Interviews

My first interview was with Graham Masterton, writer of such esteemed works as THE CHOSEN SEED, RITUAL and FAMILY PORTRAIT. Author of over a 100 novels and God knows how many short pieces (and don’t forget his non-fiction stuff), Graham was kind enough to turn his interview round in just a few hours. It’s been known for some to take almost four months!

1. Sum yourself up in 10 words

Somebody who lost the love of his life tragically early.

 2. You recently completed three novels for Hammer (Family Portrait, Mirror and The Pariah), who seem to be making a serious comeback in both the movie and literature indutries. What was that experience like, and instead of using your own plots, would you write a novel based on a Hammer movie, such as Lust for a Vampire or Nightmare?

The three novels which were published in the Hammer Books series were all novels which were originally published with considerable success in the 1980s.  Since my horror novels have been absent from the shelves of UKbooksellers for a very long time it was gratifying to see them back,  especially with their new covers,  and to hear from readers who had never read them before and were discovering my novels for the first time.  I have in the past written the book-of-the-movie,  notably Inserts for Richard Dreyfuss and Phobia for Paul Michael Glaser.  It’s a job.  I don’t think I would be very keen on doing it again now.

3. What are you working on right now?

I am finishing The Red Hotel which is a spooky story set in Baton Rouge featuring my aging hippie psychic Sissy Sawyer who appeared in Touchy & Feely and The Painted Man aka Death Mask.  I have completed a new novel featuring Det Insp Katie Maguire of An Garda Síochána in Cork,  a second outing for her after her initial adventure A Terrible Beauty.  This one is called Voice of an Angel and is concerned with frowned-upon goings-on in the Catholic church.  I am also preparing to write Community which will be a considerable departure for me yet draw on my experience with my disaster novels such as Plague and Famine.

4. What are you reading at the moment and do you have any favourite authors / books. What would be yourDesert Island selection (choose 5)?

I am reading The Daily Telegraph at the moment,  and even that very quickly.  My favourite books are The Process by Brion Gysin,  the story of a spaced-out black professor’s journey across the Sahara;  Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov;  The Man With The Golden Arm by Nelson Algren;   The Specialist by Lem Putt which is about building privies;  I Jan Cremer the autobiography of my friend Jan Cremer.

5. The British horror literary scene is going through something of a renaissance at the moment, with authors such as Adam Nevill and Conrad Williams (amongst others) gaining both critical recognition and decent sales for their work. Who of today’s batch of writers do you read?

None.

6. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given – and the worst?

The best suggestion came from William Burroughs who told me to “pick up my typewriter and walk” (this of course was in the days before PCs.) In other words live your novel,  don’t see it as a page or a screen in front of you.  Be there.  Feel the wind on your back and hear ambient voices and noises all around you.  His other excellent advice was to become El Hombre Invisible,  the Invisible Man…don’t appear in your novels,  don’t get in between the reader and the action.  Don’t show off your research or that fancy word you just learned.  There is no “worst writing advice.”  Nobody can tell anybody else how to write.  It’s like being a musician:  it’s all in the ear.  It does help to learn speling and gramer and where writer’s should place their apostrophes’.

6. What inspires you?

People, especially women. I love writing about women. The inner conflicts, the vanity, the sense of insecurity, the discovery of their own strength.

7. Which of your many do you feel is the best book you’ve written – and the one which disappoints you most?

My special favourite is Trauma,  which was about a crime scene cleaner called Bonnie Winter and her struggle to deal with the mundane horrors of her job as well as a crappy marriage and a boss who kept hitting on her.  So far my greatest disappointment is the story of two brothers from the MidWest who form a hugely successful rock band.  The working title is If Pigs Could Sing but I have never found the time to finish it.  I love writing humour.  I wrote columns for Punch for years,  as well as the notorious World of Nookie column for Men Only,  but it is very hard work,  being funny.  Tim Vine and I go out drinking together now and again and you never met two more miserable bastards in your life.

8. Are you someone who continually wants to edit their work, even when it’s on the shelf or the buyer’s bag?

No.  Once it’s finished it’s finished.  I go on to the next one.  But I am not too proud to edit my work if an editor asks for it – such as changing endings.

9. Which kids TV programme most affected you when you were younger (not Doctor Who!)?

Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men.

10. What historical event has affected you most?

World War Two.  If it hadn’t been for World War Two I wouldn’t have been born,  and even if I had been,  I wouldn’t have met my late wife Wiescka who was a displaced person from Poland.

11. What, for you, is the best time to write?

I was trained from the age of 17 to write on demand,  first as a newspaper reporter and then as a magazine editor.  I write 10 – 5 most days,  or at any other time when I have a deadline to meet.

Extra ‘funnies’ questions:

I thought all the previous questions were the ‘funnies’ questions.

12. Would you be upset if you found your book propping up someone’s table?

I have, and no. You have to accept that some people like what you write and some people don’t.  That’s why I never read reviews of my books.

13. Is it ok if I just look at the pictures?

Several of my short stories have been turned into comic strips,  and there was even a large collection of them published inPoland,  some of them quite rude.  So it’s OK for you to look at the pictures as long as you’re old enough.

14. What weapons would you use to kill a pointless celebrity such as Katie Price?

Why should I want to kill Katie Price?  I used to be the editor of Penthouse and I know the social significance of very large breasts.  She never did me any harm.  If you’re talking about Bruce Forsyth,  however…I think I have an RPG somewhere in the garage.

15. Who is your favourite news reader?

The pretty one with the glasses

16. When someone distracts you while you’re working, if there were no consequences what would you like to do to them?

Take them for a drink.

And there you go. My first ever interview. Okay some of the questions were a bit naff but I’d like to think I’ve learned from my mistakes. Have a look yourself. Tell me what you think.

 

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