Robert L Appleton is an author of the supernatural, the absurd, and the occult. His stories weave strange webs, drawing the reader into intricate worlds that are hard to forget. There we meet characters at living extremes, teetering on the precipices of their own stories. Cartoonish, violent, comical, mysterious and gothic, Robert describes his art in terms of ‘painting moving pictures with words’. Caught in dilemmas that threaten to break them, or pushed across thresholds into other dimensions, his heroes and villains are in perpetual motion, tumbling through scenes crammed with wild details that display Robert’s irrepressible imagination.
Robert's journey into writing was anything but traditional. After embarking on an intensive three-month screenwriting course - an experience that always provokes a wry smile - he was proudly able to declare himself a 'supreme failure'. He realized he was unwilling to cede creative control to directors and producers who would gut his vision. This spurred him to commit to writing as his true passion.
The exhilarating process of world-building, then of embedding characters in these finely drawn, vertiginous realms, was not something that could be dismantled once it had been created. With a background in art and animation, Robert’s work is vibrant and visual, rich in detail that is, by turns, cute and fey, then shadowy and horrifying.
This combined relish for the visual and the textual is the hallmark of Robert's style. Hailing from the culturally vibrant city of London, his training is as diverse as his birthplace. A BFA in fine art from Camberwell School of Art (UK) and then an MFA in animation and visual effects from the Academy of Art University (San Francisco) led to the unique blend of art and technology that continues to shape Robert's distinct storytelling style.
Each story is a fairground ride so disgustingly hilarious and ‘out there’ that you don’t want to get off. These are kinetic, imaginary moral worlds. As wild and off-the-rails as they are, there is always a journey toward the right choice, the heroic sacrifice, the defeat of evil. There is discipline amongst the chaos. But, as with many aspects of his writing, conventions are subverted; goodness doesn’t always win the day, heroes don’t always earn their reward.
Robert’s favourite authors include Carlos Castaneda, Raymond Chandler and Evelyn Waugh.