Ginger Nuts of Horror
Natalie Gosney was born in 1983 in Paris, France in a small private clinic just off the Champs-Élysées. When she was three years old she moved to Leeds, England with her parents where she spent her childhood climbing trees, playing make-believe and reading lots of books. Her passion for books only grew as she got older, and with this passion came the desire to tell stories of her own. She attended Leeds University where she studied French with Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages.
Later she studied Classics in addition to courses in Writing Short Stories and Creative Writing. She began her working career in 2003 at the age of 19 in a commercial estate agents which sold only fish & chip shops. Since then she has had various jobs, and got married in 2005. She relocated to South Yorkshire with her family in 2010. Now she is a full time writer and mother, and she wakes up to sound of cows lowing in the morning from the nearby farmer's field.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I could...but should I? Quite honestly I like the idea of being mysterious, it's far more fun that way.
Oh...alright...if you insist.
I'm Natalie, I'm twenty-nine (plus a year or two but it would be preferable if we just stopped at twenty-nine!), I'm a horror/supernatural writer, currently focusing on The Wolf Born Saga, which is a thrilling four book series centred around werewolves.
I live in Yorkshire, UK with my family and small furry mammal.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
What do you mean? I wasn't aware I'm ever not writing! Okay, okay, I suppose I partake in basic human needs like eating and sleeping.
In all seriousness, I like spending time with my family, reading, watching TV series, eating (far too much unfortunately), going to the cinema, walking, wrestling bears... (there may be a fabrication in my list of pastimes but I'll let you figure out which one).
What’s your favourite food?
I have far too many favourite foods. My tastebuds know no limits! (well, very few). I adore spaghetti bolognese. If I absolutely had to choose one dish, I think that would be a strong contender for first place.
I'm a sucker for pastries as well though – crepes, doughnuts, cinnamon buns, danish pastries, maple twists...you name it.
My thighs hate me!
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
Alice Cooper without a doubt. I'm not sure that any of his songs really reflect my life, but he's been my favourite singer for so long that my life's soundtrack wouldn't be complete without him.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I think they differ slightly. I refer to myself as a Supernatural Horror author, so maybe I'm just awkward.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Tom Holt is my favourite author, and actually he's a comic fantasy author rather than a horror writer, but my taste in books is rather diverse.
Another fave is James Redfield. His Celestine Prophecy book series really inspired me when I was younger. Again, not a horror author; this time spiritual fiction.
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
Quite honestly I don't have favourite horror novels or films. If we're talking about a TV series though I'd have to plump for Supernatural. What can I say? It wouldn't be still going strong after nearly ten years if it didn't have something appealing about it.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
I think the film Scream probably summed it up with the “I'll be right back” scenario. Another is when people run up the stairs. What do they hope to achieve with that? Surely running out of your house and heading for the nearest public place would be the most sensible thing to do when you're being chased by a scary monster or axe-wielding lunatic?
Which fictional character would be you perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
Haha, we're talking about the horror genre. I don't think any fictional horror characters are ever going to be classed as the perfect neighbour! As for a nightmare neighbour, well the most “nightmarish” neighbour would obviously have to be Freddy Krueger, and yes, pun absolutely intended!
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
I think vampires are being a little overdone. Time for werewolves to rise in popularity...but then again maybe not too much. A saturation of anything is never a good thing.
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
The last great book I read wasn't necessarily of the horror genre – as I said, my tastes are diverse. I'm currently reading Ketchup With Everything by horror author Nathan Robinson; so far, so good.
It has been a long time since I've read a book which disappointed me, thank goodness; life's too short to waste on disappointing books.
How would you describe your writing style?
That's a hard question to answer, because I don't think I can compare myself to any other authors I've read. My style is my own I guess. I start writing and words come out! Haha! I like to write in the third person most of the time, but I'm not opposed to first person perspective on occasion.
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
I'm fortunate not to have received any negative reviews so far. I'm kind of hoping it stays that way! *crosses fingers* Maybe that's wishful thinking, but seriously, people seem to like Wolf Born.
There are a couple which made me really proud though – I received 4 out of 5 stars from InD'Tale e-zine and a very favourable review, and another blogger gave my book 5 out of 5 stars and wrote a very interesting review which made me look at my book from an entirely different perspective, so that was fantastic.
It's often hard to see your own book the way a reader sees it, and sometimes the reader takes the story from an entirely different angle, so it gave me something to think about.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
Just the logistics of juggling family life and writing a book. Having young children is never easy, but particularly when trying to write. I'm the kind of author who needs peace and quiet otherwise I get distracted by the world around me.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
There are certainly subjects I would feel uncomfortable writing about, but to be honest I don't think there's any need for me to include things that I don't want to include. I create worlds, so it's my decision.
If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?
A good horror story weaves the deaths into the plot; they're not just there to appease a reader who might dislike a specific character or other. So, with that in mind, I wouldn't kill off any characters in someone else's book. I think the author keeps the characters alive that s/he feels necessary to keep alive, and it's usually for a good reason.
What do you think makes a good story?
Depends entirely on the genre, but a good horror book definitely needs suspense, that's quite obvious.
There's also a difference between “what makes a good story” and “what makes a good book”. A good story can be purely told by word of mouth, but it has to be something that keeps the reader or listener fascinated. They want to know more. They have to identify with the main character/s in some way, otherwise nobody would care what happens to them.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
One thing I found when writing is to avoid names that are too similar to each other, (unless there's a purpose for having similar names). So Harry, Henry, Howard, Hewie and Herbert might work as five brothers I suppose, but if you're going to feature them all quite copiously throughout the book, and have them engaging with each other in dialogue, it's going to get really confusing.
Another is that if a name is too wholesome sounding, it might not work for am antagonist, or vice versa.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I plan things out more than I used to. I was always very much a “wing-it and hope for the best” sort of writer when I was younger, (which worked reasonably well), but these days I find it helps to have a bit more structure so I know where I'm going with the story, especially as I'm writing a four book saga so all the books need to tie in together.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Imagination, and at least a basic grasp of how to construct a sentence (or a damned good editor!)
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I think the best piece of advice has to be that the rules of writing a book are only guidelines. Ultimately, know what the rules are, but break them when you need to.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I market my books in various ways but so far the most successful I've found has been to attend conventions. I love meeting people and getting to tell people a little about my work face-to-face, and I think people appreciate that personal touch when I'm signing a book for them.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
I guess it really has to be Carly. She talks to herself a lot which is something I'm prone to doing myself, and she worries a lot – I like the fact that she's not perfect, it makes her quite relatable. She has been thrown into a world of werewolves and has to adapt somehow, and it's interesting for the reader (and even myself as the author) to see how she develops as a character with all the craziness that gets thrown her way.
How about the least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
In terms of personality it has to be Seth, but at the same time I think he's just fantastic. He's the bad guy you love to hate.
There aren't actually any characters in my story which aren't appealing in some way, even if they're protagonists, because unappealing characters are simply redundant.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
Can't I have all three?
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
That's like trying to choose between my children. It cannot be done.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
I guess “Barbie goes shopping” which I wrote when I was five years old is probably not my finest work, but then again for a five year old it was epic!
For those who haven’t read any of your books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
The entire Wolf Born Saga, which is still a work in progress as only the first two books have been written and published so far, definitely best represents my work to date. Who knows though, after I've finished writing about werewolves I may write something else entirely different.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My latest book is Wolf Witch which is actually due for official publication on 1st May but I'm already sending out pre-orders for people who have ordered a copy through the official Wolf Born website. It continues with the story of Carly and her new life as a werewolf, which of course was introduced in Wolf Born.
The next book in the saga which I'm about to begin writing is Wolf Blade. Again it will continue with the same theme, and you might guess from the title of the book (and the cover) that it has something to do with a very important dagger.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do? And what would be the answer?
I wish somebody would ask me what my favourite mythical creature is. I think people just assume it's werewolves. In fact I adore mermaids; as a child I always wanted to be a mermaid. I like the happy Disney-esque mermaids though rather than deadly sirens, so that's not particularly helpful for horror writing, so on that note I'm probably better off sticking to werewolves.