This month is ‘Voodoo Mojo’ month on my website, where I’ll be looking at all things zombie and some voodoo stuff too. To tie in with this theme, David Moody took time away from his busy writing schedule to answer a few questions for his readers.
David is recognised as being one of the early independent publishing entrepreneurs. So, what convinced him to go down that route?
There was no real plan … independent publishing just seemed like the most sensible option to take at the time. After less than stellar sales of my first novel (Straight to You) which was traditionally published, I took a long hard look in the mirror and had to decide what my priorities were – did I want to make a living from writing, and if I did, how did I go about it? It was a bit of a no-brainer – I realised that the most important thing was to get people to read my book, and if I couldn’t get folks to buy my stuff (and why should they if they didn’t know anything about me?) then the logical next step was to give my next novel – AUTUMN – away. Everything just snowballed from that one decision really. Within a surprisingly short period of time I was recording hundreds, then thousands of downloads every month. I released sequels which I charged for, and that gave me the capital to start Infected Books and produce paperbacks, and that was the business model I continued to use until Thomas Dunne Books acquired rights to the HATER and AUTUMN novels in 2007/8.
On his website he notes that Hater will be produced by Guillermo Del Torro. How did this come about? How far along the road is this project?
I don’t know how they got hold of HATER, but I’m so glad they did. The book had been out for less than two months and had sold moderately well (for me), when I received an email from a production company in Los Angeles. I thought it was either a) a joke or b) a small independent company at first, but when I did some digging and found the connections between the chap I’d been emailing and some very famous people, I knew it was for real. Like many similar projects, the movie has been off and on and off again in the years since we first did the deal. Back in 2009 we were incredibly close to filming – J A Bayona (The Orphanage) was tapped to direct from a script by Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead showrunner), but it didn’t happen. We renewed the option at the end of 2011 and I keep hearing murmurings, so I’m hopeful something will happen soon.
3. Speaking of ‘the road’, what are his top post apocalyptic film, story and novel choices?
I get asked this question a lot, so apologies if you’ve heard this before… My favourite post-apocalyptic novel is Day of the Triffids. It’s the book which got me into the genre. I found it in my primary school library (what it was doing there, I don’t know!) and devoured it. That was the early 1980’s – the same time as the classic BBC adaptation. I’d also mention War of the Worlds (I can only imagine what people made of that book when it was originally published), and Domain by James Herbert. Domain was the third in Herbert’s ‘Rats’ series. Rats aside, it’s an incredibly vivid description of a never-ending apocalypse. In terms of movies, Romero’s original three zombie films were an obvious influence, as were the early works of John Carpenter and the films of David Cronenberg. My top apocalyptic movie, however, is Threads – a BBC movie from the mid-1980’s about the effects of a nuclear attack on the people of Sheffield. It’s a brutal, no-hold-barred film that remains absolutely shocking even today, and I’d urge anyone who hasn’t seen it to check it out.
I understand that David is working with Will Wright on a short film based in the Autumn universe. What’s that all about?
The movie is called ISOLATION. It’s not strictly an Autumn film, but the living dead it features will bare some similarities to the creatures from the books (no flesh eating, for example). I’m really excited about the project. Unfortunately we’re all working full-time on other things so it’s taking time to get everything together, but we’re hopeful production will start soon. ISOLATION is nothing like your traditional zombie film. Like my books, it’s more character-focused. It’ll concentrate on individual groups and people all doing what they can to survive, and how what each of them does has repercussions on the others left alive.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can find out more about David’s books at Last Of The Living. Autumn: Aftermath
is out in the US now.