Stuart Conover (SC): Hello there, for starters why don’t you share a little about your new novella, ‘Out of Time’
Christian Saunders (CS): I would love to! Without giving too much away, Out of Time is about a writer battling a bad case of writer’s block, who goes to extreme lengths to rediscover his mojo. What he discovers, though, is the universe has a way of righting wrongs, and very rarely lets you get away with anything. Its a fast-paced read, and I’ve tried to fuse lots of different genres and elements to keep it exciting. It’s quite hard to classify, as it’s basically a combination horror, sci-fi, mystery and thriller.
SC: Who is your favorite character in the novel and why are they important to you?
CS: I identify heavily with the lead character, Joe Dawson. At least in the first half of the book. I think most writers would. Writing for a living is not easy. People outside the industry seem to have this preconception that writers all sit around wearing tweed and strolling around their country estates. Take it from me, nothing could be further from the truth. Its a fucking tough life with very few guarantees. I tried to inject some of that uncertainty and frustration into Out of Time.
SC: What is it about the genre that has you coming back for more?
CS: It’s what I’m most comfortable with. Given the choice I’ll watch a horror movie or read a horror book over anything else, though I do make a conscious effort to read widely. Even then, I read about true crime and grisly episodes in history. Something inside me must naturally be drawn to the dark side. It’s no point fighting it. I just have to accept it and go with the flow. I’m never going to be writing about rainbows or fluffy rabbits. Unless they are eight feet tall and have a hankering for human flesh!
SC: How do you feel about the differences between the worlds of self-publishing and traditional publishing?
CS: They both have their merits. What writer wouldn’t sign with one of the major publishing houses if they had a chance? Unfortunately though, about 99.9% of us don’t get the opportunity and are left at the mercy of the smaller publishers . I’ve released my last two books independently for a variety of reasons. Primarily, I don’t want to compromise. I want to tell my stories my way. A big sticking point in the past has been pricing. Some of my previous publishers have priced my books far too high. I appreciate the people who read my books greatly, and I want to give them value for money.
SC: When reading a book for enjoyment, what is the most important thing that you look for in it?
CS: That’s a good question. I guess the bottom line is enjoyment. That’s what it’s all about.
SC: How do you develop your characters as you write them?
CS: I try to let them breathe, and express themselves. Sometimes, I have to be honest, they surprise me by taking on lives of their own.
SC: How long have you known that you want to be a writer?
CS: Since I was a child. My problem was, coming from a working class background, it wasn’t really an option when I was growing up. I remember telling a careers adviser at school I wanted to be a writer. He laughed in my face and tried to make me join the army! I’m the first to admit I wasn’t a good pupil at school. I just had no interest in the things we were expected to learn. I had to prove a lot of people wrong, which in a way, inspired me more than anything else.
SC: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
CS: At the moment I’m just happy doing what I’m doing and seeing where the road takes me. I write for a sport and lifestyle magazine during the day, and indulge in fiction in the evenings and on weekends. I also do a lot of reviews and other bits and pieces. I know I’m one of the lucky few who makes a living doing what they love, and for that I’m thankful.
SC: You have a range of work under your belt, do you prefer working on short stories, novellas, or novels?
CS: I’ve written widely in just about every area. I started with short stories, as most writers do, then crossed over to magazines. A freelance writer has to be a Jack of all trades. The more versatile you are, the more people you work for and the more you get paid. I’ve also written two non-fiction books. I write fiction for no other reason than because I like it. These days I write mainly short stories and novella-length works. Novels are very involving and time consuming. Not many people have time to read 100,000-word epics these days, never mind write them!
SC: What is the next project that you have in mind for your readers?
CS: Earlier this year I put out a book called X: A Collection of Horror, which gathered together some of my short stories, most of which had previously been published in magazines and anthologies. To me it was a way of cleaning out my closet and making some of my older work available to a wider audience. X2 will be coming out early in 2015.
SC: Who are three authors and your favorite work from each that you would go out of your way to recommend?
CS: Wow, that’s a tricky one. First up is Stephen King. He is the undisputed master of all things dark. It’s hard choosing just one book, though. I’m going to go with Duma Key. It may not be a popular choice, but I’ve never been one for convention. Second would have to be Richard Laymon’s Funland. I’m not a fan of all his work, and he has a weird preoccupation with the word ‘rump,’ but that is a great book. So many names are in with a shout of that third spot. Dean Koontz, Joe Hill, Ramsey Campbell, Joe R Lansdale. But I’m going leftfield and giving it to Graham Masterton and his first novel, the Manitou. It was one of the first books I remember reading, and it made a real impression on me.
SC: Where can my readers find out more about you and your work online?
CS: They can follow me on Twitter! @CMSaunders01 or stop by my website, there’s always something going on there: http://cmsaunders.wordpress.com/
SC: Is there any last words you would like to share with my readers?
CS: Thanks so much for your time, and for taking an interest in my work! Keep on chasing your dreams, because you’ll catch up with them one day. Love, laughter, and light.