Q&A with Nick Cutter – Author of The Troop

When we read The Troop last September, something sinister crawled deep inside of us and we were never able to really shake the creepy thriller.

So when Simon and Schuster Canada approached us this year for a brief interview with author Nick Cutter, we jumped at the opportunity to peek into the dark corners of his mind to discover the motivation behind the brilliance that is The Troop .


** This interview contains some spoilers about the book. Proceed with caution. **

Q: Stephen King said The Troop scared the hell out of him. What a ringing endorsement!  What was your first thought when you found out the master of horror was scared by The Troop? 

Shock, total shock. I was sitting on the sofa when my editor wrote me with the quote, and I just turned to my wife and said: Well, there’s one item on the bucket list crossed off. Of course, I had no clue that item would ever be ticked off that proverbial list (which is a list I don’t keep, to be honest, as I’m not yet 40 and it seems creepy), but it’s nice when something like that happens out of the clear blue sky.

Q: *SPOILER* As The Troop closes, it looks as if there will be two survivors making it to safety, until at the last minute one is shot in the head. This was a heartbreaking final twist, as both were the kind of agreeable characters we think deserve to survive. While it seemed easy to part with a couple of the characters, what was your thought process in choosing who survived and who didn’t? Was it a kind of Sophie’s Choice situation in the end or did you know from the beginning who would live to tell your story?

Y’know, to give a dirty little glimpse into a horror writer’s mind … sometimes your aim is to eliminate (such a cold term!) the character that you think will break the reader’s heart just that little bit more when they go, or be that much more shocking should it happen. That awful and somewhat heartless, but we’re talking about horror books here, and I’m not sure you should pick one up if you’re looking for a cheery resolution—some horror novels have those, but it’s certainly not a given. The truth is, you develop these characters, you come to love them in a way as a writer, and that’s necessary when, in the case of the character you mention, you have to forfeit them. It’s part of what the book is trying to say. Adults make huge mistakes and others suffer because of that. Kids, sometimes. But when I wrote that scene, and a few other scenes, I, y’know, I got a little weepy. I can admit that. It was tough to write, but that was the direction I felt the book needed to take.

Q: It’s no secret that Nick Cutter is actually a pseudonym (and not the first pseudonym you’ve written under, either). Behind the pen names, you’re an established, award nominated Canadian writer. Why the multiple personalities?

That was my agent’s idea. He felt a need to find some separation between my literary endeavors and some of my other work. It’s really more a business decision than anything, and though that sounds pretty lame I’m sure, it’s not really that hard to discover who I really am. I’m happy to have it that way, too. 

Q: It’s become kind of a tradition with us CityGirls to honour our love of wine in the last question of these kinds of interviews. So sticking with that, if Nick Cutter was stranded on a deserted island, what drink of choice would he be finding comfort in?

I drink just about anything. Beer’s the go-to, but wine is great too. Red for me. I like Penfolds a lot. The Australian winery. Bin 407, Bin 389. Those are pretty much 4x what I spend on my everyday around the house drinking reds, but if you’re stranding me on a desert island, sure, toss me a few crates of Penfolds and a case of Fuller’s London Pride and I could while away the days.

We want to thank Nick Cutter for taking the time to answer our questions. Based solely on these answers, specifically to the last question, he seems like our kind of guy! So much so that we’ve already bought up a few of his books published under his real identity. We suggest you do the same.

The Troop is available on February 25 where all your favourite books are sold.