Artbiz with David Moody

Feb 10, 2017   //   by admin   //   artbiz, News  //  No Comments


Artbiz explores that middle ground between “art” and “business”. How genuinely creative people manage (or do not manage) to carve out a living doing what they love. How they juggle dayjobs, families, real life, relationships, paying bills and doing their craft/art. 

This one’s a biggy. I first heard of David Moody when picking up the paperback of Hater in a Waterstones bookshop in Cardiff. I knew nothing about the book or the author, but the blood-splattered cover and blurb pulled me in. Jump ahead years later and mutual friend Wayne Simmons, recommends my first film Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection to David. David gets in contact to say how much he enjoyed the film and asks if he can interview me over on his site. I was blown away. Firstly the sick mind behind the Hater and Autumn series had heard of me. Secondly he actually liked my film. If you want to read my rambling answers to David’s questions, they’re over here. I’m a big fan of David’s work, do yourself a favour and check out his Autumn series. Its the sort of long form epic that The Walking Dead wishes it could be. Also David’s put together some great science fiction as well, check out Straight to You and Trust.

Many thanks to David for his frank, honest, insightful answers.

Q1 First can you introduce yourself? Who are you? Do you have dependents? Do you have a mortgage? Are you the sole income earner?

I’m David Moody, author of a number of horror and science-fiction novels. I’m married with a lot of kids (three of which still live at home, though one’s currently at university). I do have a mortgage. It is far too big. I’m not the sole income earner, but I do pay all the household bills.

Q2 What do you do creatively? How long have you been doing it?

I’ve been writing for twenty years (which feels more like twenty minutes). After a spectacularly unsuccessful first novel with a traditional publisher, I began independently publishing in 2001 – way before Kindle and iBooks and Print on Demand etc. I hit it big with a book called AUTUMN which I originally gave away for free. It spawned a series of sequels (which I charged for) and a notoriously bad movie starring Dexter Fletcher and the late David Carradine. I wrote a book called HATER in 2006, which was optioned for film by Guillermo del Toro. The movie adaptation is still rumbling slowly forwards… I launched my own publishing company in 2005 – Infected Books – which I’m still managing today. Sometimes that feels like a full-time job on its own.

16357956_10154114401661746_808925598_oQ3 If you have one, what’s your day job? How long have had you that?

I wrote full-time for just under seven years, but went back to work in 2014. As pretentious as it sounds, I found it increasingly difficult to create to pay the bills. Additionally, my books are predominantly concerned with people, and how they deal with extreme, usually apocalyptic, situations. In my home-office-bound isolation, I realized I’d lost touch with the rest of the world so I went back to mix with people again and be inspired! Bizarrely, as I live on the outskirts of Birmingham, I’m a Charging and Enforcement Policy Manager for Highways England.

Q4 What are the benefits of your day job?

A reliable, steady income which covers most of the bills and takes the pressure off financially. Since returning to work, although the time I’ve had to write has dropped dramatically, the quality and volume of my writing has actually increased. Also people. My colleagues provide much inspiration. Interestingly, in a weird example of life imitating art, when I wrote HATER back in 2006, I put the main character in the worst possible job I could imagine, working for a council’s parking fines processing department. To all intents and purposes, that’s what I’ve ended up doing!

Q5 What are the drawbacks of the day job?

I have absolutely no spare time. The writing job is increasingly demanding. I finish one job and start the other, then crash into bed around midnight.

Q6 Your art/craft is it a hobby/ a side gig/ your dream job/ your full time job?

I think I’ve already covered this. It’s my main source of income, and both my dream and nightmare job. I think I’d like to balance things out a little: write more, go out to work less. There’s also a massive amount of administration involved in running a business, albeit a very small one. It’s a further drain on the time I have to create.

16358715_10154114402386746_220017671_nQ7 How much of what you do creatively is dictated by commercial consideration?

That’s quite hard to answer. Although pretty much everything I do comes from a creative perspective, much of the time it’s also a commercial decision because I have publishers paying me advances to write. I’d love the freedom to be able to write whatever I liked, whenever I wanted to. At the moment it’s a balancing act. I tripped myself up a few years back by spending far too long writing a (still unpublished) novel to the detriment of other, more commercially viable projects.

Q8 Have you turned down commissions? If so, why?

I have. Usually it’s because of a lack of time, but also because I don’t think it’s appropriate to automatically say yes to everything. If it doesn’t fit with my plans, I usually don’t do it. I’ve found that I can’t write to order. I have to be excited by the story to want to tell it. I wish I could write romance or fantasy, because it sells by the bucket-load whereas my nihilistic, miserablist dystopian novels don’t!

Q9 Do you have a long term plan? A series of short term plans? Plans, never heard of them?!

I do, but they change continually. Maybe not a plan… more a tenuously strung together series of ideas which might or might not happen at some point in the future.

moodyleicesterQ10 What do you think of your “industry”?

Publishing is constantly changing, and has been doing so at pace for the last fifteen years or so. The marketplace is now wide open (to an extent) as a result of the rise of self-publishing, but that also means the competition has increased dramatically. It’s harder than ever to get noticed. Additionally, traditional publishers are dealing with a smaller market share, and that means it’s harder to get signed by a mainstream press. I still think it’s important to do so. If nothing else, they tend to give you a foothold in bricks and mortar bookstores which you generally can’t get as an indie.

Q11 Is there anyone out there that you aspire to be like? Why?

The late James Herbert, who taught me more about writing and the business of writing in the couple of hours I spent in his company, than I’ve learnt from twenty plus years in the business. And because he sold nearly sixty million books!

Leave a comment