Interview with Danny Marshall

We'll start off with an easy one - what's your favourite book?
Ha, that's not an easy one!

Nailing it to one is impossible, as I like different books, even genres, depending on my mood. My favourite genres are thrillers and horror, and I love the classics too - Dracula and Frankenstein are huge influences on me. But if I had to pick my absolute favourites I'd go for:

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle - the quintessential horror/crime crossover,
The Island by Peter Benchley - a perfect horror thriller from the Jaws author (yes, I love Jaws too)
The 39 Steps by John Buchan - the quintessential 'innocent man on the run'
Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler - I love the Riviera setting and it's a great example of the 'innocent man on the run',
Ice Station Zebra by Alistair Maclean - I love anything set in the Arctic and this is the best,
The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr - the best locked room mystery of all time.
There are some varied books there - what books inspired you to write 'Ferine'
The biggest influence is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, but to be honest Ferine is probably more influenced by films - I've loved zombie movies since I was a child and wanted to write a zombie novel but they've been done to death (haha) so I wanted to spin it round. I love the 'hole up and hold out' elements of films like 'Night of the Living Dead' and 'Dawn of the Dead'. In the end it turned out not being a zombie book, but that's what happens I guess.
Ferine contains quite a few 'easter eggs' in there for eagle-eyed readers to spot - was that a conscious decision?
Yes! I love geeky references in novels so I always insert them for readers. Sometimes snippets of dialogue, sometimes names or settings.

I said one of the biggest influences of Ferine was Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and there are tons of references in there, but apart from those there are references to the Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, HP Lovecraft, HG Wells, Godzilla - I've probably forgotten most of them myself!
So do you insert references in all your novels?
Absolutely. My second novel 'Gruinard' is set in the early 80s and references things like Indiana Jones, The Fog, and loads of music. Its' also heavy on nods to 'The Thing' - one of my favourite films.
So your novel 'Gruinard' heavily references 'The Thing' - is it another horror novel?
No, it's a thriller but it did start out as a horror. I read about an island off Scotland called Gruinard which was contaminated with Anthrax during the second world war thanks to weapons testing, and remained off limits until the 90s. I knew straight away I wanted it as the setting for a novel but initially it was a horror - what else were they testing there, that kind of thing - but then I combined it with some other ideas I had and it turned into a thriller.
Gruinard sounds interesting, tell me more.
Well it was that combination of the setting I already had, and another idea I had for a locked room mystery. I've always liked an 'impossible crime' story and wanted to set one within the close confines of a military or scientific base in the Arctic (that's the influence of 'The Thing' again) but when I thought about Gruinard Island I realised it was the perfect setting for that kind of thing. An isolated island, off limits to the public, so contaminated you can't walk on it without protective suits - that provided the reason for the scientific base and its assortment of shady characters, and the sense of isolation.
A perfect setting for a series of grisly, seemingly impossible crimes with only a small number of suspects.
It's got that Agatha Christie and John Dickson-Carr style plot, but places it in this strange and unforgiving environment. It's set during the cleanup era in the early 80s so I used a first person tone of voice and paced it like an Alistair Maclean thriller.
What are you working on now?
I'm finishing off my third novel 'Flies, Entwined'. The title is a reference to a case of spontaneous human combustion in Charles Dickens' 'Bleak House' and that gives you a clue to the theme. A family curse, witchcraft, and a man burnt alive and dismembered inside an entirely sealed room, with several witnesses right outside the door. It's a macabre horror / crime story that owes much to Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'.

I've returned to Yorkshire for it - in fact, it's set just a couple of miles from where the action in 'Ferine' takes place.
Your novels are heavy on horror, mystery, and crime - do you read any other genres?
I mostly read thrillers and mysteries but I do delve into other genres. I enjoy scifi now and again and really enjoyed 'The Atlantis Strain'. I like classic literature. I actually really enjoy Shakespeare - though I don't tend to pick them up much.

I've just become a dad too - so lots of children's books!
What do you like to do when you're not reading or writing?
I like to get out into the local countryside - I love walking and have a couple of dogs so they're usually with me.
I watch a lot of films, though not so much TV. And I love Lego!
Published 2016-02-28.
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Books by This Author

Ferine
Price: $1.40 USD. Words: 84,340. Language: English. Published: February 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » Undead
When an isolated house is besieged by mysterious creatures a housewarming party turns into a night of terrifying violence. But what does this have to do with a laboratory accident two hundred miles away?  As the body count rises the dwindling band of survivors are caught between the creatures and a group of sinister individuals determined to cover up the incident - and their mistakes - at any cost