mental and physical – growing up, I had my heart set on a career as a doctor) and emotions. I want to produce fully-immersive texts, where when it is over the reader asks “what the fuck did I just read”. One of my favourite scenes is Donnie peeing flies in as representative of having a bladder infection. I’ve currently started mutating the plague (on paper, don’t worry, I don’t keep diseases in my fridge). So I’m playing around with that and seeing where that gets me.
I plan to continue to work on Era Two (Push the Button/Tainted Love). I will know when it is done when it is done. I want to continue to recover and develop skills that I lost to stress over the past ten or so years to make elements of it multimedia and once I get a new computer, interactive, both online and in real life. After this group of stories is done and while I’m still working on the multimedia parts, I intend to start working with fairy tales. I’ve done fairy tales a few times over the years (not sure if anything ever saw publication). Some of that might start to seep into Era Two. I’m going with it, with no overall goal except to see these stories published by a very wide range of publishers from the tiniest hardest to find underground place to one of the big five. I would also like to self-publish at least one of the longer pieces.
NN: Of all the character’s you’ve created, do you have a favorite and why?
DB: It used to be Seth. He would seep into my other stories, even appearing as the Road Demon in Stef and Tucker. Seth is the reason a lot of my stories contain high amounts of graphic sexual content. He was from my degree. A character created in my third year, but using everything I learned in my first and second years. A character the opposite of me. Writing allows people to be someone else. I always thought I was boring and I’m a pretty private person. It took me years to become comfortable with writing my own emotions and a handful of life experiences (see Sparky the Spunky Robot below) and I only did so following medical advice. Seth is the reason Broccoli exists, I needed to work on descriptions and manipulating the reader’s emotions and reactions and needed a break from the intense sexual content. He’s the reason the narrator in My Lovely Wife is so cold and marries his wife for her trachea ring.
Unfortunately, people took Seth the wrong way and had trouble comprehending I am not that character. The character is a fictional creation. He spends all of his time wrapped up in sexual fantasies within sexual fantasies. When I’d explain that Seth isn’t real, but a carefully researched character, people wouldn’t listen. Some of these people proved outright dangerous for various reasons, including one that went as far as to threaten my son (I would like to see this woman’s creative writing degree). So I stopped working on the story. I stopped talking about this character. I honestly thought upon graduating that with the degree in hand, people would listen to me when I said he was fictional.
But I never forgot him. A few years back (or was it one year? The stressful times all blur together), I became brave and put the first section of the story on my website with a lot of warnings. I’m not sure how soon after the #metoo movement occurred. In a post #metoo world with a Sparky the Spunky Robot tattoo and a huge amazon author account, I find it is only creeps and condescending fuckwits who don’t listen to me when I say something that I created is a carefully researched work of fiction and not my sexual fantasy, so I’ve been preparing the rest of what I’ve written of Seth to go onto my patreon account. I will finally, ten years after graduating, finish that story once and for all.
Then it was Sparky. I went as far as to have the robot that inspired Sparky the Spunky Robot tattooed on me. He will be joined by Sandy sometime in 2019. Although the tattoo was more to deal with lingering fuckwits telling me what to do with my life. Sparky was born of sarcasm. I wrote a story about a robot, still to be published and had a beautiful rejection for one of my Chester and Lester stories (that is a bit of an ongoing thing, the stories, with the rejection letters can be found on my website). After the rejection letter and the acceptance for the robot story, I took a picture of a robot and posted it on my facebook page with the caption “I’m going to write a story about a cum powered robot now”. Em Dehaney commented “Sparky the Spunky Robot” (the rejection letter was for Sparks). I tried a few different approaches with Sparky before settling on bizarro. End of the world/dying world type things.
It took someone who shall remain nameless droning on about the keytar he wanted but never actually bought (he bares a striking resemblance to Balthazar Bratt from those Despicable Me films) before a story I was satisfied with clicked into place. I took an old story idea I had way back in 2013 I believe. Lawn decorations from God’s Fleshlight. And being dragged not just to see Airborne (not sure of the spelling of that), but forced against the barrier.
No matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough for the people around me who felt the need to not just tell me how to live my life, but cause a ton of drama while doing it with their “helpful” suggestions. I started to wonder why anyone would do such a thing. I pointed out that people doing that was causing problems instead of allowing me the time and space needed to deal with my actual problems (like earning an income to buy a new fucking computer so I could pursue my dreams). I had no voice, hence Sparky’s lack of a voice. No one would listen and back off. I couldn’t come up with any reasonable explanation as to why people would behave in such a manner. It became so bad, there were too many times I couldn’t afford to eat because these people were actively taking work away from me (all while calling it “help” of course). They wouldn’t supply me with food or pay my bills, despite the problems their “help” and manufactured chaos was causing. I felt completely powerless. The only thing I could do was scribble some notes about what was occurring and try to plug the holes.
Competition over garden decorations seemed like a plausible explanation as any for why people would go out of their way to cause that much destruction in my life when it was none of their goddamn business about what I was doing anyways. Throw your dreams away to prove to the neighbours how well you can conform. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some people do compete with their neighbours over really petty things, this was one of my ways of writing from life. The garden decorations didn’t come until my final attempt to write Sparky.
Airborne live is an experience I don’t want to repeat, but an example of where I do write from life and now, any time there’s an audience in a story, I use the energy and violence of that crowd in the book. I take great joy in using it in a synthpop crowd. Especially if the fictional audience has hit the menopause. It always brings a smile to my face. I dress up Gary Numan’s crowd in bright clothes. Post writing Sparky, I purposely walked past the venue where Nik Kershaw was playing to get a good look. I wish I took pictures of them lined up and waiting to get in. And add in the violence and energy of Airborne’s audience.
Seth does not appear in any form in Sparky the Spunky Robot. I never did find out if cum would break a keytar. The person of the keytar who wishes to remain nameless (I can’t imagine why) still doesn’t own a keytar. He will never make wikipedia’s list of famous keytar players if he keeps spending his money on Blue-Rays (although I suppose throwing away dreams for Blue-Rays is better than lawn decorations).
But Marcy has grown on me. She started as the other woman in 56 Seconds, but as I develop her through other stories, she becomes one of the more interesting. She’s smart and wise. She’s seen a lot of life and death. She is the Angel of Death. And she can reanimate flies (she’s discovering she can reanimate a lot more) with a wave of her hand. For the most part, all the souls belong to her. Although Faded Star can claim some if he really wishes. The likes of Kord and Joyce belong to various devils. Her motorcycle jacket screeches the Song of Decay, which scares the children she claims so she digs up clothes. The Forest of the Dead slowly builds up around her. Right now, I’m trying to focus on how she climbed out of the Void waking up mass graves on her way.
Seth might appear at some point in Era Two (Push the Button/Tainted Love).
NN: What’s your favorite philosophical quote or phrase to live by?
DB: "Live and let live." Unless someone is doing something that is illegal for very good reason (I’m not talking smoking a joint) or dragging you into their chaos, leave them alone. It isn’t any of your business what people get up to. It takes all sorts of people to make the world go around. If everyone was the same with the same talents and outlooks on life, humanity wouldn’t survive. That doesn’t mean trying to make people live life the same way you do either or forcing your lifestyle down their throats. Everyone is different. Everyone has different experiences. And different outlooks.