Upon graduating, Andrew’s first screenplay attracted the attention of BAFTA award-winning director, Philip Saville. He went on to develop film projects with Hammer Films and Paul W.S Anderson’s Impact Pictures and was invited to devise storylines and write for cult smash TV hit, ‘Urban Gothic‘. Alongside this, Andy ran a video rental store in South London, which boasted the largest horror collection in the UK.
In 2007 he created, wrote and directed YouTube sensation, ‘In The Dark‘. Ground-breaking and terrifying, it was the first YouTube real time horror and was released to fantastic critical and popular acclaim.
This was swiftly followed by his first feature, ‘The Possession of David O’Reilly‘ (UK title – ‘The Torment‘) cited by Bob Keen as ‘The best horror script I have read since Hellraiser‘. Written and directed by Andrew, starring Giles Alderson and Francesca Fowler and edited by Kant Pan, it quickly garnered much praise and enjoyed a UK theatrical and DVD release in August 2010 courtesy of Momentum Pictures. In the U.S, it was instantly picked up in May 2010 by IFC Films for its IFC Midnight On Demand, and DVD release in November 2010 and is also available via Shudder.
‘The Torment oozes creepiness’ Rough Cut Reviews ‘The Torment is a triumph’ Subba Cultcha
‘A quality British horror film and well worth a watch. In the Dark. With the sound cranked up to eleven’ Gorepress
Andy recently completed his first novel, ‘Remains‘ and is in pre-production for his next horror feature.
Andrew Cull chats to Kendall Reviews.
Once I’d read Hope and Walker, I knew that Andrew Cull was an author that I wanted to hear more from. Packed within it’s 34 pages was a story that utterly captivated me, a main protagonist in Em that I genuinely cared for and was taken on a journey that produced more emotion than far weightier tomes could aspire. It comes as no surprise to me that Hope and Walker has now been nominated as a finalist for a prestigious Aurealis Award for Best Horror Novella. I’m delighted to be able to talk to Andrew here at Kendall Reviews at such an exciting time! To celebrate this nomination Andrew has produced a very limited paperback run of the book (just 100 copies) and Kendall Reviews has five signed copies to give away! Please check the entry details at the end of this interview, you could be one of the lucky winners!
Now the kettle’s boiled, join me as I chat to the multi-talanted Andrew Cull
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
I’m a horror writer and feature director. I wrote and directed ‘The Possession of David O’Reilly’ (UK title ‘The Torment’.) Recently, I’ve taken some time out from film to focus on my prose writing. I’ve got a collection of short stories coming out in May, and my first novel, ‘Remains’ is due for release on October 31st this year.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
I love videogames. I’m a huge fan of concept art and video game art design. I’ve got an ever growing collection of art books from my favourite games and artists. I’m also a screenarcher (or video game photographer) which means I shoot the worlds and characters of video games using tools such as photomodes.
I have a Flickr page where I post my screenshots: https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewcull/
If I ever had the chance, it would be a dream job for me to write and direct my own video game.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
That’s a good question. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on when I was a kid. I used to hide under the covers, reading with a torch, so my parents wouldn’t know I was up late on school nights. I loved true ghost story books and anything about the paranormal. But, if I had to pick one book that had the greatest effect on me, I’d say ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson. I’ve loved that book ever since I first read it as a young teenager.
KR: What are you reading now?
I don’t tend to read while I’m writing which means my TBR pile grows and grows. I’ve recently caught up on a few titles I’ve wanted to read for a while. I read, and really enjoyed, ‘Bone White’ by Ronald Malfi and I’m trying to find time to read more of ‘The Fisherman’ by John Langham.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
Music plays a big role in my writing. I don’t know if this comes from my film background but I tend to soundtrack whatever I’m working on. My latest project has some angry Modest Mouse as its soundtrack. Tracks like ‘Satin in a Coffin’ and ‘Bury Me With It’ really fit with my current story.
I’m not sure I have a single all-time favourite album but there are lots I return to: Doolittle by the Pixies, OK Computer by Radiohead, Alligator by The National, Elephant by The White Stripes. OK, I’ll stop there. I could go on!
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I’m definitely a plotter. Ideas for stories often come to me as scenes, maybe a situation I think would be interesting, a few lines of dialogue. I tend to carry that around in my head for a while to see if it sticks, if I can work any more ideas around that initial spark. Once I’ve decided that a project is going to work, I hit my plotting board and sketch out an A to Z. On the board I then work through the whole plot, offshoot scenes, character ideas. It’s not everything but it’s pretty detailed. It’s only once I’ve got a way through that I’m happy with that I’ll start to write. Things almost certainly change along the way but if I can’t get through the idea on the board it’s unlikely it’s going to work on the page.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I generally research as I go. I know that an audience will suspend their disbelief to a point, but I hate it when I read work that’s obviously not been researched, and so I try to learn about (and sometimes test out) anything I’m not sure about.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
Well, I don’t write every day. I don’t believe in sitting down and forcing it. That’s never led to good work from me. Writing isn’t just the process of hitting the laptop and hammering out the words. It’s reading, conversation, sometimes watching a movie, it’s me at my plotting board. I try to do something towards my projects every day and the writing comes when it comes. When I’m on a roll I can write for six or seven hours in one sitting. I can write all day, have dinner and then get back to it for the night.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
I think my favourite story that I’ve written would have to be Hope and Walker. I’m pretty proud of it as a story. It was a pleasure to write and I think (hopefully) that comes across when you read it.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
Yes, I read them all. As an author I wouldn’t be anywhere without people reading and reviewing my work. If you’ve taken the time to write something about one of my stories, I’ll read it. Whether you loved or hated my work I’m grateful that you took the time to read it and to write a review.
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Keep at it. Writing is a lifetime endeavour.
Write for yourself. No one knows your story as well as you.
Stand up for your ideas. Don’t change your work if you’re certain your right.
KR: What scares you?
Well, I’ve got an uncanny knack for seeing the worst possible case scenario in any given situation, so I guess the answer to that is most things. I love safe scares, like reading a ghost story or watching a horror movie but you wouldn’t catch me on a rollercoaster or the 50th floor of a building.
Not being able to write again is the most frightening thing I can think of.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
Old, thumbed paperbacks.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
My most recent novella ‘Knock and You Will See Me’ came out in December.
When grieving Ellie Ray finds a crumpled, handwritten note from her recently deceased father, hidden behind the couch, she assumes that her middle boy, Max, left it there. It has a single word written on it: WHY. But, as more and more letters begin to appear throughout the house, Ellie and her three boys find themselves dragged into a deeply sinister mystery surrounding her father’s death.
I’ve been hugely pleased with how ‘Knock and You Will See Me’ has been received. It’s always great to hear from people who’ve enjoyed your stories and ‘Knock and You Will See Me’ really seems to have resonated with people.
KR: What are you working on now?
I’m working on several stories at the moment. Four novellas. Three completely new stories and one that’s a sequel of sorts to one of my earlier titles. Today, I’ve been writing on a dark and angry story called ‘Bury Me Deep’.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose…
- One fictional character from your writing.
That’s a tough one. I think I’d choose Em Walker from ‘Hope and Walker’. She’s the kind of stubborn, resourceful character you’d want with you if you were ever going to find a way off that desert island.
- One fictional character from any other book.
Sherlock Holmes. I can’t think of a more interesting character to be shipwrecked with. What a brilliant mind to spend some time with!
c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.
Without hesitation, that’d be Alfred Hitchcock. I wanted to learn to direct after watching his movies. Rope is my all time favourite feature film. He was the Master of Suspense for good reason. In my opinion he’s unmatched even now. I’d love to have a conversation with him about film making.
KR: Thank you very much Andrew.
Kendall Reviews Giveaway
Writer and director Andrew Cull’s novella ‘Hope and Walker‘ was recently announced as a finalist in this year’s Aurealis Awards for Best Horror Novella. To celebrate this, Andrew has produced a very limited paperback run of the book (just 100 copies) and Kendall Reviews has five signed copies to give away!
To be in with a chance to win a copy of the story that I described as, “a wonderfully written, suspenseful tale“ just head over to Twitter, and follow both Kendall Reviews and Andrew Cull , and like both of our pinned posts.
Open Internationally. Giveaway will run through to midnight March 31st. Winners will be announced no later than April 2nd.
Please visit Andrew’s Official website at: http://www.andrewcull.com/
Andrew’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialAndrewCull/
Andrew’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/andrewcull
Andrew’s Amazon Author page can be found here
Author photographs by Libby Double-King
About the Aurealis Awards (Wikipedia)…
The Aurealis Awards were established in 1995 by Chimaera Publications, the publishers of Aurealis magazine, to recognise the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.
The Aurealis Awards are intended to complement the Annual Australian National Science Fiction Convention’s Ditmar Awards and the Australian Children’s Book Council Awards and the various other state-based and national literary awards. None of those awards distinguishes between the different categories of speculative fiction. We hope that the growing list of Aurealis Awards finalists and winners will increase the profile of Australian science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and provide an essential reading list for anyone interested in these genres.
The awards originally comprised four categories: science fiction, fantasy, horror, and young adult. A fifth category for children’s fiction was added in 2001. The YA and children’s categories cover works in all three speculative fiction genres. These categories each have two separate awards, one for novels and one for short fiction, except for children’s which originally had separate awards for “told primary through words” and “told primarily through pictures”. These were collapsed to a single award for children’s fiction in 2013. Two changes to the awards’ process were introduced in 2008: the best-in-show Golden Aurealis Awards for novel and short fiction (introduced in 2004) were discontinued, and two new categories were introduced: best anthology and collection, and best illustrated work or graphic novel. Submissions within a category are reviewed by a panel of at least three judges, which selects each year’s finalists and winners. One of the judges on each panel is also the panel convenor.
There is also the Convenor’s Award for Excellence (formerly the Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award for Excellence) which is awarded at the discretion of the convenors for a particular achievement in speculative fiction or related areas in that year that cannot otherwise be judged for the Aurealis Awards. It can be for a work of non-fiction, artwork, film, television, electronic or multimedia work, or that which brings credit or attention to the speculative fiction genres.
The award was originally known as The Convenors’ Award for Excellence and was renamed in 2002 after Peter McNamara (d. 2004), publisher, editor and the original Aurealis Awards convenor, shortly after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. In 2014, the award guidelines were revised and it was renamed to its original form, to avoid confusion with the Peter McNamara Achievement Award presented annually at the National Science Fiction Convention. Because this is a special award and the scope of the entries may vary greatly, entries for this award do not feature on the list of general Aurealis Awards entries.