An author who considers the need to write as being a “bug” is surely one who interests us. From taking eight years to write his first work to turning out many short pieces and collections since, he’s becoming well versed in the craft. He understands how writing is an act of lifelong learning and the cherry on top is that he writes horror. Follow along to learn more about Horror Author C.M. Saunders.

With all the creative outlets available to you, why write?

I wish I knew the answer to this question. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. It’s just something I’ve always done. Over the years I’ve gotten better at it, although I’m sure some would disagree with that statement. Now I am in the privileged position to be able to make a living doing what I love. Most of the time.

Why Horror?

I’ve always been a horror buff. I remember skipping school and watching video nasties with my friends instead. Sneaking into my sister’s bedroom to pour over her paperback collection was pretty common too. I think both her and I got the bug from our granddad. The ‘M’ in my fiction writing name is used to pay tribute to him.

I think horror is more visceral and immediate than most genres, and appeals to people’s basic instincts. I could watch a drama or a comedy and most of the little nuances might go over my head. Nothing keeps my attention and I find my mind drifting. But good horror, whether in film or the written word, will kick you right in the nuts.

*We couldn’t agree more about the nut kick. Just sayin’.*

Tell us about your writing process.

I do a lot of different kinds of writing, and the process is slightly different for all of them. You can approach a non-fiction article or profile in a much more structured and scientific fashion, building it piece by piece, while fiction is a lot more organic.

I’m definitely a “pantser”. I firmly believe that if you start of with an outline and try to hard to stick within the parameters you set, you limit your own creativity. In short, I love the act of starting with nothing but a blank page, and creating something from scratch that can hopefully provide some entertainment.

Which piece are you most proud of, and why?

My first book will always be special. It is called Into the Dragon’s Lair and it was put out by a small Welsh publishing house called Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. I was working full-time in a packing factory when I wrote it, and from start to finish it took over eight years. It opened a lot of doors for me.

Sker House cover photo.

More recently, I published a historical novel called Sker House, which is based on an actual location and includes a ton of associated legends and folklore. That’s my biggest seller. It just seems to resonate with people. There have been a couple of short stories that are especially meaningful to me for various reasons, top of the list being a story I wrote for Crimson Streets called Dead Man Walking.

And perhaps a story called Jessica, which first appeared in Liquid Imagination, and is now included in my new collection, X4. Jessica is my first love story. But obviously, it’s a love story with a difference.

List some of your favorite writers and tell how their work influences yours.

I wish I could be more original, but throughout my career my biggest influence has been Stephen King. His characterization is second to none. I’ve been reading his books since I was a kid, and the only books I haven’t read is the Dark Tower series. I’m keeping that for when I retire! Other than King, I love vintage Dean Koontz, Graham Masterton, James Herbert and Richard Laymon, and I greatly admire Chuck Palahniuk’s minimalist style. More recent favourite reads include Amy Cross, Joe Hill, Josh Malerman and Jason Arnopp. Outside of writing, I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan.  

Where can we find your work?

This year I have several stories coming out through various outlets, including one called Demon Tree, about a man who has a strange encounter whilst lost in the woods, which will be appearing soon right here on Haunted MTL.

I put out a series of collections, gathering together my short fiction which has been published before in magazines or anthologies after the rights have reverted back to me. Number four just came out.

X4 cover photo

About X4

The fourth volume of short stories by C.M. Saunders features ten slices of horror and dark fiction taken from the pages of Liquid Imagination, Feverish Fiction, The Horror Tree and several anthologies including Terrors Unimagined and Monsters Among Us. Also includes extensive notes and original artwork by Greg Chapman.

Meet the old man with a dark secret under attack from ghosts, the city worker who comes face-to-face with himself, the teenager who learns that love really can conquer all, the commuter who takes a train into the past, and many more.

It’s already picking up some decent reviews. I think I am constantly evolving and improving as a writer. I’m, very much a work in progress!  Feel free to get in touch with me in any of the following ways:

What do you think of our interview? Who should we interview next? Check out some of our other interviews with Horror Artist John Clayton, or Horror Comic Author Jesse James Baer. Drop us a hint in the comments below or find us at the following places: