4 Rooms in a Semi-detached House: Author Q&A

Madeleine Swann’s 4 Rooms in a Semi-detached House is now available in both print and Kindle (free on Kindle through Kindle Unlimited). This is Madeleine’s newest title, after her short story collection, The Filing Cabinet of Doom, her novella, Rainbows Suck, which was part of the Eraserhead Press “New Bizarro Author Series,” in 2015, and her entry in the New Kink line, Taken Hard at the Magical Time Travel Sex Resort.

If I were put on the spot, I’d describe Madeleine’s work as “malicious whimsy.” Her stories are fun, and usually contain heightened fantasy, but there is always a dark streak to the events as the stories unfold. If you read Rainbows Suck, then you know what I mean.

And 4 Rooms in a Semi-detached House follows that tradition.

Strangehouse Books is thrilled to have Madeleine on our growing roster of talented authors, and we hope you enjoy the book!

As is our ritual, we shall now dive into our author Q&A, and learn a little bit about this Madeleine Swann, including her favorite kind of pizza, which Mighty Boosh character she would choose to be, and what book inspired her love of writing…

First, feel free to give a little background on yourself and your own written work.


I’m from the UK, like to be as colourful as possible with my outfits, and to explore the weird in different ways with my writing, sometimes light-heartedly and sometimes disturbing (hopefully).

I’m fascinated by everyday problems that affect ‘ordinary’ people but emphasise their issues with weird or fantastical events.

What authors, if any, do you find inspirational?

I love Dorothy Parker, Leonora Carrington, Helen Oyeyemi, listening to MR James (his stories were meant to be read aloud so if you find any audio versions give them a go), Neil Gaiman, Robert Aickman, Haruki Murakami and various Victorian ghost stories. These are just a few of my favourites but they’re probably the ones I most aspire to.

If I could be a mix of Leonora Carrington and Dorothy Parker I think I could die happy.

Or live happy, I’d prefer that.

What drew you to writing?

I’ve always written, and before I could write I drew stories using pictures. A big influence though was probably Roald Dahl’s The Witches. I remember that sense of fear as I read late at night and wanting to recreate that.

I think I also find it easier to express myself in writing; when I talk out loud it comes out all funny.

Guilty pleasure book? Film?

I love watching terrible TV, reality being a good example. It’s important to watch highbrow or unusual things but in order for me to feel well-rounded I balance it with Real Housewives, Top Model, YouTube ‘drama’ channels and anything else that would have people reeling in horror.

Are there any authors whose works you wished were more widely read?

That’s a really difficult one, because on the one hand an obscure audience is what can draw people to a particular writer, but at the same time I’m sure there are many great ones I’ve just not heard of. The bizarro authors should have a wider audience, I’ll say them.

As a reader, what turns you away from a book?

Lengthy descriptions, humour I don’t relate to or relentless gross-out stuff without something beneath it.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m finishing up a new thing which is kind of a novella/series of connected short stories. It was inspired by one small section of The Red Tower by Thomas Ligotti but the similarity ends there; it’s vastly different in tone and subject.

Also I’ve been working on short stories.

You’re planning to attend Bizarrocon this year. Will you be doing any readings?

I hadn’t planned to. To be honest I hadn’t even thought about it! I might be nervous enough just being there, but I’ll have a think…

Thin crust, pan, or deep-dish pizza?

Definitely thin crust and always margherita. It sounds really boring but pizza is such a treat for me that I like to get exactly what I know I’ll enjoy. I’ve tried other kinds but none cut it as much as plain old cheese and tomato.

If you could be a single character from The Mighty Boosh, who would you be?

Naboo! He’s wise, magical, and gets to sit around all day smoking. What’s not to like?


4 Rooms in a Semi-detached House can be purchased HERE

You can find out more about Madeleine by going to her SITE

Like the cover art? Visit artist Bill Purnell at his SITE

4Rooms COVER

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