Hello and thank you for inviting me.
In my teens I read a lot of Stephen King. And I mean a lot. Not quite exclusively but almost!
My best friend, Rich, got me started. He had a copy of Salem's Lot he'd borrowed from the library and when I saw the cover I thought, Wow! That looks scary. I NEED TO READ IT! And that was that. I was hooked.
I actually read IT a bit later – marvellous book about a clown.
As for writing horror stories? I shied away from it for my first two books if only because I love the genre so much, I didn't want to spoil it in my own mind by not doing it justice. It still worries me now. But you write what you love and I love horror!
In my previous occupation in the police I saw things that would make your hair stand on end. That's why I cut most of mine off. I was sick of all the spiky hair styles.
It's hard not to let those things shape your life so for it to influence my writing was probably inevitable.
I read a fair bit of horror in my youth – I was reading while others were mis-spending theirs!
Do your family and friends read your work? If so, what do they think?
Unfortunately most of my family have an aversion to horror so, no they don't read it. My wife has read some of it but again, she doesn't like to be scared. When I finish one, I'll give her the run down and then she always asks, 'Will I like it?'
The answer is invariably a resounding, no!
I suppose I could lie and tell her she'd love it and watch her reaction when she reads something a bit grim. That might be fun!
I can see why you’re known as Mr Macabre now!
Plotter or pantster? Do you plot tightly before you write, or do you have a broad idea and dive in and write by the seat of your pants?
I'm a pantster and interestingly I like to write in just my pants. Or if it's a cold day, pants, (special lucky) socks and a t-shirt.
That all started when I used to try and grab a few minutes here and there to write and one day I was in mid-change of clothes. I wrote what I thought was good so I've stuck with it.
I've tried planning and it just doesn't work for me. I know a lot of people will cringe when I say this but, and I think Stephen King said, something along these lines, 'If I don't know what's going to happen in my story then the reader most certainly won’t.'
For me that works but for others I know it doesn't.
Agreed – I can’t plan to the inch but I do know where it’s going.
Do you have a writing routine?
For years I wrote at the same time, in the same place and for the same amount of time. I had to because time has always been precious. Getting into that routine was probably the most important thing I did for my writing – training my brain to know when it was time to write.
Now, time is less of a problem. The issue now is finding a position to sit/stand/lie that's pain free for long enough. I move about a lot now, from room to room, from position to position. I could write a version of the Karma Sutra for writing positions.
You might have a best seller on your hands there! Go for it!
What are your influences, either in books or in film? Some of your work would make brilliant movie fodder!
Early influences in film and TV would be the Hammer House of Horror television series, Tales of the Unexpected and the Hammer films. My dad was a huge fan of all of them and let me watch them with him. Of course then we'd both get in bother because I'd be up half the night having nightmares.
When I think back to some of the films I watched in the eighties they all influenced me too. I'm talking about Lost Boys, Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, Friday the thirteenth, The Fly, Gremlins, Alien, Poltergeist, An American Werewolf in London. All classics and all watched on our dazzling 'top loading' VHS with a remote control on a length of cable we trailed across the room.
Other authors I read were Richard Laymon, Dean Koontz, Shaun Hutson, James Herbert. All wonderful writers of horror.
I was also introduced to a writer called John Irving. He's nothing to do with horror but his characters are probably the best I've read. All of his characters influenced me in some way.
I confess I read far more than I watch films.
You’ve just published your first full length novel. Can you tell me a bit about it?
Well, it is the longest book I've written by some margin but at no point did it feel like a long story when I was writing it. I think that's a good thing?
It's a modern tale is set in the wilderness of Alaska with a crew of gold miners trying to strike it rich. When you put a group of people in a place like that, working long hours without a break and in terrible conditions, cracks will form. Especially when greed is involved.
And they do.
But there's something else at play up there too. Something that thrives on greed and the human condition. Something that feeds on it.
Hmmm it's tricky to write about your own story without saying too much but I hope that gives it a little flavour.
Right, I'm off to take my trousers off and start writing. Thank you very much for your hospitality, Kath!
It’s been a pleasure! Nice shreddies, by the way!
You can find Black Pine Creek here.
Dave's Author Page is here
And his Facebook page is here