Friday, March 28, 2014

X: A Collection of Horror

1. How did you get started in horror?

I think it must stem from a combination of my grandfather’s ghost stories from when he was a coal miner, and my sister’s heavy metal record collection. Some of those album covers had brilliant artwork. When I started writing, it was just the genre I gravitated towards.

2. What are your favorite kinds of stories to write and read?

I write what I call ‘dark fiction.’ Sometimes it edges toward sci-fi, other times out-and-out horror. A lot of people comment that most of it contains a healthy dose of sardonic humour. I did write a love story once under a pseudonym but that was just an experiment. I read widely. I have my favourites, of course. I love a good old-fashioned haunted house story. But I also read crime, thrillers, and autobiographies. I like reading about people who achieve great things or triumph against the odds.

3. What would you tell someone just getting started in the horror genre?

Find your own voice! And read everything, in every genre. For a long time I restricted myself to horror, then when I was much older and started reading other things it was like discovering a whole new world. Or even a multitude of new worlds. Stephen King once said that you learn just as much from reading terrible books as you do good ones.

4. Plotter or panster?

I had no idea what a panster was until I just Googled it. Thanks for expanding my knowledge! I guess the smart way of doing things is to be a plotter and plan things out in advance. But I’m more spontaneous than that, so I have to say I’m a panster. Its all well and good having a plan, and I can see why some people prefer to work that way, but I think it stifles you a little. You might have a great idea for a plot twist or a new character, but you’d be reluctant to go with it because it wasn’t in your plan. Storytelling should be more organic.

5. Name three things on your desk right now.

An empty coffee cup, my phone, and a Sun newspaper. I’m one of the few people that still buy newspapers religiously every morning. I read news websites too, but there is nothing quite like opening a newspaper.

6. Do you write to music?

Yes, quite often. I lean towards punk and rock. I like Bouncing Souls, Blink 182, the Ramones, the Clash, that kind of thing. And some classic rock like Dire Straits if I’m feeling more mellow. I can’t write to rap or hip-hop, there are just too many voices, too many words all tumbling over each other.

7. Sushi or cheeseburgers?

Cheeseburgers, every time. I don’t think anybody really likes sushi, they just eat it because they think it’s cool or healthy. Personally I’d rather have 70 years of eating what I want than 80 years of eating so-called healthy food. Food is something that should be enjoyed.

8. What author has had a profound influence on your work?

I wish I had a more original answer to this question. I can make one up, if you want. But the truth is I grew up reading Stephen King, so it has to be him. During my late teens I read his entire back catalogue. My favourites are ‘Salem’s Lot, It, Christine and The Tommyknockers. His work went a little stale in the nineties, but he is back with a vengeance now.

9. In horror today what topics do you think are overdone and what would you like to see more of?

Like everything else, horror follows trends. The success of Twilight saw loads of romantic gothic vampire stories, and at the moment you can’t move for zombies, probably because of the success of the Walking Dead. I don’t think anything is truly original, its all been done before, but there is a difference between unoriginal and overdone.

10. What is the next project on your to do list?

My book X: A Collection of Horror, recently came out. It was compiled from the hundreds of manuscripts I had gathering dust on my hard drive. Most have been published before in different magazines and anthologies, but there are a few originals in there. X2 will follow early next year, and X3 not long after. I’ve also just finished re-writing my first published non-fiction title, Into the Dragon’s Lair – A Supernatural History of Wales. That will hopefully be reissued later in the year.

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This is what happens when you ‘wake up’ inside a dream, when the urban myth you heard turns out to be so much more, and when that hottie you pick up in a bar springs a terrible surprise. But what do you do when your wife gives birth to something not entirely human? When your past discretions come back to haunt you? Or when a serial killer moves in next door?

The first collection of horror and dark fiction from the critically acclaimed writer C.M. Saunders, including three previously unpublished stories, plus an introduction and extensive notes. Also features exclusive artwork by Greg Chapman.

WARNING: Adult Material.

Table of Contents: Introduction: That's Entertainment, A Thin Disguise, A Hell of my Own Creation, Monkey Man, The Awful Truth, Mr. C, Fame / Infamy: A Deconstruction, Another False Dawn, The Night Everything Changed, The Devil & Jim Rosenthal, Club Culture, Afterword


Christian Saunders, who writes dark fiction as C.M. Saunders, began writing in 1997, his early fiction appearing in several small-press titles and anthologies. Following the publication of his first book, Into the Dragon's Lair – A Supernatural History of Wales (2003), he worked extensively in the freelance market, contributing both fiction and non-fiction to over 40 international publications. His novellas Dead of Night and Apartment 14F: An Oriental Ghost Story are available on Damnation Books, while Devil's Island, is out on Rainstorm Press. Most recently his work has appeared in Morpheus Tales, Gore magazine,Wicked Industries and Siren's Call. He works as a sports writer and blogs for the Huff Post UK. His most recent work is From the Ashes – The REAL Story of Cardiff City Football Club. link:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a great interview, Dana!


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