Tell us a little bit about “Embers.” How did you come to write it?
I live in a lovely part of the countryside, and scattered around where I live (South Wales) there are at least half a dozen pillboxes. These are buildings that were built in WWII—designed as heavily fortified machine gun emplacements—and they formed defensive lines across southern and eastern Britain in case of a German invasion. They weren’t designed to stop the enemy advance, just slow it down. They were always built in line of sight of the next pillbox, and though many have now vanished, there are still lots of these overgrown, solid buildings, usually made of cast concrete and brick. They’ve always interested me. I’ve been in quite a few, and though usually now they’re just filled with litter or rotting leaves, their original purpose is still easy to imagine. Spooky places. And I’ve always wanted to include one in a story.
You’re an extremely prolific writer, often releasing multiple books per year. What’s your secret?
Writing a lot! And that’s about it. When I started writing, I learned to write quite quickly, as I worked early mornings or evenings before or after my day job. Now that I’m doing it full time I still find that I work quickly, and that suits me well. I love having several projects on the go—not always at the same time, but different books on the horizon always gives something slightly different to look forward to. Right now I have a thriller, a tie-in novel, and a horror novel lined up for the next year or two, as well as a couple of pitches for TV series and short stories, and other screenplay stuff. And, occasionally, sleep.
You’ve written novelizations and tie-in novels for several movies, and your short story “Pay the Ghost” is being made into a movie as we speak. Having seen the process from both sides, do you have a preference for one or the other?
Obviously seeing a movie made of one of my stories (starring Nicolas Cage!) is fantastic, and something not many people get to experience. So that’s very, very exciting. Tie-ins and novelizations are good fun, and I suspect I’ll always do them now and then. Writing within other people’s worlds flexes the writing muscles, and I only do projects that I’m a fan of anyway (Star Wars, Alien, Hellboy etc).
What are you working on these days?
Some new deals, none of which I can officially announce yet! But they include two new thrillers, a new horror trilogy, and a tie-in project. Watch this Space (and there’s a clue).
What classic movie monster do you feel you can best relate to, and why?
The werewolf. I might have a bald head, but my back is quite hairy. And at full moon, I always feel hungry . . .
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