It was a rollicking roller-coaster ride complete with twists, turns, double agents and hot dames with gams that wouldn’t quit. Not to mention the car chases, explosions, global conspiracies, black helicopters, alien invasions and a sceptical FBI agent sent to spy on me who became my closest friend and confidante. Oh, wait. That was something else.
Like most writers, it was a long, slow process involving writing story after story, book after book until they began to find homes. I’m 36 now and started writing seriously (as in with an eye on one day being published) when I was about 19 or 20. Not as long as some people but plenty long enough when my inbox was nothing but rejections. Sadly, that’s still the case occasionally now, but that’s part of being a writer. I had my first short story accepted about five years ago; my first novel published in early 2012 with a second a year later, and a novella with DarkFuse last September. Given that I probably average twenty hours a week of writing, I could work out how many hours of work went into it before I had a book published, but it doesn’t really matter. If a writer wants to be published, they’re going to need to put the time and effort into it.
What do you love about being an author?
Simply put, I love telling stories. I love meeting new characters and sticking with them on their journey (which in the case of my stories is usually an unpleasant journey). I’ve never wanted to do anything else so I do it.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Hannibal Lector? Actually, no. Probably not a good idea. Can I go for a drink with Richie from Stephen King’s IT, have a night on the town with the Marquis from Neverwhere and have dinner with the animals from Penelope Lively’s The Voyage of QV66? Given that the England of the story is mostly underwater, dinner would probably be fish.
If we’re talking my novella, Mirror of the Nameless, then I see David Schofield (probably best known as Mercer in the Pirates of the Caribbean films) as Dave, and Rupert Grint as Tom. For my second book, ‘Set, I always pictured Emma Cleasby who played Megan in Dog Soldiers. Probably why I named the character after her. I can Martin Freeman playing the angel Afriel and Craig Charles as the demon Xaphan. And for my first book, The Red Girl, it’s an ensemble cast. I’ve always thought on the million to one chance it became a film, I’d like see a cast of unknowns.
As a horror writer you are looking to scare readers – what scares you?
Going to the dentist. And the usual ones of stuff happening to loved ones. Being a horror writer, my imagination is great for coming up with horrible stuff even though I know it’s not true. But mostly the dentist.
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
First stop would be the mid-nineties to tell myself to get a haircut. Then back to prehistoric Britain. Just to get some peace and quiet.
As a few great men once said, always look on the bright side of life. And as another great man said, tell her about it.
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
I always liked werewolves as a kid. These days, being one is about the only way I’d get to have any hair. If not a werewolf, then a zombie. I’ve said for years that Night of the Living Dead is the greatest film ever made so I’d have to be one of the walking dead, shuffling around in the hunt for sweet, juicy brains.
Where do you write best?
We have a spare bedroom so I write in there. Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve needed a room or an area to sit down and write in. I know some writers can do it wherever they feel like, but that’s not for me. I need a dedicated space for it. Give me that space, some music and a cup of coffee and I’m good to go.
Sarah Pinborough’s The Language of Dying. Absolutely superb. I’ve been a fan for a couple of years; this one is easily her best work to date.
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
Tough one. Horror really is my thing. Doing anything else would feel like a fake. If I had to, I’d probably go for out and out fantasy without any horror elements. Or maybe a really nasty crime story. Overall, horror is what I’m good at so I best stick with it.
Where can fans find you online?