An Army Of Skin Author Morgan K. Tanner talks to Kendall Reviews.

Well where do I start?

That intro makes it sound like I’m up to sooo much fun stuff and have so many interesting facts to share about myself, but it’s all pretty boring really.

I write stories where scary stuff happens, I blog about nonsense, I am an amateur serial killer in the making, and I love snuggling up with my cute little kittens in front of a warm fire (only one of those statements is false).

I enjoy reading, which is a good thing if you want to write, as you need to know how to do it properly! King, Kafka, Palahniuk, Barker, Lovecraft, Jackie Collins; all the greats.

Films, yes I like them. Food, I enjoy eating it. Drums, I love banging them.

I hope to take over the world one day and make everyone listen to ear-shattering grindcore at all times, to only complain that my music is becoming too mainstream.

And that’s it really. Oh yeah, I also have a GSOH, although you’d probably doubt that if you ever met me.

KR: Coffee?

KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

I’m just a guy who likes reading scary stuff and then tries to write even scarier stuff. I’ve been writing for around 8 years or so, it was something I’d never even thought about but once I started I just got the bug. What had I been waiting for all those years?

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

Apart from the day job and the excellent family consisting of my lady, my little lad of 8, and a parasite currently residing in the lady’s belly soon to be unleashed upon this world, I enjoy my music. Metaaal! I play the drums in a two-piece band called A Grave Digger Named Pete. Although we don’t gig too much now, we do it simply for the love of making evil noise. I even do a little bit of drum teaching, but again not as much as I used to. Families eh?

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

It would have to be either George’s Marvellous Medicine or The Twits. There’s something very dark to Roald Dahl’s writing that I never appreciated when I was younger. Just think if he had chosen to write full-on horror!

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

That’s like asking me to name my favourite piece of torture equipment; there’s so many. Powerslave by Iron Maiden, …And Justice For All by Metallica, Transylvanian Hunger by Darkthrone, Aeolian by The Ocean, Age of Winters by The Sword, I’ll stop now. I think music plays a subconscious role in my writing but I never hear something that makes me have to write a story. The music’s always there, infecting the ideas-centre in my brain.

KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director? 

I’m a massive fan of David Lynch. Although he’s not a horror director per se, Fire Walk With Me is the scariest film I’ve ever seen. The shots, the dialogue, the sounds he creates, there’s something so very unnerving about his work.

KR: What are you reading now?

Having just finished The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer, I’m on to Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk. I’m only 30 or so pages in but already I can see he’s back to his best. Fortune Box by Madeleine Swann is next on the list.

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KR: What was the last great book you read?

I read Psycho by Robert Bloch the other week, one of those I’d never got round to reading before. Of course, everyone knows the plot but even so it had me hooked. The Window by Glenn Rolfe was another recent love for me.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

Ooh I love a good hardback! I do like to keep my books as pristine as possible and that’s easier to do with a hardback, but paperbacks still have a great charm. I’ve eventually become part of the e-book generation, too as they’re so handy and there’s much more choice available. But I think I still prefer the feel of a real book in my hands.

KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

H.P. Lovecraft. Over a short period I read everything by him. His style and the monsters and fear he created flicked some kind of switch inside my head. I had to write! My early short stories that will never see the light of day were heavily influenced by him, although I don’t really write that much like him these days. Perhaps I need to read his works again and rip him off afresh.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

I like to have an idea of how the plot will turn out, but I never set that in stone. Sometimes a great idea for a twist will come while you’re working so I’m always open to letting my mind change things if they need to. I’m sitting on a draft of an 80 000 word novel that I added a twist to that meant I had to go back and edit A LOT. It would have been easier to have thought of the twist long before I started typing, but, you know.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

The impressive answer would be lots and lots, but it’s the opposite. I work in healthcare so the stories that take place in a kind of medical setting have already had the research done. Perhaps I’ll Google the odd thing to get facts straight but generally I just go for it.

KR: How would you describe your writing style?

I suppose that would be up to other people to describe, the next Stephen King? I jest. I like to try and gross out the reader but also try to blend an element of humour, too, as I don’t take myself too seriously in life. It’s a tough ask to try and mix horror and comedy and I’m still a long way off perfecting that.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

The majority of my writing is done at night when the family’s nicely tucked up in bed, that’s when the demons come out to play. I’ve always got ideas in my head and jot down the odd thing in my phone if inspiration attacks during the day. If I’m driving I often picture ways of torturing and killing characters, and that’s not because of idiot drivers on the road. Definitely not.

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

I recently wrote a creepypasta-inspired short story about an infamous video on the internet that turns people who watch it into family-murdering psychos. I’m hoping to release a collection of short stories in the future and this one is definitely going to be the opening act. I just hope people dig it as much as I do.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

Well I haven’t had very many at all, but each and every one I’ve printed out and added to the shrine in the front room. The missus isn’t very happy about it but I keep telling her ‘it’s my art’ so she backs down. But if I’m lucky enough to receive any more I plan on reading them all. Maybe more than once. Probably more than once.

KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?

My paragraphs are much better! Having a couple of editors looking over my work has given me many pointers on punctuation and the like. I also try to make more three-dimensional characters these days, ones that will evoke sympathy when they are eventually devoured in a void of sinew-infested gore and pain.

KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?

I’ll have to give the popular and boring answer here; read. There’s nothing like it. Somewhere in your head, your writing muscle is taking notes. These notes seem to come in so handy when you sit down to write your opus. Oh, and write a lot, too. Practice makes nearly-perfect.

KR: What scares you?

I have quite a weird phobia, one that I don’t even think has a name. You know when you see an animal head on a human body? Well that, for some reason, really creeps me out. And it’s not like I can even look away, there’s something that just forces me to stare. I’m sure you’ll find a suitable picture to illustrate my point, cheers!

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

My debut novella is called An Army of Skin. It’s kind of a revenge story about a guy who’s mourning the death of his mother. He holds his family GP and work colleague responsible for mis-diagnosing her illness and plots to frame him for murder. But things don’t work out quite that well for him. He flays the corpses (obviously) but what he doesn’t count on is the skins then coming to life. After a while he has an army of them, hence the title, see?

KR: You can read the An Army Of Skin Kendall Review here

KR: What are you working on now?

I’ve got 5 or 6 short stories to finish/edit that I’ll hopefully release in the not too distant future. My novel I mentioned earlier needs a thorough edit but that’s in the pipeline, too. That one’s about a dude who suffers a stroke and is carted off to a care home. He starts having strange dreams of an old hag in a hut in the woods, but she’s not really a dream. I wrote this about 4 years ago and was too scared to do anything with it, so I’m sure I’ll notice many mistakes after not looking at it for so long. I’m excited, though.

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why? 

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing.

I’m not sure I’d want to be deserted with any character from my stories; they’re all murderous crazies. The narrator from my story, The Almost Cannibal could give me some tips on what to eat to stay alive, I suppose. He’s in a wheelchair, though, so getting around a desert island would be tough for him. At least I could run away if he tried to eat me.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

Mark Watney from The Martian could be handy to have around, he survived on a desert in space so a desert on earth should be a piece of cake. Failing that, Rant Casey from Rant could maybe do some time-travelling magic and get us the hell off the island.

c) One real-life person that is not a family member or friend

It would have to be Steve Coogan. I’d get him to just be Alan Partridge or Saxondale all the time and keep me entertained. I could listen to those guys forever!

KR: Thank you very much Morgan.

Morgan K. Tanner

You can find out more about Morgan by visiting his official website

Please follow Morgan on Twitter @morgantanner666

After losing his mother to a brain tumour, Trevor King feels totally alone in the world. Someone needs to pay for her death and Dr Mellick, Trevor’s work colleague and family GP, is the man he holds responsible. Trevor’s yearning for vengeance leads him to concoct a vicious plot to frame the doctor for multiple murders. Trevor skins the corpses, turning them into elaborate art pieces after being inspired by a mysterious textbook. But as the skins of the flayed victims come to life and continue the killings for him, Trevor wonders whether he is in too deep.When Dr Mellick goes missing Trevor becomes convinced the doctor is planning a similar scheme to bring him down.But as Trevor discovers the truth of his mother’s death and his own life, this murderous path becomes more of a calling.

You can buy An Army Of Skin from Amazon UK & Amazon US

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