Have you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers. Recently, we spoke with author Paul Cleave.

Cleave (pictured) established his authorial career with six international bestselling thrillers. His latest book, The Cleaner, will be released in December 2012. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: It was actually pretty complicated. Back in 1999/2000 I was using a really well known manuscript assessor in NZ who would work on novels and then submit them on your behalf. I had no luck. Then a couple of years later I had a contract with a smaller publisher, which turned out to be a nightmare as they decided not to publish, and at the same time they decided they wouldn’t give the rights back. Then, in 2004, we all learned the manuscript assessor I had first used had, in fact, not been submitted these manuscripts at all, and for years had just be taking everybody’s money. It was pretty awful. Suddenly a bunch of us realized the bigger publishing houses had never seen our books – so I submitted it once again to Random House. In 2005 they signed it up, I got a lawyer to get my rights back from the previous publisher which was pretty simple in the end, and the rest is history.

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