I always felt as a writer, “I want to do something different, even if people think I am mad or if it turns them off my ideas a little bit!”
I never wanted to work under ANOTHER stalk and slash horror… ANOTHER zombie book… ANOTHER young adult teen vampire pandering love story!
I have two rules when starting a new book. 1) An idea which jazzes me and makes me excited to sit down and write. 2) Something original which is atypical from others in the genre.
When wrote my first book, Bezmel’s Vespiary, it was more about coping with a difficult part of my life and writing was my way of getting through it. I was playing a lot of computer games and watching zombie films and one of the thoughts I had was to write a book which contained zombies…. But not average zombies. They had to be different from the others.
It cant be argued that George A Romero pretty much invented the Zombie Genre with his Night of the Living Dead and the follow ups. I’ve seen them all many times and love them to bits! I’ve played resident evil games more times than is healthy! But now zombies are now everywhere! Games, clothes and even god damn teen romance films in Warm Bodies and Life After Beth. I wanted mine to be something new, plausible and containing the same DNA but a represented as a new twisted creature. So I created what were known in the book as Human Wasps. Zombie-type people who were catatonic cannibals made from systematic abuse. Bezmel, our lead protagonist, works for the CIA and tortures people for a living. When the camp is overthrown and the inmates take control, the human wasps of the Vespiary are mute, dissociated and have no neurological impulse other than to eat other people. They are zombies in everything but they are alive Yet their psychological damage is so bad, their minds so warped by horrific abuse, that they are mentally disturbed and mentally comatose. It was a new way of writing something which has been done to overkill in recent years honouring the films which I fell in love with over twenty years ago.
Inspirations come from within. Wes Craven enthused about the stories of kids dying in their sleep and the man in the hat who stared at him through his bedroom window when he was a boy. That moment alone defined one of the greatest pop culture icons of all time and also gave us one of the greatest horror films of all time. The undeniably brilliant A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984).
Tom Six speaks of the conversation he was having with friends about the child molester who was on the news and someone said “He should have his mouth sewn to the anus of a fat truck driver!” and this created The Human Centipede. I love Tom Six. He doesn’t care what people think and he has introduced a truly demented concept into reality. His trilogy has been rubbished, banned, praised and followed by fanatics in equal measure. Yet he remains resolute in his mission to be different, dogmatic and do what he wants whatever anyone thinks because he wants to keep to his originality. Whilst I am not going to compare any films here, the directors of horror are truly special people who all have a tale to tell of what inspired them to write their stories of darkness. Not to mention the amount of darkness they keep within!
I grew up with horror films. Writing horror and watching horror was about the only thing I enjoyed and stopped me from either killing my entire class or myself as I hated my teenage years. It was my escapism. A place where I felt scared and happy at the same time! Every Friday and Saturday night, house to myself, horror films on VHS cassette!
When not watching I was writing! I wrote stories all the time. Even drew their book covers on my desk in my room. I cant draw for toffee so don’t expect them to surface here!!! The first ever story I wrote was called “The Ghoul” and written when I was about 14 years old. It was a slasher rip off and not very good but it was inspired by Halloween, Elm Street, Friday 13th and anything else I could get to watch when my family went to bed and I could be alone with the TV. Since then I have optically consumed so many films I genuinely don’t know how many I have seen but, as with Vespiary and Tapeworm Slim, my love of horror floods my work.
Speaking of designing my own covers, this was one of the first teaser images I knocked up for Tapeworm Slim when I was off sick from work one day.
The brilliant social media site Twitter has now given me a chance to follow (or stalk!!!) my icons of horror, Elm Street and Mr Six himself. I enviously follow them and dream of one day being a successful author who is too followed by thousands and has my work either filmed or debated by fans. My casting choices are in the previous blogs…..
I’m not as thick skinned as Mr Six, and nowhere near as commercial as Wes Craven, but I can dream. You see I struggled with reading when I was a kid. I still do at times. So I was unable to get into horror books and instead had to rely on films. Maybe its my attention span or lazy left eye but I struggle with text and it takes me an age to finish a good book. I recently, in researching Bezmel, read more text books and history of torture books than was healthy but I had to. And don’t get me started on the horrors I had to study for Tapeworm Slim. Nasty stuff indeed….
Anyway, I digress.
The reason for this blog is because last week I started work on Tapeworm Slim 2.
I don’t want write another copy cat book. I’ve done with the lab stuff and gross experiments. I’m moving onto something new. Sahara Scarseed will still be there but she will be more background. I don’t want to overkill her. Two new villains are coming and both are despicable for different reasons. And this one is still horror, but it is more a political book which will deal on a global scale after the Shropshire/Lake District centred nightmares of The Scarseed estate and The Facility where the Tapeworm Slim pill was created. It is going to take nearly two years of my life so I have to love it and bury myself in a world and not lose interest. Writing it tough. It exhausts you and frustrates you as much as it thrills and excites! So I don’t want to churn out something copycat. I want the sequel to be a completely different beast to the first but contain the blood line which made the first book so special to me.
When Tom Six created the notorious Centipede 2 it went meta! A truly bold and brave move for a sequel and I have to applaud him for such a brilliant and original idea! His first film inspires a mad man! The sequel is a real life nightmare of the first!
Some sequels don’t work. The nightmare of Elm Street 2 was more disaster than scary. Watch the brilliant Never Sleep Again documentary to see just how the cast and crew felt it wasn’t going right and ended up as a confusing mess. Many sequels are inferior. From Jaws 2, Halloween 2 to even some of the recent sequels of Sinister 2 it is a hit and miss affair trying to recapture the magic of the first. Take the SAW franchise. I loved the films but felt, after the first, the sequels were hit and miss and only really thrilled me when part6 came around with its social commentary on the American healthcare system.
Sequels are stories. They carry on the saga. They should not be cash ins.
Therefore, I always had a vision for Tapeworm Slim and after the claustrophobia of the first book, its time for mass market and political thriller as Scarseed’s nightmare hits the shops. Its different, exciting and I am loving writing it already.
Many people have said they wont read Tapeworm Slim because they feel it is too gross! That is a good start to me as its connecting with a fear and causing revulsion and challenging! I am thrilled about that! A biological horror story which s really pushing tolerances. The main inspiration for the book, as listed in the preface, was my time in hospital in 2014 and how scared I was at the time. Yet the book was also inspired by my research into eating disorders, the proliferation of diets and the clients I have dealt over the years who struggle with their self concepts and self esteems from how they look. It also comes from my own insecurities and, having grown up in a female household and worked with mostly women, dieting has been something I have been exposed to for years. And social media is creating as many problems as it claims it is solving……
Tapeworm 2 is a long way off yet! Many things will change before it comes out and the story will be shaped my multiple inspirations and events just like the first one!
But although it is inspired by real and fictional events, it needs to be different! I need to keep it original because its my own work and whatever happens to my books, laughed at, ignored, bought in millions, discovered by a few who are browsing a website or WHATEVER path they take…
…I want them to have ME proudly stamped all over their content and for them to be known as different and unique.
So please, whether you have a Kindle or just read paperbacks and like horror, head over to Amazon and check it out.
TAPEWORM SLIM is on sale now!