The next Short Sharp Shocks! is Book 37 Flayed Sins by Ian Woodhead. Dean and Ian have worked together a few times but not for a little while so it was ‘happy times’ when the opportunity came out. The book is being published on the 31st October but is available now for pre-sales.
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Hi Ian! Great to speak to you again. For those that don’t know anything about you, please tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.
IAN WOODHEAD: Hello everybody, I’m Ian. I live in the land of mushy peas and whippets (that’s Yorkshire, not the ‘other place’! Accuse me of living on the wrong side of the Pennines, and I’ll hunt you down and murder your hamster). I’m married with kids, pets, Lego and Netflix and I was born a few months after Michael Collins sent Buzz and Neil to the shops to grab more teabags. As for the writing bit? Well, reading came first, I guess. That’s back when my mum left a James Herbert book on the coffee table and I picked it up and…yeah, that was eye opening! I was eight at the time. Time passed by, as it generally does and we find ourselves in 1988 and me aged 19. This is one of those life defining moments section. My brother and I were walking home and a couple a lads walked passed us, turned and slammed my head into the wall. I dropped like a sack of spuds. Just to make sure I wouldn’t get up the lad stamped on the back of my head. I have no recollection of any of this, mind. It’s only what my brother told me weeks later. Anyway, my next memory is waking up in hospital, with tubes stuck in me. This was a week later. OMG! This interview’s gone a bit flipping dark, and it started out so happy/weird too. Yeah well, tough. Look, do you want me to continue or what?
DP: Please do, we’re all ears...
IW: Whilst in hospital, I became obsessed with two things. Orinoco Flow by Enya, which was in the charts at the time, and The Magic Cottage by James Herbert. Upon discharge, I find my musical tastes utterly change from OMD and Erasure to Metallica and Iron Maiden. I also started reading horror. Back then, I started with Herbert and King then expanding to Dean Koontz, Steve Harris, Mark Morris, Guy N Smith, Brian Lumley, Shaun Hutson. I’ve not stopped reading. As for writing. Well, I picked up the pen aged and put it down again a few weeks later when I realised I had no idea what I was doing. I went back to playing games on my Commodore 64. Twenty years went by, because time never stops. Aged 40, I picked up the pen yet again, and stuck at it this time. Granted, my use of grammar was pretty awful back then (some argue that it still is). But, with help from a certain Adrian Chamberlin, I finished my first novel, titled Shades of Green. Which was nice.
DP: Ah, Adrian! He’s a friend too and we’ve worked with him in the past on many projects. Hopefully at Demain too in the not too distant future. And wow, that’s a real eye-opening story. The Magic Cottage is a fav of ours too...and Enya! There’s a blast from the past. Okay, so with regards to Flayed Sins, what is it about?
IW: It’s all about the grey lines between revenge, retribution and justice. As well as the consequences of every action you take throughout your life. There’s enough ambiguity there for a dozen Eastenders episodes but let’s open that box and throw in ‘hidden agendas’ Awesome.
DP: Ha ha. And your protagonist?
IW: She finds herself in the middle of a Twilight Zone story and instead of applying rational reasoning, she allows her emotions to take the reins. Not her best idea.
DP: No, it’s not...for Flayed Sins was there much research involved?
IW: No, not at all. I allowed my conciousness to probe through the half-forgotten memories from my past. It felt like the proper cause of action. Looking back, Google might have been a more reliable source. Shrugs. Too late now.
DP: So did you find any of the scenes difficult to write?
IW: Oh God, yeah. As for which part of the story I refer to, I’ll let you decide.
DP: Indeed. Indeed. Creatively Ian what would you say is your biggest success?
IW: That happened five years ago. A fellow writer advised me to go down the extreme horror route. As I was going through a creative drought, I took the decision to pull one of my worst selling titles off Amazon and rewrite it. Rags and Bone, a story which I adored, became Brutality. A much darker and ‘wetter’ story. I commissioned a new cover and released it.It took off like a sodding rocket! I was like, you are shitting me! Anyway buoyed by its initial success, I sat down and wrote my first original extreme horror story, called Depravity. The artist created a cover in a similar style and I released that. That one took off too! Happy dance - then the reviews started to arrive. They ripped both books apart. The two main grievances were the tales weren’t extreme enough and the editing sucked monkey’s balls. Yeah, I self edited and made a complete arse of it. How dumb is that? Well, there you go. Welcome to my world.
DP: We might be looking at an extreme imprint in the future – we’ll come back to you about that...could be fun to do...so in terms of books or authors, what do you read and are they an influence?
IW: The books which have affected me most were all non-horror. 1984 by George Orwell, Use Of Weapons by Iain M Banks, and Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham.
DP: Ah, I want to read some Billingham – thanks for the aide memoir. What then is ‘horror’ to Ian Woodhead?
IW: Go ‘treat’ yourself to a double bill of Threads and When The Wind Blows. If you need even more trauma top-up for your ice cream, watch an Auschwitz documentary.
DP: Harsh but true my friend, harsh but true. Is there a horror book or film coming up that you’re looking forward to?
IW: The next Alien movie. Ironically, some say the horror is that Disney have swalllowed up 20th Century Fox and will now milk the franchise to death. *cough Star Wars. *cough, cough.
DP: Know what you mean, I’ve read recently that they’re thinking about doing an Alien tv series. I did draft out a rough Alien script a few years back (I think a little while after part three came out) – it was set on their ‘home planet’ and I wanted Sean Connery as the President of Weyland...now I think of it, I still want to write / direct a Predator movie set in the 1200s...ah, the life of a writer ha ha. Is Ian Woodhead frightened of anything?
IW: Erm, rejection, loss, loneliness and death just about covers it. Yeah, my fears have found their way into my stories. How could they not? I mean, my stories ARE part of me. Simple as.
DP: And creatively is there anything you haven’t yet done yet?
IW: I have yet to write a detective novel. One of these days, I will strike this off my ‘todo’ list.
DP: Well, if you do, please remember that we have our own Murder! Mystery! Mayhem! Imprint...anyway, anyway – two toughies coming up. Marvel or DC?
IW: What sort of a question is that? How about neither. Christ on a space hopper. It’s 2000AD or death. (grin) Look, we’ve had Judge Dredd on the big screen (hoping for more) we now need Strontium Dog, Meltdown Man, Slaine, Rogue Trooper, ABC Warriors and Rogue Trooper. God, it makes my eyes bleed at the thought of all that incredible material rotting away. Look, I’m not saying that Batman, Hulk and all the rest is in anyway subpar. It’s just that I feel they’ve only pulled out a tiny slice of our geek cake and plastered it everyfuckingwhere! Come on, guys. Dig a little deeper.
DP: Yes, it’s strange isn’t it...I wonder if there is some issue with licences etc? As you’ve mentioned it twice, I wouldn’t mind seeing some Rogue Trooper either...and ABC Warriors! Final question then (and I’m also scared myself to ask this): tell me something your readers might be surprised to find out about you.
IW: I once microwaved a slug and ate it.
There it is ha ha ha ha!
Thank you Ian for your time.
All the best with Flayed Sins.