Sure! I’m from the UK and I live just outside Birmingham with my wife and a houseful of daughters and step-daughters. That, as it says on the biography from my UK publisher, is probably why I have this unhealthy addiction to the end of the world! I’ve been writing seriously for more than 15 years now (that doesn’t seem possible – scary!), and after running my own small press for several years (Infected Books), I’m now published by ‘proper’ publishers which is extremely cool and still quite hard to believe. Prior to writing full-time, I used to work in finance and I was, I’m almost ashamed to admit, a bank manager. I worked in large processing centres where I had responsibility for a lot of staff. They were my inspiration! If someone wound me up at work, I’d go home and write a zombie version of them and give them a horrific death scene!
What made writing the Autumn series different from The Hater series?
Autumn actually came first, and I’ll explain why in a few questions time. Although they have a lot of similarities, they’re two very different series. Although the Hater books are often classed as zombie novels, they’re not. I think the comparison is drawn because both series deal with the human race being split in two. But instead of living and dead, in Hater you have the ‘Haters’ and the ‘Unchanged’ . The Autumn books are far less violent than Hater, and the focus is very different too. I like to think of the Autumn books as being about a group of survivors, rather than being about the living dead. Sure, there are hundreds of thousands of zombies there, but I’m more interested in how people come to terms with the end of the world, not in how many zombie kills each character can chalk up.
Describe yourself in 3 words
Big, bald and angry. I’m not really, but that’s how I look. I mean, I am big and bald, but I also just happen to look angry all the time. You can’t help it when you’re blessed with a face like mine!
Could you survive a Zombie Apocalypse? If so, what would your survival tactic be?
Yes, I’m sure I could! And I think I’d do it by doing the exact opposite of what everyone else will probably be doing! In every zombie story, you seem to hear about survivors ganging together, foraging for supplies, searching for weapons etc. etc. etc. I think I’d get the family together, get as much food and water as I could, then just lie low (I have a few likely locations planned, but I’m not telling you where they are!). The key thing to remember about zombies, I think, is that they should be virtually rotted down to nothing in six months. Bide your time. Be quiet. Be careful... actually, I’m going to stop answering this question now. I’m starting to realize I’ve spent too much time thinking about this. I really do have my escape routes planned! Is that wrong?!
What is a day in the life of David Moody like?
I often (half-jokingly) describe myself as a housewife and part-time writer! I work from home, and that’s absolutely great but the consequence is that I take much of the responsibility for driving the kids around, cooking dinner, walking the dog, doing the washing etc. etc. So my usual working day is weaved around the family’s requirements (and that, of course, is exactly how it should be). I walk our youngest daughter to school, then usually go out for a run to clear my head and get ready for work. I’m a distance runner, so I train most days, and I actually get a lot of work done when I run. It’s great thinking time. I usually spend an hour answering emails and doing admin. etc., then write until it’s time to get the girls from school. I work best in hour long chunks, and I’m only really productive when I switch the Internet off. My wife works and studies, so after dinner I’ll usually go back up to the office for a while longer. I usually have a number of different projects on the go, so I’ll often spend a little time working on several rather than a whole day on the same thing. It’s a great way of working, and I’m really fortunate to be able to have such a flexible lifestyle. After many years of the 9-5 grind, I really appreciate it.
What are your top 5 favourite films(Any genre)
The Fly (the Cronenberg remake), The Old Dark House, Children of Men, Moon, and (unsurprisingly) Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead.
Tell us about your road to publication
As I alluded to earlier, I’ve not followed the typical route to publication. My first novel – Straight to You – was published by a small press in the UK back in 1996. I naively thought I’d hit the big time, but I was brought back down to earth with a thump when it didn’t even sell out its first microscopic print run. By the time I’d finished my second novel, Autumn, I knew I didn’t want to immediately get back onto the same submission > rejection merry-go-round again so I tried to find a different route to get the book published. I quickly decided that the most important thing was to try and get the book to as large an audience as possible. I was just taking my first steps online at the time, and it soon became obvious that the best way of publicizing my work would be to give the book away as a free download. It was quite a unique thing to do back then – very few authors were doing it. It took a while for word of mouth to grow, but I was soon generating some very healthy and consistent download figures. I started writing the planned sequels to Autumn and this time made them available as paid downloads and, to my amazement, people started buying them! When I was made redundant from the bank in 2005, I started Infected Books and used print on demand to get my books out as paperbacks. Everything was going well... I was selling plenty of books and writing plenty more. Then, out of the blue, I received an email enquiring about the availability of the film rights to Hater (I’d just published the book a couple of months earlier). After I’d fallen off my seat and ascertained that the email was genuine, the deal was made and Guillermo del Toro’s (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) name was attached. Within a couple more months I’d signed with Thomas Dunne Books in the US, and they picked up most of my back catalogue.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Creatively, I have a few. In terms of literature, I’ve always been very vocal of the inspiration I’ve had from the works of John Wyndham (particularly ‘Day of the Triffids’) and HG Wells. I’m a frustrated film-maker at heart (I will get there one day!), and movie-wise my biggest influences are David Cronenberg, George Romero, Peter Jackson (particularly his lesser-known pre-Lord of the Rings movies – Brain Dead, Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles), and early John Carpenter.
How did it feel to find out 'Hater' was going to the big screen?
You know, it’s more than four years since the initial approach was made, and I still can’t quite believe it. It was enough that they were interested in the book and wanted to make a Hater movie, but having people like Guillermo del Toro and J A Bayona involved genuinely is a dream come true. I think most authors are nervous when their material is adapted for the screen by someone else (I was when Renegade Motion Pictures filmed Autumn a couple of years back), but in this case I’m just incredibly excited and I can’t wait to see what they do with the material.
Have you ever thought about writing a different genre...Perhaps a 'Happily ever after'?
Yes! And I will... eventually. The thing about the end of the world is that it’s great for amplifying people’s emotions. When you’re in danger and running out of time, every decision matters – every choice you make might literally mean life or death. I think fast-forwarding to almost the end is a wonderful way of stripping away the trappings of our day-to-day lives and focusing on big decisions and important issues. But yes, I will surprise everyone one day by writing a book where things actually turn out okay for once!
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Two things. Firstly – most importantly – thank you! I’ve only managed to achieve what I have through the support and feedback I’ve had from countless people along the way. It’s easy to say and it might seem trite, but I’m indebted to everyone who has read any of my books, even if they’ve hated the experience! The second thing I’d like to say is that if you’ve liked what you’ve read, please tell someone else. We live in an increasingly controlled world where the media is manipulated far more than I think most people appreciate. I make a point of telling people when I discover a new book or movie or piece of music, and if everyone does the same then we’ll hopefully still see original works and new voices breaking through.
Are you working on anything now? If so, can you share a little about it?
Thank you, David! It was a pleasure interviewing you!