Monday, April 19, 2010

David Moody Interview 4/19/10 Author of "HATER"

David Moody is the author of the 5 book "Autumn" series, and the new "Hater" series.
The Autumn novels, will start being released for the first time ever, in the U.S., in the the fall. The sequel to "Hater", "Dog Blood" will be released on June 8th here in the U.S.

If you're not aware of David's work, you soon will be. You are in for a real treat here at S & W's. I give you an interview with the wonderful writer David Moody. (Read it quickly before the world comes to an end and you'll wish you would have.)

1)You read "Day of the Triffids" at 10 years of age and then shortly after you read "The War of the Worlds". They've obviously had quite an impact on you as a writer. Do you think a 10 year old is ready to read, "Hater" or "Autumn"?

That’s an interesting question! My honest answer – it depends on the 10 year old! I think an important point to make is that when I read ‘Triffids’ and ‘WotW’, both books were quite old. Wyndham’s book was 30+, Wells’ almost 100 years old. With each successive generation, I think people become accustomed to new levels of horror and violence. What used to be considered as shocking, 1930’s black and white horror movies, for example, are now barely even considered horror at all. So I wouldn’t necessarily want my youngest children reading my books now, but I can see that things might change in another 10 or 20 years. It’s quite frightening to think about what might be scaring people in the future!

2)Plague, astroid, climate change, meltdown of the global economy, 2012... which ones gonna get us first, it looks like the economy's got a good head start?

You might be right. As I’m sitting here typing, however, the UK (and much of Europe) has been a virtual no-fly zone for almost a week because of a cloud of ash coming from an erupting volcano in Iceland. It certainly makes you think – the end of the world could creep up on us from any direction at any time!

3) After reading "I Am Legend", I could go out on a quiet Sunday, when our downtown's virtually deserted and imagine what it would be like to be the only one left alive. I assume you have had that same visualization of loneliness and isolation to write the books the way you do?

Yes, and I imagine many people often do try to picture a world in which they were the only occupant. I guess we often think that way because we’re frustrated with the hustle and bustle of everyday life or because of work, relationship issues, cash flow problems or anyone one of a thousand other things . . . it seems like an ideal way out, but I don’t think it would be as idyllic as our daydreams might suggest! Personally, I’m of the opinion that the human race can’t keep growing at the exponential rate it has been, and that something will happen sooner or later to redress the balance and reduce our numbers. But at the same time, our species seems to keep bulldozing its way forward as if we were unstoppable. I think it’s important to think about what might happen if everything we know and rely on was suddenly less certain that we thought . . .

4) You have somewhat of a fascination with the post- apocalyptic world. What are some of your favorite books and movies tied to that scenario?

I’ve already mentioned a couple in a previous answer. I’d also include ‘Earth Abides’ by George R Stewart which is a very interesting book that considers the longer term future of the post-apocalyptic human race. As far as movies are concerned, George Romero’s original three Living Dead movies were a huge influence on me. I grew up during the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war really affected the way I thought about the world. For that reason, I’d say the most important movie for me was a BBC TV film called ‘Threads’. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest tracking down a copy. It’s the single most horrific, terrifying and thought-provoking film ever made in my opinion. A cold, powerful and unblinking vision of the end of everything.

5) In a real case scenario, your among a small group of survivors. What are the most important things to know to survive? Other than stay quiet & stay in the dark.

I imagine that people wouldn’t survive as well as they might expect after the kind of events I write about. It wouldn’t be a case of raiding the nearest supermarket and riding out the storm. I think there are lots of things we take for granted which might catch us out at the end of the world! The loss of everything and everyone who matters to you, for example. The need to keep warm and have decent supplies of food and fresh water, etc. etc. And then there’s the little things you don’t think about . . . not having access to the Internet (which we all rely on more than we’d care to admit). Not having weather forecasts. Not knowing how to fix your car or where to get spare parts . . . the list goes on forever. I guess what I’m really saying is that no matter how prepared we think we are, everyone would
probably struggle to survive.

6) Is existing the same thing as living?

Definitely not. And I think that if you were reduced to just existing for a length of time with no change to your situation in sight, that you’d possibly want to reconsider living. If that sounds harsh then I apologise, but would there be any point in prolonging your own suffering unnecessarily? The key is finding something to live for!

7)Isn't it interesting to what great lengths some people would go to save their own life, but yet of how little of importance others lives are to them at the same time?

You’re absolutely right! Again, look at any one of a hundred movies where the hero is struggling to survive and escape with his or her life. Now look at the number of background characters who get killed in the process! It’s bizarre! And the really frightening thing is that probably just about everyone is pre-programmed to want to save themselves at the expense of everybody else. There aren’t going to be many happy endings, are there?!

8) Would you rather be with the few remaining or go quietly with the billions?

In spite of everything I’ve just been saying, I want to be one of the few who remain. Don’t get me wrong, if the world’s going to be reduced to a smouldering, ball of radioactive ash then take me out with the first bombs please, but if there’s a chance of surviving in a world where there’s a chance of living, then I’d like to take it.

9) In hindsight, putting the "Autumn" series online for free downloads, good move or bad move?

Exceptionally GOOD move! If I hadn’t given the book away, I doubt I’d be in this position now. When I’d finished writing the book, I decided I wanted two things from it: an audience and an income. I knew it wouldn’t generate an income straight away, but by giving the book away I knew I could start building an audience who would, I hoped, buy my future books. And it worked!

10) You've stated that your 1st novel "Straight to You" ( only 500 published ) hasn't aged well and that you are not a big fan of it. Can you tell us a little more about it in regards to the storyline and why you think it hasn't aged well?

Although I think the book has aged badly, I still love the story. In a nutshell, it’s a simple tale of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy and girl realise there’s less than a week left until the end of the world! It sounds very corny but it’s quite a unique and emotional tale. The reason it hasn’t aged well is because it was the first thing I wrote and had published. It’s quite clunky and the characters and dialogue are clumsy, and over the 16+ years since I first wrote the book I’ve become a much better writer. I do have plans to resurrect the story in the near future, but I can’t yet say how!

11) You've said "we think everything’s always going to stay the same, but that's not the case". What are your views in regards to religion, faith & hope and do you believe that mankind will persevere in the face of a worldwide calamity?

I don’t often talk about my views on religion. I believe it’s each to their own, but religion is DEFINITELY not for me. I have real issues with organised religions of any kind. I’m actually a very optimistic person, but that probably won’t come across in this answer! I am hopeful that mankind will persevere, but I think some fundamental changes are needed first. Most people, unfortunately, seem to be consumed with looking after number one at the expense of everyone else. Millions of people fighting for themselves is a recipe for failure (and, coincidentally, that’s one of the main themes of the ‘Hater’ series).

12) Why were "Hater" and "Dog Blood" both released first in the U.S., prior to their UK release? It seems like it would be the other way around.

‘Hater’ was originally released independently in 2006. The book was subsequently acquired by Thomas Dunne Books who are based in the US. Thomas Dunne Books then sold the rights to publishers in numerous other countries, the UK included. So the release dates vary from publisher to publisher, but generally it’s the US first. ‘Hater’ actually came out in the UK only 2 days after the US, and ‘Dog Blood’ will be out on both sides of the Atlantic within a couple of weeks of 8th June.

13) "Autumn", the movie, just got its DVD release in the U.S. in April. The movie was made with a very low budget, were you satisfied with the finished product and are their plans to continue the series on film?

That’s a really difficult question to answer. There were elements of the ‘Autumn’ movie I was satisfied with, and other elements I was less happy about. Generally, those were due to budgetary constraints. At the end of the day, I’m just happy that the film was made. And it was a great honour to see Dexter Fletcher and David Carradine portraying characters I’d created. I don’t know what the future of ‘Autumn’ on film is right now – I’m exploring a lot of possibilities!

14) Were you the first to have a zombie novel where the zombies aren't flesh eaters from the get go or was that something you'd seen before?

I’d never been able to understand why zombies ate flesh? They don’t drink, don’t sleep, don’t go to the bathroom . . . why would they need to eat? It was always my intention to write a story about zombies that didn’t eat!

15) Your zombies start to evolve as we get deeper into the book, it seems only natural that they would eventually seek food or meat as that is ingrained in our minds in real life. What would vegetarians do in the after life?

I agree with that comment to an extent, but we eat because our body tells us it’s hungry and because we’re using up our energy supplies. The bodies in the ‘Autumn’ books are operating on a whole different level and it’s only their most basic functions that are driving them forward. Biologically, their digestive system would turn to mush pretty quickly, so eating would be a pointless exercise. I’ve never thought about vegetarian zombies. Maybe that’s a question for George Romero, not me!

16) I think people will be very exited to see "Hater" coming out in film with Guillermo del Toro directing. Have you heard any ramblings about possible casting decisions?

Nothing yet! Whoever they cast, I doubt anyone will be as excited to see the movie as me. To have Guillermo involved is an honour. I’m a huge fanboy!

17) Will you be on hand when "Hater" is being filmed?

I’d love to be, and I’d certainly accept any invitation that’s offered!

18) Did you get a chance to meet or talk with David Carradine during the filming of "Autumn", and if so what was he like?

Unfortunately I missed him by just a few days. I was in Canada for a week in December 2007, he filmed his scenes a week later. By all accounts he was an incredible person, and his scenes in ‘Autumn’ are very powerful – nothing like the David Carradine you’d expect from Kill Bill and Death Race 2000 etc.

19) Do you have a title in mind for the 3rd & final book in the "Hater" series?

That’s a really interesting question. I have a few potential titles, but nothing definite just yet. I actually finished another draft this morning, and I do have a new title which I might use . . . We’ve talked about ‘Them or Us’ and ‘Outside-in’ but I don’t know yet!

20) The IMDB reviews for "Autumn" have been a mixed bag and at times they've been quite harsh. Does it bother you at all and what do you want everyone to know about the film before they see it?

The reviews don’t bother me too much, providing the film has been given a fair chance. As I said earlier, the movie isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have a lot going for it. Unfortunately, the film will suffer in the same way the books have because ‘Autumn’ is NOT a typical zombie story. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s focused on the characters (who struggle to survive), it doesn’t have flesh eating and it has evolving zombies which start out slow. I think when people hear that it’s a zombie story, they make a lot of assumptions and are disappointed when they don’t get a typical zombie gore-fest.

21) What kind of reviews did "Night of the Living Dead" get when it first came out?

That’s a very good point! ‘Night of the Living Dead’ certainly wasn’t hailed as a classic when it was first released!

22) Are you aware of any other authors who have had the same kind of success as you have, doing it the same way you did (posting on-line for free downloads) ? I mean that was a VERY GUTSY move on your part !!

Yes, there are quite a few of us! Scott Sigler, J C Hutchins and David Wellington to name but three!

23) Would you advise other young aspiring writers to take that same route?

Possibly, but they should think very carefully first. It’s not necessarily the easy option it seems. I think that before making your work available online it has to be as polished as if you were presenting it to a publisher for consideration. I’m starting to think that putting your work online is an alternative to the ‘submission>rejection’ merry-go-round which was always the mainstay of the pre-Internet publishing industry. Think of it as putting your portfolio online, and concentrate on getting as many people as you can to visit your website. Eventually the right person might stumble across you! But if you think about it, you’ve got to have more chance of getting to the right person if make your work available to everyone, than if you send focused submissions to individual editors or agents.

24) You live in a house full of women ( your wife & daughters)....what do they think of Dads or Hubby's fascination with the end of the world and zombies?

Generally they just don’t understand! I have my own little office where I hide with my Mac, my music, my Xbox, a TV and the Internet. I’m the only horror fan in the house, which can be a little problematical at times!

25) Any chance you'll be writing the screenplay for "Hater"?

I doubt it, although I’d love to and I will if I’m asked!

26) When are we going to get a chance to see and meet David Moody here in the U.S.?

I’ve finally got a little more financial and personal freedom (all those women I was just talking about are growing up) so there’s a good chance I’ll be visiting soon. I’m currently looking at a couple of possibilities for later this year, perhaps to tie in with the re-release of ‘Autumn’.

27) Whats next after you wrap up the "Hater" series? Do you have anything that you can share with us about future projects? ( In the chance the world doesn't end before then ).

I have more ideas than time! I’ve made the mistake of talking about projects too early before, so you’ll just have to wait and see!

28) Will we see Danny & Ellis reunited in Dog Blood?

You might, although not as you’d expect. I won’t say any more than that for fear of spoiling the book!

Final Question: You have a wonderful website and I know you are very fan friendly. Do you fear that success might one day temper that? Take Stephen King for example, he was wonderful with his readers for years & years but eventually he just got overwhelmed. Now he can hardly go out in most places without being mobbed. Would that be a nice problem to have?

Thanks for the compliment – I’m very proud of the site. I always think that readers are a priority because an author is just someone who writes for themselves if no-one else want their books! That said, it’s already difficult to balance my writing obligations with the number of emails I get. So if anyone does write to me, please have a little patience! I’m actually finding social networking sites are making communication a lot faster, more personal and more effective. People who are interested can find me on Facebook and Twitter and all manner of other sites!