Wednesday, 1 December 2010

OK, so I suck at this whole blogging thing. Facebook and Twitter I get. My website I get. But writing blogs? Nope. Just ain't happening! And, to be honest, I'm not sure many/any teens are in to them.

Anyhoo, what it does allow me to do is post up reviews! And this one is a cracker! Seriously top stuff, thanks to Pete Woods at! I'm astonished by it, thrilled by it... Read on for a fantastic Hurrah on The Dark!


"It’s a case of attention being drawn to the cover art as it jumps off the shelf and takes a bite at you and who could refuse the allure of such nasty, slimy, multi-fanged dread? You cannot tell the book by the cover is that age old adage but here you can as David Gatward very much delivers both goods and gore with ‘The Dark,’ the second part of his ‘Dead’ trilogy, designed for young adults, but being equally enjoyed by this older one.

When I was an evolving horror enthusiast we were not quite so lucky with young adult fiction but I too read a book called ‘The Dark’ written by James Herbert. Perhaps it explains why I turned out the way I did and it would have been less nerve shredding if I could have started off with something designed a bit more for my age range. The school library would have no doubt agreed, as cottoning on, they shortly after withdrew and allegedly burned Mr Herbert’s early endeavours. 

Gatward does a great job here of not belittling his audience and not dumbing down the horror, sure there are no sex scenes and foul language but the horror and the claret are delivered in spades. We rejoin hero Lazarus guardian of The Dead and his eager and long suffering sidekick Craig through the veil of the dead, a place they had the misfortune to end up in at the climax of the first part.

The incredibly atmospheric narrative describes a domain that is very reminiscent of Silent Hill as we uncover its intricacies. The Dead themselves are utterly sinister and again Red, the demonical figure who brought the fear previously is some sort of overseer of the domain and has a very Lovecraftian pet with him (think lots of tentacles). Envisaging the action as how this section would be filmed and with some of the utter destruction going on, I am reminded a bit of some of the early Manga films. It has that sort of fantastical feel to it here and one wonders how such scenes, which are intrinsically designed for teenagers, would even make it onto anything film wise lower than an 18 certificate if that?

Without giving too much away the second part of the book takes place on our more mortal side of things with the boys teaming up with Clair who will hopefully not become possessed this time around and attack them, as well as boozy angel Arielle. Here their task is to find Abaddon (a name in itself to send shivers of dread down the spine) and stop hell itself from opening. Lazarus also has to find out what exactly his parents part is in all the proceedings and could well be torn between conflicting emotions as the world as we know it sits upon the very precipice of doom. This all flows at a cracking rate naturally and the book is one hell (sorry) of a page turner. I actually had to pace myself reading it, wanting it to last as many nights as possible as it is perfect just before sleep reading (well it is for those of us liking nightmares at any rate).

The second part of a trilogy is often looked at as the tricky one but things do not feel cumbersome here and set events up nicely for the conclusion. The only real complaint is that I have to wait until next year to get my claws into it, or should that be until it gets its claws into me?"

Friday, 5 November 2010

An Interview with Steve Feasey... creator of much evil and darkness...

I, like the rest of society, have grown weary of teen horror which is, in essence, lots and lots and lots and lots of snogging. I prefer my stories to have bite. You can imagine my joy, then, to present to you now, an author who's stories have enough of it take your head off...

Behold Steve Feasey, evil creator of the quite wondrously ferocious Changeling series!

As a member of the notorious Chainsaw Gang, he has willingly given his answers to some questions below. Enjoy...

What’s your favourite book?
SUCH a difficult question to answer! It’s like trying to decide what’s your favourite food. But as I have to pick one, I’d say Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I’m a great Dickens fan and the characters in this book are so beautifully imagined that it’s one of a handful of books that I’ve read more than twice.
If I had to pick a scary book, I’d go for Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I think every copy of this book should be sold with a free nightlight because there’s NO WAY you’re sleeping in a dark room after reading it.

What’s your favourite monster?
Alien. Simply THE best monster of all time. Ever. End of. I love the film (I rank it as my all time favourite horror flick), and the monster is simply terrifying – hey, you get THREE monsters for the price of one – face-hugger, stomach-burster, and finally, The Alien – and each one becomes more shocking and horrifying than the last. The film is perfect because Ridley Scott, the film’s director, only allows you glimpses of the monster, showing glimpses of various parts and keeping the rest in shadow or out of shot. Anything with more teeth than you can shake a stick at and acid for blood had got to be good. And all this before CGI! If you haven’t seen the film, go grab a copy and give yourself a treat.

Who’s your favourite bad-ass monster slayer?
I loved reading Greek mythology as a kid, and if you love bad-ass monsters you can’t go wrong with those sick and twisted Greek tales. Of all the guys and gals that faced off against a plethora of monsters and scary creatures, Heracles (or Hercules if you like your heroes a bit more Roman) was, for me at least, ‘the daddy’. Yes, I know that he was only set his twelve labours as punishment for infanticide – sick and twisted, remember? – but boy, does he go at them with relish. Striding around in a lion-skin, wielding a huge club and laughing in the face of the Gods. He makes Buffy look like a rank amateur.

If you could make a pact with the Devil, what would you want in exchange for your immortal soul?

I’d want x-ray vision, superhuman strength and the ability to fly. Yeah, I could do without a soul if I was Superman!

The Chainsaw Gang are all trapped on a desert island with no food. Who would you eat first and why?
Hmmm, well pound for pound I think Alexander Gordon Smith might be the best meal. I can see a couple of really good steaks coming out of him. Sarwat looks a bit stringy, Sam a bit gamey, and I doubt I could catch Alex Bell. No, I think AGS would be first on the menu.

Cheers Steve! Good answers!

So there you go, people - Steve Feasey: creator of monsters, lover of Alien and eater of AGS. What's not to like? So get out and get his books in to your life right now!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Tis the season to give scary books to people!

Check this:

Yep, it's the wonderful Neil Gaiman making a lot of sense again. So I'm all about it! Let's get giving scary books to our pals on Halloween! What better gift could there be? Er... NONE! Not one! Not a thing!

Yeah, I want you to give them The Dead or The Dark, but why not? It's perfect! So get to it people! Spead The Dead this Halloween - Give a little something to scare the hell out of those you love the most (or the least, I'm not picky...)

Dave "the cellar door was left open, the monster is now loosed" Gatward

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Astonishing review on amazon

Seriously, this is quite something:

"Thank God this book has finally arrived!!! I read the first in the series as soon as it came out and loved every word of it, although with every series hated the fact that it ended and i would have to wait to find out what happened to Craig and Lazzurus on the other side. I Was literally desperate to find out more about the land of the dead and have already read the 'the dark' and reread the 2 books together to for fill my craving. Both great books but i do think this one has the edge as it is just blood curdling action and suspense right from word go. A must read!!!!"
Two great reviews up on amazon already. Fingers crossed for more of the same!

Gatward on tour...

To be honest, I can hardly believe it myself. On tour? Me? Seriously? Feels very surreal. This is one of those things that you hear of other people doing, great authors, famous authors, huge international names.

And now me.

I'm not ready. I'm scared. I'm out of my depth. But at the same time I'm as giddy as a giraffe on a roundabout!

Tomorrow I'm at Heathfield Community College. Two events. WHAT?!

Let me say that again: WHAT?!

I know what I'm doing, I know what my 'event' is all about. Essentially, instead of simply standing there and reading from my book and talking about it, I kind of run about the stage like an idiot, make a fool of myself, dress up, and hope to God that not only do the kids enjoy it, that they don't think, "OK, has anyone brought along some rotten eggs to throw at dufus over there?"

I'm loving this. It's a dream and I'm in it. For real. Me. On tour. Talking about my books. What's NOT to love?

So I guess I better just knuckle down, man-up, and get on with it. I mean, I've jumped out of a plane, I've seen two ghosts, I've even (and you won't believe this, but it's true) been to Blackpool and seen the illuminations at least three times! YES! THREE TIMES! AAAAARGH!

If I can do all that, I can do this. I want to do this. It's yet another beginning of something.

I'm loving this ride. It's a crazy, white-knuckle killer, but it's the one ride in all the park I've been queueing for a hell of a long time to get on. And I reckon it's so gonna be worth the wait ...


Monday, 11 October 2010

"... just about as good as horror novels get..."

Here's a fantastic review and interview with me, done by the simply brilliant Alexander Gordon Smith (, writer of the truly evil and terrifying Furnace books... Enjoy...

It gives me great pleasure today to host the second stop in our gore-soaked Chainsaw Gang tour

For those of you who don't yet know, the Chainsaw Gang is made up of the most twisted and talented horror and dark fantasy authors writing for young people today. If you like adventure, action and most of all horror then you're right at home here – demons, zombies, ass-kicking Knights Templar, monsters, dragons, gunfights, sword fights, explosions, quests to hell and back, werewolves, armageddon, yetis, witches... The list of cool stuff is endless!

Remember to check the bottom of this post for a chance to win the Chainsaw Library!

During the tour each Chainsaw Gang author will introduce and interview another member of the club, and I'm absolutely thrilled that I get to give you one of the best YA horror writers ever to dip his quill into a pot of blood and guts, a writer so well versed in horror that he may as well have invented the genre. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you toDAVID GATWARD!

I've just finished reading Dave's debut YA horror novel, The Dead, and my ears still feel like they're ringing. Why? Because this is just about as good as horror novels get. Let me start with a quote: 
"The figure’s body was bathed in firelight, the rocking chair horribly still. Its head was bald, the skin ripped away in strips and in places Lazarus, horrified and scared beyond anything he’d ever experienced in his life before, could see the milky glow of bone. Its ears were gone, nothing more than stumps that looked like melted candles. The face was a mass of tears and cuts, slicing across it this way and that, the nose severed in half. The mouth had no lips; just great, bloody wounds where they looked like they had been torn off. Its teeth reflected the fire."

How awesome is that?! The figure in the quote is Red, and one night he tells Lazarus Stone – the brilliantly named teenage hero of the novel – that the thin veils between the land of the living and the land of the dead are failing. And what happens when they fail? The Dead can cross over... Without wanting to give too much away – the plot is full of twists and turns that you'll want to experience for yourself – Lazarus discovers a terrifying secret about his own father, and finds himself on a quest that will literally take him to hell and back!

There are so many reasons why I love this book, and one of the main ones is that David Gatward is so obviously a horror junkie. There are references in the book to some of my favourite movies (if you're a horror fan too see if you can spot them) and it's clear that he really, really loves the genre. What this means for the writing is that this isn't just an all-out mindless gore-fest (although it is very bloody and gory, don't get me wrong) but a beautifully crafted tale that can stand proudly amongst the stories and movies that inspired it. There is nothing about The Dead that feels like it's copying what's gone before, it really is uniquely unnerving and thrilling.

So, in short, if you want a book you can't put down, if you like to be scared and excited at the same time, then read The Dead! Or click here to read Chapter 3 and see for yourself. And the good news is that there are two sequels to follow, the first of which, The Dark, is already out (and trust me, at the end of this book you will need to go straight out and get this)!

And now, so you know more about the man behind The Dead, here are his answers to the critical Chainsaw questions...

1. What's your favourite book?
I can't say I've ever come across a book that's my all out favourite. Why? Because I fall for so many different books for so many different reasons. Biggest influence might be Weirdstone of Brisingamen, by Alan Garner. It was the first book I didn't just read, but experienced. I was 11. It made me want to write stuff that would make people feel the same way I did when I read it. Particularly the bit in the cave, where they're being chased by the svarts and the cave gets narrower, they can hardly move... then they come up against water and they've no choice but to go through. Unreal! And terrifying! I loved Lord of the Rings. I was really in to the Dragon Lance Chronicles. I think Bravo Two Zero is tremendous. If I want to be somewhere hot and lovely and delicious I'll read Under a Tuscan Sun. Then, if I want to go dark and feel like the world's seeping in through the cracks in the walls of my house, I'll grab something by Lovecraft. Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts is annoyingly good. Jack Ketchum can confuse and horrify all at once. I've just read Mr Hands by Gary Braunbeck and loved it, the world he's created, his writing, the sentences that go on for not just a few paragraphs but a few pages. Clive Barker's Hellbound Heart, Books of Blood, Damnation Game. Arthur C Clarke's Songs of the Distant Earth. See my problem?

2. Who's your favourite monster?
I love Pinhead! Something about that crazy cat just makes me shiver. It's that at his centre is not simply mindless evil, but humanity twisted and gone wrong, our own primitive drives left to go wild. I love that. I'm all for mindless killing machines, like Jason, but Pinhead does it for me.

3. Who's your favourite bad-ass monster-slayer?
Well, it's not a literary one this, and it's a pretty short-lived moment, but in a film by Peter Jackson, called "Dead Alive" he has a crazy vicar who goes all karate on some icky undead creatures. Just before the fight begins (and despite the fact he gets totalled during it) he yells out, "I kick ass for the Lord!" I love that! Brilliant!

4. If you could make a pact with the Devil, what would you want in exchange for your immortal soul?
Does it have to be one thing? I'm guessing not, because this is my immortal soul we're talking about, right? So, here's a few things to start with:
- A house with a deep, dark wine cellar that would never run dry of the best fermented grape juice known to humanity. And a plentiful supply of candles to place on the little table I'd have down there to sample them at.
- A hotline to serious cheese. Seriously. I love the stuff. And I'd want the best and rarest I could find. Even that maggoty one that's illegal...
- The ability to fly. Surely I don't need to explain why...
- A chainsaw that never runs dry or falls blunt.
- The house off the film Casper the Ghost.
- My own creepy graveyard.
- A ghost called Gerald who enjoys horror movies and lives in the attic.
- A room dedicated to my record deck and my drum kit.
- A climbing wall.
- If you've read my book, the vehicle driven by Arielle.

I'll stop, but trust me, that list could go on!

5. The Chainsaw Gang are all trapped on a desert island with no food. Who would you eat first and why?
Well, of all the Chainsaw Gang, I've only met Sarwat in person, so I think it would only be polite to at least consume him as a starter to the main course. Like the rest, though, I'd have to tenderise him first, so I'd have to dig a big pit and thrown them all in to it. With no way to escape, they'd go crazy, beat each other up to get out, and that'd get them all nice and soft and juicy. Then, when they were exhausted, bleeding in to the sand beneath them, I'd despatch them as cleanly and humanely as possible, then bury them in the sand to not only continue with the maturing process, but also preserve them. I might also consider distilling some sea water to a brine and seeing what effect that had on the meat. And wouldn't it be great if the desert island had some coconuts on? Boil the meat up in some coconut... yum. Ooh, I'm salivating already.

Thanks Dave, those were awesome answers! Right, I'm off to go baste myself in some tikka spices. But just before I do, here are the rules for the Chainsaw Gang competition – it's free to enter, and it's really worth it because you could win a set of signed books from every single Chainsaw author!!!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Dark is LIVE... and here's it's first review!

OK, so The Dark is officially out tomorrow, but it seems that it's been lurking around for a few days now in bookshops up and down the country. This is a good thing. Why? Well, because I've gone and got a review like this, at's why:

"Lazarus Stone has been killed, resurrected, and attacked by demons. He's all that stands between our world and the Dead. But things are getting complicated: he's alone in the land ofthe Dead, his best mate Craig is missing, and he's no idea who – or what – tricked his dad into trying to bring back his long-dead mum. Oh, and he's wearing a corpse's clothes.

Life, he might think, couldn't get much worse. But it will...

Back in May I posted my review of The Dead by David Gatward. I really enjoyed that book, and the rave reviews it garnered from the likes of SFX, Gorezone and The Bookbag proved I was far from being alone in thinking this. My only real criticism at the time was that the book was just too short -  just as the story really got going it came to an end, leaving us with a pretty massive cliffhanger. David agreed with my comment, but promised me and the readers of The Book Zone that the next book in the series would be longer, and with The Dark having an additional 100 or so pages he has certainly lived up to his word. But is longer better in this case? Absolutely - quality has certainly not been sacrificed in favour of quantity.

The Dark starts at the exact moment that The Dead finished - no faffing around with back story, or setting the scene for the new book - so if you haven't already read The Dead then you had better rectify this before picking up this book. Don't expect me to go into too much detail about the beginning, for to do that would create too many spoliers. Suffice to say, Lazarus Stone is very much now a boy on a mission - to save his friend, find his father, and ultimately prevent the legions of the dead from breaking through into our world. In fact, the opening line to this book is a corker: "It could smell blood and flesh. And it wanted to burrow into it, like a worm into an apple". It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to work out that the owner of said blood and flesh could be in the a nasty surprise in the very near future!

The Dead set the scene for this book very well. In that first book in the series the author developed his main character, and a couple of his secondary characters, in a way that the reader warmed to them very quickly, so that when things went wrong we felt concern and worried about them. In The Dark he develops all of these characters further, and we also get to meet a few more, and we really start to see what motivates these people, and more importantly how they react when facing the horrors that walk the land of the Dead. My favourite character is the alcoholic angel Arielle - not only is she a great kick-ass heroine, but she also brings a great deal of humour to the story through her wisecracks and need to recuperate by drinking copious amounts of wine. We also get to see more of the bad-tempered Red in this book, although much of his personality still remains a mystery to the reader. I have a feeling we will be seeing much more of Red in future books.

The greater length of The Dark also allows for far more action set pieces that we were given in its predecessor, and these come pretty much non-stop from the first chapter onwards. Some of these are better written than others - one or twice in the middle of a frenetic fight scene I lost the thread a little and had to start reading that scene again. However, the author more than makes up for this with his descriptions of the setting and the various Lovecraftian creatures that our heroes come up against. Lest we forget, this is first and foremost a horror story, with action/adventure elements, and it is in the horror arena that David Gatward excels.

If you are a fan of the work of Darren Shan and have not yet discovered this series then it is well worth reading. Dave Gatward certainly knows his horror, and at times this series comes across as his personal homage to the horror films he has loved for most of his life. As an adult reader there were several times when I felt a knowing grin creep onto my face as I spotted a subtle reference here and there. Many of these will be lost on David's younger target audience, but this is the kind of book that will inspire them to become lifelong lovers of the horror genre, both written and cinematic, and they will be able to look forward to spotting these fanboy references, but in reverse. It has certainly made me dig out a few of my favourite (though long unwatched) horror DVDs.

April 2011 seems a long way off at the moment, but unfortunately that is also when the third book in the series, The Damned, will be released so fans of the series will have to be patient. Yet again Dave Gatward leaves his readers wanting a lot more - the cliffhanger is a little less heart-stopping than the one at the end of The Dead, but is more than enough to keep us hungry. The last line alone is enough to send a chill down your spine as you start to imagine the implications of it for our team of heroes. My thanks go to the generous people at Hodder for sending me a copy of The Dark to review, its official release date is 7th October, but I saw it in my local bookshop yesterday so it is already in the wild."

... Wow...

What a great way to send a book out in to the wilds... Thanks to Darren at bookzone4boys!


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Wot no hobby?

I've come across a problem: when one's all-consuming hobby suddenly becomes one's all-consuming career, you're stuffed when it comes to your free time.

OK, so that sounds a bit OTT, but there's a lot of truth in it. I used to have other hobbies (climbing, shooting, playing the drums, gym) but they've fallen by the way side due to time (climbing), cost (shooting), practicality (drums) and losing interest (gym). Through the loss of all those, writing was always there. I couldn't leave it alone. Sometimes I'd find myself doing it without really understanding how I'd ended up sitting down with the idea in the first place, half-empty beer can at my side, TV fizzing in the background.

Trouble is, writing's now what I do most rather than some of the time. I'm no longer thinking about the what-ifs and dreaming. I'm now panicking about the oh-no's and worrying. But with this huge life change, comes a hole: I Have No Hobbies.


Not one.


Not a jot.

I've been trying to come up with something I could do. Something that's affordable, fun, interesting, something fun to natter about down the pub... and I'm coming up blank. I can't do kite surfing (cost, time, effort). I can't do carpentry (same list, plus space). Most worryingly of all, though, I'm not really sure what interests me now. It's like my brain's been so focussed for so long that it can't think of anything else. And I'm at a loss.

So, if anyone's got any suggestions...

Anyway, best get back to the writing; haven't got time to hang around blogging when there's proofs to be checked, books to write, proposals to sort...

Friday, 9 July 2010

Gorezone Review, July 2010: It's GORE-TASTIC!

This is what was said about The Dead in Gorezone (

"I don't know whether it's a comment on the bad quality of writing of contemporary adult horror, or the excellent standard of contemporary teen-horror, but it's apparent when reading the likes of The Dead that there is little difference between the feel of either with regards to use of language, structure and tone.

As is to be expected from a novel targeted at the younger demographic, The Dead is absent of much explicit horror, and the prose is simple enough to be digested by its target audience. but then, neither graphic violence nor excessively orotund prose (*cough* Henry James *cough*) have ever been a sure-fire guarantee of quality horror.

The Dead, as you may well deduce from the title, features a delightful amount of deadage. Following in the footsteps of former Fast Show maestro Charlie Higson, author David Gatward is keen to prove that you need not fill a novel with guts, sex and swearing in order to produce a good read. For any parents wondering how to get their little ones into the genre without scarring them for life, there's a good argument to be made as to why The Dead is a solid starting point.

Story-wise it's basically the same old 'dead try to break in to our world' that we've seen hundreds of times throughout the history of horror literature, but it's told here with a briskness of style, and an accessibility serves the story well with some quite knowing humour in places.

Perhaps there isn't as much depth or description as one would like, but this is targeted at a youth audience and, bearing this in mind, it achieves its aims more successfully than many adult horror novels.

Gatward shows skill in developing suspense (his use of all five senses is particularly notable) and there are nods in the story to the classics (the mention of Lazarus isn't without significance), which suggests he's a man who takes his craft seriously." (Andrew McQuade)

VERDICT: "Hey, anything that gets teens away from Twilight is a good thing, right? A weekend spent in the company of The Dead is a weekend spent well."

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

My First Fan!

The title says it all, doesn't it? Well, it's happened; I logged on to facebook and there, clear as day, was my first EVER message from someone who had only got to the page because they'd read the book and gone to my website.


Feels very strange and brilliant and bizarre and weird and fab and 'Er... what?'

Could this be the first and the last? Could it be the first pitter-patter before the storm? Could it? I dunno. I don't know anything about any of this. All I'm doing is writing the books and hoping people get a blast out of reading them. But if Charlotte thinks The Dead's great, and so do her mates, and then their mates and their mates...

To quote The Evil Dead: "Join us... JOIN us..."

Sunday, 4 July 2010

SFX review of The Dead (August 2010)

Young adult horror with guts...

When it comes to young adult horror, Darren Shan wears the crown, but pretender David Gatward has made a strong case for his succession to the throne with his debut, The Dead.

It's the story of Lazarus Stone, a young man with a destiny... Nothing new there, then, but what the book lacks in innovation it more than makes up for with its gruesome thrills, relentless set-pieces and knack for distilling the voice of young on the printed page.

Hell is full, you see, and as any Dawn of the Dead fan knows, when Hell is full, the dead will walk the Earth. Now it's up to Lazarus (along with best mate Craig and sword-wielding, alcoholic angel Arielle) to stop them after Lazarus's father, the guardian between worlds, goes missing.

Although The Dead is unlikely to appeal to readers over a certain age, young 'uns will lap up its blend of grisly post-Hellraiser body horror, pacy narrative and wicked streak of black humour.

It's the first part of a trilogy, so don't expect any conclusions, but on the basis of part one, horror for kids has a compelling, and very twisted, new voice.

(Jordan Farley)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Dead hits the shelves

Thursday saw The Dead 'officially' in bookshops (check the link at the bottom of this). Though it had appeared the weekend before at airports and train stations. I saw it for the first time in my local WHSmith. There it was on the shelf, just like all the other books.

I was expecting more. I wanted a Damascus Road experience. I wanted flashing lights, some kind of spiritual kick in the teeth, a sense which./ riddled my body with a machine gun burst of 'YES!'

But it didn't feel like that at all.

This isn't being ungrateful. What it is, I think, is the sense that this is yet just another part of the whole process of becoming a writer.

I never doubted that I'd end up, some day, walking in to a main bookshop and see my stuff published. I wasn't quite expecting it to the scale that's happening with The Dead (cracking reviews, competitions, badges, stickers, skateboards...), but I still ALWAYS believed. I had to; it was what kept me going. I never wanted to be someone who 'wrote for himself'. The only way the stories would ever work for me was if they got out there and breathed.

So, The Dead's out. FANTASTIC! But I'm already on with other stuff. I've just finished book 2, I'm cracking on with book 3, and I've another few projects I'm sorting out, too. Trying to crack it in this mad world of writing is tough. Exciting. Fun. Terrifying. Brilliant. Odd.

I'm now in bookshops across the country. I'll soon be out in Australia and New Zealand. Hopefully after that I'll get foreign deals (wishing on that star again...) And, strangely, it feels incredibly natural. This is what I've always wanted to do. I've never wanted anything else. Finding my book in WHSmith was like my life turning round and saying, 'See? Told you so.'

I'm a lucky boy, people. A very lucky boy.


Friday, 4 June 2010

And here's what SFX said...


The dead walk the Earth in YA horror

Most young 'uns have a tough time making it through those volatile teenage years unscathed. Spare a thought then for Lazarus Stone, the adolescent lead in David Gatward's new action horror trilogy, who discovers he's got much bigger problems than school bullies. The Dead are coming to our world and it's his job to send them back to hell.

"Initially, like most teens, Lazarus thinks his dad's rubbish," Gatward tells Red Alert. "He's away all the time, but then he goes missing and Lazarus discovers his dad's been living this secret life - keeping The Dead away from our world - so it's up to Lazarus to find him and send The Dead back."

Gatward is a self-confessed horror fanatic, but insists the walking corpses in The Dead aren't your average grey matter guzzlers. "I didn't want them to be the brainless, knuckle-scraping dead you generally find. They lust for life and they'll do anything to get back - all they need is a nice warm body to take over."

The first chapter in a trilogy (The Dark and The Damned hit shelves in october 2010 and April 2011, The Dead is infused with an anarchic, breakneck, heavy metal sensibility - and tons of gore.

"I'm writing what I would have loved to have read when I was younger. I'm trying to get a story that you could see as a series of action movie set-pieces, so you're almost out of breath when you get to the end. I want the gore in it to be the kind of stuff kids don't want their parents to find out about. It's very over-the-top and ludicrous, like Evil Dead violence, it's just not horrendous or malicious." (SFX)

The Dead arrive on Thursday 1 July.

The Dead arrives... and I appear in SFX Magazine!

What a week. Yesterday I'm in SFX Magazine, and today, my first copy of The Dead arrives on my desk. Astonishing.

I think I'm supposed to feel more elated than I do. Trust me, I'm amazed, stunned, excited, happy, giddy... but in my idiotic brain, I'd built this moment up so much, that nothing short of a total eclipse, lots of fireworks, and some dancing monkeys would match it.

This has a lot to do with that build-up we're all prone to giving events in our lives, but when they transpire, they're brilliant, but not neccessarily knock-you-dead. We expect one specific sliver of time to crack us one on the chin and change our lives. But that doesn't really do justice to all the work that's gone before, without which this 'moment' wouldn't even exist.

I'm seeing it now more as a crescendo of events and experiences that are taking me further and further in to a world I simply can't believe I'm a part of. From getting the chance to try out for a ghost-writing job, tolanding a major celebrity ghost-writing deal, through landing a frighteningly good agent, and then to signing the contract for The Dead, writing it, seeing it turn up in print, getting a website together, doing interviews...

Events are cool, milestones that give us a little something to wave at and take photographs of as we pass them. But it's the journey that's so important, surely. And I'm still only at the beginning of mine. Which, to be frank, is possibly the most exciting thing of all...


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Do cliffhangers kill?

When I came up with The Dead, my aim from the off was to write not so much a novel, or a series of novels, but a story which had such a pace, it left the reader breathless. I wanted it to feel like a movie experience where you leave at the end exhausted. Much like I felt after seeing the new-and-improved (apparently) Dawn of The Dead movie a few years back. I came out feeling like I'd just spent two hours in a wind tunnel. Instead of a headache tablet, me and my brother turned back round in to the cinema and watched (oh wonder of wonders) Shaun of the Dead... Genius!

Anyway, that's what I wanted to achieve, still do. And a key part of that for me was to have cliffhangers that pulled your guts out of your throat.

So I did my best to start the story right off in the middle of something a bit weird, have chapters end in such a way you're forced to flip the page, and ultimately to end each book - while concluding the individual story/adventure/horror of each - with a killer cliffhanger. Something that gives the reader barely a breath between the conclusion of what Lazarus (the main character) has faced and survived... and what he's thrown in to next.

Personally I love cliffhangers. And to me they're an essential part of writing horror. I don't want my readers to get to the end of a book and feel all comfy and happy and 'Ooh, look! A puppy!' That would seriously stink.

The aim of horror is to unnerve, challenge, disturb, send shivers, thrill, excite, upset, challenge, move... and cliffhangers help with this. I've read some books that end with such a shock ending that they're not so much a cliffhanger as a knife in the back as you're kicked off the ledge screaming and kicking as you plummet down to the rocks below...

You want a book to end in a hug? Don't buy The Dead. Seriously, I'm warning you. Don't go near it. Don't even pick it up, look at the cover, walk past it in the shop.

But if you want something that (hopefully) makes your breath catch in your throat, widens your eyes to the point of bursting from your skull, your guts squirm like they're trying to get out and fast, and gives you cliffhangers than cause you to run screaming to your local independent bookshop to find out when the next installment is out...

... enjoy...


Friday, 28 May 2010

To London, to London...

I live in The Rural. Today I went to The London-London. It's so big, so different, you have to say it twice.

Meeting with agent. I was terrified. First boss in my life I've wanted to impress. Always convinced I'm gonna get a beating. Thankfully, it went well. Lots of excitement about The Dead, great feedback on two other projects I'm involved with, and hints that some other stuff might come my way.

This is the odd life of a writer. We live in intense solitude with our imaginary worlds, inventing stuff we hope sufficient people will like so that the books sell and (holy of holies) we make enough to either make a living or at least buy a few extra beers down the pub (and I know some seriously excellent pubs just a walk away from where I live). Then, now and again, we're thrust in to the hustle-bustle world of city walking, The Under-The-Ground (oh, what a mystery marvel...), ludicrously expensive beer, and the entire populous being dressed in something other than what looks comfy. And wearing shoes they didn't just find in the porch.

So here am I, and it's a giggle. I've even gone and found a tremendous pub just a walk away from Paddington Station, which serves my favourite stout on tap: Youngs Double Chocolate. I kid you not! And, bizarrely, as I ordered it, a bloke at the bar was so astonished to hear someone ordering it that he went and had a taster from the bar, then ordered a pint himself! Ah, what influence I have...

I love these moments in my writing life. Getting away from the desk, out with the people who have been key to getting me to where I am now, and just having a natter. It makes it all a little more real (though my agent is in agreement with me: I really shouldn't make use of the skateboards being produced for The Dead; I'd look a right twit).

I've realised something though; I need to bring a camera with me, one of those nifty flip-cams. It's all very well me getting excited about what's going on, about the pub I'm sitting in and the beer I've found, but it needs to be filmed! Will rectify immediately.

Something else, too: perhaps this is what blogging is about? A little update on what's going on, where I'm at with what the writing's doing...

So that's what it's gonna be and I'll do my best to keep on top of it.

34 days (I think) till The Dead is launched. Excuse me while I neck this pint, scream, then run around like a nutter. This is all a bit weird...

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Dead are coming... in 35 days...

Haven't blogged for ages. Got caught up in writing, writing, writing. It's been crazy. still is. And now it's almost upon me. Can't believe it: my very own horror series hits the shelves with book 1 of The Dead in 35 days on July 1st... Jeez...

I'm nervous. Terrified. Excited. Stunned. Bemused. And lots of other things I can't quite put a word to.

Some crazy stuff has happened already, including:

Trailer of The Dead on youtube (
Skateboards of The Dead produced as prizes (they're amazing!)
Website now live (
Badges of The Dead (see pic)
Facebook page up (just search for 'David Gatward Children's Author on facebook)
Two reviews already (will post links in a mo)
Interview/review in SFX magazine on 28 May
Review in Gorezone (will post when this is out) and trailer of The Dead on the covermount DVD

So there you go. The Dead are nearly here. I can't wait to meet 'em...


Saturday, 13 February 2010

Hey... country boy...

What makes someone a writer? Dunno. Me - I just am one. I can't help it, can't stop. It irritates the hell out of me. And it makes me smile. It's easy to believe writers should have a certain type of background. A slight distance from normal society. A certain air that's always kept them apart, yet observing, jotting notes. But I'm completely normal. Nothing about me is in anyway different to any one else. And to prove it, spot the writer in the following shot:

One of those gun-tooting loons is me, people. Which one though... which one... (You gotta love a boom stick...)

Book 4... as yet without title...

OK, so I'm working ahead of myself here, but even though I'm on books 2 and 3 in the writing, I kind of need to think about 4-6. I've got a general HUGE idea as to where this is all going, but that's hard to tie down. Essentially, at the heart of the whole series is the quest of Lazarus: he's going to get his dad back, no matter what. That's it. That's the core. But here's book 4 as it stands at the minute... Well, I've removed a few bits as they give away what books 2 and 3 are about, but try this...

The Dead were stopped. Lazarus did his job. And sacrificed so much. And he's only just about recovered when a raven-black messenger brings him news: Hell, supposedly locked for good, has caught itself an Angel, a being with the very power – the Language of the Beginning, the Word – to speak their world in to existence. And Hell has sent out the Sliders – creatures engraved in angelic script and created to slip between worlds with but one aim: to find the Gyngle Girl; a child both blessed and cursed with the ability to understand this language and speak it in utter innocence.

In the beginning was The Word… But if The Word gets in to the wrong hands…

It's a start, eh?

Which reminds me, I really need to crack on with my other three ideas:

1. The Apocalypse Boys: horses, armageddon, lots of fighting...
2. Squad: Skydiving, guns, social dropouts, werewolves, alternate realities...
3. Voodoo Child: Girl can see music, control everyone's tune... and now the Pied Piper is returning...

Just ain't got the time. Pants...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Book 3, The Damned...

This is the basics of what Book 3 of The Dead is about:

Tombs. Hundreds of them. All lying in concentric rings in the greasy, cold darkness of the cavern. At their very centre, hanging from a burnt and blackened tree, a huge, cracked bell. And under that, The Gate, built from the bones of a thousand murdered souls. Lazarus knew ringing the bell would be very bad. He also knew he had no choice - he needed the kind of help only Hell could give him...

The Dead don't just want to return, they want Earth for themselves. And it's Lazarus Stone, Keeper of the Dead, who has to stop them. But the Dead are the exact opposite of rotting, stumbling corpses. And they desire one thing only: to live again. To do that, all they need is a good supply of fresh, warm bodies...

Lazarus now knows his mum murdered him, betrayed his dad, and is about to open a portal between worlds that will bring about the end of life as we know it. Trouble is, his best mate has disappeared (again), he still hasn't rescued his dad (but he will), and the only help he has is that of an undead priest (who carries a blunderbuss) and a female angel (who drives a 4x4 and has an alcohol problem). This isn't just about saving the world, this is personal... this is family...

Sound any good? Hope so - I'll be writing it in a few weeks... Best finish book 2 first though.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Dark (The Dead Book 2) Cover

Just had sent through the full cover for The Dark, book 2 of The Dead. And I am, to be frank, astonished. It's very hard to believe that what I'm writing is having such covers produced. I may have to spend some time pinching myself...

The Text on the back reads:

The thing was a bubbling, spitting, obsidian blackness. It slipped across the ground like a fat slug. Then it shuddered, its oily surface split horribly, and thick bloody liquid spewed out and splashed across the floor. Something pushed out through the gaping wound: a slime-covered head, frozen in an endless scream.

Lazarus Stone has been killed, resurrected, and attacked by demons. He's all that stands between our world and the Dead. But things are getting complicated: he's in the land of the Dead, wearing the clothes of a corpse and he's no idea who - or what - tricked his dad into trying to bring back his long-dead mum. Life couldn't get much worse. But it will...

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

Sunday, 10 January 2010

New Santa List... concluded.

I could, I think, continue this list for a very long time, but I've decided to cut it short. Santa would get bored and if I got everything on it, well, what would I have left to shop for? So I'm finishing the list with the ultimate: The Swamp. And here it is...

MASH will, I'm sure, be the subject of another blog. As my all-time favourite TV show, the idea of having The Swamp to hang out in with a bunch of mates, or perhaps to just go in there and mooch around, even write... Marvellous.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

New List for Santa... continued...

But then there's this bad boy... the quite insanely come-on-if-you-think-you're-hard-enough LandRover 101...

New List for Santa... continued...

I can't help it - I prefer cars you can hit with a hammer, drive through walls, take on gangs of thugs after the apocalypse, to high maintenence, ooh-I'm-so-fast-and-pretty sports affairs. Which is why (dear Santa) I would request the following: the Interceptor from Mad Max. I mean, just look at it... The kind of vehicle you'd happily use to drive to Hell and back to take on old Beelzebub himself. Fantastic. Need it.