David Moody is the author of One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning, PageHabit’s December Horror selection. Mr.Moody is known for, amongst others, his original Hater series and One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning marks a return to the popular universe where everyday citizens quickly, and without warning, turn into vicious killers. Keep reading to discover David’s particular writing rituals, music he listens to while working, and why he received a series of ransom notes in the mail.
1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into writing? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I left school (many, many years ago now!) I wanted to make films. Trouble was, back in the days of VHS, independent movie making was pretty much an impossibility for a young lad with no money and no experience. I had a head full of stories, and so turned to writing to get them out into the wild. I had a few false starts (I don’t know any writer who didn’t), but I set myself some ground-rules (write at least a page a day, don’t go back and edit until each draft is finished), and within six months my debut novel, Straight to You, was finished.
I then started publishing independently (back when it was definitely NOT the done thing) and started giving my second novel – AUTUMN – away for free. It took off, and hundreds of thousands of copies were downloaded. I wrote a series of sequels and a (pretty bad) movie was made of the first book starring Dexter Fletcher and David Carradine. I’m best known now for the HATER books, not least because Guillermo Del Toro bought the film rights to the first book in the series.
2. How long did it take to finish your book? How has it changed since you first began writing it?
ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING probably took about a year to write. After writing full-time for more than six years, I went back to ‘proper’ work because I felt I was getting stale and wasn’t getting enough inspiration. My wife said ‘how can you write about people when you don’t know any anymore?’ and she had a point. I wrote the new book around the day job – evenings and weekends – and though my time was limited, the hours I spent in front of the screen were far more productive. The book changed beyond all recognition, not least because some of my new work colleagues provided plenty of inspiration for the characters! But the biggest changes came from my perspective. Initially this was just another set in the same world as the HATER novels, but when my producer and I got to talking about a potential TV series adaptation, I started looking for ways in which the new books could complement the original trilogy and expand and enhance the world.
3. Do you have any specific or strange writing rituals that get you into a groove?
Nothing too strange, I don’t think! I always write best after running – I do a lot of good work when I’m out pounding the streets (seriously: it’s the only time I don’t get interrupted). I have a writing playlist which lasts about 8 hours. I use a program called Freedom to switch off the Internet, write solidly for 45 minutes, then take a 15 minute break. I repeat this for as long as I’m able to keep going.
4. Which three books would you bring with you to a deserted island?
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham – my favourite book of all time. A bizarre concept (almost everyone is struck blind and the population is being hunted by 7 foot tall carnivorous walking plants), that Wyndham somehow makes feel unsettlingly plausible. The War of the Worlds by HG Wells – another favourite which must have absolutely terrified people back at the turn of the century. And can I cheat on book three? I’d rather take a note pad and a pen and write some more!
5. In your opinion, has there ever been a movie adaption better than the original book?
Yes. Children of Men. It’s my favourite movie of all time and whilst the book is certainly entertaining and thought-provoking, it doesn’t have anything like the impact of the stunning 2006 film adaptation.
6. Which three authors would you invite to a dinner party and why?
John Wyndham, Richard Matheson and James Herbert. All dead now, sadly, but I would have loved to have quizzed all three of them on how they approach the business of writing. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with James Herbert, and in the couple of hours I spent in his company, I learnt an astonishing amount. I interviewed him in front of a couple of hundred people, but the conversation was so intense I forgot anyone else was there!
7. Do you have any advice for young writers?
Write, write, write, and then write some more. When you’re not writing, read. Oh, and don’t expect to get rich quick from writing. Don’t expect to get rich at all, actually. Write because you want to, and write the kind of books you want to read.
8. What is your favorite thing that you have received in the mail?
Favourite or most terrifying? I once received a series of packages – each contained a small knitted body part and what looked like a ransom note. Turned out they were from my sister-in-law (though she didn’t let on for a long time). When you put them all together, the knitted pieces made a whole zombie.
9. What books would you recommend to lovers of grim, post-apocalyptic novels?
- ONE by Conrad Williams
- 1984 by George Orwell
- MEAT by Joseph D’Lacey
- FLU by Wayne Simmons
- I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson
- DOMAIN by James Herbert
Want to watch instead of read? Try:
- THE WAR GAME (note – not WARGAMES)
- CHILDREN OF MEN
- WHEN THE WIND BLOWS
- IT COMES AT NIGHT
- TRAIN TO BUSAN
I have a whole heap of book and film recommendations here: http://davidmoody.net/recommendations/
10. Lastly, if you could create a soundtrack for your novel, what would be on it?
It’s not a soundtrack as such, but here’s a version of my writing playlist:
Miss out on the December PageHabit Horror box featuring One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning by David Moody? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure you receive it along with your January box, while supplies last.
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