Interview: Iain Rob Wright

Hey folks,

As promised, today I am bringing you the interview with Iain Rob Wright. Iain is the bestselling horror author of books like Animal Kingdom, Sea Sick, and his latest thriller, Soft Target.  Iain loves what he does, is grateful for his success, and remains humble, despite his ever-increasing popularity.

His books contain elements from the world’s top horror writers like, Stephen King, Richard Laymon, and Jeff Strand, and his love of the genre keeps his books entertaining, and his ideas fresh.

Okay then, enough from me. If you get a chance, check out his books and show the man some love!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am 30 years old and live in the town of Redditch, UK, which is near Birmingham, the nation’s 2nd city.  I am married and have just had my first son, Jack.  I have been a fulltime writer for three and a half years now.  Before that I sold cell phones.  As a kid, I always wanted to be part of the Horror Writer’s Association.  Now I am.

What made you want to become a horror writer?

It’s just a genre I love.  I am mad on horror films, books, and games.  They say write what you know, but I think the better advice is to write what you love, and I love horror.  I love groups of survivors trying to survive.  It’s so tense.  My favs are Demon Knight, Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Dead Alive, Outbreak, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Mist, 13 Ghosts, REC/Quarantine, The Others, The Fly, Alien, and loads others.

What authors have influenced your writing style?

Many.  I got my love of complex characters from Stephen King.  I got my love for apocalypse from Brian Keene.  I got my love for black comedy from Jeff Strand.   I got my love for connected universes from Terry Pratchett.  I got my love for sickos from Richard Laymon.   I got my pride in British horror from James Herbert and Simon Clark.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the first horror novel in my new ‘Redlake’ universe.  It is called ‘The Picture Frame’ and is about a picture frame that curses whoever’s photograph is placed inside it.  The protagonist is a mystery writer called Blake Price.

Tell us a little about what you have learned during your journey into self-publishing.

That self-publishing is better than sitting on a manuscript for years, praying someone will take an interest in it.  If you have written a book, you have a product to sell.  So go sell it.  Now!

Reviews are crucial for an Indie author. Do you read every review for your books and if so, how do they make you feel?

I read every single one.  The bad reviews I make note of and try to fix the flaws they point out.  Bad reviews are the best tool a writer has to improve.  The good reviews just fill my heart with love, and remind me how lucky I am to be doing what I am doing.  I didn’t know how kind people were until I started writing and attracting fans.  It restored my faith in humanity.

How did you feel the first time you saw one of your books in print?

Not as overwhelmed as you might think.  Everything happens so gradually with self-publishing that you can enjoy things slowly and not let any of it go to your head.  In traditional publishing, everything happens overnight like a flash in the pan, and there is no time to sit back and enjoy it.  Then it’s all over and they’re on to the next big thing.

You’ve often said The Final Winter is your favorite book so far. If you could change one thing about it, what would it be?

I have recently re-edited it as I felt some of my earlier work was a little trite and juvenile in places.  Bad reviews suggested my character’s motivations were a little off.  One of the great things about self-publishing is that the question you just asked me isn’t a hypothetical.  I actually went back and changed the things I didn’t like rather than live with them regretfully.

You have become very popular and respected in the industry by authors and fans alike. Do you still have self-doubt when it’s time to release a new book? If so, what do you do to work through it?

Yes, I worry that it will all end tomorrow.  I never know what people will think of my books and it’s always a sigh of relief when the good reviews start coming in.  I live in constant fear, but all I can do is keep writing and hoping for the best.  Fortunately, the best always seems to happen so far.  I’m extremely blessed.

You write (very convincingly) about the zombie apocalypse. How long do you think you would survive in a real zombie apocalypse?

I suffer with anxiety so I think I would panic and do something rash very quickly.  I would most likely die very quickly unless I found a strong-minded leader to follow.  I am very protective, so I would probably die trying to save my wife and son in the early days. I also hate being tired so I would probably give up after two days without sleep.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you this year?

Honestly, having just had a baby, anything beyond what happened yesterday is a blur.  I did have a funny time recently with author Matt Shaw, almost getting lost on the London underground because we were nattering away.  My baby farts a lot, too, which is always good for a giggle.  Especially when he times it just right.

Most people think horror authors aren’t afraid of anything. What is something you’re afraid of?

I’m afraid of big spiders.  I don’t like heights.  I’m a really nervous driver.  And I don’t trust badgers.  For the most part I am pretty rational, though.

What advice do you have for new authors and those new to self-publishing?

Just get started.  Things will be slow to begin with and you may get bad reviews, but you will have started and have chance to improve.  Keep writing, paying attention to critics, and keep publishing new work.  Just focus on doing better each month and compete only against yourself.  Self-publishing is a business, not a lottery, and you have to build it up from nothing.  The longer it takes you to start, the longer it will take you to succeed.  Don’t focus on the negatives, just focus on the things you can affect. Learn from other authors and always pay your dues.  Wear a smile everyday and be nice to people.  Nobody likes a self-important asshole.

If you could be any dog breed, which would you be and why?

A beagle, just because.

What do you do for fun when you’re not plugging away at the keyboard?

I love watching boxsets like 24, Prison Break, Homeland, The Goodwife, Revenge, Walking Dead, Scandal, The Americans, Nashville, and loads others.  I also love playing videogames.  I have an Xbox one, but mostly play on my laptop.  I love Rome 2 Total War and Fifa the best.

Tell us one thing about you that would surprise your fans.

I’m an atheist.  I write a lot of Christian-Judaic mythology, but I don’t actually believe in any of it.  I have respect for religion, though, and don’t feel the need to decry it like most other atheists.  I consider those with faith lucky as it’s a positive thing to have.  Terrorists and bigots would be assholes with or without religion, so it’s wrong to always blame Islam or Christianity for people being dickheads.  Their faith is just the excuse they use to be violent.

Which of your books would you like turned into a television series or movie?

I would like to see The Housemates turned into a twelve-parter.  It would be great for twists and turns and shifting allegiances.  There’s also the mystery behind who is keeping the housemates trapped and why.

How can your fans reach you online?

My website has all contact details.  www.iainrobwright.com.

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