Lewis L Mason writes Occult Noir, a term he coined to more accurately reflect the dark menacing quality of his stories. He also writes Cambrian Noir, supernatural horror and weird thrillers.
His life-long fascination with the occult began when as a child he got lost in a Romany funfair, and ever since that night his path has led him into dark and unseen worlds. Mason's solitary footprints can be found in the dust of Masonic halls, the damp turf of ancient graveyards and the shrouded peaks of Cambrian hills.
Occasional socialite, scholar and mystical consultant Mason is known by many names to many people. He has broken his long silence to present these tales of mystery and terror to entertain and enthral the discerning reader. But Mason's stories are more than fiction - subtle and secret truths are purposefully concealed therein.
"Was helfen Fackeln, Licht oder Briln so die leut nicht sehen woellen?"
- Heinrich Khunrath
Lewis L Mason has occassionally been seen by night in west-central Paris, the Palatine Hill in Rome, beside the Roman Wall of London, and by the sea in Sussex.
OCCULT NOIR - shaded cities with uncertain heights and concealed depths. Ancient eyes staring through the faces of the postmodern. Paths of the faithless, the broken and the lost. Darkness in the doorways. Shadowed temples and hidden Lodges. Savage secrets, from sigils in smoke. Hopes held hostage. Heart-wrenching horror.
Occult Noir is a term coined by the writer Lewis L Mason. It is inspired by the horrific lineals of Murnau and Lang, the smoky nocturnal atmospheres of Huston and Welles, and the eerie themes of Blackwood, Machen and Fortune.
Stretching beyond the tropes of the unwilling hero, the shady friend and the femme fatale, and avoiding the broad-but-shallow parody and boho-occult pastiche of soapy teen serials and dark fantasy, Occult Noir combines the tense psychological shadows of true neo-noir, dark and disturbing horror, and the eerie preternatural paradigms of occultism, with the supersaturated overkill of the postmodern world - abrading our nerve-endings, leeching out our fear and drowning everything in darkness.
Occult Noir expresses the hidden menace beyond the material, the presence of the numinous, and the subtle influence of the Unseen still at work behind the comforting distractions of the everyday, and the treacherous facade of contemporary life...
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was rather blessed to have my great-grandmother bringing me up for part of my childhood; she would tell me the myths and stories of ancient Wales in the traditional way, beside the fire or tucked up in bed on a winter's evening. There I heard about the Pwca, the Hounds of Annŵn and the Lake Maidens, and other more obscure cultural lore. Her influence was perhaps the first and greatest upon my love of stories and storytelling. From there I moved on to the works of E F Benson, H P Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood, Dennis Wheatley and Arthur Machen. I also loved the works of Susan Cooper and Alan Garner when I found them my early adolescence. I was moved permanently into that state of Enchantment - many other readers will know exactly what I mean.
What motivated you to become an author?
I only ever write about things from my experiences, whether direct or lateral. I think this is still true despite the fact that I write weird fiction. I have had rather a strange life, in many ways. I have been placed in some very strange positions, taking on some rather strange work. Such work has involved me with many different kinds of people - with celebrities and the powerful, and equally with the ordinary and the unknown. I was even asked to be the occult adviser on a certain famous British occult series in the early noughties - the producer telephoned me and asked me very nicely if I would do it, but I refused on principle. I felt myself to be surplus to requirements in such a superficial situation. However, I have gone into something of a retirement from such things now, to compose and write, and turn some of the things I've seen and known into art. This is traditional. Sufficit to say that many of the techniques, scenes and atmospheres in my writing are echoes of those genuine working experiences, albeit shadowed, and somewhat modified, as is the necessity in these things... a certain axiom from Khunrath says it far more eloquently than I.
What are you reading currently?
The Perfect Sermon, also known as The Asclepius, which is a lovely contemplative work.
What's the story behind Prima Materia?
We are living in an era where the term 'post-truth' can apparently be considered as valid. I see desperate, ranting post-modern intellectuals and alt-right reactionaries moving the moral and ethical goalposts every which way, trying to recapture a power and control they never really possessed whilst destroying the very things that ever had any lasting power in society - good-will, compassion and unity. Prima Materia is the story of one such weak-minded and self-righteous individual - a product of this era, although his character is left-wing - coming face to face with his fragility, vulnerability and transience in the face of extraordinary and disturbing events. It could be seen as an allegory, and I welcome the idea, but it is also a reminder and a warning. The Universe is full of mysteries which materialistic science, political oligarchy and media spin can neither penetrate, command, nor control. And for this reason, I am quite certain that every socio-political measure is taken to ignore, deny, refute or destroy any supporting evidence for such mysteries...
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Spirit into Matter. Force into Form. Dream becoming Thought. Anchoring the Aether.
What can new readers expect from a Lewis L Mason novel?
Shameless realism. Characters that ring true emotionally. Intense and subtle dialogue with plenty of allusive humour, cross-references, thematic reflection and wordplay. Flawed and vulnerable protagonists. Vile but relatable antagonists. Neo-noir locations and scenes. Contemporary and near-contemporary references. Wry wit. Strong prose with melancholic poetry. Lingering atmospheres. Psychological twists and thrills. Emotional contouring. Skin-crawling horror. Shocks and scares. The eerie, the weird and the haunting. The occult and the arcane.