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Cliff McNish

The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNishColin Leslie caught up with the author of The Hunting Ground, Cliff McNish for a quick interview.

Which book has been most influential in your career?

CM: Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess. It showed me that anything is possible in YA literature.  It also reinforced in me the truth that you should always strive to follow your own vision.

Which writer has most influenced your style?

CM: Probably in recent times Science Fiction and Fantasy writer, Justina Robson, but every good stylist influences every other writer.

What’s the future for the horror genre?

CM: People think that horror as a genre is doing well. In truth it isn’t, and almost never has done. Aside from a few authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz, most horror authors make nothing. The amount of true horror on shelves is tiny. The much more narrow sub-genre of gothic or supernatural romance is popular because it’s primarily romance, which has always been the most popular type of novel. Don’t believe me? Then name me a single author of supernatural romance who is male. Why can’t you? Because teen girls/young women don’t think men can get the love side right. If it was all about the horror, the shelves would be filled with male authors. (Editor: I disagree on that point, there are a lot of fantastic female authors in the genre both past and present like Mary Shelley, Kaaron Warren, Cate Gardner and Poppy Z Brite, I could go on…).

The Doomspell by Cliff McNishWhich book do you wish you had written?

CM: Either Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess or Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

What writing equipment could you not live without?

CM: A computer. The idea of having to use a pen…well, that is a horror story.

Do you plan in detail before starting a new piece of writing?

CM: Quite a bit, yes. At least I make sure my end works. Of course then you get there and …it doesn’t. Always a crest-falling moment that one. But I need to plan or I have no confidence at all.

Ebooks or Paper Books?

CM: Both, but I can see the day not far ahead when we touch paper because we want to remember what it felt like.

Angel by Cliff McNishHorror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?

CM: I write a quite a bit of Weird Fiction myself, which is normally a combination of Urban Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction. But all fiction is good if it is good, and anyway the genres are all mixed up now. A lot of crime fiction is pure horror.

Who should I read next?

CM: Read the two books I’ve recommended above if you haven’t done so already.

Tell us about the next novel you’re working on.

CM: At the moment I’m going back to my first love – fantasy.  I can’t reveal any more yet but it should be coming out in 2013, so watch this space…


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