Featured Author: Toby Venables

“He launched magazines in Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol, doing interviews with all manner of celebs. He chatted with Bill Bailey and Eddie Izzard. He met one of his childhood heroes, Ray Harryhausen. He even turned down dinner with Cate Blanchett. It was all starting to come together, in a rather name-droppy kind of a way.Then suddenly novels happened when he pitched an apparently daft idea – Vikings and zombies – to Abaddon, and they said “yes”.” Toby Venables, Interview with Civilian Reader, December 11, 2013

911JIubousL._UX250_Toby Venables, writer, screenwriter, lecturer, maypole botherer. King of Smoulder as seen above.

Toby Venables is a novelist, screenwriter and lecturer in Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. He grew up watching old Universal horror movies when his parents thought he was asleep, reading 2000AD and obsessing about Beowulf. There was probably a bit more to it, but he can’t quite remember what it was.

He has since worked as a journalist and magazine editor – launching magazines in Cambridge, Peterborough, Oxford and Bristol – and once orchestrated an elaborate Halloween hoax for which he built and photographed a werewolf. He still works as a freelance copywriter, has been the recipient of a radio advertising award, and in 2001 won the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize (both possibly due to typing errors).

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His first novel (for Abaddon) was The Viking Dead – a historical-zombie-SF mashup which has been described as “A fantastic mix of history, violence and horror” and “ludicrous fun”.

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He is also the author of the Hunter of Sherwood trilogy – now on its second book – in which Guy of Gisburne is the hero, and Hood a bit of a rotter. The first of these novels, Knight of Shadows, garnered some charitable reviews, including one which essentially implied the author was the bastard son of Bernard Cornwell. Which was nice.

The third book in the series, Hood, will feature many familiar characters, but their fates hang in the balance.

He also has some screenplays in development and is working on a new stand-alone novel, Zombie and Son – a Victorian zombie apocalypse with an Egyptian mummy and a cameo by jack the Ripper. He hints at yet another exciting prospect project but that for now remains a secret. Even after I gave him a nuclear wedgie, he still wouldn’t crack (ironically).

Follow Toby on Twitter and his blog, here on WordPress.

Hunter of Sherwood: The Red Hand

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Hunter of Sherwood: Knight of Shadows

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(Biography via Toby Venables @ Amazon)

More from Toby

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