Behind the Screens: Tuesday Author Interview

Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.

Zombies Wha Hae cover

Sabitha: Today we’ll talk to Iain C.M. Gray about his British zombie apocalypse novel, Zombies Wha Hae, and his short story collection, The Ruined Road. Iain, can you introduce us to your books?

Iain: I am the author of a collection of short stories, The Ruined Road, which is an eclectic mix of styles and genres, covering a variety of topics from anthropophagy to Mormons, prostitution to fratricide and all sorts in between. I have also written a zombie book, called Zombies Wha Hae.

Sabitha: Does the location the story takes place mean something to you or to the work?

Iain: Zombies Wha Hae is set in my original hometown of Greenock. The book follows the fate of a variety of random Greenockians who happen to find themselves in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. There are scenes of drug addiction, alcoholism, and domestic and sectarian violence; just another Friday night in Greenock (forgive me my flippancy, please, I do know these are serious issues, and I hope I deal with them with sensitivity and some humour).

Sabitha: What inspires you to write?

Iain: I have always been happier when I am involved in doing something creative. I used to be a musician, busking on London underground. But I had let my creative side be shelved by real life, work, family etc. I was inspired to rededicate some time to creative pursuits after reading Lonely Boy, the autobiography of Steve Jones (guitarist, founder member and joint songwriter from The Sex Pistols). There is a paragraph in the book where he talks about what motivates him to create, and he came to the conclusion that purely by being in a creative process, he is a happier person. This was a light bulb moment for me, and I have been writing ever since.

Sabitha: We have a lot of writers in our community. What’s your writing process?

Iain: Even though I do say so myself, I am very well read, and I have always had a love of books, and the written word. So my style, and choice of material is varied. I won’t be tied down to any particular genre or style. My influences are too many to mention. I squeeze in my writing in-between work and family duties, so I write wherever and whenever I can.

Sabitha: How did you choose the title?

Iain: I wrote Zombies Wha Hae first. My original idea was to write it in the style of a Russian classic. So it was originally titled, If Tolstoy Did Scottish Zombies. I still like this. But half-way through, the madness of this idea gradually dawned on me, and I realised that 500K words was probably beyond me. I was inspired to name it after Robert Burns poem/song Scots Wha Hae while I was listening to Canadian Celtic Punks sing a rousing version of it. I am equally as fond of this title as I was with the Tolstoy one.

Sabitha: Thanks for sharing your story and your process. We’re looking forward to reading! Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?

Iain: Here’s the UK link to Zombies Wha Hae on the UK Amazon Website, I am self-published, and Amazon is just by far the biggest market, forgive my blatant lack of ethics. If you are interested in my short story collection, here is the UK link for it. If you want to hear more about me or my influences, you can check out my website.

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