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.
Thanks to those of you who’ve already pre-ordered THE LAST BIG THING. I’m humbled by the number of folks who’ve picked up a copy, and I’m anxiously/nervously looking forward to hearing what you think. Don’t forget – if you’ve pre-ordered a signed copy from Infected Books, you can download a complementary ebook version straightaway and get reading immediately.
I’ve mentioned the art that Craig Paton put together for the book. As you’d expect with a collection like this, the cover is a grouping together of a number of disparate ideas. One of the new stories is about a band, and that’s where the initial idea for the artwork came from: a faded and torn tour poster that’s been pasted to a wall. Craig had a lot of fun adding loads of Easter eggs and in-jokes to the rest of the wall which I’m sure you’ll appreciate once you’ve read the collection. If you’re reading this piece on my website, you should be able to see a small sample immediately to your right.
I’ve been wanting to release this book for quite some time as I’ve built up a stockpile of short stories and it’s often the case that years after publication they can sometimes prove difficult for people to find. As you’d expect, there’s a certain amount of my trademark Moody bleakness in there with apocalyptic stories like THE LUCKY ONES, but it’s not all about the end of the world (for once). Once I looked back at the finished collection, I realised just to what extent some of my biggest influences have shaped much of what I’ve written over the years. My love of 1950s B movies and obscure 1970s horror films comes to the fore in stories like BIG MAN and ALMOST FOREVER, whereas OSTRICH, THE DEAL and NOLAN HIGGS IS OUT OF HIS DEPTH wouldn’t be out of place as episodes of TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED or THE TWILIGHT ZONE (aka the greatest TV show in history).
THE LAST BIG THING also marks the first time that my one and (currently) only HATER short story – EVERYTHING AND NOTHING – has appeared in print. It’s an interesting little off-cut which takes place in the days running up to the events of DOG BLOOD and which features a certain Danny McCoyne taking a break from the fighting and realising how close he is to home…
Time flies. It’s a year now since ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING – HATER book #4 (or The Final War book #1, depending on your perspective) – was released. I always harboured a sneaking suspicion that the book wouldn’t go down well with everyone and, well, I was right. Sales haven’t been as good as I’d hoped, and it’s my worst reviewed book on Goodreads. But lots of folks really like it. And I really like it. And it serves an important purpose.
When I decided to write a second HATER trilogy, I always knew I’d have to go right back to the beginning and introduce new characters. I also knew the book would need to be very different to HATER to emphasise the shift in perspective between the two trilogies. More than being a (very) self-contained survival horror story, though, ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING laid the groundwork for the next two books in the series – ALL ROADS END HERE and CHOKEHOLD (both of which will be published in 2019). And you know what? I think you’re going to have a blast with the direction the rest of the story is going to take.
ALL ROADS END HERE is a sequel to bothONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING and HATER, and promotion will be kicking off in the new year. I’ll tell you lots more about the new book after Christmas, but if you’re nice and relaxed over the holiday period and you feel like a little hate-fuelled angst to go with your turkey and trimmings, why not re-read DOG BLOOD. Not wanting to give too much away, but you’re going to be meeting several familiar faces from the first HATER trilogy when ALL ROADS END HERE hits the shelves in February!
Moody’s suspenseful second Final War horror novel (after One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning), continuing the second series set in the bleak and anger-filled Hater world, is a gripping take on the zombie apocalypse. Many humans have inexplicably turned into Haters, creatures fueled by an unrelenting need to kill. Matthew Dunne has been away from home for three months, battling Haters to get back to his unnamed British city. His girlfriend is understandably surprised when he shows up at the door to their house, and as he learns the new rules of his tightly controlled city, the safer and happier life he had hoped for falls apart. Matt is a typical action hero, trying to protect his woman and prove he is smarter than everyone around him. As more information about the Haters is revealed, Matt’s need to learn more drives the plot forward. Some scenes feel rushed, especially after long sections of Matt surviving by waiting and staying still. Fans of zombie thrillers will not be disappointed.
Heads up: pre-orders will shortly be opening for THE LAST BIG THING – a collection of my favourite (generally non-zombie) short stories from the last 10 years. This is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while, but the timing has never been right. In the next couple of weeks I’ll tell you more about the contents. There are eight reprints, many of which are from old and/or hard to find collections, and three new stories. The new tales are shorts I’ve had planned or half-written for a while but which have, until now, never found the right home.
THE LAST BIG THING will be released through Infected Books in early December. It’ll be a hardback and ebook release, with a multi-narrator audiobook version to follow in 2019. And the cover art? Christ, it’s beautiful. Longtime collaborator CRAIG PATON has produced something special, and I’ll be revealing it in the coming weeks.