Interview with John Moralee

author picture for facebook biggerTell us about your publishing journey...

I started off writing horror stories mostly for my own amusement aged
about twelve, when I discovered the Stephen King books in my local
library. A few years later I wrote a short story for a school
assignment that my teacher sent off to a competition without telling
me. It won the first prize – which was a nice surprise. I won some
money and a gold fountain pen that I once used once – spilling black
ink all over my desk.

After that, I started sending stories to other competitions and UK
magazines. My stories were accepted in a number of small-press
magazines. Eventually I had a story published in a magazine also
featuring one by Ian Rankin, so I was pleased with that.

Since then, I’ve been published in several anthologies and magazines
in the US and UK.

More recently, I compiled over seventy of my stories into some e-books
that I self-published on Amazon. They include two horror collections
called The Bone Yard and Other Stories and Bloodways.

I wrote several novels as practice before writing Acting Dead – a
crime drama set in Rhode Island.

What do you love about being an author?

Everything! (Well – almost.) Writing is something that doesn’t
require a lot of equipment – just a pen and paper – so I can do it
wherever I am. That is one thing I love about it. I like starting
with a basic idea and developing it into something that surprises me.
I love the “eureka moment” when an ending pops into my head better
than the one I intended. Then I feel like I have done something

I also enjoy imagining scenes like in a movie and writing them down as
if I’m directing a Hollywood film without needing a $100 million
budget. I can have anything happen in a story – unleashing my

Once a story’s completed, I love the feeling of doing something
productive, even if it not accepted by a publisher because it is
always more experience. The only thing that beats completing a story
is when I have a story published in an anthology alongside the work of
my favourite authors. That first happened when my story Uncertainty
Principle appeared in The Mammoth Book of Future Cops with stories by
John Shirley and Philip K Dick – two of my favourite writers.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be
and what would you eat?

It certainly wouldn’t be Hannibal Lecter. He’d have me for dinner.

It would have to be a good cook because I can’t even microwave
properly – so I’d choose Inspector Salvo Montalbano from Andrea
Camilleri’s brilliant novels. Inspector Montalbano’s humour and
fascinating stories of life in Sicily would make him excellent
company. I have heartburn if I eat strong spicy foods – which means
I’d have an incredibly mild pasta.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

For Acting Dead I’d cast Robert Downey Junior as Michael Quinn, the
main character. He would be great as the famous actor returning home.
His dad could be Tom Selleck or James Cromwell. I don’t have a clue
about the rest of the cast!

As a horror writer you are looking to scare readers - what scares you?

Being trapped in a lift. I’ll go up some stairs if I can because I
always imagine the lift breaking down between floors, the lights going
off and then the twang of the cables snapping, followed by a
gut-wrenching fall.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I’d go back to Victorian England and find out the real identity of
Jack the Ripper. They say his DNA might have been found recently,
revealing his identity – but I’d like to know for sure by stopping him
murdering anyone. Unfortunately, when I returned to now, none of the
great novels written about serial killers would be popular because
Jack the Ripper influenced so many modern-day writers.

What life advice do you wish you'd been given sooner?

Don’t be afraid of the internet. It’s a valuable resource – not
something you have to be scared of using.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

A vampire. I’d sacrifice going out in daylight for eternal life with
no problems because I’m a night-owl anyway. I’d love a good sleep in
the morning. The extra speed and coordination would be a bonus, too,
because I’m always banging into things.

Where do you write best?

Sitting at my laptop with the TV on playing background music. I’d get
distracted by the view if I tried writing somewhere more interesting,
like at a beach or up a mountain. I don’t like writing in public
places like JK Rowling used to do when she was writing Harry Potter.
I’d feel weird doing that. I could not write with an audience.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

It was a book of short stories by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the author of
the vampire horror novel Let the Right One In. It was called Let the
Old Dreams Die. It was an unusual collection of horror with a
distinct Nordic Noir flavour. Very interesting. The first story was
superb reworking of ancient myths.

If you didn't write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I mostly write crime and horror, but I also write in many other
genres. I honestly don’t have a favourite genre. I just write what
I’m interested in at that moment, which means I’ve also done some
science fiction, dark fantasy and general fiction.

Mixing genres is fun. I’m currently working on a hard-boiled
dieselpunk story, an action-and-adventure steampunk novella, some
horror, some crime, humour cartoons for my blog, and a dystopian
science fiction story. I switch between the stories when I’m tired of
writing one. I’d hate to be only working in one genre at a time,
though it does become problematic switching from one genre to another.
There are about 800 incomplete short stories and thirty novels on my
computer needing to be finished. I should invest in the software to
organise my writing better!

Where can fans find you online?

Acting Dead and my other books are on Amazon at:

US Amazon page:

UK Amazon page:

My author Facebook page is here:

My author website is at

I’m also on Goodreads at

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