Do you know this guy Wayne Simmons? If not, it’s time you got introduced. Wayne is the author of Flu and Drop Dead Gorgeous, and one of the best apocalyptic horror writers working today.
Wayne’s landmark apocalyptic horror novel Drop Dead Gorgeous is getting rereleased by Snowbooks this year. And my first novel, Dead City, just got rereleased by Kensington here in the States. That little bit of good fortune got us talking about about guest blogging at each other’s site, and I’m pleased to announce that today that conversation has turned into a reality.
The original plan was to do something quick and simple, something to help us promote our new/old titles. But after a little bit of back and forth, we both realized that it would be in keeping with the theme of the old being made new again for the two of us (read that as a couple of old dudes) to interview a handful of up and coming zombie writers (read the new blood) and see what happened.
You can read my stab at it on Wayne’s blog here.
This is Wayne’s interview with Jay Faulkner, Mark McCann, and Shawn Riddle.
So, without further ado, please extend a hearty Old Major’s Dream welcome to Wayne Simmons.
Take it away, Wayne!
Wayne Simmons and the Future of the Zombie
Who are you and what contribution are you making to the horror genre?
JF: My name is Jay Faulkner and I’m a former forces brat now residing in Northern Ireland with my wife and two kids.
Apart from planning on instilling a love of all things horror, fantasy and sci-fi in my kids later on – they are only 3 ½ years old and 20 months, currently, so thought it best to wait a little longer ;) – I’m doing my bit for those genres by devoting every spare moment (and, believe me, there aren’t that many!) to writing which, as my tastes lend themselves to it, are pretty much all about either ‘pure’ horror or other genres with a very liberal splash of horror. My published work includes zombies, aliens amongst us, arachnophobia and even the horror of a ‘simple’ storm at sea – find out more at http://www.jayfaulkner.com
MMcC: Hi, I’m Mark McCann, author of Deadfast, a hard boiled supernatural thriller set in my home town of Belfast and featuring Terry Fennell – a functional alcoholic with the weird ability to talk with animals and the dead. A former intelligence officer for a secret branch of the British Army stationed in Belfast as far back as ‘The Troubles’. Terry is a man in the know about things that go bump in the night; surviving on blackmail and odd cases while living on borrowed time.
Vampiric serial killers, murderous trolls, corpse eating ghouls and vicious shape shifters are just some of the obstacles Terry faces along with his horribly scarred partner: The Saint, a man with a death wish from survivors guilt and burdened with a terrible curse, in a case as horrifying as it is hard boiled.
SR: My name is Shawn Riddle and I am brand new to the horror genre as a writer. At present I only have one story, which will hopefully be published in an upcoming anthology by Wild Wolf Publishing. As for my contributions, besides being an avid fan of the genre, they are limited as of yet, but I hope to change that very soon.
What attracts you to writing horror stories?
JF: I’ve always been a writer that starts all stories with a simple question: “what if?” which, when you think about it, isn’t all that far away from: “what’s the worst that can happen?” – now, Dr Pepper aside, I think that all horror stories are pretty much about that question and, by exploring it further, I get to delve into things that scare me personally.
Human nature is such that we spend a lot of time thinking about the darker aspects of life – the noise in the dark isn’t just the wind, obviously, but a serial killer, a ghost or something worse; the scratching at the window isn’t a tree branch, but a horde of demon cats trying to get in; and the small sensation at the back of your neck isn’t just a twitch, or goose bumps, but someone breathing right behind you.
MMcC: I enjoy the freedom to explore the darker impulses in people, the base primitive side that we like to think we’ve evolved beyond, but rather always lurks quietly at the back of our mind ready to make us scream or cave in to those things so terrible we have no choice but to buckle and spew.
SR: I have been a huge fan of all things horror since my early teenage years. I had been sheltered from it as a child and wanted to know what it was all about. I suppose it’s the dark side of human nature that intrigues me the most. The evils and horror of human nature and the world have always interested me. I have always been fascinated with the darker nature of humanity. The horror genre reflects a lot of those things. Even amplifies them, I think it’s a much more productive way for people to entertain our darker nature.
What are your favourite horror novels and why?
JF: Well, my two favourite horror authors are James Herbert and Stephen King – I still think that Herbert’s trilogy of rat-based books was amazing as he brought a tangible and brilliantly paced ever-growing sense of fear to proceedings.
King, of course, is a genius and should go down in history as one of mankind’s greatest writers.
MMcC: I intensely enjoy Mike Carey’s Felix Castor books, because he has successfully blended the low down and dirty gumshoe with an incredible supernatural horror theme while at the same time maintaining an superbly well devised back story/sub-plot. I’d also be remiss to leave out King’s Salem’s Lot and David Moody’s Hater, because again they made the very people you’d come to know throughout the books seem alien and dangerous, creating an air of paranoiac hysteria within their very pages.
SR: Hands down my two favorite horror novels have to be “Autumn” by David Moody, and “Flu” by Wayne Simmons. Autumn is the top of the list because David Moody creates such an effective atmosphere of tension and exploits it like a master. You are always waiting for the other shoe to drop and when it does, David delivers the goods. Wayne Simmons’ “Flu” is a close second to “Autumn”. Wayne’s style is much different from David Moody, David is subtle. Wayne is in your face, slap you upside the head and makes you pay attention. Wayne’s writing style drags you into the story and makes you face the situation with his characters. They both have the philosophy in writing of exploring the actions of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, I love that philosophy and it’s the philosophy I plan to use in all my future works
What’s going on for you now?
JF: Right this moment I am still busy promoting an anthology of zombie stories, which features my very own story ‘Always and Forever’, Rigor Amortis (available on Amazon should you be interested). I had such a blast working on the story itself, and then with the editors of it, that it actually kick-started my love for horror all over again.
In terms of new work well the zombie theme isn’t going to go away, it seems, as I am currently working on something that was going to be a long story but is now longer more likely to be a novella – possibly even a novel. I don’t want to say too much about it but it is a ‘western’ in feel, set in the future called ‘Redemption’.
MMcC: I’m currently finishing off writing my second Novel: The Generous Dead, while breaking my rear trying to get Deadfast as much publicity as I can muster now that it’s finally in print. Check it out at:
Deadfast Blurb: Meet Terry Fennell, Belfast’s guiltiest drunk and most unobliging detector. A former soldier for a secret branch of the army, Terry dealt with all the things that go bump in the night, now cut loose and disenfranchised after a secret handshake between the government and the nocturnal element put him out of a job and on to the dole queue. When a distraught mother seeks Terry out to help find her kids, kidnapped by her back-from-the-dead ex-husband, he can’t resist the lure of fast money. However, a simple no hope case turns into a complex web of lies and misdirection as Terry finds himself plunged into a life and death chase where violence is the fastest route to the truth and hard drinking is a hangover cure. It’s the sort of life he wishes was somebody else’s. It’s the sort of life that could get you… Deadfast
SR: I just submitted my first work for publication in an anthology and am currently working on my first novel. The one thing I have always wanted since i started reading and watching the horror genre is for someone to scare the hell out of me with their work. Although many have engulfed me into their stories and made me part of them like Wayne and David, none have yet to truly terrify me. That is what I am going to go for in my novel, I am going to attempt to scare even myself, and hopefully many many others once i get the book published.