This is Horror: Moody & Simmons Double Act
On Saturday 29th June 13 at 7pm I joined an intimate audience of around twenty horror fans or so to meet David Moody and Wayne Simmons as they chatted about all things horror and the writing industry. This bizarre double act, better known as the Mitchell Brothers of Horror, were as fun and lively as you would expect; and some of their stories were a bit off the wall.
The two met in 2005 . Following the Dawn of the Dead remake, Wayne found himself looking for zombie books. Believe it or not, there were very few people writing in the sub-genre back then. Wayne looked at ‘All Things Zombie’ and found David’s site. David was giving away his first book free as an ebook. Now, back in the anals of history, there were no such things as kindles or nooks, and David was giving away a PDF version. To this day, he still gets fans arrive with a tattered old self printed manuscript to be signed. What appealed to Wayne at that time as a reader, was that David was doing things differently, and his books were very unlike anything he had seen before in the genre. After conversations with Dabid, Wayne sent him a short story, which would later become his debut novel Drop Dead Gorgeous. This, again, diversifying from the ‘norm’ of zombie fiction, was set in Northern Ireland, Wayne’s hometown, and looked at the dynamics and tensions prevalent in NI. From then, we have a tale that is reminiscent of Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Morecombe and Wise . . . Moody & Simmons’ paths kept crossing, and from their, grew, if you’ll pardon the pun, the Never Trust a Man with Hair Tour. Despite the gradual deterioration of book signing events at stores, both Moody & Simmons state that the Waterstone’s staff have been brilliant, and in fact, this event which took place at the Esquires Coffee Shop in Coventry was supported by Rich at Waterstones.
David talked briefly in retrospect about when he hosted the signing of James Herbert’s Ash where there was an endless line of people in the queue. This was a real culture shock for David, as despite his success, he is pretty much still an Indie Horror author, much like Wayne.
When Wayne started to see some success, he says he ‘worked his ass off’ to get the book in the stores, and it wasn’t easy. He found himself in the position of having to buy back the rights to his own book and funding the delivery of DDG to Forbidden Planet stores himself. This took a lot of attitude and persistence, but proves the power of hard work and the talent of Wayne as a writer.
As for David, his first book Straight to You is currently being rewritten for a re-release, but initially, it was a self published book, born as a result of David’s redundancy package, a pittance I would imagine, but a pittance that allowed him to get his name out there. It was important for both writers that they get their readership, more than anything. From downloads, David went for Print on Demand and the sales were steady. Then came the release of Hater with an email following a month later from LA, asking for the film rights to Hater. After going through his friends to see who may have played a practical joke, the email and subsequent call turned out to be genuine – and the man touted to produce/direct? Guillermo Del Toro. Yep, he of Pan’s Labyrinth fame. From there, a publisher in NY took on David’s books. Though not to the same scale, Wayne’s career hit a similar high when he submitted Flu to Snowbooks. This was at about the same time swine flu hit and the book sold through three print runs in six months, astounding!
I could go on for ages with the things the double act talked about in two short hours, but my fingers are already starting to hurt. However, I’ll finish with one small story, then a few gems of quotes from the Mitchell brothers of Horror.
David finished off by telling us about his worst ‘review’ ever, though both David & Wayne agree that you can learn so much from reviews. David apparently received an email from a man invoicing him for the time wasted spent reading Autumn. Obviously, this man has no taste!
So no, on to the quotes of the evening:
DM: I’m a frustrated filmmaker’
DM ‘I couldn’t get rid of these stories that I wanted to tell.’
WS: ‘I write as I go along, from an idea that sparks me off. I normally start with two characters interacting.’
Plastic Jesus by Wayne is out Nov 13. David is currently working on the re-write of Straight to You, but has just released his collection of Autumn stories, Autumn: The Human Condition from Infected Books.
Continue reading for my review of this book:
Autumn: The Human Condition
Author: David Moody
Publisher: Infected Books
Page count: 448pp
Release Date: 1st July 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
The latest addition to David Moody’s Autumn series, is a large collection of stories spanning the five books in the Autumn sequence. The books tracks existing characters and new characters through their attempts to survive.
The vignettes start with the tale of Jake Wilson, who has moved to Canada with his family. His overprotective Mom Polly phones him in the early hours of the morning to tell him that Vancouver has gone silent. Something is happening, something big and dark and this excerpt reminds us that the events of the Autumn novels are on a global scale. The silence in Vancouver is spreading across North America, and it isn’t long before Polly’s family are silent too.
Next we ‘meet’ Amy Steadman, and this is where things get really interesting, as the book progresses, we get tales from the point-of-view of the dead. Amy is a 24-year old graduate, the ‘face’ of the lingerie boutique where she works selling designer goods, but Amy hates the way appearance matters so much. A good job really, because she won’t look very pretty for long!
It starts with a cough, people choking and collapsing all around the world and dying rapidly as they vomit blood. Then three days later they get up again.
Through different voices, Moody tells us how the world adjusts to what has happened. Moody captures the air of frantic panic and disbelief as the bodies start to fall and vehicles crash and planes fall out of the sky, destroying the cities and towns. Moody is a master auteur at describing the human condition as the title suggests. In the segment entitled ‘Innocence’ he further captures the fear and naivety of childhood in the face of this world defining disaster. Truly scary at times and moving, this is the perfect accompaniment to the Autumn universe. A must have for Moody fans.
You can find out more about Moody at http://www.infectedbooks.co.uk/ and Wayne at http://waynesimmons.org/blog/?page_id=135