A pioneer of independent publishing, DAVID MOODY first released HATER in 2006, and without an agent, succeeded in selling the film rights for the novel to Mark Johnson (producer, Breaking Bad) and Guillermo Del Toro (director, The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth). Moody’s seminal zombie novel AUTUMN was made into an (admittedly terrible) movie starring Dexter Fletcher and David Carradine. He has a unhealthy fascination with the end of the world and likes to write books about ordinary folks going through absolute hell. With the publication of a new series of Hater stories, Moody is poised to further his reputation as a writer of suspense-laced SF/horror, and “farther out” genre books of all description.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
I’m David Moody, and I’ve been writing for far too long (coming up to 25 years, which makes me feel unbelievably old). My first novel was released in 1996 and died a death, so when my next book (AUTUMN) was ready for release, I decided to take a different approach. Before the days of mass eBook consumption and free giveaways, I started giving the novel away online. It was a case of right place, right time, because the book took off and many hundreds of thousands of copies were downloaded. A series of sequels followed, then a (not so great) film starring Dexter Fletcher and David Carradine.
I wrote a novel called HATER and published it independently. Somehow it ended up on the desks of some very influential people in Hollywood, and it was ultimately optioned for film by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Johnson (producer of Breaking Bad). My books were then picked up by Thomas Dunne Books and St Martin’s Press, and have since been published in a number of territories around the world. These days I’m trying to keep a foot in both camps: I’m still working with St Martin’s Press whilst also publishing independently through my own imprint, Infected Books.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
Distance running – when I’m out on my own running in the middle of nowhere I make some of my best plot decisions! It’s also the only time I don’t get interrupted by the phone, emails, people etc. I’m also an avid devourer of films of all genres and quality, and I live for music.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
It’s impossible to narrow it down to one book, and by childhood, can I include books I found in my childhood that I perhaps shouldn’t have been reading? My favourite book of all time (which I always quote) is John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids. For some reason I found it in my junior school library. How it got there is anyone’s guess. I also remember finding a copy of the novelisation of The Incredible Melting Man, with loads of pictures of the titular character at different stages of decomposition. Terrible film (great effects though), but the book helped me realise just how much I loved horror!
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
Music plays a pivotal role in my writing, though I can only write to instrumentals for some reason. It’s a few years out of date, but I have a Spotify version of my writing playlist here
Again, it’s hard to narrow this answer down to one album. The first album I remember making me think of stories was Oxygene by Jean-Michel Jarre. My dad had a copy when it came out in the late 1970s and I’d hear it drifting up the stairs at night… I’d never heard anything so sci-fi-sounding before! As far as my favourite albums go, I’d have to pick Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk. It’s thirty years old but still sounds like nothing on Earth.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
David Cronenberg, and my favourite movie of his has to be The Fly. He has such a track record though, don’t you think? Shivers, Rabid, The Brood, Videodrome, Scanners, Dead Ringers, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Existenz… an extraordinary collection.
KR: What are you reading now?
I’m going away on holiday for a few days at the end of this week, so have a couple of books lined up for the poolside. Tim Lebbon’s The Silence and Lost Girl by Adam Nevill. They’re authors I know and admire and they’re both books I’m looking forward to catching up with (belatedly).
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
I’ve already mentioned John Wyndham, but there are a couple of others. Richard Matheson is the first, not just because I am Legend is such an extraordinarily influential book, but also because he produced a vast catalogue of other stories, some of which became several of my favourite Twilight Zone episodes. As a writer, though, I’d have to cite James Herbert. His novel Domain had a profound effect on me back in the day, and redefined what I thought a horror novel could be. I’d never encountered anything which was so relentlessly harsh and blood-soaked before, and as soon as I finished reading it, two things immediately happened – 1. I decided I want to write horror, and 2. I turned back to the beginning and started reading again.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I plot to an infuriating degree. I’ve spoken at length to other writers about the differences between ‘plotters’ and ‘pantsers’ and I think the gulf isn’t as large as we would have ourselves believe. We all start with a spark of an idea which eventually mutates and transforms into a finished story for other people to read. I believe we must therefore do the same amount of planning, we just call it different things and do it at different stages of the process. For me, everything hinges on the first draft. It’s the moment when all my random thoughts and plot points start to really take shape.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I’m a lazy writer. I do very little research. That’s mostly because I like to write about normal people trapped in bizarre, extraordinary situations. I take my references for normality from the people around me and the places I end up, and the rest of it I just make up!
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
I wrote full-time for a number of years but found that my writing suffered as a result. At the moment I produce better stories when writing isn’t my only focus (though it’s difficult getting the right balance). I don’t often have days which are purely for writing but, when I do, I like to write in bite-sized chunks. 45 minutes is ideal. I switch off the internet and pound the keyboard for three-quarters of an hour, then have a 15 minute break, then repeat for as long as I’m able. It’s easy to get bogged down with all the admin and other stuff which comes with writing, so I try to make sure my daily word count is completed first.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
I have an enormous soft spot for the 2014 re-write of Straight to You, my debut novel from 1996. I was very happy with the book at the time, but I was also a very inexperienced writer and hadn’t had much of a live. I loved the concept of the novel, but grew to despise the execution. Twenty years later I went back and re-wrote it, and the second version of the book is something I’m incredibly proud of. In the two decades between I became a much better writer and, more importantly, I also became a dad and a husband and went through many of the complications, frustrations and distractions of life. It made the characters in the book so much more believable and that, in turn, gave the book a massively increased impact.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
Yes. I can’t help it. Maybe I shouldn’t. Most writers I’ve met have a real lack of confidence when it comes to their writing, and reading bad reviews can erode that still further. One bad review can have a bigger impact on me than a hundred good ones, and there’s a tendency to ignore the positive comments and focus on the negative, no matter how disproportionate. That said, I also think that if your book has affected someone so much that they’ve taken the time and effort to tell the world about it, then you need to hear them out. Whether or not you listen to their ‘advice’, though, is another matter entirely.
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Write and read, then write and read some more (and watch, too, because films and TV can be as educational as books when it comes to learning how to tell a story). I had a number of aborted attempts and crash-landings before I completed my first book, so I’d also add this practical advice: have in your head the beginning and end of your story as a minimum, then write a page every single day and don’t go back to edit your work until each draft is complete. If you know things are going to need changing, keep a note of them and don’t lose your flow.
KR: What scares you?
Other people. At the moment, stupidity and intolerance scares me most. And I’m increasingly concerned because it’s the most stupid and intolerant people who seem to have the loudest voices.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
All three, thanks. I think they each have a place. The print/eBook argument is a really interesting one. When I buy a CD, the first thing I do it rip it to iTunes. But I still want the physical copy. I wish the same approach could be taken with books. I also don’t like the idea of people paying for the same thing twice. With my Infected Books releases, every print edition comes with a complementary eBook version. To my mind, that’s the right thing to do.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
My latest release is the snappily titled One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning. It’s the first in a new trilogy set in the world of my Hater novels, and it’s a horrible little story about a corporate team-building activity gone wrong against the backdrop of the (possible) end of the world. The idea for the new trilogy came from conversations I had with a major studio last year about a possible TV adaptation of Hater. The first books tell one man’s story, but I realised if we were going to go down the route of a Walking Dead-style adaptation, the viewpoint of the story needed to be expanded. So that’s what I’ve done. The books are about the human race splitting in two. The first three told the story from one side, the new trilogy tell the same events from the opposite perspective. It’s been fascinating to write. Turns out the people I thought were right all along probably weren’t…
KR: What are you working on now?
The second book in the series – All Roads End Here – is due out in September. Right now I’m working on the final book – Chokehold.
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.
b) One fictional character from any other book.
c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.
What a tough question! My fictional character would be a girl called Natalie from One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning, for no other reason that she’s a good laugh and she also happens to be a survival expert, based on an island in the middle of the sea between Denmark and the UK! Fictional character from another book? I think Ford Prefect from The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. If he can help Arthur Dent survive the destruction of the planet at the beginning of the first book, he should be able to help me get off a desert island.
Real life person – I think just an ordinary guy I could get along with. I can’t stand the cult of celebrity, so would actively avoid getting stranded with anyone recognisable. No politicians, actors, pop stars or reality TV ‘celebs’, thanks.
KR: Thank you very much David.
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In One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning, David Moody returns to the world of his Hater trilogy with a new fast-paced, and wonderfully dark story about humanity’s fight for survival in the face of the impending apocalypse.
The fewer left alive, the higher the stakes.
Kill the others, before one of them kills you.
Fourteen people are trapped on Skek, a barren island in the middle of the North Sea somewhere between the coasts of the UK and Denmark. Over the years this place has served many purposes―a fishing settlement, a military outpost, a scientific base―but one by one its inhabitants have abandoned its inhospitable shores. Today it’s home to Hazleton Adventure Experiences, an extreme sports company specializing in corporate team building events.
Life there is fragile and tough. One slip is all it takes. A momentary lapse leads to a tragic accident, but when the body count quickly starts to rise, questions are inevitably asked. Are the deaths coincidental, or something else entirely? Those people you thought you knew, can you really trust them? Is the person standing next to you a killer? Will you be their next victim?
A horrific discovery changes everything, and a trickle of rumors becomes a tsunami of fear. Is this the beginning of the end of everything, or a situation constructed by the mass hysteria of a handful of desperate and terrified people?
REMAIN CALM DO NOT PANIC TAKE SHELTER WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened ‘Haters’ by the media, the attackers strike without warning, killing all who cross their path. The assaults are brutal, remorseless and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied, vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, then hundreds of thousands. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim – or a Hater. People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes and, increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them with ultra violent intent. Waking up each morning, no matter how well defended, everyone must now consider the fact that by the end of the day, they might be dead. Or perhaps worse, become a killer themselves. As the status quo shifts, ATTACK FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER becomes the order of the day… only, the answers might be much different than what you expect….
In the tradition of H. G. Wells and Richard Matheson, Hater is one man’s story of his place in a world gone mad― a world infected with fear, violence, and HATE.
The Earth has been torn into two parts by an irreversible division. Whether due to nature, or the unknown depths of the mind itself, everyone is now either Human or Hater. Victim or killer. Governments have fallen, command structures have collapsed, and relationships have crumbled. Major cities have become refugee camps where human survivors cower together in fear. Amidst this indiscriminate carnage, Danny McCoyne is on a mission to find his daughter Ellis, convinced that her shared Hater condition means her allegiance is to people like him. Free of inhibitions, unrestricted by memories of peace, and driven by instinct, children are pure Haters, and may well define the future of the Hater race. But, as McCoyne makes his way into the heart of human territory, an incident on the battlefield sets in place an unexpected chain of events, forcing him to question everything he believes he knows about the new order that has arisen, and the dynamic of the Hate itself.
The war which has torn the human race apart is finally nearing an end. The population has been devastated, and the earth has been reduced to a poisoned ruin. Most of the towns and cities are uninhabitable, and with the country in the grip of a savage nuclear winter, both Haters and Unchanged alike struggle to survive.
Hundreds of Hater fighters have settled in the east, in the relatively undamaged coastal town of Lowestoft, under the command of the ruthless Hinchcliffe. His fledgling society is harsh and unforgiving, and he’ll stop at nothing to eradicate the last few Unchanged and consolidate his position at the top of this new world order.
Danny McCoyne is the exception to the rule. His ability to hold the Hate has given him a unique position in Hinchcliffe’s army, for he uses his unique skill to hunt out the remaining Unchanged. But as the enemy’s numbers shrink, so the pressure on McCoyne increases, until he finds himself at the very centre of a pivotal confrontation. The outcome will have repercussions on the future of everyone who is still alive. It’s down to him alone: will it be Them, or Us?
In less than twenty-four hours a vicious and virulent viral epidemic destroys virtually all of the population. Billions are killed, within minutes. There are no symptoms and no warnings; within moments of infection each victim suffers a violent and agonising death.
At the end of ten minutes, only a handful of survivors remain. By the end of the first day those survivors wish they were dead.
By the end of the first week, as the dead get up and walk, they know they are in hell.
The sun is dying. The temperature around the world is rising by the hour with no sign of any respite. At this rate the planet will soon become uninhabitable; all life extinguished. It might be weeks away, it might be days… we may only have hours remaining. Society is crumbling. The burning world is descending into chaos.
Steven Johnson’s wife is hundreds of miles away and all that matters is reaching her before the end. He has to act now, no time to stop and think. Every second is precious. Tomorrow is too late.