More About the Author
I've been writing stories since infant school. The first story I remember writing was called 'Fire' and it was about... a fire. Later, when I was 11, I wrote my first horror novel, 'A Package Called Death'. This was 24 pages long and handwritten. I submitted it to Pan Books, with a covering letter. I told them that I understood about publishing, that I was aware that a book needed to sell. 'All of my friends at school will buy a copy,' I wrote. 'So you have nothing to worry about.'
Pan rejected it. But I received a very encouraging letter from them. My next novel was entitled '36 Hours Till Doom' (40 pages) and was about a spy who steals a Russian submarine and, during a stand-off, sacrifices his life by launching all of its nuclear missiles at Moscow. This one was typed out by the mother of a schoolfriend. 'Escape from Asquinon', a Star Wars meets The Lord of the Rings epic was longer still. In fact, it remains unfinished, at around 50,000 words.
I was 20 when I made my first serious attempt at writing a novel. 'ID' was very much an homage to my then hero, Stephen King, a writer whose sequence of early novels beginning with 'Salem's Lot' and included 'The Shining', 'The Stand' and 'The Dead Zone'. A brilliant quartet. It drew me in to horror fiction. 'ID' was dreadful and remained locked in my archive files, never to see the light of day. But I'd hit 70,000 words - novel territory - so it was a psychological victory for me. The next novel, 'Sipping Midnight' was written while I was a student at Bristol Polytechnic, where I was given advice and support from local author David Peak. But it was 'Head Injuries', written when I was 24, that set me on my way.
My most recent novels are 'Decay Inevitable', 'Blonde on a Stick' and 'One', which recently won the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel, beating Stephen King's 'Under the Dome' in the process (the second time I've managed to do this... 'The Unblemished' won the International Horror Guild Award, ahead of 'Lisey's Story').
It's an incredible thrill to be on an awards shortlist alongside the man who turned my head toward horror fiction all those years ago... but then, it's an incredible thrill to be writing novels.