I recently had a chat with awesome writer and all-round good bloke Craig Saunders, author of 'The Estate' and 'Deadlift', among others. He's one of the nicest guys in the business and it's a pleasure to have him here to talk about his writing.
How would you describe your writing style?
Short. Terse. Interspersed with the occasional long, unwieldy sentence to accentuate a point and break up the pace a little, in order, largely, to allow the reader to catch their breath or make a cup of tea.
Which of your books would you recommend as a good starting point for someone who hasn’t read your work?
Deadlift, a novella with DarkFuse, seems to have been pretty well received. I'd suggest that, for beginners. If a reader likes it, it's a good jump off point - novellas, by and large, are my favourite medium. Short enough to blast through, long enough to build a little tension.
Do you have a favourite character from any of your novels?
Probably a guy called Frank Leibowicz, a heavy/enforcer who survives the early days of an apocalypse in a forthcoming story from DarkFuse called 'Left to Darkness'. It's due 2014. He's a good character. A bad man, doing the right thing.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Don't assume the reader knows what you know - my wife told me this early on. It's good advice I've tried to heed since. Plenty of times I want to be vague, let the reader fill in the gaps...but they won't always make the connection, because they're (obviously) not you...
Who are your literary heroes/heroines?
Vonnegut, Murakami, Banks, Pratchett, King, Gemmell. Probably a lot more besides, too.
What book do you wish you’d written?
The Stand...I'd still be raking it in, and it'd be nice to have a steady income. ;)
What book are you currently reading?
Last book I read was King's Doctor Sleep. Now? Nothing. I'm writing a book, and I don't read at all when I'm mid-story. Can't multitask for toffee. I remember reading King's 'On Writing' years ago, about how he reads a thousand million books a year (I might be exaggerating...). Fine, I think, if you have a ton of time to read and write. Personally, I don't have the time or dedication to read much while writing a story. It's one or the other. I read when I'm between stories. It's just what works for me.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Write more. I don't really enjoy not writing. I suppose I watch films, or play games, or read, in between stories. But I vastly prefer making stuff up.
What advice would you give to new writers just starting out in this sordid business?
It's a job. Approach it as such. And, like any job, I think for most you have to work hard to get anywhere. Don't expect a bolt of lightning like a massive three-book deal with a New York publisher, or a million-pound movie rights sale...work and do some more work while you're waiting and hoping for that, instead. Hmm...yeah, that's it for advice.
What do you think of the current state of the horror genre?
Don't honestly know - I read a fair few 'newer' authors, McMahon, Curran, Nevill are my current go-to guys. I like horror, still. Maybe the 'bigger' names are feeling a little tired, to me. Doesn't mean horror's better or worse...just different. And, as my wife always say, different isn't wrong.
I don't really know what that means, mind you.
What are you working on at the moment?
I've got three on the go, but I haven't decided, and three sequels to write for series. Probably a standalone about an old couple killing people. That's the front runner.
If you could swap bodies with any ‘famous’ writer for a day, who would it be?
Abercrombie. I'd like to see the inside of his head. He's one of my current favourites.
If you had the chance to co-write a novel with an author of your choice, who would it be?
I'm not sure I'm capable of being a co-author - I don't play well with the other kids, nor do I ever leave my shed. But...I don't know. I'd have to be someone I got on with personally, I think. I like Matt Shaw. He's a nut.
Finally, are there any nuggets of info about future works you’re willing to share?
Bloodeye, a novella, is out in September. 'Masters of Blood and Bone' and 'Left to Darkness' (novels) both out 2014. My suggestion would be either or both of the novels...they'll be more set in both (different) worlds… novellas, if, like me, you enjoy a short, sharp read - I've two of those out next year ('Flesh and Coin' and 'Unit 731'). Left to Darkness is the one with Frank Leibowicz...
Check out Craig's blog at:http://craigrsaunders.blogspot.co.uk/p/deadlift-by-craig-saunders.html
And his books on Amazon :)