Friday The 13th

I've always loved the Friday The 13th films, so was delighted to write an official tie-in novel for New Line Cinema in 2004.

Friday The 13th: Hate-Kill-Repeat was published by  Black Flame in the UK and US in October 2005.  The story pitted masked marauder Jason Voorhees against pregnant trailer-teen Hayley 'Halo' Harlan.  Thrown into the mix were high society couple Norwood and Penelope Thawn, who were secretly fanatically religious serial killers.  The body count, it must be said, was high.  Loved writing it.

Here's an interview from around the time of the novel's release:

What is the novel all about?
It's the third novel in a new series of Friday The 13th novels, officially licensed from New Line Cinema. These are all-new stories, centring on the main character Jason Voorhees. He's a hockey-masked maniac who stalks an area named Crystal Lake. The character's popularity has risen since the millennium, with the sci-fi instalment Jason X (2001) and Freddy Vs Jason (2003). The first two Friday The 13th novels, subtitled Church Of The Divine Psychopath and Hell Lake, will be released in August, while mine comes out on the perfect date: Halloween. 

How did you get involved with it?
Someone tipped me off that the Nottingham publishing company Black Flame (a sub-division of Games Workshop) had obtained the license for not only new Friday The 13th and Jason X novels, but also A Nightmare On Elm Street and Final Destination, among others. As I'm a longstanding Friday The 13th fan, I excitedly jumped at the chance to write an all-new Friday story as my first novel. So I pitched some ideas to Black Flame and they chose the one they liked most. Then came the hard work.

Friday the 13th has produced 11 films, right? Does this mean it's a new chapter for Jason Voorhees?
There are ten Friday The 13th movies, including Jason X. Then Freddy Vs Jason, which you could see as a whole new franchise. As far as I know, the new Friday novels take place somewhere along the existing timeline, so I don't believe they're exactly a new chapter, as in taking place after existing Friday movies. But they are definitely brand-new stories.

Was coming up with 95,000 words a hard task?
Writing a novel was 10 times more work than I expected, for some reason, but it was well worth it - really enjoyable. 95,000 words is indeed a lot, but you have to look at it in a positive light - there's all the more room for characterization, story and of course horrendous death.

You wrote from November 2004 to March 2005 - has it meant writing a set amount of words each day? Did you set yourself targets?
Yeah, for some reason I settled on writing each day between 2pm and 4pm. Sometimes more if the mood took me. Don't know why that proved to be the best time for me - maybe the brain is at its most active in the afternoon. Of course, the Spanish might disagree, seeing as that's when they have a siesta... There were occasionally whole weeks, though, when I couldn't write a word, due to other freelance magazine commitments. Towards the end, I accepted an assignment to write a massive 10,000 word supplement for the excellent SFX magazine, which I couldn't turn down. But it naturally delayed the novel.

As you mentioned that you "always wanted to write a novel but had never got round to finishing them" what was different this time round?
I've always wanted to write a novel, but never finished one, due to either working at Kerrang! magazine full-time, being snowed under with freelance work or a combination of both. The problem is, unless you work at a novel pretty consistently, it's easy to lose the thread or even become disenchanted with what you've written, or were planning to write. This time around, the project was something I seriously wanted to do, so made time for it.

How long have you been a horror film fan?
I've been a massive horror fan since early teens. I love the horror genre and slasher movies in particular. Like rock music, slasher flicks are generally looked down upon by the mainstream, but they're both great adrenaline bursts and also good cathartic exercises.
Which is your favourite film in the Friday The 13th series?
The seventh, strangely enough - Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood. That one sees Jason pitted against a teenage girl with telekinetic powers. It's basically Jason Vs Carrie! It put a good spin on the series, and also featured Jason's finest look. That's the look I imagined when I was writing the novel. In fact, I had the 18-inch doll standing on my desk the whole time. Makes it a lot easier to visualize him...

Did you have to "get behind the mask of Jason" and his persona to write this?
Very early on, I made the decision not to take the reader inside Jason's mind. I strongly believe that the more you know about a horror anti-hero, the less frightening they become. Too many horror films at the moment try to make their evil characters sympathetic in some way, but I think that's the kiss of death. Keep them evil! That said, there a couple of scenes from Jason's point-of-view in the novel, but I was careful not to tell you too much about what he's thinking.

What was the idea behind the title - Hate Kill Repeat?
I was in a department store in Wroxham, funnily enough, and picked up a cheap monster movie on DVD. The cover's tag-line was something like 'Kill Feed Repeat'. At the time, I was trying to think of a title for the novel, so I wondered what Jason's equivalent chain of behaviour would be. Hate-Kill-Repeat sums it up nicely. That's pretty much all he does. I also wanted to stress the emotion of 'hate' in Jason, as a few of the films seemed to present him as an emotionless zombie, when he's clearly consumed by rage. After all, he was bullied and drowned as a kid: that's the back-story from the original 1980 movie. Then he came back to life with a big machete in one hand.

I understand from looking on the main website that the novels from Black Flame are geared towards a mature audience - so guess there's lots of gore? Are there lots of twists and suspense?
There's definitely a lot of gore in Hate-Kill-Repeat. It's an incredibly unpleasant book - a fact which I'm sure horror fans will appreciate. I haven't actually totted up the body count, but it's very high indeed! That said, there are also hopefully a variety of interesting characters and storylines, with a few twists littered throughout, including one big one which I particularly like. Hopefully, fans will feel the same way...

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Here's a blog post I wrote in 2009, about how the novel came about and my experience of writing it.

* * *

No comments: