Interview: 5 Minutes with Craig Saunders
First up to the plate is Craig Saunders;
Craig Saunders lives in Norfolk, England, with his wife and three children. He pretends to listen to them while making up stories in his head.
He has published more than thirty shorts and novellas and a lot of novels. A horror writer with a side order of fantasy…and science fiction…and humour…an author, if you will, of speculative fiction. He likes cemeteries and wizards, so it was a natural progression to drift between fantasy and horror like a drunk man weaving in and out of traffic.
I have had the pleasure of reading Craig’s Novel A Strangers Grave from Grand Mal Press , keep a look out for my review ( In case you’re wondering Craig I really enjoyed it)
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Hmm, that’s a suspiciously open-ended question…plenty of rope…
I’m a big lump. I’m lazy, but heroically so, gleefully pessimistic and a terrible liar. I’m scared of everything, especially tomatoes. I have a crap dog, a great wife, and three pretty good children. Norfolk’s been home for nigh on ten years now, but before that I studied in Cardiff, lived in Japan, and grew up in Thurrock, Essex – for just long enough to know I didn’t want to go back.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I’m not sure what weird fiction and dark fiction are, really. I’m a bit of a noob (and nob) when it comes to my chosen field…I guess, then, I prefer the term ‘horror’. I tell people I’m a horror writer. It makes sense to me. I grew up on horror fiction in the 80’s, when horror fiction was called ‘horror fiction’ and people were happy enough with that. Didn’t have any of that weird fiction/dark fiction nonsense in my day…
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Right, got all day? In no particular order; Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, David Gemmell, Tad Williams, Lee Child, Tim Lebbon, Graham Masterton, Isaac Asimov, Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, Joe Hill, Jeff Strand, Adam Nevill, Joseph D’Lacey, Bill Hussey, Sarah Pinborough, Raymond E. Feist, Liz Hand, Douglas Adams, Robert McCammon, Charlie Huston, Robert E. Howard, Bentley Little, George R.R. Martin, Clive Barker, Robert Rankin…to name but a few. They’re the ones I can think of off the top of my head – I like a whole slew of current/upcoming authors, too. I don’t actually read that much anymore, but I’m trying to read more, particularly within the horror genre.
What are you reading now?
I’m re-reading Clive Barker’s Damnation Game, and Robert McCammon’s Swan Song – both are, by the way, absolutely terrific. I’m also reading The Dark, by Scott Bradley and Peter Giglio…I’m enjoying it – they’re a good up-and-coming team. Next up (I know, you didn’t ask!) is Adam Nevill’s The Ritual.
Which book do you wish you had written?
I don’t think there are that many books that have had a profound effect on me, as such, though I did really click with McCammon’s Boy’s Life. I read it boy and man, and it made sense to me coming at it from both ages. I would like to have written something meaningful, affecting, lasting…but I write what I write. I’m not a meaningful kind of guy. Aside from that, if I’m pretending to be all posh, a book I wish I’d written? The Road, or The Old Man and The Sea. I’d give them a proper ending. 😉
How would you describe your writing style?
I don’t, often. If I’m being pretentious and trying to nail it for a submission, sometimes I call it Survival Horror Noir. I’ve been likened to a horror-Dashiel Hammett. I don’t know if that’s spot on, but it’s definitely got a ‘noir’ feel to it.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Unusual writing habits? I used to have some terrible habits that didn’t really mix with writing. I don’t have any habits anymore. Apart from the crack. And the meth. But that’s just when I can’t find coffee.
Really, though, I’m a sit down and get on with it kind of guy. I don’t have any quirks. I do wear shoes when I’m writing, always. That’s just because I write in the shed and I hate treading on slugs. I have slugs, by the way. And spiders. A lot of spiders. One time, I was a bit peckish and considered doing a Renfield. Maybe. I’m a terrible liar.
I don’t write with money in my pocket, either. Don’t rightly know why – I just don’t.
Typical writing day (if I get one!)…I write for two-three hours in the morning. Look after the kids in the afternoon. Write for two-three hours in the evening. When I’m actually writing a book I work flat out, to the exclusion of almost everything else. I knock out a book in about a month, but then I’ll have long fallow periods, too.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
That’s a tough one. I write horror, mainly, but I also write fantasy, humour, and sci-fi. I think, as far as achievements go, finishing ‘The Line of Kings’ trilogy. Start to finish (with plenty of books in between!) that project took around six years. I’m pleased to have finished that.
Favourite book, though? The Estate. Hands down. It was my first horror novel. I wrote it longhand – the only time I’ve ever done that – because my PC was broken at the time. It took me around a month to write and my hand hurt like hell, but I was proud of it then, and I still am. It’s still not found a publisher. I’m hoping it’ll be out one day!
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
Why yes, Jim, I would be delighted ( 😉 )
My latest book is ‘The Walls of Madness’…it’s an intensely personal book, and it hurt to write it, in a strange way, but it got my fear of scrabbling in the walls out of my head and onto the page, and helped me deal with my own demons through the travails of the protagonist, Billy Hunter. Wow, I sound like a right loony. (I am, by the way, a complete loony).
As a little aside, I’ve a novel out at Christmas, ‘Rain’, and another released in March, ‘A Home by the Sea,’ both with the terrific press Crowded Quarantine Publications (little plug *coughs*)
Currently I’m working on two projects…finishing my next fantasy trilogy, and the second draft of a zombie novella I’ve been contracted to write. The fantasy book is like pulling teeth. The zombie novella fell out of me like a Jalfrezi.
I’m still new to all this – I’ve only been publishing novels for a year. I’ve plenty of books to write, but I’m going to see where life takes me, and where that’ll be…I have no idea.
Something’ll turn up.
Lastly, thank you! I love doing interviews…makes me feel loved. 😉 I had fun with this. Cheers! Craig.
You can check out some of Craig’s Work over at Amazon