Gary McMahon, author of the recently released Dead Bad Things (Angry Robot)
took time out from his busy writing schedule to chat to me. AS well as his Thomas Usher novels, McMahon has embarked on an urban horror trilogy starting with The Concrete Grove (The Concrete Grove Trilogy)
Here’s what Gary had to say;
1. How did the ideas for the Grove develop?
Slowly, over a very long time. I first had the basic idea of a kind of possessed council housing estate when I was sixteen. It’s only now that I feel skilled enough to even attempt to write this story.
2. Do you have the full trilogy mapped out in your head including the end?
Nope. I’m just winging it, hoping that everything ties together as a cohesive whole. It isn’t a proper trilogy, strictly speaking, more of a series of interconnected works. I envisage this as being a potentially long-running series of books – that is, if people want to read them and Solaris want to continue publishing them.
3. I recently read Dead Bad Things (see my review at http://terror-tree.co.uk/2011/09/review-dark-dead-bad-things/. What can you tell us about the second Thomas Usher novel?
The second Usher novel is a direct sequel to the first, and it sets up the dynamic for the rest of the books (which I hope to write) going forward. These first two books form a kind of “origin story”, like you usually get with superhero characters. I really can’t say much more without giving things away, but I will tell you that I’ve taken a few narrative and thematic risks with ‘Dead Bad Things’. I hope they pay off.
You have recently started publishing your back catalogue in electronic format.
4. How do you think the upsurge of ebooks will impact on the traditional book business?
I’ve only released a couple of titles as an experiment, to see how they sell. The results aren’t promising – despite appearing near the top of a lot of those Kindle charts on Amazon, sales haven’t been too strong. It’s difficult to say how much on an impact ebooks will have on the industry in the long run, but the times certainly are a’ changing. All I’m seeing now is a mad scramble, with a lot of crap being shoved out on Kindle along with a lot of really good stuff. It’s increasingly difficult trying to decide what might be worth your time.
5. What’s the weirdest or spookiest thing that has ever happened to you?
I once lived in a house in North London that I’m convinced was haunted. I used to hear banging on the floor under my bed (and the guy in the room below never heard a thing). I felt somebody sitting on the end of the bed almost every night, and used to feel as if someone was in there waiting for me – standing in the corner – whenever I went to bed. What made the whole thing even stranger is that I don’t actually believe in ghosts…and yet, there was certainly some kind of presence there.
6. So what’s next in your creative schedule?
I’m currently working on ‘Silent Voices’, the second in the Concrete Grove series, I have several short stories that have been commissioned at different stages of completion, a Thomas Usher short story collection, and there’s also a Thomas Usher novella that’s recently started to demand my attention. Then there’s ‘The Quiet Room’, my haunted house novel which needs finishing so my agent can try to sell it, and hopefully a third Usher novel. I’m also currently putting together my next short story collection for a respected U.S. publisher, titled ‘Tales of the Weak & the Wounded’.
Many Thanks Gary