Hello everyone. Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. It’s actually only a few weeks, but it feels like a lifetime. In my 20+ years of writing apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, I never believed we’d ever collectively experience anything like Covid-19. Before you stop reading, don’t worry – this isn’t me using this nightmare situation to try and sell a few books.
Couldn’t resist sharing that video, though. My old pal Iain McKinnon and some of his colleagues made a series of short HATER promo videos back when DOG BLOOD was about to be released, only for us to be unable to use them because it looked like the movie was about to happen.
Anyway, back to the point.
It’s surreal and frightening to be sitting here in lockdown like this. If I’m honest, it does feel like something out of one of my books, and plenty of folks have been quick to point that out. I wrote THE COST OF LIVING when my family and I moved into our current house and set it on our development; now we’re genuinely isolated in our home from a viral pandemic. The AUTUMN series, of course, is all about a world ravaged by a virulent disease, and with the toilet roll panic buying hysteria in the supermarkets, I’ve seen things on the TV news which definitely remind me of HATER (chapter 20 in particular). But for all these similarities, I DON’T THINK THIS IS THE APOCALYPSE.
Terrifying though, isn’t it?
The books I write have always focused on the worst case scenario. You can bet the folks you meet in the first chapter will have been through absolute hell by the time they get to the last page (if they get that far). The infections they’re dealing with are just a MacGuffin designed to cause maximum chaos for my characters to sort out. We are not those characters, and though the disease we’re fighting today is an absolute fucker, I’m hopeful it will be beaten. Things feel so oppressive and grim right now that it’s easy to believe we’re all trapped without hope in a grim Moody dystopia, but we’re not. We can and we will get through this!
Stay safe, stay positive, stay sensible and stay healthy. My sincere best wishes to you and your families. I’m going to make a conscious effort to post here regularly in the coming weeks. I have some freebies and other things of interest I want to share with you (although my stories might be the absolute last thing you want to read right now!).
A series of nuclear strikes has left huge swathes of the country uninhabitable. It’s a level playing field now: both Hater and Unchanged alike have to fight to stay alive. Both have retreated to their camps to regroup, less than twenty miles away from each other.
It’s here that the last major battle of the final war will inevitably be fought, but neither side has any idea what’s waiting for them just around the corner.
Both armies are ready to fight to the death, each of their leaders hell-bent on victory. Their tactics are uniformly simple: strike first, get the enemy in a chokehold, then strangle the life out of them.
It’s very bleak, very bloody, and I hope you enjoy it!
Huge thanks to everyone who has been helping spread the word about CHOKEHOLD. As promised in my last post, I’ll be sending out advance copies to a few randomly picked folks. I’m actually going to send more copies than I originally planned, so well done and thank you to Kerry, Bernie, Jess, Susan, Éric, Erika, Amanda and Suzanne – your books will be on the way shortly.
It’s always a thrill to hold the first print copies of a book, and this one is especially cool. CHOKEHOLD is the absolute final HATER novel. It’s a sequel to both DOG BLOOD and ALL ROADS END HERE, and a prequel to THEM OR US. Oh, and it’s a bloody, violent, brutal (and surprisingly uplifting) story. Copies will be on their way to reviewers shortly. You can pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Book Depository and all the other usual sources now. The book is published by St Martin’s Press and it hits the shelves on 19 November.
I need to get something off my chest. Right, here goes… I once took literary inspiration from E L James, author of the unfeasibly popular Fifty Shades series. I don’t mean to offend fans of Fifty Shades with that comment, but you have to admit, those books are unfeasibly popular. Something like 150 million copies sold? That’s incredible.
So, on one hand, it’s hats off to Ms James, because she’s found a formula people clearly like and she’s sticking to it. You could argue that I’ve done exactly the same (though I do at least try to experiment – the book I’m currently writing is nothing like anything I’ve released previously). On the other hand, though, from what I understand of the books in the second Fifty Shades series, they’re pretty much a scene for scene rehashes of the first, just with the internal thoughts of an impressionable young student replaced with those of a complete fucking pervert.
And I’m claiming I was inspired by this series? Let me explain…
I’ve said before that the second HATER trilogy came as a result of discussions I’d had with Ed Barratt, producer of the upcoming HATER movie, about a potential TV adaptation. The original books were told exclusively from Danny McCoyne’s perspective, and whilst that worked well on paper, it would have been hard going on screen. A TV series would need to dive deeper and fill in the blanks, following different characters and situations to ramp up the drama and keep the viewers’ interest. And for a while I was struggling to work out how I would do that.
Well that was interesting! A few weeks ago I asked an obvious question on my website, Facebook and Twitter. I wanted to know which side you’d choose: HATER or UNCHANGED. The results are in.
I thought it would be interesting to just ask the one question with no follow-ups. I could have asked whereabouts in the world you live or any number of other questions to see if what factors affected your allegiance, but I didn’t. In the HATER books, the Hate ignores all our existing differences, so it made sense for this very unscientific poll to do the same.
369 people voted across this website, Facebook and Twitter, with 59% of people picking Haters over Unchanged. Interestingly, this varied between platform. On my website the split was 49% Hater, 51% Unchanged, on Facebook it was 62% Hater, 38% Unchanged, and on Twitter it was 58% Hater and 42% Unchanged. Does that mean people feel more Hate on social media sites than here on my warm and welcoming website? I don’t know, maybe they do. Interestingly, Haters were far more vocal, with around 60% of comments being from Haters and only 40% Unchanged.
So there you have it. Totally unscientific and little more than a ‘finger in the wind’ exercise. Still, if you’re in the UK like me, I hope this has taken your mind off the other votes we’re currently having to contend with for a couple of blissful minutes!
One last thing. I was interested to read a comment on this poll where the commenter said their allegiance had switched now they’re reading the second HATER trilogy because it tells the story from the Unchanged perspective. If I’m honest, the same thing happened to me while I was writing the books. As I worked my way through HATER, DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US I was Hater all the way. But having spent the last few years writing ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING, ALL ROADS END HERE and CHOKEHOLD, my loyalties seemed to switch. I wonder if, by the time you’ve read CHOKEHOLD, you’ll have come to the same conclusions about the state of the human race as I did…
I won’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil things for those who haven’t yet read the other novels, but CHOKEHOLD deals with a whole new chapter in the overall HATER story. It takes place in the aftermath of DOG BLOOD and ALL ROADS END HERE and, in many ways, is also a prequel to THEM OR US. More familiar characters will be returning, and I think you’re really going to like it. Especially the fact that this is the first time… No. Shut up, Moody. I’m not saying anything else. You’ll just have to wait and see.
I’ve been running polls on Facebook and Twitter recently to ask this most basic of questions that I’ve never asked before, but because it’s increasingly difficult to keep something visible on social media without paying through the nose, I’ve decided to ask the same question again here. I’ll keep this poll open for at least a week, then I’ll report back with the final summarised results.