Ginger Nuts of Horror
Guy Adams lives in Spain, surrounded by rescue animals. Some of them are his family. He spent over ten years working as a professional actor and comedian. He has pretended to be Ernest Hemingway, Hitler, Sherlock Holmes and writhed about in his underpants simulating sex with a woman dressed as a horse. Acting is an unusual thing to do with one's time.
Eventually he decided he'd quite like to eat regularly. Switching careers he became a full-time writer.
Nobody said he was clever.
Against all odds he managed to stay busy and since then he has written over twenty books. From bestselling humour title THE RULES OF MODERN POLICING (1973 Edition) to novels for BBC Books' TORCHWOOD range and brand new adventures for Sherlock Holmes in THE BREATH OF GOD and THE ARMY OF DR MOREAU.
He is the author of THE WORLD HOUSE novels, the DEADBEAT series and the weird westerns THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE INFERNAL and ONCE UPON A TIME IN HELL.
He also writes comics, including THE ENGINE from Madefire, the creator-owned GOLDTIGER and the forthcoming ULYSSES SWEET: MANIAC FOR HIRE from 2000AD.
THE CLOWN SERVICE, his new series from Del Rey UK mixes espionage with horror and fantasy. Because he's never met a genre he didn't like. He isn't a spy. But he is a boy, so naturally he's always dreamed of being one.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I am the King of Silly Careers. I ‘worked’ as an actor for a number of years (being an actor is a state of mind, it’s what you pretend you are while being employed as something else) then I became an author. I clearly dislike money and security with a passion.
Despite this obvious idiocy I’ve written twenty-odd books in the last eight years or so since going full-time. Some tie-in books, some non fiction, ten novels, the odd shopping list.
I live in Spain with my partner, Debra and a collection of rescue animals. They have no idea that they’re my back-up plan for when the advances stop coming and I risk starvation. In case that sounds cruel, I will make it clear that I’ll eat Debra first, I’m very fond of my pets.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I don’t much care really. I’m terrible at sticking to any one genre so I don’t feel I can really claim a label. There are always strong Horror elements to my work but I rarely write anything that could be described as solely one thing or another.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Oh God, ‘favourite’, I’m just no good at ‘favourite’. It drives Debra up the wall but I can never say what my ‘favourite’ of anything is. I read about fifty books a year, and stacks and stacks of comics and I enjoy them all (because if I didn't I wouldn’t have bothered finishing them). Any attempt to start a list would get out of control and make me feel bad in half an hour’s time when I realise I’ve forgotten someone. When you read everything from Ramsey Campbell to PG Wodehouse, Agatha Christie to Michael Marshall Smith it’s hard to pin yourself down to a handful of names.
What are you reading now?
I always have several non-fiction books on the go, usually about movies (I’m a bit obsessed about movies) I’m reading Kim Newman’s NIGHTMARE MOVIES, Jonathan Rigby’s AMERICAN GOTHIC and Tim Lucas’ ALL THE COLOURS OF THE DARK. I watch the films discussed while I work through them, because I’m anal and weird. It also means the books last ages as I dip in and out.
As for fiction, I just finished John Gardener’s first Bond novel LICENCE RENEWED and haven’t decided what to start next. It was such a weird novel, a real product of the eighties. Bond drives a Saab and admires the villain’s luxurious Slumberland bed. It’s like someone gave Alan Partridge a gun and asked him to save the world.
I also devour comics on a weekly basis. Everything from Fantastic Four to Fables.
Which book do you wish you had written?
See, this is another tricky one. I love lots of books but the reason I love them is because I couldn’t have written them. I couldn’t have written them because the writers who did are much better than me. Why read people who don’t write better than you do?
Also a great book is a combination of story and style. Voice is everything. I’ve never finished a book and wished I’d written it because if I had it would have been a different book, a different voice, and therefore I might not have liked it!
How would you describe your writing style?
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really. I think most writers cry all the time and curl up under the desk in the foetal position.
In all seriousness there’s no magic to my process. I just work a lot of hours. I do seven days a week and work as much as I can. I do my best to keep my evenings free but sometimes, when the deadline looms, I have to scrap that as well.
It can be a bit all-consuming and makes me an extremely boring person to share a life with.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
Every one of my books contains something I’m pleased with but it’s hard for me to be objective. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HELL is the book I’ve most enjoyed writing, which is changing the question rather (conveniently it’s also the book I’m currently littering the Internet with promotion for, but the answer’s genuine). The whole HEAVEN’S GATE trilogy is something I’ve wanted to write for years but this second book was the easiest, most bizarre and creative experience I’ve had at my desk for years.
I tend to find writing rather hard but this year has been exceptionally difficult because Debra had to go into hospital for a cranial operation. She’d been ill for a long time and in a great deal of pain. It’s very hard when someone you love is suffering and the eight hours she was in theatre were a real endurance test. I think she found it quite uncomfortable too.
It played havoc with my concentration, my deadlines and my state of mind.
She’s fine now, I’m pleased to say, though she took quite a while to recover.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HELL was the book I wrote once she was released from hospital and all the fear, frustration and tiredness from the previous eighteen months or so was exorcised on the page.
Cowboys in Hell. It’s surreal, fun and horrible, usually all in the same paragraph. I’m really pleased with it and hope people enjoy reading it.
My mother didn’t, she thought it was terribly disturbing. So there you go, there’s a recommendation for you.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
I’ve just finished the second in THE CLOWN SERVICE series that I write for Del Rey. They’re espionage/horror mashups. It’s called THE RAIN-SOAKED BRIDE and it’s about an assassin who kills using magic. There are elements of M.R. James, RINGU and Bond and I think it’s come out really well. That’s out next June.
Next I have the third in the HEAVEN’S GATE books, FOR A FEW SOULS MORE. Hopefully it’ll be just as much fun as the last one!
I’m also writing comics (finally!) and I have a series in 2000AD that’s just started a nine week run. It’s called ULYSSES SWEET: MANIAC FOR HIRE, a reworking of an old character created by Grant Morrison many moons ago. I’m actually terribly pleased with it and the response so far has been really good so hopefully it will be the first of many.
'Heaven? Hell? There's no difference. Angels, demons, we're all a bit of both. This could be the most wondrous place you ever experience or so terrifying it makes you pray for death. Not that death would help you, of course; there s no escape from here...' Wormwood has appeared, and for twenty-four hours the gateway to the afterlife is wide open. But just because a door is open doesn't mean you should step through it... Those who have travelled to reach the town are realising that the challenges they've already faced were nothing compared to what lies ahead. The afterlife has an agenda of its own, and with scheming on both sides of reality, the revelations to come may change the world forever.
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