Updated: Sep 29
The Splatter Club's first anthology is about to drop and being one of the contributing authors, I've got a front row seat to the insanity! Please join my exclusive, splattery interviews with the cast and crew of Welcome to the Club #1!
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Today we chat with C.M. Saunders
Nikki: What’s your most extreme or most bizarro fantasy? Feel free to follow up on why you never will never act it out in real life?
Saunders: I want to start a massive open-air splatterpunk festival combining music, literature, performance art, and comedy. Alkaline Trio would probably be the perfect headliner, purely because their lyrics are so dark. There might be room for The Ataris on the bill too, along with Senses Fail and Neck Deep. I might stir things up by making Blink 182 open for everyone. They’d only be allowed to play Cure covers and songs from Enema of the State. Hold on, I just realized Matt Skiba is in both Alkaline Trio and Blink. He’s going to have a busy night. Fuck it, I’ll make him play a solo acoustic set, too. In the backstage VIP area, I want leather couches, an open bar, free tattoos, dwarves carrying silver plates of coke on their heads like Freddie Mercury used to have at his parties, and a time machine that transports you back to 1986 and back
Nikki: What real-world environment is most terrifying to you? Why?
Saunders: I have a weird relationship with the ocean. It’s beautiful and beguiling, it draws you in on some profound, spiritual level, but deep down you know it’s dangerous as fuck. The sheer scale of it is terrifying. The pacific Ocean covers an area of 59 million square miles or something. What the actual fuck? It’s almost incomprehensible. Plus, the things that live in the sea don’t want us there, and then on top of all that there’s the constant danger of drowning. There’s a reason we don’t have fins and gills and its because people don’t belong in the fucking sea. Another terrifying real-world environment would be somewhere really high, in case I fall off and hurt myself. I laugh at those types who do extreme sports and then cry about it when it all goes wrong and they end up in a hospital. If you insist on putting yourself in those situations, you can expect to pay the consequences some day.
Nikki: Tell us about your story in Welcome to the Club? What inspired it?
Saunders: My contribution is called "Holiday of a Lifetime", and its about a guy who gets made redundant and takes his wife on a trip to Thailand. At it’s core it’s the story of an ordinary Joe who has spent his entire life toeing the line and ticking boxes, only to be thrown on the trash heap when he’s served his purpose. That makes him question his role in society and wonder what the point of everything is. He doesn’t feel he fits in any more, even though he spent his entire life trying, and decides to go out with a scream rather than a whimper. I love south East Asia. Thailand has a special vibe. Anything goes there, and I wanted to capture the essence of that and put it in a story. My mom reads all my stuff, but she won’t be reading this one.
Nikki: What does Splatterpunk or bizarro fiction mean to you? And is it a big part of you as an author?
Saunders: To me, it means letting your imagination run wild and not feeling the need to conform. I despair when I see submission calls these days which are so restrictive and specific all you’re doing is dancing to someone else’s tune. You may as well work in a factory. Writing, in fact all art, is supposed to be about expression. Some people confuse splatterpunk with extreme horror and go out of their way to be controversial or gross the reader out, but to me it’s deeper than that. I love the punk ethos of making a stand and going against the flow is. Splatterpunk has an energy of its own and a kind of ‘fuck you’ charm which I find endearing. I used to write in a lot of genres, all of them dark. Now, there are just varying degrees of splatter and bizarreness.
Nikki: If there’s one thing you’d want readers to know about you or the mission of your work, what would it be?
Saunders: I don’t have a mission, as such. But my life philosophy is that we are all here for such a short time, we should make the most of it. It’s a cliché, but I want to die with memories, not dreams. I hope that comes through in my writing somehow. None of it can be described as upbeat and cheerful, but I think maybe I approach things from an alternative angle. Most of my writing has a heavy dose of what one reviewer called ‘sardonic humour.’ Sometimes you have to dig deep to find it, but it’s usually there.
Nikki: What’s your next project and where can we stalk you?
Saunders: My new novella, Tethered, just came out. It’s about a struggling journalist who gets sucked into the world of internet rituals in search of a story, and finds much more than he bargained for. Internet rituals are a topic I’ve always been interested in. Something else that fascinates me is the mysterious death of Elisa Lam, who was found in a water tank in the Cecil Hotel in LA in 2013, the same place allegedly frequented by Elizabeth ‘the Black Dahlia’ Short and Richard ‘the Night Stalker’ Ramirez, who have each carved their own names in history. I also have stories coming up in a few anthologies, including Brewtality edited by Trap Jones. That particular story is about a housebound alcoholic who finds a tooth in his beer. As if that isn’t bad enough, the tooth is a grower.