Friday, 6 August 2010
An Interview - Wayne Simmons
Belfast born, Wayne Simmons, has been loitering with intent around the horror genre for some years. Having scribbled reviews and interviews for various zines, Wayne released his debut horror novel, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, through PERMUTED PRESS. The book was received well by both fans of the genre and reviewers alike. In April 2010, the rights to DROP DEAD GORGEOUS reverted back to Wayne. An extended version of DDG will be released through SNOWBOOKS in 2011.
Wayne released the zombie apocalyptic horror novel, FLU, through SNOWBOOKS in April 2010.
In what little spare time he has left, Wayne enjoys running, getting tattooed and listening to all manner of unseemly screeches on his BOOM-BOOM Box…
Q1. What are you writing at the minute?
At the minute, I'm writing the follow-up to FLU. It's to be called FEVER and will be both a prequel and sequel to the first book. All the surviving characters from the FLU will return (as well as some who haven't survived!) and there'll be new folks for readers of the series to get to know. With FEVER, readers can expect more of the same from me - Belfast-based, character-driven survival horror. With zombies, of course.
Q2. Can you give us an idea of Wayne Simmons’s typical up-to-the-armpits-in-ideas-and-time writing day?
I try to write most days, aiming for at least 1000 words. The challenge is to fit my writing around the rest of my life: that's proving more and more difficult the busier I get. With FLU's ongoing success (the first print-run has completely sold-out), there's more promotion work, interviews, anthos etc. to give attention to alongside trying to maintain prolific writing output. Plus, I still work full time.
I find myself writing a lot on the train to and from work, transferring the scribbled notebook pages into my PC when I get home. I get inspired when surrounded by people and find I write best when in the company of others. I know that's not the norm, but it works for me!
Q3. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I think about what I'm going to write. Hah! To a certain extent, that's completely true. I'll often be sitting at work or having a conversation with someone and an idea will suddenly come to me. Generally, I try to have a fairly healthy social life - getting out and about to gigs, eating sushi, drinking beer and collecting as many tattoos as my skin and modest wages allow.
Q4. Any advice for a greenhorn trying to break into the genre fiction scene?
Self-promotion is key. Get out to genre conventions and onto genre message boards and get the word out on who you are and what you're about. Talk to people in the industry - you'll find most folks are very approachable via facebook etc. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Oh, and my golden rule is to keep your feet on the ground - remember that no matter what success you enjoy as a writer in the genre (whatever genre(s) you decide to write within), you're a fan first and foremost.
Q5. Which writers have impressed you this year?
This year I've enjoyed writing by Simon Logan (Katja from the Punk Band), David Moody (Hater, Dog Blood), Rupert Thomson (Death of a Murderer), Jack O'Connell (The Skin Palace), Tim Lebbon (The Thief of Broken Toys), Stephen King (Duma Key, Cujo, On Writing) amongst many others. I'm interested in character-driven fiction that draws an emotional investment out of the reader. I don't always read sci-fi or horror stories.
Q6. What are you reading right now?
Fiction-wise, I'm just finishing Tim Lebbon's The Thief of Broken Toys (which is an astounding read). Non-fiction wise, I'm reading a book on different variations of Left-Libertarianism and Rupert Thomson's autobiographical This Party's Got to Stop. I tend to read about three books at a time. Silly, I know!
Q7. Plans for the future?
A cleaned-up and extended version of my debut novel, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS is due for release in January 2011 (Snowbooks). I'm also keen to get FEVER on shelves next year as well as DOLL PARTS, the sequel to DDG. I've a cyberpunk thriller written at first draft stage which I'm keen to tidy up. After that, I'm seriously considering writing an Urban Fantasy set in Belfast.
Q8. With regards to your writing career to date, would you do anything differently?
Not really. I've made a few mistakes along the way, but those were a necessary part of my journey to date. I think the key thing for any professional writers starting out is to seek appropriate advice on contracts. the Society of Authors is a good resource. Basically, they're a trade union for writers.
Q9. Do you fancy sharing your worst writing experience?
When I was in my early teens I tried writing a super-hero novel but lost faith in myself after about ten scribbled file pages. I ended up burying the fruits of my labour in a ditch in Portadown. I was a troubled child, let's just say...
Q10. Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about?
Just thanks for the interview, Gerard! It's a pleasure to be on the CSNI blogspot. If anyone wants to find out more about my writing, ask me questions etc. they can catch up with me on my website: www.waynesimmons.org
Thank you, Wayne Simmons!