Nick Gifford has been writing for as long as he can remember – much of his earlier work, short stories and adult novels, was published under the name of Keith Brooke. His writing reflects his dark sense of fun and love of horror.
Born Dovercourt, Essex in 1966
Jobs: Designing & managing websites
Lives: Brightlingsea, Essex
First Book for Young adults: Piggies, 2003
Piggies is a hugely original novel in which a freak storm transports Ben to a parallel world inhabited by vampires. He joins others like him, known as ferals, to hide from the vampires until a meeting with Rachel, a vampire more human than some of the ferals, gives him some hope of escape. She takes him to her farm where he discovers the terrible secret that gives the novel its title.
WHAT HE SAYS…
“I started writing for younger readers by chance. After years of writing for an adult audience a friend persuaded me to aim for a different age group – I had a go and found that I loved it! It took me right back to the thrills of reading as a kid: the sense of discovery, the sheer wonder of stepping into another world through the pages of a book. I’ve never had so much fun writing. Piggies probably shows what a dark sense of fun I have…”
On where ideas come from: “All over the place. From stories in the news, from conversations with friends, from non-fiction books and magazines, from throwaway ideas that don’t quite fit in another of my stories, from overheard snippets of conversation. Usually, a finished story is very different from the original idea that has set me working on it.”
Advice: “Finish what you start. Most people don’t realise that writing can be hard work: if they do start to write, they give up long before they finish. Writing can be great fun and, yes, it can be easy at times, but professionals know to keep writing even when it gets hard.”
Find out more from Nick’s website: www.nickgifford.co.uk
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT NICK GIFFORD…
“I found it (Piggies) a great read. It was a mix of horror and fantasy with touches of ‘The League of Gentlemen’ and ‘Schindler’s List’. (Penguin rep.)
“Nick Gifford is an exceptional new talent in children’s literature and, in his debut children’s novel Piggies, he has created a bold, shocking and completely unputdownable horror story.” (Waterstone’s Books)
“A contemporary horror tale to sink your teeth into.” (The Funday Times)
Dovercourt, Essex in 1966
So many! John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Robert Silverberg's Dying Inside. This could be a very long list...
MOST TREASURED POSSESSION
Photos of my children when they were younger and the computer back-ups of my work - most other things can be replaced.
Current favourites include almost anything by Clearlake, They Might Be Giants, The Colorblind James Experience or the Beatles.
Pulp Fiction or When Harry Met Sally.
When did you start writing?
About five minutes ago. Oh... I see what you mean... I've written stories for as long as I can remember although, thankfully, most of my early attempts are long lost. Outside school I didn't read or write much at all by my mid-teens, but when I was seventeen I started reading trashy horror novels to fill time on a wet holiday in Yorkshire. Almost immediately, I started to make notes about how I'd have written them differently, and before long I started writing my own short stories and novels. Many of these were published under another name, before I started writing as Nick Gifford in the late 1990s.
Where do you get your ideas?
All over the place. From stories in the news, from conversations with friends, from non-fiction books and magazines, from throwaway ideas that don't quite fit in another of my stories, from overheard snippets of conversation. Usually, a finished story is very different from the original idea that set me working on it.
Can you give your top three tips to becoming a successful author?
1. Start writing. Lots of people who claim they have a book in them never actually sit down and write it.
2. Finish what you start. Most people don't realise that writing can be hard work: if they do start to write, they give up long before they finish. Writing can be great fun and, yes, it can be easy at times, but professionals know to keep writing even when it gets hard.
3. When you've finished, start something else. With every piece you write you will become a better writer, and most of us have to cope with a lot of rejections before we write something good enough to be published.
The chocolates I ate an hour ago. I have a short memory, and I'm easily pleased.
Favourite place in the world and why?
The beach and salt-marshes at Hamford Water in Essex. A complete wilderness, only an hour's walk from where I grew up - wonderful!
What are your hobbies?
I don't have much time outside my work, but if I did I'd spend more of it birdwatching and playing my guitar.
If you hadn't been a writer, what do you think you would have been?
Still trying to be a writer. And while I kept trying to be a writer I'd be designing and managing websites, which I have done professionally for several years.