How has David Moody influenced you as an author?
Very much. If it wasn't for David Moody, I probably wouldn't be writing today. Dave has given me endless support and encouragement since I first talked with him back in 2005. I'm delighted to call Dave a friend today and continue to both enjoy and be inspired by his writing.
Are the tattoos you have based on any stories you have written or vice versa?
Not really, although I have a couple of scary ladies that I would see as a nod to my debut novel, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (on re-release now through Snowbooks). Most of my tattoos are inspired by my lifelong love of the horror genre so you'll find skulls, medusas, cobwebs and a hell of a lot of flames. I like bold, colourful work - tattoos you can see from across the street. A lot of my tattoos are inspired by graffiti.
When writing a story, do you ever allow your emotions to play a part or just go from a straight forward outline?
I write emotionally-charged stories that are largely driven by the characters. I would sometimes work from an outline, but often allow myself to free-write. I do a lot of rewriting as I go along, constantly working and reworking scenes and dialogue, refining the characters until I feel like I know them as real people.
How has working as a contributor to Revenant: The Premier Zombie Magazine helped you as an author?
I really enjoyed my time with Geoff at Revenant - it enabled me to read widely within the zombie horror genre before having a go at writing something myself. I was able to read a lot of good material for Revenant, from folks such as David Moody (of course), Bowie Ibarra, Scott Johnston etc. I gave up reviewing once I became published as I thought it might seem a little arrogant to deconstruct other folks' writing while putting my own stuff out. But I often drop by Revenant to see what's new.
Where can we find Revenant: The Premier Zombie Magazine?
Right here: http://www.revenantmagazine.com/
What do you find most interesting to write when it comes to the 'end of the world' type scenarios?
I think playing with how ordinary people react in extraordinary situations is what I find most interesting. Often the threat in a zombie apocalypse/ end-of-the-world scenario can come from the people around you, as opposed to any supernatural entity. Fear and desperation can make people do the most heinous of things to each other, and that - for me - can offer the most vibrant of horror to write.
Do you feel zombies have become more popular than any other creature in Horror stories today?
I think they've become elevated to the same status of other staples within horror, such as the vampire, werewolf and mummy. All of these creatures enjoy constant waves of popularity and I feel the zombie is enjoying a particular high at the moment - they've gone mainstream.
Can you tell us a bit about Drop Dead Gorgeous?
Ultimately, DDG's a story about damaged people in a damaged world. It's a character-driven story set in Belfast, but unlike FLU, the focus is less on the zombie hordes and more on the people who are dealing with the loss and grief and fear that any apocalpyse would present. I was watching (and reading) a lot of Asian horror while writing DDG and I feel such has lent the book a feeling of suspense and mystery that isn't always associated with this sub-genre. I'm very proud of DDG and am very glad it's being received so well.
How has book signings helped you as an author and what would you suggest to an author doing a book signing for the first time?
Book signings are great for engaging with readers and getting your book into the hands of folks who may not have heard about it otherwise. It's one of the many ways for writers to self-promote and in today's climate, writers need to be doing more to get the word out. My advice? Don't expect there to be a queue at the door when you rock up to a signing and be prepared to sell yourself - most of the business from a signing will be picked up from customers traveling through.
Any upcoming projects you wish to share with us?
I'm working on several projects at the moment: FLU 2, DDG 2 and a brand new dark fantasy series. Meanwhile, my agent is selling my latest complete manuscript, a sci-fi book.
Where can people find out more about you?