Welcome to Horror After Dark, Simon Wood!
HAD: Care to tell us about your journey to becoming a paid (and full-time?) writer?
SW: I started writing when I moved to the US in ’98. I couldn’t work so I had a lot of time on my hands and I turned to writing, which I had always wanted to try. I wrote short stories before working on my first novel. My very first short story was published on the first of January 2000 and my first novel was published in 2002. I was first published through the small presses, which garnered me good press that led to a mass paperback deal with New York publisher. I went full time about seven years ago. Now, my books are available in print, digital and audio. I’m a bit of a hybrid writer. I work with mainstream publishers as well as the small presses while managing my backlist. Anything to keep me telling stories…
HAD: Do you have a preferred genre you like to write within? Or it is more about the story, and genre be damned?
SW: My preferred genres are horror and mystery/thriller, but I’m driven to write any stories that inspire me.
HAD: We’ve seen it noted elsewhere that you like to write about your actual experiences. Did any aspect of The Scrubs come from a real life experience?
SW: Yes, many of my books and stories are based on past experiences, but THE SCRUBS is one entirely of my imagination. Thankfully, I have never been in prison, but I have ridden past Wormwood Scrubs prison many times.
HAD: So how did you come up with the idea of The Scrubs?
SW: A few years there was a call put out for an absinthe themed anthology. Absinthe is made from wormwood and I immediately thought of Wormwood Scrubs. I took the prison’s name literally and built a mythology around it and combined it with hallucinogenic qualities of absinthe. The story expanded beyond the limits of a short story and into a novella and Bad Moon Books published it as a limited edition print run in paperback and hardback.
HAD: The concept of The Rift in your novella is fascinating. Did you have ideas for what took place within there that didn’t make the final cut of the story?
SW: No, everything I thought of made it into the novella but the “eyes motif” is going to be a thread that will follow throughout the trilogy.
HAD: Do your loved ones ever cast fleeting side-long glances at you once they’ve read your latest horror offering?
SW: No, not really. I think they know me by now. (Note from Simon’s wife: I am constantly freaked out by what comes out of Simon’s imagination)
HAD: Below our review, you responded that the Scrubs is the first in a trilogy of tales. Can you give us a taste of what to expect next?
SW: The next book in the series is SCRUBBERS. It takes place six months after the events in THE SCRUBS. Britain is now the play thing of the young boy and quarantined from the rest of the world. A small group of people come together when they discover a girl who can close the Rifts. SCRUB LAND concludes when one woman enters the Rift to confound Jeter and walk a mile in his soul.
HAD: What’s next on your agenda?
SW: I’m working on my next thriller THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY which will be out next February. It centers on a woman who escapes a killer at the expense of her friend and can’t deal with the guilt.
HAD: Do you have any passion projects you’ve been waiting to pursue until the time is right?
SW: I have many passion projects. My Aidy Westlake racing series was a decade in the publication. I hope to start something very personal to me after I finish my current thriller.
HAD: Do you have much time to read yourself? What’s on the top of your TBR pile?
SW: I listen to a lot of audiobooks and I’m currently listening to Jon Ronson’s excellent book, The Psychopath Test.
Simon Wood, thank you very much for your time!