Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Twisted Tales, Liverpool and Other Stuff

So, Friday saw me catching the train to Liverpool to meet with the ever-reigning Cate at Cafe Nero in Liverpool One. No, not to swap state secrets or foil a dastardly terrorist plot- we're doing that next weekend- but for a cup of coffee prior to the Twisted Tales event at Waterstone's. Ally Bird and Joel Lane joined us as well, and Cate (despite what she says on her blog) managed not to turn into a complete gibbering wreck. We'll get her through this year's Fantasycon yet...

No photographs of that historic meeting exist, sadly, because I still can't find a camera that can capture the awesomeness that is Cate without melting. You'll just have to buy her story collection to get an idea. It's really good- see? I'm also proud to announce that I persuaded Cate to sign her first ever autographs, as well. Yay me. I made history ;-)
Anyroad, there are some photos from Twisted Tales and its drunken aftermath, I'm pleased to state. It's sort of like Jackanory, but with horror writers. Present this evening were Joel (pictured above reading from his tale Winter Journey), the lovely Ali Littlewood (doing her first ever public reading and acquitting herself admirably) and Conrad Williams. All three read cracking little horror stories. The event was a lot of fun and also in attendance were the likes of Roy Gray of TTA Press, Dark Fiction editor and agent Sharon Ring and Ramsey and Jenny Campbell (which was particularly handy as I managed to snag a copy of Ramsey's latest novel, The Seven Days Of Cain, and so got it signed.)

Over here we have Conrad Williams, looking a little bit demonic. But Liverpool will do that to you- joking!

Afterwards, we sloped off for a drink or two and ended up in the Cavern. Beatles tribute bands a-go-go...

Over to the left, Ali Littlewood and her equally nice partner Fergus...

Over here, Roy Gray and Ally Bird...

And dear god, what the hell is this hideous apparition?! Oh- it's me. Ahem. Move along please, ladies and gentlemen. Nothing to see here.

In other news, I do have a rather ace announcement to make. Solaris Books have commissioned a new novel from yours truly, which is due to hit the bookshelves in February or March 2012. The title? Still TBC, but watch this space for an announcement. There shall be more anon.

Hope you have enjoyed all this. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Unfortunately this means it's Monday tomorrow and you have to go back to work. It's not my fault.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Guest Blogger- WAAAAAAYNE... SIMMONS!!

Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and 'give it up big-style' for horror author Wayne Simmons!

Handsome devil, isn't he? You can thank Lee 'Goatboy' Hartnup for that rather fetching shot.

Here's how he tells it:

Belfast born, Wayne Simmons, has been loitering with intent around the horror genre for some years. Having scribbled reviews and interviews for various zines, Wayne released his debut horror novel, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS in 2008. The book was received well by both fans of the genre and reviewers alike.

An extended version of DDG has just been released through Snowbooks.

Wayne released his bestselling zombie apocalyptic horror novel, FLU, through Snowbooks in April 2010. In what little spare time he has left, Wayne enjoys running, getting tattooed and listening to all manner of unseemly screeches on his BOOM-BOOM Box… Meet Wayne online at

A quick word about Flu.

As is so often the case, the real test isn't the originality of the premise, but the originality of what the author does with it, and what Wayne does with Flu is really bloody good.

In his SF novel Sacrifice Of Fools, Ian McDonald dropped the well-worn 'the aliens have landed' trope into Belfast, with its recently-troubled past and convoluted politics. In-depth characterisation and the willingness to explore the possibilities of both the premise and the setting make it a superb novel, a stand-out. Wayne, in Flu, gives the 'zombie apocalypse' trope the same kick.

It's about time the horror genre boasted a 'new wave' comparable to the one SF developed in the '60s, when authors like Moorcock, Ballard, Aldiss and M. John Harrison took the toys and tools the genre offered and allied them with a thoroughly modern sensibility and set of concerns. Of course, there've been writers doing that in the horror field for a long time now- Ramsey Campbell is the obvious one, and more recently authors like Nick Royle and Joel Lane. But Royle's fiction is more likely to be found on the general fiction shelf, and Lane's horror output- like much of the best work in the field- tends to manifest itself in shorter fiction. What's been long overdue is novel-length, cutting edge horror that can strive for commercial appeal. The emergence of writers like Conrad Williams, Gary McMahon and Joseph D'Lacey suggest that this might be upon us now. If it is, Wayne Simmons is a part of that wave. 'Scuse me while I grab my surfboard...

Anyway, enough pimping from me. I'm off to grab my copy of the new extended version of Drop Dead Gorgeous. Meanwhile: Heeeeeeeeeeeere's Wayne...

The train

A great body o
f my writing, recently, has taken place on the train. This very blogpost, I’ll have you know, was born on the train, conceived by the union of a red biro pen and spiral notebook. And it’s a great way to maximise time – I still work 9-5 (4 days per week) and try to enjoy life with my ghoulfiend and Jack Russell Terrier (aka my family), so every second is precious.

But there’s something else about the train. It’s full of people and when you write character-based fiction, as I try to do, people-watching becomes more than just a sneaky past
-time: it’s a vital part of the writing process. Not that these lovely folks beside me know any of that, of course (except, maybe, that one guy opposite with his arms folded, who seems to be getting more and more paranoid each time I rest my pen, look around the train, then start to write again).

When I write, I try to flesh out my characters until I feel like I’m creating actual people, alive in real life. This can be quite a surreal process. It’s like I’m living two lives, one where I interact with the people in my real life and then another where I enter another world, populated by another cast of characters – many of whom I begin to form an actual attachment to. I may sound insane, now, but this is when I write best; when the world I’m writing about and the characters that populate it seem as real as all of these people on the train.

My apocalyptic horror novel, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, begins on a train. Two of the main protagonists, sixteen year old dreamer, Caz Donaldson, and the boy of her dreams,Tim Adamson, clash eyes on the train, just as their fellow passengers, and everyone around them, fall dead. As the story progresses, Caz and Tim make their way towards the train station, where they meet surly tattoo artist, Star. Later, before the hit really hits the fan, our (anti)heroes wonder what it was that drew them to this place...

But it’s obvious, right?

Train stations, bus stations – these are places that attract the disenfranchised. Places where people wait and plan and anticipate, where people are en-route but not quite there yet, not quite where they want to be. It’s a place where it’s okay to feel displaced. And DROP DEAD GORGEOUS is very much a novel about feeling displaced...

So next time you see a guy with a notebook and pen on the bus or the train, maybe best to dip your head, busy yourself in that book or phone (or kindle?) of yours - lest you find yourself written into his story, perhaps one of the many, many victims of an apocalyptic horror novel...

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Coming Soon...

Had to check my spelling there. Nearly typed 'Coming Son', although that might have increased my site traffic...

Happy New Year! by the way. Two previous posts into 2011 and I completely forgot to say it. Ah well, said it now, and it's still January. The 25th! Jesus, that's nearly 1/12th of the way through the year already. Christ. Talk about yer intimations of mortality, guv.


Very soon now, some good news. Can't talk about it publicly as yet, but in the next few days all shall be revealed. I will try to restrain myself to wooting, but cannot promise, in spite of all best efforts to the contrary, not to squee. And there shall almost certainly be a happy dance.

Ahem. To resume abnormal service...

With a little less mystery, there will be a guest blogger on this site in a couple of days' time. Thursday night, to be precise, ensure you are a-watchin' of this space...

Who'll be here? Ah, that would be telling. A boy's got to have a few secrets.

Till then.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Come All Ye Kindlers...

...and users of suchlike newfangled gadgets. The decidedly ace and way-cool Jenni Hill of Abaddon Books informs me that the ebook edition of Tide of Souls is now available for US and UK readers to buy!

So now you know.


(Must stop doing that.)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Angels Of The Silences is unleashed...

...well, almost. It's now about to go to print, as a tasty little chapbook from that nice Mr Chris Teague's Pendragon Press. A mere three of your English pounds, or whatever that translates to in dollars, euros, yuan, yen, galactic groats, Martian money, Cthuloid cash or (insert currency unit of your preference here.) Fan, dabi, and not forgetting dozi.

So, what's it all about, Alfie? Well, without revealing too much (i.e. nothing you won't learn on the first page) here's the publisher's blurb:

Emily and Biff are seventeen and best friends. They have also been dead for nine months.

Compared to certain stuff I've written, such as The School House or The Narrows , Angels is almost cuddly. Almost. Or as close to it as you can get. And, as you can see, it also has a truly stonking cover by Mr Neil Williams.

Come on- what else can you get for three quid that's this much fun? (Don't answer that.)

Pendragon are also doing an offer whereby if you order a copy of the limited hardback of We Fade to Grey (which features the aforesaid The Narrows- selected by Ellen Datlow for The Best Horror Of The Year, shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award... I've probably banged on about that so much you probably know this better than me by now :D ) then you will receive a copy gratis. So there you go.