Ginger Nuts of Horror
Repeated viewings of The Shining as a child have left Jacob with a love of the dark and the disturbing that really comes to life in his writing.
He works to a soundtrack of blisteringly heavy music, and, like his beloved metal, his writing is brutal, uncompromising and intense.
Jacob’s work includes: Perpetual Darkness – A collection of four pulse-pounding horror novellas; Becoming… – A blood-drenched horror novel where the survivor of a serial killer’s rampage descends into murder, madness and depravity; Karma Personified – A hitman’s confessional; Dying Breed – A terrifying series of apocalyptic horror novels; and many others.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a horror writer and a huge fan of horror and heavy metal. I currently have four novellas available and am within a month of having my first novel released. I’m very happily married and we have a gorgeous little girl who is nearly two.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Top of the list has got to be playing silly buggers with my daughter. It’s all about getting that grin then that little belly laugh. Makes my day every time.
I love spending time with my wife and watching TV, either comedy (favourites are King of Queens, the Simpsons and Curb Your Enthusiasm) or action stuff like 24, Dexter and Sons of Anarchy. I also enjoy playing guitar, reading and eating.
What’s your favourite food?
Pizza. As long as there aren’t mushrooms anywhere within a ten mile radius of it. Filthy things!
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
Someone heavy. Probably Pantera or Machine Head.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Horror. It’s less ambiguous. You know what you’re getting yourself into.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Shaun Hutson, Stephen King, James Herbert, Richard Laymon. There’s an awesome guy called Robert Jackson Bennett who wrote Mr Shivers, one of my all time favourites.
Also, some friends who are great writers include Richard Rhys Jones, Iain Rob Wright, Poppet, Rod Glenn and Chuck Lovatt.
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
Book: I’d say either IT or Pet Sematary. Both of those I found impossible to put down.
Film: I’d have to go with The Shining cos that’s what put me on this path when I think about it.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
…and it was all just a dream! Lame!
Which fictional character would be you perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
Perfect neighbour has got to be Kevin McCloud from Home Alone. Your house’d be in safe hands with him looking out for you!
Nightmare neighbour probably would be Stifler from American Pie. The first night of partying would be awesome but after that I’d be pissed off cos I couldn’t sleep off my hangover.
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
It’s doing great as far as I can see. There are some really talented guys around at the moment.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
The biggest disappointment I had recently was Dr Sleep. It could have been so much more – it’s the sequel to The Shining for crying out loud – but the villains were really lame and not even a little bit scary. That ruined it for me and I had a hard time finishing it.
The last great book was Compulsion by Shaun Hutson. Absolutely impossible to put down. I was reading it on a plane and was actually gutted when we landed cos it meant putting the book away!
How would you describe your writing style?
Like Taz from the Looney Tunes cartoons, right up in your grill, spitting, snarling and trying to tear you limb from limb. A huge emphasis on action and gore. I always try to start with a bang and sustain a relentless pace throughout.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
A lot of the good ones. There haven’t (touch wood) been many bad ones so far. Only one sort of half decent one. I’m over it.
One of my favourites was ‘Pet Sematary on steroids’, for Digital Children. Praise indeed. I still grin when I think of that one!
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
The hardest thing I find at the moment is finding the time to write in a busy life. Sometimes when I’m tired I end up faffing about on Facebook, so I can struggle with focus, but most of the time that’s not a problem. The actual ideas and writing seems to come easily (hope I haven’t jinxed myself by saying that).
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Tough one. I doubt I’d do a political thriller because they always bore the crap out of me.
If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?
I’d like to see Hannibal Lecter cooked and eaten by the families of his victims. I think that would be poetic justice and I think even he’d approve of that.
What do you think makes a good story?
Personally I like a story that starts with the action and doesn’t have a whole load of dull scene-setting at the beginning. I like blood and guts and a really fast pace. I love that ‘One more chapter’ feeling you get when you almost have to be prised away from the book. Shaun Hutson is the master at writing something so addictive you stay up all night to finish it.
That’s something I passionately strive for in my own work.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Not at all. I just wing it with names. One thing I try to do is keep them short so I can save time typing!
I try to avoid calling them after friends or family members, though I might start if they ask me to write them in for a spectacularly gory demise!
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
After some experimentation with genres and styles, I have found the style I want to pursue and try to get all my work to fit the same fast-paced, blood-up-the-walls, one-more-chapter mould.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
I find my Kindle hugely helpful for editing. Especially when I can highlight parts and make notes. That’s been a godsend and has helped me to save a small forest as I used to print out each and every draft for editing. Plus it’s handy for proofing the e-book versions and checking how the cover is going to look.
Facebook is also very handy for getting feedback on story scenes and covers, blurbs etc.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Write what you would want to read and don’t try to pander to an audience. Can’t remember who it was said it, but it’s so true, you’ve got to follow your gut and do your own thing.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
See this is one part of the deal I struggle with. I tend to go for Facebook posts and Tweets etc, but I try to limit it as I don’t want to post the same thing every few hours and irritate people.
Goodreads can be good, but in general the promotion is one area I need to work on. I’ve had the most success with free promotions on Amazon. Sales tend to pick up a bit after that.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
I like Captain Abbott from one of my upcoming releases. He’s a Vietnam vet, tough as nails but funny too. He has some awesome one-liners!
How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
Least favourite is Alfred from Becoming… he’s utterly cruel and remorseless. Makes for a hell of a bad guy but he kind of makes me sick. I don’t know where he came from (in my imagination) but it sure as hell wasn’t a good place.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
I’d settle for a little bit of both. Those pizzas won’t pay for themselves…
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
Becoming… it’s the first thing I ever wrote that I kept. It sat in my attic in a bin bag for years because I couldn’t bear to part with it. Now, it’s gone through many a change and it’s finally ready for release. Mega proud of that one.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
Not really. Sometimes reading back the first draft of something makes me wince in places but there’s usually something salvageable if I dig deep enough.
For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
Either Becoming… or Perpetual Darkness which is a collection of my four relentless horror novellas. Both of those perfectly encapsulate my style.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
The latest book is Becoming… which (depending on when this interview goes live) is either out now or about to be released.
The blurb for it is as follows:
'There’s a psychotic clown loose in the North East town of Marshton and he’s leaving a trail of suffering and death in his wake.
But the victim of one of his rampages lives to fight another day.
Mentally broken by the deaths of his family members, Luke Miller starts a slide into murder, madness and depravity.
The clown is about to discover he isn’t the only psycho in town…'
As I write this I’m working on the second part of an apocalyptic horror series entitled Dying Breed. It’s got some nice creepy bits but it’s going to be a while before it’s ready for release.
The first part of the series should hopefully be out later this year.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
Them: Would you and your wife like a free all inclusive holiday to the Maldives?
Me: Hell yeah! *snatches hand off*
For more information on Jacob follow the links below
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