KG: There is a lot of action in all your books, do you think very visually as your writing as in seeing the scenes almost like a movie? How do you set a scene?
MS: Yes. In my head I know exactly where each character, within a fight scene for example, is stood, where they move to, and where they eventually end up. Be it dead or alive. However, I do try to make the fight scenes as short as possible. Because more often than not actual fights tend not to last long. Someone will get a heavy hit in early and it will be over. So I always try and make the scenes as realistic as possible.
KG: What writers have inspired you and do you closely akin yourself to?
MS: I couldn’t name any one specific writer that has inspired me, or one genre of literature either. I try to read as many different types of writing as I can. And take a little bit of inspiration from all of them. So to the same degree I don’t really have any one author I feel I’m particularly akin to. As Bruce Lee taught in his Tao of Jeet Kune Do; you must study many different forms and styles, and use the ones that best suit your means.
KG: Who are your favourite characters in the books and why?
MS: I always had an affinity towards Avez. He’s the calm amongst the storm. But I also really enjoying writing Eddie Lament’s scenes. His constant chat is fun to write. And of course The Baroness. Her maniacal character adds a constant tension to any scene she is in.
KG: How do you plan your books? Did you have all three plotted out to begin how did you go about it?
MS: I don’t think I have a set way of writing my books. Or maybe it’s that I haven’t found the best method yet? However, I always try to plot out ten or twelve major plot points for a book before I start writing. Just so that I have specific goals that I can aim for whilst I ramble my nonsense out onto the page.
KG: Your stories can be very dark at times but also there is humour, do you look for humour in the strangest things in places?
MS: I find that there is humour in everything. And it’s just a matter of perspective as to whether a person will laugh or not. What one person finds funny, another will not. And I think that horror is very similar. Some people are scared of spiders, whilst others are not. Which is why I find that comedy and horror run such a fine line next to each other. They are both so individual and yet subtlety intertwined at times.
KG: How do you set about your writing and your environment do you have for example a set writing place or times that you write in?
MS: I have a room in my house that I go to when I’m writing. However, when I’m editing I’m a bit looser with where I do it. But whichever I am doing I always need music playing. The music knocks out all the little everyday sounds that I find distracting.
KG: Horror is in my blood, is it the same with yourself do you enjoy writing horror, and do you think you’ll do more or is there other genres that you’d like to explore and if so which?
MS: Yes, horror has a very special place in my world. But it is not all consuming. I have a number of different ideas and stories that range from Detective stories, Conan the Barbarian style sword and sorcery pieces, and some Sci-Fi works. With all of these genres I have some very loose stories sketched out. So watch this space.
KG: And what books have coming out in the future?
MS: I am hoping to get an Omnibus version of this trilogy out maybe at the end of the year. Just giving the perspective from a few of the other characters, so that I can shed a bit of light on what is actually going on. I also have a first draft of a Detective novel that I am hoping to work on after the omnibus is out.
KG: Would you say you are a very prolific writer? On average how long does it take you to write a book?
MS: Raised From Darkness has taken me the longest to write, but it is the longest book in the trilogy so that would make sense. I would say that I am not prolific, but others may disagree.
KG: Your covers are very arty and stand out, who designed them, and did you have a lot of input into them?
MS: I think that the cover of a book is very important. I know you should not judge one by it, but we live in a visual world, and you need to catch peoples eye. The team at Kensington Gore produced the artwork for all three books, and I provided them with a brief of what I wanted. One striking image in the centre of the cover with author name and title of the book. You don’t need anything else.
KG: I think your books would transfer well to the silver screen. Are you looking to do film scripts?
MS: I think they are definitely transferable to silver screen. They could also be adapted to graphic novels. It shouldn’t be too much of a challenge to change them into script form. It would just be dialogue and stage direction right? Easy!?!?
I’d like to finish by thanking you for your time and your writing. It's a great trilogy and people can get your new book here:
KG: Raised From darkness is the third book in your trilogy, what can you tell us about the story arc of all three books without too many spoilers of course?
MS: The main protagonist, Whitfield Creed, stumbles into a world that he thought was nothing more than myth or folklore. A world where immortals stalk the night and use the general population as their puppets. Whitfield finds himself immersed in their violent existence as he becomes one of them. The story arc is about Whitfield firstly coming to terms with who these immortals are. Then with the realisation that he is now one of them. With all of the pros and cons that come with a life of eternal darkness.
KG: And what has been the hardest thing of writing a trilogy?
MS: Maintaining consistency across all of the characters. Continuity if you will. For example: making sure that a character who only appears in 1 chapter in Of The Night but is prominent in Raised From Darkness has the same character traits and appearance across the two books.
KG: I’d like to get deep more understanding of your writing, what writing inspires you and what do you enjoy most about the writing?
MS: I have a mixture of work that inspires me. I love the way that James Herbert would introduce a character, giving the reader their entire life story, and then kill them off in the same chapter. I also enjoy the way that George RR Martin will leave each of his chapters on a cliff hanger. Making you want to read more. But I also love the use of the English language that some writers have talent for. Donna Tartt has a skill with the written word that I have nothing but admiration for. In fact; any author that uses prose in a creative or interesting fashion will catch my eye.
But what I enjoy most about writing is the escapism of it. Being able to step into another world, onto another planet, or even another plain of existence is just blissful.
KG: What are your strengths in your writing style, what makes you stand out from other writers?
MS: I like to think that I have created a series of definable individuals in my work. With only a sentence or two I can remind the reader of a character that appeared several chapters previous. I also like to think that I can set a scene without going into pages of description on what the room looks like, and what each character within said room is wearing, and what they look like.
KG: Flipside, what writing weakness do you have or parts of your writing you’d like to work on and improve?
MS: Yes, I find that I struggle to write emotions. How a character is feeling can be tough. Particularly when it comes to horror because you may not have experienced the levels of terror that one of your characters is feeling. So how best to put those feelings down onto the page?