Q: When did you first decide to become a writer?
A: I’ve wanted to write ever since I was a boy, but I don’t think I ever really saw myself doing it as job. That would have seemed an impossible dream – like wanting to be a rock star.
Q: What made you become a horror writer?
A: Well, I’m not really a horror writer. I’m a writer who sometimes writes horror. I do have a taste for the weird, for the strange and uncanny. I’m a weird, strange and uncanny person.
Q: Where do you get your ideas from?
A: From the same place you might get yours – from everything I’ve ever read, every film or TV programme I’ve watched, from things that have happened to me or to people I know.
Q: What would your advice be for someone who wanted to be a writer?
A: Live. Have lots of adventures. Travel. Talk to people – different kinds of people. Laugh. Cry. Fall in love. Fall out of love. Cry some more. Read lots of books – different types of books by lots of different writers. Finish what you start. You’re not a writer until you get to the end of your story. No matter how beautifully written it is, a half-told story is not really a story at all.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to be an illustrator?
A: Draw, draw, draw. Then do some more drawing. Go to art college if you can. It’s fun. You’ll meet people like you there. Read lots of books, watch lots of movies, go to as many exhibitions as you can. The more stuff that goes into your head the better. It’s all fuel.
Q: Have any of your books been made into films or TV?
A: Not yet. Lots of nibbles but no bites. If you’re a Hollywood producer I’m open to offers.
Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
A: It depends on the book. I write quickly but I spend a lot of time thinking and playing around with ideas. Writing isn’t just the bit where words appear on the screen or the paper. Writing is also staring out of the window. I do a lot of that.
Q: How do you write?
A: I always carry a notebook – invaluable for jotting down new ideas or resolving problems in anything I’m working on. Mostly I work on a computer – a desktop at home and a laptop for my studio (where I also do my illustration work). I have no set routine other than a vague sense of a working day with something like office hours. But in reality writers are always working – if only in their heads. Not that it’s a terrible burden or anything. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it.
Q: Which of your books is your favourite?
A: I have a few books I’m especially proud of. Mister Creecher. Anything That Isn’t This. Superpowerless. I’m very fond of all the Tales of Terror books. I am a huge fan of the short story form as a writer and as a reader. But mostly it is whatever book I am working on at the moment.