The office Christmas party from hell

It’s that time of year again… Remember the time Wayne Simmons and I wrote a novella about the office Christmas party at the end of the world? It’s bloody stupid, and it’s bloody (very bloody) good fun.

The long-promised YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE paperback and ebook anthology will appear next year. Until then, the individual novellas are available on Amazon, and you can read them for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

Killing a work colleague

Autumn: Purification (Thomas Dunne Books, 2011)A clickbait post title if ever there was one, but there’s a genuine point to this so bear with me. It begins many years ago, when I worked as a manager in a processing centre for a bank, looking after around 100 staff as we wound our centre down to a close. The work we did was being farmed out to newly opened sites overseas, where it could be done at a fraction of the cost, leaving my team and I redundant. I’m glad it happened, all things considered, because leaving the bank gave me a chance to take Infected Books to the next level and turn my part-time writing hobby into a full-time career.

But that’s not what this post is about. I was working on AUTUMN: PURIFICATION at the time, and having to deal with the redeployment of so many people in the real world brought unexpected benefits to my writing. I was able to release my stresses on the page (ever wondered where the inspiration for Samurai sword-wielding Harry Stayt came from?), and if I found myself becoming frustrated by my bosses, members of my team, or other people I was having to deal with at the time, I’d often picture them as a zombie and give them a particularly gruesome death in the book (without mentioning any names, of course, as I’d already got enough to deal with without being sued by anyone who took objection).

My new book which came out last week, ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING, has again reminded me of the usefulness of creating characters based on facets of people you know or who you’ve had interactions with. I find that it really helps keep them grounded and real, and if the characters in a horror novel are believable, it can add an enormous amount of weight to the emotion and impact of the vile situations you drop them into.

At the weekend I went away with my wife, and on the way home we stopped at Crosby Beach near Liverpool where Antony Gormley’s spectacular ANOTHER PLACE is installed. If you’ve not come across it before, it’s a series of 100 cast iron figures placed facing out to sea across a 2 mile stretch of beach. We visited on an ice-cold, exceptionally windy day, and that added to the impact of the sculpture. There’s something really affecting about seeing so many motionless (and emotionless) figures being buffeted and beaten by the waves. It felt quite dystopian, and the picture I took which I’ve posted here reminded me both of Danny McCoyne in THEM OR US, and Matthew Dunne at the beginning of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING. These characters are the intentional antithesis of each other, and both play pivotal roles in their respective trilogies as you’ll discover as the new series progresses.

When I was at a particularly low ebb a few years ago and my creative spark had been snuffed out, my wise wife said to me ‘how can you write about people anymore when you don’t know any?’. She was right, of course. I’d become a bit of a recluse, and my writing had suffered. I went back to work in an office, intending to stay there for a few months, and I’m still there after more than 3 years (and just by way of an aside, I now manage a team doing pretty much exactly the job I had Danny McCoyne doing in HATER all those years ago!). Though I have less time to write, the writing I produce is far, far better now that I’m mixing with other people on a daily basis again, and dealing with all the emotions of those interactions, both positive and negative. For me, the benefits of having a completely separate day job are clear, and right now it’s something I wouldn’t want to be without.

And that’s the reason for this post, I guess. ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING has been my first major release for some time, and it’s the first novel in which I’ve used characters inspired by the people I’ve recently worked with. Being around such a wide range of people while I’ve been writing the new HATER novels has been bizarrely therapeutic. I don’t really advocate killing your work colleagues, but do take inspiration from them. If you’re anything like me, it’ll help you in both your writing and non-writing careers. It’ll improve the quality of your characters, and it’ll help you get through those challenging business meetings as you imagine the horrific ending you’re going to give to the person currently giving you an ear-bending…

So thanks to the real Ronan Heggarty and Paul O’Keefe, for the inspiration they’ve both unwittingly provided. You don’t know who you are, but I do!

One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning – out now

ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING is out now from St Martin’s Press. Available from AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryIndiebound and all other good bookstores. Ebook available from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and other stockists. Audiobook by Macmillan Audio available from Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Signed hardcovers available from Infected Books.

“…a bloody fun ride… Another wetwork nightmare that should delight fans of Haters and intrigue writers who wallow in the genre.” – Kirkus

“Moody really knows how to write creeping, claustrophobic terror, effectively sneaking up on his readers and, finally, scaring the life out of them. Top-drawer horror.” – Booklist (starred review)

“A near-perfect example of humanity fucking up as our last card is played.” – DLS Reviews

The Final War begins tomorrow

ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING is released tomorrow, and I’ve just got time to pass on a couple of snippets of information I haven’t had chance to share before.

First, the second HATER trilogy now has a name. My editor and I racked our brains long and hard about what to call the new series, and we went through a number of options before settling on our final choice. Cast your minds back to THEM OR US, and you’ll be able to find the genesis for the title… there’s no going back for the human race after the events of the HATER books. The fighting will continue until there’s no one left, so there’s no question that this is THE FINAL WAR.

Second bit of news – the ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING audiobook is also out this week from Macmillan Audio. The excellent chap who narrated the previous HATER audiobooks, Gerard Doyle, is back behind the microphone. Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite.

I’d like to close this little pre-release round-up with a few words on the new book from Chris Hall of DLS Reviews. Chris has been following my work for a long time and he writes some of the most well-considered reviews on the web. So you can imagine how pleased I was when he finished off his review of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING with these comments:

This is Moody doing what he does best.  This is his natural environment.  His turf.  This is how he writes his very best work.  And it’s utterly, uncompromisingly, gut-wrenching stuff.  The novel rips you out of your safe and snug world and thrusts you into an environment where anyone can turn on you in the blink of an eye.  It’s hard-hitting, head-poundingly tense, and drenched from head to toe in blood-splattered cruelty.

A near-perfect example of humanity fucking up as our last card is played.

The book hits the shelves tomorrow. Don’t forget, signed copies are available exclusively from www.infectedbooks.co.uk.

Feeling Genuinely Uneasy

Honest post time… I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so nervous for the release of a new book before. ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING hits the shelves in less than a week and I really don’t know what the reaction’s going to be like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled with how the book’s turned out, but there’s a lot riding on this. It’s my first major release for a while, and after a few tricky years where writing and I didn’t get on too well, I’m back and I’m nervous to learn if/where I now fit in the modern horror landscape.

ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING is a very different book to HATER, and I worry that people will pick up the new novel expecting more of the same. If you do, you might be disappointed. The original three books exclusively told Danny McCoyne’s story while the new trilogy has a different focus entirely, much wider. I’m also mindful that this is the beginning of a trilogy, and whilst I already know how it’s all going to fit together and who’s going to survive, and where we’ll be jumping in and out of the events of the earlier books, you lot don’t. Perhaps it’s just the self-imposed pressure of following up my most successful novel that’s making me feel so uneasy?

I should shut up and stop writing this post. It’s probably just writer’s paranoia kicking in again. I’m sure any of you who write will have experienced something similar. When you’re planning a book, before you make even a single mark on the very first page, you’re certain it’s going to be the best thing ever. You then go through every kind of emotional up and down imaginable as you’re actually writing the damn thing, and you often end the job with a very real, but also temporary, sense of victory and validation. As you prepare to release your precious creation into the wild, doubt sets in again. You start convincing yourself (well I do, anyway) that no one’s going to buy it and read it, and the merest negative comment in a review hurts like a dagger to the heart whereas glowing praise is hard to accept and believe.

So I just want to say thank you to Peter Wolverton and all at St Martin’s Press for taking a chance on another HATER series, and thanks also to those of you who are planning on picking up the book (or have already). Despite everything I’ve said here, I genuinely can’t wait to be able to talk about ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING with you once you’ve read it. Until then, I’ll be sitting in front of my computer screen obsessing over sales ranks and combing the internet for feedback and reviews. I will actually do some work as well, because I’m almost finished with book two, and it’s been an absolute blast diving back into the deadly, grimy, trouble- and violence-filled world of the DOG BLOOD era. Did I tell you that the second book has been renamed? The new title perfectly sums up both the setting and the emotion of the book: ALL ROADS END HERE.