Hadesgate Newsletter Xmas 2006 Interview

By Garry Charles

(Feel free to reply "F**k off, you cheeky little bastard" at any time.)

Shaun, when man eating animals were a popular form of horror fiction the market was flooded with the likes of "SLUGS" (by yourself), RATS (Herbert), CRABS (Smith) and hundreds of others. Would you consider your contribution as having been one of the novels that started the movement or was it cases of write what the readers wanted at the time?

SLUGS was written in 1982. The whole 'terror by animals' thing had been going since 1974. We'd already had dogs, frogs, rats, bats, crabs and every other f**king thing that could suck, bite or nip. I can even remember books about crocodiles, spiders, giant preying mantis (what the f**k is the plural of Mantis..?) and a caracal (I think).

I was told by my agent of the time that there was a gap in the market so I wrote it. I actually wanted to write about leeches that affected people with a disease that turned them into vampires but he was stuck on the idea of slugs, I was only 22 so I thought, why not. Seems he was right... What this actually did was to launch the entire splatter novel genre which I was labelled as for years but who cares eh? Better to be known for something.

Something you'll never be forgotten for. Man, you're immortal. However, some writers within the genre seem annoyed that you have earned the right to be classed as one of the top UK horror authors whilst they struggle within the constraints of the smaller press even though they see themselves as far worthier. Any thoughts on this?

Any thoughts on writers who are annoyed that I'm classed as one of the top UK horror authors? Yeah, bollocks.

Hear, hear *laughs*

All through my career I've been amazed at how other authors in this genre have hated my success. I think it's partly to do with the fact that I've never wanted to be a part of the literary scene they aspire to. Never wanted to mix with other authors and basically, treat the whole thing as a job. I also like to shatter the myth that writers are something special.

They're not. Writers are around to provide entertainment. Other than that we're pretty f**king useless. Drop a planeload of writers in the sea and no one will give shit. Drop a planeload of nurses in the sea and we all suffer...

I couldn't agree more.

The fact that I never read these self-important t**ts either never pleased them. I'm more interested in writing than reading what other authors have written and dissecting it.

When I used to go to conventions years ago, there'd always be the same little group of arse-lickers hanging around people like blank and blankety blank. Some of them still are.

I think blank has a new crowd of arse-lickers in tow.

People say stuff in interviews and that's it. Who gives a shit? If someone slags me off that's up to them. What makes me laugh is that they then get all defensive and indignant if I have a go back. Anyone can call me a c**t if they like but just be prepared for me to come back at you twice as venomously. Don't start something you can't finish...

A well known author found that out in Birmingham years ago at a convention. He was taking the piss out of SLUGS and I told him that if he didn't stop I'd tip him out of his chair. He didn't stop... I tipped him out of his chair. Not clever I know, but like I said, if you dish it out, expect to take it.

Now I fear a violent reaction to my next, prying question. Are you ready to reveal the pseudonym you've teased the readers about for quite a while now? If not, any clues?

F**k off you cheeky little bastard... You did say feel free to say that...

Yes I did and I meant it. Let's move along swiftly. Over your career you've written horror/thriller/war and sci-fi. Is there any other genre you'd like to dabble in? Romance novel may be?

I don't think there's any I haven't dabbled in.. I think I've worked in all the genres I wanted to, when I wanted to. Science Fiction's about the only one that holds no interest for me at all and that's because it's too technical and I'm too thick... Romance eh? Well, there is romance in my books. Alright, maybe not, it's just sex isn't it? Right, I'd better stop there...

Having read a shit load of your books over the years (and, as a teenager, I enjoyed those sex scenes *raises eyebrows*) I've noticed the move towards thriller based stories – albeit thrillers of a dark subject matter. What have been the hardest subjects to write about?

The hardest subjects to write about have been satanic child abuse (in STOLEN ANGELS), clinical depression (in HYBRID). They're the two that spring to mind first but there've been problems with a few regarding research. Trying to research the Triads for WHITE GHOST wasn't easy. Also, info about the Yardies was occasionally tricky for EXIT WOUNDS but all books give you problems in some way shape or form.

If you don't mind I'm going to move away from books for a while. What do you think about your recent sojourns into the world of movie stardom? What was it like working with Johannes Roberts on Forest Of The Damned and the newer When Evil Calls?

Films and T.V. have been great to work in. I don't think I've ever had so much fun over two days as I did on FOREST OF THE DAMNED. Jo Roberts is a great guy (don't tell him I said that) and I very much look forward to working with him again. I think that I learned a very important lesson and that was as an actor I'm a very good writer.

I'll always have Jo to thank for having to have my head encased in rubber for a head cast, and being three hours in make-up to play a zombie... And all for no f**king money... I took the job (and I use the terms loosely) on FOREST because Jo promised me I'd be decapitated by four naked women... How the hell can you say no to that?

Yeah, I dream quite often about naked women pulling my head off.

It was two days of night shoots and I loved every minute of it. He's a very talented director (no honestly... ) and I'd love to see him given a big budget and a good property to work on (i.e. one of my books... Ha ha...)

I must admit, I'd like to do more acting. The only drawback is that I'm shit at it. However, any desperate producers or director take note

Any more starring roles lined up?

No.

Maybe for the best, eh? Is there any question you'd love to be asked yet have never been asked? And what would the answer be?

Now that's a difficult one... A question I'd love to be asked... I've done so many interviews over the years I don't think there's anything I haven't been asked. It's usually the same old shit over and over again. When I went on long promotional tours in the beginning, every single local radio and TV station used to ask the same thing so, by day three, you'd get a script in your head. Why do you write horror is always the first one... How f**king original, eh?

I know that on one tour for CAPTIVES, I ended up that day at about six o'clock in somewhere like Brighton with a cub reporter who hadn't even read the f**king press handout asking me questions without even looking at me, ignorant little c**t...) I ended up telling him that CAPTIVES was about to be filmed starring Mel Gibson with Spielberg directing. He perked up then, little t**t.

What a c**t.

I've always found being interviewed far easier than interviewing someone else. I once had to interview a Swedish rock band for the MONSTERS OF ROCK show on Sky many years ago. They couldn't speak very good English, I hadn't heard their music until that morning... They were shit and I was shit

Ah, well, no one's perfect are they?

In short, I can't actually think of any question I'd like to be asked... No, just thought of one. "Well, Shaun, what's it like to be thought of as the literary equivalent of Sam Peckinpah?"

My Answer: F**KING GREAT

There you go

My favourite question now. The good old desert island with a twist question. You're stranded on an island with two other people. One is a portly chap with an amazing intellect. You have some good discussions. The other is a chubby lady, yet quite attractive with nympho tendencies, but she's thick as two short planks. Who would you kill for food and whom would you keep for company?

Jesus... A fat intellectual guy for company or a chubby nymphomaniac...

Thanks for destroying my female readership with one question, Garry...

If it was a SLIM attractive nympho then, chances are I'd eat the intellectual... I'm so incredibly shallow I'd have to say it came down to the size of the nympho/food source... Couldn't I cut the fat guy's legs off, eat those and carry on talking to him and still keep the nympho? Is that cheating? Have I just proved beyond doubt how shallow I am? Shall I quit now while I'm ahead?

That's a bloody hard question and I'm pleased no one's ever asked (or is likely to f**king ask) it on live radio of T.V. What's your answer anyway, you bastard?

I'm a greedy bastard so I'd kill them both and just keep her midsection for those lonely nights. I can always talk to myself.

*laughs* Knowing my luck, the intellectual and the nympho would kill me and he'd end up talking to himself and shagging her anyway...

Finally. If you could choose any of your novels to be made into a film which one would you choose and who would be the ideal cast?

I don't care much which novels are filmed as long as I'm paid obscene amounts of money for the rights and the script but, if forced to choose, I'd say, RENEGADES, DYING WORDS, TWISTED SOULS, SPAWN or UNMARKED GRAVES.

I'd love to work with/write for Juliette Lewis or Jodie Foster. For Ray Winstone, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Sean Penn and Bob Hoskins. If the film was then directed by David Fincher or Bryan Singer that would top it off. Hopefully one day one or all of those fine people might be working with yours truly.

My gut instinct though is, knowing my luck, that RENEGADES would be filmed with Mike Myers as Doyle, Lisa Kudrow as Georgina Willis, set in America and directed by Chris Columbus...

Ah, well, as long as they paid me enough for the rights I'm sure I'd get over it...

Thanks Shaun.

All the best, mate.