C.M. Saunders is a freelance journalist and editor from Wales. His fiction and non-fiction has appeared in over 70 magazines, ezines and anthologies worldwide, including Loaded, Maxim, Record Collector, Fortean Times, Fantastic Horror, Trigger Warning, Liquid imagination, Crimson Streets and the Literary Hatchet. His books have been both traditionally and independently published, the most recent being Human Waste and X3, his third collection of short fiction, both of which are available now on Deviant Dolls Publications.
I’m delighted to welcome C.M. Saunders to Kendall Reviews. I’m just grabbing a couple of beers whilst he goes find a table.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
My ‘fiction’ name is C.M. Saunders, though you can call me Chris if you want. I write horror and splatterpunk. Mostly. I was brought up in Wales and didn’t try very hard at school so I had to go to work in a factory for nine years while I wrote in my spare time. When my first book came out, the Welsh government gave me a grant to go to university and off I went. I did some bar work and English teaching in China. Now I am a freelance writer and editor.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
Editing. Other than that, I like to travel. There’s nothing like the thrill of going somewhere you’ve never been before. I’ve moved about 15 times in as many years. I also play snooker, badly, and I’m an avid MMA and football fan (Cardiff City, if you’re wondering). Other than that, I can often be found sitting in pubs drinking real ale and reading The Times newspaper. Usually on Mondays, for the sports section.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
The first books I remember reading are Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree books. I loved them when I was a kid, along with her Famous Five books. When I got a bit older, I got into the Hardy Boys and Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators. They are probably my favourite books of all time.
KR: What are you reading now?
I read widely, and usually have three or four on the go at any one time. Fiction-wise, I lean toward the darker stuff. At the moment I am reading Friend from the Internet by Amy Cross and my contributor’s copy of the anthology Fearful Fathoms on Scarlet Galleon. I also like rock biographies, the paranormal, real-life mysteries, and true survival or adventure stories.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
Fave album of all time would have to be Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town. It’s a work of genius. Individually, the songs aren’t really anything special (except Badlands and The Promised Land) but they all fit the same theme and mood, and collectively they take on this kind of aura which is definitely more than the sum of its parts. If you get a chance to listen to any live bootlegs from the Darkness tour, you absolutely should.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Alfred Hitchcock, back when I thought he wrote all the Three Investigator books, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Richard Laymon. I’ve also read a lot of classic horror like MR James, Henry James and Roald Dahl.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I am a total pantser. I usually have a vague idea where I’m going or a loose concept when I start, but I don’t let those ideas define the story. I prefer to let it breathe. I use any plot points as sign posts, and sometimes they send you in a direction you didn’t expect.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It depends. Recently, I was reading a book about fishing for Chilean sea bass and it triggered something so I wrote a story about it. In that case, I was doing the research without even realising. I am also writing a series of YA books about time travel and it takes a lot of work to make them historically accurate.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
I prefer to write at night. It’s more peaceful, and there are less distractions. If I don’t have meetings or anything, I get up at 10 or 11, do my admin, check my email, and read the news. Then I eat, and start writing or editing in the late afternoon and go right through until 2 or 3am.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
Sker House, which came out in 2016. It’s based on a true story, and incorporates a lot of myths and legends, as well as some documented history, from my little corner of Wales. It was good to share the stories with a wider audience. Like how wreckers used to operate along the coast. During storms, they would hang lanterns on sheep and let them graze on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Passing ships would assume the twinkling lights were those of a village and steer toward them hoping to find somewhere to shelter from the storm, only to crash on the rocks. Then the locals would loot the wreck.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
Yes, every single one. Thankfully, I get more good than bad.
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Treat it like a job. Set targets and goals and make sure you hit them. You are the master of your own destiny.
KR: What scares you?
Deep water and high places. Also, earwigs and centipedes. Anything with pincers and lots of legs, that’s just wrong.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
I know most people would say paperback. But I am totally devoted to my Kindle. Ebooks are cheaper, better for the environment, and you can carry five or six hundred around with you at the same time. That’s a win.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
It’s a collection of short fiction called X3. The first volume covered my early stories in the late 90’s when small presses ruled, the second focused on the 2000’s, and this new one gathers together revised versions of some stories that were published in various places mainly between 2012 and 2014.
KR: What are you working on now?
Right now I am revising a novella called Dead of Night which was originally published in 2010. The rights have reverted back to me now so I can reissue it, much like I did last year with Apartment 14F: An Oriental Ghost Story. That’s coming out in the autumn. I also have a new batch of short stories which I am shopping around.
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.
This would be Dale, from Sker House. He’s a journalism student who is obsessed with the supernatural, so it’s pretty much me fifteen or twenty years ago. He’s a bit precocious, but he’s enthusiastic and I think we’d get on well.
- One fictional character from any other book.
Carrie White from Firestarter. She can be in charge of fire-building.
c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.
That’s easy. Bear Grylls. Look after us, Bear!
KR: Thank you very much Chris.
You can find out more about Chris via his official website here
You can follow Chris on Twitter @CMSaunders01
You can say ‘Hi’ to Chris on Facebook here
You can find his books on his Amazon page here
The third collection of fiction by C.M. Saunders featuring revised versions of stories taken from the pages of The Literary Hatchet, Siren’s Call, Morpheus Tales, Gore Magazine, Indie Writer’s Review and several anthologies. Also includes two previously unpublished stories, extensive notes, and exclusive artwork by the award-winning artist Greg Chapman.
Meet the airline passenger who makes an alarming discovery, the boy who takes on an evil troll, an ageing couple facing the apocalypse, a jaded music hack on the trail of the Next Big Thing, the gambler taking one last spin, and many more.
Dan Pallister is a survivalist and prepper. Much to the annoyance of the people around him, he has been surviving and prepping since childhood. He just didn’t know what for. When he wakes up one morning to find the world overrun with bloodthirsty zombies it all becomes clear, and despite the fall of civilisation, he can’t wait to get started. He just needs to stock up on supplies from the local supermarket first.
But is everything what it seems?