What first attracted you to horror writing?
Like most horror writers out there, I started out as a horror fan. I remember, as a kid, staying up late to watch the old Hammer House of Horror films and falling quickly in love with the genre.
About five or six years ago, I started writing for a few online mags, interviewing folks like Bowie Ibarra, David Moody and Andre Duza. Their writing really appealed to me, but I also found them to be really cool guys and very approachable. Dave, in particular, was very supportive of my first dabbles in fiction writing.
After a couple of dry-runs, I started work on a novel (which evolved into Drop Dead Gorgeous). I submitted the finished work to Permuted Press, who liked it, and thus began my writing career!
‘Notable’ sure is a fancy word for a humble pulp guy like me! My bestselling work to date is the post-Romero zombie novel, Flu. It’s a fast-paced z-apoc story, set in my home city of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just passed a sci-fi noir script, entitled Plastic Jesus, to my agent for shopping. I’m working on a few short stories at the moment before I launch back into the 2nd draft of Flu’s sequel, Fever.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
A lot of people. Stephen King’s always been a staple for me. David Moody is a great writer, and great guy – it’s been really cool getting to know him as a friend over the years. Bowie Ibarra and Joe McKinney do some great action-packed zombie pulp, which I’m all over. I also enjoy Brian Keene.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
I think there’s room for both. I’m a big fan of Asian horror cinema, much of which doesn’t have a drop of blood yet still succeeds in scaring the balls off me. I’m thinking of movies such as Hideo Nakata’s Ring series, along with other greats such as Dark Water and Tale of Two Sisters. I was obsessed with these films while writing Drop Dead Gorgeous, and I think it shows in the final product - a lot of readers have commented on how effective the book’s slowly mounting tension is, which I’m very pleased about. I guess, in some ways, DDG could be described as a mix between a ghost story and zombie apoc, and it’s all due to the influence of A-horror flicks.
On the other hand, I love the gore in films like Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Of course, the cool thing about Romero’s flicks (at least the earlier ones) was how well drawn-out the characters were. You were invested in the story through their eyes, through their hopes and fears, and most importantly their failings. The horror and gore became all the more effective because it was happening to your guys. For me, that’s what sets Romero apart from the other gorehounds.
Why should people read your work?
Day Keene, one of the great pulp writers of the 40s and 50s, said that folks paid their dime for good characterisation and plot. I agree: my sole aim is to write page-turners that engage the horror fan, with characters they can invest in. That’s all.
Recommend a book.
Carrie by Stepen King. I think it was the first horror novel I ever read, and it’s still the best.
For more information on Wayne Simmons please visit his official website.