An Interview With Ian Woodhead

Ian Woodhead’s happy face.

Hey Ian. So, tell us a little about yourself, where you were born and where do you now call home?

Hey there, Adam, you just want a little bit about me? Hmm, I think I can do that. So, I was born in 1969. I once ran over a girl on a Raleigh Chopper. I spent a lot of my early childhood in the local Library and the headmaster once told my mum that I was retarded; my mum went to school and gave him a right gob full!

One of my rather unusual hobbies as a child was collecting animal bones. Thinking back, my one regret is that I can’t remember what happened to them. I fondly recall my excitement at discovering a dead squirrel in the woods or roadkill.  Looking at what I’ve just written, I wonder if the headmaster might have seen something else in me when he called me retarded.

I was born in Bradford and have not moved further than a few miles in all my 43 years. In fact, the farthest I’ve been was the Isle of Man in 1975. The dad and aunty once explored our family timeline, and they managed to go back to the early 17th century before records disappeared. It turns out that my 400 year-old ancestor lived about a mile from where I currently live.

It is true about the bone collecting, by the way. I was about twelve, I think.

When did you first start writing and how long was it before you were published?

The first story that I remember writing was a short tale about a Dalek, for a school competition. It won a prize as well! I’ve no idea what I wrote, all I do remember was that I drew a Dalek with the lines.

As for my first foray into the dark domain of horror, that particular cherry was taken at the tender age of 16, when I wrote a story about a husband keeping his zombie wife in the cellar. I think you can guess what he was doing with her. Yeah, it was very sick. I might have to use this idea in my next story.

It’s Friday evening, about 8pm, what are you doing?

I’ll be working. I don’t finish until 10pm on a Friday. If I was on my break, I’d be hunched over a notebook scribbling away whilst drinking coffee.

Why horror?

Are you having a laugh? The horror genre is literature’s naughty boy. The other genres try to keep horror locked away, usually in a cupboard under the stairs. It used to share that confined dark room with soft-core porn and erotica , but now, thanks to THAT BOOK, it’s now all alone. How can you not love horror?

Who is your biggest inspiration, professionally?

My biggest inspiration is all the fantastic readers and fellow writers who have shown me that maybe, I’m not as crap as I always think I am. Look at you for example, Adam. I didn’t know you from well, Adam, until about a week ago. Sure, I knew of you! But we never spoke. Now, here we are, having a chat, drinking beer and I’m licking your pointy mohican. Life doesn’t get any better.

You are in bed, a bump in the night wakes you, you have to go investigate. Using only implements from your bedroom, what is your weapon of choice?

Shit. I only have a model of Starbug 1 from Red Dwarf, a bottle opener, my cup and my mobile phone within reach. I lay back down, safe in the knowledge that my dog will eat anyone stupid enough to break in. Then again, knowing Pepper, that bump in the night will be her, ripping her way through the kitchen bin.

Tell us a little about your forthcoming release, Triptych Decay?

There are three stories in this volume, The Unwashed Dead, Walking with Zombies and Infected Bodies. The idea for the first story came from watching my lovely pissed up neighbours shouting at each other on a Friday night at just past midnight. I live on a council estate. Now, don’t get me wrong here, most of my neighbours really are wonderful people. I tried to imagine how they’d behave if the zombie outbreak happened here. The Unwashed Dead was the result. I had so much fun with that one, I decided to broaden the theme but to use different characters living in other parts of the city.

What projects are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on a story called Human Filth. What is it about? It’s about the end of the human species and what will replace us.

You are stranded on a desert island. Before the ship went down which 3 books did you rescue?

The first would be a big plastic inflatable book. The second would be ‘Now to Make Oars Out Of Sand.’ The third: ‘Getting drunk on fermented coconut milk…

Do you see dead people?

Not yet, although I hope to some day.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

My formula has change recently. Up until a couple of months ago, I used to plot everything. Each chapter was outlined, then I worked on the synopsis before expanding it to first draft. Now though, I just sit down and write. It’s working pretty well at the moment. Knowing what I’m like, I’ll probably find another method in another few months.

Have you ever suffered writers’ block?

Yeah, I have reached a point where I’ve been unable to think of anything. Despite telling myself to chill out and not to worry, I still found myself becoming suicidal.

If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?

My old headmaster’s head in a display case.

Chocolate cake or fruity cheesecake?

Both, all mashed together, with a side serving of donner meat.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world on a novel, who would it be and why? What’s the story about?

I’ve already done that. I wrote a story with another writer called Suzanne Reeves. It was awesome.

Finish this newspaper headline: “Ian Woodhead is….”

a bit of a dick, but isn’t too bad in small doses.

Thanks Ian.

You’re welcome, Adam. Buy me an ice-cream please.

Triptych Decay is released on 7th January and will be available where all good books are sold.

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~ by crowdedquarantine on November 26, 2012.

3 Responses to “An Interview With Ian Woodhead”

  1. Great interview!

  2. Great interview.

  3. Nice interview – great questions and answers! Good work, the pair of you

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