Craig Saunders is a busy guy these days. His newest shorts collection, DEAD IN THE TRUNK, just hit on Amazon's kindle. His novel RAIN is getting great reviews, and his latest novel, SPIGGOT is a gut-busting romp about a British Detective trapped in the body of an axe murderer. It's got mystery, bloodshed, and lots of poop jokes and I can't recommend it enough. So without further ado....let's put Craig in the hot seat.
RCT: You write horror novels but your newest book, Spiggot, is a comedy? What gives?!
CS: Haha! Because I'm a lunatic, certified and registered. I'm licensed, too, so I'm allowed out in public and everything. But really, Spiggot was written before the horror came. I was writing horror right from the start, but fantasy and science fiction and humour, too. So, you ask, quite rightly, what's my point? Well...I think horror and comedy are just next door neighbours...like, once, I had a next door neighbour, and I laughed my head off when they got run over by a tram. We don't even have trams in my home town, so, you know, it was funny, because why was there a tram there? I'm not sure there was.
Who can honestly say they've never laughed at someone getting their head lopped off by an errant axe? I can't. I won't. It wouldn't be fair. So, to round up...horror's funny, and humour's horrible, and they're good bedfellows. Does that make sense? It shouldn't, so if it does, you're a nut. No, you are. No, you...OK, bye. What, there are more questions?
RCT: A badger and a rhino are for hire. The badger has a sword, and the rhino has a spoon. Which do hire to escort you through the jungle, and why?
CS: Badgers, because badgers are wicked. Sound a bit like tadger, which in turn sounds a bit like todger, a colloquialism for a specific part of a male's anatomy. And a sword, too, good phallic symbolism. So, you could put a condom on the badger and you'd be protected. Whereas, Rhinos are herbivores and generally quite placid. Plus, rhinos look stupid with that daft horn. Plus, I can't spell rhino, and also rhinos are highly susceptible to rhinoplasty.
CS: People are always asking how I come up with stuff. The short answer is that I just make it up. Writing's easy. It's just a long lie. I'm good at lying. For example, if you'd asked me if I've ever dressed as a woman, but not for charity, I would say no. I think writing good dialogue is as simple as cutting out the parts that no one wants to read. Elmore Leonard, I think, said something like that. But I suck at quoting people and that's a form of dialogue, though whether quotes should be double or single is a part of writing good dialogue, and quoting people, so really, do I write good dialogue? Well, we're talking now, and I've not made a jot of sense the whole time. I agree. What was the question?
RCT: A train leaves London at 4:00pm carrying only Henry Winkler, and picks up Daniel Radcliff at 4:30 in Chicago. By 5:00pm, when the train lands on the moon, it turns out Henry Winkler has turned into a garden gnome. How? Why? Explain.
CS: Because Daniel Radcliff is a witch. Witches can turn Henry Winkler into a gnome. It's one of the first spells they learn. Henry Winkler isn't dead, then? I thought he was. Wasn't he the Fonz? Good man, Henry. He'd make a good gnome. I wanted to shoehorn 'there's no place like gnome' into that answer, but I failed, but epically, so really, by the laws of magic, that's a win.
RCT: As someone who writes all types of genres, please give us some insight into your influences. Who do you read for inspiration?
CS: I don't read anything for inspiration...I read for pleasure, mainly. Sometimes I like to read in the bath and...what? Not that kind of interview? REWIND STAT! OK, I don't read for inspiration, but there are a ton of authors that have influence what could loosely be called my style. I'd include Iain M. Banks, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Lee Child, Stephen King, Robert E, Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Charlie Huston, George R.R. Martin...and a whole bunch of others. I like succinct, clever writers that don't use too many words, so please consider Banks, Howard and Lovecraft removed from that list. Told you I lied.
RCT: Where do your story ideas come from?
CS: Please refer to Article 1.1 (B) of the Geneva Convention. No man shall be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. So I shan't answer that question. But, in answer to your question...places. Yep, places. Not people, not other books, not short stories, or dialogue, but places inspire me, particularly in my horror. All my horror novels are set in Norfolk (where I live) in towns I visit, or even the town I live in. Is that OK? Did I pass?
RCT: Bee Man has just broken into your house...do you hit him with stale French bread, or offer him a fig leaf? Why?
CS: Because BEE MAN is really David Dunwoody's alter ego, AKA 'The Dunwoody' and he's already eaten the fig leaf, I'd offer to break the bread with him and give him a cuddle, because I'm not into violence. Then I'd laugh as he choked to death on a hunk of hard bread, because bees can't eat bread.
CS: Hey, I never realised that...but that's true. I'm always amazed that people pick up more of my meaning that I do. It's really not a conscious thing...I guess I just like to try and make things a little interesting, and have some semblance of a plot...though to be honest, Spiggot's plot is something that only a lunatic, certified, could make up. Big grin here. I'm trying to avoid emoticons, though I'm a little addicted to them. Hang on, was I actually supposed to be answering these questions? I like a little mystery. I like to make the reader turn the page, to wonder what happens next. For me, a good mystery achieves that just as much as character does...I figure if I've got violence, humour, character and story covered, there's no reason not to read the book. Big winking face here.
RCT: I haven’t made my bed in over a week. Should I bother?
CS: No, because, man law. First law of man law is you don't talk about man law.
RCT: What are you working on now and what do you have coming out soon?
CS: My next project is a new horror novel, The Noose and Gibbet. I have the first draft down, and I'll probably do another two drafts before it's ready to go. In between times, I'm learning the business side of being a writer. It's not all about sitting and creating. There's other stuff to do, too. I didn't realise that when I first set out to be a writer. I do now, with four books, two on the loose, two more coming out (The Love of the Dead, from Evil Jester Press, being the first).
Anyway, writing wise, after The Noose and Gibbet, I'm not sure. I have a few projects to complete, and new ones to start. I have two novels each in two separate trilogies completed, two science fiction novels complete which I need to submit, a short horror novel to publish...I'm always busy. I haven't run out of things to do just yet. Plus, I plan on giving my wife a cuddle when I've finished answering your frankly brilliant questions. Oh, I have? Thanks Ryan, and readers. I enjoyed this *a lot*. Hope you did, too. Look forward to working with you more...and cuddles. Damn again, did I say that out loud? Hmm, this could be awkward. Cheers!