Remember the huge Infected Books event I told you about recently? I need to let you know about a slight change of plan. It’s still on Friday 30 October at 7pm, it’s still going to be a cracking evening, we still want you to come in Halloween fancy dress if you’re up for it… we just need you to go to a different Waterstones store.
For those of you who know my home town of Birmingham, we have (for a short while longer) two large branches of Waterstones. We were originally scheduled to be in the High Street branch, but we’re relocating to the very beautiful New Street store instead, just a five minute walk away. This makes me happy: it’s an amazing building, and it’s where – three years ago this month – I got to interview one of my writing heroes, the legendary James Herbert (photographic evidence below). The store’s closing soon, so this is a great way to send it off in style.
As well as launching Wayne Simmons‘ new novel VOODOO CHILD and (hopefully) interviewing the book’s co-author Andre Duza via Skype, I’ll also be reading from the next HATER novel and talking a little about the upcoming movie.
My most recent novel, STRANGERS, came out at the end of 2014, and with everything that’s been going on since then, I’ve been guilty of not shouting about it enough. The book got some great press and I’m very proud of it. This is Horror were kind enough to say “Strangers is easily Moody’s best work to date, a dark, disturbing and visceral book that gives him a legitimate claim to the title of Britain’s Best Living Horror Author that was left vacant by James Herbert’s untimely death.” DLS reviews said “I can’t stress enough how utterly captivating Strangers is. It’s addictive reading from start to finish. And it proves once and for all that there’s a hell of a lot more to Moody than the end of the world. 10/10.”
Can I tempt you if you haven’t yet read the book? Do you need more convincing? If so, check out the widget below. A large chunk of the novel has been added to WATTPAD, along with a number of other bits and bobs, including the whole of TRUST available for free.
The novel is a departure from the kind of books I usually write. I’d been toying with the idea of a spin on a vampire novel for a while, and though there are no vampires in STRANGERS, there are some similar themes. You might remember me getting to meet a literary hero of mine, James Herbert, a couple of years ago. Following Jim’s untimely passing last year, I binge read several of his novels, and it struck me that it would be good fun to try and write the kind of gory, frightening, self-contained horror novel he was so brilliant at. STRANGERS is the result. It’s about our fear of the unknown, and how people are quick to point the finger in order to deflect the heat from ourselves. It’s also a book about confronting personal demons, and that’s something I’m going to talk more about in a forthcoming blog post.
A spate of brutal murders occur in and around the small town of Thussock. The bodies of the dead – savagely mutilated, unspeakably defiled – are piling up with terrifying speed. There are no apparent motives and no obvious connections between the victims, but the killings only began when Scott Griffiths and his family arrived in Thussock…
When I’m asked to name books which have influenced me, I regularly mention DOMAINby James Herbert. In fact, when I’m talking about books which have influenced my writing career, DOMAIN is the book.
For those who don’t know, DOMAIN is the third and final book in Herbert’s RATS trilogy (beginning with RATS in 1974, then LAIR in 1979). Set in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear attack on London, it remains a visceral and relentless read. To this day it’s still the only book I’ve ever finished reading, only to turn back to the beginning and immediately start again. Following the author’s untimely passing back in March, I thought I’d dig out my old yellowed paperback edition (now signed by the man himself – see this link to find out how) to see if the book still resonated with this forty-something bloke as it had when I was in my teens.
Short answer: not quite, but it was still a bloody good read.
Here’s the back cover blurb. Click the link below for my thoughts.
“The long-dreaded nuclear conflict. The city torn apart, shattered, its people destroyed or mutilated beyond hope. For just a few, survival is possible only beneath the wrecked streets – if there is time to avoid the slow-descending poisonous ashes. But below, the rats, demonic offspring of their irradiated forebears, are waiting. They know that Man is weakened, become frail. Has become their prey…”
Meeting James last year was an amazing experience, and it was only when I found out I was going to be interviewing him and I started my preparation that it became obvious just how much of an inspiration he’d been to me as a writer. I don’t profess to have read all of his books, it was more what he did and how he did it that had a real impact on my career.
There was a period in the early 1980’s when it seemed every home in the UK had been issued a regulation set of James Herbert novels. Everybody had them, even those who reckoned they didn’t read horror. I’d been working my way through them when I got hold of a copy of DOMAIN and, as I’ve said previously, that was the book which redefined what a horror novel could be for me. It made me want to write horror. I’ve taken my yellowed with age paperback (signed by James last year) down off the shelf to read again this morning, and I’ll write more about it in the near future.
But I just want to go back to some statistics for a moment. James Herbert sold more than fifty six million books (I know everyone quotes the figure fifty four million, but he told me otherwise…) which were translated into more than thirty languages. Despite his international success, though, the bulk of those sales were here in the UK. I think that’s the most astonishing thing… to have generated such spectacular sales in a relatively small market, writing for what’s often thought of as a niche audience. Amazing.
He sent me a letter earlier this year, thanking me for interviewing him last September. In the letter he said he hoped we’d get to catch up again soon on the horror circuit. I’m devastated that’s not going to happen now, because I learned a huge amount in the few hours I spent in his company and I would have loved the opportunity to talk with him some more.
Goodbye, James, and thanks for the cracking advice and the wonderful stories. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife and family.
This post was prepared in advance so, if you’re reading this, the world obviously didn’t end last Friday (it obviously wasn’t going to anyway – when will people stop believing in fairytales and bullshit?) and I can keep writing about the apocalypse for a while longer yet! This is my last post of 2012 and I wanted to briefly look back, look forward, and say a few thanks.
It’s been an interesting year for me personally, to say the least. Various issues at home kept me away from work for far longer than I expected (pretty much from mid-March right the way through to mid-September), but since then my family and I have been in a far better place and, though you haven’t yet seen the benefits, I’ve actually been quite productive! All that said, I managed to get a few books out in the last year. I’m particularly pleased with AUTUMN: AFTERMATH, JOE & ME, and TRUST (which is now online in its entirety at www.trustdavidmoody.com).
As is often the way, some stuff didn’t happen. We managed to make very little progress with ISOLATION, for example, but I hope we’ll put that right early in the new year.
Some of the highlights of the year for me were spent in the company of other people. Wayne Simmons and I did a lot of joint events, and I enjoyed every minute of them (even the odd tumbleweed moments in far-flung branches of Waterstones, Wayne!). I’m already planning my schedule for 2013 with several events pencilled in including trips to Scotland and Spain. But I can’t look back at 2012 without mentioning the two occasions I got to meet and spend time with James Herbert (click here to remind yourself what happened). What an absolute honour.
So what’s coming in 2013? I’ve already talked a bit about what I’ve got planned. Top priority is to finish 17 DAYS (which you can read a little about here). Next up will be the first book in my new horror/science-fiction series THE SPACES BETWEEN, as well as STRANGERS (which is the closest I’m ever going to get to a vampire novel – and as I’ve already said, it’ll be a disease and depravity-filled read without a sparkle in sight).
I’m planning to continue the resurgence of INFECTED BOOKS in the new year with, as I recently mentioned, the AUTUMN: AFTERMATH limited edition hardcover, and the definitive reissue of AUTUMN: THE HUMAN CONDITION. If time allows, I’m also considering giving STRAIGHT TO YOU the same treatment as TRUST – i.e. total rewrite and online serialisation. Watch this space.
That’s about it for now. I just wanted to thank all the authors and other professionals I’ve worked with this year, and all the event organisers too. Huge thanks as always to Moody’s Survivors. Finally, sincere thanks to everyone who bought one of my books this year, or who encouraged someone else to read my work. I don’t say it enough, but I’m hugely appreciative.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you do or don’t celebrate, best wishes. Have a fantastic holiday period and here’s to a brilliant 2013!
Last night I had the honour of interviewing James Herbert again – this time at Foyles in London, in front of a sell-out audience of more than 200 people. As I said in my previous piece, it’s hard to quantify the effect James’ books have had on me and on my writing. I don’t profess to have slavishly read everything he’s written, but his style, approach, attitude and (of course) his success are an inspiration to anyone who writes horror. There’s no doubt in my mind that discovering his books as a teenager was a pivotal moment which set me on the path to doing what I do today. Thanks again to James, his team, and the staff at Foyles. A truly memorable evening.
By the way – the audio quality isn’t great, but I stumbled across a brief clip of James and I on YouTube this morning. It’s embedded at the bottom of this post. (Thanks to YouTube user astroduckula – I hope you don’t mind the link, and I hope you enjoyed last night!).
And on the subject of James Herbert… my friend Michael Wilson (the brains behind THIS IS HORROR), recently interviewed James for SCREAM magazine. The interview appears in the latest issue (pictured) which is available now.
And on the subject of This is Horror… the second in their series of chapbooks – THIN MEN WITH YELLOW FACES by Gary McMahon and Simon Bestwick – is released this Saturday, 22nd September. There will be an exclusive launch event in Manchester on Saturday featuring Ramsey Campbell and Conrad Williams alongside Gary and Simon. Click here for details. I believe there are a few copies of JOE & ME (my entry in the series) still available. That’s a story no AUTUMN fan should be without, but I’ll say no more about that for now…
Did you know that September 7th is Buy a Book Day? I didn’t either. It’s an initiative that’s been around for a couple of years now, and I for one hope it continues to grow. Even if you haven’t heard about it, why not pick up a new book anyway?
I know I’m biased, but here are a couple you might like to try…
James Herbert’s first novel in six years – ASH – is now available (as you may have noticed from my slightly over-excited posts recently). The cherry on the cake for me this week is that James was very happy with the way things went on Monday evening, so much so that I’ve been asked to host his next signing at Foyles in London on 18th September. I can’t wait. If you’re one of the lucky 150 who have tickets to the sell-out event, you’re in for a treat.
The book continues to get some great press. This week, Shadowlocked said: “For regular Moody readers, TRUST is the latest in a long line of thought provoking, intelligent novels, and a chance to see him stretch his wings outside of the AUTUMN and HATER universes. For new readers this is an ideal starting point to discover this major British talent who despite his innovations and successes of the last decade, you get the feeling is only just getting started.” Read the full review here.
Well, what an experience that was. It’s the morning after the night before for this particular horror fan – and that’s how I felt last night: a horror fan more than a horror writer.
On leaving school many years ago, I wanted to direct films. It was never going to happen back then, as all I had was a head full of story ideas and not a lot else. But the stories refused to go away and, as a result of various things happening in my life, I started to write the tales I’d previously wanted to film. One of the pivotal moments for me was when I picked up a copy of DOMAIN by James Herbert. This post will become far too long and rambling if I talk about the book in any detail now, so I’ll save it for another day. Suffice to say, DOMAIN’s the only book I’ve ever finished reading then immediately turned back to page one and started again. It redefined what a horror novel could be for me, and it undoubtedly set me on the path towards writing the kind of books I write today.
Last night I had the honour of not only meeting James Herbert, but also of interviewing him in front of a huge crowd at Waterstones, Birmingham New Street – one of only two events he’s doing in support of his new novel, ASH.