Monday, 1 April 2013

Mo Hayder Interview

Mo Hayder is the one author who can entice me across the broken line into the realms of horror. I have been a fan of hers for many years and when I auditioned for my role as a reviewer with it was her book Pig Island which I chose to base my first ever review on. 

I’m delighted that she found the time to answer a few questions about her latest book Poppet and writing in general. If anyone is interested my review of Poppet may be found here
Anyway, enough of me prattling on. Here's the interview.

Poppet is set largely inside a mental health facility. How did you research the various procedures inside Beechway?
I have a contact who was the clinical director of a facility just like Beechway. He couldn't have been more helpful. If I've got any of the facts wrong then it's his fault not mine! 

Where did the idea for “The Maude” come from?
Henry Fuseli's painting The Nightmare (an incubus crouching on the chest of a sleeping woman) I think I saw it as a young child and was totally and utterly terrified by it. It's probably lingered subconsciously all these years and has at last popped out as the Maude.

Poppet tied up a thread which has been running throughout the Walking Man series. Was it satisfying as an author to close this chapter?
Satisfying?   Hmmmmm - I'm not sure I'll ever be able to use that word about anything I've written. There's always a sense something could have been done differently/better.

I detected a sense of finality in Poppet. Will we see more of Jack Caffery and Flea Marley?
No finality, and yes more Jack and Flea. The next book in the Walking Man series is out in 2014.

Some of your books have supernatural / paranormal elements. Would you class them as horror – crime crossovers or do you prefer the term crime thrillers?
If I'm honest I'd like to be a prima donna and have no term attached to my books. But that's just me being an artiste, so if pushed I'd say crime thrillers which have some horror elements.

Authors and reviewers such as myself, use words like haunting, macabre and disturbing to describe your books. Is it your aim to elicit these strong reactions from your readers?
I do like the word 'haunting', since that implies the story stays with the reader. Although Poppet has a closed ending, I've occasionally chosen open endings (The Treatment and Hanging Hill for example) - those were deliberate choices as I usually love fiction which leaves a little to the imagination and therefore lingers in the mind long after the fact.

When you meet readers do you have certain questions you ask them to research the elements of your books which are best liked or are most effective?
I used to, until I realised that the old saying 'you can't please everyone all the time' is so apt.  Ultimately a writer can't be a people pleaser - they have to trust their own instincts.

What are you currently working on?
I'm just tying up the next in the Walking Man series. It's called 'Wolf' and I'm proud to say my editor almost couldn't finish one of the earlier drafts she was so scared (at least that's what she told me).  

Which was the last book you read and would you recommend it to a friend?
For anyone who, like me, read Life of Pi and didn't quite get it, the film adaptation is brilliant and clarifies the book beautifully. But you didn't ask for a movie recommendation, you wanted a book, so I'd say... The Book Thief (Markus Zusak). 

What three books have made a lasting impression on you?
- The one which eclipses everything is Cormac McCarthy's Road. I had a two-year-long depression after reading it. 
- At a very young age I read Metamorphosis (Kafka) and since then I have read it and seen the staged version several times. I keep finding something new every time.
- Ulysses. It woke me up to the fact that it's ok to not like some of the things you're supposed to love.

Mo Hayder left school at fifteen. She worked as a barmaid, security guard, film-maker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She has an MA in film from The American University in Washington DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University UK.

Her debut, BIRDMAN, published in January 2000, was an international bestseller. Her second novel, THE TREATMENT, also a Sunday Times bestseller, won the 2002 WH Smith Thumping Good Read award. Her third novel Sunday Times bestseller TOKYO, which was published in May 2004 in the UK, won the Elle magazine crime fiction prize, the SNCF Prix Polar, and was nominated for three CWA dagger awards. Tokyo was published as THE DEVIL OF NANKING in the US March 2005. PIG ISLAND her fourth best seller was published in April 2006 and was nominated for both a Barry Award for best british crime novel and a CWA dagger. Her fifth book, RITUAL, the first of THE WALKING MAN series, has been nominated for The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award and one of the 14 short-listed titles for the coveted title of Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2009. The third of THE WALKING MAN series is GONE.
Mo lives in Bath with her daughter Lotte-Genevieve.

My thanks go out to Mo Hayder for partaking in this interview and providing me with so many great book to read.
Feel free to comment below.

Keep checking back for guest posts and interviews
April 15th - Tom Bale
April 29th - Howard Linskey
July - David Thomas / Tom Cain
No date yet but I have a short interview with Lee Child which I'll be posting as soon as I get his answers back

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