Author Spotlight: Interview with Nick Cutter, Author of The Troop

Glenn RolfeHorror Literature, NewsLeave a Comment


Nick Cutter is a hot name in the horror literature world right now (rumor has it…that might not even be his real name.Shhh…). Why you may ask? Becasue of this freaking freaky novel called, The Troop.

The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best.” —Stephen KingOnce every year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story around a roaring bonfire. The boys are a tight-knit crew. There’s Kent, one of the most popular kids in school; Ephraim and Max, also well liked and easygoing; then there’s Newt the nerd and Shelley the odd duck. For the most part, they all get along and are happy to be there—which makes Scoutmaster Tim’s job a little easier. But for some reason, he can’t shake the feeling that something strange is in the air this year. Something waiting in the darkness. Something wicked…It comes to them in the night. An unexpected intruder, stumbling upon their campsite like a wild animal. He is shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—a man in unspeakable torment who exposes Tim and the boys to something far more frightening than any ghost story. Within his body is a bioengineered nightmare, a horror that spreads faster than fear. One by one, the boys will do things no person could ever imagine.And so it begins. An agonizing weekend in the wilderness. A harrowing struggle for survival. No possible escape from the elements, the infected…or one another.

Part Lord of the Flies, part 28 Days Later—and all-consuming—this tightly written, edge-of-your-seat thriller takes you deep into the heart of darkness, where fear feeds on sanity…and terror hungers for more.
Yeah, did you notice that nice little blurb from Stephen Freaking King???   Yeah, this Nock Cutter guy is pretty good.
So I decided to hike up from my home in Maine to find this Canadian-born man with a twisted mind. I grabbed my leather jacket and boots and realized how cold it was outside. I took my coat off and fired up the old interweb. Much easier, and much, much warmer.
We got to chit-chat about his big smash, his new release (The Deep), and a few other things….


Glenn Rolfe: One of my #1 fears growing up was the idea of having a tapeworm. Was this a paranoia of yours?

Nick Cutter: Hmmm, not really. Not precisely anyway. I was more afraid of external threats. Sharks, cockroaches. But the idea of having an enemy inside you, under your skin, seemed pretty icky so I decided to run with it.

GR: How much research did you have to do into this nasty parasite and did that research give you nightmares?

NC: A fair bit. The standard amount so that I felt good about moving forward with the story with a sense I probably knew a little bit more than my readers would, which is often how far ahead you NEED to be: just a few steps, so that what you write seems like it could happen even if, in fact, it’s pretty much an implausibility.

GR: I read somewhere that you were in fact a Scout leader…Were you also a Scout yourself growing up? And what was the most horrific or interesting thing you ever witnessed as a scout or scout leader?

NC: I was only a Scout, actually. I didn’t have an acoustic guitar or the habit of carrying a pocketknife on my belt or a desire to stay in the woods with boys for weekends, so I decided that just being a Scout was good enough. My life as a Scout was pretty easygoing, really. We met in a gymnasium most nights, so maybe the worst I ever saw was the janitor drunkenly cleaning the floor with his doodlebug or something. I got off easy I guess.

GR: The story has that “The Body” feel in regards to the group of kids. Were any of these guys people you grew up with?

NC: All those characters are, like the characters in all my books, a synthesis of me—myself, my own memories—and people I know. Of course for the really off-the-beaten-track elements of some of those characters, the psychoses and cruelties—those are just elements I made up entirely. But yeah, at this point in my career I rarely write fiction, in that I’m rarely cobbling together a narrative that doesn’t draw on my own life and the people in it in some way . . . as absurd as the concept may be, there are nuggets of real-life experience studded throughout.

GR: Have you been approached about doing The Troop as a film?

NC: It’s been optioned. For quite awhile actually. I can’t mention the studio or producers because they’re a little picky about that kind of thing. But most people would know the names involved, especially if they are horror buffs.

GR: Awesome! Congrats. You also have a brand new horror book out– The Deep. What can we expect in this one? Any cool things you want to mention or promote about it?

NC: Well, it takes place at the deepest point of the ocean. The title kinda implies that, I guess. I’ve always found that part of our world deeply terrifying, what with the darkness and pressure and whatever might be sweeping the bottom of the sea.


GR: The King influence is obvious in The Troop. Was Horror your first love?

NC: Yeah, for sure. I grew up reading King, Koontz, Barker, McCammon, Lansdale, you name it.

GR: Can you give me three of your favorite King pieces…any of his short stories/novels/movies…not necessarily your top three, but three that made an impact on you as a writer.

1. The Body

2. It

3. The Boogeyman

GR: Nice! Outside of King, who are some of your other Horror go-to’s?

NC: Clive Barker’s always a solid bet. Really stoked to read his new one this year. Josh Malerman is great. Joe Hill. Benjamin Percy’s doing great work. There are tons of really solid horror writers out there right now.


GR: Are you planning on attending any Cons down here in the States in 2015?

NC: It’s unlikely, I’d say. I’ve got a full slate of writing obligations, a degree to finish, and a young tot at home. Tough to get out much. But if so you can check out my website and see if I’m going to be touring anywhere in the States coming up.

GR: What can we expect next from the screwy mind of Nick Cutter?

NC: After The Deep is The Acolyte, from Chizine Press. That’s only a couple of months off. Then, around this time next year if all things go according to plan it’ll be Little Heaven, from Gallery/S&S. After that I take a nap for five years, maybe.


GR: Last question: What would Nick Cutter do if he were trapped on an island and infected with the Troop tapeworm?

NC: Jeez, who knows? He would probably make his last few hours count. Throw a party for the seagulls and tortoises and try not to eat them (he’d probably eat them).







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