13 Questions with Gary McMahon

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

Today on 13 Questions we have author Gary McMahon!

Gary McMahon Author PicGary McMahon is the acclaimed author of nine novels and several short story collections. His latest releases are BEYOND HERE LIES NOTHING (the third in the “Concrete Grove” series, published by Solaris) and NIGHTSIDERS (a novella published by DarkFuse) and his short fiction has been reprinted in various “Year’s Best” volumes.

Gary lives with his family in Yorkshire, where he trains in Shotokan karate and likes running in the rain.

1. What drives you to write?

I wish I knew. Catharsis? A quest for truth and understanding? I think I’ve always been interested in what makes people tick – especially at the extreme end of human experience – and that’s one of my main driving forces. I write about people. I dislike people, but I’m fascinated by them. I like to investigate what makes us tick.

2. What attracted you to writing horror?

It probably goes back to a love of the scary stuff developed as a child. I’ve always liked my entertainment dark, even back then. Horror is such a great tool, a treasure-trove of metaphor, that you can use it to examine any theme.

3. Who are your favourite horror writers?

Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison, Charles L. Grant, Fritz Leiber, M.R. James. I’ll probably remember a lot more names after I’ve sent you these answers.

4. Which horror novels do you think every horror fan should read?

Dracula by Bram Stoker, Pet Sematary by Stephen King, The Song of Kali by Dan Simmons, The Influence by Ramsey Campbell, Beyond-Here-Lies-NothingShadowman by Dennis Etchison, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

5. Ebooks or paperback?

Paperback. But I also like my Kindle.

6. What would make you pick up a novel by a new author?

I’m assuming you mean a horror novel? I don’t actually read much contemporary horror, so it takes a lot to make me read a horror novel by a new author. Generally speaking, I tend to pick up books on recommendation from people whose opinions I value. I have little time for reviews or marketing blurbs. Word-of-mouth is my favoured way into new writers, and it’s introduced me to some superb books.

7. Who is your favourite fictional character?

That’s a tough one…possibly Henry Chinaski, Charles Bukowski’s fictional alter-ego. Bukowski is my favourite writer.

8. Do you plot your stories or does it just unfold before your eyes?

Both. It depends on the project. Some dictate that I outline them in advance, and others refuse to be planned. I’ve also written a couple of novels that I only started outlining once I was half way through.

FC CONCRETE GROVE9. Do your characters take on a life of their own and do things you didn’t plan?

Yes, all the time. I tend to listen to my characters. They know their stories better than I do, so when this happens I just go with the flow and see what happens.

10. Do you listen to music when you write or do you need silence?

I usually write in silence. I used to listen to music, but I’d always get so far into what I was doing that I’d forget to change the CD.

11. Do you do a lot of research for your stories?

Again, it depends on the project. Most of my stuff is about people and situations I know well, so there’s little research required.

12. Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook, although that pisses me off, too…

13. What really pisses you off about writing?

This: I hate doing it but I can’t stop.

You can stalk Gary on Facebook and on his website.

You can get The Concrete Grove from Amazon.com and you can also get Pretty Little Dead Things, which is on my must read pile, from Amazon.com


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