Petrified Peering

I have a treat for you folks! Yes sir, I sure do! Over the next few weeks I have some interviews lined up with some of my author pals. I just know you're gonna love 'em!

First up we have Craig Saunders, other wise known as Petrified Tank. (Why? Read on and learn!)

I see you have a number of works published, and I'm sure you're waiting on answers for a bunch more. What is your favorite piece you've written so far?
I got a fair few that I love, but my favourite is The Dancing Car, hands down. It’s been accepted by Aeon Press. The editor, John Kenny, liked it about three years ago, but the second editor liked another story of mine more, and took that. John Kenny wrote back to me, three years later, and asked for the story back. That’s the longest, and in some ways, the easiest route to publication I’ve ever had. It’s not every day an editor asks for a story after three years. The other story, Grass Can be Weeds, Too, was my first pay cheque. The Dancing Car was my first royalty cheque – Aeon Press and the magazine, Albedo One, will always be a special market for me. Man, that sounds cheesy, but I really do love them. Albedo One’s a beautifully put together magazine, too.

What do you have more fun with, shorts, novellas or novels? 
I really like short stories, both to read and write. I can knock out a story in a day, usually, if I’m on form. A novel takes about a month, and I get impatient along the way. I can manage a day. 5000 words in a day isn’t unusual when I’m writing. Shorts, definitely – novella’s are frustrating, because I only ever end up with a novella when I run out of places to go for a novel.

You maintain a pretty active blog. What's the secret to keeping that posting drive going? 
Short answer? I’m full of shit. I love a good ramble on the blog. I love that it’s mine. Once I did a talk on horror at my son’s school, and the teacher told me my blog was inappropriate for class to see, and could I change it? I didn’t have to think about it for long. It’s mine, totally. That’s quite satisfying. I blog about my writing, mainly, and use it as my spot for updates, but when the mood takes me I blog about zombies, pants, caterpillars, zombie caterpillars wearing pants, Cliff Richard, Nobel  Peace Prize winners, the state of my bowels, mental illness, and sometimes do reviews. I suck at reviews. I’d much rather write nonsense about nightmares I have, or the things I think before going to bed. Here’s my favourite dream exercise...I like to think this, or pretend I’m a wizard, before dropping off to sleep...

When I've got a lot on my mind, I can't sleep. Never was one for lullabies, but here's a good one. I'm going to bed now. I'm going to listen to the wind rattling the fence outside, the scrabbling in the walls of mice or small gorgons...I'm not sure which...think about how to structure my new novel, wonder if the creaking of the stairs is the house settling (of course it is) or the man with the bloodshot eyes I saw in the supermarket coming to kill me with a sharpened shopping trolley, muse on agents, publishers, editors, short stories, long stories, think about how there feels like there's something on my neck, something small, like a beetle, crawling toward my ear, listen to it whisper to me in the dark and tell it...and the door to the closet's open but I'm sure it wasn't earlier, and there's a torch shining through the window but we're upstairs, we're upstairs, and I can't hear my wife breathing, but then I can, and she's beside me, but it's so dark maybe it's not her...I'll think, this is not my beautiful wife, but then I'll think of Talking Heads, and maybe she'll turn to me and talk and when she does I'll scream because sometimes heads talk, they talk and they have no bodies or mouths and they whisper in your ear like a beetle, crawling, but their breath is wet and warm and their words beguile and do it, they say, do it, says the beetle...

That’s why I never run out of things to talk about on the blog – I’m full of shit! Answer for everyone else? Keep it broad. Don’t hamper yourself by trying to write about one thing and one thing only. Use it as therapy, catharsis, fun, nonsense...I’d also advise steering clear of politics and religion – that’s for the pub. Although I have rambled about both in the past!

And the question on everyone's lips: What does your moniker, Petrified Tank, really mean?
Do you know, I’ve never really thought about it on a conscious level. I think it’s me, because I’m a big lump and I’m scared of everything. Maybe that’s why I settled on it. I began to use it everywhere after Googling ‘Craig Saunders’ and realising that my name is as common as muck. I didn’t want a pseudonym because Saunders is my Dad’s name and he’s always done just fine by me. I didn’t want to get lost in Google, so I concentrated on one name to rule them all, one name to find them, one name to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. I’m kind of like Golem, though, not Sauron. I’m not an evil genius. I’m just a beast of fate. What am I talking about? If you don’t know, I’m not telling you. Because I don’t know, either.

Boxers or briefs?
Briefs. It used to be boxers. I read somewhere that boxers make a fella more fertile, but now I’ve got three kids, and I realise being more fertile is a mug’s game, expensive, and cuts into gaming time. I love gaming. The kids are OK, I guess. *chuckles* But yeah, briefs now. For reasons I won’t go into, save to say it involves a do-it-yourself vasectomy with a couple of bricks.

Which is more difficult, finishing a novel, raising a kid or quitting smoking? 
Finishing a novel is really easy. You just sit down and do it. It’s a job. I don’t get paid very often and not very much. I’m small fry, but I’ve always approached writing as a job. Just do it. If you’re feeling crap, if you’ve got a cold, if it’s freezing in the study...none of these things is reason enough not to write. I’m a writer, whether I’m rich and famous or not.

Mostly not.

Kids or smoking is the tough part. Both are lifelong commitments. Apart from being a writer, I’m a house husband, too, so I’m with them most of the time. They’re lovely, and funny, and sweet, but drive me nuts, sometimes, too, and I’m the obsessive over-protective type of Dad – I wear myself out! I’ve had kids now for eight wife and I have a teenager and two toddlers. Kids are mad hard, and it’s so easy to mess up being a parent. It’s the hardest, for sure. But then I haven’t actually managed to quit smoking as yet – my next try is, in fact, tomorrow...

So, kids, every time. 

Thanks Tonia!

No thank you!