ALL ROADS END HERE – important update

Hello. Long time no speak. I’ve had my head down writing the final HATER book  – CHOKEHOLD – but I’m briefly coming up for air to bring you an important update about ALL ROADS END HERE.

On the whole, I’m pleased with how ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING has been received since its release last December. It’s still getting plenty of good press. Just this month, STARBURST magazine called it “a gripping, visceral read, glistening with gore and studded with extreme brutality and with a relentlessly downbeat tone which will please lovers of hard-edged apocalyptic fiction”, whilst SFBOOK REVIEW said it was “clever, convincing, claustrophobic fiction”. Just yesterday, GEEK SYNDICATE published their verdict, with Ian Simpson noting that by the end of the book “you’re likely to be standing in a pile of gore, or not standing at all.”

My publisher has been looking again at how we publish and market the second HATER trilogy, and we’ve decided that these are books which better suit a paperback release. ONE OF US… was hardcover only and is likely to stay that way until we’ve shifted more copies, but ALL ROADS END HERE and CHOKEHOLD will be released as paperbacks from the get-go.

In the case of ALL ROADS END HERE, this means that publication is going to be delayed, unfortunately. The book will now be released on February 12, 2019.

If you’ve pre-ordered the hardcover, please cancel your order. The paperback edition is already available for pre-order here.

Apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment. This is definitely the right approach for the series as a whole and I cannot wait for you to read the remaining books. In the meantime, can I suggest you re-read DOG BLOOD? You’ll be catching up with a few familiar faces in some unexpected places in ALL ROADS END HERE

And again, I’m sorry you’ll have to wait to read the new book. Rest assured I’m working on something to cushion the blow, and I hope to announce an upcoming release for 2018 very soon.

Saying Goodbye to the End of the World

Them or Us (Thomas Dunne Books, 2011)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.

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All Roads End Here

Well, the final tweaks have just gone off to my editor so I guess I can now announce that the HATER story will continue on 25 September 2018 with the second novel in THE FINAL WAR series: ALL ROADS END HERE. The action picks up a couple of months after the events of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING and whilst I’m not able to share any specific plot details with you just yet, I can confirm that ALL ROADS takes place in the same location and at the same time as DOG BLOOD. Can’t wait for you to read it.

Thanks again to everyone who has picked up ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING. Not yet got a copy? It’s available from AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryIndiebound and all other good bookstores. The ebook is available from AmazonKoboiBooks and other stockists and the audiobook version can be found at AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

For the collectors amongst you, you can still get hold of signed first edition hardcovers of ONE OF US, along with a wide range of my other books, 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.

Two Halves Make a Whole

I’ve told you a lot about it, but I don’t think I’ve properly explained why I’ve been writing a second HATER trilogy. Is it a cynical cash in? A cheap way to drum up interest in my books again after a quiet couple of years? The answer to both those questions is a very definite ‘no’.

The new trilogy has its roots in some of the many movie-related discussions I’ve had about the books over the years. On numerous occasions, producer Ed Barratt and I have talked about TV adaptations (and we came tantalisingly close to getting that off the ground at the turn of this year but, as is so often the way, our plans unravelled at the last moment). Ed and I discussed the issues we’d face trying to translate HATER, DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US to the small screen. Part of the attraction of the books is the fact they focus exclusively on one man’s story, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this relatively narrow approach might present problems from a theatrical point of view.

One of the recurring themes of the series is ‘who is the bad guy?’. When the outbreak (or whatever it is) begins in HATER, the natural assumption is that the Haters are the villains. But, for various reasons, we later start to question that assumption, particularly when the extent of the actions taken by the Unchanged to keep themselves safe is revealed. It’s clear that both sides are capable of doing whatever they have to do to survive, and this comes to a head at the end of DOG BLOOD. I’ll be vague in case you’ve not yet read the books (come on, keep up!), but a pretty unspeakable act is carried out by someone. It’s particularly shocking, because that act has huge ramifications for both sides and every surviving individual, Hater and Unchanged alike.

So that got me thinking, are the Unchanged as innocent as I initially thought? Are the Haters as evil and ferocious as they appear? Do the lines ever blur? Are there weaker Haters and stronger Unchanged? How clear is the distinction between the two?

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HATER timeline

With the release of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING – the first book in the second HATER trilogy – fast approaching, I thought it would be interesting to start showing you how the two series are connected. They both tell different stories, but there are shared events and locations and… and I’m not going to tell you much more just yet.

With apologies for my limited graphics skills, here’s a handy timeline:

In case you’re new around here or need to catch up in readiness for the new books, HATER, DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US are available now. EVERYTHING AND NOTHING is a free ebook download which you can get here, and ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING hits the shelves on 5 December 2017.

Hater books 4, 5 and 6

Over the weekend I shared this image to help promote the new issue of SCREAM MAGAZINE. It’s generated a fair few comments on Facebook and Twitter about the new HATER books, so I wanted to give you a very quick update/ explanation.

There are three new books coming in the HATER series: ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING (out later this year), THE OTHER HALF ALL ROADS END HERE (which I’m currently writing), and THE LAST SUMMER CHOKEHOLD.

This is NOT a continuation of Danny McCoyne’s story from the first three books, nor is it a reboot of the series (how I hate that expression). It’s actually a combination of both. The first book details the outbreak of the HATER epidemic (for want of a better word) from a different point of view to the original novel. The second book takes place alongside the events of DOG BLOOD, so you’ll encounter a few familiar faces and places but, again, they’ll be shown in a different light. Chronologically, book three takes place between DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US and fills in a few blanks I deliberately left vague first time around. Our guide through the apocalypse this time around is a gentleman by the name of Matthew Dunne who is a… no, I’m not going to tell you any more just yet.

Though ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING currently has a release date of 15 August pencilled in, this may change. I’ll let you know more when I do. In the meantime, here’s the back cover blurb…

Fifteen people are trapped on Skek, a barren island in the middle of the North Sea somewhere between the coasts of the UK and Denmark. Over the years this place has served many purposes – a fishing settlement, a military outpost, a scientific base – but one by one its inhabitants have abandoned its inhospitable shores. Today it’s home to Hazleton Adventure Experiences, an extreme sports company specialising in corporate team building events.

Life there is fragile and tough. One slip is all it takes. A momentary lapse leads to a tragic accident, but when the body count quickly starts to rise, questions are inevitably asked. Are the deaths coincidental, or something else entirely? Those people you thought you knew well, can you really trust them? Are you standing next to a killer, and will you be their next victim?

A horrific discovery changes everything for everyone. There’s no way home now, and a trickle of rumours becomes a tsunami of fear. Is this really the beginning of the end of everything, or a situation constructed by the mass hysteria of a handful of desperate and terrified people?

The lower the population, the higher the stakes.

Kill the rest of them, before one of them kills you.

The second HATER trilogy

I’ve got some more HATER news for you: I’m writing a new HATER book. Actually, I’m writing three.

For me, the original HATER series was nicely self-contained. Although the whole world had gone crazy and imploded, the books were first and foremost Danny McCoyne’s story. I resisted even thinking about writing other books for a long time because I’d told all of Danny’s story and without a damn good reason to go back to the world of HATER, I thought any additional novels would just be a cynical cash in.

Enter Ed Barratt.

I introduced you to Ed last week. He’s the producer of the new HATER movie, and over the last few months he and I have talked extensively about how, if the first movie is successful, we’d want the rest of Danny’s story to be adapted for screen. The second HATER trilogy is a direct result of those conversations.

Details are pretty sparse at the moment, but click the link and I’ll tell you what I know.

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THE HATER MOVIE

Right… I think that announcement is long overdue. The all-important press release follows. There will be opportunity to ask me questions in the coming weeks, and there will be ANOTHER HATER-related announcement next week. For now, here are the facts:

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Hook Pictures producer Ed Barratt and David Moody announce a deal to bring Moody’s classic novel of violence and paranoia – HATER – to the screen.

David Moody independently released HATER onto an unsuspecting world in 2006, and within a couple of short months the movie rights had been snapped up by Hollywood. The production was fast-tracked and attracted some big names. Then, as is frequently the way, the project stalled.

Moody and his fans were left in limbo.

The novel went on to be republished by St Martins Press in the US, Gollancz in the UK, Goldmann in Germany and by numerous other publishers around the world. Two well-received sequels – DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US – followed.

But still no movie.

Enter Ed Barratt and Hook Pictures. Ed said “From the first page of the series I could see the potential for Hater to be adapted into a defining piece of British cinema; that I’m now working with David towards that end is almost as big a thrill as the books themselves”.

Ed and David are thrilled to announce that the development of the HATER movie is now underway from a script by Moody.

I’m delighted to be working with Ed on this project,” said Moody. “The buzz of having Hollywood interest in my work never really wore off, despite the film not reaching the screen, but there was always a part of me that regretted selling such a small-scale, gritty and uniquely British story to a huge production company. I met with Ed and was immediately impressed by his enthusiasm for the books, and it quickly became apparent that we share a common vision with regard to how this story should be told on screen. When the opportunity to take back the rights and work with Ed arose, I took it without hesitation.

The central theme of HATER is, I think, more prescient than ever. It deals with some major sociological issues in a unique and confrontational way and I’m confident we’ll create a wildly original movie the likes of which hasn’t been seen before. HATER is a collision between the normality of day-to-day life in the UK today and a full-on apocalyptic nightmare.

HATER is currently in development for a late 2016 shoot.

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EdAnd I’d like to introduce you to Ed:  Hook Pictures was founded in 2012 as a vehicle for creative producer Ed Barratt to continue to work with fresh and ambitious writing and directing talent to create critically and commercially successful feature films.

Hook Pictures’ debut feature film was Rowan Athale’s The Rise (aka Wasteland) – completed in 2012 – which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before screening at London, Rotterdam and Santa Barbara Film Festivals whilst selling to distributors around the world and being nominated for several awards. Ed Barratt was recognised by BAFTA as a Breakthrough Brit for his work on the film.

Hook Pictures has a strong slate of projects in development and relationships with some of the UK’s most exciting new writing and directing talent. Three films are slated to enter production in 2015/16 and the company is venturing into new and original IP by launching comic book publisher Ninth Man in association with leading graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero.

Dog Blood

Dog Blood (Gollancz, 2010)I know I’m being really annoying at the moment, and I apologise. I want to talk, but I can’t. I also can’t help wanting to torment you a little more…

Hard to believe, but DOG BLOOD was five years old this week.

DOG BLOOD was the first novel I wrote under contract, and that meant it was the first book not to have been published through Infected Books first. As a result, writing it was a very different experience. Previously I’d worked in isolation; now I found myself crafting the book under the auspices of two different editors – one in London and one in New York, both with different approaches. It took longer to finish the novel than expected, but the end result was a story I was (and still am) hugely proud of.

The book picks up a couple of months after the end of HATER. Here’s the synopsis:

The world has suffered a catastrophe of unknown cause, dividing humankind into two: the Haters and the Unchanged. Each group believes the other to be the enemy; each group is fighting for survival. Only by working together can the enemy – whoever that enemy is – be defeated. There are no other choices.

Danny McCoyne has managed to break free, and after days of indiscriminate fighting and killing, he is determined to make his way home, to recalim the only thing of any value to him in this strange new world: his daughter Ellis. Unlike his wife and son, Ellis is like him, and he knows, in his heart of hearts, that she is not dead. His dearest wish is for Ellis to be fighting for the world at his side – but Danny soon discovers his daughter is worth far more than just another fighting body. Others like him have discovered that children are absolutely vital to the cause. They are strong, small, fast, and they have no inhibitions. They are pure Haters…

And today’s unnecessary tease… ever wondered what happened in the months between HATER and DOG BLOOD? Ever wondered how things got so bad so quickly in the Unchanged refugee camp? Ever wondered who was really in control there?

I have.

More soon.