Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

At the Desk: Nick Cutter

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Nick Cutter's desk

Nick Cutter's first book, The Troop (Simon & Schuster Canada) has been delighting horror fans since it hit the bookshelves just weeks ago. It's even garnered praise from no less than Stephen King, who called the novel "old-school horror at its best".

Today we're turning on the lights (phew!) and heading into Nick Cutter's writing space to see where the very scary magic happens. There's only one catch — there is no Nick Cutter.

Nick Cutter is the invention of acclaimed Canadian writer Craig Davidson, who adopted the pseudonym in order to publish The Troop.

So we're thrilled to welcome Craig, who takes us into "Nick's" inner sanctum as part of our At the Desk series.

If you want to catch Craig in person, he and fellow fright-master Andrew Pyper are currently on a multi-city tour know as The Dark Side Tour. For more information, visit

Feast your eyes! A writer’s workspace — isn’t it grand? Lordy, lordy, I can only imagine that it meets all your hopes and expectations of what a writer’s workspace must look like. Some crummy little spare bedroom with a Walmart desk, hemmed by cluttered bookshelves with a bed shoved up against the other side. It’s … it’s … Xanadu!

In all seriousness, it suits me fine. I’ve never been that particular about my workspace. You could point me towards a busted pile of bricks or a Mister Turtle pool full of congealed oatmeal and say, “Hey, Nick, you figure you could muscle out a few lines of deathless prose right there?” and I’d shrug and say, “You’re the boss, boss,” and get down to it. So this is pretty nice by my standards, actually.
A few little things that may’ve piqued your interest …

  1. The Diet Tonic bottles — What the heck are those about, Nick? I can hear you asking. Well, dear reader, for awhile there my fiancée was in school and I was looking after our son during the day, so the only time I could write was at night. But see, I’m not much of a night-writer. I have friends, other writers, who get their best work done at night. For them, 11pm-4am is the magic time. For me, it’s that magic time where I’m asleep dreaming I’m an astronaut, like most sane people! Anyway, the only way I could rouse myself to set a few words down after a full day with the baby was to, y’know, uhhh … drink. Gin and tonics were my poison. But I write upstairs while all my drink fixin’s were downstairs in the kitchen, so I figured to hell with it: I’d fix a tall glass of gin and ice and lime in the kitchen, then creep upstairs and splash in the tonic. But this was a slippery slope, I’ve found, and anyway the drinks just made me sleepy so I said to hell with it all. No more drinking and night-writing. But I’m lazy, too, and forgetful, so there the bottles still sit to this day.
  2. The cushion on that rustic wooden chair. Now that chair and my keister are well acquainted. So my fiancée (who rightfully gives me the gears for my failing to make good use of the gifts she buys) bought this space-age cushion. If I had to guess I’d say it’s made out of foam, but perhaps it’s something much more advanced than mere foam. Some kind of sophisticated liquid-filled bladder system that reacts to my every shift and move, perhaps; or it may be filled with alien matter harvested on Mars. Whatever it is, it’s very comfy and it keeps my ass in tip-top condition. Thanks, soon-to-be-wife!
  3. The weird leering pirate mug on the top shelf of the bookcase with the parrot for a handle … even I can’t explain how that got there.

I do like the bookshelves. We have a few more downstairs, though the lowest shelves on those are denuded, seeing as our toddler likes nothing more than to gleefully rip our books apart. I don’t have anything that even approximates interior decoration sense, but a house filled with books and bookshelves would be perfectly fine by me. I do enjoy glancing up from my labours every so often to see the spines of books I’ve loved reading, written by writers who’ve influenced me.

Okay, there you have it. My enviable workspace. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do some drunken night-writing!

— Nick Cutter

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author of novels and short stories. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

Check out all the At the Desk interviews in our archives.

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