Monday, 16 March 2015


So here it is. Confessions of a Reviewers’ four night special on arguably the hottest property in British horror writing at the minute, Mr Iain Rob Wright……….and we’re talking about a thriller.

Today sees the release of Hot Zone: An MCU Thriller, the eagerly awaited sequel to Sarah Stone’s first adventure Soft Target.

Over the next four nights I will be posting all about Hot Zone to give you a flavour of what the book is about, and what the man himself is about.

Starting tonight, and concluding tomorrow night, we have an extremely candid interview with Iain. This is all about his life in general, his writing so far, Hot Zone itself and the dreaded Ten Confessions!!

On night three I am absolutely delighted to say we have an EXCLUSIVE!! You will be able to read the entire first chapter of Hot Zone on the blog.

Night four will see my review of the book and believe me, you don’t want to miss it (the book that is).

So go get yourself a drink and some nibbles and sit down to enjoy part one of the interview!!

COAF - So tell everyone a bit about yourself in general.

IRW - I am 31 years old, married, with an 8-month old son. Jack are Sally are my life and a massive part of why I work so hard. I want Jack to grow up loved and supported and for Sally to be able to do anything she wants.

I grew up very poor and flunked out of university due to having no money and problems with booze. Before that I had flunked out of the Army because it broke me and I quit. I was very much a quitter and struggled a great deal with depression. I was on a path to a pretty pointless existence.

When I met Sally, it wasn’t easy, but she gradually helped me get a handle on myself and find the happiness I’d been seeking all my life. I saw a doctor about my anxiety and that helped a great deal too. Slowly, I managed to completely change my life.

Now, Sally and I have been together for 8 years and I have achieved so much in that time. I’m a good husband and a good dad, and I love my life dearly. Once, that would have seemed impossible, but finding my soulmate, and finding out who I was, changed that. When I decided to give my secret ambition to be a writer a shot, I found a thousand more soulmates. The wonderful life my little family and I have is because of the kindness and constant support of my readers and fans. I owe them so much.

COAF - Why writing and what influenced you to take this direction?

IRW - I think it has a lot to do with my personality. I have always been sensitive and emotional, and in real life these traits are a burden. But in the fictional world, my thin-skin and emotional vulnerability are assets. I empathise with my characters, and every word I write is part of my soul spilled out. Although medication helps, there is no better panacea for my anxiety than writing. A writer needs to write or they begin to bulge with unbridled emotion (I think that’s why many of us drink, to take the edge off the scathing turmoil in our minds). For an anxious mind, writing is like draining a cyst – if we don’t do it the pressure builds up and we explode.

COAF - You have written everything from end of the world scenarios to thrillers to animals taking over the world and even ventured into the erotica genre as Kharma Leah. Where does your inspiration and your ideas come from?

IRW - I live and breathe TV, films, and books. I love escaping into other worlds. Sally and I love boxsets and movies. Absorbing all of these stories invariably fills my head with ideas of my own. My stories come from a lifetime of being a fantasist. I create and vanquish monsters in my books to give me power in my real life. My stories are really just about people overcoming obstacles. That’s no different to the real world.

COAF - How do you keep track of your ideas? Do you carry a notebook with you everywhere or write stuff on the back of your hand?

IRW - I used to jot my ideas down, but as I only work on 1 project at a time, I generally manage to keep hold of my ideas. No notebook.

COAF - Take us through your process for a story. How do you start it and follow through to the final product?

IRW - My current process is to break a story into 27 chapters (3 Acts with 3 Sections containing 3 chapters each). I write a brief overview for each of these chapters so that I have a loose framework for the entire story before I begin.

Then I write a 1st draft without stopping to edit. The best way to get a 1st draft out is to just go for it. Then, when I finish, I run through a 2nd time where I make large changes and pretty much rewrite most of it. 

Then I do a polish and send to proof readers or an editor if I am using one. As I have improved as a writer, I have gone back to my earlier work and re-edited all over again.

COAF - What’s the most difficult part of writing?

IRW - Self-doubt. Even now, when I release a book, I think that it’s no good. I feel like I should edit it another hundred times, but that’s just not viable. I want to write masterpieces but I am nowhere near. Every time someone tells me they love my work it is a shock. I would love to be able to hold my head high in a room full of ‘big name’ authors, but right now I am not there, nowhere near in fact.

COAF - Every one of your readers seem to have their own favourite book from your collection. Which one do you have a special affinity with and why and who would your favourite character be?

IRW - The Final Winter allowed me to stop selling phones for a living and become a writer, so that book is very special to me. The book of which I am most proud is The Picture Frame. I think it is a good measure of how much I have grown and improved as a writer. I want it to stand as an example of what my readers can expect going forward. It’s also my best cover (SRB Productions) and the editing was first class.

COAF - Who are some of your favourite authors or authors you would consider to be influential in your writing?

IRW - I have too many to name and they are forever changing, but I was inspired most by Stephen King, Richard Laymon, and Brian Keene. My current reading has moved away from horror. I adored the Song of Fire and Ice series and read them all. I am currently reading the Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough and am about 3k pages into them with another 8k or so to go (they are huge books).  I love doorstop novels like Under the Dome or The Stand, and would like to one day write them myself. I need to be financially secure before I can commit to such lengthy projects, but that is the plan.

COAF - Holes in the Ground is your collaboration with J A Konrath. How did that come about?

IRW - I was an avid follower of Joe’s blog and had been a big fan of his books, too. I loved his novel, Origin, most of all. I had been having an idea about a facility under the ground housing all of the world’s legendary monsters (this was before Cabin in the Woods was released FYI). I pitched the idea in a random email to Joe and he loved it. He was also, fortunately, aware of who I was as he had seen many of my books hovering around the charts next to his. He was very easy to work with and I loved writing the book with him.

COAF - You’re very vocal through your blog about Amazon and the way they treat independent authors who use them. Do you think they listen to you and your fellow authors and take on your concerns? How do you think the Amazon Unlimited situation will play out?

IRW - Amazon changed my life and I love them, but I feel it was as a consequence of a business plan not because they have a particular love for authors. The Kindle Unlimited scheme has reduced my income by about half and hurt a great deal of authors. It has taken all of the power to control pricing and royalties from the author and given it to Amazon. I still support Amazon and I still love them dearly, but I just hope that they take care of the group of people who now rely on them for their livelihoods. The world is a greedy, corporate place, and I fear that Amazon’s profits are the only thing that truly matter to them. That places authors in a perilous position because if Amazon’s agenda ever conflicts with theirs, they will be the ones to suffer. The best scenario is that iTunes, Nook, etc. get their act together and create a healthy industry full of competition so that authors can go wherever they are treated best. Amazon deserves their massive share of the book market but it is dangerous for any company to have such influence. A company is amoral.

COAF - You have become more prolific in releasing titles over this past twelve months. Is this something you can sustain? Do you ever worry about keeping a consistent level?

IRW - I would much rather be releasing three books a year and making sure they are as good as I can possibly make them. Kindle Unlimited has changed the playing field to value quantity over quality. If I am to survive and keep doing this then I have to be more prolific. Hopefully, I am keeping to a pace where I am still releasing books that my fans enjoy. It has made my job less enjoyable and I hope one day that I can relax a little. So, no, I’m not sure I can be so prolific forever, but right now I have to be. Lots of people work hard, so I can’t complain. I still have it easier than most people.

COAF - How do you think the outlook for the horror book world looks?

IRW - I would like to see it grow. Horror movies have become legitimate to the mass market but horror books are still niche. I would like to follow in the footsteps of Stephen King etc. by making readers see that Horror isn’t all about gratuitous gore, rape, and torture. It is about human perseverance, man over nature, and cracking jokes at the worst times. I don’t write horror to cheaply offend or disgust people, I write horror to empower people. It’s about hope. If more people realised what horror books were really about, then I think the genre will grow. You only have to look at books like Twilight, Maze Runner, Divergent, Hunger Games etc., to see that people love to escape into fantasy worlds, but they don’t realise that horror is all about that, too; not just Young Adult Fantasy books and Sci Fi.

To be continued………

Come back tomorrow night when Iain talks about his new book Hot Zone and answers The Ten Confessions!!

You can see more about Iain at his website.

Iain's author page is here.

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