I had a great time recently being interviewed by MADELEINE D’ESTE for her podcast WRITE THROUGH THE ROOF. It’s an excellent show designed for writers who want to improve their craft. Each episode, a different writer shares their tip for what took their writing to the next level. Previous guests have included Gareth L. Powell, Dave Hutchinson and Garth Nix. Please listen in!
A quick post to tell you about a couple of events which are coming up. On 24 and 25 February I’ll be heading back to Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham, for the BIRMINGHAM HORROR CON. It’s always a pleasure to take part in a hometown event, and this time I have the honour of signing alongside such horror luminaries as Simon Clarke and Tim Lebbon. I’m very much looking forward to it, and I hope some of you are able to make it to pick up a copy of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING, YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE and more. Tickets are available here and you can find out more about the event on Facebook.
And on 30 June I’ll be heading to London for my first convention in the capital since, I think, 2009. The LONDON HORROR CON is another show from Vic Wright and the Horrorcon team, so you know it’ll be a blast. The event takes place on 30 June and 1 July at Printworks London, Surrey Quays Road. Tickets are here, and more details are here and here.
In 2016, Wayne Simmons and I curated YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE, which saw a host of zombie authors each contribute an original novella to a year long project. I’m pleased to announce that we’ve now collected the 12 stories together and made them available in a single volume. YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE is out NOW from Infected Books. The ebook – coming in at a massive 180,000 words – costs only $3.99. The paperback is a hefty 492 pages!
We recruited a star-studded line up of authors for the project.
It’s been an odd few weeks (though, to be honest, I’ve forgotten what a normal few weeks is supposed to feel like). I’ve spent a lot of time travelling, culminating in my first trip to Iceland which was the single most surprising and invigorating place I’ve been in a long time. Seriously, if we get word that the end of the world is imminent, I’m booking myself another ticket over there. It’s a remarkably quiet, remote, welcoming, and self-contained country. More about that another time. I’m sure I’ll set a book there one day.
Right now, though, my mind is focused on the setting for one of my earlier versions of the apocalypse – the town of Lowestoft, as featured in THEM OR US, the final book in the first HATER trilogy. At the moment I’m outlining CHOKEHOLD – the final book in the second HATER trilogy (hope you’re keeping up with all these book numbers!) which bridges the gap between the end of DOG BLOOD/ALL ROADS END HERE and THEM OR US.
I wanted to brush up on my HATER history, so I’ve worked my way through the original books while I’ve been developing the new series. It’s a weird feeling when you go back and read your own work. I don’t know what it’s like for other writers, but it always catches me by surprise. I remember most of the plot twists and can finish many lines in my head long before my eyes have reached the full-stop at the end of the sentence, and yet there always seems to be plenty I’ve forgotten too. I’ve enjoyed reading HATER and DOG BLOOD for the first time in years, but THEM OR US has been a different experience altogether because reading it followed the recent passing of my mother-in-law.
Betty was the indirect inspiration for THEM OR US. I’ve written here before about how my in-laws’ decision to relocate to Lowestoft in 2004 resulted in me getting to know this most unusual of towns. I’ve a real personal affection for the place, but because of its geographic location (it’s the most easterly point in the UK), it’s often overlooked. Generally, you don’t go to Lowestoft unless you’re going to Lowestoft. It’s not on the way to anywhere, and in many ways it feels like the end of the line. It has a suitably apocalyptic edge which made it the perfect setting for Danny McCoyne’s last stand.
Do a search for Lowestoft on this site and you’ll find loads of entries: the launch event I held at the town’s library when THEM OR US was first released, the four subsequent HORROR IN THE EAST conventions we held there which were always sparsely attended but huge fun to be a part of, David Shires’ excellent apocalyptic artwork… Lowestoft is a place I’ve enjoyed going back to time and time again.
But no more.
It’s taken Matthew Dunne almost three months to get home. Never more than a few metres from the Haters at any time, every single step has been fraught with danger. But he’s made it.
In his absence, his home city has become a sprawling, walled-off refugee camp. But the camp – and the entire world beyond its borders – is balanced on a knife-edge. During his time in the wilderness, Matt developed a skill which is in high demand: the ability to anticipate and predict Hater behaviour. It’s these skills that will thrust him into a web of subterfuge and danger. As the pressure mounts inside the camp, he finds himself under scrutiny from all sides.
He’s always done his best to avoid trouble, but sometimes it can’t be helped. The shit’s about to hit the fan, and this time Matt’s right at the epicentre.