Blood Related Now Available in Print & Ebook + FREE Book Promo & News

Hi everyone  - hope all is well with you and life is going swimmingly. I have some exciting news to share today. Finally, the redux version of my debut novel, Blood Related, is available in both print and EBook exclusively through Amazon (U.S. & U.K. links below). After getting the rights back from my previous publisher I decided to self-publish through my imprint, King Billy Publications. With much research and debate I decided to go for it! I had it professionally edited and formatted, I cut and trimmed and shaped it, into a more fast-paced, tension-filled, thriller novel. I am very happy with the results and hope you guys will like it too. If you're uncertain, check out the free preview on Amazon to get a taste for the novel. Hopefully you'll enjoy it enough to leave a review which would be a great help (wink, wink). I have set the price low for the first month on Amazon ($2.99 - Kindle, $12.99 - Amazon print) so get in quick before it goes up at the end of August.

I have had the good fortune to receive some fantastic blurbs/reviews from some of the leading authors in the Horror and Thriller genres. This is what Graham Masterton, best-selling author of The Manitou and The House That Jack Built, says about Blood Related: "William Cook tells a gruesome story with a sense of authenticity that makes you question with considerable unease if it really is fiction, after all." Joe McKinney is another best-selling author who read Blood Related and offered this fantastic blurb: "This man is simply scary. There is both a clinical thoroughness and a heartfelt emotional thoroughness to his writing. He manages to shock as well as empathize, to scare as well as acclimatize, yet beneath it all is a well read intelligence that demands to be engaged. I loved Blood Related. Ordinarily I hate serial killer stories, but William Cook won me over. He is a unique and innovative talent." 

Here is the blurb and the new links for the book. Remember if you get in quickly you can get the book now at the discounted cost before it goes up end of August:

For over two decades, Detective Ray Truman has been searching for the killer or killers who have terrorized Portvale. Headless corpses, their bodies mutilated and posed, have been turning up all over the industrial district near the docks. The remains of young female prostitutes have been the killer’s victims of choice, but now other districts are reporting the gruesome discovery of decapitated bodies. It seems the killer has expanded his territory as more ‘nice girls’ feel the wrath of his terrible rage. This horrifically disturbing tale of a family tree of evil will embed itself in the mind of the reader, long after the last page has been turned. A crime thriller in the vein of other power-packed thrillers like Thomas Harris's 'Silence of the Lambs' and James Ellroy's 'Killer on the Road.'

Meet the Cunninghams . . .
A family bound by evil and the blood they have spilled. The large lodging-house they live in and operate on Artaud Avenue reeks of death and the sins that remain trapped beneath the floorboards.

Meet Caleb Cunningham . . .
Caleb is a disturbed young man whose violent father is a suspected serial killer and mother, an insane alcoholic. After his Father’s suicide, Cunningham’s disturbing fantasy-life becomes reality as he begins his killing spree in earnest. His identical twin brother Charlie is to be released from an asylum and all hell is about to break loose when the brothers combine their psychopathic talents. Eventually stepping out from the shadows of his murderous forebears, Caleb puts in motion his own diabolical plan to reveal himself and his ‘art’ to the world. He’s a true aesthete. An artist of death. His various ‘installations’ have not received the status he feels they deserve, so Caleb is expanding his ‘canvas.’

Meet Ray Truman . . .
A tragic cop whose personal demons won’t let him rest. Overworked and underpaid, Truman is tenacious as a pit-bull. He won’t rest ‘til he’s brought to justice Portvale’s infamous serial killer. His battle with his own demons gives him the strength to chase the shadows and to cut corners when necessary, as he embarks on the hunt of his life. His search leads him to the Cunningham’s house of horrors. What he finds there will ultimately lead him to regret ever meeting Caleb Cunningham and the deviant family that spawned him. The hunter becomes the hunted as Truman digs deeper into the abyss that is the horrifying mind of the most dangerous psychopath he has ever met.
Warning: R18+ contains adult content + graphic violence & psychological horror.

Did you grab your copy? Great (and thank you).

Anyway, in other news, I have just lined up the next mob of authors for my popular interview series - 'Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors.'* The first series, including authors: Matt Shaw, April M Reign, Mark Edward Hall, Russell Blake, William Malmborg, Matt Drabble and Michaelbrent Collings, was such a hit that I will continue it for as long as there are best-selling self-published authors out there (long may it last). As a result of the success of the first series I have edited and compiled the interviews into a book that will be released early August. Along with the original interviews, there is a significant essay written by myself and in-depth analysis of each author's tips and their individual success stories. This book is essential reading for any author who is thinking about venturing into self-publishing and for self-published authors who are looking to lift their game and increase their sales and online presence. It will also be of interest to fans of these authors and anyone interested in the process of writing and/or self-publishing. Check out the interviews here and stay tuned for the opportunity to pre-order on Amazon. The new line-up of best-selling self-published interviews, includes the following fantastic writers: David Moody, Iain Rob Wright, Armand Rosamilia, Michale Bunker, J Thorn, Jeremy Bates, Michael Bray and Michael Thomas. The next run (yes, there will be more) I hope to bring you more successful female self-published authors. 

*Personal invitation: if you are a best-selling (paid, not free rankings) self-published author and would like to be part of this project, please leave a comment below or email me here.

Thanks again for reading my blog/website and I hope you take advantage of the various things on offer today. If you haven't subscribed already to this site, please do so now and receive a FREE copy of my popular collection of macabre tales, 'Dreams of Thanatos.' Just click on the image below or click this link here.

Grab Your FREE Copy Now!

 As a final bonus, here's another freebie for you. Have a great week. 

Until next time.


Fast Train To Hell . . .
From the belly of the swamp issues forth a visit in the middle of the night from a force as dark and unimaginable as hell itself. Poor pig-farmer Abel Laroux, must battle the demons of his past as well as the nightmarish reality of the present, as he confronts a devilish visitor who has come to collect on an outstanding debt, inherited by Abel from his forefathers.

Bonus Features: Includes an excerpt from the author's novel, 'Blood Related' + the long poem 'The Temper of The Tide', in its entirety.

Warning: contains adult content + themes of supernatural & psychological horror.


#Amazon #FREEKINDLE  #Horror  #Kindle  #mystery  #novel #psychologicalthriller  #thriller  #ThrillerNovel  @Amazon, Amazon, Blood Related, Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors, 


News and FREE BOOK Promotion.

Hello everyone! Apologies for the lack of regular posts lately. Life has been very busy - we are packing once again for a move into a new house amongst other things. I have also been furiously editing and pruning my debut novel (Blood Related) into shape after having received the rights back recently. With a few more years of writing experience under my belt and a fresh perspective on a work that was published over three years ago, I have been merciless in my edits/rewrites and I think my readers will agree - it is a vastly improved story. I plan on an early July release in both Print and EBook. I feel really excited about the redux version and have a strong way forward with the sequel - yes, there will be a sequel, tentatively titled 'Blood Trail.' Another exciting development is that I have received a wicked blurb from one of my favorite horror authors, Graham Masterton (The Manitou, The Sleepless etc). A truly generous author and a great inspiration. Here's the blurb:

"William Cook tells a gruesome story with a sense of authenticity that makes you question with considerable unease if it really is fiction, after all." - Graham Masterton, author of The Manitou and Descendant

In other areas, I have been tweaking my EBook (only) covers and have finally settled on a font-set/style that should carry my books through into the years ahead. As a largely self-published author (now), cover design is a major consideration when presenting books to the public. It is very hard to have a style and a 'look' that stands out from the thousands of other authors doing the same thing. The font/title design that I'll use across all my titles now, while not original or unique (many authors have a similar title placement and font style), my point of differentiation will be in the art that I use for my covers. Some of it will be from other talented artists, but mostly I will be using my own creations to incorporate into the design of my covers. I'd be interested in hearing feedback from you as to your thoughts on the cover art/designs below. Good or bad, please leave a comment below - always open to fair critique of both my art and my written work. Anyway, check out the new covers below (click on the covers if you want to buy a copy of the Kindle version of the book - most are only $0.99 if they're not free. U.K. Links are at the foot of this post). At the bottom of this post you will find direct links to two FREE BOOKS. My gift to you. 

All the best and stay safe, until next time, best wishes.

Burning Horror . .
A young pyromaniac battles her demons as her insatiable pursuit of the flame threatens to turn her world to cinders. Becky's life spirals out of control as she struggles with an abusive step-father who will not leave her alone. A fast-paced short horror story that will keep you on the edge of your seat as it races to its thrilling and horrifying conclusion. From the author of Blood Related and Dreams of Thanatos

Bonus Features: includes an additional short story and a recent interview with the author.
*Please Note: This eBook short story is also part of the popular collection, 'Dreams of Thanatos.'

Warning: contains adult content + themes of psychological horror and domestic abuse. 

Be careful who you get into a car with, even if that car is a taxi! A dark story of a young girl's date with death. CREEP is a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat until the gripping climax which is unexpected and will leave the reader cheering for more. Serial Killers don't always get away with murder, no matter how hard they try.
CREEP, is the first story in an exciting and gritty new psychological thriller series. Cassandra: Hunter of Darkness, is a hero to the victim and a merciless angel of death to the evil ones. A killer of killers, she strikes fear into the hearts of those who get their kicks off hurting others. Join Cassandra on her quest for justice and revenge as she begins her journey into the dark underbelly of serial murder and takes care of business as only she knows how.


“Cassandra pounded on the window and frantically tried to push the rear doors open, first with her shoulders and then with her heels, to no avail. She peered into the dark confines of the garage and saw nothing except her frightened reflection looking back at her in the window, bathed in the dim yellow interior light of the cab. She cupped her neatly manicured hand across her brow and looked out the window again, her button nose touching the smeared glass as she did so.
She thought she heard a deep growling noise somewhere nearby outside the cab and then her window was filled with bared teeth and the blackest, evil eyes, she'd ever seen. The huge head of the Rottweiler retreated into the shadows before launching itself back at the vehicle, the razor sharp canines crunching against the window and sending a trail of cracks across the glass. Steaming froth and saliva dripped down the webbed glass as the dog began to bark and thud its massive head against the side of the cab. Cassandra scuttled across the back seat as she wet herself, waves of fear shrinking her into a ball, as the crazed dog leaped at the cab again . . .”

Recommended for Adult readers. Horror, Violence, & Implied Sexual Violence  

A young girl must face her biggest fear – her father. As she struggles to protect her mother from the man who she once idolized, young Hope must confront her situation and the possibility that they may not get out alive. A fast-paced short horror story with a twist that will keep you on the edge of your seat. From the author of Blood Related and Dreams of Thanatos
Bonus Features: includes an additional short story and a recent interview with the author.

Warning: contains adult content + themes of psychological horror and domestic abuse.  



In the tradition of EC Comics, The Twilight Zone and Tales From The Darkside, Devil Inside is a spine-chilling short horror story that will leave you wanting more. Graphic and descriptive, this supernatural tale winds itself around a disturbed young boy who discovers that when you make a wish, you better make sure you really want it. After all, monsters are sometimes real.
From Devil Inside:
“Jacob had no doubt as to what it was. It was the night-Beast under his bed, that lurked in his closet – the Beast that now raged before him, out in the light of day. It had escaped. ”

Recommended for mature readers. Horror, Violence, Supernatural, M15+
Short Story + 4 x Poems + Excerpt from Blood Related (novel).

Fast Train To Hell . . .
From the belly of the swamp issues forth a visit in the middle of the night from a force as dark and unimaginable as hell itself. Poor pig-farmer Abel Laroux, must battle the demons of his past as well as the nightmarish reality of the present, as he confronts a devilish visitor who has come to collect on an outstanding debt, inherited by Abel from his forefathers.

Bonus Features: Includes an excerpt from the author's novel, 'Blood Related' + the long poem 'The Temper of The Tide', in its entirety.

Warning: contains adult content + themes of supernatural & psychological horror.


One Way Ticket


Burnt Offering


Devil Inside 

#horror #freebook #free #indie #selfpub #readers #books #thriller #kindle #amazon #Goodreads Horror, Free book, Free, Indie, Thriller, Kindle, WIlliam Cook, Amazon, @Amazon, @Goodreads, Goodreads


Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors #7 - William Malmborg

Today I bring you the final long-awaited interview in the popular series Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors. Today's guest is author William Malmborg who is a successful writer of dark psychological horror/thriller fiction. From William's Amazon bio: "William Malmborg has been publishing short stories in horror magazines and dark fiction anthologies since 2002. In addition, four of his novels, JIMMY, TEXT MESSAGE, NIKKI'S SECRET and DARK HARVEST, are all available, as is a short story collection titled SCRAPING THE BONE that features five previously published and five original tales of horror. When not writing William caters to the whims of Toby and Truman, two cats who reside with him in Wheaton, IL."

Who are you and where do you come from? Do you think that your life experience has gone someway towards making you a successful author in your chosen genre?

My name is William Malmborg and I live in the Chicago suburbs.  It's hard to say whether or not my life experiences have played a part in my success simply because this is the only path I have taken.  I came into the publishing world during an interesting time.  For the first five years of my career, magazines were still printing stories and you submitted everything via the mail.  Social media wasn't a thing yet, and I had my first story published by a magazine before I had an internet connection on my computer.  During the second half of my career, magazines began to disappear, many of them with stories of mine that were supposed to be published, and publishing houses began to get goofy.  And then ebooks hit the marketplace, which opened up a whole new road toward publishing success.  Given all this, I think the fact that my first several years were spent in the trenches of the traditional publishing world – interacting with editors at magazines, facing rejection with work that wasn't ready for publication, and having other stories bought and published that were ready – helped in giving me an edge when the ebook marketplace arrived.            

Did you try to get publishing contracts for your books early on with traditional book publishers? If so, did you have any success there or if not what was it that made you decide to self-publish the majority of your work?

For the first ten years of my writing career, traditional publishing was the only real route an author could take if they wanted to make a living.  During that time, my short stories sold frequently to horror and suspense magazines, but my novels had a difficult time.  Just having a publisher agree to read the first fifty pages seemed a monumental success, and if they then wanted to read the entire thing . . . well, let’s just say that such was so rare that it in itself was a moment worthy of celebration. 

My novel JIMMY was the one that I strived the hardest to have published during that early period of my career, though I did have others, TEXT MESSAGE, SIMPLE LIES and THE MISSING KID, which publishers looked at as well.  Nothing was ever accepted during those early years of submission, the typical reason being that the editors felt the serial killers within my novels were too likable, and that readers would have a difficult time dealing with that.  “Who do they root for?” was a common question they asked.  Year after year, this went on, until finally Don D’Auria at Dorchester Publishing informed me (a year after I had submitted the novel) that he really enjoyed JIMMY, and that he would like to make an offer on it.  First, however, it needed some rewrites, specifically the portions of the novel written in the interview format.  He wanted the entire thing as a third person novel.  Two months later, I sent him the new version of JIMMY, one that was actually better than the original version had been.  Following that, sale imminent, I went on to do some self-imposed rewrites for TEXT MESSAGE, because I felt that would be a good follow up to JIMMY.  This did not happen.  Dorchester Publishing started to spiral toward bankruptcy before JIMMY could be published, and while I stuck with them for nearly a year, I eventually did the right thing and took the novel elsewhere.

Following that, thinking other publishers would be interested in having a novel that had been ready for publication with another publishing house; I began sending queries for JIMMY to everyone that was accepting proposals.  Each one was rejected.  No one was interested in JIMMY, which really surprised me.  During that period, I began to hear success stories from authors that were uploading titles to the Amazon Kindle.  Intrigued, I did as much research as I could on this new method of publishing, and then, once I made the decision to jump in, hired a well-known artist to create a cover, and uploaded it.  A few months later, it was a bestseller on Amazon and had made me more money during that short period of time than I had made in the first ten years of my writing career combined.     

Why self-publish?

I self-publish the majority of my work simply because it is the most logical and profitable method of delivery within the US right now.  With foreign language editions, I still use traditional publishers within the countries where the titles will be released since they know their markets the best.  

Once you have decided that self-publishing might be your route, what financial and artistic considerations should you keep in mind before you begin?

One of the biggest misconceptions of self-publishing is that it carries no overhead.  After all, with print-on-demand, the printer only has to print copies as they are ordered, and with ebooks, it is nothing but computer code that is stored within a device.  However, there are other costs to consider, upfront ones that are important in making it so the book will be noticed by the public and enjoyed once it is read.  The first cost; the cover.  If you want to be treated like a professional author, one whose work is going to stand alongside authors who have major publishers behind them, then you need to have a professional create the cover.  Poor covers are the most common reason why books are passed over when a potential reader is looking for their next fix.  It doesn’t matter how amazing the writing within is, if people aren't going to pick it up and open it, it might as well be four hundred blank pages.  Second: editing.  You need a professional to look over your work once it is completed.  Mistakes happen and it is nearly impossible for an author to catch their own when they have lived with the work, day in and day out, for months at a time.  Initial sales via a fantastic cover are great, but nothing will knock a title down like poor reviews due to editing and grammar errors.  Now, will these two things guarantee success?  No.  Nothing will ever do that.  But it will make the chances of success more likely.       

What do you see as your most innovative promotional strategy?

Honestly, I don’t really have a promotional strategy.  I simply write and release the work.  Initially, I always price my new releases at 99 cents, so that the readers who have been with me from the beginning will be treated to a great deal, but after that, once the price goes up to my typical $4.99, I step back and let word of mouth do its thing.   The only exception to this is when I’m able to get a book promoted by BookBub.  When that happens, I once again lower the price to 99 cents for the days they market it and enjoy the snowball effect as the initial sales from the ad bump the title into several top ten categories, which then brings in more sales.  

What kind of marketing did you do to establish your author brand and what do you think is the most successful marketing for self-published authors? Is there any one thing that you have determined has helped you sell more books – i.e. could you outline your path to establishing your brand and your most successful sales method/s as?

As I noted above, I didn’t really do anything to establish my author brand.  I simply wrote and released books.  I think that attempting to create a brand is a bit counterproductive for a writer.  Readers should be the ones to establish the brand for an author, and then the author can embrace it.  Doing it the other way around will simply create an author who is so focused on image that they aren’t focused on writing. 

Authors do not get books noticed, books get authors noticed.  Once a reader enjoys a work, they will seek out more by the author and might even join a page dedicated to the author while seeking out more information on that author.  Trying to get noticed as an author to drive interest toward the books is silly.  It just doesn’t work. 

My initial success was due to one thing, a professional book cover that encased a story that readers enjoyed.  Without that book cover, no one would have picked up the book, and without anyone picking up the book, there would have been no word of mouth that generated the sales that followed.       

Do you design your own covers? How important do you think cover design is to a potential reader and how big a part do you think it has played in your success to date? 

I think cover design is one of the most important factors for a reader when deciding what to buy, and for that reason, I don't design my own covers.  I've attempted too, and do have skill when it comes to creating interesting cover concepts, but I'm not skilled enough to create something that can stand alongside the other professional works that are being released.  As for my success, I think most of it is due to the fact that I always use professional cover artists for my work.  Without them, my work would look like the standard 'self published' work that is being release, work that doesn't really sell.  It doesn't matter how fantastic the writing is, if the cover looks like it was thrown together at the last minute, readers aren't going to want to buy it.  Now, there are exceptions to this to be found within the marketplace, but one should never consciously drive toward being the exception.  Becoming successful when doing everything right is hard enough, so why try to make it harder.     

In your opinion, is traditional publishing on the way out? Do you think that traditional publishing can continue to keep up with the rise of self-publishing?

I don't think traditional publishing is on the way out, but I do think they're going to have to do a better job at adapting to the new world of publishing.  Brick and mortar bookstores are no longer the standard delivery method for books, so focusing on shelf space and prominent ‘front of store’ displays seems somewhat silly.  Publishers also need to recognize that authors can now play a big part in their own careers given the technology that exists, so there is no reason why authors shouldn't be brought into the decision making process on how their work is delivered to the public.  This isn't to say that the author should get to make ALL the decisions (if they want that power then they need to go independent), but they should be brought into the process.  Lastly, contracts need to reflect the current marketplace rather than the one that used to exist, especially when it comes to the term IN PRINT.  One of the biggest factors on why I've turned down several book contracts that had been presented to me during the last three years is due to the gray area that now exists with the term IN PRINT.   In the past, when a publisher stopped printing a title, an author could get the rights to that title back.  Now, if the publisher has the book available as an ebook, it can still be considered IN PRINT even if they aren't doing anything to market it.  This makes it incredibly difficult for an author to get their rights back on the title. 

Would you ever consider signing all your books to a traditional publishing house or will you always mange some of your titles yourself through self-publishing?

I wouldn't have a problem signing all my books to a traditional publisher if the contract presented to me was a good one, and if it looked as if the publisher was honestly going to do everything they could to make the books even more successful than they were prior to the contract.   

Have you ever used free book promotions? Do you think they are a worth-while marketing tool for self-published authors? If so/not – why?

I have used free book promotions and felt they were worthwhile.  During its last free promotion, JIMMY was downloaded 30,000 times in three days, which brought in over 100 new reviews within a month and helped bump the title into several top ten categories on Amazon.  It also got the attention of foreign publishers, who then bought foreign rights to it.  JIMMY is now a bestseller in both print and ebook in Germany.  Therefore, that free promotion was incredibly worthwhile.  That said, the free promotion only really worked because it had a good cover, one that readers clicked on.  Without a good cover, free isn't going to mean much, because there are always thousands of titles being offered for free.            

What avenues of self-promotion did you find to be most effective and affordable? What’s the best ‘bang-for-your-buck’ advertising you have employed?

BookBub is the only marketing site that I would ever recommend.  They have consistently driven thousands of readers toward my work whenever I have hired them to do a promotion, which, in turn, bumps the title up into the top 100 categories, which brings in even more readers as the Amazon algorithms start to market it based on its bestseller status.  Of course, there is no guarantee that they will drive such sales to the work, but if a title has a good cover and an enticing description, the odds are good that it will drive quite a few readers to that author's work. 

Note: If it seems like I'm harping on that professional cover thing, it is because I am.  Having a good cover it is very important.   

Do you feel there’s a good sense of community within the self-publishing industry?

I think there is a false community, a circle jerk type of community where authors are constantly promoting themselves and swapping reviews with other authors, all while feeling like they are somehow in competition.  When I joined Twitter a few months back, I started to get swamped by authors who would follow me and then unfollow me within a few days because I did not follow them back.  And every author group I've ever been in was one where everyone was trying to get everyone else to like their Amazon page and review swap.  Now, I have no problem with reviewing other authors’ work if I enjoy it, and if they want to review my work because they enjoyed it, that's great.  But contacting me with a 'I will review your work if you review my work' proposal, will simply cause the proposal to go into my trash bin.   

Would you recommend other aspiring self-publishing authors pay for particular services? Editing or cover design, for example?

I’d say that authors should be ready to lay down about $1500 for a cover and editing before they release their work.  This is what I budget for my titles when doing it myself, and I always make that back within a month.  Simply put, if you don’t think a title is going to make that money back, then why release it in the first place.     

You use social media a lot and interact with your readership – how important do you think this is to becoming a success as a self-published author?

I don’t think the use of social media by the author helps in becoming a success; I think it is the use of social media by readers who have enjoyed the work that helps an author become a success.  An author’s use of social media is simply a way of interacting with those that have already discovered them.  Books bring readers to authors, not the other way around.  Now, once an author is successful, and has a readership that likes to interact with them, then social media can be used to announce new titles, which will help maintain success, but using it in the beginning in hopes of driving readers toward ones work in order to become successful . . . nope.  That’s a fool's errand.  Just focus on writing and releasing professional pieces of fiction, the rest will follow.

Where to from here? Are you currently represented by an agent and are you working with any publishers on future projects?

2015 will be an interesting year.  I have two titles that will be released, Blind Eye in May and Santa Took Them November.  I've also signed a deal with a publishing house to be one of the authors that writes for their supernatural crime thriller line.  Nothing has been made public about this deal yet, so I can't share any specifics on it; however, I'm really excited to be working with that particular publisher and with the other authors that are currently involved in the series, many of whom I read when first starting out.  Lastly, this year should see more foreign editions of my work being released overseas, which is always exciting.  I have a publisher in Germany that has helped establish my work in that country, and now I'm hoping to branch out into the surrounding countries.  

Finally, thanks for sharing your thoughts on self-publishing. Where is the best place for readers to find your books?

Anywhere books are sold.  

Links for William Malmborg

#selfpub, Amazon Best-sellers, Interview, William Malmborg, Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors, Self-Publishing, Selfpublishing vs traditional publishing, William Cook, writing


Recent Interview: Men in Horror: WILLIAM COOK

Recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Malina Roos for her very cool blog: How To Dismantle Your Life. Check it out.

Men in Horror: WILLIAM COOK

I first read William Cook a couple of years ago and was immediately enthralled with his writing and his style. The book I read was BLOOD RELATED. I loved it. It was intense, creepy, dark and twisted.   For some reason, my review of this book has disappeared from Amazon and Goodreads, so I dug it up and reposted it.  

"Be warned, this tale is not for anyone who dislikes gore and violence.

This is a brilliant tale of fathers and sons, serial killing at its finest and the legacy families create. Charlie and Caleb Cunningham are twins and serial killers, following in the footsteps of their father and grandfather.

The story is told through letters, news articles and from the points of view of the killers, the police and the doctors involved. All the pieces of the story are woven together beautifully through the the magical way William Cook has with syntax. Well worth the read....if you can stomach it."

William Cook

1.     When did you start writing horror?

I started writing horror stories (although I didnt know they were horror stories) when I was about ten years old. The first one I wrote won a school competition it was about a boy who gets lost in a strange desert where he witnesses giant heads falling out of the sky. He discovers that the heads are being fired out of a cannon by a voodoo witch-doctor who has somehow reversed the process of shrinking heads. I think I got the idea after watching King Solomons Mines and seeing the scary witch doctor in the movie. My first real horror publication was a story called Devil Inside which was published in 2010 in Lee Pletzers Masters of Horror Anthology. Since then I havent stopped.

2.   Have you written in any other genre?

Yes, I have recently ventured into Science Fiction, Young Adult and even had a story published in a collection of childrens Christmas tales. I also write a lot of poetry too much perhaps, and my first ever book published was a limited edition release called Journey: The Search for Something way back in 1996.

3.  What makes you uncomfortable?

Bad reviews! Seriously though, I am not a fan of needles absolutely hate getting jabbed, especially at the dentist when they use those syringes and stick them in the roof of your mouth etc. Bullies also make me uncomfortable and I quite often write about them. Usually really bad things happen to them in my books.

4.  Does your family read your work?

I deliberately dont encourage them to read my (horror) books for obvious reasons. Although some of my newer work like the kids stories and science fiction I dont mind as much. Ive found its very true the old adage that the worst critics are family and friends I dont know why the hell it is but I can count the friends and family (you know who you are) who have bothered reading my books on one hand! I used to actively seek feedback on my writing from friends and family in the early days, but gave up when I realized any critique from such quarters was largely pointless as it was either biased or I could tell they hadnt actually read the work in question. Sort of related to the question . . . I am working on a small kids book with my seven-year-old daughter who is a keen writer herself. She has written about ten pages so far of a story about zombies (dont know where she gets that from!) and its really good. Obviously Im biased (see above) but it really is good and Im looking forward to publishing it for her when its finished.

5.  Does your writing make you uneasy?

Most of the time, no. However, it really depends on the subject matter though and I must admit to getting a bit nervous about some of my research subjects for stories. Not so much in the subject material but in what other people or readers will think of the finished stories. I am a bit paranoid about the NSA and their monitoring of certain taboo subjects that are common to the grist of the horror mill. Subjects like terror, murder and serial killers, for example, are common research subjects for horror authors and red-flag search strings that are actively monitored by the powers that be. I used to feel uneasy when writing about topics (such as described above) but I think that I have largely become desensitized to the emotional effects of dealing with this material on a daily basis. Writing Blood Related, my novel about a family of serial-killers, definitely made me pretty strung-out and slightly disturbed due to having to project the main characters stream of consciousness on to the page via a first person narrative. Five years of my free-time went into this book and I researched just about every case of serial murder that I could find which definitely impacted on my psyche but paid off in the final presentation of the story. Suffice to say, I now have an encyclopedic knowledge of these weirdos whether I like it or not!

6.  Who would you say you write like?

I write like me of course! My writing style or voice is a collage of influence and styles everything from the way I learned to write at school, the accent of my written voice (a combination of UK and US spelling and theory), the authors I have read over and over again, and the evolution of my own style and development as a writer. I dont try to write like anyone but I do try to write like someone who knows what theyre doing (hopefully). Over the past five years I have been intentionally writing in the (north) American vernacular and it was a decision that I worried about for a while but it largely came down to the way certain words were spelled and styled and now it is like second nature to me. My schooling was based on a U.K. education system and we were taught to spell and write according to the commonwealth rules and style-guides of the day. 

7.  Who are your favourite authors?

I have many favorite authors and it will be no surprise that writers like Stephen King, James Herbert, Robert Bloch, Robert McCammon, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe and Ramsey Campbell are at the top of the list. Over and above horror the authors I love to read again and again are Sherwood Anderson, Roald Dahl, James Ellroy, Colin Wilson, Charles Bukowski, Ray Bradbury, Peter Carey, Dostoyevsky and Thomas Harris. For a full rundown on my favorite books and authors, check out my list here: http://www.williamcookwriter.com/2013/08/favorite-books-list.html

8.  Who influences you as a writer?

I find that Im not really influenced by people directly but that I am more influenced by the things that people create. Art influences me greatly in my writing, film and music particularly, but graphic art and, obviously, written works conjure up emotion and IDEAS that definitely inform my own work. Probably the biggest influences on me have been Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. King for his amazing and prolific output and superb writing style and advice (On Writing really changed the way I approached my writing), Bradbury for his simplicity and story-telling ability that encourages original and creative thought (his stories influenced my dreams for a long time) a very inspirational pair. Ultimately though, without being too modest, I am my biggest influence. It is up to me to drive myself forward and to push hard with my writing. The outside world is full of influence and affectation, but at the end of the day, it is my will-power and my mind that allows me to sift through all the detritus and glean the remaining gems and pearls of wisdom and apply it to my own style and philosophy. One of the works I studied at University was Harold Blooms The Anxiety of Influence and it really struck home with me. The central tenet being that writers (specifically poets in Blooms discourse, but equally applicable to writers in general in my opinion) are inspired by writers that have come before them and that this somewhat inescapable influence inspires a sense of anxiety in authors attempting to forge new and original works. I believe it is true to a large extent and I work hard to try and create work that is as free from the influence of other authors styles and subject matter as much as possible. However, when you write genre fiction, this is a nearly impossible task. No writer creates in a vacuum and for every style we have a representative genre (or sub-genre) and a group of influential writers and works at the helm of such literary movements, regarded as exemplars and pinnacles by which up-and-coming authors should somehow emulate to attain the same success. Unless an author doesnt read, influence is unavoidable but, in my view, not necessarily a bad thing.      

9. Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?

The Monsters Room (or Petes Angel) by Hope Campbell introduced me to Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolfman when I was about seven years old. Loved it! The first real horror book I read was probably James Herberts The Rats at about eleven years old, followed closely by Shaun Hutsons Spawn, Stephen Kings Carrie and Night Shift, and Robert McCammons Mystery Walk. Suffice to say by the age of twelve I was hooked on horror in any shape or form.

10.  How old were you?

See above. I used to watch Hammer House of Horror on Sunday nights with my Mum when I was eleven/twelve years old. Still cannot work out why mum used to let me watch those shows but wouldnt let me listen to KISS because she thought they were Satanic! Go figure!

11.  Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?

Graphic descriptions of pedophilia are something I have no interest in portraying in my work. I have written stories about these creeps before but I feel it is unnecessary to portray the acts for any reason. Implication is far more subtle and effective than graphic description. I write horror that attempts to confront readers with their own fears, not make them sick in the process.

12.  What was the best advice you were given as a writer?

If you want to be a writer, just write. Pretty simple really, but a no-brainer (obviously). The best advice about writing I have read/received is Stephen Kings excellent memoir/writing guide On Writing. It is a wonderfully inspiring book for a budding writer, and more so for the writer of dark fiction. Highly recommended.

13.  If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?

I would begin writing as soon as possible, at any age. Self-doubt is one of the biggest killers to a writers self-confidence and career. In retrospect, I see that I could have had established myself as an author a lot earlier than I have if I had just given a go instead of doubting my ability and listening to naysayers who were mostly inexperienced or wannabe writers themselves. I would probably not restrict myself to genre fiction as I have up until now. I think I would have made more of an attempt to develop my story-writing skills in Science Fiction and Childrens literature. Oh well, tomorrows only a day away still time to alter direction.

14.  How many books do you read a year?

Between twenty-forty books now that I have a Kindle. Before I started reading eBooks Id probably only read ten books a year while I was writing. Before I started writing seriously I used to read about forty novels/books a year at least.

15.  Do you write every day?

In one form or another. I do a lot of blog posts and marketing which cuts into my writing time but I try and write at least 1,000 words a day. Life is very busy as I look after two primary school age kids when theyre no tat school and I have a couple of casual jobs that bring in a little bit of cash. Luckily I have a very supportive wife who earns a good salary and who encourages me with my work from home. Without her support, life would be very tough as a writer.


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You can find this interview included in my most recent book, Hopeless (click on the image below to buy - only $0.99): 

A young girl must face her biggest fear – her father. As she struggles to protect her mother from the man who she once idolized, young Hope must confront her situation and the possibility that they may not get out alive. A fast-paced short horror story with a twist that will keep you on the edge of your seat. From the author of Blood Related and Dreams of Thanatos

Bonus Features: includes an additional short story and a recent interview with the author.

Warning: contains adult content + themes of psychological horror and domestic abuse. 


Interview, William Cook, Malina Roos, Men In Horror, New Release, Amazon, Kindle, #Amazon, #Kindle, Horror, #Writing

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