Just a couple of quick fire questions for you to start off with:
Favorite horror film?
Shaun Of The Dead – it’s got it all, really.
Favorite Horror Book?
Came A Spider, by Edward Levy – turned out to be a rip-off of The Rats, by James Herbert, but it brought me into the scene.
Favorite Horror Actor / Actress?
Some large breasted woman from a 70’s movie, probably, but I can’t remember her name, so I’ll opt for Bruce Campbell from The Evil Dead, because he now has large breasts too.
Last book you read?
Surviving The Evacuation: London, by Frank Tayell
Last horror film you watched?
Land Of The Dead: Romero gives his zombies a brain, and this time it’s not for eating.
Ok now on to the meatier questions:
If you had to describe the best thing about the horror genre in three words, what would they be?
Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh, aaaaaaaaaaaaagh, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! (Repetition’s okay, right?)
Imagine you had infinite resources to create any sort of fiction, comic, show or screenplay based in the horror genre. What would you ultimate project look like? How do your current goals as a writer align with that project?
One hundred lives caught up in the apocalypse; one hundred souls trekking alone throughout the world – in the Punjab, on the Steppe, in Patagonia, in the Himalayas, stuck on a ship. Or a submarine. One hundred individual stories of life, love and survival, intertwining to form the ultimate montage of that greatest thing: The Person. Well, so far I’m covering the UK. Could take me a while to get round to the rest.
How did you get started writing horror?
I think I’ve always written horror. A reader who reviewed one of my science fiction novels said it left him ‛with a feeling of dread and despair’. Turned out not to be his cup of tea, so I went looking for readers who actually like this sort of thing. Dystopia’s my thing, because it removes a vital element of control. This is the essense of horror, the sense that the checks and balances have been removed, and the gloves are off, so will the characters even make it to the next chapter?
What writers have influenced your work the most? What part of their writing (character development, plot, descriptions) has had the most impact in the way you write?
Within the genre, Stephen King. He is fascinated with everything about a character’s life, right down to the tiniest detail. You get the feeling that he likes everyone, because they all get a chance to reveal their deepest, most intimate thoughts and feelings. And then he kills them. That inspired me to pay more attention to even the minor characters in my writing, because I don’t want the reader to predict things too easily.
The saying goes, “art imitates life.” In what ways has your writing imitated your life? Do you draw mainly from experience or imagination?
I don’t tend to get chased around by zombies, so I’ll have to credit what I create to my imagination. I don’t even cosplay my apocalyptic fantasies (much to the relief of my children).
Do you think the horror genre has changed over the past few years and if so in what ways?
Post-apocalyptic wasteland stuff has exploded in a big way, much to the chagrin of SF types who are desperate for ‛speculative fiction’ to return to all things rational and hopeful. How much of it is horror remains open to question, but it has helped to push zombies front and centre, with even Jane Austen and the Nazis getting involved (not in the same book, obviously. Do keep up). And this at a time when that much older staple of horror, the vampire, got elbowed off the bus and made sparkly.
A little more about Robert Lopez:
Rob Lopez is a British writer who isn’t dead yet. Nor is he undead, as he still has all his fingers. He’s written the science fiction novel, Callisto: Dead Colony, which horrified a few people, and has just released the first novel in his UNDEAD UK series, Remember Me Dead. He’s currently working on the sequel, Hunting The Dead, which could be out by the end of 2016. And he doesn’t have a cat. Because he’s a cad. I mean, seriously: what kind of writer goes through life without a cat? And what’s with that whole bat-for-breakfast thing?