Questions 2003

Thursday March 13th 2003


Thanks for all the questions and the responses as ever. I must just say that I'm glad people seem to be enjoying the old rants. I do get a tad worked up occasionally... Oh, just one more thing quickly...
I can't remember if I've said this before (I probably have but my mind's going...) your questions and queries and comments go to the web site first, they don't come directly to me. They are forwarded to me by the guys who run the site. I then read and reply to them and send back the stuff that has to be posted on the site, so, if there's any delay it's my fault for being shit on a computer...
Right, onto the questions.
Sorry I couldn't help Selina with her homework about THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (Good film by the way...)
Matt Kibbler was surprised to find that the Steven Seagal film EXITS WOUNDS had nothing to do with my book. Sorry Matt. It should have been a bit of a giveaway when the book didn't feature a balding, fat dickhead who thinks he's better at Kung Fu than Bruce Lee, I suppose... Someone asked me the same question the other day when I was at the football:
"Did you write the book Exits Wounds?" piped up a voice in the Bob Paisley lounge (where I have my food before Liverpool games).
"Yes, but if you're going to ask me about the film then no, I had nothing to do with it."
The same thing happened a few years back with a film called RENEGADES starring Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips then again with a British picture called CAPTIVES starring Tim Roth and Julia Ormond. Nothing to do with me I'm afraid..
Jeff Bilby kindly wrote from the States with some very kind things about my books, thanks Jeff.
As to my views on the violence going on around the world, Jeff, I don't think about it as much as I should probably. The fact that I have a seven year old daughter probably should make me more concerned about the kind of world she's growing up in but I think, like a lot of people, I tend to become insulated to it all. Unless violence touches you personally you tend to ignore it. I'm talking here on a mugging/assault level. The violence in the world (and I'm guessing here you're talking about wars etc.), to be honest I just look at it on the news and think "Oh fuck, here we go again," without being really affected. Wrong I know but fortunately there are people out there with more balls than me prepared to do something about it. However, having said that, the current situation we're in with impending war is not going to be averted by marches and protests. If a government decides to go to war, there is fuck all anyone can do about it. Half this country are opposed to war but Blair is still going ahead. Ain't democracy wonderful... If indeed, it still exists. I mean, Blair was democratically elected but the very people who elected him are now being told to fuck off effectively. After all, there is no such thing as true "free speech"... That's been lost under the eight of political correctness and media bullshit. As a very great man once said "All governments are liars and murderers." I find it hard to disagree.
Scott Rowbotham, Stockport fan... I would be proud to have a cuppa with you, my man if I'm ever in your neck of the woods... I also agree that my books aren't advertised well enough when they're released. They're not so much released as they escape...
Thanks also to Justin Robinson, despite the fact he supports Newcastle (only kidding...) Next book is out in August in answer to your question.
Thanks to Brian Callar, I'm glad you enjoyed the rants and you're probably right, Brian, politics would not be a good move for me... Especially as I don't like shagging small boys, hate lies and am straight...
Same to JLane who also like the rants... No, never thought of doing comedy. People always reckon that horror and comedy are the two hardest things to write. If you do horror wrong it becomes funny, if you do comedy wrong it becomes horrific... and if you stick your face in an electric fan you'll hurt yourself (that was just a bit of advice)...
Ivor Goligher from Belfast asked me to recommend a good agent... Try THE WRITER'S AND ARTISTS YEARBOOK, Ivor. Also have a look on the Internet at www.writersservices.com. Good agents are hard to find, believe me. I like your attitude, mate, and that goes along way in this business. My only advice is never give up and I wish you the best of luck with your writing...
Simon Beetlestone wanted to know about my short stories. Never actually published any apart from in magazines, Simon. The ones on the site are about it at the moment.
Peter Rowland wanted to know if two characters in ASSASSIN were based on real people. Well, Pete, yes they are... As you so quickly spotted, the two men who get killed quite horribly (or should I say two of the men who get killed horribly...) in ASSASSIN are Malcolm Dome, ex-editor of KERRANG and Krusher Joule, DJ, who I am unfortunate enough to number among my list of er... mates. I've known them for about fifteen years and worked with them on various radio and magazine things. Malcolm interviewed me for the intros to a couple of talking books of mine that were done (ASSASSIN and HEATHEN). Krusher has interviewed me on his various radio shows more times than I care to remember. I'm sure he won't mind me telling you this, in fact, it serves the bastard right, but leaving good old Hammersmith Odeon one night many years ago, a young lad asked Krusher for his autograph thinking he was Jimmy Page... And of course, being the fine upstanding human being(?) that he is, the hairy bastard signed it as Jimmy Page... So, yes, the two names are those two infamous metal-heads, Pete...
I've also had an e-mail from Stuart, your drummer in Slaughter of Souls so, thanks to you too, Stuart. How about writing a song based on one of my books (no charge...) I would be honoured. I will add Slaughter of Souls to the list of bands who read my books. Thanks guys. (And no, I'm not going to be a big headed bastard and list the others who read them...)
By the way, a demo tape is always appreciated... (Did I say that..?) If you're that way inclined, send one of my publishers Warner Books. You never know, I might be able to borrow some of your lyrics, if that's o.k....
COMING NEXT MONTH: ROCKS STARS I HAVE SPOKEN TO... Only kidding (Unless anyone really cares... Let me know.)
Thanks also to Gav Hynes for his kind comments.
It's nice to know that I haven't become repetitive after so many books. I try, I try...
Sarah informed me of a tragedy at a Great White gig. I hadn't heard about this Sarah and I was shocked to find out. Like you, I can only feel a terrible sense of loss at the death of 95 human beings. I saw Great White the last time they came to Britain and there weren't above 200 inside the venue. A great band who have been unfairly ignored I think. My thoughts, once more, go out to whoever was amongst those killed.
Kieron (a bluenose) wrote in for a gloat...
Glad you're enjoying HYBRID Kieron, the crack about the missus not getting a look in had me in stitches.
I'd just like to say, enjoy your season.
I'd also like to say WORTHINGTON CUP WINNERS. We may be having a crap season but you're still only three points ahead of us as I write this (March 13th)... Our worst run for over 50 years and you're only three points clear of us. Does that say more about you than us I wonder...
All the best.
Kazz reckons Coronation Street ripped me off...
You could be right, wait until the episode where Emily Bishop goes apeshit with a chainsaw and Toyah Battersby gets gang raped by a pack of decaying zombies then we'll know the truth...
Paul Begg tells me he thinks SHADOWS is my best book. Thanks Paul. When you say you read one of my books after seeing SLUGS THE MOVIE, was that to find out if the book was as bad as the fucking film... Only kidding... Well, no actually I'm not. Someone informed me that the aforementioned film (and I use the word loosely) is actually available on DVD (Dogshit versatile disc).
Finally, Sally Peters wrote to tell me she likes me better than King or Herbert.
Sally, you're a wonderful person, I love you, I want to have your babies and I can only agree.. Seriously, though, thank you very much for the compliment. As for getting a signed book in Hampshire... Well, I'm signing a load of HELL TO PAY at Warners offices when it comes out and the signed copies will be distributed accordingly but whereabouts I don't know. Any news of signing sessions will be on the site when and if there are any...
Right, that's it for another month.
Thanks to all of you once more. Keep 'em coming, no question too personal, trivial or just plain silly...

Tuesday 18th February 2003


Thanks for the questions as ever, folks and, again, as ever, someone wanted to know where I get my ideas from.
Well, reality mainly. Cuttings from newspapers etc., one central idea that's just pushed to its furthest point, that kind of thing. The 'What if' school of writing is the best way to describe it.
I'll use two more recent books as examples.
COMPULSION to start with. I reckon that anyone, if pushed far enough, will retaliate either physically or mentally and I wanted to show that extended even to supposedly 'old people' (I mean, have you ever seen them getting on a bus, it's terrifying...). I'll also admit to sneakily wanting to get the same kind of atmosphere in a book that Sam Peckinpah managed to get into the film STRAW DOGS. I hope I did it.
With HELL TO PAY I'd read about kidnappings etc. and just thought it was something I'd never touched before (except maybe in DEADHEAD) so, from the central idea, the whole book evolved On the subject of sequels, there'll be no sequels to STOLEN ANGELS but thanks to Adele H who said how much she'd enjoyed it
Dave from Australia wanted to know about the SLEDGEHAMMER novels I wrote. Well, Dave, all I can tell you is that there is a list on the site, so check those out.
Frank Hughes also e-mailed from Australia to tell me that my books were hard to get hold of down there... Thanks, Frank... Still, my greatest respect to you as a Liverpool fan who had the privilege of seeing Billy Liddle play (sorry non-footie fans...). Glad you've enjoyed the books and hope you continue to do so Ray asked about me returning to HORROR... Well, I'm getting there, mate but it takes time and many of the ideas I get these days aren't what you'd call horror. Not the RELICS, EREBUS or DEATHDAY kind maybe but the whole market has changed so much that publishers, unfortunately, aren't that interested in out-and-out horror anymore (not yet anyway...)
Craig Jex wanted to know about adapting books for TV... Well, Craig, I've had a go at it myself. It's now just a matter of hoping that someone likes the script of LUCY'S CHILD enough to turn it into a TV prog... I think with TV, it's more a case of who you kow, not what you know... A good agent can help but there's still a lot of arse-licking involved (if you know know which arse, metaphorically speaking...). Also, don't forget, you need your happy fucking endings so my stuff tends to put people off to begin with.
As for yourself, stick to original scripts, never mind about adapting some other bastards work.
Yes, I was at Iron Maiden's Earls Court gig in June 2000 by the way...
I was also interested that you thought Wes Craven's THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS is his best film. I thought it was pretty good but I reckon his best is THE HILLS HAVE EYES... We'll have to agree to differ.
Gordon Haigh asked how long it takes to write a novel and how long it should be...
It varies Gordon. One of mine usually takes between three and five months (depending on how productive I am...) and I usually turn in a manuscript of about 12,000 words (about 420 pages). Some are longer, others shorter. Gone are the days when I could write six novels in one year I'm afraid... That actually happened back in 1986 when one of my books I wrote, SABRES IN THE SNOW, was completed in 5 days... Ah, the memories...
Melanie wanted to know why Christopher Ward appears in both HEATHEN and HYBRID... Good question... Well, I was originally intending HYBRID to be a sort of prequel to HEATHEN but things got a bit muddled. I think the technical term is "I fucked it up..." Still, happy to know so many of you enjoyed HYBRID.
Thanks.
Marc Anthony asked if there are any funds or grants available to first time authors...
As far as I know, there aren't, Marc but it might be worth checking the WRITERS AND ARTISTS YEARBOOK or contacting the SOCIETY OF AUTHORS... And good luck
Right, that's that for now. Keep the questions coming and thanks again for all you who've contacted the site. It's nice to know you're out there...

Monday 27th January 2003


In answer to a query from Mark about the similarities between DEATHDAY and the new film 28 DAYS LATER... Yes, there are striking similarities. I had to laugh when I saw one of the line reviews no the poster... "A genre busting original..." Are you having a fucking laugh? I'm assuming the critic that wrote that has never seen THE OMEGA MAN or the last two pictures of George Romero's Zombie Trilogy... Christ, the only difference was that the zombies/infected people moved at high speed instead of shuffling around like sloths on valium which they usually do in this sort of film... Mind you, the review was attributed to someone at Radio 1 who, I'm guessing, is either about 15 years old or has no knowledge of films earlier than 1990 (or both knowing fucking Radio 1...). I thought the film was o.k. but nothing I hadn't seen before.
On another note, Mark, I have never been in a place in Liverpool called the Krazy House (unless it was when I was drinking heavily and just can't remember...) but thanks for mentioning it and thanks too for your kind comments about my books. Cheers, mate.
Lee asked me what advice I would give to an aspiring writer... Just a few details. You asked if it would be a good idea to do some research... Er, generally, yes. Especially if you're writing about brain surgery or splitting the atom. People tend to pick up on the mistakes... Try to get as much right as possible in the first draft. I do, because it saves me work later. Once a book's done, I hate going back to it and looking at it again (unless there's some really glaring error in it but the editors usually pick that up).
My main advice, if you want to be a writer, is to write. Pretty fucking obvious I know but you get better at anything the more you do it (so they so).
And don't worry about what kind of 'instrument' you write the book on. If it's good it won't matter whether it's been written on a computer, a W.P., a laptop or dashed off using a fucking quill... DON'T let anyone close to you read it once it's finished (friends, girlfriends, family etc.) You'll get a false reaction from them. Let an agent or publisher decide, ultimately their decisions are the only ones that count.
What I will do is wish you the very best of luck, and once again, just do it if you want to. Take care and fingers crossed.
Apparently some people have been mentioning a book I wrote called THE BUTCHER'S WINDOW... How the fuck do you lot find out about stuff like this... This was never published (it was written in the early 90's) and is so different to my usual stuff it would have to be published under a pseudonym if it ever was done. The title would also probably be changed. I don't really want to discuss too much about an unpublished book and also it has stuff in it that was very personal to me at the time, stuff that had to be cleared out of my head, blah, blah, blah... I wrote it between HEATHEN and WHITE GHOST. They were all completed inside a year and it nearly fucking killed me. I honestly thought that I was "written out" for good after those three. But, if it's ever resurrected, you'll be the first to know..
Annette McDonald wanted to know about getting stuff published. I can only give the same advice I always do... Try and get an agent and pray a lot... There are web sites dedicated to agents and a very good book called THE WRITER'S HANDBOOK that covers just about everything you might need to know on that subject.
Annette, like a lot of the rest of you, also wondered if I'm going back to writing out and out horror again. Well, I'm getting there... I always said it would take three or four books before things turned around again and if a really great idea hits me then I'll be back to it immediately.
The thing is, I have to write about a subject I feel passionate about, there has to be something in the book that I want to say (sorry about the slip into bullshit temporarily...). I must admit and I've said this many times before, I want to see if I can still do the real blood and guts, frightening the shit out of people stuff and, trust me, it will return very soon...
Fucking hell... I was just sitting here writing this when someone from my publishers publicity department rang to ask me if I'd like to go to a local prison and talk to the inmates... Nor the first time I've been asked I must admit but I've always bottled it before now. I'll have a think about it. Apparently I'm very big in prison libraries... Nice to know the professionals appreciate the realism of my violent scenes eh...
Sorry about that, back to the questions...
Will asked me about the late lamented and very wonderful Bill Hicks. Yes, Will, I was fortunate enough to see that brilliant man live about two years before he died. It was in London at a theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. I had a front row seat and he was magnificent. He came onstage to Metallica's "Enter Sandman"... What a guy. I discovered him through a channel 4 special shot at some Canadian comedy festival back in the late eighties and I was hooked immediately. I've grown to love him more as the years have gone on and I think that a true testament to his genius is that his comedy is still so relevant today (he died in 1994.) There are 4 CDs of his stuff and they still crack me up every time I hear them. He had real passion and I admire that in anyone
Pete Harris wanted to know if there'd be anymore books about Sean Doyle and the Yardies... Er... I can't really say at the moment, Pete. Doyle is still my favourite character so possibly. As for the Yardies... Well, they worked well in EXIT WOUNDS. You never know..
Lots of you have said how much you like Doyle and I appreciate that. He's got even more like me as the books have progressed (irritable, bitter, twisted and vile...) and, he does like his work. I'd be interested to know from you lot which novel featuring Doyle is your favourite. RENEGADES, WHITE GHOST or KNIFE EDGE (and I suppose, technically speaking HYBRID too)
Thanks to all of you who enjoyed HYBRID and rated it so highly. It's always worrying when a new book is unleashed on the public and, I have to admit, I mad mixed feelings about HYBRID. I wasn't sure if the idea would work. So, thank you to all those who've told me that, basically, it did... It's been well reviewed as well but, to answer Katie Coward's question, I don't think it's up there with stuff like RENEGADES, CAPTIVES, HEATHEN, WARHOL'S PROPHECY and LUCY'S CHILD
Some books, as you're writing them, you just have a gut feeling that everything's dropping into place (I had that with the one that's out next year, HELL TO PAY). I didn't have that with HYBRID but, the only ones who matter (you lot) have proved me wrong thank God, so I must have done something right... So, to Kevin Brind, Jamie Blackwood, Sarah Broadhurst and everyone else who let me know how much you liked it, a great big thanks..
Tracey Beckham said that she'd converted her 15 year old son to my stuff... Well done Tracey... Perhaps he'll convert his friends. My daughter keeps asking me when she'll be old enough to read my books (she's 7). I said maybe when she's thirteen or fourteen. Her teacher's boyfriend reads them... I just hope he hasn't read any bits out loud to her or I'll be barred from the next parents evening..
I did a TV show once and there was a headmaster in the audience having a go at me about my stuff being sick and disgusting. He nearly shit himself when he found out I occasionally talk to kids about writing... Mind you, that was scary. I've done lots of TV and radio over the years but nothing is as terrifying as facing a class of 15 year olds and trying to get them interested... Any teachers out there, you have my sympathies..
Andy Hudson... Your taste in football teams is matched only by your taste in books, mate... It's Thursday morning, 12th December and I'm off to Anfield tonight to see Liverpool hopefully demolish Vitesse Arnhem. I was unfortunately at Charlton last Saturday (the coldest I've been at a match for fucking years...) and I'll be at Sunderland this coming Sunday (no doubt even colder...). Hopefully we're through our lean spell and, considering we're only 4 points behind the leaders then everyone else must be shit too... So, fuck Sky, fuck ITV. Fuck them all... The mighty Reds will sweep all before them this season, I agree with you
Right, I'm off. Thanks again for your questions, queries and comments. Keep 'em coming...