The Welshman’s here.
Living in exile.
Fueled by ghosts from his country’s past.
With a writing career that stretches from China all the way back to the Somme. (Via a few lad mags.)
Good people of the Internet, writing out of London, UK – Chris Saunders.
Name one book:
1 – everyone should read
This might a left field choice for a horror buff, but I’m going to nominate The Dice Man by Luke Rhineheart. If you aren’t familiar with the plot, it’s about a psychologist who begins to question his life, and starts making decisions based on the throw of a dice. He uses the dice to determine everything from what to have for breakfast to what to do when faced with huge, life-changing decisions with far-reaching consequences. There are a lot of things you can read into it (forgive the pun) but to me, using the dice in this manner means you remove all responsibility for your actions and put all your faith and confidence into something else. Luck? Destiny? God? Some other higher power? Who knows. It’s the ultimate freedom. Try the dice life for a while and see where it takes you. It’s liberating.
2 – you would take with you if you were going to be marooned on Mars
That’s a good question. If I could only take one book, it would have to be something weighty, complex and fitting, as well as entertaining and somehow relevant. Based on those criteria, there’s only one I can choose, and that’s The Stand by Stephen King. The complete and unabridged version because at over 1100 pages, it’s bound to keep me occupied for a while. It’s not my favourite book of his, but I can’t think of anything better to help herald the birth of a brave new world.
3 – you took a chance on and were pleasantly surprised by
I’m one of those cheap fuckers who are always browsing Amazon for bargains. Earlier this year, I picked up a couple of books by a writer I hadn’t heard of before called Amy Cross. One was called The Cabin, and I think the other was Battlefield. Both blew me away. Since then I have been reading as many of her books as I can, but it’s difficult as she seems to write faster than I can read. It’s disconcerting.
4 – you’ve written that is your favourite
Sker House, my paranormal mystery novel. The reason it is so important to me is because much of it is based on fact. The location is real, as is much of the history and even some of the stories I allude to in the book. I also managed to weave in some local folk and ghostlore for good measure. To say the area is rich in source material would be an understatement. The story wrote itself, all I had to do was invent some characters, insert them in the existing framework, and give them something to do. The house is situated on the Welsh coast near Bridgend, and I used to visit a lot when I was a child. I wrote the first draft of the book six or seven years ago when I lived in China, then I put it through another edit and finally released it last year. Funnily enough, it’s also my biggest seller.
5 – that has influenced you most as a person
This is too hard. I’m going to have to choose an entire series of books, and can only hope that’s within the rules. That series is Alfred Hitchcock & the Three Investigators. These were the first books I remember reading after the obligatory Enid Blyton period (or was that just me?). More than that, they were the first books I remember actively seeking out, in the way of scouring book shops and library shelves. Apart from being exciting boys adventure stories, the books also helped instill morals and a code of ethics. The truth was always revealed, and good always triumphed over evil. Things are rarely so cut and dried in real life, of course, but when you’re young you believe that’s how the world will (or at least should) be, and for that reason they probably had a profound effect on my formative years. I only realized a few years ago that Hitchcock didn’t actually write any of them. A man called Robert Arthur Jnr did, and just used Hitchcock’s name to attract attention.
6 – that has influenced you most as a professional
This might not be the most original choice, but I’m going to have to choose Stephen King’s On Writing. I read it when it first came out in 2000 when I was just starting out on my writing career. I’d had a few short stories published in the small press and a couple of anthologies, but that book is a gold mine of solid, workable information and practical advice. Just by reading it my writing improved by a considerable amount. More than anything, it instilled a kind of belief in me and threw open the door to a new world. On Writing breaks down ‘the craft’ and makes it appear simple, giving the reader a deeper, more profound understanding of even the most complex aspects.
7 – of yours that prospective readers should start with if they want to get to know your work and where they can get it.
My latest release – Human Waste would probably be a good starting point. It’s the story of a prepper who wakes up one morning to find the world overrun with bloodthirsty zombies. But all might not be what it seems. A couple of reviewers have said that my writing often contains a sardonic twist of humour. It can be quite hard to identify, but it’s nearly always there. With Human Waste I wanted to push that aspect a little further. I usually stay away from the more extreme brand of horror. Too much of it comes across as unsophisticated and tacky. But I wrote a story for DOA 3 earlier this year (a series of anthologies on Bloodbound Books which cater toward the more visceral end of the spectrum) and really enjoyed it so that was something else I wanted to explore further.
You can find Chris at www.cmsaunders.wordpress.com
C.M. Saunders is a UK-based freelance journalist and editor. His fiction and non-fiction has appeared in over 60 magazines, ezines and anthologies, including Loaded, Record Collector, Fantastic Horror, Trigger Warning, Liquid imagination, and the Literary Hatchet. His books have been both traditionally and independently published, the most recent being Apartment 14F: An Oriental Ghost Story (Uncut), and Human Waste, both of which are available now on Deviant Dolls Publications. He is represented by Media Bitch literary agency.
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