Paul chats with
February 02 2015
Nick Cutter is a Canadian Horror writer I discovered whilst touring around Canada last August - and what a discovery. Nick takes horror writing back to basics, but delivers some pretty lasting chills with his tales. If you love monsters, I really recommend you get your hands on a copy of The Troop - it is a story that will stay with you, even when the lights are off!
I recently contacted Nick about doing a Q&A and I am so pleased he agreed and is featured on the site! Really looking forward to reading his follow up novel, The Deep, of which we will now find out more...
PA: Hi Nick – congratulations with the publication of ‘The Deep’ - how do you feel?
NC: I feel OK, I guess. Nervous, as I generally feel before a novel goes out into the world.
PA: What is the general outline of the story?
NC: A potentially miraculous substance, ambrosia, that has been found at the bottom of the sea. 8 miles down in the Marianas Trench. A team goes down to a research station built underwater whose purpose is to isolate and extract that substance. Awful things happen.
PA: How do you usually celebrate the final edit of a book before submitting it to your agent/editor?
NC: Depends. Sometimes there's not really much celebration at all. You're just happy to have told your story to the best of your abilities and ready to move on to the next project, which hopefully you've been able to set up whilst writing the last book. But there is always a feeling of satisfaction, for sure.
PA: Will there be a book tour to accompany The Deep? Will you be visiting the UK?
NC: There will be a Canadian tour, maybe a few things in the US, but as of now I'm pretty sure no UK tour. A pity!
PA: A pity indeed! As with many writers (including myself), Nick Cutter is a pseudonym, but you also have a second – Patrick Lestewka – why do you have two writer pseudonyms?
NC: Oh, I think because the first one was too sullied and we needed to dream up an entirely new, lily-white pen name that I could start sullying!
PA: Where did the name ‘Nick Cutter’ come from?
NC: Nick's my son's name. Whether he's going to think it's such a gas that I used his name for my pen name is yet to be seen! And Cutter just seemed like a tough, to-the-point, asskicking kind of surname.
PA: I first discovered your work when visiting Canada in the summer of 2014 with ‘The Troop’ – the blurb and front cover design hooked me, but you also have a ‘recommendation’ quote by Stephen King on the front cover – how did it feel to receive such praise from the ‘King’ of horror?
NC: Of course, it was a thrill. Something to cross off the old bucket list. Here's a guy I grew up idolizing and he's read something of mine. I was amazed and grateful.
PA: Fear is such a powerful element to The Troop - what is your greatest fear as a writer?
NC: Oh, probably failure. That is a lot of people's fear, I suppose. That you have these chances and don't make the most of them. But then you can't get all tight and worried about that. You just have to keep plugging on.
PA: Who and/or what are your greatest influences as a horror writer?
NC: King, Barker, McCammon in the horror pantheon. Plenty of writers influence me. Scott Smith. Dennis Lehane. The list really goes on and on and on.
PA: Have you ever incorporated any events that have happened in your own life into your works of fiction?
NC: Sure, all the time. One of the biggest things I ever learned as a writer is that my own life, dull as it may seem to me, has value. You just have to go back to those moments in your life where things seemed clear, crystalline, and write from that perspective.
PA: What are your writing habits like? Do you have any bad habits?
NC: I write every day. I've worked hard to get the opportunity to do so, so it seems best to take advantage of it. 1000 words a day is the minimum. Unless I'm hungover or something. Then I just curse myself all day.
PA: Is there a sub-genre in the horror spectrum would you like to try next/in the future?
NC: I'm not sure. Good question. Depends if I have an idea down one of those roads. If so, yes. I'm not sure how much more horror I'm going to write, at least after this next book. My ideas tend to travel cyclically. I've had a lot of horror ideas the past few years, but before that there were years when I had none. So it will really depend what pops into my head next. I might write a series of cat cozies or romance novels, who knows?
PA: The horror genre appears to be having an increasing revival of late, both in literature, film and even television (American Horror Story, Hannibal, Hemlock Grove) – why do you think horror is appealing to more and more readers/viewers of late?
NC: I really can't say. It's nice to see. I think there was always that appetite. Maybe shows like the ones you've mentioned and new books and graphic novels with a horror vibe, having been written by some seriously talented creators, have just convinced viewers that there is something vital and mindblowing in the horror genre right now. It's okay to watch it and like it because it's quality stuff, and nobody should look down on you for wanting to watch quality.
PA: Some authors do collaboration work on novels – would you ever like to collaborate on a novel? If so, who would be your number one choice to work with?
NC: Never felt the urge, no. Kind of like to do my own thing. I'm a real maverick! No, I suppose there would be a possibility. I think, were I ever to move into TV work, it would be great to work with a veteran writer who knows their shit.
PA: What’s your favorite scary movie?’
NC: The Exorcist.
PA: What was the last horror novel that really blew you away?
NC: Probably House of Leaves.
PA: Are you currently working on a new Nick Cutter novel? If so, any ‘exclusives’ you can share?
NC: The new book, after The Deep, is tentatively titled Little Heaven. Three mercenaries, kinda gunslingers, are hired to head to a backwoods religious encampment in New Mexico to find a missing boy. Awful things happen.