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Sick Genius: A Severed Cinema Interview with Author Matt Shaw Print E-mail
Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 21 July 2016

 Sick Genius A Severed Cinema Interview with Author Matt Shaw.

I recently met an average looking young chap by the name of Matt Shaw at HorrorCon 2016. We chatted about his work, amongst other things. Whilst with him, I purchased two rather fantastically priced novels which he dutifully signed. I had heard a few little things about Mr. Shaw beforehand, and how he is described as one of the sickest authors in the world. Worse than Ed Lee or Jack Ketchum? That has to be pretty awesome in itself!

Back at the hotel, I read through ten pages of Sick Bastards, one of many books under a cool black cover series. Incest, cannibalism, raw brutal savage violence. I considered gently tearing a penis sized hole in the novel's pages all the way and... because I loved it so much!! Then I figured, I best finish it first.

Matt Shaw has been writing and writing over one hundred pieces of drooling snarling creations (some in collab with other like minded sicko's) which are from another world. I mean, he steps beyond the above mentioned Lee and Ketchum, early Hutson, if he ever decided to properly lose his mind, he'd give Carlton Mellick III a major run for his money.

With all that said, I promised I'd be in touch soon for an interview, so here it is!

Alright, Matt. First off let me say it was great speaking with you at HorrorCon 2016. You and your wife both looked like you were having a great time soaking in the event and atmosphere. How did it go for you?

The Farm 2 written by Matt ShawYou know, I really wish I could remember you. I meanÖ HonestlyÖ Did you really come to my table or are you just making this up as an opener to this interview? In which case you really need to mention how awesome I am too. That always gets my attention (Great meeting you too by the way, you were awesomeÖ) You know, I loved HorrorCon 2016. It was probably one of my favourite conventions for this year. Definitely up there with Walker Stalker. The other shows have been a little hit and miss recently so, yeah, a breath of fresh air! A great show with great crowds. If they invite me back next year, I will definitely be there.

I'll be at your table then, grinning insanely, as I do. I noticed the price of your novels were very reasonable and I know I mentioned this to you. You said that you were cutting your own throat but in doing so people are buying your books and getting to know your work. Tell me, has it been an uphill struggle for you as it is for some authors? Or have you had a few lucky breaks?

It is a constant fight. Any author who says it isnít, got very lucky or is lying to make themselves look better than they are. Having said that, I donít tend to set the prices so low at conventions as they were at HorrorCon because that is business-suicide. The reason for the prices at HorrorCon was because the audience was dedicated horror. These are the people whom I want going home with my books and if that means selling them cheaper than usual, so be it!
With regards to lucky breaks. Iíve had a couple, to be fair, and the first was with the release of Sick B*stards. I released this book as a joke and -- boom -- everything went mental. It hit number one on Amazon in the horror section. It stayed in the top 100 for two years and even got the attention of a major film studio, which was great. Currently we are adapting it to Graphic Novel and a comic series. BUT, with that lucky break was a lot of dedication and hard work. I was writing for ten years (whilst working a full-time job) to make this happen and people donít understand that. Well, not everyone understands that. You need a certain amount of luck and you need a lot of hard work!


You're a very talented writer, your descriptions can easily conjure up images and the scenes are rather graphic. You deal with so many shocking taboos and have written so many books. What's a standard day in the life of Mr. Matt Shaw? How many hours do you put in? Would you consider this as a full time job with the amount of time you put in, including touring the country and isn't there a web series you've started on as well?

I wake up around 7-ish and write for a few hours. Then I get something to eat and go for a walk. Come home and write some more -- usually finishing just before my wife gets home at 7pm where Iíll then cook dinner. Sometimes, if I am really busy or on a roll, I will carry on working after she goes to bed around 11. I donít think people understand how many hours I put in. They hear I work from home and think Iím skiving all of the time but -- to do this as a career -- you need to be really dedicated to make it work. And make it work I will. Iím not going back to a ďrealĒ job now thanks! As for touring -- when I tour -- I take my work with me. So Iíll do a convention and carry on working in the hotel room. A couple of weeks ago I took a couch to Dublin, from Southampton, for a convention. On the way home from this con, I wrote a complete short story! Typed it up the following week and -- bam -- released it to the general public. No time off though. Soon as I finished that I was working on The Farm 2 and a new horror called Terror Teds. Busy, busy.

How did you find your core audience? You're quoted as to saying, don't do it for the money, which is a very true statement. However, somehow an author explores and discovers their public. What did you originally write before becoming this totally sick monster?

Author Matt Shaw on Severed CinemaIím not sure how I found them really. My readership was growing slowly with each new book but then, as mentioned before, ďSick B*stardsĒ came out and everything went mental. Before the Black Cover Books, I was writing tamer horror -- think psychological stuff akin to Stephen King. Even now, with my readers still in place, I donít stick to the Black Cover Books though. I love writing in different genres (erotica, extreme horror, horror, childrenís stories, tear-jerkers and even dinosaur pornÖ Yeah, I went there). By doing this it keeps the audience guessing as to what comes next. I donít want to be a one trick pony or have my writing -- and stories -- get stale. By the way, I prefer ďSick GeniusĒ to ďsick monsterĒ. Just saying.

Fair enough. Some horror authors who are big and famous are known to betray their public by having a laugh at the expense of the genre or openly admitting they don't like horror. As an individual, who are your favourite people in the realm of horror fiction? In fact, what movies float your boat?

I fucking hate horror. I like Romantic Comedies. Okay, that was a lie. My favourite ďhorrorĒ film (of sorts) though is definitely Jaws. Recently, films have been way off the mark relying on cheap jump-scares or crap CGI. Or, and this pisses me off, they are just re-releasing films from yesteryear. ĎOh look, another fucking remake. Just what we didnít need.í With regards to other horror authors, I tend not to read horror because I donít want to be influenced by other authors (for example, Stephen King). Iíve read loads of reviews of friendsí books and there are comments along the lines of ďreminded me of such and suchÖĒ I donít want to remind someone of someone else. I want to be Matt Shaw. I want them to not be able to compare. I want them to simply say, ĎFuck.í She'll never Know written by Matt Shaw

We're very similar in our views buddy. Remakes, aside from one or two, make me wish to thumb my own eyes out. I know author Shaun Hutson in his earlier days used to lament all the ass kissing comparing reviews on so many books as well. You told me at HorrorCon you have plans to work with other people in the genre. Please tell us about who you have worked with and who you plan to work with.

Iím already working with loads as I publish other authors too. Iíve published work from Stuart Keane, Matt Hickman, Paul Flewitt, Duncan Ralston, David Owain Hughes and Glenn Rolfe -- all talented little bastards. Iíve also co-written a book (The House that Hell Built) with Keane and, of course, worked a lot with Michael Bray (Art, Trapped, Monster, Home Video and the upcoming release Twisted Bitches). Then of course there are the anthologies Iíve posted with a whole string of top-notch authors involved! Basically I like to mix it up a little. I also have a book coming out before the end of the year with guest chapters by David Moody, Jasper Bark, Wrath James White, Gary McMahon, Kealan Patrick Burke and Shane McKenzie! I will be taking a step back from this avenue though because I am just drowning in projects at the moment.

I want to ask about Menu, your short film debut. How did this come about? Also, I read that there was an issue with Kickstarter and your second feature?

I wanted to make films before writing books. I ended up writing books because KDP made it much easier for us to do just that -- whether people then sold them or not is another matter, but we could at least release our work! With films you need money and friends and time and blah blah blah. Menu was supposed to cost me £1000.00. It cost £3000.00 and is only 12 minutes long! Then of course there were other costs associated with that which then went on top of that figure. Iím not put off though. I will be making more films and as for Kickstarter, letís just say I wonít use them again and leave it at that.


Okay, I noticed there's a lot linking you with Terror Teds. Tell me more about this.

Sarah, Simon and I met at a Swingers Party. We got chatting, after we fucked, and apparently they make these bears ďTerror Teds.Ē Well, Sarah makes them. Simon just prances around looking pretty. Okay, that was partly a lie. They tweeted me once about my book Monster. There is a scene it in where a man is turned into a birthday cake. They said they would love to make this for real and -- thinking they were joking -- nothing really came of it. Months later, I met them at Birmingham Comic Con (MCM) when they came by my table. Turned out Sarah was a big fan of my work (quite right too). Within half an hour of them leaving the table, I sent them a message asking if they wanted to release some Matt Shaw bears. They said, ĎYes.í You can see these bears at -- I have my own special link! And -- talking of Special -- I am in the middle of writing a fucked-up book based on the Terror Teds: how theyíre made and what happens when they come to life! Think Gremlins mixed with Misery and youíre close.

An obvious question now. What inspires your creative juices? And of course, how do your nearest and dearest find your work?

Forbidden written by Matt ShawMy wife is supportive. My mum is supportive. I think my whole family, with the exception of one who can -- quite frankly -- get hit by a bus, is proud of what I am achieving whether they like the stories or not. As for inspiration? Ever watched a film and realised it wasnít what you were expecting? Thatís my inspiration. I take the film I just watched (and hated) and then I write the story I actually wanted to see. You put enough effort in and it becomes original and the readers can never see the inspirational source material within the pages. Dreams. I also have bad dreams which inspire my works -- all of which is details in my helpful videos designed for people who want to write for a living (free to watch, over on my website).

The Lonely Psychopath written by Matt ShawWhat's the process like for you and publishing your novels?

I can write a book in about two weeks (25,000++ words), I can get it edited by the editor within a week. A few days to go through the tweaks and done. I publish it. I donít believe in padding stuff, I donít believe in re-writing, I donít believe in keeping the readers waiting. Get it out there to them! Itís hard, itís fast-paced and (for me) it works!

Do you get emotional over negative reviews? There must be some who simply don't get what you're doing.

I used to but, honestly, I donít give a fuck. Half the time the person makes themselves look stupid by reviewing me anyway. By that I mean the people who moan that the work is sick and how much they hated it. Well, of course it is sick. It has a warning on the front stating as much and a provocative and aggressive title (Whore, Rotting Dead F*cks, PORN). I just read the review and wonder what the hell they were expecting. Now that doesnít apply to everyone. Sometimes you get a one star review where they pull your work apart. Those reviews are pretty good and Iím glad the person took the time to write them because it gives me something to learn from for the next book. Iíll be honest though, I havenít looked at reviews for over two months now. I used to check daily. Oh, one example of a bad review? Someone saying how sick Rotting Dead F*cks was. One star. I checked into what they read before this and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Like, how do you go from that over to one of my books?! And, what makes you click ďbuy.Ē Thatís just weird, right?

Sounds like a sicker individual than yourself. I want to be a voyeur in your room and one thing always interests me is background noise. Even though I'm into music ranging from Psychedelic to Hip Hop, when I write I like to play soothing piano music in the distance. Do you write accompanied by music? Or the dead silence?

I just have the television on in the background. Usually shit programs like Judge Rinder and Jeremy Kyle (what a cunt). It takes away from the silence but isnít distracting enough to stop me from working. Iíve also got over 300 blu-rays, half of them still sealed and occasionally Iíll chuck one of those on and write to that.

Been awesome chatting to you Matt, you are simply one of a sick kind in this country. A King of Vile. Oh, one thing though, what words of inspiration could you give anyone up and coming who are ready to take your dirty filthy crown?

Just fucking die. Itís my crown and I donít share.

If however you want to work in the genre alongside me -- and the other authors already here -- then feel free to check out my videos on which give you insight as to how I work. Theyíll give you tips, tricks and -- hopefully -- inspiration! Anyway, fuck off, I have fourteen hookers showing up with bags of drugs. That was a lie. I have a new puppy and she needs to go for a walk.

I can testify that he wasn't lying. I had meanwhile shaved my beard and dressed as hooker number ten carrying a bag of white stuff.

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