Book Name and Description: The Cat Came Back
“Darren Johnson has had a bad run of things lately, his girlfriend has left him and he’s fast becoming a gibbering drunk. A pang of inebriated sympathy plucks at his heart strings when he sees a persistent little fella equally down on his luck. He invites him in, maybe it’s the companionship they both need to get through their bad times.
Things go from bad to worse and it all seems due to the cat that came in from the cold.
Is this cat the cause of pushing Darren down the last few rungs of life’s ladder so he hits rock bottom, or just bad luck? Is this cat an ordinary feline or a living curse, the demonized demigod from ancient lore and folk songs?
Whatever it is, no matter what the odds, there’s one thing Darren soon learns, the cat always comes back.”
What gave you the idea for your book?
I remember seeing a Canadian cartoon about a guy who is pestered by a little yellow kitty. It stuck with me and after a few years, and then some, I got tired of looking at the usual stuff on the Internet and looked this up. It, the cartoon, is based on, and uses a revamped version of, an old folk song about a man who is plagued by a cat. The song is macabre, very violent, the man attempts to get rid of the critter in numerous ways, like a ye olde version of a Warner Bros cartoon, and each method is usually thwarted by the clever conniving cat to the demise of the would be cat assassin.
From that moment on I knew I wanted to bring this tale into the modern world, into my world. And so I created a lore behind my little moggy and had him take things up a notch or two.
What got you into writing horror?
From an early age I’ve always secretly been attracted to the things that scare me. I used to be petrified of spiders and yet I would spend hours during the summer holidays tracking down all the webs in our back garden and dropping insects into them to get a look at the beast hiding within. I was safe, they were where they couldn’t touch me, so I loved it. The same went with horror.
My mother was a massive horror fan, from Dennis Wheatley books, through the Hammer Horror and the like eras through to the more modern times before she died. I grew up with it. Don’t get me wrong she carefully vetted each film before letting us kids watch them but the ones she wouldn’t let us watch were even more alluring. Mum loved her films, idolised the three Masters Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, but also loved reading. In her latter years she developed cataracts which prevented her from doing one of her favourite past times, but when she had them removed she went on a frantic reading frenzy, grabbing whatever horror she got, old and new. I have her to thank for getting into my favourite old school writers James Herbert and Stephen Laws.
I have been writing stories since I first learnt how to string a sentence together. Before I could even write I used to dictate to my dad, hahaha. They would usually involve some male child protagonist against a whole menagerie of monstrosities.
The first story I can remember writing myself was about an escaped black panther loose on the London Underground. I was about 6 years old. As I got older I would write in depth fan fiction about Michael Myers, tying up the loose ends of the Halloween movies and trying to explain why he was like he was. And successfully dispatching him too.
How long have you been writing?
I’m 37 now so if you count from that panther story onwards 31 years!
Tell us about your past books and stories?
Like I say I had written stuff for years and years and whenever I was brave enough to show anyone, or my stuff was read out in English classes, it always seemed to go down well. People laughed in the right places and everything. A few years back I started taking it really seriously and started showing my stuff to those that mattered.
I got my first novel, Pinprick, published this year by Knightwatch Press, that book took six years and two complete rewrites to get it to where it is now, but by the time it was released I had more experience under my belt, had been accepted into a few anthologies and had began to release stuff on Kindle.
Most of what I have out is within the horror category, but I am not completely strict with staying within that genre. I’ve approached sci-fi with ‘Illness’ and even written a teen drama ‘Virgin And The Hunter’. I write whatever story is bugging me at the time. I have a comedy novel I’ve been sitting on for years, kind of a British version of Wayne’s World, and even though the few I’ve shown it to loved it, I still don’t know whether it will surface and be up for sale.
But generally my stuff has been horrible with a hefty smattering of dark humour and the odd bit that turns my stomach.
What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like?
Frantic. Irregular. I tend to be attached to my mobile phone, whilst juggling children and everyday chores I’ll sit and type a few sentences whilst taking a break for a cup of tea, leaning up against the kitchen counter waiting for the washing machine to finish or the kids dinner to cook, or whilst I loiter in the school playground waiting for the bell to ring and release the Kraken. Then, at some point, when everything is out of my head and onto the page I edit it. But there is no pattern other than I want, need to write every day. I agree with the Stephen King method and try to put it into place if I can. The one thing I’ve learnt about writing is you need to exercise that creative muscle regularly.
What is your favorite book (other than your own book, of course) and why?
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Because it’s hilarious, has more than a little amount of horror and biblical references, and is one of my most read books. Everyone says they have that one book where they take it everywhere and re-read it every year. Until I found that book I never thought I would have that.
What are you doing next?
I have a massive anthology of Christmas inspired horror stories due out in December called 12Days: Anthology. For twelve consecutive days before it, like a horror story advent calendar, I’ll be releasing one story a day (on Kindle) based on each of the ‘Twelve days of Christmas’ song: a partridge in a pear tree and all that jazz. I have numerous authors doing these countdown stories and then the big anthology comes, and it’s going to be huge. The legend that is Graham Masterton quite generously and donated a story to it and has written what will be the Foreword.
Oh, and every single penny I make from 12Days is going to Cystic Fibrosis UK.
After that I have various things in the pipeline, but hopefully first will come FUR, my werewolf novel. I always said that I would never write a werewolf or vampire story, then one day that antipodean scallywag Mr. Toneye Eyenot tickled my muse under the chin with a blackened talon and ignited the spark that would grow into what some are calling my best piece of work yet. I just hope that the Dark One Down Under will approve when and if he decides to honour me by reading it. (NOT A HINT)
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Read Stephen King’s On Writing book. It should be forced upon anyone who wants to write seriously. Even if you hate King, that book has so much value, so many helpful insights that you can only gain by reading it.
That and the rules, as the man states in his book, READ A LOT and WRITE A LOT. And do not stick to just one genre, you have to have a mixture. Variety is the spice of life as the saying goes.
Matthew Cash, or Matty-Bob Cash as he is known to most,was born and raised in in Suffolk; which is the setting for his debut novel Pinprick. He is compiler and editor of Death By Chocolate, a chocoholic horror anthology, and the 12Days Anthology, and has numerous releases on Kindle and several collections in paperback.
He has always written stories since he first learnt to write and most, although not all, tend to slip into the many layered murky depths of the Horror genre.
His influences ranged from when he first started reading to Present day are, to name but a small select few; Roald Dahl, James Herbert, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Stephen Laws, and more recently he enjoys Adam Nevill, F.R Tallis, Michael Bray, Gary Fry, William Meikle and Iain Rob Wright (who featured Matty-Bob in his famous A-Z of Horror title M is For Matty-Bob, plus Matthew wrote his own version of events which was included as a bonus).
He is a father of two, a husband of one and a zoo keeper of numerous fur babies.
You can find him here:
(Amazon UK) https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B010MQTWKK