Check out this article over at Shock Till You Drop who managed to grab a quick word with Mark Johnson, one of the producers of the HATER movie.
Can’t tell you how excited I am about this…
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of HATER, keep an eye on this site in the coming weeks for news of more editions of the book and the first word on DOG BLOOD, the second book in the series due for release in 2010.
Strange title for a blog post I know, but I have a question and I’d appreciate some feedback.
My books typically deal with the end of the world in one way or another, but I’m generally more interested in how people deal with whatever’s happened to them than with the cause of ‘the event’ itself. If you were trying to survive through an apocalyptic scenario, let’s say (very topically) a pandemic, would it really make any difference to your struggle if the killer disease was man-made, a naturally occurring mutation or something of alien origin? This brief extract from AUTUMN summarises the point I’m trying to make:
‘So do you think it was a virus that did this to them?’ Carl asked. ‘Emma seems to think so. Or do you think it was…?’
‘Don’t know and I don’t care.’
‘What do you mean, you don’t care?’
‘What difference does it make? What’s happened has happened. It’s the old cliché, isn’t it? If you get knocked down by a car, does it matter what colour it is?’
‘It doesn’t matter what caused any of this. What’s done is done and I can’t see the point in wasting time coming up with bullshit theories and explanations when none of it will make the slightest bit of difference. The only thing that any of us have any influence and control over now is what we do tomorrow.’
My question to you, however, is this: as the reader of a post-apocalyptic story, how important is it for you to know what happened? Do you need to know what caused the virus in AUTUMN? Will it spoil your enjoyment of the HATER trilogy if you don’t find out why people are suddenly turning on each other?
Any feedback / comments / thoughts from anyone would be appreciated. Please use the comments function and the related forum discussion to let me know.
The cover of ‘Hater’ has always been a strong selling point. When I designed the original ‘Infected Books’ edition back in 2006, I knew that I wanted something that was visually striking, relevant to the novel and, perhaps most importantly, something that didn’t look like the cover of any other book already on the shelves.
The idea for deep red on a clear white background came quickly. I’m by no means an artist so taking this approach seemed to kill two birds with one stone – if it worked it would be fairly easy to produce and the simplicity would inevitably make it an eye-catching design. After briefly toying with a few concepts (such as the bloody handprint on the back cover of the original edition and the imprint of a blood-drenched face looking as if some poor soul had been smashed up against a window!), I settled on simply writing the word ‘Hater’ in blood.
To produce the original artwork, I went back to basics. It was early summer and my youngest daughter was painting. Struck by sudden inspiration, I selfishly grabbed some of her paints off her (she didn’t have any red, so I mixed brown and orange and yellow and whatever else I could find), made up a batch of ‘blood’, then stood out on the patio surrounded by sheets of paper making bloodspots and the like. She watched me with an uneasy mixture of fear and bemusement. I felt like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters, building a mountain out of mashed potato at the dinner table.
I dipped my finger in the paint and scrawled ‘HATER’ on a clean sheet. I liked it so I did it again. Then again. Then again. Half a ream of bloody Haters later and I decided that the very first one was the best. I dried it, scanned it, Photoshopped the colours to a more typically bloody red-brown, then created a composite using various other drips, dribbles and splashes of blood from my experiments on the patio.
The original paperback cover suffered from a poor choice of font for my name and too much white space. When the book was sold to Thomas Dunne Books, their art department worked for some time to come up with an alternative illustration, before settling on a touched-up version of my original design. They increased the proportions of the image to better fill the cover, and added my name and the words ‘a novel’ in a suitably bloody scrawl.
The book has since been sold to numerous other countries and it’s been interesting to see how each country has approached the design of the cover. Some, like Poland and the UK, have gone for variations on a theme.
The Spanish, German and French publishers have taken a completely different, but no less eye-catching, tack. The French edition in particular, with its use of an ‘interesting’ picture of yours truly, has become something of a talking point! With other countries including Brazil, Russia, Japan and Korea yet to unveil their editions of the book, I’m looking forward to seeing what their designers come up with!
The fact that the cover of ‘Hater’ has generated such a positive response is something I’m very proud of. Since the release of the book in February I’ve had many emails which have started along the lines of ‘I was in the bookstore today just browsing, when I saw the cover of your book on the shelf and had to pick it up…’. I’m also thrilled by the very positive comments posted in today’s article by the professional designers over at www.fwis.com. Perhaps my favourite feedback though, was from a post I found on a forum a while back. Someone admitted to having brought the book so they could carry it with them on the tube each day. They weren’t interested in reading it themselves, they just wanted to see the looks on other passengers’ faces when they saw the cover!
Working from home is something I wanted to do for a long, long time. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time it’s great – no commute, a comfortable office, food and drink on tap. I can work in the bedroom, in front of the TV, in the garden, in the bath…
Not wishing to sound ungrateful, but the downside of home working is having to share the office with the rest of the family. We’re on day 5 of the 40+ day summer school holiday and if I had any hair I’d be tearing it out right now. I love my kids dearly, but the more I’ve got to do, the more they seem to act up. Apologies in advance if you get an email from me that makes no sense over the next few weeks. I’ve probably had to leave the computer midway through typing to referee an argument, repair something, clean something up, fix someone some food or somesuch…
I’m kidding, of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just that today has been one of those days where I’ve sat in front of the screen for hours and achieved next to nothing. I’ve been interrupted 4 times since I started typing this post!
I thought I’d try and do something constructive and finish the week with a few snippets of news:
Writer’s Forum Magazine
You might remember that I was interviewed by Writers’ Forum Magazine a while back. This month’s issue features another article I’ve contributed to “Make the web work for you”. I’ve shared some of my experiences of writing and publishing online which hopefully will be useful.
It’s been a great few weeks for German readers! I know that the lack of availability of the Autumn books is frustrating a lot of people and I hope to have some news about release dates very soon. In the meantime, the German language edition of Autumn: Disintegration, Herbst: Zerfall, is now available for pre-order. This is the first time the book has been published in any language (see this page for an explanation). Zerfall will be released in September.
If you’re a fan of zombies, either in print or on screen, chances are you’re already aware of the Revenant Magazine website. For several years it’s been a great online resource for zombie followers, boasting a wealth of living dead news, interviews, reviews and more. In recent years they’ve expanded and now host an annual zombie film festival (click here for details of this years event).
This week the editors have announced that Revenant is about to make its debut in print form with the release in September of Issue #0. It already looks like being a great read and, particularly in view of the current economic climate, the team deserve applause and support for taking this step. I wish them every success with this new venture and I’ll be sending them plenty of HATER and AUTUMN news over the coming months. If you’ve got any interest in zombies at all (and as you’re visiting this site and know what my books are about I guess you have), please try and get hold of a copy.