David Gatward is the best-selling author of The Dead, The Dark, and The Damned. These books are utterly brilliant and you can expect my review to follow soon. He has a new novel coming out later this year entitled Doom Rider, and Mr. Gatward very kindly took some time out of his holiday week to answer a few questions.
1. You have a new book coming out called Doom Rider. I'm sure the release date is out and about, but could you give us all a reminder?
Release is July 5. However, I’ll be doing plenty of build-up stuff through my facebook page and website, such as comps and so on, as well as getting out into schools in the UK to spread the doom!
2. The cover art for your books has always been top notch; but Doom Rider's cover takes it to a whole new level. It's phenomenal. Who was the artist?
Isn’t it just? My face pretty much fell off when this arrived in my life! Absolutely blown away by it. As to the artist, I’m still not sure! He/she is clearly a person of much mystery. However, with work like this, they’re talented beyond belief. That image is exactly how I imagined the main character, Seth. What I love about it is that it’s just so dramatic. That’s a kid with a purpose, and one that could rip the world apart. Loving it!
(The cover art for Doom Rider can be found at the end of this post.)
3. Who usually comes up with the idea of the cover? Is it something you as the author kind of outlines and then the artist builds off of that? Or does the artist have free reign?
Well, the artist has the book for starters. Then I’m asked for ideas, but that’s not always so easy to come up with as I’m no artist (I draw like a three year old cave child). The editorial and sales team at the publishers also come up with ideas and then my editor sorts out a design brief. Then off the artist goes and creates something really rather astonishing.
4. Okay, I've got to ask. Is there anything more you can tell us about Doom Rider other than the summary that's up on book purchasing sites?
Er… Well, I’d love to, but I’d have to kill you and everyone else… Other than that, I guess I can say that it’s not a humorous story. I’ve always been fascinated by the four riders of the apocalypse, but knew if I was to write about them that I didn’t want to do it as a poking-fun kind of thing. In Doom Rider, I’ve tried to write a story that deals with religion and belief in all its possible incantations, and the notions of destiny and free choice. Oh, and the horses are very, very cool…
5. Is Doom Rider the start of a brand new series or a standalone book? If its a series, can you tell us anything about subsequent books?
At the moment it’s a standalone, and it was great to write it as such. It did start out as a three-parter, but honing it down to something that I had to do in one take was brilliant. It sharpened the story, made it even more urgent, and the pace is breakneck. If you thought The Dead/Dark/Damned were fast-paced, wait till you read this… and hold on!
6. Doom Rider is such a great name for a horror story. Was that the original title or did it go through a couple of others first?
First it was Apocalypse Boy! I liked that, but it didn’t have enough punch. And it was edging towards an amusing title rather than something more serious. Then it was Children of the Apocalypse, but that didn’t work, as it sounded like a bunch of kids surviving the end of the world. Then I think it was my agent who suggested something to do with doom, and finally someone, somewhere, yelled out with “The Doom Rider”. Finally, we dropped “The” and stuck with “Doom Rider”. And you’re right, it’s such a great name/title!
7. We're all excited for Doom Rider. However, I read before that you would possibly write a second trilogy dealing with Lazarus Stone. As an avid fan, that would be a dream come true. Any idea if this will happen?
Well, I’d love to do something else not just with Laz, but with the rest of the characters, too. One in particular is Abaddon, the undead priest. He’s just the darkest creature I’ve come up with (more so than Red in a lot of ways) and his back story is huge. Would be a lot of fun to explore that. Will just have to see how things pan out…
8. I'm sure I'm not the only one that's curious; what's a normal day for you like? How much time do you usually spend writing each day?
No day is normal! Some days I’m doing school visits, others I’m writing, others I’m wrestling bears. I’ve never been someone who writes a few hundred words a day and is happy with that. I write fast, so an average day is perhaps 4000 words. The best I’ve done? 14,000. IN A DAY. I was so tired I could see through time. It just depends on how things are going. If it fully sucks, I bin it and walk away. No point hanging around to get more frustrated. Best to come at it fresh. If it’s going well, I like to just keep going…
9. How long does it usually take you to finish the first draft of a book? I'm sure there are a lot of kids out there like me that struggle with getting the story out. Any advice for writer's block?
No set answer to that! A book goes through a lot of stages. Doom Rider started as a PS at the end of an email. Then it had to be developed into an idea, then into a synopsis with a couple of chapters. Then it had to be fleshed out into a full storyline thing. Then I had to write it. That process, start to finish (remember it goes to my agent and publisher, too, for their feedback) took three months (ish). The writing can take anything from a few weeks to a few months. It all depends. So many variables. And advice for writer’s block? Smash it with a hammer. Pack TNT against it and blow it sky high. You just have to get on with the writing, grab it by the scruff of the neck, beat it into submission, drag it kicking and screaming to where you want it to be. I think…
10. I just want to thank you for taking time out of your day to answer these questions. It's been an honor and I can't wait to read Doom Rider when it's released! Any parting words?
Doom Rider? It’s gonna fully rock!
As I stated above, I'll be posting reviews of Mr. Gatward's previous three novels in the coming weeks. And you can bet that when Doom Rider is released, I'll be reviewing that immediately!
In the meantime between now and July 5th, go read The Dead, The Dark, and The Damned; visit his website (http://www.davidgatward.com/), like his page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/davidgatward.author), and follow him on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/davidgatward)!