It seems like an age since I last did one of these Five Minutes With Interviews, so today I am proud to have John McCuaig over for a wee chat.
John is a huge zombie and horror fan.He has short stories published in around twenty anthologies and four novels, one a collab with Sean Page.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, the youngest of five children, I moved to London, England when I was about twenty. I got married last month to Pam, my partner for almost 25 years, I think the expression “not rushing into things” was made for us. I work in the railway industry and I’ve been writing for only about 5 years. I now have 5 novels published and a short story collection along with another twenty odd short stories in various anthologies.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Personally I prefer Dark, that’s just my taste. I see horror as the fear of destruction, of death to you or your loved ones. I guess that’s why my favourite sub genres are zombies and vampires (although it has to be the very non sparkly variety).
Who are some of your favourite authors?
My normal reading is around the Zombie genre and in there I enjoy Sean Page for his survival guides, he’s a great writer who I’ve also been lucky enough to work with, Iain McKinnon for his character building and Timothy Long for his imagination.
What are you reading now?
Just started Voyage of the Dead by David Forsyth, I’ve heard good things about this book so thought I’d give it a try.
Which book do you wish you had written?
There’s a couple I read- I am Legend by Richard Matheson and Jumper by Steven Gould, two fantastic books that have left an impression on me but sadly they were also both poorly made into movies.
If you could use any other author’s creation in your own work, who or what would you use?
I love the character Robert Neville from I am Legend, a normal man caught up in an impossibly abnormal situation. A truly unforgettable creation.
Describe typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My most unusual habit is not writing every day, I might go a couple of weeks without a single word then go mad for the next couple of weeks and write every spare moment. This cycle seems to work for me, the time away from writing keeps me fresh I believe.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
My first published novel, The Church, will of course always have a special place in my heart but I’m really happy with how MetaHorde, my collab novel with Sean Page, turned out. Working on a novel with someone else can be fraught with danger, arguments and falling outs but Sean and I just clicked. I love this story, it a bit of a homage to the old 80’s style action movies and maybe even a bit further back to the “ripping yarn” style books of the 20’s and 30’s. It’s gaining critical acclaim and the sales are steady.
What is the hardest lesson you have learned with regards to your writing?
Not a hard lesson as such but I’ve realised writing is never going to make me rich. Also my great need for an editor, I believe I can spin a good story but my technical skills are not the best. When I get edits back there is usually far more red than black on the pages.
What do you like to do to relax?
I enjoy walking our dogs, two incredibly mad Dalmatians called Molly and Tyler. I also like to visit the kids and grandkids, although with a four and two year old involved that might not be classed as relaxing! I also love to watch my football team, Glasgow Celtic, unfortunately that’s very rarely live these days so I usually have to settle with seeing them on the t.v.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My latest novel is Fallen Angel, released in January by Post Mortem Press. This was a change of direction for me, all my previous novels were zombie related but this is a supernatural thriller and I think it has turned out well. I used this project as a sort of experiment to try other genres, however I enjoyed it so much the second book in a planned trilogy is about a quarter of the way through.
Apart from the follow up to Fallen Angel I’m also working on a follow up to my most popular novel, Escape from Dead City. This is called The Last Hope and I think it’s coming along nicely.
This year I also want to do another short story collection and maybe have a go at a Sci-Fi novel, possibly an invasion type story like War of the Worlds or Dark Skies.