Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie

10291305_531390210305279_7043635267076570044_nNow I like my character-driven horror fiction to be dark, but in his most recent book, Craig DiLouie has taken dark to a new extreme.

SUFFER THE CHILDREN (out now from Simon and Schuster/Permuted Press) is a genuinely horrific book, extraordinarily uncomfortable reading. DiLouie takes that most precious of things – the relationship between a parent and their child – and pushes it beyond breaking point. The synopsis follows. Click the link below for some thoughts on the book from Craig himself.

“One day, the children die. Three days later, they come back. And ask for blood.

With blood, they stop being dead. They become the children they once were.

But only for a short time. Too soon, they die again. And need more blood to live …

The average body holds ten pints of blood. How far would you go for your child?”

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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

The Killing Floor by Craig DiLouie

A belated plug for Craig’s latest book, THE KILLING FLOOR, sequel to last year’s THE INFECTION.

“The mystery virus struck down millions. Three days later, its victims awoke with a single violent purpose: spread the Infection. As the world lurched toward the apocalypse, some of the Infected continued to change, transforming into horrific monsters. 

America’s far-flung military has returned home to war against its own country, engaged in a fierce battle to retake Washington, DC. Two hundred miles away, Ray Young, survivor of a fight to save a refugee camp from hordes of Infected fleeing the burning ruins of Pittsburgh, awakes from a coma to learn he has also survived Infection. 

But this is no miracle. Ray is not immune. Instead, he has been transformed into a superweapon that could end the world … or save it.”

I enjoyed Craig’s monster-filled spin on the zombie apocalypse very much. Here’s my take: “a unique and startling vision of Armageddon … DiLouie takes the nightmare of THE INFECTION and ratchets up the horror to another level … It’s an excellent post-apocalyptic tale filled with horrific creatures and desperate people. He weaves the threads of his story expertly, managing to show the devastating cost of the crisis on both a human level and a global scale. Recommended!”

THE KILLING FLOOR is available now from Permuted Press. Visit Craig’s site at www.craigdilouie.com

Tooth and Nail by Craig DiLouie

As a writer, I’m regularly approached by people who want to tell me about the incredible new book they’ve just written. I try to be accommodating and look at as many manuscripts as I can, and I’m always happy to share my experiences of publishing with anyone who asks. You’ll probably appreciate though, it takes time to read a book properly and provide the author with constructive, useful feedback, and that’s part of the reason a). why I’ve got a backlog of such books right now (apologies to all who’ve sent books to me in 2010 – I will get back to you), and b). why I’ve had to start saying no to new approaches. Please don’t contact me for blurbs etc. until I post something to the contrary here: it’s not that I don’t want to help, I just can’t right now…

Another problem with agreeing to read books like this, is that you never know what you’re going to get. I’ve had long and involved conversations with writers about their fantastic sounding ideas, only to eventually receive an incoherent, uncorrected mess of a manuscript. However, that’s the exception, and I’ve read some truly great books from people who’ve started out as either readers, friends or both.

Today – very belatedly (sincere apologies, Craig) – I want to tell you about one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. If you’re a lover of zombie fiction in any way, shape or form, I urge you to pick up Tooth and Nail by Craig DiLouie.

On the face of it, Tooth and Nail looks like any one of a hundred other zombie stories. The plot sounds standard, almost clichéd: a mutated form of the rabies virus is causing chaos around the world, and a battle-hardened Lieutenant must lead his men (recently back from Iraq) across New York to protect a research facility which may just hold the cure…

Right; forget all your preconceptions. Tooth and Nail is about all of that, but it’s so much more too.

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