S.G. Browne

P is for Palahniuk

“Another thing is no matter how much you think you love someone, you’ll step back when the pool of their blood edges up too close.”
—Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

If you’ve checked out Bio and Q&A on the Founder’s page on my web site or been following Breathers From A to Z (L is for Lullaby), you know that Chuck Palahniuk is one of my major influences and favorite authors.  I’m especially fond of his novels Lullaby, Survivor, and Invisible Monsters.  And Fight Club is at the top of my list of favorite films.”On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”

But while Chuck gets props for helping me to find a narrative voice that resonates with me, there are other writers, both in fiction and in film, who inspire my own writing and have unknowingly participated in my development as a writer:

Christopher Moore (A Dirty Job / Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal / Fool)
Nick Hornby (About a Boy / High Fidelity)
Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich / Adaptation / Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
Wes Anderson (Rushmore / The Royal Tenenbaums / The Darjeeling Limited)
David O. Russell (Flirting With Disaster / I Heart Huckabees)
Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo / The Big Lebowski / Raising Arizona)

As you can see, screenplay writers are as big of an influence on me as fiction authors, though I also appreciate reads by Bret Easton Ellis, Kurt Vonnegut, William Golding, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  And although I don’t tend to read him as much as I used to back in the late 80s and through the 90s when I was devouring a steady diet of Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, and F. Paul Wilson, Stephen King is the reason I wanted to become a writer.

(Next entry:  Q is for Quitting)

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Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 3:14 pm

Interviews & Reviews & Podcasts, Oh My

So I’ve had some on-line publicity the past week and finally figured I’d get around to putting them all together in one convenient location.  So here you go…

First, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Zombies & Toys, which is actually running a contest for a signed copy of Breathers.  Plus they have some fun zombie schwag.

Second, two new reviews popped up on the zombie radar, one from HorrorScope in Australia and the other from Bookopolis, which is affiliated with the LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program.  Both of the reviews were very kind, with the Bookopolis review mentioning Christopher Moore and Chuck Palahniuk, which I find flattering.

Third, I participated in my virgin Podcast last week courtesy of The Fearshop.com.  I have to admit, I realized about halfway through that I filled the gaps of the interview with “ums” and “ahs,” but I think I managed to mine those out of my vocabulary toward the end.

And finally, though this has nothing to do with interviews, reviews, or podcasts, the image above completes the theme of the title and is my brand, spanking new T-shirt I bought from Noisebot.com.

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Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , — S.G. Browne @ 10:51 am

O is for Oscar

No, there are no characters in Breathers named Oscar.  And this isn’t about Oscar Wilde or Oscar the Grouch, though I am fond of both of them.  This is about a little bald, gold statue and how the film rights for Breathers got optioned.

Back in February of 2008, not long after I’d garnered a publishing contract with Random House, my agent, Michelle Brower, let me know that Sarah Self of the Gersh Agency was interested in representing the film rights for Breathers.  As it turned out, Sarah was the agent (and still is) for Diablo Cody, who at the time was nominated for an Academy Award for her original screenplay Juno.

After the Academy Awards, my film agent sent a copy of Breathers to both Diablo and to Mason Novick, the producer of Juno.  She thought Breathers would be a perfect fit for them, or vice versa.  Either way, they were both interested and signed on to co-produce.

Due to existing projects (Jennifer’s Body, 500 Days of Summer, The United States of Tara), and several other factors that affected Hollywood, things didn’t really start rolling on finding a studio home for Breathers until early 2009.  That’s when Geoff LaTulippe was attached to write the film adaptation of Breathers.  Geoff had sold his first screenplay, “Going the Distance,” to New Line and came on board in January.  I read the screenplay and loved it, found myself laughing out loud, and was (and am) excited to see what he comes up with.

A month later, in February, my film agent called to let me know that there was an offer on the table from Fox Searchlight Pictures, the makers of Juno, Jennifer’s Body, 500 Days of Summer, Little Miss Sunshine, and Slumdog Millionaire.  The first announcement of the deal appeared in the Daily Variety on Monday, February 23.

While the screenplay still has to be written and actors and a crew attached, it’s possible the film will go into production in 2010, with a release date of 2011.  But no firm date has been set at this point.

When you start writing, you always dream of having your book published and made into a movie.  But to actually have your dreams come true is a bit surreal.  I spent a lot of time the first few days after the deal was announced laughing out loud, often in front of strangers who I passed on the street, most of whom tended to give me a little extra room.

The thing is, I’ve always been a fan of 20th Century Fox (the parent of Fox Searchlight), ever since I saw Star Wars back in 1977 and I always wanted their logo to announce the start of my film.  I still get goosebumps listening to the theme music, which I have on my iTunes:

99-20th-century-fox-title

Finally, on Page 74 of Breathers, there’s a bit of a bizarre, cosmic foreshadowing that takes place.  Andy is talking about how difficult it is for zombies to escape their Hollywood archetype of the mindless, flesh-eating ghouls and change their public image:

“Then again, it’s kind of hard to hire a good publicist when you don’t have a budget to rival Twentieth Century Fox or Random House.”

(I wrote this more than two years before the book was sold to Random House and three years before the movie deal with Fox.  No editing occurred.)

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Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 7:54 am

Ask Andy – Favorite Foods

Leslie from the wonderful world of comcast asks:

What are your favorite foods?

For some reason, there’s this misconception that all zombies crave brains. This is just more Hollywood propaganda meant to make us look like the archetypal monsters they want you to believe we are.

First of all, brains are extremely difficult to get to. All of those movies and videos with zombies cracking open skulls with their hands and fingers. I mean, come on. Can you crack open a skull with your bare hands? Try doing it with decomposing tendons. And biting into a skull? Please. You have any idea how hard a human skull is? You ever try cracking open a cooked crab with your teeth? Not gonna happen. Now throw in the fact that your gums are rotting and your teeth are one missed formaldehyde fix from becoming a souvenir for some lucky Breather, and maybe you can see my point.

By the way, most zombies who’ve been around for a while are on a strict soft food diet. It’s not uncommon to see older reanimated corpses eating baby food.

Personally, I really love Cinnabons and Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. Though occasionally I like a nice pulled pork and Breather sandwich.

Thanks for asking!

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Filed under: Ask Andy,Breathers — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 10:47 am

N is for Naomi

“Half African American, half Japanese, Naomi could still pass for a model if it weren’t for her empty eye socket and the way the right side of her face sags.”

Naomi is one of the regular members of Undead Anonymous, the zombie support group Andy attends twice a week.  Naomi reanimated after dying at the hands of her husband, who came home from a bad day at the golf course and took out his frustrations on Naomi with a Titleist four-iron.

Much like Carl (and to a lesser extent Tom and Helen), Naomi plays a minor supporting role in Breathers, frequently sparring with Carl and calling him out when he disparages Rita or when he caps on Tom for being a vegetarian.  She’s feisty and opinionated and won’t back down from a challenge.  She’s also a smoker who likes to put her cigarette out in her empty eye socket.

I’ve had a couple of readers ask if Naomi’s mixed race heritage was done on purpose to show that discrimination against zombies crossed all lines regardless of sex or race or religion.  While it’s true that Naomi represents the only “minority” in the book (other than zombies), her racial make-up wasn’t attributed on purpose or to promote an agenda.  When I first wrote her name on the page and she came to life as a character, I simply saw her as part African American and part Asian, a woman who’d had her beauty and her life taken from her.  She didn’t symbolize anything specific.
(Next entry: O is for Oscar)

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Filed under: Breathers — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 9:12 am