Nick Cutter / C. Davidson
Author of "The Troop", "The Deep", "Precious Cargo" "Little Heaven" ...
What did you want to become when you were a child?
Tough question! Not sure I can remember. Probably something impossible, like a ninja firefighter or a hitman doctor. I did want to be a ballerina dancer when I was 4 or something. I grew out of that desire—actually, my ever-widening body kind of outgrew the possibility.
How did your family and loved ones react when you told them you wanted to be a writer?
I think at first they received it the same way as any other career choice—I was pretty young, so they figured I'd outgrow it probably. Never did. When they understood I meant to continue with it, well, I think they were a little concerned. Writers don't earn money the same way most jobs do; there's no check every 2 weeks if you're doing your job. There is, if you're fortunate, a check after a year or two or three or ten years of work. So that can be a little worrisome for a parent. But I've done plenty of other jobs while working on books, like plenty of other writers, so I've actually been employed at nonwriting jobs for a large percentage of my adult life.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
Tough to say. Like a lot of people, I think my best work is ahead of me. But probably hearing my first . . . story? Book? One of those two. Either my first published story (which I was paid nothing for) or my first book . . . hearing that had been published was a great feeling of relief and validation. Problem is, you become a junkie for that feeling, you keep chasing it; and same as with drugs, it takes a more and more powerful hit to give you that feeling of elation you'd first felt.
Who inspires you in the industry?
I like hard workers. People who write consistently, write well, and do all the little things outside of that too. A guy like Chuck Palahnuik. He puts out a book a year (he could put out less, but that's just me), he tours, he keeps in contact with his readership, he works really really hard and is a consummate pro. A writer like him or Stephen King (of course) would be my inspirations.
Stephen King gave your book "The Troop" an amazing review, what was your reaction upon hearing this?
Well, it was wonderful. Here's a guy I grew up reading and idolizing, and the idea that he's read something I wrote seems unreal.
What aspects of your job do you like best/least?
I like being able to set my own hours and live by the sweat of my brow and the fruits of my imagination I guess. It's kind of like the life of a shark: if you're not working, you're not eating. So you've got to keep busy. And you could fall off the beam at any time, sadly. It's a tough gig and there's a lot of competition; if I'm not working then someone else is, and they're going to get ahead when I fall behind. This is kind of the mentality, which . . . maybe not always the most mentally healthy, but it is what it is. What do I like the least? I suppose there's a sense that you're only as good as your last book for a lot of us, so the margins are razor-thin. And you want to have relationships with your publishers and so on, and you DO, but backgrounding it is the sense that, no matter how much they like you or admire your work, those units have got to move or that relationship might have to end. So there's that element of fear to things.
What are some of your favorite books?
Almost anything by King, but IT and DIFFERENT SEASONS stand out. FAT CITY. WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. HARD RAIN FALLING. Clive Barker's work. MYSTIC RIVER. There are dozens I'm forgetting. I have terrible recall that way. There are so, so many great books that I've loved or that have influenced me.
Speaking of "The Troop", how did the idea behind this horrifying book come about?
I was at a museum and there was an exhibit on water. How we use water around the world. There was a little video booth, very dark, with a TV playing. I went in there. It was a DVD about the villains in the book. So there was the idea.
The book finishes with perhaps the hope of a sequel... would you ever revisit Falstaff Island?
I don't imagine so. It was conceived as a one-off. Never say never, but . . . unlikely.
What makes you happy?
My family, my son and fiancee, my buddies, beer. I'm a simple person. Too simple, perhaps.
What brings you the greatest satisfaction?
I think just living a decent life. It seems simple, but I don't think so. I probably haven't always led one. So it's nice to be doing it now.
Do you have a specific writing habit? (wake up at a specific time... minimum numbers of pages per day…)
I have to write 1000 words a day, minimum. However long it takes. There is no max, but that is the minimum.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
Oh, probably . . . when I was bullied or when the kids I knew acted badly when I was a kid, I used to think: It'll be better when I'm a grownup. They treat each other a lot better.. It was a dismal, brutal disappointment to realize that's not really the case. Adults can be just as big of assholes as kids. Bigger, in many cases.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Candy, probably. Ju jubes. Dare ju jubes specifically. But candy of all sort and description will do for me.
What do you most value in people?
Name 2 things people don't know about you:
I have a vestigial tail. I am a cyborg.
What is your motto?
James Dean had that line, "Live fast, die young, leave a goodlooking corpse." Mine is:
LIVE MODERATELY, DIE AT 80, LEAVE A WRINKLED SHELL.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still doing what I'm doing in one way or another.
Any advice for those wanting to become writers?
There's no magic, no trick. You've got to put your ass in that chair and write.
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