JAMES HERBERT OBE (1943 – 2013)

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that horror legend James Herbert passed away yesterday. There are countless tributes all over the web, and you can read a few words I put together for This is Horror here.

Meeting James last year was an amazing experience, and it was only when I found out I was going to be interviewing him and I started my preparation that it became obvious just how much of an inspiration he’d been to me as a writer. I don’t profess to have read all of his books, it was more what he did and how he did it that had a real impact on my career.

domainThere was a period in the early 1980’s when it seemed every home in the UK had been issued a regulation set of James Herbert novels. Everybody had them, even those who reckoned they didn’t read horror. I’d been working my way through them when I got hold of a copy of DOMAIN and, as I’ve said previously, that was the book which redefined what a horror novel could be for me. It made me want to write horror. I’ve taken my yellowed with age paperback (signed by James last year) down off the shelf to read again this morning, and I’ll write more about it in the near future.

But I just want to go back to some statistics for a moment. James Herbert sold more than fifty six million books (I know everyone quotes the figure fifty four million, but he told me otherwise…) which were translated into more than thirty languages. Despite his international success, though, the bulk of those sales were here in the UK. I think that’s the most astonishing thing… to have generated such spectacular sales in a relatively small market, writing for what’s often thought of as a niche audience. Amazing.

He sent me a letter earlier this year, thanking me for interviewing him last September. In the letter he said he hoped we’d get to catch up again soon on the horror circuit. I’m devastated that’s not going to happen now, because I learned a huge amount in the few hours I spent in his company and I would have loved the opportunity to talk with him some more.

DM and JH

Goodbye, James, and thanks for the cracking advice and the wonderful stories. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife and family.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7URSmC-UCmM

New issue of SCREAM Magazine

scream-horror-magazine-16Here’s my regular plug… a new issue of SCREAM Magazine came through the door this week, and as usual it’s full of good stuff. Click here or on the cover to learn more.

And on the subject of SCREAM, the folks behind it have asked me to give their new ‘Haunted Library‘ a mention. Click this link or the banner in the sidebar to visit. If you’re an independent horror author, this looks like it could become a great way of increasing your exposure.

Who wants a HATER T-shirt?

I did say it would be quiet around here… I’ll have more for you later this week (some interesting stuff too, I hope). In the meantime, because I really don’t like not updating the site, here’s a gratuitous post designed to make you part with some of your hard-earned cash!

The next five people who place an order for signed books through www.infectedbooks.co.uk will receive a free HATER T-shirt  along with their order.

Hater phone coverAnd that leads me onto a slightly more serious question. I’ve been giving these T-shirts away for years – would you buy one if they were available? My phone has a snazzy HATER cover – would you want one of those? (Apologies for the photo, by the way – I was scared any other pose with a phone would make it look like I was taking a flirtatious picture of myself in the mirror). If there’s any interest (in the phone cover, not flirtatious pictures of me) I’ll get something put together. T-shirts, phone covers, mousemats, mugs… everything looks better with a little bloody scrawl added.

Let me know in the comments if there’s any HATER/AUTUMN merchandise you’ve always wanted and I’ll see if I can make it happen. Until then I’ll just keep giving this stuff away!

Some proper news to follow soon. Have a good week.

Update: Four hours later…

Wow, what a response. I thought this was just a throwaway post, but you’ve really gone for it! Thanks! As of now there’s one free T-shirt left to claim – the next order gets it!

You’ve sent me some great ideas for merchandise. HATER bags, beanie hats etc. etc. I’ll go away and see what I can do now. If you have any other ideas, just let me know. Either email or use Facebook or Twitter.

One thing – several folks have requested AUTUMN merchandise. That might be a little more problematic, as I don’t own the artwork (I designed the original HATER logo shown on the phone case above). But leave it with me. More news soon.

Happy New Year – want a free book?

A belated Happy New Year all! I hope you had a great time over the holiday period. Back to work now…

Things are likely to be quiet around here for a while as I’m focusing on several new books and other projects I can’t/don’t want to talk about just yet, but I’ll make sure I post as often as I can with updates along with book and film recommendations, details of upcoming appearances, and the like.

Trust hardcoverIn case you missed it, TRUST wrapped up at the end of last month, and the book is now available to read in its entirety at www.trustdavidmoody.com. I’d like as many people as possible to get to read the book while it’s free (it’ll be up for another month at least, maybe longer), so I thought I’d start 2013 with a giveaway. Help spread the word about TRUST and your name will go into a draw to win a copy of the limited edition of the book along with limited editions of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH and AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION when they’re released later this year.

All you need to do is tweet about the book (use hashtag #trustdavidmoody) or post on Facebook (tag me so I catch your entry) before 31st January. Simple. Enter as many times as you like but, as always, no spamming or flaming etc., and my decision is final.

And to celebrate the completion of the serialisation of TRUST, for a limited time you can pick up a copy of the hardcover at a reduced price. Click here for details.

New issue of SCREAM magazine now available

scream-horror-magazine-15Here’s my regular plug for SCREAM, which I continue to enjoy very much.

Issue 15 is out now (click here for details). As well as a nice write-up of the always excellent Grimm Up North festival and the usual reviews and interviews, there are a number of great features for horror fans of a certain age – not least a retrospective of Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm movies and an interview with Ian McCulloch, star of Zombie Flesh Eaters.

The Next Big Thing

If you visit many other authors’ blogs, chances are you’ll have come across The Next Big Thing blog chain. Here’s how it works – an author answers ten questions about their next piece of work, then they tag five other authors to answer the same questions one week later. Adam Nevill tagged me last week (here’s Adam’s post), and here are my answers.

What is the working title of your next book?
17 DAYS

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s a concept I’ve been toying with on and off since the mid-nineties. It occurred to me that if we knew the precise date of our own death, it would affect absolutely everything we do in the time which remains. But would that necessarily be a bad thing?

What genre does your book fall under?
It’s probably a little more mainstream than anything I’ve written before, but there are definite dystopian overtones.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Complete unknowns. That’s essential.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Mark Thane is going to die in seventeen days time. Probably. (Sorry, that’s two sentences).

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Represented (by Scott Miller at Trident Media, New York).

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Excluding the fifteen years I’d been messing with the idea on and off, about six weeks.

What other books/films would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are very definite shades of NETWORK, the 1976 Sidney Lumet movie. I guess there’s also a V FOR VENDETTA influence in there too.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The initial inspiration came so long ago now it’s hard to remember. I’m fascinated by our attitudes to death. I’ve always thought it fantastically liberating how animals live without fear because they don’t know they’re going to die. They assume they’ll just keep on going. We, on the other hand, seem to have either an unhealthy preoccupation with (or an equally unhealthy ignorance of) our own mortality. What happens if the rules change? How would you react if you knew exactly how long you had left?

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think it’s a really original book which takes the story in very unexpected directions. In seventeen days the main character goes on a remarkable journey. Oh, and there’s loads of sex. Move over ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, Moody’s gone all soft-porn.

More news about 17 DAYS coming soon. Here are the chaps I’ve tagged for next week:

ADAM BAKER
CRAIG DILOUIE
IAIN MCKINNON
ADAM MILLARD
SEAN T PAGE

Fragility

Strange day today. It’s always a struggle to concentrate on work when the kids are on holiday from school as they are this week, but today’s been particularly difficult.

First things first, this week’s first TRUST update is now available to read at www.trustdavidmoody.com. Still waiting for a couple of giveaway winners to get back to me. Check your Facebook messages please, folks. Wow – it comes to something when you can’t give books away!

Back to today: If you’ve been following me for a while, chances are you’ll have read some of the interviews I’ve done over the years. I often get asked variations on the same questions, and they usually include one or more of the following:

  • Why do I write about the end of the world?
  • How do I come up with my ideas?
  • When do I write?
  • What do I do in my spare time?

Obviously I try not to give the same answers all the time, but one of the reasons I usually give for my fascination with the post-apocalyptic is that, in my opinion, we’re constantly treading a fine line between normality and everything going to absolute hell. Earthquakes are perfect examples of this. One minute, everything is normal; the next, without any warning, everything’s literally falling apart. Your entire world can change beyond all recognition in an instant. Our unwillingness to accept or dwell upon the fragility of our own lives is understandable but it’s there and I don’t think it should be ignored.

The answer to the other questions I just mentioned frequently include references to running. Anyone who knows me will know that I run regularly. I’ll tell people it’s because it’s the only time I don’t get interrupted or distracted, and that I come up with some of my best ideas and plot twists while I’m pounding the pavements, but the real reason I run is because I love it. It’s good for the mind and the body, and it helps keep me focused.

One of the reasons I’ve struggled to maintain that focus today is because I was running yesterday morning. I ran the Birmingham Half-marathon – a race I love and one of many I take part in every year. Yesterday’s race was absolutely brilliant. 18,000 entrants running through my home town on a beautiful Autumn morning. And it was one of those days when it all came together too. I’ve been off my usual pace this year for one reason or another, but I’d finally managed to get my training routine back in order in the last few weeks, and I felt really good all the way around the 13.1 mile course. I finished with a personal best for the event and my third fastest half-marathon time ever. Result.

And then later, whilst at my parents for Sunday dinner, relaxing, surrounded by my family, we heard that a runner had died. A local man, Kevin Paterson, collapsed after completing the event and, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, he tragically passed away.

It’s sobering, isn’t it?

I’ve spent a lot of today wondering if that could have been me? Kevin was 36, I’m 42 next month. We both trained well for the run by all accounts. I’m sure we both set off yesterday morning with the intention of running a good race and enjoying ourselves. Yet I’m here today along with all the other competitors, and Kevin isn’t.

You can tie yourself up in knots thinking about this sort of thing, and today I have, hence the struggle to concentrate. It’s the second time I’ve run in a race where someone has died, and it’s shocking. But what do you do? Should I stop? I don’t know if I could. I think it’s good to be aware of your own fragility, but you just have to accept it and not become a slave to it, I guess.

I’m coming to the end of writing a new novel – 17 DAYS – the lead character of which is living his life against a ticking clock, so perhaps I’ve just been thinking about death a little too much recently. Whatever the reason, walking that thin line between normality and chaos feels a little more precarious than usual today.

Apologies for the rambling, non-book-related post. Just wanted to get that off my chest. Back to zombies, aliens and all the usual stuff tomorrow.

My sincere, heartfelt sympathies go out to Kevin’s family and friends.

Tom Piccirilli

I’m guessing many of you will have heard that author Tom Piccirilli underwent surgery this week to remove a large brain tumour. According to an update from Brian Keene, although Tom made it through surgery, there have been some serious developments. Please see this post from Brian and, if you can, make a contribution.

Fix the Chapel

I’m guessing that if you’re reading this blog, you’ve almost certainly seen Romero’s original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, probably many times. And if you’ve seen NOTLD, you’ll no doubt recall the classic opening scene featuring Barbara and Johnny encountering the first ghoul in a cemetery: ‘They’re coming to get you Barbara…

The Evans City Cemetery, where that iconic movie moment was filmed, has fallen into disrepair. A group of dedicated horror fans have started a campaign to save the chapel, and I urge you to support them. You can learn more about the campaign, make donations to the cause, and buy official ‘save the chapel’ merchandise at www.fixthechapel.com. I have a cracking T-shirt (courtesy of Jami Sroka – thank you Jami!) which I’m doing my best to wear to as many horror events as I can this year.

I was also asked to write the forward to a new Kindle book – STORIES FROM THE CHAPEL – which was coordinated by Alfredo Torres. The book’s a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it immensely. Each tale takes the cemetery and the zombie apocalypse as its inspiration, and each writer’s passion for the project really shines through. All profits go to saving the chapel.

Iain McKinnon’s Hair

I’ve met Iain McKinnon (author of Domain and Remains of the Dead) on numerous occasions over the years. Invariably when I’m pointing him out to people, I say something along the lines of “that’s him over there… the one with the dreads”. Not any more.

Iain has announced that he, like me, is going to become a member of the ‘final haircut’ club – i.e. he’s going bald. Unlike me, however, he does have some choice in the matter, and he’s made the excellent decision to have his dreadlocks shaved off for charity on 16th June, in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support.

Please click this link to support Iain. If that’s not enough for you, why not click here and bid for one of his amputated dreads on eBay!