Craig A McDonough
Age I just checked with my previous interview with you Fiona and it appears – if my math is up to standard – I’m eight months older than then ! <wink, wink>
Where are you from
I ‘m from California (now) but was born in Melbourne, Australia
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
As I said in first interview I lived with my Dad, Grandmother & Grandfather. It was my Dad’s tales of going to the movies when he was young to see Dracula and Frankenstein that started my interest in horror. I went to school in the same suburb in Melbourne’s north. Sport and “hangin’ out” was what I enjoyed and did most. The only fiction writing I did then was a few short stories in English class. The teacher thought they were good but questioned why all the “blood and gore”. When the opportunity to leave high school early presented itself – you couldn’t see me for dust.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is that the second book of my apocalyptic story “Toward the Brink” is almost ready for publication. There had been some delays with this but it’s all coming together. And as a special treat for readers of your blog Fiona (and this interview specifically) five ebook copies (5) of “Toward the Brink” book 1 will be given away to the first 5 people who comment. No questions to answer just the first five to comment and you WIN!
I’m also polishing up a completed manuscript for the first book of a new series called “Slashed Deep” it’s a novella size as all 3 in the series will be. It’s a “slasher/suspense” story. Check out the cover on my website, or on my facebook author page. I really like it, it’s actually how the story started – I saw the cover picture on Rocking Book Covers website (see link below) and immediately had to have it! I wrote the story after.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
High School was the first time and I toyed with the idea every so often, even entered a contest once, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I started to sit down and write. The reason why, is I believe I have a story inside me to tell. That particular story hasn’t been told (yet) but I’ve put others in the meantime. That story will be told soon enough.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
For me to sit and write my first “indie” book and meet the editorial deadline was when I considered myself to be a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book “Horror at Pine Ridge” (which was originally titled “The Chronicles of Vladimir” and lovingly referred to as “Vladimir”) was largely as a result of idea’s that came to me when I worked in a cemetery in Melbourne. You get some pretty strange ideas in a cemetery!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I try to let the characters tell the story so I’m strong on dialogue sometimes too strong and have to reign myself in. I’ve gone three pages with unbroken dialogue at times and that is too much – great things about computers we can just edit where needed and not have to rewrite all those pages.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Toward the Brink is about the beginning of the apocalypse. Not your typical undead apocalypse, another (and unusual) view. Rather than a focus on the living versus the undead in a non-stop shoot ’em up, though I don’t avoid certain scenes like that, my focus is on how a group of people survive not just against the undead but the collapse of society itself. Everything we take for granted would cease to operate very quickly if an undead uprising did occur. It’s one way of looking at how brittle the infrastructure would be.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Overall the message would be that we, the majority, have lost all control of our own destiny to the most minor of minorities and though the writing was on the wall it was ignored. But like the Billy Joel song, “We Will All Go Down Together” they did. Young and old, rich and poor, black and white.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are many events happening world today that, while not as extreme as “Toward the Brink” are nothing short of horrendous. Chemicals in the air, the water, the food, corporations ignoring their responsibility to the planet and to the people in the name of profit and politicians who pander to their every wish. These are very real and it’s getting worse
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I found Salems Lot by Stephen King to be the most influential book. The story, the context the characters – it drew you in from the start and left you wanting more, The Hunt for Red Oktober by Tom Clancy while a different genre was also hard to put down.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“The Killer Inside Me” by Jim Thompson and some Stephen King short stories from “Skeleton Crew” and always books on the craft of writing by James Scott Bell.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Sam Sisavath – Mark Dawson
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Apart from getting “Toward the Brink” book 2 out I also have a “serial killer” series coming out soon as well as I mentioned earlier. The first is titled “Slashed Deep” and the cover can be seen on my website. The “serial killer” series will be three novella size books that can also be read – I believe – as a stand alone. Just the right thing for that weekend read when it’s raining and cold. I’m also planning on a “companion” to the “Toward the Brink” series which will contain a short bio of the main characters.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There have been several and to name but one wouldn’t be fair to the others.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes I do. You don’t have to be number one on Amazon to make a career out of it – but you do need to double check on your choices and the motives of some people.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think you could always find something to change, or say “I could have done that better” but there has to be a time to say “it’s good enough” and let it go. If you don’t you’ll never get to your next project. If you are so hell bent on writing the absolutely perfect novel it will never be released. The perfect novel doesn’t exist.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’d always had some interest but it probably wasn’t until I read Salems Lot that the idea took hold or perhaps the seed of an idea was planted – just took a while for it to grow!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“You hear that?” David asked the Tall Man.
“Yep, sure did. Sounds like we got visitors, and unless they learned to drive,
it’s not foamers!”
The Tall Man closed his eyes for a moment. “I don’t even want to think
“Could it be the NationaGuard, maybe?” Cindy asked.
“I doubt it. If the guard were around in any official capacity we’d have come
into contact by … ” The Tall Man went silent.
“Take cover!” he ordered. A National Guard Humvee, now adorned with a
skull and crossbones flag, came around the bend ahead.
Mulhaven, Elliot, Roger, David, and Allan took cover alongside the
Tall Man against the side of the van while Cindy ducked back inside.
The Tall Man gave an approving nod to them, but his brow furrowed when
Cindy appeared from the motor home. “Get back inside the … ”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I used to have a bit of trouble keeping track as I wrote by the “seat of my pants” but I use Scrivener now and make use of Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake system to outline a goal of each chater or scene. Just a sentence or two to remind me of where I want to go with it. It still leaves me plenty of room to write by the “seat of my pants.”
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Stephen King without a doubt. He has a way of telling a story that hooks you, intrigues you and entertains. He immerses you in the world he has created and you’re always asking “what happens next?”
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
There are some plans ahead of me which will involve some travel for research purposes.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The covers for the “Toward the Brink” series and the “Slash Deep” series were done by Adrijus Guscia of Rocking Book Covers http://www.rockingbookcovers.com/
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Brink 2 was challenging in that it had to be rewritten for the most part. Originally the series was with a publisher but we parted ways (amicably) and what I had planned for the Brink at that stage no longer seemed to work. So I restructured and rewrote. It was also planned to be a 4 book series but I now decided to make it a 3 book series. The even better news is that it will continue on in a new series which follows the adventures of “whoever is left” and how they survive. I’m sharing this news publicly for the first time!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
When you’ve finished put the manuscript away for at least a week. Come back and read it over with a fresh and clear mind. Rewrite what you can.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Find a good professional editor- no ifs, buts, or maybe’s!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Animals/pets, they can do both to me very easy.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Last time I said Che Guevara but really there have been so many interesting people – for good and bad – that it would be impossible to choose just one.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I was always nice to animals!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Playing some blues guitar
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
We don’t have TV – personal choice but we get DVD’s of good movie’s (we hope) and TV series. 24 & Criminal Minds have been enjoyable. Some stand out movies I’ve enjoyed are 28 Days/Weeks and Dog Soldiers but tend to watch mainly music DVD’s live concerts and such.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Asian food / Black / Blues, Blues/Rock, Rock n Roll, Hard Rock.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes here is my website . Pictures of my book covers can be seen before they’re released a newsletter sign-up (get FREE ebooks!) pictures of me at home (working) and updates on my material are all there.
Get a free ebook and free eshort story “Horror at Pine Ridge” and “She Said” when you sign up for mmy newsletter. NO SPAM! (Personally I love Spam with eggs but … )
My Amazon author page is:
Thank you Fiona for having me as a guest again and for the readers out there the first 5 to comment will win a copy of “Toward the Brink” on kindle. Please email Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can send you the book