ALL THE DEAD THINGS is the story of near delinquent Stan Wisdom, cursed by the stifling influence of an overprotective mother and the ability to see zombie-like monsters invisible to everybody else. When a new found friendship is threatened, rage leads Stan to reveal himself to the monsters and the hunt is on. Pursued through an endlessly repeating day, Stan uncovers the dark secret fueling his mothers fear and finds himself at the centre of a supernatural civil-war with the future of life and death literally resting in his hands.
What genre is it?
It’s a fantasy horror novel.
It kinda makes us think of Coraline. Does that make sense?
It’s aimed at kids aged 10+ (it may be a little scary for younger children) and adults who love horror and fantasy, particularly Neil Gaiman’s books.
Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, Darren Shan or Charlie Higson’s zombie novels.
It sounds right up our street! Tell us about Stan.
Stan Wisdom he’s stuck in a destructive cycle. He’s been expelled from three schools for fighting and his mum is constantly moving them between rented apartments in different districts so he never has the chance to make friends. His fighting isn’t random. From an early age he’s seen ‘monsters‘ and nobody but him thinks they’re real. Every week his mother forces him to visit a counsellor to talk about the monsters, to see if linked to the trauma of seeing his father die when he was a toddler. When the other kids at school find out about his appointments, Stan becomes a walking target for every bully and playground gang lord. He refuses to back down, refuses to be weak and so he has to fight and the cycle continues.
We meet Stan when he has found a friend. There is a chance for change. Kalina Kowalski is an eccentric Polish girl with a love of all things horror, and a deadpan line in Polish proverbs. She introduces him to indie film making and finally Stan has something to focus on other than fighting his corner.
The other main characters are Gabby and Sergeant Moses … but I don’t want to say much about for fear of ruining the story other than that they’re ‘monsters’. You’ll have to read the book.
We will. And when we’re done, have you written any other books that we should read next?
Yes and no. I know, that doesn’t make much sense, let me explain: I have written several other novels, The Hellflock, The King of Cartoons, Young Barbarian and Clandestino (Book 1: The Clockwork Brothers; Book 2: The Crying Clowns) but none of these books have been published yet. They will be.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Depending on who you talk to, I was either raised by werewolves and magicians in an alternate future to be the chosen one who will save the past from a great evil, or I’m an award winning English writer who’s travelled all over the globe and done all sorts of jobs, some beyond tedious, others just plain strange (I once worked on fun fairs with Irish carnies on the Jersey shore and in New York). Before I started writing novels I published many short stories, and won several awards including the British Fantasy Society’s Short Story Competition with MANNY AND THE MONKEYS and you can read this on Goodreads.
Where on Goodreads?
Where else can we find you online?
Do you have a website too?
I do indeed. Please visit www.simonpaulwoodward where besides news updates about ALL THE DEAD THINGS and upcoming projects you can watch the wonderful promotional film of the book.
Promotional film? Tell us about it.
I’m really proud of it. It was directed by my good friend Stan Griffin who runs Loop Productions. It’s a cinema style trailer with costuming and design created by a team that had worked on five of the Harry Potter films, V for Vendetta and The Dark Knight Rises.
How easily do new storylines come to you? If we give you four random words – Man, Woman, Airport, Darkness – can you give us a brief storyline?
New storylines come very easily, I have notebook (and my iPhone notepad) full of them. Often, what seems like a fool-proof winning plot on Monday can look like a Swiss cheese on Tuesday.
The man and the woman didn’t know each other. A computer assigned them seats next to each other on the red-eye flight. They didn’t speak, but the man kept sneaking a look at the woman. She had long, auburn hair that fell forward so he couldn’t see her face. Her skirt was short. A pad rested on her purple tights and she scribbled formulae, muttering under her breath, flipping back and forth through pages of dense algebra. She turned to look out the window, cupping her hands around her face. There was nothing to look at but wet darkness and aircraft lights.
The engines rumbled and the plane pushed back. They joined the cue for take off. Still the woman scribbled in her pad, the formulae flowing. She scrubbed a line out and turned the page, writing a single word in what looked like Cyrillic characters. She underlined it.
The plane hurtled down the runway, engines climbing in pitch and the man started to count. He knew the vast majority of crashes happened place within the thirty seconds of take off. Get to thirty one and he was likely to survive the flight. Survive the journey home. He’d get to see his wife and daughter again. The plane climbed, banked and the grid of city lights lay below him. Twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one; the man smiled.
Then the city disappeared. Where there had been the seemingly endless criss-cross of freeways and subdivisions there was only a profound darkness. People screamed and pressed their face against the glass. The woman with the auburn hair closed her pad and turned to the man.
“Now you have to do exactly what I say, or they’ll find us,” she said.