Interview – Mark Woods – Arachnattack and Killer Cruise

Book Name and Description: Killer Cruise is my latest book, though I am also the author of Time of tides, Fear of the Dark, The go-lem, and Arachnattack, and was one of six authors responsible for Feral Hearts – a very alternative vampire novel.

Interview Questions:

What gave you the idea for Killer cruise?

Around the same time as Feral Hearts was released, originally there were plans to release a werewolf novel in a similar vein called Lycanthroship but the project was abandoned after being beset with problems. I became involved, along with Ed Cardillo whom I’d worked with on Feral Hearts, but the whole thing was a bit of a nightmare to pull together.

Many years passed and JEA, my publishers, came up with the idea for P26 – 26 titles, to be released in close proximity, and all themed alphabetically. I was already writing A and G, but when someone dropped out decided to take on K as well. I had this idea for a book about Killer Kangaroos but time was against me and, not knowing much about Austrailia, didn’t have time to do all the research I needed and so instead opted to go back to the story I’d wrote for Lycanthroship and use that.
I bulked it out, retitled and repackaged it, and the end result was Killer cruise.
The kangaroo book, by the way, is still coming, eventually, but for now at least it’s just been postponed.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve told this story many times, but I started writing five years ago now, in 2013, at the behest of Catt Dahman. I wrote a series of reviews for her Z is for Zombie collection, one of which me her revise one of her books and helped get her a contract with Severed Press, and she told me with my writing ability I should probably be a writer myself. She was just starting JEA, and said she would help me publish whatever I wrote and the rest is history.

Tell us about your past books and stories?
All of my books are connected.
That wasn’t the plan originally, and they can all be read as stand-alones, but in almost every book of mine there are Easter eggs that tie-in to all my other books. The phrase, Time of tides in my writing has become synonymous with the threat of an oncoming apocalypse, and several characters from other books often pop up in cameos. The Crazy Cat Lady from a story in Fear of the Dark, for example, plays an important role in Arachnattack, and Killer Cruise features the Vampyre, Victoryia, from Feral Hearts many years before that book is set.
It’s rarely planned that way, but old faces just have a habit of cropping up when I’m writing, like uninvited guests, and most times I’m too sentimental to ask them to leave.
Plus I kind of think it makes my writing kind of fun for the reader as you never know who might show up.

What is your favorite book you haven’t written that you feel might be under-rated, and why?

One of my favourite books of all time, if not the favourite, is one of the most disturbing books I have ever read and is called House of Leaves by Mark. Z. Danielewski.
If you haven’t read it the book is about a man who stumbles across a screenplay for a haunted house documentary that may or may not actually exist. As he reads through the screenplay, he becomes dangerously obsessed with it – and the house – and the book is essentially the screenplay with this characters notes all over it but the way it is written and presented is so original. It’s not an easy read, and the strangest book I’ve ever read, but it has a certain something and has always stayed with me years after I first read it.
A friend lent it to me, and I was so impressed, I went out and bought my own copy.
At some point, I want to write my own haunted house book but when I do, I know this book will play a heavy influence.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

Arachnattack – because it is set in a fictional version of the small Norfolk town I actually live in and so is very close to my heart. It was also the only one of JEA ‘s P26 books to actually feature the concept of Project 26 as part of the plot.
Killer Cruise helps explore some of the origins of Project 26, at that time merely called The Project, and so ties into Arachnattack that way as well as hopefully offering a few surprises.

What are you doing next?
I am currently working on self-publishing a short collection called Fear of the Dead, that features four of my zombie stories I have written that also all tie-in together. Each story is set in the early days of the Zpocalypse just as everything starts to all fall apart and is very nearly done.
Should be due for release in the next month or so.
After that, who knows? I have plenty of projects in the pipeline.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Never give up – the intense feeling of holding something in your hands that you yourself have written and helped create is a feeling that cannot be described.
Writing is hard, but being published is a very rewarding experience.
I just got my second book accepted into my local library and I have never been more proud.

bio:Mark Woods has been described as one of the U.K’s most promising up and coming horror writers, and is also the Head Chef at The Kings Head, North Elmham.
He is the author of several novels, mostly set in and around Norfolk, and is looking forward to releasing several more books in the very near future.