Gary McMahon is the seven time, British Fantasy Award nominated author of Rough Cut, All Your Gods Are Dead, Dirty Prayers, How to Make Monsters, Rain Dogs, Hungry Hearts and Pretty Little Dead Things and has edited an anthology of original novelettes titled We Fade to Grey. Ramsey Campbell described Gary as “one of the darkest – which is to say brightest – new stars in the firmament of horror fiction.” So it’s a delight to welcome Gary McMahon to the Inquisition.
1- Which book has been most influential in your career?
I assume you mean a book written by someone else? In that case, I’d have to say Danse Macabre by Stephen King. That was the book that introduced me to so many genre writers I might otherwise never have discovered.
2 – Which writer has most influenced your style?
That’s a tricky one. When I first started writing in my early teens I was trying to write like Stephen King, then I discovered Ramsey Campbell and realised very quickly that I had no chance whatsoever of copying his dense, intricate style. I suppose Clive Barker’s influence has been important to me – if only to show me that a writer can give vent to their imagination and allow their own personal imagery to take centre stage – and whenever I’m stuck on a story I always, always think: “How would Dennis Etchison write this?” Outside the genre, Charles Bukowski influences everything I’ve ever written – he’s my favourite writer.
3 – What’s the future for the horror genre?
Cross-genre pollination. By this I mean authors letting themselves go wherever their imagination takes them, regardless of genre boundaries or limitations. The most exciting genre books out there right now span all the imaginative genres – horror, fantasy, SF, crime.
4 – Which book do you wish you had written?
A Child Across the Sky by Jonathan Carroll.
5 – What writing equipment could you not live without?
My brain. I’d write on the walls, in my own blood and shit, if I didn’t have any other writing material to hand, but I couldn’t do it without my tiny, warped excuse for a brain to give me the ideas.
6 – Do you plan in detail before starting a new piece of writing?
It all depends on the project. Some need outlining in detail, while others just rush out of me and onto the page. The novel I’m working on now has been in my head since I was sixteen, so it needed no detailed planning – it did, however, require some reigning in!
7 – Ebooks or Paper Books?
Both. One isn’t a replacement for the other – they’re simply alternative formats. It’s the story that’s important, not the medium by which it’s transmitted.
8 – Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
Dark Fiction. It’s just a personal preference, but I’ve always been fond of this genre definition. I used to cling to the term “Horror”, but lately I’ve begun to shy away from it for my own personal reasons. I’m not a big fan of genre labels anyway: let’s just call it all imaginative fiction.
9 – Who should I read next?
Me, of course. Or maybe James Sallis, an amazing crime writer I only just discovered this year.
10 – What was your last book and what is your next book?
My last book was Pretty Little Dead Things (published by Angry Robot, ISBN: 978085766 0695). More details here.
My next book is The Concrete Grove (published by Solaris, ISBN: 9781907519949) More details here.