A Quickie with C.M. Saunders
I had the pleasure of interviewing C.M. Saunders, established author of dark fiction. He has just released a new book, The Wretched Bones: A Ben Shivers Mystery, available now!
When did you decide to become an author and why?
It was always in the back of my mind, I just didn't think it was a viable option. When I told people I wanted to be a writer they laughed. I grew up in a very working class environment, left school with no qualifications, and went to work in a factory. That was when I decided to go all-in, because I had nothing to lose. I taught myself how to type and use a computer, and sold my first story in my early twenties. Not long after that I started writing for magazines on the side and slowly made the transition to doing it full-time. There's no greater buzz than proving people wrong. The hardest thing when you're young is figuring out what you want to do. I wouldn't say it's easy after that, but it's certainly easier.
Do you have a favorite character from one of your books and what makes you like them so much?
My new book, The Wretched Bones, is the first to feature a paranormal investigator called Ben Shivers. In the next Ben Shivers book, tentatively titled Cuts, there's a character called Caz Lance who really had an affect on me. It was so weird. She started out as just one half of a couple who move into a supposedly haunted house, but as the book progressed she started taking a more prominent role and soon revealed herself to be a sassy, feisty girl who has an answer for everything. Because of that, she gets all the killer lines. In hindsight, I inadvertently seem to have written a representation of my perfect woman. It's just a shame she's already married. I might have to address that in the future...
What authors have influenced your work the most?
When I first started reading for pleasure I loved Roald Dahl and Jules Verne. They truly helped open my mind. Then in my teens I discovered Stephen King and devoured everything he'd ever done. Still do. He has his ups and downs, but that just makes his work more relatable. I'm also a fan of Nick Cutter, Adam Neville, Chuck Palahniuk, Amy Cross, Jason Arnopp, and recently, Christopher Fowler. Of all the above, I probably veer more towards Palahniuk's writing style. He's more minimalist. He makes every word count, and doesn't fuck about.
Is there a specific character archetype you enjoy writing in your books the most?
It isn't very sophisticated but I love dropping my people into situations they aren't expecting, and aren't prepared for, just to see how they react. I think if you can surprise your characters, you surprise your readers. Everyone loves a surprise. If the surprise involves someone getting decapitated or flayed alive by demons, all the better!
If the world ended and you could only save 3 books, which books would they be?
Oof. That is such an evil question. First, SK's The Stand. Not just because it's about 1000 pages long, but it's essentially a rough guide to starting society again after the apocalypse. It might come in handy. Second, I'll save Joe Hill's The Fireman, just because it's been on my TBR list forever. I'm already on my second copy because I lost the first one in a house move. Now I'm at that stage where I've been keeping it for so long I don't want to start it in case I'm disappointed. The anticipation is better. Lastly, I'll take a Bible, just in case I need to make a fire.