Dec 16, 2011

Say Hello to Craig of Rain

Q. You seem to write a lot of horror, is it your favorite genre?

I do write mainly horror. I began writing fantasy (I wrote four – 100K each!), then sci-fi, then humour. I think primarily I’m a horror writer now, though I like to write humour still. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to fantasy...epic fantasy takes too damn long to write. I’m really impatient.

Q. Do you like to scare people with your writing?

Nope. I think that’s kind of a side effect of good horror. I much prefer to make people engage with my characters. I think a lot of horror goes all out for shocks, but I think the best horror makes you care, and sometimes even leaves you feeling happy at the end. Although, yes, I like people to freak out. And maybe make them wet themselves a bit with fear, too. But in a nice way.

Q. You have a novella out with Blood Bound Books, tell me all about it?

‘Scarecrow’ is about a family of lunatics that punish an ordinary couple for an imagined slight. It’s about one of my darkest fears, really – that of seemingly senseless violence that pervades society. I find the random act of human violence far more distressing, personally, than supernatural horror.

Q. You also have two novels that are coming out with two different publishers, what are those about, without spoiling them too much?

‘Rain,’ from Twisted Library Press, concerns a day in the life of John March. He’s having a great day. He inherits a fortune, but something else, too – a bequest of a box with odd markings and a vial of water within. Then it starts to rain. There’s something in the rain, something evil. It wants the strange bequest...and it will do anything to get it. It’s atmospheric, horrific, and suitably sick. My wife refused to read it after dark, so I guess it’s pretty effective!

‘Spiggot,’ from Grand Mal Press, is a comic police novel, concerning the adventures of a degenerate police officer called Spiggot, whose soul is shunted into the body of a mad axe murderer in a mental hospital. There’s a whole cast of insane characters; Spiggot’s partner, Trout, his sole redemption, his arch nemeses, The Egyptian Lady from Stoke and the Amazonian, and a sadistic copper called Dave Grayne.

I’m really proud of both books. I promised myself when I started out that I would always write books I’m proud of. So far, so good.

Q. Who were the most influential writers on you that were not horror based?

Outside the horror genre, Lee Child, for style. George R.R. Martin (though he writes horror, too – check out Meathouse Man, if you haven’t – it’s one of my favourites of his) for sheer audacity. I think any writer who throws caution to the wind is to be admired. I like a lot of horror, but I read outside the genre more often than within. Terry Pratchett, too, I believe is and always will be one of the greats. I think there’s a lot to learn from every book you read, but reading a novel by a truly great author gives you something to aspire to, whether it’s within your genre or not.

Q. Do you prefer writing novels or novellas?

Novels, definitely. I always want to write novels. I just don’t have the time to write novels exclusively, and sometimes an idea just doesn’t want to be a novel. You can’t force a short story to be a novella, and you can’t force a novella to be a novel. The idea pretty much dictates how long a story will be, ultimately.

Q. What are your favorite movies in general?

I love Star Wars (IV, V, VI – in case you thought to ask!) and all time, I’d have to say the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I like fantastical movies, rather than those based in real life. I live real life every day – I don’t want to watch it when I’m trying to escape! Same reason I don’t watch soaps on the television, or reality TV. In fact, come to think of it...I don’t watch television at all!

I really don’t watch many movies anymore, either, or read as much as I’d like – I have three children...what spare time I do get, I spend writing.

Q. When you are writing something scary or horror based, do you find it easier to read something in another genre so reduce the risk of being influenced?

Definitely – I don’t know how other authors work, but I suspect this is the case. Personally, when I’m writing horror, I don’t read anything similar. That said, I usually read in between books, rather than when I’m writing. When I write I do it flat out, and there isn’t usually any time for anything else!

Q. Do you think the market is being saturated, or that for the first time writers are able to make their voices heard due to the advances in technology?

Again, it’s just my opinion, but I think the market is saturated. In some ways, it’s good – good for writers to get their voice heard, good for readers to be given a wider choice (I think the range of books offered by the bigger publishers is simply too narrow). But when that voice is shouting among so many others, no one’s going to hear it anyway. I like the idea of there being some kind of checks and balances on what’s publishable – I’d also like someone with a modicum of sense to be in charge. If I see one more Da Vinci knock-off published, I’m going postal.

Q. What is your favorite type of food?

Japanese food! I lived in Japan for five years, and I can honestly say the only thing I miss about Japan is the food. Sushi’s my favourite. A sushi bar just opened in Norwich, my closest city, and my wife’s treating me to a trip when my first novel comes out.

Q. If you could go on holiday anywhere, where would you go?

Norfolk’s coast! I get really nervous travelling. I don’t really want to get on a plane. If I could fly under the influence of some kind of heavy tranquiliser, like Mr. T, then I’d say Maine. I’ve always wanted to go to Maine.

Q. What was the scariest book/movie you read as a child?

Headhunter, by Michael Slade. I think I was around eleven or twelve. I think I found it horrific, rather than frightening, though. I don’t really find books or movies scary. I just find everything else terrifying! To be honest, though, I creep myself out sometimes when I’m writing...but that’s because I’m a wuss.

Q. I have heard a rumour you are known as ‘Slug Man’ care to explain?

Haha – I always wear shoes going into my study. My study’s in a brick outbuilding, and in the rain the slugs like to come in to play...after treading on one barefoot (they squish very well between the toes) I always wear shoes when I’m writing!

Q. What other projects are you working on that you want to share –
I also have a novel due out in May from Evil Jester Press, called The Love of the Dead. I can’t wait for that one. That’s the third novel acceptance of 2011...and the last, I should think! Cutting it a bit fine now for anymore!

My blog page is here:


  1. Any man who talks about slugs and bare feet is okay in my book. Reminds me of the movie about the man-eating slugs. Such fun!

    I love the concept of not writing horror to scare the crap out of you, but drawing people in to it. Great thinking.

    I love this interview! What kind of wine goes best with slugs?


  2. Hock's pretty good. Brings out the flavour of the flesh. ;)

  3. Fab interview -- well done, Ms. Robb -- always a pleasure to read about Mister Saunders and his work!

  4. Great interview, Craig. I'm going to have to get "Rain" for sure. And I definitely agree that character should be the most important thing in any book. If you don't care about the characters, why would you care about what happens to them?

    The slug thing cracks me up. And, I do occasionally scare myself when writing as well. I think that's how you know when you're doing it right!

    Thanks for interviewing him, Suzanne!


  5. Thank you, Stacey! Rain's out on you some money :) I scare myself writing all the time...the latest, A Stranger's Grave, I freaked myself out so much I was glad for the slugs, just for a bit of company ;)

    Thanks, too, Suzanne, from me. Lovely to be interviewed!

  6. Thank you, Greg, too - Suzanne's great, isn't she?! :)