Clegg, Douglas 1958–
Clegg, Douglas 1958–
Born 1958, in VA; partner of Raul Silva. Education: Washington and Lee University, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, researching, hiking, biking, traveling, sculpting, canoeing, and playing guitar.
Writer, novelist, editor, journalist, consultant, and educator. Worked variously as a grade-school teacher, cook, lawn mower, bricklayer, babysitter, museum worker, waiter, director of marketing for a book publisher, and for a television news studio in Los Angeles, CA.
Bram Stoker Award nominations, 1989, for Goat Dance, 2002, for The Hour before Dark, 2003, for The Necromancer, and 2004, for "A Madness of Starlings"; Bram Stoker Award, 1999, for The Nightmare Chronicles; International Horror Guild Award, 2000, for The Nightmare Chronicles; Shocker Award.
Goat Dance, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1989.
Breeder, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1990.
Neverland, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Dark of the Eye, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1994.
The Children's Hour, Dell (New York, NY), 1995.
(As Andrew Harper) Bad Karma, Kensington (New York, NY), 1997.
The Halloween Man, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1998.
The Nightmare Chronicles, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1999.
You Come When I Call You, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Purity, Cemetery Dance (Forest Hill, MD), 2000.
Naomi, Dorchester Publishing Co. (New York, NY), 2001.
The Hour before Dark, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Christopher Golden, Bentley Little, and Tom Piccirilli) Four Dark Nights, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2002.
The Necromancer, Cemetery Dance Publications (New York, NY), 2002.
(As Andrew Harper) Red Angel, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2003.
(As Andrew Harper) Night Cage, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Afterlife, Onyx (New York, NY), 2004.
The Machinery of Night, Cemetery Dance Publications (New York, NY), 2005.
The Attraction, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Mordred, Bastard Son, Alyson Books (New York, NY), 2007.
"HARROW" SERIES; NOVELS
Mischief, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2000.
The Infinite, Dorchester Publishing Co. (New York, NY), 2001.
Nightmare House, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2003.
The Abandoned, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Isis (novella), Cemetery Dance (Forest Hill, MD), 2006.
"VAMPYRICON" SERIES; NOVELS
The Priest of Blood, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2005.
The Lady of Serpents, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2006.
The Queen of Wolves, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Author's works have been translated into more than ten foreign languages, including French, Croatian, Hungarian, Spanish, German, Russian, Norwegian, and Greek.
Horror writer Douglas Clegg began his career in the classic fashion: following his dream of becoming a full-time writer, he quit his full-time day job to work on his first novel, and he sold the manuscript just as he was running out of money. That novel, Goat Dance, became the first title in Clegg's growing list of published writings. Still, despite his success, the author noted on his home page: "Basically, every time I finish one novel, it's like one job ended and now I need to apply for a new one."
Goat Dance, about a girl who drowns and yet seems to live on possessed by a demon, set the tone for Clegg's subsequent horror novels. Breeder starts with a back-street abortion and then goes on to address the gruesome, haunting aftereffects. Penny Kaganoff, in Publishers Weekly, remarked that "Clegg pulls out the stops of terror" and called the book "a chilling story." The Halloween Man, another early novel, deals with the power of love when two lovers are separated by supernatural entities. Denise Dumars, reviewing the book for Library Journal, remarked that "Clegg's lyrical prose transports The Halloween Man from mere chiller tale." With You Come When I Call You Clegg recounts the story of a small town's destruction in 1980 and the events that followed two decades later. A contributor to Publishers Weekly dubbed the work "horror at its finest."
Published in 2001, Naomi is the novel credited with bumping Clegg's career to the next level. Written in installments and published via e-mail, Naomi is considered the first horror novel to be released in this manner. The press garnered by the gimmick was sufficient to promote Clegg in the eyes of the reading public and gained him even more fans.
Afterlife tells the story of Julie Hutchinson, a recent widow who learns that the man who murdered her husband is now looking for her. At the same time, a young girl is hearing voices from beyond the grave. Jackie Cassada, in a review for Library Journal, called the book "a disturbing tale of strange powers and dark visions." A contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote that "Clegg has an uncanny ability to frighten readers by chronicling everyday characters' perilous descents into their own private hells." The Machinery of Night gathers a number of Clegg's short stories together into one volume. A contributor for Publishers Weekly called the stories "eerie and provocative tales," adding that they are "more unsettling because they grow out of love, friendship, family ties, and other emotional bonds."
Clegg's chilling and well-received haunted house series is called "Harrow." The series begins with a trilogy of novels, Mischief, The Infinite, and Nightmare House. The first story commences in Harrow, an old mansion in New York's Hudson River Valley that has been turned into a prep school. Among other disturbing traits, the house has a history of suicides among the students, and an odd cult-like group meets regularly in its basement. A contributor for Publishers Weekly wrote that, "despite the tale's lack of resolution, [Clegg] … draws eerily plausible parallels between the arcane rituals of academic institutions and esoteric occultists."
The Infinite brings together a trio of psychics, talented but with their own psychological and spiritual damage, to investigate a series of strange recent deaths at the Harrow Academy. Instead of helping to settle their own internal troubles, however, their experiences at Harrow only leave them open to the ancient and evil forces that inhabit the diabolical haunted mansion. "Memorable for its evocative, disturbing imagery and haunting emotional insights, this novel adds a new chapter to horror's tradition of haunted house fiction," commented a Publishers Weekly critic.
Nightmare House, the final volume of the trilogy, is actually a prequel to the first two. Of this installment, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly stated that "Clegg's modern sensibility brings out the luster in some of the genre's well-used furniture and shows that tales in the classic horror tradition can still entertain."
Clegg continues his "Harrow" series with another novel, The Abandoned. In this installment, a new caretaker has arrived at the malignant Harrow mansion and has begun renovating the wicked place in anticipation of the arrival of visitors. As he works, the forces once trapped within the building begin to seep outward and affect people in the nearby village. A young boy hears the Harrow mansion calling to him. A teenage girl struggles against the desire for sleep, keeping her nightmares at bay. A young woman confronts a terrifying past to prevent Harrow from destroying her life today. And within the walls of Harrow itself, a terrifying child lurks, awaiting victims to savage with his terrible knife-like teeth.
The next "Harrow" installment, the novella Isis, delves into the dark history of the Harrow mansion with the story of the young Isis Catherine Villiers, who appears as an adult in earlier "Harrow" novels. A curious child, one of four growing up on her parents' estate in Cornwall, Isis discovers a vast library of occult lore that belonged to her grandfather. When her beloved brother Harvey dies saving her life, Isis is grief-stricken. In her shattered state, she turns to the forbidden rituals contained in her grandfather's library, casting a resurrection spell intended to bring back her brother. Instead, her good intentions and heartbroken desire result in the creation of dreadful horror. A Publishers Weekly critic called Isis a "stand-alone triumph and a powerful new chapter in his evolving series."
The first book in Clegg's "Vampyricon" series is The Priest of Blood, combining a medieval setting with even more ancient vampire lore. The novel's protagonist, Aleric, is a young peasant living a difficult life when he is recruited by the local baron to train and work with the noble's falcons. Possessing great skill at falconry and the ability to communicate with the fierce birds of prey, Aleric quickly rises through the ranks until his old name is forgotten and he assumes the new identity of Falconer. While navigating the difficulties of life in a medieval castle, Falconer makes the mistake of falling in love with the Baron's daughter. When his relationship is discovered, the young man is beaten and sent away as a slave in the military, enlisted in a dangerous crusade to the Holy Land. There, however, he discovers another lover, Pythia, a female prisoner. When he frees her from her bondage, her kiss transforms him in ways he could not initially suspect. Soon, Falconer finds that he considered the Priest of Blood, a messianic figure for the vampires of the medieval age. Elsewhere, Falconer's former lover has become a nun and is in allegiance with the forces the vampires have united to fight. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel "stunning" and observed that it "gives the iconic vampire a massive makeover and draws fresh possibilities from its most familiar aspects." Clegg's "evocative, vivid medieval setting is every bit as appealing as the vampire lore" in this series-inaugurating novel, commented Kristine Huntley in a Booklist review. The novel "will appeal to fans of vampires and historical fantasy," noted Library Journal reviewer Jackie Cassada. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the book "well-paced fantasy adventure, and not just for hardcore vampire fans."
In the next novel, The Lady of Serpents, Aleric Falconer finds himself returned to an unfamiliar time and place after returning from long captivity in the otherworld of the vampires. There, he and his undead companion Ewen are forced into gladiatorial combat against both humans and animals for the amusement of Enora, the ancient sorceress who captured him and many of his brethren before he could fulfill his destiny as the messiah of the vampires. As the story unfolds, Aleric and Ewen meet both old friends and enemies as they struggle against the machinations of Enora. Aleric soon realizes that their only hope might lie in releasing his ancient lover Pythia, the woman who changed him into a vampire and who became his bitter enemy, but who may hold the key to saving both vampires and humanity. Booklist reviewer Frieda Murray remarked favorably on the book's "well-drawn characters and a reasonably original alternate world." The novel displays the same type of "dazzling invention and creative mythography as its predecessor" in an "exuberantly imagined dark fantasy," remarked a Publishers Weekly contributor.
The concluding novel of the "Vampyricon" series, The Queen of Wolves, finds Aleric facing the daunting task of raising an army of the undead to fight Enora's plans to bring the Dark Madonna into the world of the living, where she will enslave vampire and human alike. Accompanied and assisted by Pythia, Aleric must find the will and ability to fulfill his messianic destiny in his struggle against Enora's mad plan. Given power by the Great Serpent Merod, the being who spawned the vampire race, Aleric works to convince the undead to join his cause while also convincing a contingent of mortals to fight alongside beings who were once their predators and terrifying enemies. Clegg "crafts a fitting finale" that "distinguishes his series as one of the more memorable modern vampire epics," commented a reviewer in Publishers Weekly.
Clegg takes a turn at Arthurian legend with Mordred, Bastard Son. Here, he "puts an inspired wrinkle" in the age-old tale of Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail by "casting Arthur's kindred enemy, Mordred, as a gay man," noted Paula Luedtke in Booklist. In the book, Mordred is still the incestuously created illegitimate son of Arthur and his half-sister Morgan Le Fey, but Clegg sees him as a royal heir who was wrongfully exiled from his father's kingdom and denied his rightful heritage. Further, Clegg's interpretation places Mordred closer to the heartbeat of Camelot as the lover not of Queen Guinevere but of the noble knight Lancelot. "Gay readers" will find an "alternate Arthurian reality" in this novel, one that "resonates on a personal as well as mythical level," commented Advocate reviewer Michael Rowe.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, and Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Advocate, March 28, 2006, Michael Rowe, "Gay Days in Camelot," review of Mordred, Bastard Son, p. 67.
Booklist, October 15, 2005, Kristine Huntley, review of The Priest of Blood, p. 36; January 1, 2006, Paula Luedtke, review of Mordred, Bastard Son, p. 74; September 1, 2006, Frieda Murray, review of The Lady of Serpents, p. 67; September 1, 2007, Frieda Murray, review of The Queen of Wolves, p. 66.
Bookseller, September 14, 2001, Danuta Kean, "Short Circuiting the Trade," p. 28.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005, review of The Priest of Blood, p. 887.
Library Journal, August, 1999, Denise Dumars, review of The Halloween Man, p. 176; May 28, 2001, review of Dark of the Eye, p. 56; September 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of The Hour before Dark, p. 96; December 1, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of Afterlife, p. 105; October 15, 2005, Jackie Cassada, review of The Priest of Blood, p. 50; December 1, 2005, Joseph Eagan, review of Mordred, Bastard Son, p. 110; September 15, 2007, Jackie Cassada, review of The Queen of Wolves, p. 52.
Publishers Weekly, June 8, 1990, Penny Kaganoff, review of Breeder, p. 49; March 8, 1991, Penny Kaganoff, review of Neverland, p. 71; August 16, 1999, review of The Nightmare Chronicles, p. 81; March 6, 2000, review of You Come When I Call You, p. 88; June 5, 2000, review of Purity, p. 77; October, 16, 2000, review of Mischief, p. 54; December 18, 2000, review of Naomi, p. 60; May 28, 2001, review of Dark of the Eye, p. 56; August 27, 2001, review of The Infinite, p. 60; September 2, 2002, review of The Hour before Dark, p. 60; September 30, 2002, review of Four Dark Nights, p. 55; October 7, 2002, review of Nightmare House, p. 57; September 22, 2003, review of Neverland, p. 90; July 26, 2004, John F. Baker, "Horror Ace Offers Vampire Trilogy," p. 10; November 22, 2004, review of Afterlife, p. 44; January 10, 2005, review of The Machinery of Night, p. 43; August 29, 2005, review of The Priest of Blood, p. 37; September 19, 2005, Michael Richards, "History Writ in Blood," interview with Douglas Clegg, p. 48; November 14, 2005, review of Mordred, Bastard Son, p. 49; August 7, 2006, review of The Lady of Serpents, p. 37; September 18, 2006, review of Isis, p. 41; September 25, 2006, "Wild Things," p. 50; July 30, 2007, review of The Queen of Wolves, p. 61.
Science Fiction Chronicle, July, 2005, Don D'Ammassa, review of The Abandoned, p. 36.
AllReaders.com,http://www.allreaders.com/ (February 12, 2008), "Douglas Clegg."
Douglas Clegg Home Page,http://www.douglasclegg.com (February 12, 2008).
Douglas Clegg MySpace Profile,http://www.myspace.com/douglasclegg (February 12, 2008).
Fantastic Fiction,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (February 12, 2008), bibliography of Douglas Clegg.
Fiction Factor,http://www.fictionfactor.com/ (February 12, 2008), Lee Masterson, interview with Douglas Clegg.
Vampyricon Web site,http://www.vampyricon.com (February 12, 2008).