CC Adams - Drop and Give me 20! 20 Hard Questions for Hard Authors
I give you CC Adams!
Born and raised in London, C. C. Adams is the horror/dark fiction author whose work appears in anthologies such as Cranial Leakage, Volume 1 and Creature Stew. A member of the Horror Writers Association, he also holds a 2015 Honourable Mention from the Australian Horror Writers Association for short fiction.
Pre Question - So, who are you? I’m someone who’s grateful that you’re taking the time to scratch below the surface! Seriously, it’s just humbling and cool when people wanna hear your story – whether it’s the one you live or the one you write. It’s just cool. Aside from that, I’m a London-based author of horror and dark fiction, currently an HWA member. Work published with the likes of Turn To Ash and BWP’s “Crossroads In The Dark” anthology – with an upcoming appearance in Volume 2, December 17th.
1. Are you “An Author” -or- “A Writer”? What’s the difference?
Not sure there’s any difference, to be honest. I use both words in relation to myself, but I guess I’m more likely to describe myself as an author.
2. What is your biggest failure?
Good question. I’m really not sure on that one. Sure, I’ve experienced failure before: dropping out of university… No, actually, you know what? There have been circumstances that might look like failure, e.g. dropping out of uni – but my heart wasn’t in it, so to let it go and move on was actually a good call. Even if it wasn’t an easy call. For stuff that I really wanted to achieve, I never really had any qualms about gritting my teeth and digging deep. If I want something, but just fold instead of putting in work? That’s a fail.
3. What is the worse lie you ever told? (yup, I wrote "worse" instead "worst"...ahhh, I'm dumb)
Worse than what? Is that a trick question?
4. Do you Google yourself?
Oh, absolutely. It’s cool to see how far my reach is on the worldwide web. Plus, it reminds me that there’s still more work to be done.
5. How would your friends describe you? And what about your worst enemy?
I couldn’t tell you verbatim how’d they describe me. But the gist of some of it is that I’m supportive, that I’m a strong individual, that I’m blunt, I’m charming, confident, etc. I guess my enemies (if that’s what you’d call them) would call me arrogant, immature, etc. Not that I care. They’re welcome to their opinion, of course, as long as they give me a wide berth in the process.
6. What is your creative Kryptonite?
Noise and people. When I’m writing, I do my best work when I have quiet and solitude; when I can really hear myself think. It’s not enough for there to be quiet, I need that isolation: no background noise, no other people around. That way, it’s easier for me to tune the world out and sink myself into the world I’m crafting.
7. What popular movie/book/music which others adore, do you secretly despise?
Ah, I make no secret of what I despise. Maybe that’s too strong a word – there’s certainly music I don’t like. I think of a film I saw earlier this year called, “War On Everyone.” And what a steaming pile of shit it was. I found the acting bad, the script bad, the jokes bad, the direction bad, the characters bad. The sad thing was that after seeing Michael Pena’s turn in Ant-Man (and liking Ant-Man), I thought I’d be in for a similar treat. Poor, deluded fool I was.
8. What is the worst criticism you ever received? How did it make you feel?
In author terms, probably the first beta I got back from an author friend. To say it was scathing was an understatement. She even prefaced it on some, ‘be warned, this is not a joke, I’m being serious here.’ It was a tough blow, but I rolled with it. One, because I try to be humble, open-minded and take the good with the bad. Two, I knew it was a good story, even if the execution was sloppy.
My beta readers are pretty tough on me – but I wouldn’t have it any way. Of course, as an author, the buck stops with you, and it’s ultimately your call what part of a beta’s review you accept or reject. Because while it’s subjective, I have that confidence and that vision that says, “these are the stories I’m going to tell, this is what I’m bringing to the table and regardless, I’m gonna put in work and tighten my game. You’ll get the best stories I can muster, something that’ll sink hooks in you and won’t let go.” I’ve said this countless times before: It doesn’t matter how good you are at your game, there’ll always be someone who simply doesn’t like what you do. However, your audience will love you for it. Which is fine by me.
9. What is a secret you’ve never told anyone?
Ahhh, I believe that would be telling…
10. How long/how many rejections did you get before someone gave you your shot?
You know, I really can’t remember. Despite however much ground I may have covered since 2009 (when I beat NaNoWriMo and thought I might have the talent to run with this), I still see myself as a relative newbie. I’m still getting plenty of rejections now, so I don’t always get my shot.
11. What was the last movie/book which made you cry?
<grinning> Okay. The last movie that I watched most recently that had me misting up? Kung Fu Panda. And I’ll tell you why. You know the scene near the end where Po is finally being taught kung fu? Now his master’s already conceded that Po can’t be trained the way the Five were trained, so he has to adapt it a little and motivate him with food. Even so, we see it’s hard going for Po to start with. But like a lot of things, the more he keeps at it, the better he gets (like when you see him in shadow on the high rock). Then that scene culminates in the dumpling fight – and you see the master enjoying himself too as they spar. And at the end of it all, when Po bests the master and snags the dumpling with a backflip, he just tosses it back to his teacher. “I’m not hungry … master.” It’s just a truly beautiful moment; it’s too cool.
And I’ll admit that I’ve been slacking there – I’ve not been in kung fu for ages! Partly because the author life has had me so busy, partly because I’ve not found a kung fu school that was quite the right fit for me (especially since I wanted to take up Shaolin kung fu). But for time in my favourite school, time with your fellow students and your teachers is fun. Hard work, for sure, but good fun. A good school will embrace and foster that camaraderie and make you feel like part of the family.
12. Can you describe a single, personal moment in your life which made you, you?
This is getting kind of deep! I can remember some instance in school where I’d been ostracized or something, and throwing a major weep or something, which culminated in me hugging a whole bunch of people, desperate to make friends. And ever since then, that kind of begging never sat right with me. Don’t get me wrong, I can get along with people and engage with them, but not everyone will like me. The difference is that now I’m okay with it.
13. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your writer’s ego?
That’s a good one! Maybe 5? I think as an artist and a creator, you need a degree of confidence and pride in your work. And also as a creator and an artist, you need a degree of humility that there’s still room for your style and craft to grow and develop. That and the fact that no matter how tight your game is, it simply won’t move everybody. So maybe it’ll be a score that’s balanced in the middle of the scale.
14. Have you ever been in a fight/punched in the face? How did/would you react?
Oh, in school, I was easy pickings. Got picked on. Punched/slapped a few times. Cried and looked like a complete victim. The last time(s) I got punched in the face, I was kung fu sparring. The first couple of times, up against a big South African called Greg, I got my bell rung. Hard! Can you believe he didn’t even take his glasses off to spar with me? But, yeah, I got clobbered. We’re talking tweeting birds like a Warner Bros. cartoon. The last couple of times, I took it, rolled with it, dealt some punishment, and that’s part and parcel of sparring.
15. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters with sexual identity different from your own?
I guess it’s just making sure that those characters are realistic, and represented. When I write, a lot – but not all – of my stories are based in London.
This being one of the major cities on the planet, you’ve got a wealth of races, culture, music, food, scenery, fashion, etc. Young, old. Male, female. Straight, gay. And lots more besides. This is how London is, so if I want to bring my stories to life, that’s the kind of diversity I want to inject. It’s easier to write ‘what I know,’ rather than what a lesbian accountant would know, for example.
16. What do you feel the most pride in? And what makes you feel the most shame?
I do take pride in having a degree of resilience. In author terms, I’ve gotten a lot of rejections from a lot of publishers, with some stating that they like a particular work but it’s not what they’re looking for at that time. In some instances, I’ve being shortlisted for an anthology, for example, only to miss making the final cut. But to place in the top 100, say, out of over 1000 submissions? Yeah, I’m proud of that. And it’s humbling as well when you consider the sheer volume of horror authors out there, let alone those in other genres. Out of all of them, and you place that highly? It’s an honour.
That resilience is also a personal thing. I’m grateful that while life’s had some ups and downs, I’ve not faced anything yet that I couldn’t roll with and come back stronger from. As such, I don’t think I say or do anything that really makes me feel shame. I do my level best to let actions speak for me, and work on surpassing myself. And try to stay humble and well-grounded through it all.
17. I see you from England. During my time in the military I had the opportunity to backpack across the UK. What are some of the pet peeves you have concerning the English stereotype?
<laughing> You got some good questions on rotation, boss! Yes, I’m from England, born and raised in the nation’s capital, and proud of. But yeah, I’ve got a ‘peeve’ or two. Cockney accents. Tea drinkers. Pub lovers. That’s just off the top of my head. Apart from my mint tea in the morning on the weekends, I don’t fit any of those stereotypes. You ever been to London? It’d be good to hear your verdict on it if you have.
18. While I am unfamiliar w/you personal politics, does the political climate around Brexit find its way into your writing? Or, is writing an escape from such things?
Yes and no. Yes, my work will in part represent how life and individuals in this city. No, because while politics might be part of the scenery, it’s not the primary focus. That’s reserved for the monsters, the victims and such.
19. While on holiday, you and some friends are visiting some ancient ruins. While joking around you find an altar which you did not see before. One of your friends bumps into it and becomes possessed by the spirit of a long-dead powerful entity. This being immediately turns to your other friends and possesses them as well, turning them in half human, half animal thralls. You can have one weapon of your choice, three books and one luxury item...what do you do?
Weapon? Probably a handheld crossbow. Three books? “Thor” by Wayne Smith, E.A.R.L – The Autobiography of DMX, Timeline by Michael Crichton. One luxury item? A comfortable and secure house, with amenities, facilities and resources to last a lifetime.
20. What would you like fans and potential fans to know about you as a person?
I’m pretty laidback, so I’m up to engage with those who want to talk writing and/or horror. And it’s just humbling if my work moves you. Maybe even scare the shit outta you.
If you want to know more about CC, please check out his website at