» Forum » General Discussions » JOIN AMA with Graham Masterton!
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Posted on December 7, 2015 at 12:58pm Post #1
Graham Masterton is an international bestselling author, beloved by horror fans, most well-known for his “Manitou” series, as well as his new Katie Maguire thrillers. His “Beholder” is a Christmas gift for readers! You can now ask our Santa about his terrifying short-story, writing process or simply anything!

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Monika Pacyfka Tichy Team
Posted on December 7, 2015 at 1:46pm Post #851
Dear Mr Masterton, have you ever encounter a ghost or supernatural being? If so, what it felt like?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:02pm Post #872
I don't believe in ghosts or the supernatural as most people seem to believe in it. I think the supernatural is simply an extension of the natural, like dog whistles that we can't hear or ultra-violet light that we can't see. I have had two spooky experiences in my life...once when I thought I saw my dead grandfather in the crowd at London Zoo, and another time when somebody touched me on the shoulder in a pub. I turned around and there was nobody there, but I was told later that a previous landlady had hanged herself in that pub after many people had refused to help her.

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Monika Pacyfka Tichy Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:18pm Post #879
WOW, what a story! Thanks!

Posted on December 7, 2015 at 2:29pm Post #852
Have you ever ventured outside the horror genre? What made you want to write scary stories when you started out?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:06pm Post #873
I have written scores of books outside the horror genre. I started off by writing sex manuals like HOW TO DRIVE YOUR MAN WILD IN BED and HOW TO BE THE PERFECT LOVER. I wrote these when I was editor of Penthouse magazine and they were a natural extension to my day job! They were very successful. especially in Poland where MAGIA SEKSU was the first non-medical sex book published after the end of the Communist era and is still available today. Unfortunatelt the bottom fell out of the sex book market and so I submitted THE MANITOU to my publishers, which I had written in five days when I had a break in my sex book schedule. It was inspired by my wife's first pregnancy and a story about Native American spirits I had read in The Buffalo Bill Annual 1955. That was a huge success which really got me started in the horror market, but I have also written thrillers and historical novels and even comic novels.


Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:13pm Post #876
You have written Manitou in 5 days?How it is even possible?Are you faster then bullet?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:23pm Post #882
THE MANITOU was only 110 pages long in its first edition. Twenty pages a day is pretty fast, I admit, but I was only 28 years old then and my wife was at work all I just typed up a storm!

Posted on December 7, 2015 at 6:14pm Post #853
Have you ever read any book written by Markiz de Sade? If so, what do you think about his works ?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:07pm Post #874
I know what the Marquis de Sade was interested in! But my sex books have always been a bity less painful than that!

Posted on December 8, 2015 at 10:10pm Post #854
Dear Graham,
I have two questions:
- which writers do you have the biggest respect for?
- what was inspiring you when you first started writing? Other stories? Events in the world or in your life? Your imagination?

Thank you for the answers and so good to see you here!

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:12pm Post #875
When I was young I was captivated by the writing of Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe, and I wrote lots of horror stories which I read to my school friends. As I grew older I was attracted to the tough, no-nonsense novels of American authors like Nelson Algren (The Man With The Golden Arm, about a Polish immigrant in Chicago) and Herman Wouk (The Caine Mutiny.) Later I became attracted to the Beat writers like Jack Kerouac (On The Road) and Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs (The Naked Lunch). Burroughs and I became friends later and spent many hours talking about writing technique. I have always had ideas for stories in my head ever since I was very young. Who knows where they come from? But what enabled me to write novels was my training as a newspaper reporter, which gave me the ability to understand human motivation and to recognise an exciting story when I came across it.

Posted on December 9, 2015 at 10:43am Post #855
How does one become such a prolific author? You have published a lot and are still writing.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:14pm Post #877
In some literary circles, "prolific" is an insult, as if authors who write a lot cannot be very good. But as I say, I was trained as newspaper reporter from the age of 17, and then became a magazine editor, and when you write professionally for a newspaper or a periodical you have to write every day whether you feel like it or not. So I write every day, from 9 or 10 in the morning until 5 or 6 at night, and you'd be amazed how many books you can produce if you do that. I have written 11 books in the past four years alone.

Posted on December 9, 2015 at 2:11pm Post #861
I read that you are now writing crime stories (Katie Maguire series) and that their readership is wider than in case of horror. What are the differences between writing crime story and horror? Which one of these two genres you like more (as the reader and the writer)?

And the second question: I imagine that writing horrors (exploring the dark sides of human nature) is rather emotionally exhausting so what do you read for pure pleasure - for fun, just to relax?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:20pm Post #880
I first had the idea for the Katie Maguire crime novels when my wife and I were living in Cork, in Ireland, which is a very unusual and distinctive city. I realised that there were no major novels about Cork so I created Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire who has been promoted to a high position in the Irish police, An Garda Siochana. and this gave me the opportunity to combine some of my favourite subjects...grisly death, folk legends, and the struggle of a woman who has to deal with a failing marriage and the disapproval of the misogynistic men she works with. There is obviously a wider market for crime than there is for horror, but I have always believed that murder is just as horrific as anything supernatural, and I don't think that in writing the Katie Maguire series that I have abandoned my horror readers at all. I still intend to write more horror books, but deadlines are pressing!

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:22pm Post #881
I don't read much fiction. I expect you can understand why. It would be like being a chef and cooking all day and then coming home and preparing supper. Mostly for relaxation I like to go out and meet my friends and have a couple of drinks.

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Ula Zarosa Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:06pm Post #899
You've mention the "wider market" for crime stories. Does the market influence your writing a lot? I mean do your treat writing as your full time job, that you need to do. Or is it still your biggest passion that happens to give you money and recognition?


Posted on December 10, 2015 at 11:17am Post #864
Graham, is there any book you always wanted to write but still didn't? And the second question: you say that kindness is one of the most important thing: how do you correlate this value with horrors?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:27pm Post #883
I have written several books that I always dreamed of writing. TRAUMA was one (aka BONNIE WINTER) the story of a woman who cleans up after murders (the police don't do it.) Gradually she comes apart mentally and starts believing in the supernatural. I loved writing that book and it won several awards and was nominated on of the best 100 books of the year by Publishers Weekly in America. I love writing the Katie Maguire books because they deal with real problems, not only criminal but emotional and social. As I say, I do have a horror novel in mind that I would love to write, but that will probabl;y have to wait until next summer.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:29pm Post #884
I believe in kindness to other people more than I believe in anything. If you can give a smile to some old person you see sitting at a bus-stop, or have a light-hearted conversation with the woman at the supermarket checkout, what harm does it do? And it does a lot of good. I do think, though, that we have to face up to the horrific things that can happen in this world, and the cruelty that we inflict on each other, and try to understand how one human being can be so vile to another.


Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:39pm Post #888
yes, for sure. but do you think sometimes to write something, as you wrote, light-hearted?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:46pm Post #890
I have written plenty of humour. Two humorous (and sexy) novels CONFESSIONS OF A WANTON WAITRESS and CONFESSIONS OF A RACY RECEPTIONIST, as well as regularly contributing humorous articles to the noew-defunct British humour magazine Punch. If you look in the Fiction section of my website you will find the beginnings of a humorous novel about rock stars, THE INDIGESTIBLE BROTHERS.

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Jakub Bilko Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 12:51pm Post #865
Dear Graham,
First of all, I would like to say that you are one of the writers that helped me develop a strong attachment to the horror genre (along with Stephen King, Harry Knight, Guy Smith etc), and for that I am really grateful.
The Sphinx was the first book written by you I have read. As a teenager, I was truly blown away by the story - it's still on the list of the most memorable things I have read.
The thing I would like to know the most is where do you get your ideas from? How does a process of writing a story start for you? Do you find inspiration in normal, daily events? Have you ever published a book based on a dream you had? Lastly - what types of books (or which authors) do you read these days.

Thanks in advance!

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:33pm Post #885
Ideas are everywhere. I tell a couple of shaggy dog stories about where I get my ideas from, but basically I get them from my training as a newspaper reporter. Stories are everywhere, but the trick is to combine two or even three stories to turn them into a fascinating and exciting drama. For instance in my latest Katie Maguire novel I read in the Irish papers that dozens of horses had been killed by being thrown over a cliff on to a beach in County Mayo. I also read that the skeletons of hundreds of babies had been discovered in a septic tank at a mother-and-baby home for unmarried girls which had been run by nuns in Tuam. I combined these two stories and they came out as a thriller with a difference (not to mention some very gruesome murders.)

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:34pm Post #886
As for my dreams, I don't dream very much, or at least I don't remember my dreams. I think that is probably the result of getting rid of all my repressed feelings in my writing! I fall asleep, I wake up.

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Monika Pacyfka Tichy Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 1:56pm Post #866
One more thing. You said in one of the interviews, that people find pleasure in being scared (by reading horror books) because they know that it just a book and they are safe. I know also some who like fear in real life (extreme sports fans i.e.). Do you yourself like being scared? What was most fearful experience in your life, if you want to share it with us?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:44pm Post #889
I do believe that people enjoy being frightened if they know in their heart of hearts that they are not really in any danger. I have had a couple of alarming experiences in car crashes, writing off two (count them) Ford Mustangs. I was more fearful for my family though than I was for myself. Only recently a young woman friend of mine and I were attacked in our local pub by a gang of Travellers who for some reason didn't like the look of us. I had a drink thrown over me and was threatened with violence. That was reasonably scary, I have to admit, but I found that it made me strangely calm. We just ignored them and drove off -- albeit at high speed!

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Monika Pacyfka Tichy Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:12pm Post #902
There is something to it that people are more dangerous than anything else. When I was a teenager I hiked a lot and slept in tent in the middle of the mountains only with my companion. We were more afraid of people than of bears and wolves.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 6:05pm Post #867
Mr Graham, what was the longest period of time you needed to write a book? Have you ever thought about to create "a project of your life" - a book you write for decades, what becomes your Opus Magnum?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:39pm Post #887
My historical novel about the Indian Raj, EMPRESS, took me two years to write, because it needed so much research. By the time I got to the end I was having heart palpitations and my doctor told me to go for a long run to get over them! RICH took me about a year to write, but the original manuscript was 900 pages. My American editor told me to cut out all the meals that my characters kept sitting down to eat (when I got hungry!) and that cut the length of the book to 750 pages. During the course of my life as a writer, however, my views have changed and matured and I am not the same writer now as I was when I started. My magnum opus, really, is every book that I have written. What readers sometimes don't recognise is that every single character in every single book is me.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 6:57pm Post #868
Which book you wrote or character you created is the closest and dearest to you?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:50pm Post #891
Probably Harry Erskine, the fake fortune-teller from THE MANITOU. He is the nearest to me in character and outlook on life. I also tell fortunes with cards, although I use a deck that was devised for Louis XIV of France. I also like Jim Rook, the community college teacher, and John Dauphin, who has appeared in one of the Night Warriors books, because in John Dauphin I can vicariously indulge my greed for American fast food without actually having to eat it. And I am very fond of Katie Maguire.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 7:02pm Post #869
Where do you usually write your books? Quietly at home or you rather choose some inspiring places?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:53pm Post #892
I write at home, in silence, although I have a window facing the street so that I can always keep an eye on what the neighbours are doing. I know some writers like background music when they write, but I am a strong believer in sentences having a rhythm that makes them easy for readers to absorb, and I don't want Beethoven's rhythms interfering with mine. I don't need total silence. When I worked as a newspaper reporter there were twelve people in the same room hammering away at manual typewriters and it was like working in a rivet shop.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 7:08pm Post #870
do you think that reading horrors can lead people to fear in real, daily life?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:55pm Post #893
No. I don't think that reading horror can harm anybody. In fact it might do them some good. The only possible harm it can do them is to keep them awake at night!

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 8:08pm Post #871
Hi, Graham! Nice to see you're taking part in another form of contact with readers. First question: I know you've been reading Jules Verne novels when you were young. Which one was your favourite? And second: when can we expect the publication of Dawn Harris' book "The diviner"?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:58pm Post #894
My favourite Jules Verne novel was Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. I created my own character based on this novel when I was about eight years old and wrote and illustrated my own books about him. His name was Hans Lee and he was extremely tough and very good at fighting giant squid! Dawn is putting some finishing touches to her novel DIVINER and it should be finished completely by the end of the year. Considering she has a full-time day job and this is her first full-length novel I think she has done brilliantly. It is a novel with a highly unusual supernatural twist.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:17pm Post #878
You visited Ireland recently. How did Irish people react to your crime novels set in their country? Are you going to use another Irish city, as a background to your upcoming books in Katie's series?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:03pm Post #897
I was a little worried that the Irish might think that I was making fun of them in some of the dialogue in the Katie Maguire books. The slang they use in Cork is very amusing and some of the expressions they use are hilarious. "I saw you in the street the other day and I ran to catch up with you, but by the time I caught up with you, you'd gone." However I received the warmest welcome in Dublin that I could have hoped for, and Pat Kenny who interviewed me for Irish radio said that my dialogue was "spot on." So that was a relief! Katie has visited Belfast in the next book, but for the moment there is enough going on in Cork to keep me there. They have even opened a Cork Islamic Cultural Centre.

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Monika Pacyfka Tichy Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 9:59pm Post #895
I know it's impossible to summarize your "art of love" books in one sentence (you wrote whole library :-) but maybe you could give us some hints for further exploration, regarding the secret of being good lover? What makes men and what makes women good lovers?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:07pm Post #900
One of the most important factors in a successful sexual relationship is for the lovers to try and imagine how their partner is feeling, both physically and emotionally. In other words, for a woman to try and put herself inside in her lover's head when he's inside her, and for a man to try and feel what it's like to be penetrated like his partner. Of course there are many other ways of improving your love life, but that empathy is the key. Don't think so much that "Wow, I'm enjoying this!" Think as well, "How is she feeling? How much is she enjoying what I'm doing?"


Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:11pm Post #901
it seems that homosexual partners have easier way...:)

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Monika Pacyfka Tichy Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:16pm Post #904
yeah if both lovers are from Venus, or both from Mars :-)

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:22pm Post #908
I don't know about that. I have had many homosexual friends (William Burroughs probably being the most famous example) but I have never been attracted to other men in the slightest. I love the company of women. I find them interesting and stimulating and I have long been a supporter of women's rights.

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Monika Pacyfka Tichy Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:02pm Post #896
I adore city of Cracow you like as well. Could you share with us us some personal experience with this city?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:13pm Post #903
Yes, I love Cracow. I also love Wroclaw, and as you may know I support a children's home in Gorzec, as well as a charity which gives support to children who find themselves homeless and prey to men who force them into prostitution. I suppose my most memorable experience of Cracow, though, was when I was invited to a horror/fantasy convention there two years ago. When I arrived I found that the organisers had failed to put together any kind of a programme for me to meet the readers, and so I am afraid I did something which I very rarely do, and I lost my temper and said they could stuff their convention and I was flying straight back to England. As I was climbing into a taxi, however, a very attractive young woman with very alluring eyes came up to me and begged me to stay. So I grumpily said that I would. And in the end I had a great time. And I still see that same young woman today. So you see that I am a sucker for attractive women.

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Monika Pacyfka Tichy Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:21pm Post #907
Oh yes you are :-) how is it possible then to be happy in relationship with one woman for 38 years? (if that's not too personal question). I can't imagine - I do not live that long myself :-)


Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:24pm Post #909
was that time great becouse of that woman or covention?:)

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:30pm Post #912
That's not too personal a question. My late wife Wiescka and I were together 24 hours a day for 37 years. It was possible because we both found each other attractive and because we never told lies to each other or tried to hide our feelings if we didn't agree with each other. Of course we had arguments -- who doesn't? But it is better to have a huge row and then make up. I miss her every day.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:33pm Post #914
The convention was fun! My first close encounter with Cosplay! And the people of Cracow do seem to like me! They erected a bench in my honour in Planty park, with a plaque on it and a QR code so that passers-by can sit on the bench and listen to me reading an excerpt from one of my books.

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Monika Pacyfka Tichy Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:45pm Post #918
It's very heartwarming story. Giving hope. Thank you for sharing it.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:53pm Post #922
I loved the convention. There were hundreds of people in mad Cosplay costumes, and I was able to give several talks about my work. And I made friends with an American guy and I pretended at a restaurant that we were the stars of a long-running American TV show about two brothers, one brought up in the States and the other brought up in England, who had met each other after many years of separation, and were trying to live together. The restaurant gave us amazing service and free drinks, so sometimes fiction pays!

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:05pm Post #898
I heard that there may be an alternative ending for UNSPEKABLE. Is that true? Is it available anywhere?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:16pm Post #905
There was an alternative ending but it has never been published and I don't think I even have a copy of it any more. My publishers and I had a very long discussion about the ending, but in eventually we decided that this was the right one. All the same, I had dozens of protests from readers who found it shocking. But that's life. Sometimes it punches you in the face.

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Ula Zarosa Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:18pm Post #906
I am big series maniac so I wonder: do you even have time to watch TV and (if yes) did you tried watching series like "House of Cards", "True Detective" and have some favorite titles that you are willing to stop writing for ;)?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:27pm Post #910
By the time I finish writing in the evening and come back from meeting my friends, most of the good TV has finished! But there are some excellent crime series on TV at the moment and I try to snatch a look at them whenever I can. My agent is negotiating a possible TV series for Katie Maguire, but that is in its early days yet. I have had eleven books optioned for movies over the years. TRAUMA was optioned by Jonathan Mostow (U-275) and FAMILY PORTRAIT was optioned by Gold Circle (White Noise) and PREY was optioned by Universal and WALKERS was optioned by Kristen Stewart's mother for her production company. But it's the same old story...either they can't line up a producer or a distributor or (mostly) they can't raise the money. Still...I live in eternal hope!

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Ula Zarosa Team
Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:30pm Post #913
Katie Maguire on TV - that's amazing idea, I really hope that you'll be able to pursuit this path!!!

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:45pm Post #919
Me too! I would to see Katie on TV!

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:28pm Post #911
I know that you had to wait many years to publish DROUGHT. Is there any novel of yours that's never been published?

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:36pm Post #915
I first had the idea for DROUGHT fifteen years ago. I didn't write it then because I was too busy. When I did have the time to write it, two years ago, everything that I had imagined all that time ago had actually come true, and there was a real drought in California (and still is.) So I had to make my drought even worse than the real drought. But, yes, it got published and has just come out in paperback in English. And, no, I have no unpublished novels except for a historical sci-fi thriller about Satanic crabs which I wrote when I was 12, all by hand.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:41pm Post #916
I am hoping to visit Poland again early in the New Year, and also do signing sessions in Britain. The first two Katie Maguire novels have been published in the Czech Republic and I hope to visit there, too, because I had an insanely hilarious time in Brno last year. It can be a lot of fun being an author, because when you meet your readers they know you already in a way through your books and so you are friends before you start.

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:44pm Post #917
Last question from me. Ara you planning to make some new animations with your son? Thanks for answering Graham, I hope to see you soon in Poland :)

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:48pm Post #920
At the moment, Dan is up to his ears in animation work and so we have no immediate plans for a co-operative venture. But give it a year or two...we both have some good ideas. I look forward to seeing you, too, Krystian. Just don't bring that bear with you!

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:52pm Post #921
Highest time to change that avatar! :) Many thanks to Openbooks as well, keep up the good work, guys!

Posted on December 10, 2015 at 10:56pm Post #923
Yes...I think that's it for tonight. Thanks to Open.Book and all who posted questions.