Sarah Pinborough is kind of a big deal across the pond, and finally, her Forgotten Gods series is coming to the US, beginning with A Matter of Blood! Sarah was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, and I’ve also got a copy of the book up for grabs for one lucky winner, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the bottom of the post!
Please welcome Sarah to the blog!
A Matter of Blood, the first novel in your Forgotten Gods trilogy is finally available in the US! Will you tell us a little about the book and what inspired you to start the series?
I had been writing straight horror novels for Leisure books in America, and I was feeling very restricted by the constraints of that and wanted to stretch myself as a writer more. Also, I’d realised that I read far more thrillers and crime novels than I did horror novels, although I still loved having something a touch weird in a story. At first I thought I’d try my hand at a straight crime novel but I also wanted to do something based on the concept of Milton’s Paradise Lost. While mulling all this, and while the world started to sink into economic crisis (which is very much part of the darkness of the book), I read Michael Marshall’s The Intruders and John Connolly’s Every Dead Thing and then I realised that you could weave some weird into a thriller and publisher’s will still buy it. After that it was all systems go. Luckily I pitched the trilogy and it was bought on that.
You’re a multi-award winning author and have over 14 novels under your belt already! Will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
It’s when I read something like that I realise I’ve gone from new girl to veteran over the past few years- a strange feeling! In my head I’m still the new girl. As for writing, I always wrote -even from a very young age – but for a while I wanted to be an actress. My twenties were spent in quite an ungrounded way (I’m a firm believer that everyone’s twenties should be spent that way) and I drifted from on dodgy man to another and did a variety of jobs –running nightclubs and other businesses – and then when I was about thirty (and doing my teacher training) I decided to give writing a serious go. I wrote my first novel and sold it to Leisure and then it was a steady progression from there.
Why horror? What do you love most about the genre?
I don’t actually consider myself a horror writer these days. For me A Matter of Blood is a crime novel with a supernatural/sci-fi subplot. I guess I write stuff with dark and weird happenings but they tend to be cross-genre novels. I love horror films though and still read a lot of horror short stories. Crime novels also tend to be very dark, so it must be the exploration of our fears which grabs me. I try and live very much in the moment and I think that is driven by being quite overwhelmed by mortality. I’m very aware that life is a one shot deal. You have to do what you want when you want because that’s all there is for you. What accompanies that, however, is the constant fear of everything that can go wrong. I think anyone who writes dark fiction is terrified of most things – all the variables in life that can end in death. Writing about those things can be cathartic.
You’re obviously no stranger to writing about terrifying subjects. What’s something that you find truly scary?
Everything! Death primarily, but that drives all our fears. I’m afraid of flying but less than I used to be. If I examine it I think I’m afraid of things I’m not in control of. I’m afraid of random acts that change your life forever – things that aren’t driven by you, just by you being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As I child I never slept because I was afraid of the dark and the night time and monsters. I always had an awful dread at night that I couldn’t explain or rationalise. As if all the horrible things that were just out of sight could find you in those hours. I guess that’s never entirely left me!
What are a few of your biggest literary influences?
Gosh, so many. John Wyndham, Daphne Du Maurier, Stephen King, Michael Marshall, John Connolly.. I’m sure there are many many more. Every time I read a great book that wows me, they influence me in some way.
If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
Again, a tricky question! The Stand by Stephen King probably.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I’m really exceptionally dull. I like watching movies, reading and drinking, eating and laughing with friends. Good conversation is important to me.
What’s next for you?
Too many things! I have books out with both Gollancz and Jo Fletcher books in the UK this year (Poison, Charm and Beauty from Gollancz and Mayhem from Jo Fletcher books), and owe both publishers two more books each. I’ve got a film in development that I’m working through some script notes on. I’ve agreed to write a dark comedy for another producer and have a three-parter crime show in development with a UK production company. Reading that back makes me want a glass of wine..;-)
About A MATTER OF BLOOD:
In a world steeped in darkness, a new breed of evil has fallen…
London’s ruined economy has pushed everyone to the breaking point, and even the police rely on bribes and deals with criminals to survive. Detective Inspector Cass Jones struggles to keep integrity in the police force, but now, two gory cases will test his mettle. A gang hit goes wrong, leaving two schoolboys dead, and a serial killer calling himself the Man of Flies leaves a message on his victims saying “nothing is sacred.”
Then Cass’ brother murders his own family before committing suicide. Cass doesn’t believe his gentle brother did it. Yet when evidence emerges suggesting someone killed all three of them, a prime suspect is found—Cass himself.
Common links emerge in all three cases, but while Cass is finding more questions than answers, the Man of Flies continues to kill…
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